Letters to the Editor: Antisemitic attacks are rising. How much is anti-Zionism to blame?

LAPD Sgt. Kenneth Price, right, talks with members of the Jewish community on La Brea Boulevard.
LAPD Sgt. Kenneth Price, right, talks with members of the Jewish community on La Brea Boulevard on May 22 after a spate of antisemitic attacks.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The violent assault on diners outside a sushi restaurant by people reportedly shouting “death to Jews” and “free Palestine” is a reminder that, in practice, there is no distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

One can certainly question or criticize Israel’s government or policies, as one might question or criticize those of any other country — there is always a time and place for respectful, civil debate. But those who cross the line into hatred for Israel almost invariably do so because they hate Jews, and when they vent their anger at Israel, it is almost invariably targeted at Jews.

At a time when antisemitism is surging, we must make clear that there is no tolerance for antisemitic or anti-Israel hate, and no place in any such debate for violence.


Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco


To the editor: The violence against Jewish citizens is reprehensible and must be punished to the full extent of the law.

At the same time, our condemnation of that criminal conduct should not perpetuate the practice of treating hatred of Jews and opposition to the policies and practices of the current government of Israel as one and the same.

The blending of the two — the argument that anyone who opposes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions is an antisemite — was the cynical cudgel that former President Trump used in putting on the defensive those who condemned the Israeli leader’s arrogant overreach in dealing with the Palestinians.

While many, including this writer, believe that there must always be an Israel, we must also keep in mind that there is no conflict in embracing that belief and simultaneously believing that the conduct of the incumbent Israeli government is inimical to that goal.

To assert otherwise plays into the hands of those, both here and abroad, who would cynically mute legitimate debate.

Mark Steinberg, Los Angeles