Many people agreed with my view that despising the policies of the Israeli government does not make you anti-Jewish. Others, inevitably, disagreed – and many did so rather vehemently.
I was repeatedly accused of two things in particular: ignorance and anti-Semitism.
Frankly, the level of abuse in some quarters might have been enough to bring out some anti-Semitic feeling, but for one thing. I’m Jewish.
And not a self-hating Jew, either, as I know I’ll be accused of being. I think that’s a category invented by the Israeli right wing and their supporters as a way of belittling and shouting down their Jewish opponents. Of whom there are many.
Like any form of self-identity, being Jewish is partly a matter of choice. My brother doesn’t think of himself as Jewish. I do. Being abused and spat on in the street can have that sort of effect.
We’re Jewish enough that the Nazis would have marked us out for extermination. Our one Jewish granny would have been enough.
On the other hand, we wouldn’t qualify for Israeli citizenship, even if we wanted it. It would have had to be the other granny for that. Institutional racism mixed with sexism would seem to be one way of keeping your democracy "pure".
But I’m proud of my great-great aunt Zhenya, who was a founder of the Jewish Workers’ Bund and translated Karl Marx into Russian. And I’m proud of my great-grandfather Isaac, who worked as a lawyer for the working-class Jews of New York and wrote in Yiddish for the Jewish Daily Forward.
I’d be proud of Einstein, the artist Marc Chagall, the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, the Zionist Theodor Herzl (yes, really) and a host of other great people if that didn’t mean I’d also have to be ashamed of Benjamin Netanyahu and his ilk.
As for my alleged ignorance, I wonder how many of my accusers have (and have read) long shelves of books on Jewish history and culture, as I have. (Sample of authors on the spines I can see from my desk: Eva Hoffman, Simon Schama, Roma Ligocka, Tony Michels, Eric Hobsbawm, Erich Haberer, Steven Cassedy, Ruth Ellen Gruber, Victor Klemperer, James Owen, D'Blossiers Tovey, Samuel Iwry, Miriam Weinstein, David J Goldberg, Paul Johnson, David Goldberg, IA Hourwich, Melech Epstein, Theo Richmond, Irving Howe, Abraham Cahan, Gustavo Corni, Leopold Haimson, Wladyslaw Szpilman, Milton Meltzer, Lucy Dawidowicz, Henry J Tobias, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Israel Joshua Singer, Evaldas Bakonis, Pauline Wengeroff, Elaine Feinstein, Anthony Rudolf.)
And I still think Netanyahu runs a vicious apartheid-style regime which – tragically – is one of the chief reasons anti-Semitism continues to flourish around the world.