Fiamma Nirenstein’s Passionate Call to Action
“Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic.” Here it is . . . The standard argument presented as a given in today’s public discourse. Nothing wrong with this proposition so the advocates say – free speech demands it.
It’s not like it’s pushed and promoted only by a couple of radicals. This is mainstream fodder and it’s everywhere. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, FOX News, all the media, the halls of Congress, it’s everywhere. And, the confident corollary claim, expressed unquestioningly, is that . . . criticizing U.S. policy toward the state of Israel is not the same as attacking the Jewish people. That too is simply not anti-Semitism.
Google it. You’ll come with a hundred versions of . . . Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitism. And if you Google calling criticism of Israel anti-Semitism, you’ll get lots of this . . . Jews unfairly label anyone who criticizes Israel an anti-Semite.
This brings us to the fiery Italian/Israeli author and activist Fiamma Nirenstein.
Fiamma Nirenstein fiercely and passionately warns those of us who are intent on confronting anti-Semitism that the very premise of the proposition criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitism is in itself a trap.
Don’t go there. Do not cede any ground to the assertion that attacking Israel is not anti-Semitic. Not one inch. Do not give even a measure of credibility to this dangerous calculation, she cautions.
“The delegitimization of the State of Israel is at the core of anti-Semitism today,” she contends. The two are intertwined. And simply cannot be separated. They are inexorably linked.
”Israel makes an incredible difference compared to the past,” she writes. “Because of its existence, the Jewish people have a refuge and a clear defender.” Nirenstein reminds us that standing tall for the Jewish state is simply too important a responsibility to ignore.
And this refuge, defender, source of power and self-determination, the very existence of the modern Jewish national experiment is why things are different now than they were in past historical times. Israel is a reality for Jews living there and those living in the diaspora.
Fiamma Nirenstein has issued a warning. Our vision should not be clouded, she maintains. “Anti-Semitism must be precisely located where it is — namely, in the hate against Israel.” Anti-Semitism today cannot be separated from attacks on, and attempts to delegitimize, the very existence of Israel.
But not content with just pointing to the threat, Fiamma Nirenstein also wants to us to act, she wants to change the dynamic. She wants us to make our voices heard. She wants to redirect the debate. She is determined to ignite a new face off, a new confrontation that pushes Jews to refuse the notion that criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitism.
Fiamma Nirenstein wants to, “. . . skip all the speeches, overcome the old structures and take the struggle in a new direction.” She proposes “a tough, well-aimed new kind of campaign.” Where standing up to anti-Semitism means standing tall for Israel.
She has a history this Italian/Israeli warrior. She has put her life on the line with fortitude on behalf of the Jewish people. Fiamma Nirenstein has lived a life of audacity and courage.
The last words here belong to Fiamma Nirenstein:
“The state of Israel is the very essence of Jewish life in the world right now . . . to defend the Jews, you must defend, first and foremost, Israel, and [know] that Israel is the ultimate defense for the Jews.”