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October 05, 2002

Anti-Semitism now couched in Israel bashing

A few months ago at San Francisco State University, Jewish students, holding a peace rally, were attacked by an angry mob of Palestinians. Many of the Jewish students were wearing yellow T-shirts embossed with the words ''Peace, Shalom, Sallam.'' The Palestinians threatened and taunted the Jewish students shouting, ''Get out or we'll kill you'' and ``Hitler did not finish the job.''

Professor Laurie Zoloth, Director of the Jewish Studies Department and the Director of Hillel were the only faculty members to come to aid the Jewish students.

Zoloth said, ``Not one administrator came to stand with us. I knew if a crowd of Palestinians or black students had been there, surrounded by a crowd of white racists screaming racist threats shielded by police, the faculty and staff would have no trouble deciding which side to stand on.''

What happened at San Francisco State is not an isolated incident. Jews on campuses all over this country are frightened to express pro-Israel views. What is happening on American campuses is part of a worldwide campaign to criminalize and isolate Israel. However, this anti-Israel campaign has deeper and more sinister implications for the Jewish people as a whole. It is a new and virulent form of anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism is now acceptable in Europe, as long as it is couched in anti-Israel rhetoric. The day after the deadly Palestinian attack at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, The Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper, published an editorial criticizing Israel for what it called ''random, vengeful acts of terror'' against Palestinians in the West Bank town of Jenin last spring. This after a U.N. report had dismissed Palestinian claims that the Israelis had carried out a massacre there.

Anti-Semitism after World War II was driven underground of the European subconscious. But it has resurfaced in the form of anti-Zionism.

European intellectuals who have not come to terms with anti-Semitic feelings pour their anti-Jewish venom into anti-Israel diatribes. Responsibility for the growing number of attacks on synagogues and Jewish institutions all over Europe can be traced to the anti-Israel hysteria in academic and media circles.

The link between anti-Israel rhetoric and anti-Semitism was made abundantly clear at the UN sponsored conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, where Israeli delegates were denied credentials and participation on key committees. Israelis and also Americans representing Jewish organizations were denied participation on the basis that they could not be objective about Israeli policies. Syrian, Palestinian and Saudi representatives, however, were considered objective and allowed to participate.

Jews were harassed, insulted and even threatened with physical harm throughout the conference. A resolution calling Holocaust denial a form of anti-Semitism, was overwhelmingly voted down.

The time has come to confront the anti-Israel anti-Semitism in American academia. The time has come to hold European intellectuals responsible for creating an atmosphere in which people are frightened to be identified as Jews in the streets of Paris, Oslo and Frankfurt. The time has come to root out anti-Semitism in the UN. Anti-Semitism is nothing new. What is new, however, are anti-Semites who hide behind the veil of anti-Zionism. The time has come to unmask these artful dodgers and reveal them for the anti-Semites they are.


Temple Beth El
Hollywood [Florida]

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