The All Pervasive Chorus of Anti-Semitism--A Response to Boston Globe's Joan Vennocchi. Please See Joan Vennocchi's 6/10/10 editorial (link below) "Will Beck and Limbaugh be next?": I am an ardent supporter of Israel. I also loved Helen Thomas and think that her career spanning decades and cracking the glass ceilings should not be overlooked. Still, to me, her clearly anti-Semitic statement will tragically obviate much of what she has done and it will be the last statement for which this woman of nearly 90 years will be remembered. That is sad. I truly liked her irreverence toward power.
I was one among a chorus, even though, I consider myself liberal, of those whose blood pressure soared at her comment. I wrote many opinions calling for her immediate dismissal. Did I feel a little bad? Yes I did. It is hard for me to journalistically kick the sentiments of a ninety year old woman especially when she has contributed so much.
Joan Vennocchi says one surely can criticize Israeli policy without being an anti Semite. I do not think that is generally true. I remember Martin Luther King's comment "Scratch an anti Zionist and you will find an anti-Semite." I think he was presciently correct. Criticism of the Jewish state, for me, falls into a different category than does criticism of any other nation state and is why I often give Israel a pass on its behavior. The Holocaust, over 60 years ago, and the killing of the innocent six million is the prime ingredient for the establishment of the Jewish state. If there were no Holocaust there would be no State of Israel. It is really that simple. One CANNOT nor SHOULD one critically divorce this fact from assessment of its actions.
When people threaten the existence of this state and say they want Jews eradicated from the face of the earth or pushed into the sea as Hamas and other Islamic choruses have sung or that they even more disgustingly want Jews to return to the ovens of Auschwitz from whence they came as was implicit in the Thomas statement, then these vitriolic statements and criticisms of the State of Israel cannot be rent from the stitching of anti-Semitism of which the Holocaust is an integral part.
In the Jewish mind and in my mind the essence of the State of Israel is a Darwinian evolutionary struggle for survival of the Jew. Anti-Semitism spans THOUSANDS of years and is the longest hatred known to man. It exists on the left and on the right as the examples of Thomas, Beck and Limbaugh Vennocchi mentions reflect so nicely. Israel is DIFFERENT from all other states and those who criticize Israeli policy or think that the US should switch sides have the same motivation, I believe, that Helen Thomas did. She added after she said they should get out of Israel and go back to Poland or Germany "or they can go to America or anywhere else.” In truth the Jewish refugees of the Holocaust were not wanted anywhere else INCLUDING in America and Helen Thomas probably knew that. She MEANT, I believe, that they should return to the ovens of Auschwitz in Poland and liquidation in all of Europe from Britain on the west to the Soviet Union on the east and from the death camps everywhere in between from whence the "lucky" ones who survived fled.
The State of Israel is UNIQUE because its rationale for its existence is the human monstrosity of the Holocaust. Its actions are based on its own defense and survival. If you are not Jewish you cannot understand our eternal struggle. Ms. Vennocchi objectively states that criticizing Israel does not mean one is anti-Semitic. I submit, underneath it all, in MOST cases, to me, it clearly does!