THE NEW DISCOURSE ON ANTI-SEMITISM « Desertpeace Those who criticize Israel or those who interrogate Zionism (the ism that gave birth to Israel) are often labeled “anti-Semitic” by the Zionist lobby. This lobby, a world-wide movement, is seen to be most influential in the United States where it vigorously defends the interests of Israel. To view Israel unsympathetically means vilification by this group: it avows political critique is something that threatens the existence of all Jews. Yet, ironically, some of the most ardent critics of Israel have been Jews – academics and political liberals who have not denigrated their Jewishness in any way because of their conscience. The truth is that the Jewish community (13, 3 million worldwide) is hardly a monolithic group that unquestioningly supports Israel’s policies. Studies by American academics, such as Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, have graphically – if not uncomfortably – pointed to this. In the multi-faceted Diaspora, it’s becoming evident – particularly since Gaza – that reservations have emerged about Zionist hasbara. This is the spin that suggests Israel is a country enjoying an exclusive right to be a victim, and that Israel can spurn international law because of this. Often depicted as the “Israeli David” versus the “Arab Goliath”, the scenario is met in the Arab street with the comeback that the reverse is true. Israel has the deterrent of nuclear power and the best-equipped military in the Middle East. The Palestinians don’t even have generals. The curse is that if a Jewish person breaks ranks with Israeli policy or Zionist ideology on humanitarian or political grounds, he or she becomes “self-loathing”. This is similar to Islamic extremism, which deems that I’m a hypocrite if I don’t subscribe to its edicts. edited for copyright compliance.