Letters to the Editor

Criticism of Israel’s militarism is not antisemitism

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Dear Editor,

On 26 May 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance redefined the word ‘Semite’ to apply only to the Jewish people. The word ‘Semite,’ however, has a much broader meaning.

Prior to this monopolisation of the word, Semite referred to numerous people throughout the Middle East who shared a common ethnicity and root language. This includes Jews, Arabs, Lebanese and others.

Technically you should not be called ‘anti-Semite’ for supporting the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression. More correctly, the word would be ‘anti-Zionist.’

Zionism is a 19th-century nationalist movement aimed at the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, in an area roughly equated to the biblical Israel of Jewish mythology. The Zionists had a strong traditional belief in their right to this land.

Prior to 1947, Palestine was populated by both Arab and Jewish people living together in relative harmony. While there had always been areas of Jewish settlement throughout Palestine, there was no Israel as such. 

The settler colony of Israel was established as a political solution to a displaced Jewish population after the horrors of World War II. The settlers were, on the whole, European, rather than Middle Eastern. Extreme Zionists among them, under Netanyahu, now control governmen...

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