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This is my response to Mike Sevi’s criticism of my criticism of Harvard’s Summers’ response to the recent revival of anti-Semitism.

I know about all of the incidents that Mike Sevi cites. I have been saying for a while that anti-Semitism is both on the rise (in Europe, particularly, but also here in America and, as I’m sure many of you are aware, Canada) and is increasingly shrouded in Leftist pieties.

All of what Mike Sevi says regarding the resurgence of anti-Semitism is true. But it is not related to my point.

The objectionable part of Summers’ speech was not talking about any of this. He was, rather, declaring that the issue of the existence of a Jewish state is settled, and that saying anything to the contrary is prima facie anti-Semitic. That’s what he said. That is, as I said, intellectual thuggery.

The point that, given recent anti-Jewish incidents, it comes as no surprise that Jews will suspect anti-Semitism to be lurking behind any strident criticism of Israel is well-taken, and understandable. But that does not justify any such easy equation, because at its heart — if the critic is not anti-Semitic — it’s still invalid, no matter how understandable a mistake it is on the part of Jewish listeners. The case for Israel is strong enough that it doesn’t need intellectual contortions to justify itself (this is, after all, what the Palestinians resort to).

Let’s take someone who is opposed to Israel occupying the West Bank and Gaza, or even opposed to the very existence of Israel in Palestine: it is quite possible that that person sincerely believes this, in good faith, and that it is not an opinion informed by anti-Semitism.

The case to be made to such a person is: Israel does not “occupy” these lands as an aggressor (it was left holding the bag); they’ve had more of a chance for peace under the Israelis than under successive Arab governments; the Jews have a strong claim to at least parts of Palestine; etc. etc. etc.

The intellectually dishonest case to be made against such a person is: you’re anti-Semitic.

(Incidentally, if the person is indeed motivated by anti-Semitism — and a disturbing number of Israeli critics are — then throw the moral book at ’em.)