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Progressives Must Stop Weaponizing Charges of Anti-Semitism Against Critics of Israel

Progressives Must Stop Weaponizing Charges of Anti-Semitism Against Critics of Israel

Jordan Goldwarg, Aneelah Afzali

As an American Jew and an American Muslim, we find the cycle of attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Dr.

Is it Anti-Semetic to confront one nation about it’s racist, repressive, and murderous actions against it’s neighbors?


And those who shout, “Anti-Semetism” are usually always in support of the Racist, Repressive, and Murderous actions, either because they are profiting in some way or just fucking twisted humans.


What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Please ponder the definitions of semite and anti-semitism from Merriam-Webster. I urge evaluation from a Boolean perspective. I shall leave it up to the reader to make any inferences upon how our language is inconsistent.

Definition of Semite

1a : a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs

b : a descendant of these peoples

2 : a member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language

Definition of anti-Semitism

: hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group


I appreciate this defense of Rep Omer, by Mr. Goldwarg - but isn’t it more than a little bit late? The time for right-thinking progressive Jews coming to Rep. Omer’s aid needed to have been within an hour of the savage attacks by the right-wing Republican/Democrat AIPAC Jews… Because they didn’t rush to her aid, Rep. Omer had to issue that humiliating and embarrassing “apology” - thus cementing in place the narrative that Ms. Omer had, in fact, committed an “anti Semitic act”.

The example of Angela Davis and Birmingham is instructive. There, the reactions to the accusations of “anti-Semitism” and withdrawal of a prize for the Birmingham-born and raised radical activist and scholar by the city’s conservative white Jews was swift and strong - forcing her critics into an embarrassing retreat.


Shouldn’t you’re definition of anti-Semitism also include all of the ethnic groups you included in you’re definition of Semite, not just Jews?
I’m just asking.


No one who equates criticism of Israel with anti semitism can be called a progressive by any tortured definition.


Actually, anti-semitism is discrimination against semitic people, not just jews as they are not nessesarily semetic.
As an example, the apartheid state of Israel, which consists of largely white europeans calling themselves jews, is engaged in an ethnic cleansing campaign against the primarily semitic population of Palistine.
That is anti-semitism.


This conflation of criticizing Israel with anti-semitism has even worse political consequences for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in the UK. In fact, it’s an age-old tactic for Zionists, and they’ll be sure to ramp it up as BDS picks up steam.


No. The term has a long history of meaning hatred, fear, and antagonism against Jews because they are Jewish.

The reality that the term Semite can include other groups is irrelevant to the actual usage of the term.

There is a Hollywood in Florida. But the term “Hollywood Studio” does not include any studios in Hollywood, Florida.

I agree that there is discrimination against Arabs.

But you are wrong to change the meaning of a long usage of what the term means. By definition the term “Anti-Semitism” means hatred, fear, and antagonism against Jews because they are Jewish.

I hope you are being facetious. But still…

This statement is itself Anti-Semitic. It also is nonsense. Bernie Sanders is a Jew. Jared Kusner is a Jew.

Bernie Sanders thinks Trump is a bad president and shouldn’t be re-elected. By your nonsense statement, then, anyone disagreeing with Bernie on this by thinking that Trump is a good president and should be re-elected is Anti-Semitic.

But Jared Kushner thinks his Father-in-Law is a good president and should be re-elected. So also by your nonsense statement, then anyone disagreeing with Jared on this by thinking that Trump is a bad president and should not be re-elected is Anti-Semitic.

So by your nonsensical statement anyone with an opinion on Trump is Anti-Semitic.

Jews disagree on things. Some Jews support the idea of Israel. Some Jews do not. (Yes, a kind of ultra orthodox form of Judaism thinks a man-made Israel is blasphemy.) So even support of Israel is in your nonsensical statement Anti-Semitic.

Let me state again. It is only hatred, fear, and antagonism against Jews because they are Jewish.

So I can hate and fear and have loads of antagonism against Joe Lieberman, even though he is a Jew, but if my hatred, fear, and antagonism are based on his war mongering and subservience to Wall Street because he is a NeoLiberal Imperialist and not because he is Jewish, then my hatred, fear, and antagonism are not Anti-Semitism.

How do you know this is for sure? Because there are other Jews, like Glenn Greewald, Bernie Sanders, and Noam Chomsky, whom I admire, respect, and support.

Don’t forget Karl Marx was a Jew. So does that mean all who disagree with Socialism are Anti-Semitic?


Would it be racist to be the Executive Director of a group called AWEN (American White Empowerment Network)?

Hi ReconFire, but that’s what WiseOwl did so wonderfully by showing what semite actually is in definition -----many many people and cultures—the irony is that anti-Semitic is only used by those who want to neglect the INCLUSIVE group and use it for only one group. That’s why I always try to remind Mr. Netanyahu that he’s Polish : )

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I realize that the usual use of the term “anti-Semitism” is usually applied to people of Jewish faith, but logically it would apply to all who are defined as Semite as WiseOwl has done. To only use it (anti-Semitism) for Jews, seems a play on words.
I also agree with some here who disagree with it’s use by people to defend the actions of Israel that have nothing to do with religion.


Hey stardustIBID,If what the three of you say is true, that the other groups who are Semite by definition, but are not included in the term anti-Semite when they are discriminated against, it would be interesting to find out where the term originated from.

The Middle East is made up of Semitic peoples, so to grab the term, especially by European Jewish people is just silly. It probably originated from the Zionists as it was a useful way to stop any discussion of what is happening to ALL of the Semitic peoples (including Saudi Arabia) I imagine that as a PR campaign, that “chosen people,” moniker makers would only want a small subset to belong----otherwise it loses its exclusivity.
But the dictionary terms as shown by WiseOwl are the most inclusive and honest—sadly the term was been ripped away from others in the ME. This makes what Israel is doing now by proclaiming that Arabs don’t have the same rights in Israel - as Jews do---- just really silly-- and this is very racist on the Israeli governmen’ts part. Remember too that there are other Semitic people in Africa and anyone can convert to Judaism so defining semitic as Israelis only—is just silly and dishonest.


Well, language is not a science but an art.

Usage is and always has been the determining factor in grammar and the meaning of words.

Anti-Semitism is a term that arose in the 1860s as a description of the then growing attempt to justify prejudice against Jews as a legit, scientific idea based on race superiority. From the get go this scientific rationale was a contrast between European Gentiles and European Jews with the false notion that Gentiles were of the superior “Aryan” race and Jews of a Semitic race.

This usage of Semitic was a departure from the previous idea that Semitic was a family of languages. Aryan also was along those lines, but replacing the more accurate term Indo-European with the term Aryan, an actual term associated with the Indo-European peoples who settled Iran and northern India, being adopted as a semi-scientific term.

There still is a prejudice against Jews in the West and a lot of it is based not on religious thinking but on this 19th Century pseudo scientific nonsense. It is valuable to continue to use this term for such prejudice.

It is not valuable to conflate it with critique of Israel or Israel’s actions. But that doesn’t mean we ought to water down the term.

There is a good term for hatred, fear, and antagonism of Muslims because they are Muslin we can use: Islamophobia.

I stand by my defense of the the term Anti-Semitism being about prejudice against Jews.


Fair enough, and glad you defined the origin, I was starting to think it arose in the late 1940’s as a way for Israel to separate themselves from others in the Middle East.

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A better term for anti-jewish opinions would be that person is “anti-Jewish”. The use of “antisemitism” has always been a way to protect the “Jewish” brand. But the Jewish brand is falling on hard times! Time for the “ex-Jews” and “recovering Jews” to step up to the plate. As an “ex-Jew” I await the Jewish institutions to stop flying the Israeli flag.


Yes, the term has been misused for political purposes and trying too shut down real debate. Just like Islamaphobia and Racism have been.


Good for you, Lib! A great logical step approach. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

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We are well into the 21st century, an age of cosmic and molecular discoveries. Thousands of extra-solar planets are now known; It seems the rule that most stars have planets; in the Milky Way, hundreds of billions and more. No sane man would bet that Earth is the only abode of living things. Molecular genetics reveals that the DNA of Europeans and Asians are mixtures of ‘archaic humans’ and ‘modern’ ones. No sane person would claim that they met in Eden. Every single organism on Earth use the same molecular template: single cell, multi-cell, water dwellers, land lubbers, we are all related. Evolution is not a mere ‘theory’, as in ‘yet to be proven’.

With all these wonders to marvel at and think deep thoughts about, some organized religions are still mired in deadly arguments over the details of some conversation or account of our remote past, passed on by men with no available resource to inform any natural phenomenon. We call this devotion to a belief based on no evidence, ‘faith’. A more precise description would be ‘irrational’. All organized religions honor faith, honor irrationality. Irrationality not withstanding, in most ‘first world’ societies, people are free to keep the faith, to believe whatever strikes their fancy.

But this freedom is not an invitation to intrude into either ‘other faiths’ or ‘non faith’. The United States strives to follow a set of rules; we call it our ‘Constitution’. In it, government officials are not permitted to endorse a particular religion. This is where I part company with those who cheer the election of people who wear their religion on their sleeves (or heads) on the job, in the halls of Congress, In effect every day they show up for work, they are saying, ‘My faith trumps the constitutional no-endorsement-of-a-religion rule’. One can argue that a minister’s collar, a big cross embossed on the tie, or a Buddhist orange robe constitute non-verbal endorsement, but eloquent endorsement nevertheless.

Judges, police, officers in the armed services, anyone entrusted with official power, must leave their religion at home, lest those whose lives are in their hands fear them for being prejudiced against them, because they are of an opposing faith. Promises to be fair, or claims of religious freedom, do not cut it. If you want a job with officially sanctioned power, don’t publicly endorse your religion, verbally or non-verbally. That’s the deal.