Easy targets

Isi Leibler is a doyen of Australian Zionism. Currently residing in Israel, he contributes regular articles to the Jerusalem Post and is keen to talk up the possibility of a second Holocaust. His latest article, Poisonous Ravings, continues the grand tradition. His target? Norman Finkelstein:

“Historically, self-hating Jews besmirching their kinsmen have ranged from apostates in the Middle Ages to communists in Stalinist Russia. Today their successors have assumed pivotal roles in the global campaign to delegitimize Israel.

“The most recent chapter in the ongoing offensive is Norman Finkelstein’s book Beyond Chutzpah, which endeavors to depict Israel as one of the most evil countries in the world. The author also defames Alan Dershowitz, author of the widely acclaimed The Case for Israel. Dershowitz is particularly hated by the anti-Israeli pack because of his impeccable credentials as a champion of human rights.”

“Impeccable credentials”? If defending torture and praising Israel’s perfect human rights record is impressive, then Leibler has a valid point.

Leibler offers the usual rhetoric about Finkelstein – anti-Semite, Nazi-sympathizer, bigot – and worries about the long-term effects of such attitudes:

“The incredible damage to Israel’s reputation inflicted by renegade Jews has been greatly underestimated. The distortions have already persuaded the average European that Israel represents a greater threat to world peace than Iran or North Korea. We cannot afford this to be extended to the United States.

“Israel must realize that the battle of ideas is crucial to our future. There are hundreds of talented Israelis and friends of Israel throughout the world who possess the scholarship and communication skills to enable them to make a major contribution. The government should invite the best of them to join in a campaign to reverse the tide. When the poisonous ravings of people like Finkelstein gain credence in the mainstream media, it is surely time to ring the alarm bells.”

Leibler, like so many dutiful Jewish and non-Jewish Zionists, seem to believe that criticism of Israel is unacceptable. Jews should especially keep their mouths shut. Israel is beyond reproach and remains a beacon to the world.

Who truly believes this anymore? And is Leibler seriously suggesting that people like Finkelstein are to blame for Israel’s declining stature in the last years? It may be comforting for the Leiblers of this world to solely blame so-called anti-Semites for Israel’s woes, but perhaps a look at Israel’s actions wouldn’t go astray.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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