Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Letter to the Editor - The Hour (Norwalk, Connecticut)

The following letter was sent to The Hour, based in Norwalk, Connecticut on July 14 and published Sunday, July 18, 2010.

Unfair criticism difficult to gauge

To the Editor:

Methinks Fred Wicke doth protest too much.

In his July 10 letter, he writes: "I can't believe that there have been a dozen writers calling Mr. Kimmich anti-Semitic and other insulting remarks."

There's a good reason he can't believe it: it's not true.

Between the time of the Kimmich letter to which he refers and the publication of his own letter, there were only five writers responding to Kimmich's factually challenged anti-Israel screeds. Of those, only one even mentioned anti-Semitism. That reference didn't actually accuse Kimmich of anti-Semitism, but simply referred to anti-Zionist as being "the politically correct term for Anti-Semitic."

Israel-haters seem to love to launch false accusations of being accused of anti-Semitism. Such false accusations far outnumber actual accusations of anti-Semitism. The latter are extremely rare. Here's why:

Unlike the Israel-haters, supporters of Israel are generally very careful about avoiding false statements. One rarely finds factual errors in the writings of supporters of Israel. (This is in sharp contrast to the other side; Wicke's letter is typical.)

Academic studies have shown a high correlation between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. This confirms the common sense understanding that the vast majority of criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism.

However, without intimate knowledge of the individual involved, it's extremely difficult to know for sure whether a particular person's unfair criticisms are motivated by anti-Semitism.

Hence, although they are often fully justified, suspicions of anti-Semitism are rarely voiced.

Alan Stein
President, PRIMER-Connecticut Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting

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