Salt Lake Tribune Op-Ed Fits EU Definition of Anti-Semitism

The Salt Lake Tribune recently published an Op-Ed, penned by one Michael S. Robinson,  that can best be described as an anti-Semitic rant, filled with attacks against “the Jews,” falsehoods demonizing Israel, calls for “regime change” targeting the Jewish state and insistence that it was a mistake to establish a Jewish state. This conforms perfectly to the definition of “anti-Semitism” used by the United States and the European Union.

Perhaps one of the most appalling aspects of Robinson’s guest column is his dismissive and demeaning analogy of Jewish Holocaust victims to a young child who has suffered a minor injury in the past:

“…It doesn’t make a naughty child any better when parents decline all discipline, just because little Suzie had a nasty owie two weeks ago.”

Robinson tries to innoculate himself against charges of anti-Semitism by pretending he is merely criticizing the Israeli government and policy:

“I hate Israel — not, of course, its many innocent citizens, but its inhumane and murderous government.”

But he reveals early on exactly what he is trying to conceal – that his is not legitimate criticism of a specific Israeli policy but an attack on “the Jews” in general:

“There seems to be a mindless philosophy that, because the Jews have historically suffered so much, we must never criticize them… “[emphasis added]

Robinson again refers to “The Jews” when he demonizes them as as lacking in “human compassion”:

“Oh, yes, the Jews know all about concentration camps, but they seem unable to muster any human compassion for the suffering of their neighbors.”

He thus succeeds only in proving that any charges of anti-Semitism would be correct. Indeed, the column, on many levels and in many respects, precisely fulfils the definition of anti-Semitism put out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) that was adopted by the European Union and endorsed by the US State Department. For example:

1) He evokes a classic anti-Semitic trope (of a ZOG conspiracy theory) with his charge of the “Jewish lobby” “buying” votes in the U.S. and “blinding” Americans.

Included in the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism:

Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

2) Robinson compares Israel to the Nazi regime:

“Israel has created a veritable concentration camp” for the Palestinians.

“Oh, yes, the Jews know all about concentration camps…”

Included in the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism:

Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

3) Robinson’s vile analogy of Jewish historical suffering to a boo-boo — “little Suzie had a nasty owie two weeks ago” minimizes and dismisses the enormity of the Holocaust.

Included in the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism:

Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

4) Robinson’s insistence that “the world had no right” to “insert a Jewish state into an area that had plenty of other legitimate claimants” and call for “regime change” in Israel as “one of the preferred devices in eliminating international threats” denies the right of existence to a Jewish state.

Included in the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism:

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.

The author’s repeated breaches of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism while minimizing Hitler’s Holocaust as a “nasty owie” go beyond the pale of anti-Semitic tropes. These are interspersed with false anti-Israel allegations. Really, it is difficult to disentangle Robinson’s attack on Israel with his attacks on Jews, as they come across as part and parcel of the same unhinged, anti-Semitism. For example:

“I hate Israel…”

“A misguided world inserted a Jewish state into an area that had plenty of other legitimate claimants…the world had no right to do it…”

“Well folks, we don’t have to worry about Freddy Krueger or Chucky. We have our own real monsters to deal with…”

“Instead of a normal and healthy outgrowth of empathy, Israel has instead become the monster…”

“[US] votes… are paid for by that [the Jewish] lobby…”

“Our country is partnered with one of the worst human-rights violators in our world…”

“Oh yes, the Jews know all about concentration camps, but they seem unable to muster any human compassion for the suffering of their neighbors…”

“Can the power of the U.S. Jewish lobby really be so strong that we are blinded to Israel’s atrocities…”

Following the script of fellow demonizers of the Jewish state, Robinson supports his “criticism” with numerous false claims, including :

“Lately we are inundated by news of the Palestinians’ protests, a brutal Israeli Defense Force, and thousands of unarmed demonstrators, sequestered behind the border wall, being picked off by Netanyahu’s crack snipers.”

In fact, Palestinians in Gaza have engaged in violence, hurling fire-bombs and rocks, attacking the border fence, infiltrating Israeli territory, setting Israeli fields aflame, and even directing gunfire at Israel. Many of the fatalities were Hamas military operatives.  Gaza’s peaceful protesters — those who remained near protest tents and did not approach or attack the border — have not been targeted by Israel’s attempts to protect the border.

“Israel has created a veritable concentration camp for [the Palestinians], withholding water, electricity, freedom to travel, and the right to work…”

Far from “withholding water” to the Palestinians, Israel provides the Palestinians with 50 MCM of water, far beyond its obligation under the Water Agreement that has governed the use and sharing of water between the Israelis and Palesitnians since 1995. This international agreement entitles Palestinians to only 31 MCM that Israel must provide the Palestinians from its own water and through its infrastructure, over and above the 196 MCM of water Palestinians extract for themselves. It also states that each side shall take all necessary measures to prevent any harm, pollution, or deterioration of water quality of all water resources. While Israel has gone beyond its obligations to provide Palestinians with water, Palestinian policies have resulted in an enormous waste of water and destruction of the water ecology. For years, they did not develop their own water resources or sewage treatment plants. Nor did they irrigate their land or use for themselves water-saving devices or bill their citizens for water usage, as Israel does. They have illegally drilled into Israel’s water resources, sending their sewage into Israel’s water sources, perpetuating water shortages which they falsely blamed on Israel.

As for electricity, Israel in fact provides a portion of Gaza’s electricity, to the extent that the Palestinian Authority pays  for that electricity. (Israel has refrained from delivering electricity that isn’t paid for.)

Both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are governed by Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority in the former and Hamas in the latter and they are the ones that allocate resources to their people. After waves of terrorist infiltrations and attacks on Israelis by Palestinians, Israel protects its citizens by securing its entry points and limiting the numbers of Palestinians it hires to work within in Jewish neighborhoods. Israel has no obligation to ensure employment in its Jewish neighborhoods for those who seek to murder and destroy them.

The column presents the same clichéd falsehoods about “the Jews” and the Jewish state that anti-Semites have spouted for centuries. The question is why a reputable newspaper like the Salt Lake Tribune would want to be associated with such outright dishonesty and overt anti-Semitism.