Wednesday, June 23, 2021

  • Wednesday, June 23, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Human Rights Watch finally addressed the increase in antisemitic attacks in the US that became visible last month from anti-Israel activists - yet its very article on the topic encourages and excuses the very antisemitism it claims to be against.

The post on US antisemitism was written by Eric Goldstein, Acting Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division. He is one of the key members of HRW who decided to accuse Israel of being guilty of the crime of apartheid - a highly publicized report that was released only weeks before the rise in attacks on Jews.

Why was a report on US antisemitism written by someone whose career demands demonization of Israel? Why wasn't it written by an expert on US hate groups?

Because this article is not meant to reduce antisemitism. It is meant to excuse the most prevalent kinds of antisemitism today.

The problem starts with the headline:

The headline mentions a spate of attacks on Jews, and the subhead's recommendation is not to address that very antisemitism which was committed under the cover of "Israeli criticism" [sic]!

The purpose of the article is to undermine its own supposed opposition to antisemitism.

And that continues in the article itself, which is more about the right to demonize Israel than it is about actually addressing antisemitism:

On May 18, a group waving the Palestinian flag assaulted diners seated outside a Los Angeles restaurant after reportedly asking if they were Jewish. In New York City two days later, assailants pummeled a young man wearing a skullcap on the street, a few blocks from where pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian demonstrators clashed that day.

The May 2021 fighting in Israel and Palestine coincided with a spike of antisemitic incidents in the US, as has happened before. What seems new this time is these incidents included a rash of physical assaults on Jews, a spokesperson of the Anti-Defamation League told Human Rights Watch.

Just months after the departure of a US president who did little to condemn groups like the marchers in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, who chanted, “Jews will not replace us,” these assaults remind us that the far right has no monopoly on antisemitism.
If these attacks are all done in the name of supporting the anti-Israel cause that HRW espouses, then why bring up Charlottesville (which Trump did indeed condemn)? 

HRW reluctantly says that the far Right has no monopoly on antisemitism - yet it does not want to address which other groups might be antisemitic. It will never name any group besides the far Right as being antisemitic. 

Because it does not want to criticize its allies. 
There is nothing antisemitic in itself about denouncing Israeli human rights violations or supporting boycotts against Israel. But it is antisemitic to reflexively treat Jews as complicit in the harm that the Israeli government inflicts on Palestinians – just as it is a hate crime to attack an Asian-American for how China’s authoritarian rulers may have handled Covid. Claiming that most American Jews support the Israeli government – a claim that a recent poll calls into doubt – is no excuse.
That last sentence is unbelievable. 

The vast majority of Jews support Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and those who oppose it are a tiny minority. This is a fundamental reason why opposing Israel itself - not its government, but the existence of the state - is antisemitic. Whether Jews support the Israeli government is not relevant at all and bringing up a poll that deals with that rather than with Jewish support of Israel itself is meant to subtly justify antisemitic attacks as somehow being against the government of Israel. 

These anti-Israel demonstrations that prompted violence were opposed to the Jewish state itself. HRW is trying to imply that the broad Jewish consensus of support for Israel as a Jewish state is really fractured - because HRW holds the same political position as the antisemitic attackers that Israel itself is illegitimate.

The Biden administration has condemned these antisemitic attacks as “despicable” but has yet to nominate a new Special Envoy on Antisemitism (SEAS) at the State Department. Filling that post would provide a focal point for calling out and combatting antisemitism in the US and worldwide.

Biden should ensure the envoy he nominates is also committed to rolling back the efforts of the Trump administration to brand vast swaths of Israel criticism as antisemitic, which ill-served the cause of combatting actual antisemitism.  
HRW, in an article supposedly about combating antisemitism, spends more time defending attacking Israel than actually condemning the antisemites who want to start a new Holocaust and ethnically cleanse the Middle East of Jews. 

Two coalitions of analysts and scholars this year have tried to define judiciously when Israel criticism crosses the line. This includes painting Israel “as being part of a sinister world conspiracy of Jewish control of the media, economy, government or other financial, cultural or societal institutions,” or applying to it other clear-cut, classically antisemitic stereotypes, images, or symbols. The coalitions concur that “evidence-based criticism of Israel,” even when “contentious,” is not, on its face, antisemitic. Biden’s SEAS, by publicly defending such distinctions, would bring into relief when Israel criticism does in fact betray hatred of Jews, and when it does not.
HRW is here saying that it opposes the IHRA working definition of antisemitism that accurately described when attacks on Israel are antisemitic and when criticism of Israel is not. 

IHRA says "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." Human Rights Watch's criticism of Israel holds Israel to standards that no other nation is expected to adhere to. Its definition of "apartheid" would declare many nations, including the US, as being guilty of the same crime. Yet only Israel is given that appellation. 

It just so happens that calling Israel a racist endeavor - which HRW did with its "apartheid" report - is antisemitic under IHRA. HRW's "apartheid" report opposes the very existence of a Jewish state as racist, when it has never opposed any other state that defines itself in ethnic or religious terms. 

No wonder HRW opposes the IHRA working definition.

The Obama administration supported the IHRA definition. Some 30 countries and many international organizations support the IHRA definition. 

Human Rights Watch might oppose attacking random Jews because of the assumption that they are Zionist, but it fully supports the hate that animates such attacks while denying the undeniable fact that most Jews indeed support Zionism. 

HRW provides an ideological justification for attacking Jews. It is in no small part responsible for these recent attacks. If Zionism is racist as HRW claims, it is righteous to attack the racists. 

Today's antisemitism hides behind obsessive hatred of Israel to justify itself. HRW's similarly obsessive focus on Israel proves that it shares the same hate that the attackers in Los Angeles and New York have. 

An article supposedly opposing antisemitism is actually an ideological justification for antisemitism. 

HRW is telling its antisemitic allies that there is nothing wrong with their hate. It is justified as "evidence-based criticism of Israel" with HRW providing the doctored "evidence."  

Sure, they shouldn't attack a few random Jews on the streets of New York. Instead, they should join HRW is demanding Israel be replaced by another Arab state that would oppress and attack every Jew in the Middle East.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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