Publisher description for The politics of anti-Semitism / edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.
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"Antisemite!" How did a term, once used accurately to describe the most virulent evil, become a charge flung at the mildest critic of Israel, particularly concerning its atrocious treatment of Palestinians?
One answer is that there's no more explosive topic in American public life today than the issue of Israel, its oppression of Palestinians and its influence on American politics. Yet the topic is one that is so hedged with anxiety, fury and fear, that honest discussion is often impossible.
One source of honest discussion over recent years has been the print and online journal CounterPunch, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. It has become a must read for hundreds of thousands a month who no longer believe anything they read in the mainstream press beyond the sports scores. On the subject of Israel and Palestine, the Israeli lobby in the U.S., the current Middle East crisis, and its ramifications at home and abroad, CounterPunch and www.counterpunch.org have been unrivaled.
Starting with a brilliant and witty dissection by the Canada-based philosopher Michael Neumann, "What is Antisemitism?" several the essays in this book, by Lenni Brenner , Scott Handleman and Linda Belanger, address the issue of what constitutes genuine, rancid antisemitism "Jew hatred" as opposed to realistic, rational appraisals of political,
military and social conduct.
Essays by Robert Fisk and Norman Finkelstein among othbers offers first hand accounts of just how malignly or comically lunatic the "antisemite!" baiting can be. Alexander Cockburn offers a caustic and lighthearted cmemoir of his own experiences of being attacked as an anti-Semite, consequent upon his criticisms of Israel. Shaheed Alam describes the campaign against him.
In the US there's a broad political culture of opposition to Israel's conduct and to the US role in sponsoring it with political, military and budgetary muscle. Vivid essays in The Politics of Antisemitism offer ground-zero accounts by those who have been part of that opposition. In "Jews Like Us" Bruce Jackson, for example, offers a spirited dissent from the notion imposed by the Israel lobby that American Jews are as one in endorsing Israel's conduct. Will Yeomans describes the divestment campaign he helped launch.
After 9/11 it became apparent to many that Sharon's government was exploiting the new political terrain to further its own objectives, and that senior members of the US government had long career histories as promoters of the Israeli interest in Washington DC. Essays by a senior congressional staffer, and by former senior CIA analysts, Bill and Kathy Christison, cover this issue of dual loyalty.
So powerful is the Israel lobby that it was even able to bury a US congressional investigation into the deliberate attack on the USS Liberty by the Israeli Air Force, a attack that left 34 US sailors dead and 172 wounded. Jeffrey St Clair recalls this astounding demonstration of the clout of the Israel lobby in official Washington.
The bottom line is Israel's denial of Palestinians‚ right to a nation, living within secure borders, just like Israeli Jews. Many of the contributors to this book, like the veteran peace activist and journalist, Yuri Avneri, have born witness to the savagery of that denial. Just how awful the occupation is, and how cruel the onslaughts on the Intifada are eloquently described by a Palestinian, Edward Said, and an Israeli Jew, Yigal Bronner. Both, please note, still nourish a vision of a future in which Israeli Jews and Palestinians live peaceful and tolerant lives, side by side.
This first book in the new CounterPunch series is a timely anthology on the compulsion of silence and complicity in crimes against a betrayed people.
Nationally syndicated journalists Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair have co-authored numerous bestsellers, including Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs And The Press, Washington Babylon and Al Gore: A User's Manual.
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