Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 18, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

ANTI-SEMITISM....This is getting tiresome. It has long been a staple on the right that most criticism of Israel is really just thinly veiled anti-Semitism. Then after 9/11 we began hearing that criticism of neocons was just thinly veiled anti-Semitism. Now David Bernstein comes along to tell us that use of the term "Likudnik" is just thinly veiled anti-Semitism. This is apparently based on a dumb email he received that used the term both incorrectly and insultingly.

I have no doubt that some anti-Semites do indeed use these terms as ways of expressing their views in more socially acceptable ways. But what are the rest of us supposed to do? These groups and their supporters are all perfectly legitimate targets of criticism and I'm getting tired of the hyper-PC right suggesting otherwise. Using "Likudnik" as a synonym for "supporter of right-wing Israeli politics" isn't entirely correct, but it's not all that far off the mark, especially in casual usage.

Pointing out specific instances of anti-Semitism is a public service. Pointing out incorrect usage of specific terms is also fine although sometimes more pedantic than substantive, since it's hardly surprising that most Americans aren't familiar with the minutiae of right-wing Israeli politics. But a transparent effort to stifle criticism of right-wing Israeli policies by charging that "the Left...has let this particular anti-Semitic genie out of the bottle" isn't. Let's leave charges of anti-Semitism for actual anti-Semitism.

Kevin Drum 2:09 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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