Last month at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Norman Finkelstein gave a speech on “the new anti-semitism” to the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. The speech contained a number of interesting ideas; let me summarize a few.
The most important one involves Zionism’s role in fostering anti-Semitism. Jewish organizations assert that there is no connection at all between Israel’s actions and anti-semitic activities; but the opposite is the case, Finkelstein said. And Israel and Jewish groups could do a lot to reduce anti-Semitism by disavowing Israel’s actions or disavowing that Israel is a Jewish state. Finkelstein:
It’s often claimed that there’s… no causal nexus between Israeli actions and anti-Semitism, that you can’t blame it on Israel, that there’s no connection between the… spikes in Israeli violence against Palestinians and the upticks in anti-Semitic violence. When in fact if you go through the evidence collected over many years, that’s exactly what the evidence does show: each time Israel launches another of its murderous assaults, anti-semitic incidents peak in Europe. And they’re often perpetrated by disaffected angry Muslim youth. If in recent times, a larger fraction of these incidents are violent, it’s the blowback from the brutish fanaticism currently plaguing the Arab Muslim world.
Now if you’re really concerned about these spurts of anti-Semitism, and you want to contain them, then there are obvious things you can do.
Number one, Israel can stop carrying out massacres….
Another thing is: Israel can simply stop calling itself a Jewish state, so Jews wouldn’t have to bear the burden for its criminal actions.
And the third thing is, official Jewish organizations in the diaspora, they could cease defending Israel’s criminal actions so it won’t appear as if Israel when it carries out these actions is acting in the name of the Jewish people.