The Z-Word Blog (guess what the Z stands for) is, if anything, more focused on the intersection between anti-Zionist and anti-Semitism than I am. Which is why I think this post is important — it not only affirms that “It is possible to be very critical of Israel and its actions without being antisemitic” in the abstract — but pulls out a specific piece by a Spanish columnist as an example, one who writes that “We all agree that the response of the Israeli army [in Gaza] was disproportionate and that the massacre of the Palestinian civilian population, with emphasis on the children, was unspeakable and unforgivable even by God.”1
That is quite a severe critique — needless to say, the Z-Word bloggers probably would disagree with the characterization. But the point isn’t to parse whether they or I agree with this columnist’s views or not; the point is that a very prominent pro-Zionist blog is publicly and demonstratively saying “yes, you can level critiques like this without being anti-Semitic”. Even as a gesture of trust-building, I think it’s an important step. And the columnist, for his part, couched his criticism by also firmly condemning the anti-Semitism he’s observed ripping through Spain, often “justified” as anti-Israel sentiment. That obviously enhances his credibility when he makes statements like the above.
I don’t know if this is a new development or I only just started noticing it, but of late I’ve observed that folks who are trying to argue that certain criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic always preface with “of course, one can criticize Israel without it being anti-Semitic. But….” This affirmation hasn’t had much of an impact on people who believe that one can’t engage in such criticism without being tarred with the brush; I assume it’s because they think that the caveat is completely theoretical and that no critique (at least, that isn’t completely mealy-mouthed) will ever pass muster. The fact that Z-Word went beyond theoretical affirmation and was willing to say this article, though we might disagree with it, is a harsh criticism of Israel that is nonetheless not anti-Semitic hopefully will help dissipate some of that mistrust.
- The column is excerpted and translated from the Spanish — not speaking Spanish, I can’t read the whole thing to get a feel for the whole article beyond what they’re translating. [↩]