Is All Criticism 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.
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