Do we truly understand the term “antisemitism”? Mark Weber shed much light on the subject in this talk at [email protected] on May 14, 2019. Many in the audience wanted to read it and share his remarks with others. So here it is, in it’s entirety.
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By Mark Weber
Recently, we’ve watched with dismay as supporters of Israel in the United States have launched attacks on first-term Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), accusing her of antisemitism because she’s been critical of Israel and has raised the specter of “dual loyalty.” This is just the latest of many incidents in which false charges of antisemitism have been used to stifle criticism of Israeli policy and support for Palestinian human rights. In particular, we have seen this term used to bully and to intimidate young activists on campuses across the country. Spineless college administrators and corrupt politicians of both parties in state legislatures, under pressure from wealthy donors and the Israel Lobby, have sought to suppress these student activists’ work on behalf of Palestinian rights.
Today, antisemitism has become associated with Israel and its policies toward the West Bank and Gaza. To put our discussion in perspective, let’s go back to the origins of the term “anti-Semitism.” Let’s reflect on the politicization of antisemitism in the United States and the use of the term “antisemitism” as a cudgel to bludgeon critics of Israel, forcing them to abandon their criticisms of Israel while defending themselves against false charges of bigotry.