Mudar Zahran’s Criticism of Arabs Doesn’t Justify Israeli Apartheid

In a discussion on Facebook, a friend of a friend (“TN”) whom I don’t know personally cited Mudar Zahran’s March 21, 2011 article Anti-Semitism 2.0 in the context of his apparent support of Israel’s attacks on Palestinians in Gaza in November 2013.

Did TN mean to imply that I was an anti-Semite? Or does TN believe the sources I cited were anti-Semites? Note TN did not address the sources I cited. Or did he simply want to claim that some people disguise they’re anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel?

Obviously, if TN means that I’m an anti-Semite, then there’s no point in continuing the discussion. If TN means that the sources I cited are anti-Semites, then TN should identify what was anti-Semitic about what they said or what actions those sources have done which are anti-Semitic.

If TN simply wants to repeat Mudar Zahran’s claims, then I’m not sure how that impacts the discussion we were having about Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Nevertheless, Mudar Zahran’s article is interesting and contains some truth, but I think it also needs some qualifications.

Mudar Zahran writes:

Criticizing Israel and Zionists, is now deemed a legitimate option to cursing Jews and Judaism. Not only is it open, socially acceptable and legal, but it can actually bring prosperity and popularity. This new form of anti-Semitism 2.0 is well-covered-up, harder to trace and poses a much deeper danger to the modern way of life of the civilized world than the earlier crude form of it, as it slowly and gradually works on delegitimizing Jews to the point where it eventually becomes acceptable to target Jews, first verbally, then physically — all done in a cosmopolitan style where the anti-Semites are well-groomed speakers and headline writers in jackets and ties; and not just Arab, but American and European, from “sanitized” news coverage of the most bloodthirsty radicals, to charges against Israel in which facts are distorted, selectively omitted or simply untrue, as in former President Jimmy Carter’s book on Israel.

I can only address my experience in the United States. Things may be different in Europe.

Criticism of Israel in the United States is certainly not the path to “prosperity and popularity.” Moreover, the United States still has its fair share of good, ol’ fashioned anti-Semites who don’t advocate for Palestinians’ rights.

While I have not read President Carter’s book, I’ve not heard or read persuasive proof of its inaccuracy. There’s no doubt in my mind that Israel is an Apartheid state. A South African study group confirms this assessment.

I also disagree with the claim that the world’s tolerance for Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions is a result of this anti-Semitism. I think it’s more due to the world’s horror at another USA war launched under the pretext of mythical WMDs.

Mudar Zahran also writes:

Such bias against Israel cannot be “accidental” or merely “unfortunate.” No other nation has received the amount of scrutinizing, criticism, coverage, demonization and delegitimization. In fact the question to be asked is not whether there is bias against Israel; but rather why there is bias against Israel?

USA defenders of the Zionists frequently make this charge with statements like: why aren’t you condemning Sudan’s human rights abuses, the grotesque death toll in Mexico, the massacres in Syria, and so on. These defenders neglect that the USA government does not officially and materially support these other atrocities, but it does support Israeli atrocities. Listen to Noam Chomsky on this:

My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.

The rest of the article describes various media shortcomings and practices of Arab governments which harm Palestinians’ interests. I agree with most of these criticisms. But these don’t ever mean that Israel is not committing atrocities or that Israel is not an Apartheid regime or that the Palestinians don’t deserve their rights.

Finally, why should Israel be held as the representative of all the Jews in the world? Is any other state the representative of all Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus? Jews in Argentina or Poland or the USA are as responsible for Israeli atrocities as Muslims in those countries for Iran’s atrocities or Saudi atrocities or Pakistani atrocities and Christians in those countries for German, American and British atrocities. This equation of criticism of Israel with criticism of Jews is itself anti-Semetic, since it holds all the Jews responsible for the actions of the state of Israel.

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