The Antisemitic Hasbara of Zionism

Highlighting the new forum article in MERIP featuring Neve Gordon, Lynne Segal, Kristian Davis Bailey and Olivia Katbi Smith where Kristian Davis Bailey, co-founder of Black for Palestine, says:

‘It has often been sufficient for Israel’s defenders to merely allege antisemitism in order to marginalize advocates for justice in Palestine. This tactic has worked by representing anti-Jewish racism, and the Nazi Holocaust, as exceptional—hence non-comparable—phenomena. In this way, discussions of antisemitism have been largely separated from other forms of genocide, state-sanctioned violence and bigotry.

As a result, wide gaps have emerged between discussions of anti-Jewish racism, pogroms and genocide and discussions of the African slave trade, European colonial genocides in Africa, the Americas and Australia, as well as the Palestinian Nakba (when Zionist forces expelled the majority of indigenous Palestinians from historic Palestine in 1948) and the violence undertaken during the US-declared “war on terror” since 2001. The injustices inflicted upon Jews have become separated from these other histories, even though they often were intertwined. The exceptionalism of Jewish suffering in turn leads to the justification of Israel’s state violence against Palestinians. From this premise, Palestinians become subject to the particular terms and dynamics of Jewish history, rather than having the agency to narrate their own history in the context of anti-racism and anti-colonialism. The Palestinian struggle becomes annexed and subordinate to Jewish history.

Nonetheless, as the global interconnectedness of racism and colonialism has gained mainstream acceptance among academics and activists, these separations have become harder to maintain. When House Democrats attempted to censure Rep. Omar for her alleged use of antisemitic tropes, for example, activists forced the political establishment to concede that antisemitism is not wholly unique or separate from white supremacy or anti-Muslim bigotry and were compelled to pass a general condemnation of antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry rather than a resolution specific to antisemitism.’

Leave a Reply