THERE'S NO MORE EXPLOSIVE TOPIC IN AMERICAN PUBLIC life today than the issue of Israel, its treatment of Palestinians and its influence on American politics. Yet the topic is so hedged with anxiety, fury and fear that honest discussion is impossible.
Our aim in The Politics of Anti-Semitism is to lift this embargo. Apologists for Israel's repression of Palestinians toss the word "anti-Semite" at any critic of what Zionism has meant in practice for Palestinians on the receiving end. So some of the essays in this book address the issue of what constitutes genuine anti-Semitism-Jew-hatred-as opposed to disingenuous, specious charges of "anti-Semitism" hurled at rational appraisals of the state of Israel's political, military and social conduct. R. Fisk’s and N. Finkelstein’s essays offer a first hand account of just how malignly or comically lunatic the "anti-Semite" baiting can be. There is in the US a broad political culture of opposition to Israel's conduct and to the US role in sponsoring it with political, military and budgetary muscle. After 9/11 it became apparent that Sharon's government was exploiting the new political terrain to further its own objectives, and that senior members of the US government had long been promoters of the Israeli interest in Washington. The essays by Sunderland and the Christisons cover this issue of dual loyalty. So powerful is the Israel lobby that it was even able to bury a US congressional investigation into the deliberate attack on the USS Liberty by the Israeli Air Force in 1967, an attack that left 34 US sailors dead and 172 wounded. J. St Clair recalls this astounding demonstration of the clout of the Israel lobby in official Washington. The bottom line is Israel's denial of Palestinians' right to a nation, living within secure borders, just like Israeli Jews. Many of the contributors to this book have borne witness to the savagery of that denial, and have been duly attacked with the venom of the "anti-Semite!" insult. Just how awful the occupation is, and how cruel the onslaughts on the Intifada, is eloquently described by a Palestinian, Edward Said, and an Israeli Jew, Yigal Bronner. Both, please note, still nourish a vision of a future in which Israeli Jews and Palestinians live peacefully, side by side.
The book is edited by by A.Cockburn and J.St.Clair)