In the past, at least in Europe and the United States, individuals and organizations criticizing Israel were usually careful not to link such criticism to the expression of Anti-Semitism. Making such a distinction was recognisable even in Middle Eastern societies and in statements critically addressing Zionism. This practice, however, changed, since the beginning of the new millennium, particularly in many environments identifying themselves in various radical forms with Islamist thinking. Anti-Israeli attitudes have been increasingly tied to Anti-Jewish stereotypes including openly expressed conspiracy theories. With the massive immigration from mainly Islamic Middle East and North African societies to Europe in recent years and months, parts of European societies will increasingly reflect upon positions tying criticism of Israel to Anti-Jewish stereotypes and attitudes. Countering this development requires deeper knowledge of the developments in the Middle East, of Israel’s existence in a hostile environment and of efforts to find peaceful solutions to the incompatibilities between Israel’s right to permanently live in security on the one hand, and the legitimate rights and aspirations of Palestinians and Israel’s neighbours on the other hand.
Dina Porat, head of the Kantor Center for the Study of contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University and Chief historian of Yad Vashem is uniquely qualified to enlighten us on the problem of Anti-Semitism reflected in criticism of Israel and its government.