Is it Antisemitic to Criticize Israel? — Heated Discussions on Israel & Palestine, Is There a Middle Ground?

Jakub Ferencik
11 min readNov 19, 2023

At the outset, I’d like to include some housekeeping notes.

First, for the sake of this post, I am at particular risk of oversimplifying. Know that this is not because I believe the region has a simple history or politics. Instead, I do so for the sake of brevity, in order to create a digestible post.

When I write about this topic and other topics, I will unfortunately shorten issues and make them seem simpler than they really are. My apologies in advance; I hope you do not take offense here.

Second, in my title, I am not implying that it is bad to call out antisemitism. Antisemitism lives on and it’s far too prominent among the public and politicians alike. We ought to do everything we can to condemn it when we see it. The title is simply referencing that many are being called antisemitic despite being seemingly well-intentioned people.

We can educate ourselves more about Jewish history, however.

Many at this time are simply unaware of the extent of Jewish suffering throughout history and when Nazis were taking over Europe during the Second World War. As I will get into in this post, the Holocaust was a unique culmination of violence — one that we must never forget.

That said, in my view, it is not antisemitic to call for a prolonged humanitarian pause in Gaza. Indeed, it is my firm belief that we can indeed condemn Hamas’ terrorism against Israel and Israel’s continuous bombing of Gaza.

And third, please do not take the words I write here as undisputed facts and my irreversible opinion. If I get anything wrong, please let me know so that I can make the edits to the text. I do not stick by my opinions dogmatically; they are, by definition, temporary, and they are changed when better evidence is given (for the most part — no one is completely impartial, of course).

In this post, I will primarily be talking about censorship on this topic and why so many are unwilling to acknowledge the unique complexity of this region’s history and instead opt for simple and, unfortunately, inaccurate narratives between an imagined “oppressor” and “the oppressed.”

It’s not that simple. Precisely because it’s not simple we should discourage needless censorship, at a time when empathy should be at the forefront of our…

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Jakub Ferencik

Author of “Up in the Air,” “Beyond Reason,” & "Surprised by Uncertainty" on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | RA for EUROPEUM Prague | 700+ articles with 1+ mil. views