Among several letters challenging allegations of antisemitism at the Oxford University Labour Club, published by the Guardian online, is this one from Jewish supporters of justice for Palestine.
Antisemitism is conspicuous by its absence in your article on “antisemitism” at Oxford University Labour Club.
Antisemitism is abuse, discrimination and hatred of Jews as Jews. Examples of such abuse might be the description of the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, as “a little Jew boy” by former Netanyahu aide Aviv Bushinsky.
If someone had suggested that people should follow the suggestion of the chief rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, that Jews should not rent rooms to Arabs but instead applied an equivalent policy to Oxford’s Jewish students, we could understand and would share the concern.
Perhaps MPs John Mann and Louise Ellman prefer another description for the situation on the West Bank whereby two systems of law operate – one for Palestinians and the other for Jewish settlers? Or why half of Israel’s Arab villages are “unrecognised” and liable to instant demolition, whereas Jewish villages and towns are always recognised?
Whether Israel is an apartheid state or not is a perfectly legitimate political debate. Jewish students can be found on both sides of this debate. It is not, however, antisemitic.
Those who deliberately confuse antisemitism and anti-Zionism give comfort and aid to the real antisemites in our society. Like the boy who cried wolf, they ensure that if antisemitism does rear its ugly head, people will assume that this is just another false accusation.
Professor Haim Bresheeth
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
Professor Steven Rose