Debunking the 2 claims: anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and BDS unfairly singles out Israel

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There are two claims one commonly hears from people opposed to any serious action taken in favor of Palestinian rights.

The first is that old standby, that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. This claim is meant to intimidate; the intent is to prevent the root of the problem from being discussed. One starts off privileging the Zionist position as unassailably correct and then one can discuss to what extent Palestinians have rights that can be granted after negotiation.

The second claim is closely related: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) unfairly singles out Israel and therefore (you guessed it) is anti-Semitic.

It is possible and maybe even useful to write long detailed rebuttals of both these charges, but it would probably be more useful to keep them short. A long rebuttal to a blunt one-sentence false accusation might actually make it seem like it had merit. So here are the short ones.

Is anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism? If it were, then that would mean all Palestinians were morally obligated to endorse their own ethnic cleansing. That is the only logical conclusion. Not only are Palestinians being asked to accept that they can never go back to their homes and villages, but they are implicitly being asked to bless the ideology that justified their ethnic cleansing– or else they are anti-semites. That is nakedly racist.

You can go on from there and go into whatever details you want, but that is all the argument you need.

Does BDS single out Israel unfairly? This will take a bit more discussion. No, it doesn’t, because Israel is singled out for billions of dollars in U.S. aid each year and singled out for absurdly one sided praise by our politicians and singled out for diplomatic support by the US when it commits war crimes.

On the negative side, some people refuse to buy their hummus.

Furthermore, look at how we single out other countries in the region. We single out Syria and Libya for support for rebels, with horrific results; we single out Yemen for support for Saudi bombing; and we commonly impose draconian sanctions on countries — sanctions that hurt the ordinary people far more than they hurt the leaders. We single out Gaza in supporting the Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Would Israelis prefer to be singled out in one of these other fashions?

And why, given all the morally questionable and even barbaric policies the US has in the Middle East, would anyone single out the BDS movement for special negative attention from virtually every local government in the US? We are helping starve Yemen; and my local Westchester County legislature singled out BDS for condemnation.

The phrase is stupid and fundamentally racist, as only supporters of Palestinian rights are singled out and accused of bigotry for using a common nonviolent protest tactic.

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As US tax payers surely we are able to object to those billions of dollars going to an occupier, who has been condemned by us many times, for violence against civilians, and for the illegal settlements they keep building, without heeding international laws. We also have the right to boycott openly this nation, in support of it’s victims. This is all keeping in line with our democracy, and human rights policies that we keep preaching… Read more »

This article needs to be spread on all social media as an antidote to hasbara. Thanks, Donald!

Israel could care less if we pick on other criminal states, they just want us to leave them to their crimes.Jews have a right to do as they please and anyone who complains is an antisemite. Ordinary logic would suggest that ignoring the crimes of the so called “Jewish ” state , because it is Jewish would be classic antisemitism but zionists make a science out of turning standard logic on it,s head. By way… Read more »

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command….And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. Orwell, 1984. it makes perfect sense for BDS, a palestinian led movement, to single out their oppressors vs all the other oppressors in the world. to think otherwise is illogical. and… Read more »


Thank you for this daily dose of logic, reason, and sanity in an unusual world.