Media Watch

Letter to Al Jazeera: Hamid Dabashi's Sleights of Hand

The following letter was submitted to Al Jazeera in response to "Why Muslims Must be at the Forefront of Fighting Anti-Semitism” (March 17)

Letters to the Editor
Al Jazeera

To the Editor:

Professor Hamid Dabashi employs all the sleights of hands by those on the political left who engage in anti-Semitic tropes against Jews (“Why Muslims Must be at the Forefront of Fighting Anti-Semitism,” March 17).

He tries to separate out Zionism from Judaism, when Zionism is the fulfillment of the 2000-year aspiration of the Jewish people to return to the Holy Land. He claims to be opposed to anti-Semitism, but only acknowledges anti-Semitism from the right. And he demonizes Israel under the guise of legitimate criticism of the Jewish state.

Anti-Semitism is a phenomenon that has no ideological monopoly. It can come from the right, it can come from the left, it can come from majority communities and it can come from minority communities. And it can come in blatant forms such as we saw at Charlottesville or it can come in nuanced form as seen by Dabashi: “I'm only condemning Zionism, not Jews or Judaism.”

In all such cases, Jews are demonized, either as secret holders of poisonous power, or, in Dabashi's case, in the form of condemning the allegedly racist, illegitimate movement of Jewish national liberation, Zionism.

Those who truly care about combatting anti-Semitism need to reject anti-Semitism in whatever form it surfaces. Using Israel as a cover for such anti-Semitism won't do the trick and should be condemned by all those who want to combat the surge of hate in today’s world.


Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
Anti-Defamation League