Is All Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitic?

Question: Are all criticisms of Israel anti-Semitic?

Abraham\r\n Foxman: Israel probably has more criticism per square foot, square \r\nperson than any country in the world.  It’s a Democracy, they can be \r\ncriticized, nobody is immune from criticism and no you don’t become an \r\nanti-Semite just because you criticize the Jewish state.  But, there was\r\n Natan Sharansky, one of the prisoners of conscience from the Soviet \r\nUnion who set a certain standard, which I think sort of applies.  He \r\nsaid, well if your criticism denigrates or demeans Israel or it \r\nchallenges its right to exist, that’s not criticism because people don’t\r\n go around asking whether Poland should exist, or China should exist, so\r\n if the question is the criticism goes to the point of Israel’s \r\nlegitimacy, that’s not criticism, that’s at this point anti-Semitism.  \r\nIf it goes to – if it sets a double standard, and basically there’s this\r\n issue now of boycotts and I’ve seen boycotts, student boycotts, church \r\nboycotts of Israel, and the reason is we are for human rights and we \r\nwant to show the world that we... and I’d say fine, if you want to use \r\nboycotts to express yourself, to strengthen human rights, fine.  But, if\r\n Israel is the only country that you select to use the boycott to \r\nenforce human rights and you ignore China, and Cuba, and Sudan, and \r\nSaudi Arabia, where there are violations galore of human rights, women’s\r\n rights, gay rights, religious rights, etcetera, then that’s not \r\nlegitimate criticism of Israel.  That’s bigotry, that’s anti-Semitism.  \r\nNow if you make a list of 10, 15 countries and you include Israel I will\r\n argue that Israel has equal rights for women, has respect, has a \r\njudicial system, Palestinians can come to the... and all that, but okay I\r\n can live with that.  But when the only country... when you look at the \r\nUnited Nations, okay you want to criticize Israel fine, but when 40 \r\npercent of the agenda of the United Nations human rights, so called \r\nhuman rights council, is only Israel that’s anti-Semitism.

Recorded on June 11, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman

If criticism of Israel's policies demeans or degrades the country—or questions its legitimacy—then it's anti-Semitic.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.