But the “apartheid” purimshpiels are not about Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s reportedly shaky ethics and even more questionable judgment about political and military affairs or those of his even less able colleagues at the Cabinet table.

What this increasingly vitriolic campaign of deligitimization is about is the right of Israel’s people to elect any leaders, be they wise or foolish, and to defend themselves against terror and the threat of annihilation from both Palestinian gunmen and Iranian nuclear mullahs.

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Those Jews who play a part in this campaign – be they feckless American intellectuals or extremist Israelis with queasy consciences about the messy business of conducting a long-term war against terrorists – need to understand that the undermining of Israel is not a game in which they may dabble without a cost that will ultimately be paid in innocent Jewish blood.

For the rest of us, including those who think that speaking up for Israel is simply too unpopular a cause to engage in, we must remember that the “apartheid” lies must be fought with the same sort of vigorous in-your-face advocacy that the anti-Zionists have adopted, not mealy-mouthed avowals of good intentions.

In another Purim-like twist, it has become the fashion for Israel-haters and anti-Semites to claim that they are being suppressed, even as their voices grow louder. In response, we must defend the right of free speech for all while specifying that those who oppose the right of every people to self-determination and self-defense except the Jews are simply racists and richly deserve to be labeled and ostracized as such.

The lesson of Purim is that no one, no matter how seemingly secure his or her life may be, can rest easy while hatred rules. In this spirit must every decent person, Jewish or non-Jewish, respond to the anti-Zionist purimshpiel. As it happened with Haman, we must not let these liars get away with murder.

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