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letters | Wellesley College and its students

Criticism of Zionism or Israel should not be stifled

A poster on a bulletin board at the campus center at Wellesley College caused controversy last month. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/File/Boston Globe

Lawrence Harmon has a fundamental flaw in his column chronicling the history of Jews and anti-Semitism at Wellesley College. Judaism as a religion and ethnic identity is not one and the same with the political movement that is Zionism. Although Israel and the establishment organizations in the American Jewish community may want to conflate the two, there is an ever growing and sizable segment of our Jewish community that sees a difference.

Criticism of Israel does not mean someone is anti-Semitic per se. Those who would have you believe otherwise are increasingly using this argument to shut down legitimate debate over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Yes there is still anti-Semitism in the world, but misusing the term to stifle debate on Israeli policies will only lead to the watering down of the term’s effectiveness. Criticism of Zionism is part of the Middle East debate even among Jews.

Dan Klein