The fight against BDS and anti-Semitism is one that ought to unite all supporters of Israel, whether they are supporters of the current government or its fiercest critics. But for some on the left, the pushback against a BDS movement that they claim, at least in some instances to oppose, makes them uncomfortable. Having made common cause in some cases with BDS activists, they find labeling their fellow leftists as anti-Semites to be a bridge too far for them. Thus, so-called “liberal Zionists,” such as writer Peter Beinart, have now stepped into the breach to denounce the effort to categorize anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.
Writing in Haaretz, Beinart claims that the argument in favor of this link is bogus.
Beinart first claims that it is wrong to assert, as I have done, that anti-Zionism is a form of discrimination because opposition to the Jewish right to a homeland and self-defense is unique. He says that opposition to statehood for the Kurds or the Basques is not assumed to be a form of hate against those peoples. For the same reasons, he also says that opposing a state just because Jews might need one in order to protect themselves is also not bias because no one would consider critics of Kurdish or Basque secession from other nations is based on hatred.
Next, he claims it is a misnomer to assume that all anti-Zionists want to abuse Jews because BDS groups welcome both individual Jews and anti-Zionist groups like Jewish Voices for Peace as allies.
Third, he says that just because anti-Zionists want to dismantle Israel — as distinct from opposing states that have not yet been created — isn’t discriminatory because of the precedent of destroying the Afrikaner-dominated Republic of South Africa.
Most importantly, he says that Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians are inherently discriminatory, thus making at least some of the arguments of the Jewish state’s foes understandable if not justified. According to Beinart, who believes that Israel should be forced to give up the West Bank and Jerusalem to the Palestinians, it is the actions of the Netanyahu government that are justifying BDS and undermining the rationale for a Jewish and democratic state.
He’s wrong on all counts...