Emma Watson, the actress who appeared in the movie “Harry Potter”, wrote “solidarity is a verb” on Instagram, and superimposed an image of Palestinian support on it, revealing her intention to sympathize with Palestinians. In a blink of an eye, more than a million “Likes” were added, and many thank-you comments were made. There is no doubt that Emma Watson’s writing contained the intention of protesting against human rights violations and violations of international law, such as Israel’s blockade of Gaza, attacks, expansion of settlements in occupied territories, and arrest and detention of political prisoners. In response, the UN ambassador to Israel immediately criticized it as “anti-Semitic”.
The word “anti-Semitism” is a word that always comes back immediately when blaming Israel, and is used as a symbol of the policy of Nazi Germany, which persecuted Jews.
Because the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, and many in Israel emphasized that “anti-Semitism” led Jews to gas chambers and human soap, Philosopher Hannah Arendt says “anti-Semitic” not permanent, but for the time being, has lost its credibility at all. The word “anti-Semitism” is frequently used by the Nazis and others while the policy of intentionally excluding “foreign elements” such as Jews was taken in order to increase the support of the nation-state established based on nationalism in the 19th century. Israel, like European nationalism, is trying to eliminate domestic foreign elements (= Arabs) by using the term anti-Semitism. Israel is doing something similar to the Nazis, including banning Jewish and non-Jewish marriage.
It goes without saying that appealing for the protection of Palestinian human rights is not “anti-Semitic”. Judith Butler, an American Jewish philosopher, has criticized Israel’s national violence and racial discrimination, and like Emma Watson, has been labeled as “anti-Semitic” by some Israelis. But she says she criticizes Israel because of the values of social justice as a Jew. She argued that Israel and Palestinians must achieve equal rights, Palestinian self-determination, as a prerequisite to ending Israeli occupation and colonial rule, in order for Israel and Palestine to achieve equality and justice. Palestinian state must be established so that their right to own land and carry out land redistribution should be realized.
In July 2020, linguist Noam Chomsky said criticizing Israel and supporting Palestinians stigmatized as “anti-Semitism,” and this “weapon” attacked Israel’s Gaza. He said it was a vulgar and deceptive “anti-Semitic” defamation of former British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.