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Israel Does Not Cause Anti-Semitism

Israeli flag at Western Wall (Photo: flickr/kaiban)

For many who make a habit of attacking Israel, the blame for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment is placed on the Jewish state, itself. Writing for the Gatestone Institute, Alan Dershowitz looks at this problem in light of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration:

In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel's fault that there is "growing anti-Semitism around the world." Balfour, who is a descendent of Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration a hundred years ago, wrote the following: "the increasing inability of Israel to address [the condition of Palestinians], coupled with the expansion into Arab territory of the Jewish settlements, are major factors in growing anti-Semitism around the world." He argued further that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "owes it to the millions of Jews around the world" who suffer anti-Semitism, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This well-intentioned but benighted view is particularly ironic in light of the fact that the Balfour Declaration had, as one of its purposes, to end anti-Semitism around the world by creating a homeland for the Jewish people. But now the scion of Lord Balfour is arguing that it is Israel that is causing anti-Semitism.

Roderick Balfour's views are simply wrong both as a matter of fact and as a matter of morality. Anyone who hates Jews "around the world" because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext. Modern day anti-Semites, unlike their forbearers, need to find excuses for their hatred, and anti-Zionism has become the excuse de jure.

To prove the point, let us consider other countries: has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of China's occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkey's unwillingness to end the conflict in Cypress? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russia's invasion of Crimea? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the anti-Semites rather than on the nation state of the Jewish people...

Tags: Anti-Semitism

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