Through the eyes of a holocaust survivor

The independent news media is often silenced into submission with howls of ‘anti-Semitism’ whenever a writer criticises policies or tactics of the Israeli government. Such howls have increased in tempo and volume recently, given that the aggression by Israeli forces against the Palestinians and the illegal building of colonies have multiplied.

The leading cheerleader for wailing away these charges is none other than the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, himself. He recently rejected United Nations’ critical view of his country’s aggressive conduct against helpless children during last summer’s conflict in Gaza by bleating out that the UN was two-faced when it came to Israel. “It turns out there’s no limit to hypocrisy,” Netanyahu said.

Such retorts from Israelis and their sympathisers is proving to be nothing more than a smokescreen to thwart any real investigations into the illegal activities of the Netanyahu government against Palestinians. It has also successfully silenced or coerced into submission many activists whose conscience saw through the maze.

Last month, more than 250 members of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JWP) Academic Advisory Council demanded that the US State Department revise its definition of anti-Semitism in order to prevent the charge of anti-Semitism from being misused to silence critics of Israel. JWP is a national, grassroots organisation inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine.

The letter to the US State Department was addressing rising Israeli tactics to silence debates on US university campuses over Israel politics with charges of rising anti-Semitism. It also asserted the crucial need to distinguish criticism of the state of Israel from real anti-Semitism and takes issue with provisions in the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism that refer to “demonising”, “delegitimising” and “applying a double-standard to the state of Israel”.

Simona Sharoni, an Israeli-American professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at Suny Plattsburgh, says that “Such prohibitions that are so vague that they could be, and have been, construed to silence any criticism of Israeli policies.” Sixty such incidents have taken place in US to silence activists for Palestinian rights in the first four months of 2015 alone! Jewish Voice for Peace flatly states that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism.

This month, a noted American author and icon Noam Chomsky added his own thoughts to the subject. An 86-year-old Jew and an individual who lived through the holocaust of the Second World War, Chomsky said: “I thought 40 years ago and I think today that people who call themselves supporters of Israel are, in fact, supporting its moral degeneration, its increased international isolation and possibly its ultimate destruction,” he said. “I think these policies are suicidal and immoral.”

Chomsky rejected the notion that Israel’s security was threatened by its Arab neighbours. “To the extent that Israel is threatened, it is Israel’s own choice. For the past 40 years, Israel has pursued a policy very consciously of preferring expansion rather than security,” he asserted.

Sifting back through time, Chomsky insisted Israel could have had almost complete security 40 years ago, if it had the desire for peace.

“In 1971, Egypt offered Israel a full peace treaty, just in return for the occupied Egyptian territories. Israel refused, preferring to expand,” he said.

Five years later, Egypt and Syria tabled a resolution to the UN Security Council, calling for the establishment of two states using the internationally recognised border, the so-called ‘Green Line’. Chomsky elaborated that the resolution would place guarantees for the right of an Israeli and a Palestinian state to exist within secure and recognised borders.

“Accepting that would have radically reduced the security problem,” he asserted. “The US vetoed it. Israel was furious, refused even to attend the session. Didn’t want to hear about it. And it continues like that. As long as Israel continues to take over the occupied territories, we’re not going to have peace.”

Noam Chomsky, who in a 2005 poll was voted as the ‘world’s top intellectual’, is no lightweight critic of Israeli policies. With his background and credentials, he cannot be accused of being unfair or ‘anti-Semitic.’ He is a Semite himself and he is not the only one who sees through Israeli deception. What he and others say is what the Israelis desperately camouflage under thundering charges of ‘anti-Semitism’.

The collective guilt of holocaust has been used successfully for more than 60 years to condone the ongoing human misery of a new holocaust, which is the gradual subjugation and extermination of the Palestinian people. Most political pundits including many intellectual Jews believe that the current Israeli policies will eventually spell their own doom.

The world is getting increasing weary of this country that is becoming a pariah among nations.