Readers React: Here is what makes certain criticisms of Israel anti-Semitic

The Israeli flag flutters over the Mount of Olives adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City.
The Israeli flag flutters over the Mount of Olives adjacent to Jerusalem’s Old City.
(Thomas Coex / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Any activity by pro-Palestinian advocates and the so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions movement that makes pro-Israel Jewish students uncomfortable to the point they are afraid to exercise their freedom to advocate for Israel is discriminatory, anti-Semitic and a violation of those Jewish students’ right of free speech. (“Is speech critical of Israel anti-Semitic? In a case that could redefine campus politics, Trump administration weighs in,” Sept. 14)

Your free speech rights end where your aggressive conduct amounting to intimidation infringes on the free speech rights of others.

It is no one else’s place to decide whether supporting Israel is an important part of a “Jewish identity.” It is for some, and it isn’t for others. It is, in short, an individual choice.

Furthermore, the process of singling out Israel as having special burdens because it is a “Jewish state” is anti-Semitic. Israel’s existence is perfectly legal, having been recognized by the United Nations 70 years ago. It is a fact on the ground. To delegitimize Israel’s right to exist because it is a Jewish state is anti-Semitism.


Robert J. Firestone, New York


To the editor: Do we need to suspend the 1st Amendment because some students feel uncomfortable with criticism of Israel?

Arguments about Israel’s origin, validity and treatment of the Palestinian people are legitimate and should remain so. Why should our government even consider excluding some issues from discussion on college campuses?

What we are really looking at is some sort of right-wing power play, and it is a clear departure from the 1st Amendment.

Richard Klug, Beverly Hills


To the editor: The definition of Zionism, according to a UCLA professor who teaches on the topic, is that a people with a culture, a history and a language is entitled to a place to live.


Criticizing Israel’s policies is something anyone, including Jews, can do — but anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

Edward Gilbert, Studio City

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