Photo Credit: Michael Wuertenberg / Wikipedia
Billionaire leftist philanthropist George Soros at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2011.

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

For decades now, we have been told by liberals that criticism of Israel should not prima facie be considered anti-Semitic or even be used as evidence of anti-Semitism. Indeed, Jewish voices on the left like J Street even suggest that speaking out against Israel is a core Jewish value—that it is to be seen as fulfilling God’s commandment through the prophet Isaiah that the Jewish people serve as a light unto the nations.


It is true that criticizing Israel does not make the critic an anti-Semite. It is anti-Semitism that makes someone an anti-Semite—by which I mean offering a criticism of the Jewish state, or Jewry, or an individual Jew on grounds that are not applied equally to any other nation, people, or individual on earth. Neither is it anti-Semitism to criticize an individual Jew for actions and behaviors that have nothing to do with his Judaism. In such a case, to claim that the criticism is anti-Semitic is to use the charge of anti-Semitism as a shield to protect that individual from criticism that is perfectly standard and appropriate.

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John Podhoretz is the editor of Commentary magazine.