Photo Credit: courtesy UCLA
Dr. Judea Pearl

“How Anti-Semitism Became Anti-Zionism” – the first in a three-part Zoom series on “Jew-Hatred Exposed: Voices beyond the Conventional” – took place on Sunday, featuring Dr. Judea Pearl, father of the beheaded Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl.

The world is divided today between “those who see Israel as a G-d promised land, and those who see Israel as an embarrassment, if not a disaster,” he said.

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The Zoom event was organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance along with Club Z (a Zionist club for teens) and moderated by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Joining Dr. Pearl was Dr. Naya Lekht, director of education for Club Z, and Dr. Mark Weitzman, director of government affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and an official member of the U.S. delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Authority.

Dr. Weitzman noted that according to the FBI, the target of 60 percent of hate crimes based on religion were Jewish. Muslims were a distant second, subject to 13.2 percent of the attacks.

Dr. Lekht said anti-Zionism is “today’s most powerful form of anti-Semitism.” She said a Club Z survey of 150 Jewish American teens found that one out of three didn’t feel comfortable admitting to being a Zionist in school or on social media. Two-thirds of Club Z students encounter anti-Israel bias in the classroom, she said.

She argued that anti-Semitism shouldn’t be universalized; it should be treated “as its own virus with its own DNA structure.” She added, “Jews, unlike any other minority, are accused of superhuman powers, which is global world domination, controlling the banks and the media.… [W]hen you have an Israeli flag drenched in blood, that is not racism. That is blood libel.”

Dr. Pearl, professor of computer science and statistics at UCLA, said we should teach to humanity that “Zionism is the most noble enterprise that took place in the 20th century.” He asked, “Where else can you find a scattered tribe of middlemen, of paupers, lifting itself from the margin of history, to become a world center of art and science and business enterprise?”

He added, “The first litmus test whether you have self-worth or not is whether you are willing to defend it. You’ll only be respected to the degree to which you are willing to defend your honor and your worthiness.”

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