It Is Not Anti-Semitic to Criticize Israel Fairly

(Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash)

There is probably no nation on the planet more self-critical than Israel. There are left-wing organizations that criticize their nation's treatment of the Palestinians. There are right-wing organizations that criticize their nation's secularism and worldliness. As for Israeli politics, they make American politics look tame and civil.

Every day, Israeli newspapers level charges against one political party or another while Israeli intellectuals rail on one social evil or another.

Religious Jews condemn the non-religious for their lack of observance and non-religious Jews condemn the religious for their hypocrisy.

Welcome to life in Israel, where criticism of Israel happens virtually 24/7.

Quite obviously, then, it is ridiculous to brand all criticism of Israel as being anti-Semitic, even when it comes from outside the nation. Some of the criticism is fair, and all nations and peoples will be subject to criticism of one kind or another.

But when lies are circulated about Israel, that is anti-Semitic. When the nation as a whole is demonized or delegitimized, that is anti-Semitic. When Israel is held to a different standard than the rest of the world, that is anti-Semitic.

To expand this to the Jewish world as a whole, it is not anti-Semitic to say, "It seems that Jewish people have a disproportionate influence on the economy and the media."

But it is anti-Semitic to say, "Jews control the economy and the media."

One statement is fairly accurate and does not draw larger, false conclusions. The other is not accurate and does draw larger, false conclusions.

It is not anti-Semitic to say, "Liberal Jews are having a disproportionate influence on America's moral values, from the three Jewish Supreme Court judges to men like George Soros, and to leadership roles in organizations like the ACLU and SPLC."

It is anti-Semitic to say, "The sexual revolution was a Zionist conspiracy" or, "The Jews want to destroy America's Christian values."

Again, one statement is fairly accurate and does not draw larger, false conclusions. The others are not accurate and do draw larger, false conclusions.

Again, the problem is not fair criticism. The problem is when the Jewish people as a whole are demonized. The problem is when they are falsely caricatured and made into scapegoats. In short, the problem is with the idea that, "All the world's problems can be traced back to those evil Jews!"

The problem is with statements like, "Israel is a genocidal, apartheid state, no better than Nazi Germany."

That's when we cry, "Anti-Semitism?"

Earlier this year, when updating and revising my 1992 book, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the 'Church' and the Jewish People, I was struck to see how much anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head since the first edition was published.

Jews are now fleeing France and England because of increased attacks and outright Jew-hatred.

Jews in Germany have been warned against the danger of wearing a kippah (yarmulke) in public.

In many ways, things are far worse today in Europe than they were just two or three decades ago.

As for the world governing bodies, Israel-bashing continues to be the pattern of the United Nations and its various organizations, as the Jewish nation is singled out for unfair attack and criticism.

Just this May, "The annual assembly of the U.N.'s World Health Organization today voted 96 to 11 for a resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab bloc and the Palestinian delegation, that singled out Israel over 'Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.'"

Israel is always the guilty party.

Even within the evangelical church, demonizing of the Jewish people and Jewish nation is becoming more common, including dangerously outlandish charges like this: "Of all the diseased schools of racial supremacism, I am convinced that the Jewish specimen is the most evil and most threatening to the lives, bodies and eternal destinies of humankind .... Zionism has existed as a satanic ideological force in opposition to all things good and even to life itself for 3,000 years. ... Zionism and its accompanying religious disease, Judaism, are the champions of all time in terms of the total number of innocent men, women and children being imprisoned in concentration camps, beaten, bludgeoned, raped, robbed, humiliated and unmercifully slaughtered."

What's frightening is that quotes like this could be easily multiplied, and they spread like wildfire on the internet. And given today's fascination with conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism has found a powerful new expression: It's the Jews who are responsible for it all!

On a daily basis, I see similar comments posted on my YouTube channel, blaming "the Jews" or "Israel" for all the evils in the world. (Ironically, the same critics frequently intersperse another anti-Semitic libel; namely, that today's Jews are not really Jews! I document this in the new edition of my book as well.)

The critics also falsely allege that any criticism of the Jewish people is anti-Semitic. They also claim that, it's OK to say positive things about "the Jews" but if you say anything negative about "the Jews" you are automatically branded anti-Semitic.

This too is patently false. But when it comes to anti-Semitism, which continues to exist by peddling falsehoods and exaggerations and lies, truth has never mattered that much.

Nonetheless, for those who might actually be interested in facts, I'll say it once more. It is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel and the Jewish people fairly. It is anti-Semitic to defame, demonize and delegitimize the Jewish people and Jewish state.

Is that clear enough?

Dr. Michael Brown ( is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.

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