Today the corporate media and lobby groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are seeking to squash debate concerning Israel’s war on Gaza and the US three billion dollars a year perpetual military aid to Israel. Criticism of Israel’s brutal bombing of Gaza is defined as threatening to Jewish students and more generally is defined as antisemitism. Using charges of antisemitism as the excuse for repressing dissenting views and protest on campuses all across the United States has become common. Charges of antisemitism have become the McCarthyite “threat of communism” of our own day.

Last week the Congress, the media, politicians everywhere have reignited claims about the threat of antisemitism.  The House Committee on Education and the Workforce reassembled to interrogate th President of Columbia University for four hours. And, in response, university authorities arrested 100 students protesting Columbia’s complicity with the state of Israel.

A Congress, a media, politicians who historically ignore the sensitivities of those who are not Christian, and at various points in time in US history have refused to admit Jews fleeing oppression and threats of massacre, wax eloquent about how Jews are being made ‘uncomfortable.” USA Today reported on the dramatic increase in antisemitism in all states of the US. Their “proof” included someone punched in the nose, or a person feeling that she must cover up the mezuzah on her door. Of course, no one should be made to feel uncomfortable in their daily lives but paradoxically that discomfort is being fueled by this nefarious campaign of warnings of antisemitism.

And who is making the claims of antisemitism? The Anti-Defamation League is one such publicist. The ADL in recent years has become an organization pursuing antisemitism and defending Israel. Other groups, whose task is primarily to defend the state of Israel, such as The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), have been fueling the nationwide hysteria.

And why the hysterical campaign now? First, the charges are designed to cover up and distort criticisms of the state of Israel’s genocidal bombings and starving of the people of Gaza and the growing violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Second, while there is no necessary connection to antisemitism at home, it is claimed, that to combat antisemitism in the United States greater military support of Israel is necessary (incidentally military aid to Israel leads to their purchase of guns, bombs, tanks, and drones, from US military contractors such as Lockhead Martin and Raytheon).

Third, control of the Middle East and Eastern Europe has been central to the geopolitical thinking of British and then US policymakers. Western militarists and diplomats have theorized that the imperial country (or its proxy) that controls the Middle East and Eastern Europe (the gateways to Asia) can control the international system. Both Israel and Ukraine are key US proxies in the worldwide struggle of the West to maintain global hegemony.

Finally, U,S, electoral politics has always been ethnic and racial. Raising the specter of antisemitism trumps (the pun intended) the vicious attacks on emigres from Latin America, Muslims, and Asians. The outrage against antisemitism shows the world that politicians are not racists.

In sum, those of us from the Jewish community who speak out against the genocidal policy of Israel are outraged when we, as others, are criticized as being “antisemitic.” For us, the historic pain and suffering of our ancestors is being used to justify global imperialism, racism, and militarism.

By Harry Targ