US sanctions on Israeli settlers have sparked accusations of antisemitism — and cracked open a long-running international debate

ABC | John Lyons | 6 February 2024

Settlers have been using illegal tactics for many years with support and approval by the USA and the UK – the only reason for Biden calling them out now is because he needs the Arab vote in the election – wouldn’t surprise me if the 4 people were warned in advance. Let’s also not forget that Netanyahu and his colleague shave been arming the settlers for years to allow their murderous activities – Mark

Settlers: It’s a word that the White House has focused heavily on over the last week and one which provokes a visceral response from the Israeli government.

So strong is the pushback to any criticism of settlers that Israel’s influential finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, this week accused President Joe Biden of engaging in an “antisemitic lie”.

Joe Biden and antisemitic in the same sentence?

The term “antisemitic” is used a lot these days. Often justifiably, but sometimes to try to shut down any legitimate criticism of Israel by making people fearful that if they dare to criticise the Israeli government or its army they will be branded as antisemitic – in other words, haters of Jews.

Having one of Israel’s most influential ministers claiming President Biden is involved in an antisemitic lie when it comes to criticism of settlers takes the accusation of antisemitism to a new level. After all, despite saying that Israel has been engaging in “indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza, President Biden has approved the daily supply of the bombs being used in that indiscriminate bombing.

So why are settlers at the centre of international debate?

Who are settlers?

Firstly, who are “settlers”? Settlers is the term given to Israelis who decide to live in the occupied West Bank, which is also known by countries such as Australia as the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

President Biden has just signed an executive order authorising sanctions on four demonstrably violent settler leaders.

It appears that the reason he has suddenly sanctioned settlers, many of whom have been engaging in violent behaviour towards Palestinians for years, is because he’s under huge pressure from Arab Americans.

President Biden may well lose states such as Michigan in November’s presidential election because Arab-American voters – traditionally Democrat voters – are angry about the president’s support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-06/joe-biden-israeli-settlers-accusation-antisemitism-debate/103427302

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