The Movement to Suppress and Impoverish Critics of Israel is Racist

Photo: Melbourne Protest, Zionist Criminals End the Holocaust in Palestine, John Englart, January 4, 2009

by Paul Larudee, from Dissident Voice,December 11, 2018

Marc Lamont Hill, Tim Anderson, Steven Salaita, Rabab Abdulhadi, Hatem Bazian, Ahlam Muhtasib, Norman Finkelstein and other academics have all been targets of the movement to silence their criticisms of Israel and their defense of Palestinians. This includes threats and legal actions to try to deny them employment, in violation of their free speech rights, one of the most hallowed and ancient principles of academia.  Salaita and Finkelstein were, in fact, denied employment, to the great detriment of their entire career. Hill and Anderson are currently defending themselves from this threat.

It is central to our understanding of these threats that the accusers are invariably Zionist or pro-Zionist individuals and institutions. Their backers include the Israeli government, which co-ordinates the movement through its Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Israel lobbies in the US, UK, France, Australia and other countries, and the major Jewish Zionist billionaire funders, such as Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, Bernard Marcus and others. They emphatically do not include non-Zionist or anti-Zionist Jews, but almost always include non-Jewish Zionists.

This is already enough to conclude that there is a fundamental difference between Jews and Zionists and that many are one without being the other, including some ultra-orthodox Jews, like the Neturei Karta. The relevance of this is that the accusations against the critics of Israel are always that they are racist anti-Jews; i.e., “anti-Semitic”. The evidence consists of testimony from Jewish students and Jewish organizations that the criticisms make them feel “unsafe” or that they find them offensive.

But is any of the testimony from non-Zionist Jews? Or is it only from Zionists? Why don’t non-Zionist Jews feel offended? If none of them feel offended and only Zionists (both Jewish and non-Jewish), how can the charge of anti-Semitism be supported? This is highly relevant to the defense of such cases. If someone is offended at skin piercings or tattoos or dark skin or light skin or atheism or other types of appearance and speech, is that a reason to banish them from the campus (or elsewhere)? It is part of a free society and respect for rights that anyone so offended will simply have to live with such feelings or go elsewhere.

In a tolerant society, it is permitted to voice both Zionist and anti-Zionist views. In fact, it is permitted to voice racist views, although it is not required to provide funding or resources for such views unless they are de jure available to all members of a society, (e.g. a speaker’s platform in a public park or a meeting room in a public library).

Is Zionism or anti-Zionism racist? Anti-Zionism is not, because it’s plainly not anti-Semitism. But Zionism advocates a Jewish state and supports the ethnic cleansing of another people, the Palestinians, in order to realize and maintain such a state. It enforces draconian laws and practices against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and even stronger measures, including the deliberate shooting of unarmed civilians, against Palestinians in territories that it controls. From the beginning, it has sought to expel or eliminate as many Palestinians as possible.

On the other hand, the Palestinian movements – even Hamas – have always argued that a person’s religion or race is irrelevant to their rights in the lands that they wish to liberate from Zionism. All of the academics that the Zionist movement has targeted for persecution, silencing and dismissal support this ideal. We must therefore ask ourselves, who are the racists?


Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.

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