What counts as Anti-Semitism?

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This incident once again raises the thorny question of what counts as ‘anti-Semitism’. If someone referred to Syria as a ‘cancer’ in the Middle East, it might be considered unhelpful and belligerent but hardly racist!

I agree that the broadcaster’s choice of words was poor indeed, but he is entirely right about the role the country plays in polarizing groups of people against each other, and its a subject worthy of serious discussion.

I appreciate that political positions can simply be masks for racist ideologies, but the international community needs to find some way of dialoguing about the human and political situation in Israel/Palestine without becoming entangled in issues of race and religion.

Father Dave 

Irish broadcaster calls Israel a “cancer”

A popular Irish broadcaster and columnist said he is not anti-Semitic, after calling Israel “the cancer in foreign affairs” during a broadcast.

“Israel is the cancer in foreign affairs. It polarizes the Islamic community of the world against the rest of the world,” Vincent Browne said last week on his TV3 channel show, Tonight with Vincent Browne.

“Unless you deal with the problem of Israel and the Palestinians in that part of the world, there’s going to be conflict and disharmony. It’s a massive injustice — they stole the land from the Arabs,” he continued.

Browne said he would not apologize for the remarks, the Irish Independent reported, saying his criticism was justified, though he agreed his word choice was poor.

“What I resent is the suggestion that because you’re critical of Israel, you’re automatically anti-Semitic. I don’t think that’s acceptable,” he told the newspaper.

No complaints have been lodged against the broadcast, a TV3 spokesman told the Independent.

Israel’s deputy ambassador to Ireland Nurit Tinari-Modai told the Jewish Chronicle that the embassy had received calls and e-mails decrying the remarks.

“I would have never believed that the day would come when a presenter on Irish TV station would make racist, anti-Semitic remarks,” Tinari-Modai told the Chronicle.

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