On Criticizing Israel without sounding antisemitic

On Criticizing Israel without sounding antisemitic

Prof. Ellis is profiled here.

Professor Donald G. Ellis is on the faculty of the University of Hartford, specializing in communication and conflict resolution, especially ethnopolitical conflicts. He is also a frequent blogger on Israeli politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at his Peace and Conflict Politics blog.

Among his recent noteworthy posts is “Top Five Ways to Be Critical of Israel without Sounding like an Anti-Semite.”  Here’s a taste:

1. Don’t equate Zionism with racism. Zionism is a national aspiration … designed to encourage group interests in the same way that any political, religious, or cultural group cares about its preservation. …. The racism charge is a hammer used to harm people. …
2. All criticism of Israel requires some nuance, complexity, and context. …
3. Don’t refer to “the Zionists” as a collective noun. ….
4. Don’t equate Israel with Nazi Germany or South Africa. The purpose of the Nazi Germany comparison is simple: it is a vicious and stinging comparison designed for nothing more than inflicting pain. …
5. Learn important terminological distinctions and historical trends. … 

And as Prof. Ellis candidly states, there is much more that can and should be said on this subject, but this is a useful starting point. 

By | 2013-02-14T11:46:00-05:00 February 14th, 2013|Blog|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Anonymous March 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for this very useful guide because it has clarified to me how to view criticisms of Israel expressed by people like Shulamit Aloni, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak.


    Shulamit Alloni, “Jewish self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent that we fail to see what’s right in front of our eyes. It’s simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds. Nevertheless, the state of Israel practises its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population.”

    Ehud Barak: “If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic… If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don’t, it is an apartheid state.”

    Ehud Olmert: ” “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Haaretz Wednesday, the day the Annapolis conference ended in an agreement to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008.”

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