Will outraged liberals ever notice that Palestinians exist? A comment on Sarah Wildman piece in Forward

Sarah Wildman, columnist for the International Herald Tribune and PBS and contributing editor to the Forward takes issue with the increasingly promiscuous accusation of “anti-Semitism” against critics of Israel.

Writing in The Forward, Wildman says:

… when anti-Semitism is falsely applied, we must also stand up and decry it as defamation, as character assault, as unjust. That is why when we debase the term by using it as a rhetorical conceit against those with whom we disagree on policy matters, we have sullied our own promises to our grandparents. For if we dilute the term, if we render the label meaningless, defanged, we have failed ourselves, our legacy, our ancestors, our children.

Wildman goes on:

I am speaking of the recent rise of the bogeyman of anti-Semitism wielded to criticize everyone, from the American ambassador to Belgium (himself the Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor), who was trying to negotiate the uncomfortable lines of Muslim-Jewish conflict in modern Europe, to foreign policy bloggers at Media Matters for America and ThinkProgress, the online magazine housed at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

The smear campaign against the Center for American Progress (CAP), orchestrated by the Israeli attack group NGO Monitor, included attempts to smear CAP bloggers Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib by association with The Electronic Intifada.

What caught me when I read Wildman’s piece is that for her the universe of people being falsely smeared as anti-Semites appears to limited to Democratic Party apparatchiks. Has she not noticed that Palestinians are first and foremost the victims of this smear, that is when their existence is not being denied outright?

Can we look forward to the day when outraged liberals such as Sarah Wildman will also notice that Palestinians exist?

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.