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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q14.11 TOC Q14.13 >

Question 14.12:
Why is opposition to Israel often seen as being antisemitic?


The vast majority of the Jews in Israel wound up there as refugees with no other options.

Many Jews went there to flee the Holocaust, at a time when countries like America and Great Britain had shut their doors to Jews.

And many of the Holocaust survivors wound up as displaced persons after World War II. While America was supporting the former Nazis with the Marshall plan, the survivors were largely ignored. Many of them found a welcome in Israel.

And then, after Israel was founded, most of the Arab nations pushed out their Jewish populations. They had no place to go but Israel. The best example of this, of course, is what happened to the Jews in the "West Bank." The Arab armies pushed out all of the Jews in the territories they conquered in the 1947-48 war. In particular, they destroyed Jewish communities that had been inhabited continuously for thousands of years. East Jerusalem, where many now wish to deny Jewish settlement rights, had a Jewish majority before 1947.

And recently, many Jews have gone to Israel to escape persecution in Russia and Ethiopia. Again, there were no other options.

So opposition to Israel, or an insensitivity to its security needs, does carry with it an indifference to the fate of these Jews who have had no other refuge from death or serious persecution. Such indifference is, indeed, a form of antisemitism: if the Arabs succeed in driving the Jews into the sea, they will be merely continuing what Hitler started.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>