In his November 20 letter , "Israel lobby smearing opponents," Medhat Credi raises the issue of indiscriminate use of the charge of anti-Semitism. He links what I would define as an accurate usage of the charge (A.M. Rosenthal vs. Pat Buchanan) with an inaccurate one (Rehavam Ze'evi vs. President Bush). By doing so, he tries to discredit the legitimate by associating it with the illegitimate, i.e. guilt by association.
Credi says that (to the Israel lobby) "everyone who criticizes Israel is automatically and anti-Semite." He is wrong. If that were the case, about half the Jews in Israel and America would be anti-Semites, since they are frequently critical of the Shamir government on various issues.
What does happen however, is that anti-Semites come out in droves to support any and all anti-Israeli statements, especially statements of respected individuals. That does not mean that everyone who expresses or supports anti-Israel government positions is an anti-Semite.
A case in point are the remarks of President Bush at the press conference he called to gain support for his request for a 120-day delay in considering Israel's request for loan guarantees. During that conference, to generate public support for his position, he made a major effort to turn American opinion against Israel on this issue. This is, of course, documented fact.
One of the results of Mr. Bush's remarks was a flood of anti-Semitic hate mail to the White House in support of his position. Mr. Bush was so disturbed by the tone and substance of that mail that he wrote to the presidents of major Jewish organizations to express his shock and concern over that response. That is also fact.
Mr. Credi also charges me along with Rosenthal and Ze'evi with wrongful use of the charge of anti-Semitism. My October 9 letter did not charge Mary McGrory with anti-Semitism. I did compare the tone and substance of her column to the tone and substance of President Bush's remarks and expressed my concern that this kind of article would contribute to more anti-Semitic hate mail.
Just because one right-wing Israeli extremist called President Bush and anti-Semite does not make it so, nor does it make all charges of anti-Semitism invalid, as Mr. Credi would have us believe.
James S. Davidson, Briarcliff Manor
December 12, 1991
For a rebuttal see