Why has there been a rise in antisemitic incidents? ?
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See also: Anti-Semitism
See also: Is all criticism of Israel anti-Semitism?
The campaign to delegitimize Israel has led to a sharp increase in anti-Israel and antisemitic attacks worldwide. Increasingly, the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitic attacks on Jewish targets has been blurred.
Since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, Israel has been subjected to a worldwide campaign of delegitimization. It has been attacked in the media and international forums, vilified by political leaders and intellectuals. It has had its very right to exist questioned, as has its basic duty to defend its citizens. Extremists on the left and the right have joined together in their hatred of the Jewish State.
These attacks go beyond justifiable criticism, which Israel, as a vibrant democracy, considers part of the legitimate discourse of states. However, it is not legitimate to censure Israel in a grossly disproportionate way, single it out and hold it up to impossible standards not demanded of any other state. Nor is it legitimate to demonize Israel or attempt to delegitimize its very existence.
The reasons behind this growing phenomenon are many. It is closely connected to the ability of the Palestinians to market their image as one of powerless victims. They have used this perception to play on the sentiments of those who advocate human rights (while the Palestinian leadership and terrorists violate the most basic human rights of innocent Israeli victims of terror and of their own people).
Bias in the media has also been an important contributing factor to the delegitimization of Israel. It is not surprising that populations in the West, who generally trust their media, are influenced when exposed to largely one-sided depictions of the conflict.
Other condemnation is more ideologically based, often advanced by those who are willing to ignore all transgressions of totalitarian regimes, no matter how egregious, yet criticize any defensive steps taken by democratic states.
Traditional antisemitic attitudes, often cloaked as anti-Zionist positions, have also played a role.
Given that there are those who are unable, or unwilling to differentiate between the Jewish state and Jewish communities abroad, these attacks on Israel's legitimacy have been accompanied by physical attacks on Jewish targets the world over, including in Europe. Antisemitic incidents have included bombings of synagogues and Jewish schools, vandalism and desecration of Jewish cemeteries, death threats and violence against Jews, and unprovoked assaults up to and including murder. These hate crimes directed against Jewish individuals and community institutions are often disguised as "anti-Zionist" actions.
The situation in the Middle East is even worse. Virulent anti-Israeli rhetoric was commonplace, but it has intensified since the start of the violence in 2000. Antisemitic and anti-Israeli myths, often perpetuated by governments with their own agendas, are readily believed by large percentages of the region's population. The relentless flow of outrageous and unfounded accusations emanating from Palestinian spokespersons has greatly contributed to the growing wave of antisemitism. One of the consequences has been an increase in the attacks on Jewish targets in the Arab world, leading to loss of life such as during the April 2002 terror attack on the ancient synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia.
Israel is gravely concerned by the recent significant rise in antisemitism that targets Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere. This growing phenomenon should arouse the deep concern of all civilized peoples. Israel calls on the governments of countries where the scourge of antisemitism is spreading to take all measures necessary to ensure the security of Jewish communities - and to bring the perpetrators of these deplorable attacks to justice. Antisemitic incitement - whether by individuals, organizations or even the leaders of certain countries - should be strongly condemned at every opportunity.
These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.
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