August 4, 2002


An Ugly Rumor or an Ugly Truth? (RICHARD BERNSTEIN, August 4, 2002, NY Times)
The day after the deadly Palestinian attack on Hebrew University in Jerusalem, The Guardian, the left-leaning British newspaper, published an editorial criticizing Israel for what the paper called "random, vengeful acts of terror" against Palestinian civilians during its reoccupation of the West Bank town of Jenin last spring. This after a United Nations report dismissed Palestinian claims that Israel had massacred civilians there.

Over the past several months, such sentiments have become common in much of Europe. A few months ago, when Tom Paulin, a poet, Oxford University professor and regular guest on BBC television, told Al Ahram, Egypt's leading newspaper, that American-born Jews who have settled on the Israeli-occupied West Bank were Nazis who "should be shot dead," his remarks, which outraged some, were also met by approval and admiration.

A. N. Wilson, a prominent conservative British writer and editor, publicly defended Mr. Paulin, who has also published a poem in The Observer magazine that referred to Israeli soldiers as "the Zionist SS."

"Many in this country and throughout the world would echo his views on the tragic events in the Middle East," said Mr. Wilson, who himself wrote in The Evening Standard, the London newspaper, that he had "reluctantly" concluded that Israel no longer had a right to exist. [...]

It all raises a question: Does the ferocious moral condemnation of Israel mark a recrudescence of that most ugly of Western diseases, anti-Semitism? Or is it legitimate, if crude, criticism of a nation's policies? Where does one draw the line? And how does one judge?

One would note the absence of Jews declaring that Britain had lost its right to exist when it repressed the IRA and refused to surrender territory to them. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2002 10:13 AM
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