Israeli journalist Derfner succinctly analyzes the anti-Semitism vs. anti-Zionism debate

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Larry Derfner, the veteran and outstanding Israeli journalist, got straight to the point the other day. In an online discussion, Derfner said simply:

“The overlap between Western anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is a fraction of that between Zionism and Islamophobia.”

Eighteen words that say it all. Derfner would not deny that the feverish hate swamps of the far right include Judeophobes who as a consequence also hate Israel. But their numbers are small compared to the self-professed Zionists who spend much of their time attacking “Islam.”

Larry Derfner is no extremist, and he certainly would not agree with everything published at this site. But he is a man of courage, who in 2011 lost his job as a columnist at the Jerusalem Post because he spoke out for Palestinians.

He has recently started contributing to Haaretz. Under the headline “The Reluctant Boycotter: Why This Liberal Zionist Now Supports BDS,” he wrote:

“I don’t feel comfortable advocating a boycott of my own country, but a few years ago, after it became clear to me that neither the Israeli peace camp nor the White House was going to end the occupation, the choice came down to supporting the boycott or supporting the status quo forever, and I chose the former.”

Derfner may well be breaking Israeli law by calling for boycott.

I just started subscribing to the online edition of Haaretz, so I don’t miss any of Derfner, or of Amira Haas and Gideon Levy, two other moral giants in Israel. (Haaretz struggles in a media landscape dominated by the gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who gives away for free his propagandistic tabloid Israel Hayom [Today].)

And every time I read Haaretz, I marvel that you can find reports and opinions there that you will rarely see in the New York Times.

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I like that he cuts through the question — by ignoring it — of whether Zionism is today’s version of Judaism and, therefore, a “religion” (as opposed to a nationalist political movement) with ther often-stated consequence that anti-Zionism is, precisely, anti-semitism. He ignores this silliness. And of course looking at numbers (or percentages), he says that the percent of antisemites among anti-Zionists is small and the number of anti-Muslims among Zionists is large. Let’s all… Read more »

“Eighteen words that say it all. ”

A. Nonsense.

B. Seems like you’re perfectly OK with whataboutery when it serves your purposes.

I really doubt that the feverish hate swamps of the Far Right generate much support, in any sense we’d recognise, for Palestinian rights. I admit to having little knowledge of the dinosaurs who live there.

“The overlap between Western anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is a fraction of that between Zionism and Islamophobia.” Not only that, but the two are quite intricately linked: the overlap between Western anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism used to be much larger than it is today because for a few decades after the end of WWII, Jews remained the prime target of the bigoted fraction of the white bourgeoisie. It’s only when racism against migrants from the Middle-East and… Read more »

Besides, what generates anti-Semitism today is Israel’s occupation of Palestine, along with the U.S. multiple wars on Islamic nations that won’t kow-tow to U.S. dictates. If only the above violations of international law were abandoned, anti-Semitism would be reduced to a size that could be flushed down a toilet. And what need (er, excuse) then for a safe haven for “endangered” world Jewry?