Under Israeli government standards, any criticism of its policies is anti-Semitism
Copies of Amnesty International's report, 'Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians,' at a press conference in Jerusalem, Feb. 1, 2022. The rights group said that Israel has maintained 'a system of oppression and domination' over the Palestinians going all the way back to its establishment in 1948, one that meets the international definition of apartheid. Israel called the report 'anti-Semitic.' | Maya Alleruzzo / AP

Recently, the billionaire owner of Twitter and Tesla, Elon Musk, tweeted out an attack on fellow billionaire George Soros, comparing him to the fictional Holocaust survivor and Marvel Comics super-villain Magneto. While the tweet garnered near-universal condemnation, many were surprised to see the Israeli government—the government of the so-called “Jewish State” and self-appointed representative of world Jewry—come to the defense of the anti-Semitic Musk.

However, anyone surprised by the Israeli government’s actions has clearly not been paying attention. The defense of Musk is just the latest step in the Zionist regime’s attempt at redefining anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism. This move also helps the Israeli government’s foreign policy, which has increasingly aligned itself with far-right, actually anti-Semitic governments and movements around the world.

For decades, the Israeli government has used the accusation of anti-Semitism as a way to shield itself from any criticism. Anyone who dares to call into question the continued military occupation of millions of Palestinians, the jailing without trial of political dissidents, the destruction of civilian homes, or any of the many other crimes that the Israeli government commits on a regular basis, is quickly labeled an anti-Semite.

Palestinians use a ladder to climb over Israel’s apartheid wall on their way to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, July 11, 2014. | Majdi Mohammed / AP

The tactic is an attempt to delegitimize critics and defend the Israeli State from any scrutiny.

One would be forgiven for believing that the Israeli government is actually concerned with anti-Semitism, considering how often its leaders talk about it. But this is not the case, as the Israeli government increasingly befriends and defends far-right anti-Semitic politicians, as long as they are willing to support the continued occupation of the Palestinian people.

One such example is the Israeli government’s close relationship with the Trump administration and various other extreme-right Republican politicians. Trump repeatedly dragged out the anti-Semitic trope of Jewish dual loyalty when campaigning and while in office. On a number of occasions, when speaking to large Jewish crowds, Trump told Jewish Americans that the Israeli government is their actual government and that they owe their loyalty to the Republican Party because of its good friendship with the Israeli government.

Another example is the Israeli government’s close ties with Viktor Orban’s extreme nationalist government in Hungary. Orban often pushes policies to block immigration to the country, part of his effort to “keep Hungary Hungarian.”

Orban has used the anti-Semitic trope of rich Jews controlling the world, claiming that they seek to flood Hungary with foreign Muslims. While Soros was the main target of Orban’s attacks (as he was for Musk), the Hungarian government used typical anti-Semitic imagery in its disinformation campaign.

Following this trend, in order deepen its relationship with the ultra-conservative, nationalistic Polish government, the current Netanyahu government capitulated to pressure from Warsaw to follow the revisionist history pushed by the Polish government, denying any Polish collaboration in the crimes of the Holocaust.

Netanyahu agreed that Israeli students who visit Poland will learn the Polish narrative, despite the large body of historical evidence that contradicts it. The Israeli government once took pride in hunting down Nazis, like Adolf Eichmann, but today it accepts Holocaust revisionist history in order to cozy up to other far-right governments around the world.

Not shockingly, the Israeli government has aligned itself with far-right elements in the Ukraine war, as well. It even went as far as welcoming members of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion to Israel. The Azov Battalion made its bones by attacking Russian, Roma, and other minority groups living in Ukraine, including Jews. At one point, the Chief Rabbi of Kiev stated that it was too dangerous for Jews to walk around wearing yarmulkes (traditional Jewish skull cap) in the capital due to the strong influence of fascist elements connected to the Azov Battalion and the Svoboda Party.

As long as they support the occupation of Palestine, even real anti-Semites, like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, are considered friends of Israel. | Ariel Schalit / AP

At the same time, the Israeli government is not at all afraid to accuse any and all who criticize it of being anti-Semitic. Israeli newspapers are overflowing with articles that declare opponents of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people to be anti-Semitic. In fact, the Israeli government declared the U.N. report that sites facts about Israel’s violation of international law to be anti-Semitic.

One of the favorite tools of fascists and the extreme right is to change the meaning of words to serve their goals. In the U.S., the Trump administration pushed “alternative facts,” and protesters were accused of being paid traitors. The Israeli government is following the same model.

It seeks to be the arbiter of who is and who isn’t anti-Semitic, and the government’s definition is easy enough to understand. Anyone who agrees with state policy—even if they be Nazis, fascists, or Christian ultra-nationalists—can’t possibly be a hater of Jews. Anyone that criticizes Israeli policy—no matter if they are progressive politicians, human rights activists, or experts in international law—are all anti-Semites.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the opinions of its author.

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Amiad Horowitz
Amiad Horowitz

Amiad Horowitz studied at the Academy of Journalism and Communications at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics with a specific focus on Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh. He lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. His articles have appeared in National Herald India, People's World, TRANSCEND Media Service, The Hitavada (India), Northlines, and The Arabian Post.