Antisemitism in Disguise

Today we are facing a second pandemic, one in which anti-Semitism has mutated into anti-Zionism and is growing and spreading with little defense.

I must be clear here: each and every one of us can and must criticize the actions of any government when we understand that their human rights policy is unacceptable. But the government of Israel – no matter if it’s the one in office at present, the past, or the future – is subjected to opinion, criticism and international debate at the same time.

All governments must be evaluated, criticized and even condemned equally. When this does not happen, the argument becomes fallacious as the condemnation is used only against one particular government and leaves all the rest aside. This omission reveals the intention to use criticism not just to discredit and condemn the Israeli government, but the very existence of the State of Israel itself.

When only Israel is attacked in the international arena and when other countries that should be condemned equally are omitted and exempted –and when they are even in the position of condemning others, which is paradoxical and absurd – the fraud becomes evident, and the search for the truth is never encouraged.

Just imagine Cuba or Iran on the side of the ones who accuse other countries of human rights violations. Succinctly, this is not a mistake, and in the case of Israel, it is intentional, anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.

At this stage, this not only attacks Israel as a government, but it also denies its history, its right to be a state, and the truth. And, it aims at igniting fury against Jewish people around the world, wherever they live, and not only against the political leaders of the Israeli government.

Nobody can or must justify violence by any means, and we should all not only be sorry for the loss of innocent lives, but also be committed to finding a peaceful solution for both peoples, Israelis and Palestinians – a solution fair to both parties in terms of sovereignty, security and national development on the promised land, which must be fairly divided.

It is also necessary to refer to the proportionality in the use of force. There must be an objective and impartial international investigation, but the United Nations does not meet these two basic requirements. The UN is not only united when Israel is on the agenda, but it also strengthens its unity to condemn Israel unilaterally on the grounds of anti-Zionism, to disguise the organization’s anti-Semitism.

Regarding Hamas, is there anything to say or investigate? What about the terror they cause on the Palestinian people and the attacks on Israeli civilians? Israel cannot be investigated within the same parameters as Hamas, a terrorist organization. It must be condemned, not made equal, or even worse, revindicated.

Not only has Hamas attacked the Israeli civil population with missiles, it has subjected the Palestinian civil population to internal terror before starting the attacks. Whereas the Palestinian authorities of the West Bank recognize the existence of the State of Israel, Hamas – oppressing the Palestinian population in terror – desires the destruction of the State of Israel.

This is the reason why Israel will always have the right to defend itself and protect its citizens against these attacks. Israel must also explain its actions, but by no means should it be subjected to the antisemitic trap of hate against Jews that states that Israel must be condemned not for its actions, but because of the mere fact of its existence.

Whoever presents it this way is not criticizing a country or a state. Their apparent anti-Zionism is nothing other than antisemitism. The Jewish people will not allow this in any way. We will use every resource we can, pacifically, politically and democratically, to prevent them from making us feel threatened. We are going to find the courage to express our Jewish identity proudly around the world.

We will continue committing ourselves to our own countries while at the same time defending the existence and achievements of Israel, exemplary in so many aspects and widely recognized. We will also criticize those aspects that should be discussed and be modified, with the assertion that Israel has the right to exist, defend itself, and continue forever to flourish.

About the Author
Rabbi Sergio Bergman is a politician, activist, and author who began his career at Emanu El, epicenter of Argentina’s Reform Movement. He was ordained at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary and HUC-JIR. In 2015, President Mauricio Macri named him Minister of the Environment. Starting June 2020, Rabbi Bergman is honored to serve as the next President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He is married and has four children.
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