I’m not going to wade into the minutiae of Leon Wieseltier’s article at The New Republic as to whether Andrew Sullivan is anti-Semitic because of Sullivan’s anti-Israel tirades.
I agree with James Joyner that the terms “anti-Semitic” along with “racist” and “homophobe” are so overused as to have lost much meaning. Indeed, I have devoted my Saturday Night Card Game series to the use of the race card for political gain; I am never at a loss for material.
Regardless of whether a particular person properly is labelled an “anti-Semite,” there is a core truth in Wieseltier’s article regarding the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in the modern era.
Being anti-Israel doesn’t necessarily make one anti-Semitic, but the toxic brew of virulently anti-Israel leftists, Islamists and academics has blurred the line.
The singling out of Israel for unique levels of scorn and scrutiny, the attempts to boycott Israelis because they are Israelis, and the accusations of “war crimes” applied to difficult decisions of self-defense, all are part of a strategy which results in acts of hatred and violence against Jews.
It is not surprising that “pro-Palestinian” protesters in London, in attempting to prevent Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon from speaking, shouted “kill the Jews.”
Violence perpetrated against Jews for being Jewish most often is perpetrated by those who invoke “pro-Palestinian” justifications, whether it is Osama bin-Laden or some thug on the street in Paris.
None of this is new, of course. The “Zionism is Racism” mantra never really went away even after the U.N. revoked that odious resolution. Applying terms such as “apartheid” and other descriptors to Jewish national identity, which takes place from Jimmy Carter on down, is a reflection of this sentiment.
Being anti-Israel doesn’t necessarily make one anti-Semitic, but it helps make the case.
And at a minimum, charting a course of virulent and unrestrained criticism of Israel in ways reserved exclusively for Israel, gives aid and comfort to anti-Semites.