In that thread, predictably, the charge of anti-Semitism has been made multple times against those who are advocating on behalf of the Palestinians in the occupied territory and in Gaza.
I see this as both a libel and a deflection away from the initial discussion.
So let's talk about it here. Is criticism of Israel inherently anti-Semitic?
Here's a starting point:
We hold groups responsible for things, good and bad, all the time: The Germans started World War II, the French opposed us in Iraq, the British supported us. The strongly pro-Israel columnist Jonathan Rosenblum states, "The Jews have built an advanced, industrial state, while the Palestinians have built nothing."
Clearly, it is not just anti-Semites who attribute responsibility to the Jews. And just as clearly, this is neither racist nor to be taken literally. Rosenblum does not mean that every last Jew, including children and the mentally disabled, built that state. He means that most adult Jews made some contribution to it.
If so, should definitional inflation be allowed to make anti-Semites out of all those who hold Jews responsible for Israel's actions and character? My childhood, in largely Jewish suburbs of New York and Boston, was full of Israel bond drives and calls to support Israel. Can't Rosenblum say that "the Jews," meaning a substantial majority of adult Jews, have some responsibility for what Israel has become? And can't Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch say that Israel has committed war crimes and violated human rights?
One might justly call it dangerous to conclude that Jews, generally, had some responsibility for war crimes and human rights violations. But to call it anti-Semitic seems just as dangerous, because in some loose, though not unreasonable, sense, the conclusion is hard to escape. That's why there are whole Jewish organizations, like Not in My Name, that exist to enable Jews to dissociate themselves from Israel's actions.
In short, you can't have it both ways. You can, if you like, inflate the definition of "anti-Semitism" to capture even Jewish political opponents of Israel. But you can't do this and keep "anti-Semitism" as a term of intense moral condemnation. Nor will the inflationary gambit successfully isolate the truly reprehensible anti-Semites.
The best way to reserve "anti-Semitism" as a term of condemnation is to define it as hatred of Jews, not for what they do but for what they are.
- Michael Neumann, "Criticism of Israel is Not Anti-Semitism", Counterpunch, 30-Dec-2003