The ‘Antisemitism’ Moral Panic Has Officially Jumped The Shark

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readMay 2, 2024

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded to the International Criminal Court’s rumored plans to indict Israeli officials for war crimes by claiming that for the ICC to do so would be an “antisemitic hate crime”.

Yes, you read that correctly.

“If this does happen, it will be an indelible stain on humanity. It would be an unprecedented antisemitic hate crime that would add fuel to the antisemitic incitement that is already raging in the world,” said Netanyahu this past Tuesday.

So, to be absolutely clear, Israel’s top government official has announced that charges against himself and other Israeli leaders for obvious war crimes like intentionally bombing and starving civilians would be both “antisemitic” and a “hate crime”.

So, to make things even clearer, when a supporter of the state of Israel claims to be sincerely super duper worried about “antisemitism”, this is the kind of thing they are talking about. This is what the label “antisemitism” has come to mean. It means literally any opposition to, criticism of, or consequences for a nuclear-armed genocidal apartheid ethnostate which is backed by the most powerful empire that has ever existed.

Keeping that in mind, let’s turn now to the bill that just passed in the US House of Representatives which can be used to suppress entirely legitimate political speech critical of Israel as “antisemitic”.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports:

“The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill that conflates criticism of the modern state of Israel with antisemitism and will mandate that definition be used by the Department of Education when enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws.

“The bill could be used to crack down on pro-Palestine protesters at college campuses across the country, who have been falsely labeled ‘antisemitic’ despite Jewish students participating in the protests.

“The legislation adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which lists ‘drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis’ as an example of antisemitism.

“The IHRA also defines antisemitism as applying ‘double standards’ to Israel by ‘requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation’ and ‘denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination’ by ‘claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.’”

This comes as House Democrat Richie Torres teams up with Republican Mike Lawler to advance a bill which would create “antisemitism monitors” on university campuses which receive federal funding, which means the US government is actively working to police political speech in response to criticisms of US government policies. Perfectly normal thing to happen in a healthy liberal democracy.

And again, this is happening within a political climate in which the Israeli government publicly announces that “antisemitism” includes charging Israeli war criminals for extensively documented war crimes.

The thing about conflating support for Israel with Judaism and criticism of Israel with anti-semitism is that it necessarily asserts that there’s a religion which holds as an article of faith that your tax dollars must be used to murder foreigners in the middle east, and that any objection to this on your part therefore amounts to religious persecution. Anyone who makes this conflation is saying, “Judaism is a religion which believes your tax dollars need to go toward support for the military adventurism of the state of Israel, and if you don’t like it then you’re basically a Nazi.”

Which is as self-evidently ridiculous as any position could possibly be, from any angle you could possibly look at it. Obviously the religion of Judaism itself does not say that western governments should be backing nonstop mass military slaughter in the Palestinian Territories and in Israel’s neighboring countries, which is why many Jews do not hold the position that this should be happening. And even if that was a fundamental tenet of the Jewish faith, a religion which asserts that a foreign country has a right to immensely consequential support from your country’s government would need to be criticized aggressively and relentlessly.

You don’t get to claim that criticism of any part a powerful country’s foreign policy is not allowed because such criticism is against your religion or religiously persecutes you. That’s not a thing.

The “antisemitism” moral panic has officially jumped the shark. It has long been absurd, but now it’s a parody of itself. Things are only going to get dumber and more insulting to your intelligence from here.


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