Nitzan Hamburg

Antisraelism: The new anti-Semitism

The ancient Neo-Assyrian kingdom had a unique tradition that involved embarking on a war campaign each year. This annual warfare served as a means for the Assyrians to uphold their dominance over conquered territories and expand their empire.

Interestingly, there are cultures today that have adopted similar customs. In the Gaza Strip, there are individuals who believe it is acceptable to launch rockets at populated areas, deliberately targeting innocent civilians with the intention to kill. Motivated by radical Islamist ideology, these individuals openly confront Israel and appear to have designated periods of fighting, reminiscent of the Assyrians’ planned annual war.

Ramadan is generally regarded as a special month for Muslims, characterized by fasting, prayers, and good deeds. It symbolizes peace, brotherhood, giving, and forgiveness. This is a month dedicated entirely to introspection, atonement for wrongdoings and doing acts of mercy. However, in contrast to these values, a radical minority has turned Ramadan into an occasion for terror and violence.

I am not in a hurry to judge, since avoiding food and drink, sex and smoking can lead a person to extremes, along with the unbearable conditions in the strip. While I strongly condemn Israel’s continued occupation in the West Bank, and if I had grown up in Nablus or Gaza, I might have acted similarly to some Palestinians, it is important to acknowledge Israel’s inherent right to self-defense and its ability to address violations of its sovereignty, acts of terrorism, and violence targeting its citizens.

Two years have passed since the “Guardian of the Walls” crisis, during which Israel and Hamas engaged in a firefight in Gaza. This crisis led to an increase in antisemitism worldwide. Some antisemites use the term “pro-Palestinian” (or rather “anti-Israeli”) as a disguise. I refer to this phenomenon as “Antisraelism,” which masks underlying antisemitism.

During the aforementioned crisis, there were incidents of masked individuals in Los Angeles attacking Jews in a restaurant, chanting “Death to Jews” and “Free Palestine.” In London, pro-Palestinian demonstrators in cars adorned with Palestinian flags made derogatory remarks about Jews. Similar incidents have been reported in other places. These acts are not random acts of antisemitism but rather disguised antisraelism.

The call for “Free Palestine” carries an antisemitic undertone, even if unintentional. After all, Palestinians view Greater Palestine as encompassing not only the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but the entire Land of Israel, including Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nazareth. When they demand the liberation of Palestine, they aim to free it from someone – from Israeli rule, or in other words – from the Jews.

Those who rally behind the “Free Palestine” slogan fundamentally view the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine as a crime. It would be naive to believe that this call only seeks the liberation of the West Bank occupied in 1967. Most Palestinians long for a return to pre-1948 conditions, before Israel’s independence. Prof. Sammy Smooha’s 2012 study further indicates that around 60% of Arab Israelis identify as Palestinians, irrespective of their location within the 1948 borders.

It seems that the focus on the Palestinian issue, and in Israel in general, exceeds that of other global issues. Between 2006 and 2022, out of 267 resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly, 160 (60%) were related to Israel, while the remaining 107 (40%) covered the rest of the world. This discrepancy highlights how the Western world, despite opposing Israel’s policies towards Palestinians (which is legitimate), often neglects other important matters and fails to consider the rights of Jews to their own state.

Authoritarian regimes oppress and silence their citizens in around 50 countries worldwide, yet the world turns a blind eye. Genocides in Syria and Darfur, as well as the mistreatment of Uyghurs in China and Rohingyas in Myanmar, continue without intervention. The rights of the Kurds, Catalans, and Baluch people to independence are denied, while Tibet remains occupied by China and Northern Cyprus by Turkey. France and the UK still maintain colonial territories on various islands. Indigenous peoples in Australia, America, and Polynesia have lost their freedom to national boundaries in their own lands, but their plight goes unrecognized. Additionally, millions of products are produced using slave labor in developing countries, yet the developed world consumes without significant protest. How “surprising” it is that the members of the UN Human Rights Council, including China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Gabon, do nothing to correct the injustice.

The same enlightened Western world that historically expelled Jews from its territories suddenly portrays the Zionist movement as the root of all evil — an occupying, racist, and murderous establishment. However, it is important to note that Israel, like any state, is not without its mistakes. In military confrontations with Islamic terrorism, innocent victims are present on both sides. When an Islamist terrorist organization attacks and endangers innocent lives, the state must protect its citizens and respond accordingly.

About the Author
Nitzan Hamburg is a writer, Hebrew lover and medical student.