Most people would agree that anti-Semitism is a bad thing, even those who are actually anti-Semitic. They would also accuse Jews of being too sensitive on the topic, even as they unleash unprecedented criticism of Israel.
But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday said he and many others are not fooled - today's anti-Israel sentiments are actually age-old anti-Semitism in a new disguise.
"Modern anti-Semitism has taken on the form of being anti-Israel... Instead of saying 'throw the Jews into the sea,' they talk of a world without Zionism, and without Israel," Lieberman said at the Foreign Ministry's third annual Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism.
This new form of anti-Semitism is actually far more dangerous, suggested Lieberman. Instead of lowest elements lashing out at Jews in vile hatred, anti-Israelism is spearheaded by society's elite academics, power brokers and human rights groups that are viewed as inherently good and is couched in eloquent language.
But the goal is the same, warned Lieberman. These people "seek to destroy Israel piece by piece."
Lieberman is by no means the first public figure to equate modern anti-Israel or anti-Zionist sentiment to anti-Semitism.
The most famous progenitor of this way of thinking was Dr. Martin Luther King, who upon being approached at a fund-raising event by a student attacking Israel and the Zionists responded thus:
"When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism."
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