Peace with Realism

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On Jewish Israel-Haters

by Carlos

March, 2005

  1. Introduction
  2. Phony Jews
  3. Finding Converts
  4. Self-Criticism in Context
  5. Jewish Idealism
  6. Jewish Fear
  7. Jewish Self-Loathing
  8. Conclusion: The Right to Criticize Rightly
  9. Notes


On college campuses, on pro-Palestinian web sites, in liberal political journals, Jews speaking out against Israel have become increasingly visible. Indeed, Palestinian supporters have been searching for them, even trying to recruit them.

Often these "internal" critics go beyond disagreeing with Israel's policies to express condemnation of Israel itself. In many cases the condemnation is so vitriolic that if these writers and speakers were not Jewish, one would suspect them of anti-Semitism. It is no wonder that Israel's enemies find such Jews valuable. They can hide behind the Jewishness of these Jewish antagonists of Israel and use it to give the appearance of legitimacy to their own anti-Israel and even anti-Jewish sentiments.

Jewish Israel-haters are a boon to the Palestinian cause, for two powerful reasons:

  1. They provide a cover for anti-Semitism: How can demonizing Israel, judging Israel by a double standard, or even libeling the Jewish people be called anti-Semitic if one can find Jews who are also doing it?

  2. They undermine Israel's legitimacy in the public mind: If even Jews are condemning Israel, people are supposed to think, how can Israel possibly be in the right? It is very easy to use Jewish self-criticism as a weapon against Israel, especially since Palestinian self-criticism is virtually non-existent.

The phenomenon of Jewish Israel-haters needs to be understood. Such people are often dismissed as "self-hating Jews." While the epithet may contain some truth, by itself it amounts to little more than name-calling and is easy to dismiss. A slogan is not an explanation.

We need to take a closer look at what the Jewish Israel-haters are really saying. We will also need to ask whether the presence of significant self-criticism only on the Jewish side really does imply that Israel and/or the Jewish people must be wrong.


Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:
Peace with Realism