OP-ED: Is criticism of Israel forbidden?

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the former president of TransAfrica Forum. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com. And look for his new novel The Man Who Fell From the Sky.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the former president of TransAfrica Forum. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com. And look for his new novel The Man Who Fell From the Sky.

By Bill Fletcher, Jr., NNPA Newswire Contributor

It may seem like a strange question, but after CNN’s termination of Marc Lamont Hill, I have to ask that question. Let me go further: If criticism of Israel is not forbidden, is there a booklet somewhere with appropriate guidelines on what can be criticized and how criticism is supposed to be offered? And, while I am at it, is there any preface to these guidelines that explains why this only applies to Israel?

I was outraged by the termination of Marc Lamont Hill. Coinciding with the bogus charges of anti-Semitism against Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, one gets the growing feeling that allegations of anti-Semitism are primarily being used against anyone who supports Palestinians’ rights.

Hill offered a presentation to the United Nations in which he was calling for the respecting of Palestinian rights by the Israeli government. He made reference to a phrase “from the river to the sea” which some pundits have suggested refers to an alleged support for eliminating Jews from Israel. How anyone can draw that conclusion is far from clear, particularly when one looks at the larger context of Hill’s speech.

Hill spoke out in favor of Palestinian rights and also called for non-violence. His position was very clear. He was also calling for the respect of Palestinian rights in the total territory controlled by Israel, whether it was the Occupied Territories—which go to the Jordan River—or the state of Israel—which goes to the Mediterranean Sea. There is nothing surprising in these comments particularly in light of the apartheid conditions that Palestinians face in both Israel and the Occupied Territories.

The attack on Hill and on Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour are an attempt to divert attention away from the real sources of contemporary anti-Semitism, i.e., the emerging right-wing populist movement in the USA. Rather than focusing on the right-wing populists, including the neofascists, who regularly call for marginalizing or exterminating Jews, pro-Israeli hawks are using the term as a way of stifling criticism of the barbaric treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government and their supporters.

The suggestion that criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic is as ridiculous as suggesting that a criticism of the Russian government is anti-Slavic or an attack on Morocco for occupying the Western Sahara is anti-Arab or anti-Muslim. Israel’s internal and external policies should be as subject to criticism as those of ANY other country on this planet. If they are not, then I, for one, want to know why.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the former president of TransAfrica Forum. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com. He is the author of the recently published murder/mystery The Man Who Fell From the Sky.

About Bill Fletcher Jr. 5114 Articles
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the former president of TransAfrica Forum. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and www.billfletcherjr.com. Read his new novel The Man Who Fell From the Sky from Hardball Press.


  1. It is not legally forbidden, yet. Although Schumer and the other zio nazis are trying to make it illegal. google antisemititsm awareness act.

    • Zio Nazis? Do you realize that you are calling Jews who want their own secure homeland Nazis and that Jews need their own homeland because of people such as Nazis. It is incredible to me how often people that can not articulate their arguments properly just start calling those on the other side of the argument Nazis. You just called Charles Schumer, a Jewish democratic senator a Nazi? It’s true idiocy.

      I’ve always said that people that can’t defend their stance on issues just end up trying to win the argument by delegitimizing their opponent. This shows weakness in your argument and exposes YOU!

  2. Mr. Fletcher, I appreciate the challenge that you present to end your article “Israel’s internal and external policies should be as subject to criticism as those of ANY other country on this planet. If they are not, then I, for one, want to know why”. I, as a Zionist, want to respectfully step up to this challenge.

    First of all, Israel is absolutely game for questioning of its policies as much as any other country but your challenge misses the mark. The question actually is “Why are Israel’s internal and external policies questioned and criticized by the world to the point of obsession?” We as advocates of Israel are absolutely pleading for Israel to be treated EXACTLY like any other country in the world.

    I was taught in school that if A=B and B=C then A must equal C. Anti-Zionism=Anti-semitism and in this equation “B” are double standards held against Israel that no other country is subject to. There is truly an obsession to demonize the only Jewish majority state in the world.

    If Israel were treated fairly there would not be an Article 7 of the UN Human Rights Council. Where is the article against North Korea, Iran, Russia, Myanmar? Russia, just a few years ago invaded the Ukraine, captured the whole Crimean penninsula, and annexed it into Russia proper. Where are the calls to boycott Russian companies, academics, and industries? China has imprisioned over 1,000,000 Muslims but there is no outrage to boycott China or to scold them at the UN. China has been proven to traffic humans and human body parts, theft of intellectual property and occupies Tibet. Where is the outrage? Here is the double standards. Turkey occupies northern Cyprus and imprisons it anti-government journalists but where is the outrage. The list goes on an on of examples.

    2) I could make a very strong argument that Israel’s actions are a RESULT AND REACTION to the international community stacking the deck against them. Mr. Fletcher, are you aware that in 1948, when 600,000 Palestinians became refugees that and approximately equal number of Jews became refugees as well? They were kicked out of their homes throughout the Middle East. Look it up-it’s well documented. So why do we still hear about the Palestinian sufferings and not the Jewish sufferings? Because Israel took in their Jewish refugees, gave them citizenship, an education, jobs and today these families are achieving as productive members of Israel’s society. They are not looking back asking for right of return etc. For the Muslim refugees their brothers and sisters in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt did quite the opposite. They did not allow them to enter their countries, kept (and continue to keep) their fellow Muslims living in squalor and poverty. These refugees are approaching 80 years of negligence just so these countries can continue to blame Israel for all the suffering in the region. No wonder these refugees are calling for a Right of Return…nobody is helping them move on. In fact those that stir the drink actually urge these refugees not to look forward but to look back and demand a return to a situation that hasn’t existed for 75 years. The plight of the Palestinians is an abomination but it is far from Israel’s fault alone.

    And the UN is completely complicit in this crime. I hope you are aware that the definition of a Palestinian refugee is different from ANY other refugee on the planet. Palestinians are the ONLY and I mean the ONLY refugees in history who include the descendents (No matter how many generations we go) of the orginal refugees from 1948. That means that what once was 600,000 refugees now is 5 million and growing.

    The third and final point I’d like to make is that I will often ask someone if “they are Pro-Palestinian or just anti-Israel?” “What’s the difference?” they will often ask. Well do you blame Hamas and Egypt for the situation in Gaza as well? Gaza is not surrounded by Israel contrary to popular belief. They have a border with Egypt but the Egyptians also control goods and people that flow into Gaza just as Israel does.

    What was your reaction to the starvation of thousands of Palestinians in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria in 2015? What you never heard about it? Of course not, because Israel was not involved. This is double standard.

    I could go on and on for a long time giving you this viewpoint on anti-zionism but I hope this help raise some new questions in your mind.

    In summary Israel’s true desire is just to be treated just like EVERY other country but the deck has been stacked against them by double standards. The double standards are why Zionists cry “anti-semitism!” with most criticisms of Israel.

  3. As far as Mr. Hill’s firing from CNN due to his use of the term “from the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” is justified. People will argue that there are different interpretations of what this means but Hamas popularized it and used it as a calling to eliminate Israel. This is how Jews interpret this-as a call to destroy their homeland. You may argue that this term can be interpreted in a number of ways and I am willing to give you that point.

    But using the same logic, there are many people who argue that there is nothing offensive about the Confederate flag, that it is a symbol of Southern pride and history. That they are proud of the flag not because of its relationship to slavery but DESPITE its relationship to history. A majority of African-Americans would likely argue vehemently against that view. Well, it is the same for Jews and that phrase that Mr. Hill proclaimed at the UN. Either we are ok with both the Confederate flag or we are OK with neither of them. We can’t pick and choose.

  4. What part of Israel’s 3000 year old legacy to its own land is invalid?

    by Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi




    “To Moses We [Allah] gave nine clear signs. Ask the Israelites how he [Moses] first appeared amongst them. Pharoah said to him: ‘Moses, I can see that you are bewitched.’ ‘You know full well,’ he [Moses] replied, ‘that none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth has revealed these visible signs. Pharoah, you are doomed.'”

    “Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: ‘Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel].”

    “We [Allah] have revealed the Qur’an with the truth, and with the truth it has come down. We have sent you [Muhammed] forth only to proclaim good news and to give warning.”

    [Qur’an, “Night Journey,” chapter 17:100-104]

    …BTW, Palestine is NOT mentioned ONCE in the Qur’an!

  5. big difference between zio nazis (not real jews in charge of the socalled jewish state) and real jews-the majority of which are not in favor of the zionist agenda…

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