The New Anti-Semitism
by Rabbi David Zaslow

The other day Linda Cotrufello posted an article on this site. The article has been going around the internet and was also posted on another community bulletin board here in Ashland. My response here is strictly to the author of the article and not to Linda. I assume her motives are good and based on her care for our society. But the actual article is by a controversial conspiracy theorist named Victor Thorn. He describes himself in his website bio as the author of books like "9-11: The Israeli Role in 9-11" and "Phantom Flight 93."

The article posted is called "Obama Inner Circle Filled with Bilderbergs." It is frightening not because of its accuracy, but because such inaccuracy actually has an audience. Mr. Thorn's article speaks uses buzz words like "Jewish triad..." and "Irgun terrorist gang" and "strong Zionist sympathizer" are nothing but veiled anti-Semitism. First "Jewish triad." I notice Mr. Thron does not refer to Presbyterian triads or Buddisht triads...only Jews are singled out. Second, regarding the "Irgun terrorist gang" if you study history you will see that the Irgun were fighting against British colonialism. Were their tactics controversial? Yes. Were they terrorists? Hardly. As much as I might personally repudiate their tactics the targets they chose were never civilian, but, rather, the British colonial armed forces. And putting things in historical context it is important to remember that the Irgun represented a small minority of the Jewish people in British occupied Palestine during the late 1930's and early 1940's – a desperate time for the Jewish people.

Finally, using the term "Zionist sympathizer" as a pejorative term against Vice Presidentelect Biden is very odd. Marlin Luther King too was proud to call himself a Zionist, and so were many Black leaders in the civil rights movement. After all, what is Zionism? Jihadists say that Zionism is racism because they have a stated goal of wiping Israel off the map. But most Christians, Muslims, and level, objective students of history know that Zionism was just a anti-colonial movement declaring the right of Jews to have a homeland just like every African country (and many Asian countries too) who also had national liberation movements in the 1940's.

Because of my own Zionism I am a "Tibetan sympathizer" today, and a sympathizer of all people to have their own homelands free of colonial, Jihadist, or dictatorial presence. Israel has always stood on this principle of some kind of two-state solution since its rebirth in 1947-1948. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism. Israel is the scapegoat just as the "Jew" was in the 1930's. I remember reading John Birch society literature like "None Dare Call it Treason" in the 1960's. The new anti-Zionism is just rehashed John Birch conspiracy theories that focus on the "Jew" as the cause of society's problems during economic hard times. All of us need to be aware during this challenging time in our economy not to let sloppy scholarship and outright deception make the Jews or Israelis scapegoats once again. We learned from the Holocaust the result of national paranoia by one of the most intellectual societies in all of Europe.

Today, crazed ideas like the Jews not coming to work on 9-11, or the Israeli Mossad being behind the attacks, or Jews gaining control of the economy, or Zionism being the cause of unrest in the Middle East – all of these ideas need to be repudiated quickly by all of us. As we should never tolerate racist comments, sexist comments, homophobic comments, and bigoted comments against Muslims, we should not be silent with the newest incarnation of anti-Semitism (anti-Zionism) that has leapt the fire lines from some circles on the far right to some circles on far left.

For further reading take a look at feminist author Phyllis Chesler's "The New Anti-Semitism" or "The Case for Israel" by Alan Dershowitz. On that note, I bless all of us in our wonderful community with a meaningful solstice celebration, a wonderful Christmas, a fantastic Kwanzaa, and a transformative Hanukkah!

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Comment by Madeleine Sklar on March 6, 2009 at 2:33pm
Ayala, I am grateful to always find your arguments very articulate and well informed.
Comment by Havurah Shir Hadash on December 19, 2008 at 2:05pm
Thanks Linda, I appreciate your response.
Comment by Ashland Source Center on December 19, 2008 at 1:16pm
Thank you Ayala for posting your response. I admire Rabbi David for all he is doing to bring the community together and create peace, regardless of religious backround. As you noted, I am only passing on information for our network and mean no harm. It is good that we have this open conversation and a place to clear the energy.

Linda Cotrufello

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