For the Last Time, Criticism of Israel is Not Anti-Semitism!

April 20, 2009


Ahmadinejad told delegates at the summit in Switzerland on Monday, that after the Second World War the United States and other nations had established a “cruel, oppressive and racist regime in occupied Palestine”.

“The UN security council has stabilised this occupation regime and supported it in the last 60 years giving them a free hand to continue their crimes,” he told delegates at the Durban Review Conference hall in Geneva.


If Ahmedinejad had stood before the conference and said, “you know the thing about Jews is, they’re all greedy and conniving.” THAT would be anti-Semitic. What he did was to offer criticism of the state of Israel’s POLICIES towards the Palestinians over the last 60 years and the support of key European and American governments who made it possible. 

Furthermore, when he talks about ‘wiping the state of Israel off the map,’ did it occur to anyone that he might mean dismantling the military state of Israel not the murder of all Israeli citizens in a mass holocaust (no pun intended?) But, to the enlightened leaders of the United States, France, Canada, Germany, Poland, etc, he is just a man with a beard who wears old suits and talks in a funny accent. He’s from Iran therefore he must be a terrorist. He’s an Arab, therefore he must hate Jews. Well, if that’s not racist then I don’t know what is. 

The saddest thing is that, in boycotting the conference, Barack Obama directly contradicts his call for dialogue with the Muslim world and his commitment to direct, engaged diplomacy. Who does it threaten to sit in a room and listen to opinions that are different from your own? If everyone in a conference already agrees, then what is the point of a meeting? We should expect of our leaders that they will engage in difficult conversations. If the United States had attended, they could have fought for the conference statement to condemn Ahmedinejad’s words. At least, he had the bravery to stand up before the world and speak. I respect that. 

The text of the Durban conference declaration states:

Having listened to the peoples of the world and recognizing their aspirations to justice, to    

equality of opportunity for all and everyone, to the enjoyment of their human rights, including 

the right to development, to live in peace and freedom and to equal participation without 

discrimination in economic, social, cultural, civil and political life, 

Palestinians, both within Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza (as well as refugees in many neighboring Arab states) are denied these aspirations. As a case in point, the Israeli Army blocked both Palestinian Christians from entering the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Palestinian Muslims from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque this weekend. Moral of this story: Some boycotts are useful and some aren’t. Continue with the academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions because this is the only way to pressure the government to rethink its cruel (killing babies,) oppressive (the blockade of Gaza,) and racist (Jewish-only roads to settlements) policies. 
UPDATE: KabobFest, an awesome blog on Middle-East related things, has an awesome post on the conference walkout here. The caption above the picture of Western delegates leaving reads: “Sorry, we’re at the wrong conference. Thought it was a pro-racism event…” Exactly. 

2 Responses to “For the Last Time, Criticism of Israel is Not Anti-Semitism!”

  1. Jessica dry Says:

    If my battery wasn’t at 3% I would read and comment on this, but what’s important right now is reconnecting with my long-lost Laurel. Jpixie86@gmail.com , miss you honey.

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