The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do about It

By Phyllis Chesler | Go to book overview
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Chapter Four
What's New About
the New Anti-Semitism?

First, let us be clear: the absence of anti-Semitism is what's unusual, not its presence. As we have seen, for more than two thousand years, classical anti-Semitism denied individual Jews the right to live safely or with dignity as equal citizens anywhere in the world.

Today, this historical strain of anti-Semitism continues, but in the last fifty years it has also metamorphosed into the most virulent anti-Zionism, which in turn has increasingly held Jewish people everywhere, not only in Israel, accountable for the military policies of the Israeli government.


The Double Standard

The world—including many people in the Jewish world—still seems to have one standard for Jews and for the Jewish state (and it's a high standard) and another, much lower standard for everyone else. Most barbarism goes completely unnoticed; no one is ever held accountable, the crimes are denied and covered up, the whistleblowers killed or imprisoned. In contrast, Israel's most minor imperfection is continually criticized; serious mistakes are demonized. This has led to a whole new rationale for stigmatizing Israel, and Jews all over the world who support it, as proponents of the most heinous political crimes.

As a result, we have what I call the new anti-Semitism. And what's new about the new anti-Semitism is that for the first time it is being perpetrated in the name of antiracism and anticolonialism. Because the charges of apartheid Zionism are being leveled by those

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