To the editor:
(re: “Just who are you calling an antisemite in all this?” Sept. 14)
Maybe Peter Wolf hates Jews. Maybe not.
His years-long campaign in The Riverdale Press spreads lies about Jews and the Jewish state. It hides the endgame of those who seek to annihilate the Jewish state and destroy Jewish national identity (and not simply purify a particular Israeli government).
That would be unexceptional if Wolf’s poison was floating in the flotsam and jetsam of the online cesspool where such thoughts are too common.
But given prominent placement in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Riverdale Press, his slander carries unmerited credulity.
If Wolf targeted another marginalized group — for instance, people who are Black, LGBTQIA+, AANHPI, Latino or others — perhaps someone at The Riverdale Press would have thought better of platforming his disinformation and group-directed hate rather than continuing to promote it over many years.
Given the widely reported spike in expressions of antisemitism and accompanying antisemitic violence, we should expect that mainstream media — including our hometown newspaper — would have gotten the message and avoid unnecessarily platforming such hate.
What is Zionism? It is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.
The pursuit of national liberation and the settlement of a historic homeland is often applauded for others — including Palestinians. But not for Jews! Thus, to repudiate Zionism — to reject the Jewish nation’s right to its home while approving this right for others — may properly be viewed as an expression of antisemitism.
The widely accepted definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance states that “manifestations (of anti-Semitism) might include the targeting of the state of Israel” when Israel, alone, is criticized for actions commonly taken by other nation-states.
And that such manifestations include:
• Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination. For example, by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor.
• Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
• Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (claims of Jews killing Jesus, or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
• Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
• Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
To be a Zionist does not require agreement with a particular Israeli government. And to oppose an Israeli government or its actions is not the same thing as opposing Zionism (proof of point: The hundreds of thousands of Zionists in Israel who have been marching against the Netanyahu regime.
I wish everyone, including Peter Wolf, increased wisdom — along with good health, happiness and peace — in the new year.
The author is editor and publisher of The Jewish Star, a publication that shares common ownership with The Riverdale Press