In his recent column in The Olympian, Charles Krauthammer exerts us to write letters decrying what he considers to be an egregious example of anti-Semitism, namely, the vote by the membership of the American Studies Association “to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.”
OK, here’s my letter: Dear Charles: Nowhere do you say why the ASA voted as it did. The answer is simple: Because the Israeli government does not allow Palestinians from the Occupied Territories to travel to international conferences.
Can you name one other nation that prohibits its neighboring country from participating in academic conferences? The ASA is simply introducing the Israeli government to the effects of its own policies.
Now, about anti-Semitism: Are not Arabs also Semitic? Since when does “Semitic” apply only to Israelis, let alone to Jews in general? When Israeli snipers kill little children who are gathering the cement from their destroyed homes (destroyed by the Israeli government), is that not anti-Semitic? Let alone a crime against humanity? When Israel in 1997 refused to allow Palestinians who had won Fulbright Fellowships to leave Palestine, was that not anti-Semitic?
Would you shut down the open-minded, candid and courageous discussions of “accepted” viewpoints that has enriched Judaism since the Exodus? No, Charles, I don’t think you would. Consequently, in accord with your request, please allow me to point out an unacceptable source of anti-Semitism.
Quite simply, Charles, it’s you!