When does criticism of Israel become anti-semitism?

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When does criticism of Israel become anti-semitism?
25th July 2014

With the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas showing few signs of abating, more protests against Israeli attacks on Gaza are expected in London this weekend.  

And with them fears of anti-Semitism in London rising.  

Criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitism

Hannah Weisfield, form pro-Israel and pro-peace organisation Yachad, said abuse and rhetoric towards Jews has spiralled to a place she has ‘never witnessed’.

But added the idea of being either pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian is unhelpful.

“We have to allay people’s fears of what is criticism of Israel stoops into anti-Semitic rhetoric.”


Should we be debating anti-Semitism when there is conflict in Gaza?

Ray Filar, writer and editor of Open Democracy, said labelling anti-Zionists as anti-Semitic is a tactic used to ‘derailing tactic’ to stop people criticising the actions of the Israeli government.

But added that more effort should be concentrated on finding a peace solution as opposed to debating anti-Semitism.


Glyn Seeker, who sits on the executive committee of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, agreed.

He said: “Focusing on anti-semitism is the wrong focus.”


Do the actions of Israel cause anti-Semitism?

Suggesting Israel’s actions explains why anti-Semitism is on the rise doesn’t justify why it’s on the rise, said Hannah.

She added conflating anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism and criticising Israel does not help further useful debate.


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