The anti-Semitism of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

July 2, 2023 • 9:30 am

There are three vociferous American organizations that I consider anti-Semitic: Students for Justice in Palestine (very active on campuses), the grossly misnamed Jewish Voice for Peace , and, perhaps most important, the Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR). Today’s post is about CAIR, as a long publication has just come out detailing the history of the organization and the many anti-Semitic statements of its members and leaders.

One touchstone of anti-Semitism for me and many others is whether a group or a person supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which aims to squeeze Israel though the three actions given in its name.  The mantra of BDS, which was founded to expunge Israel and has a long history of anti-Semitic acts, is this oft-heard phrase, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Of course that means that Israel is supposed to become part of Palestine, so this is an explicit call for the end of the Israeli state.  As the big document below states:

Opponents consider the BDS movement antisemitic because it singles out the world’s only Jewish state for treatment not imposed on other states with much worse human rights records, and because it is reminiscent of the Nazis’ economic warfare against Jewish-owned companies.

Another touchstone of anti-Semitism is whether people say, “We’re not anti-Semitic, we’re anti-Zionists.” (Sometimes these people slip up and mistakenly say “Jews” for “Zionists”, showing where their sentiments really lie.)  But Zionism is simply the view that the Jews, as a persecuted people, deserved to have their own Jewish homeland. (And guess what: the UN approved it, and it’s already here.) If you don’t think that, then you don’t think Israel should exist, despite the fact that there are religious states throughout the world that aren’t criticized for being religiously based, and, more important, Israel is really run in a largely secular fashion, with Israeli Arabs not only having all the rights of Israeli Jews, but also having representation in Parliament and the courts. If you want to read why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, you can find information is here, here here, and here.

The third touchstone for being anti-Semitic is if you call Israel an “apartheid state”.  This is so misguided as to be pure fabrication. In my view, you have to be delusional to say that, especially because many Arab states and territories, like the Palestinian Territories themselves, are far, far, more “segregated” than is Israel. Try living as a Jew in Gaza, not to mention a women, a gay, or an atheist! As the document below states:

“Apartheid” was the official policy in South Africa from 1948-1994. Under that system, blacks were barred from voting and holding political office; relegated to inferior neighborhoods and schools; and prevented from using the same public accommodations as whites. But none of this applies to Israeli Arabs, who have the right to vote and enjoy representation in the Knesset. They own property and businesses and work in professions alongside Israeli Jews. [None of that, of course, applies to Jews in Palestine.]

Additionally, calling Israel an “apartheid” state qualifies as antisemitic speech under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitismm which the State Department embraced in 2016. The working definition encompasses modern anti-Israel sentiment that “crosses the line into antisemitism” to include “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.


All three of the organizations above meet all three criteria.  And it’s not just the organizations: many “progressives” in Congress, particularly the Democratic House “squad”, embrace at least one of these views.  Here’s a quote from the document investigating CAIR:

In July 2019, the U.S. House voted 398-17 approving a resolution condemning BDS for “encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure.” It cited Barghouti’s statement that, “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” [Omar Barghouti is a co-founder of BDS and rejects a two-state solution as he wants only one state: Palestine—with Israelis who will of course all be killed.]

Who were the 17 who voted against the resolution? You can see the rollcall here, with the “nay” votes including, of course, Pramila Jayapal, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  In fact, of the 17 “nay” votes, 16 were by Democrats and only one by a Republican. Democrats are my party, yet they’re increasingly anti-Semitic, as was Labour in the UK.

At any rate, back to CAIR, which is the most important such organization because it has more money, more influence, and has gulled Americans into thinking that it’s really against anti-Semitism (though it also favors anti-Zionism). CAIR started as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared by several countries (but not the US) as a terrorist organization. Hamas, which has been declared a terrorist organization in several western countries, including the US and UK, is also an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and CAIR was reported by the FBI in 2008 to have links to Hamas. (I don’t know, nor does anybody except CAIR officials, whether they still have political or financial links to Hamas.)

Curiously, now that the Biden administration has convened an initiative to develop a National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, it’s not only completely avoiding the issue of anti-Zionism and its connection to anti-Semitism, but, according to the Jewish News Syndicate article below (and other sources), has even brought CAIR in as a partner in this strategy! The article below reports on the temporally long investigation of CAIR that you can read further down (the black document with colored letters), though it’s 113 pages long (I’ve read it). Click to read the JNS piece:

A quote from the article above:

Steve Emerson, founder and executive director of the project (IPT), told JNS that he will release the report, titled “CAIR’s Antisemitism Unmasked,” on June 16. It took two years to assemble the report, which JNS reviewed.

“CAIR was created as a Hamas front group and still functions as a propaganda arm of Hamas to this day,” Emerson told JNS. “Antisemitism is in the DNA of CAIR. It is part of CAIR’s intrinsic fiber.”

CAIR has been in the news of late, following the revelation that the White House brought the group in as a partner on its national strategy on combating antisemitism.

That move, history professor Gil Troy, recently told JNS, is like recruiting “male chauvinists for the next women’s rights initiative,” or inviting “some butchers to National Vegetarian Day.”

Emerson told JNS that CAIR’s participation in the White House antisemitism strategy is “one of the greatest deceptions in national security in modern times.”

But don’t take my or Emerson’s word for it: you can read the document below by clicking on it, or download the pdf here.  Warning: it’s LONG! But it has pictures and boxes of quotes, too!

I’m not going to regurgitate it for you, for even skimming it you can see the whole history of CAIR’s founding and its present pro-BDS, anti-Zionism and “Israel-is-an-apartheid-state” stands. Its leaders regularly call for the destruction of Israel, a one-state solution (i.e., Palestine), and sometimes deny the Holocaust. Here’s one quote (there are endnotes but I’ve eliminated the numbers for clarity):

While criticizing the Israeli government or its policies is, by itself, not antisemitic, insinuations that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States fall within the parameters of the IHRA definition. So does “demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews…or the power of Jews as a collective” and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

CAIR and its leaders cross these lines repeatedly. They falsely smear Israel as an apartheid state, call for a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea,”thus wiping Israel off the map, and have called the Jewish state and its supporters “Zionazis.” CAIR officials also equate Israel to ISISand the Taliban.

In November 2021, CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awadmade clear he does not believe Israel should exist, when he called its most populous city, Tel Aviv, “occupied” and prayed “it will be free later.”At the same conference, CAIR’s San Francisco chapter leader Zahra Billoocalled on American Muslims to reject overtures from “polite Zionists,” even on issues on which they might work together, and warned that any groups supporting Zionism “are not your friends.”

After Billoo’s remarks drew strong condemnation, CAIR rushed to her defense painting her as a victim of an “online smear campaign.” The Islamist organization further portrayed the criticism as “false allegations of anti-Semitism in a cynical attempt to silence American Muslims who speak up for Palestinian human rights.”

All the quotes and factual assertions in the long piece are documented, so you can check for yourself.

Finally, in 2016, the U.S., along with 30 other countries adopted a working definition of anti-semitism for government use. Here are some of the signs of anti-Semitism given in that definition:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Three years later, a bill was introduced in Congress, The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019. Its intent was to settle on a definition of anti-Semitism for use in federal antidiscrimination laws.  It’s still hovering around but hasn’t come to a vote, probably because extreme left Democrats don’t like it, nor does CAIR (see below). Its instantiations of anti-Semitism are pretty much the same as above, it includes the 2016 stipulations:

For purposes of this Act, the term “definition of anti-Semitism”—

If you read the investigation of CAIR above, you’ll find that nearly every one of these examples can be applied to CAIR.  By the definition adopted by the U.S. government, then, CAIR is an anti-Semitic organization. But the Biden administration apparently doesn’t think so. Instead, it puts CAIR representatives on its new anti-Semitic initiative. How dumb can you get? Increasingly, Biden is aligning with the extreme Left “progressive” members of his party.

CAIR, which knows which side its bread is buttered on, doesn’t like this bill at all. From the big document above:

My response to Awad’s statement is “yes, it is anti-Semitic.”  And I am a free speech maven: I have no First Amendment objections to anybody denying the Holocaust or even saying “gas the Jews” (so long as there are not Jews, anti-Semites, and a gas chamber at hand!).  But if you’re going to make laws and rules to protect groups from discrimination, you have to have a definition of what discrimination constitutes. Remember, harassment in the workplace is not protected by the First Amendment, and there are laws stipulating what “hate crimes” constitute.

Why am I writing this? To let you know that CAIR, along with JVP and SJP, are anti-Semitic wolves in sheep’s clothing. Whenever I hear the “From the river to the sea” mantra from one of these groups (and the latter two appear on campus regularly), I get shivers down my spine. Just realize that they are only pretending to be against anti-Semitism, for if they had their way, every Jew would be kicked out of Israel (or worse) and the state itself would be eliminated.

In my view, these organizations are promoting anti-Semitic statements without getting called out for it—as they’ve intimidated their opponents by the threat of calling them Islamophobes.

36 thoughts on “The anti-Semitism of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

  1. When some call Israel an apartheid state, they are not referring to discrimination of Muslims within Israel itself, but of the military and political control of Gaza and the West Bank without the population there having consented to or elected that situation (blockade of Gaza?) and having no political rights (by which they mean representation, equal treatment on building permits, water rights, warrantless searches, freedom of movement on the same basis as Jewish settlers in these same areas). Putting aside the inflammatory term “apartheid”, these criticisms seem factually supported and fair. And, sure, yes, many Arab countries have dismal human rights records. That doesn’t invalidate this criticism of Israel or that a criticism of an Arab country is required to accompany every criticism of Israel.

    1. 2005 Israel removed all Jews from Gaza (ethnic cleansing done on the demand of Palestinian Authority). Since 2007 the Gaza Strip is under the rule of a terrorist organization which states that its goal is to annihilate Israel and which conducts terrorist attacks (including rocket fire on the civilian population of Israel). The blockade (approved as legal by the UN) is only on weapons and on articles of dual use (which could serve both civilian and military purposes). Gazans are allowed into Israel for medical treatment and for work. Gazans, since they’re not Israeli citizens, are not allowed to vote in Israeli elections. They can vote in Gaza elections and did it once, when they voted Hamas into power. Hamas never conducted any other elections.

      Judea and Samaria (renamed West Bank by the Jordanian occupier in 1950) is divided in three areas: A, B and C according to an agreement (the Oslo Accords) signed by both Israel and the PLO. A and B are under rule by the Palestinian Authority (and encompass some 95% of the Palestinian Arab population), while Area C is under Israeli administration and there are under 300,000 of Palestinian Arabs. In Areas A and B there is not one Jew and in case a Palestinian State ever comes into being, there will be no Jews, something that Mahmoud Abbas stated publicly.  The voting situation there is like that in Gaza: they are not Israeli citizens and they can vote in Palestinian elections but not Israeli elections. It’s not Israel’s fault that when Abbas was elected for a four-years term and then there was no subsequent election—he is still in office 19 years later.  

      1. I would be interested in what Malgorzata and Jerry think about this take:
        John Mearsheimer: The future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the new Afrikaners 2012
        in: Antony Loewenstein and Ahmed Moor (eds.): After Zionism: One state for Israel and Palestine. London, Saqi Books, 2012, 135-153

        John Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.

        1. It could be a very long comment, with many examples from history of attitudes (and deeds) of both Christian and Muslim worlds towards Jews. But I think it’s enough to give Lebanon as an example. The “one-state solution” seems realistic only to people who naively think that a lamb can lie with a lion and survive to the next day.

        2. I just scanned it; I get ten readers a day asking me to read longish stuff and comment on it, and I can’t read it all. However, before I read Malgorzata’s comment above, I was going to post this response, which is a joke:

          A man visits a zoo and is taken to the lion’s cage. He witnesses there the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy – a lion and a calf
          in a cage together.

          Amazed, he calls over an attendant. “How long have you had a lion and a calf in a cage together?”

          “Over a year already.”

          “How do you do it?”

          “It’s easy. Every morning we put in a new calf.”

    2. You also seem to be forgetting that the Palestinians turned down at least four chances to have their own state, which they could run if they want. You seem to have forgotten that the goal of many Palestinians, whose state teaches its kids to hate Jews and Israel, is to take over Israel and make it part of Palestine.

      And I note with interest that you say “some” call Israel an apartheid state. What proportion mean the same thing you do? Read the big article and see how many members of CAIR say that Arabs IN ISRAEL (i.e., citizens) are “second class citizens.”

      1. They didn’t turn down the opportunity because they didn’t want self-governance, they turned it down because they thought the terms of the agreement were bad. And of course it was the leaders that turned it down, there wasn’t any kind of general referendum. The fact that “many Palestinians” have such hostile goals (and it’s a minority, polls show most Palestinians favor either a two-state solution or a secular bi-national state) cannot be a moral justification for subjecting all Palestinians in the occupied territories to a lifetime of being governed by a system that gives them no political representation and which severely curtails basic human rights like the right to a fair trial or rights of political speech. If Israel leaders feel there is no possibility of negotiating with the Palestinians for a two-state solution, they always have the option of unilaterally pulling out of the occupied territories and handing the reigns of government to existing Palestinian bodies that currently have limited governing authority (unilateral withdrawal was suggested by Ehud Barak for example).

        As a thought-experiment, if you found yourself in a parallel universe where the situation were basically reversed, with a large Jewish population in occupied territories controlled by an Islamic government that gave them no vote and regularly subjected them to the kind of treatment Palestinians in Gaza get in the real world, would you still be just as adamant that anyone calling for sanctions or referring to this as “apartheid” was motivated by bigotry, in this case towards Muslims?

        1. According to a poll in June 2023, 72% of Palestinians support armed struggle with Israel. Similar results were shown by many previous polls. So it seems you are misinformed.

          Both Ehud Olmertt and Ehud Barak peace proposal encompassed almost 100%of Judea and Samaria (renamed by Jordanian occupation in 1950 “West Bank”) plus 100% of Gaza Strip for a Palestinian State. However, in Arabic, all Palestinian leaders have been saying that nothing less than the whole territory “from the River to the See” will satisfy them.

          Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza – we all know the result: rockets instead of peace.

          If the situation were reverse and a huge Jewish population surrounded a tiny Arab state, attacking it in three wars of extermination and countless terror attacks, Arabs would have every right to defend their state and their citizens.

          1. “According to a poll in June 2023, 72% of Palestinians support armed struggle with Israel. Similar results were shown by many previous polls. So it seems you are misinformed.”

            Why should support for armed struggle and support for a two-state or binational state be mutually exclusive? People can believe violence is necessary to force the other side to make the kind of concessions needed for an agreement seen as fair–do you think supporters of the Irish Republican Army wanted Ireland to conquer England?

            Anyway I looked it up to check my memory, the December 2022 poll at says on p. 7 that 33% of Palestinians surveyed supported a two-state solution and 23% supported a bin-national democratic state with equal rights for all, while 27% supported a Palestinian-dominated undemocratic state, the rest presumably supported none of these (they say ‘each respondent was asked each question separately’ which I think means that they could choose to support multiple options, p. 7-8 mentions a different polling method which is said to have eliminated ‘overlap’, in this case 47% chose ‘other/don’t know’ while 33% chose a two-state solution, 8% chose a democratic equal state, 12% chose an undemocratic unequal state). They also note that there were substantial differences between this and an earlier poll in September 2020, which had 43% for a two-state solution, 27% for a democratic equal state, and 36% for an undemocratic unequal state.

            ‘If the situation were reverse and a huge Jewish population surrounded a tiny Arab state, attacking it in three wars of extermination and countless terror attacks, Arabs would have every right to defend their state and their citizens.’

            So you believe in some sort of collective responsibility where the people in the occupied territories (Palestinians in our world, Jews in the hypothetical alternate world) deserve their treatment even if most had nothing personally to do with attacks on the occupying state themselves, but share the same ethnic/religious identity with the people of the states that conducted the attacks?

          2. 33% is not “most of the Palestinians”. Those who support one state mean “one Palestinian state” and they say it openly in Arabic. The addition of “democratic” is for the Western consumption.

            There is no “collective punishment” of Palestinians, neither in Gaza nor in Judea and Samaria. None of citizens of Palestinian Authority nor citizens of Hamastan are Israeli citizens. Of course, they cannot vote in the Israeli elections. They could vote in Palestinian elections if there were any. In the territories under the rule of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority all building permits and any curtailing of their civil rights is in the hands of their Palestinian rulers. Israel is targeting only terrorists but, of course, sometimes, when terrorists hide among the civilian population, there are civilian victims.

          3. ‘33% is not “most of the Palestinians”.’

            The statement of mine you were initially responding to didn’t say most Palestinians support a two-state solution, it said “most Palestinians favor either a two-state solution or a secular bi-national state”. According to the poll under the first methodology (which allowed for selecting more than one option), 56% supported at least one of those two options, compared to 27% who supported an undemocratic single state that favored Palestinians (and presumably the remaining 17% didn’t like any of these three options).

            ‘ The addition of “democratic” is for the Western consumption.’

            A seemingly ad hoc hypothesis given that there was more support in the poll for a non-democratic single state than a democratic single state. What is your evidence? Do you think Palestinian opponents of a two-state solution must be some kind of hive mind that all think alike, so if some openly support an undemocratic Islamic state than everyone else who supports a single state must secretly agree even when they say something different in anonymous polls?

            ‘There is no “collective punishment” of Palestinians, neither in Gaza nor in Judea and Samaria.’

            But you earlier tried to justify the very negative aspects of life in the Palestinian territories due to Israeli control (lack of any vote in the government that controls where you live, lack of rights such as fair trials and freedom of expression, economic deprivation due to heavy limits on trade etc.) in terms of the idea the population being occupied shared the same ethnicity/religion with others who had harmed Israel by “attacking it in three wars of extermination and countless terror attacks”. Aren’t you therefore saying that Palestinians in the occupied territories who are individually blameless are somehow “deserving” of this treatment because of this history of what other Islamic states and terrorists have done?

          4. Since you’re asking people what they believe, do you think that armed struggle by the Palestinian, which includes killing innocent civilians and other forms of terrorism, is necessary to get what they want and also okay to practice?

          5. I was specifically asking what *you* would say about that thought-experiment of the alternate history, which you didn’t answer. But to answer your question–I don’t think targeting civilians is morally justifiable, and I pretty strongly doubt it’s strategically necessary for achieving goals as compared with other strategies. But I’m much less confident that violent tactics that don’t target civilians are universally ineffective strategically (a hypothetical IRA that avoided all attacks on civilians but still attacked army/police/property most likely could have achieved the same goals in Ireland, but it doesn’t seem so obvious the IRA would have been just as likely to succeed if they avoided violence altogether–I’m open to updating my opinions on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of these tactics based on historical evidence of course). And I see the morality of non-civilian attacks by guerrilla groups as not really any different than the morality of warfare between states, it depends a lot on the end goals and the likelihood the tactics will help to actually achieve them.

          6. I answered your tiresome question in the way I wanted to, you just missed it. As for the rest of your palaver, it’s irrelevant to the discussion about whether CAIR is anti-Semitic, a discussion you seem to have wanted to derail.

            You answered one of my questions, though: the Palestinian terrorism is not morally justifiable.

            We’re done here.

          7. @ Jesse M
            1). Collective responsibility: yes, that’s how states operate in inter-state conflict. The Allies had no way to excuse ordinary Germans and Japanese from being made victims of the conflict—aerial bombing particularly—just because the states they lived in didn’t give them democratic rights to modify the war aims of the Nazi German and Japanese militarist states. So if Israel needs to make war on Hamas, the Palestinians who want only peaceful co-existence don’t get a free pass just because they say so in opinion polls. If Hamas makes a sincere credible peace offer, that would be the best thing they could do for their subjects. That’s just the way states are. Few questions are settled by referendum even in democracies.

            2). Targeting civilians in your IRA example further down: You overlook that guerrilla campaigns have to target civilians. The tactical reason is that guerrilla units will take unsustainable casualties if they attack only the other side’s trained and prepared military forces. For successful recruitment and force preservation most of their attacks have to be against people who can’t shoot back, or who never saw it coming. The strategic reason is that a civilian populace always on edge (terrorized) as to when the next nightclub will be blown up becomes dysfunctional and may be panicked into giving the insurgents what they want, even if actual deaths are modest. Doesn’t always work but that’s the strategy.

            If you are going to mount an insurgency against an agile, militarily effective state, eventually you have to resort to attacks on civilians, hoping they’ll crack first. That’s the moral cost of rebellion.

          8. Stop the bullshit with “a secular bi-national state” to up your number of Palestinians who want a peaceful coexistence with Jews. They know Palestinians would outnumber Jews by 5-1. And they know what happens once they have a “secular bi-national state” where they outnumber Jews 5-1. YOU know what happens. If Palestinians are so happy to live with Jews, why are Jews not allowed to live in Palestinian territories? Oh, perhaps you’ll blame the PLA and Hamas. Sorry, who voted in those groups? The Palestinian people, yes? And who keeps them in power?

            Your attempts at trickery, in this and many other matters in which you state outright falsehoods (and, when called out on them, gish gallop to a dozen more) are not convincing.

        2. But Jesse, it is NOT Israel who is denying Palestinians the right to vote. Israel does not “curtail their rights” and it is NOT Israel which subjects them to ” a lifetime of being governed by a system that gives them no political representation and which severely curtails basic human rights like the right to a fair trial or rights of political speech.”

          That is Hamas, Jesse. It is Hamas that is doing that to them. Goodness, aren’t your eyes open?

    3. “Putting aside the inflammatory term “apartheid”, these criticisms seem factually supported and fair.”

      I disagree. There is no military or political control of Gaza or the West Bank by Israel. The Palestinians in these areas, who are not Israeli citizens, voted to have their own self-determination via the Oslo Accords. Unfortunately for them, they are represented by terrorist organizations which promote and conduct terrorists acts, acts which Israel has the right to protect themselves from under International law. This includes the right to have a military weapons blockade for shipping into Gaza, and the right to conduct temporary military operations against terrorists in the West Bank.

    4. What will happen if Israel leaves the West Bank? Will the people living there agree to accept Israel’s right to exist, or will they use the land as a base for attacks on Israel? If you think the former is more likely, I want to know what you are on. If you agree that the area will be used against Israel, do you know any other country expected to accept an actively hostile entity close (sometimes less than a mile) to its main cities and strategic assets?

  2. Thanks for analyzing this stuff. Really, I grew up thinking anti-Semitism died after WWII, but no. So it is something one must grapple with, like it or not.

    And that definition is excellent in emphasizing particular, distinguishing points that are easily left out : e.g. no other state, but Israel.

  3. Information about the origin of antisemitic memes on the contemporary pop-Left is at: The article notes that ” Many of the core tropes that animate the anti-Zionist left today are carbon copies of ideas that the KGB and the Department of Propaganda’s ideologues developed, weaponized, and popularized with particular intensity in the wake of the Six-Day War” and provides examples in detail.

  4. Jerry Coyne says that Zionism is simply the view that Jews, a persecuted people,deserved to have their own Jewish homeland. It’s not quite so simple. Did having a Jewish homeland mean a Jewish state? Zionists were politically split on that matter. Some Zionists wanted there to be such a state, and they won. Other Zionists were just as much Zionists, but they ultimately lost. The history of Zionism is complicated, and includes opposition to statist Zionism, going back to Mandatory Palestine and continuing into the years after the Biltmore Conference, with the political party Ihud, and non-statist Zionists like Judah Magnes. So there is disagreement within the history of Zionism about whether a Jewish nation was the appropriate expression of Zionism, and that disagreement underlies some contemporary discussion of whether there ultimately should be a binational state.

    1. Umm. . . . you needn’t give my full name if you’re addressing a comment on a post on my own site. That aside, I’m talking about what Zionism means TODAY, not years ago. I thought that was clear from my post. I’m perfectly aware about the split in the movement in the old.

    2. It’s convenient that you start your history with the Mandate of Palestine, a British imperialist venture. It’s convenient because, for nearly all the history of the region, today’s Israel (and significantly more land around it) was the homeland of the Jews. It’s funny how Western people are constantly tripping over themselves to acknowledge the people from whom they stole their own lands, but when it comes to Israel, nobody ever bothers asking, “gee, weren’t the Jews there two millennia ago, conquered and occupied over and over and over again throughout history by imperialist/colonialist empires from the West to the East, from Christian to Muslim?

  5. Thanks for the link to that excellent article, which deserves to be widely read. The cartoons it shows are truly disgusting, and the analysis compelling.

  6. 30 years ago studying Middle East politics at Georgetown U.’s graduate School of Foreign Service I remember CAIR very, very well. They were ratbag racists even then. There’s a lot of it about. They’ve managed to hoodwink every administration and the media since then that they’re decent on the level people.
    I’ve no idea how they get away with it.

    Also see the recent book by David Bernstein, woke anti-semitism. He’s interviewed here:


  7. Part of the problem is context. The world, and PARTICULARLY the media in the west judges Israel by west European or American standards. Which it STILL PASSES!

    Now. Were they to look upon it as a Middle Eastern country (25% of Jews are Mizrahi Jews, remember, before we even count the citizen and other Arabs) a different picture emerges.

    Compare life in Israel FOR PALESTINIANS of all stripes to life – by all metrics – to ANY Arab (and nearly all Muslim) countries – there is no comparison.

    With a Ralsean (sp?) veil of ignorance after the lottery winning petro states of the gulf excepted – perhaps – to be born anywhere in greater Israel is – again by all metrics – an order of magnitude better, freer and richer than all the others.

    I’ve not been to Israel myself though I’ve been to nearly a dozen Arab/Muslim countries, including quite a while in Lebanon. As well as having my first degree in it, writing about it for publications here, the middle east is somewhere I know quite well. I speak (bad) Arabic. The ignorance of the west (and the young in particular) is amazing to me.
    And the woke antisemitism just BLOWS MY MIND!

  8. I find this whole string disturbing. It seems to me the fundamental problem is tribalism. We all agree that evolution has forged us, including human nature, and that tribalism is a fundamental component of our nature, so how are you all so easily falling into this trap? It’s not which tribe is right, it’s the failure to see tribalism as the problem. And the bigger problem is our failure to identify with all of life, not just human life. Of course that assumes free will (which I doggedly defend, though weakly). The original poster does not accept free will, so why do they even get upset in the first place? It’s just the pre-determined course of action due to physical laws and initial conditions. I suppose the defense is that he had no choice in the matter.

  9. Because Israel exists as a state, with Zionism as its founding principle, anti-Zionism necessarily means the dismantling of the state of Israel. Note how different this argument is from anti-apartheid efforts in South Africa. (The comparison between South Africa and Israel is odious. I’m only referring to it to show why they aren’t the same.) The goal in South Africa (when violent revolution was abandoned) was non-violent regime change: majority rule which would of course lead to the dismantling of apartheid, but not the dismantling of the South African state with dissolution of borders. The regime put its guns away and acceded to this only when it seemed reasonably likely that white and Asian South Africans would continue under (black) majority rule to be citizens allowed to live in SA and not be exterminated, expelled, or dispossessed. The African National Congress seemed sincerely interested in doing it this way and had credible support of its agenda from ordinary black SAfricans. Without both of those pre-conditions, the white regime would never have negotiated.

    By contrast, what the anti-Zionists (foreign and domestic) want is to rescind the rights of Jewish Israelis to live in Israel….to make Israel no longer Zionist. Absent any credible promise from Hamas, or from ordinary Palestinians, that it would not simply move from calling for the murder of Jews to actually being able to legally do it, Israel can never devolve power or enfranchise people in the Occupied Territories who want to kill them. Could Israel ever renounce Zionism if there was peace with the Palestinians and neighbouring countries with fundamentally antisemitic state religions? Doubt it. And why should it? Zionism — a right of return to the world’s Jews — doesn’t diminish the rights of other residents of Israel that way apartheid did in South Africa.

    Similarly, Israel cannot withdraw from the Occupied Territories, either. For then it would be unable to police the activities of terrorists in what would be foreign territory where its army and security services couldn’t operate….and its new borders would be militarily indefensible just as they were before 1967. Israel holds the Occupied Territories by Right of Conquest, which is solid international law.

    Polities within a state have a right to rebellion in the name of self-determination (as the 13 Colonies and the Confederacy did). But the state has the right to suppress rebellion with military force (as the British and the Union did.) Neither side has the right to win. The graver the threat the rebellion poses to its existence, the more ruthless the state will be in suppressing it.

    So regardless of where your sympathies lie (and in disclosure mine are solidly with Jews in Israel) you must accept that BDS, CAIR, and other anti-Zionist organizations are attempting to destroy a sovereign state. If we take the rebels at their word, genocide will result when this happens. This is dangerous territory for foreign dilettantes to be dabbling in.

  10. I see a mention of anti-Semitism in the UK labor party. Good call. I have written about this subject extensively and of course, have studied it in detail. My conclusions were that Corbyn was not an anti-semite. However, he tolerated / encouraged many other anti-semites in the UK labor party. I was not a supporter of Corbyn by any means. However, my opposition to him was for other reasons. Conversely, the new leader of the UK labor party (Keir Starmer) has gone to some pains to purge the UK labor party of anti-semites. Of course, this is just my opinion.

  11. I am an Israeli and while CAIR is certainly antisemitic, the “apartheid” issue isn’t about Israel proper but about the territories. There, there IS apartheid. It is true that Israelis are, by and large, rather reluctant apartheidists in the territory, and would much rather have a peaceful Palestinian state. It is true that the fault lies to a significant degree with the “death to the Jews” Palestinian leadership. I will not reherse here all those known facts. But this doesn’t stop the fact that “Muhammad Six-pack” lives, in practice if not in theory, under apartheid in the territories.

    1. Sorry but most people who level the “apartheid” accusation don’t agree with you: they see apartheid as occurring WITHIN ISRAEL, as it did within South Africa. Israel can’t practice apartheid against a self-governing Palestinian territory.

      And I have no idea what “Muahammad Six-pack” is.

  12. A small quibble with your chart comparing South Africa under apartheid with Israel: it is true that there is no ban on cross-color marriages, but there is a restriction on cross-religion marriages. Per Wikipedia, “In Israel, marriage can be performed only under the auspices of the religious community to which couples belong, and inter-faith marriages performed within the country are not legally recognized.”

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