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Criticising Israel does not make you anti semitic

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By Ben Cohen

The Hebrew poet Aharon Shabtai wrote:

And when it's all over,

My dear, dear reader,

On which benches will we have to sit,

Those of us who shouted 'Death to the Arabs!'

And those who claimed they 'didn't know'?

Half of my heritage is Jewish, and I am extremely proud of that fact. However, I am not proud of the state of Israel, and am disgusted that it claims to act on behalf of all Jews. It's barbaric treatment of the Palestinian people is racist beyond belief, and worthy of serious attention in mainstream debate.

There has been a consistent effort in the United States to suppress criticism of Israel, by labeling those who speak out as anti semitic. Pro Israel supporters often use the holocaust as an excuse to wage war against Palestinians, justifying the occupation as a necessity for their own survival. It is a dishonest and morally repugnant argument.

Here is Barry Lando on why Israel should not get a pass on its behaviour:

By Barry Lando

I was reading through several news items last week on the Internet
about the appalling situation in Gaza, I received an e-mail alert from
my wife. It had been forwarded to her by a Parisian friend who is an
expert in Orientalist art; she had received it from a well-known French
television actress.

According to the alert, courses in England about the Shoah
had just been withdrawn from British schools because they “shocked the
Muslim population which denies the existence of the Holocaust.”

The e-mail continued, “This is a frightening portent of the fear
that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into

“Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust
to be ‘a myth,’ it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.
This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide!

“Join us and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it around the world.”

My attention was now torn from the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza
and shifted to the charge that British schools had just stopped
teaching the Holocaust.

My curiosity piqued—I hadn’t heard that news about Britain—I went to,
a Web site that examines such charges. The story, it turned out, first
appeared in April 2007, not last week; according to the site, the
report was also wildly inaccurate.

The truth was that “One history department in a northern UK city
stopped teaching about the Holocaust because it wished to avoid
confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some
Muslim pupils.”

That fact was originally disseminated in a government-sponsored
study—a study which was then grossly misreported by a British newspaper
to indicate that, rather than in just one history department in the
northern UK, Holocaust studies had been terminated across the country.

That error was further magnified by a British group which launched a
worldwide alarm on the Internet with the headline: “Recently, this
week, UK removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum. ... “

The group made an urgent plea for a global “chain of memory”—the
same plea that my wife had just forwarded to me. In other words, nine
months later it was still careening around the Internet.

To read the full article, click here.