In its most recent anti-Israel op-ed, the New York Times hosts the philosophy professor Omri Boehm branding Zionism as inherently illiberal and racist, while dragging up distortions of history that have been subjected to numerous debunkings. The blogger known by the pen-name Elder of Ziyon writes:
Of course there is a tension between Zionism and liberalism, but that doesn’t mean that a Zionist state must be by definition illiberal, as Boehm claims. Zionism is not by any means “rooted in the denial of liberal politics.” This is an obvious lie.
Boehm then adduces a 1941 letter in which Avraham Stern, leader of a Revisionist Zionist splinter group, proposed cooperating with the Nazis to rescue Jews from Europe and bring them to Palestine. This Boehm declares a “sanctification of Zionism to the point of tolerating anti-Semitism.”
When this letter was written, Stern’s assumption was that Hitler did not want to exterminate the Jews systematically, but [instead] to encourage them to leave Europe. It is truly obscene to describe Stern’s desperate effort to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the clutches of the Nazis as an inherent Zionist affinity with Nazism. In fact, Stern was known to . . . compare Hitler to [the genocidal biblical villain] Haman.
But Boehm is doing much worse than misrepresenting Stern. Stern’s offer to collaborate with Germany to save thousands of Jews was anomalous. From the right to the left, the Zionist movement opposed Nazi Germany from the beginning. . . . It is instructive that Boehm digs up this little-known episode as the paradigm of Zionism’s supposed affinity with anti-Semitism.
What do you call a man who generalizes about an entire group of people based on a troubling anecdote about a single member of that group? You would call him a bigot.
You would certainly not call him liberal.