Rachel Shabi is the UK Guardian’s professional Jewish critic of Israel

February 19, 2012

(Jews and the charge of ‘Dual Loyalty’: CiF’s Rachel Shabi excuses a classic antisemitic canard « CiF Watch)
Shabi, in arguing that “rightwing pro-Israelis [have] sucked the oxygen out of any conversation about the country”, argues:

(False accusations of antisemitism desensitize us to the real thing « Guardian) …a broader rash of pouncing-upon from rightwing pro-Israelis that has sucked the oxygen out of any conversation about the country – especially in the US. Witness the recent storm over the phrase “Israel firsters”: used to accuse people of putting policy on Israel above US interests, it sparked a row among liberal commentators on whether it carries connotations of dual loyalty that feed into antisemitic tropes. This was just another attempt to smear liberal American critics of Israel,
Yet the real danger in all this is that the rush to throw charges of antisemitism…and silence…people who criticise Israel will desensitise vigilance over the real thing. Such tactics are meant to intimidate and paralyse, choke and divert the discussion over Israel’s occupation and policies in the Middle East.

Briefly, the controversy Shabi is referring to arose when it was discovered that Zaid Jilani, who blogged for a Center for American Progress (CAP) website, ThinkProgress, used Twitter to call US supporters of the Jewish state “Israel Firsters(MORE) evoking the antisemitic narrative that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country.

she’s gone a long way by hurting people she claims to be a part of.

the New Centrist sums up Shabi as follows:“Shabi is part of small group of post-Zionist Mizrahi intellectuals who want to reclaim the non-European aspect their identity. I think this is a positive thing. But some of these post-Zionists have a tendency to borrow analytical frameworks from Marxists and others who view Ashkenazim and Zionists as imperialists and colonialists. In this narrative, the Mizrahim are indigenous people who have been victimized by Zionism, just like the Palestinians. In other words, Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians are people of color and Ashkenazis are whitey. Shabi and her political allies, in turn, are part of the global resistance against the forces of global empire.