WUJS- Antisemitism,(Anti-Semitism), Anti-Zionism, and Israel
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(editor's note - different people have tried to change the unfortunate word "Anti-Semitism." Unfortunately, Anti-Semitism is still the most widely accepted spelling, and if we want people to see these pages in search engines, we need to use it.)
For those defending Israel in the Diaspora, a major concern is that legitimate criticism of Israeli policies can either lead to, or be motivated by, Antisemitism. Anti-Jewish sentiment, and particularly action, must be understood, exposed, and vigorously defended against by all Jewish students.
Antisemitism (Anti-Semitism), is an ideology of being opposed in certain ways to Jewish people qua Jews. Not everybody who dislikes certain Jews is an Antisemite (or Anti-Semite); an Antisemite is anybody who dislikes Jews simply because they are Jews.
As is all too well known, Antisemitism has had many tragic effects throughout history. The most extreme manifestation of Antisemitism was the Holocaust, but the Crusades, numerous pogroms, and discriminatory policies in most countries have also led to enormous Jewish suffering.
Since the Holocaust, the nature and extent of Antisemitism has changed. In the light of serious examinations of their roles in genocide, many European societies, the Catholic and some European churches, and the academic community, issued declarations, passed laws, and created new norms about the treatment of the Jews. Notably, the Catholic Church renounced its belief that the Jews had been rejected and accursed by God.
Jewish communities around the world have been surprised by a rise in Antisemitic (Anti-Semitic) incidents since the start of the second intifada. This has led to an increased need to defend against Antisemitism; at the same time, much Antisemitism has been tied to anti-Israel sentiment, which in turn has led Jewish students to increasingly defend Israel whilst denouncing the outpouring of violent Antisemitic sentiment on Diaspora Jews as racist.
The extent to which Israel has come under attack since the rise of Palestinian violence in September 2000 has been deeply worrying. While dozens of countries are involved in conflicts, suffer from terrorism, and have been forced to use the military to maintain order, Israel consistently leads the news and is at the centre of public debate. It is possible to explain some of this interest by considering the importance of Middle East stability to oil prices, Israel’s location at a civilizational fault line between Islam and the West, and the importance of Israel to the three great monotheistic religions – yet, a suspicion remains that Israel is still uniquely interesting for reasons that focus on her Jewish character. Unfortunately many Christians continue to hold to a replacement theology that posits Jews as rejecters of Jesus, and the Jewish role in Israel as illegitimate following their forfeiting of any divine rights to this land. Myths persist, particularly on the left, about Jewish power, and the Jewish role in capitalism (which has been significant, but not unique), and these lead to resentment. Apparent Jewish manifestations of power rankle both Antisemites on the left, and Christian Antisemites who believe that Jews have rejected their messiah.
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NoticeHandbook text is copyright by The World Union of Jewish Students ( http://www.wujs.org.il ). Excerpts have been adapted and are reproduced here by permission. Additional text copyright by Ami Isseroff 2006.
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