Anti-Israel protesters in London (AP/Alastair Grant/File) (AP/Alastair Grant/File)

Three renowned British writers expressed “alarm” that “constructive criticism of Israeli governments has morphed into something closer to anti-Semitism under the cloak of so-called anti-Zionism.”

“We believe that anti-Zionism, with its anti-Semitic characteristics, has no place in a civil society,” three distinguished British authors wrote in a letter to the editor published Monday in The Times of London, decrying that the “themes and language” of anti-Zionism “have become widespread in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.”

Spurred by discussions of Israel and Zionism during the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the letter, written by historians Simon Schama and Simon Sebag Montefiore and Booker Prize-winning author Howard Jacobson, expressed “alarm” that in recent years, “constructive criticism of Israeli governments has morphed into something closer to anti- Semitism under the cloak of so-called anti-Zionism.”

The authors acknowledged that there is nothing wrong with “fair criticism of Israel” but decried the “demonisation of Zionism itself – the right of the Jewish people to a homeland, and the very existence of a Jewish state.” They dismissed claims that anti-Zionists “claim innocence of any antisemitic intent,” noting  that  “anti-Zionism frequently borrows the libels of classical Jew-hating.”

Zionism, the authors wrote, is “a response to the centuries of persecution, expulsions and mass murder in Christian and Muslim worlds.” In the letter, they described Zionism as “an assertion of the right to exist in the face of cruelty unique in history.”

While the authors expressed sympathy towards Palestinian statehood, they wrote “justice for one nation does not make justice for the other inherently wicked.”

In an essay published last year, Schama similarly observed that “criticism of Israeli policies has mutated into a rejection of Israel’s right to exist.”

Jacobson, too, had made observations that are consistent with this week’s letter, writing a few months later that he had observed “a new viciousness” in expression of anti-Semitism that accompanied Corbyn’s rise to leadership of the Labour Party.

By: The Tower