I was discussing philosophy recently with my friend Ben Finiti. The queston arose of whether it is repressive “political correctness” to consider a person’s extreme prejudices (in this case, anti-semitism) when evaluating their position on a philosophical question.
Our initial reaction was that, if at all possible, the philosophical question should be considered separately.
This got me thinking about a question I often ask myself: how can someone who does A also do B? Specifically on the question of Israel and Zionism.
How can one preach democracy and hate the most democratic state ever to exist in the region?
How can one value freedom and yet hate the freest, arguably the only free state in the region?
How can one espouse peace and yet hate the only state in the region willing to establish peace with all its neighbors?
And finally, the most perplexing of all: How can one love God and hate Israel?
I know, I know. Anti-Zionism and opposition to Israel is not the same as anti-semitism. Supposedly, not every anti-Zionist advocate of return to the indefensible pre-1967 borders hates Jews. Not every pious critic who screams “Apartheid” and “Imperialism” at Israel’s every measure of self-defense is an anti-Semite. Not every college professor demanding disinvestment from all Israeli companies would be happy to see Hamas achieve its bloodthirsty dreams. Not every anti-Zionist wants to see Israel swept off the map, or even the more moderate proposal of allowing Hamas missiles to be positioned 11 miles from Tel Aviv.
When I hear someone say “I am not anti-Semitic; I am just anti-Israel” I wonder. Isn’t that like saying “I don’t hate Americans, just America”? One hears that kind of thing on the Left on occasion, and I think for the same reason. Leftist anti-Americans believe the US is responsible for most or all of the ills in the world. They blame US aggressive capitalism and arrogant neo-imperialism for every problem, at home or abroad (including global warming). Anti-Zionists blame Israel for every problem, from Islamic Jihad to insane tyrants to the Muslim oppression of women. Of course, anti-Zionism is considerably more bi-partisan: from Walt and Mearsheimer to Noam Chomsky to Pat Buchanan to Jeremiah Wright to Dennis Kucinich to Ron Paul to… Well, you can add to the list at your leisure.
Anti-semitism is a poison which has proved useful to every despot, fully infected Islam, for too long distorted Christianity, undermined our faith in our own values, and now weakens the West’s resolve to face the internal and external threats we face.
And anyone who is comfortable with it should be confronted. Not shunned or avoided, but confronted.