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August 31, 2016 1:27 am

Anti-Zionism Is Antisemitism

avatar by Justin Amler

Email a copy of "Anti-Zionism Is Antisemitism" to a friend
Anti-Israel flag. Photo: wiki commons.

Anti-Israel flag. Photo: wiki commons.

Martin Luther King once said, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews; you are talking antisemitism.”

Never has that insight proven more accurate than today, as we witness increasing antisemitism across the world — thinly veiled as a criticism of Zionism and the state of Israel, rather than against Jews themselves.

Today, among many groups who consider themselves liberal and progressive, it is an insult to call someone a Zionist — an insult akin to calling someone a racist. Yet the irony that is ignored by all these groups is that Zionism espouses the very values these groups claim to uphold. Zionism, for example, gives Muslims and Christians the freedom to practice all their beliefs and traditions without hindrance from the state. The same can’t be said of any Arab country. And it is another irony that on the beaches of France, French police had forced Muslim women to remove their burkinis, while in Israel, Muslims face no such demands.

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True liberals who share progressive values should be at the forefront of supporting Israel, rather than leading the charge against it. But their minds are so clouded with hatred and antisemitism that they have lost all sense of what liberal values even mean.

Furthermore, even if we had to accept their premise — that they only oppose the State of Israel and not Jews themselves — anti-Zionists certainly aren’t questioning the legitimacy and leading boycotts against the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries who were actually colonizers.

Instead, the many groups that have sprung up in support of the “Palestinian cause” have no interest in anything other than bashing and destroying Israel.

These hate groups like to tell you that Zionism and Judaism are completely unrelated issues, but Zionism is as old as Judaism itself; Zionism dates back to when the first Jew, Abraham, made his way to what would become the Land of Israel. Not only are Zionism and Judaism related, they are completed intertwined with each other, so much so that the love and commitment to the Land of Israel is a core value of what being a Jew is all about.

Anti-Zionism is a movement of hatred, fuelled by the darkness of humanity, not the light. It brings out the worst in people, not the best. Its supporters are not driven by a sense of the lack of justice in the world, but rather by a sense of a reinforcement of long-standing injustice directed against only one particular group of people. They wave the banner of morality, while conveniently ignoring the absolute lack of morality of their own cause.

To give legitimacy to their cause is the same as saying that French people don’t belong in France, or English people don’t belong in England. To deny only the Jews these same rights as others is what makes anti-Zionism an antisemitic movement.

Zionism is simply the right of Jewish people to self-determination in their own land — the same land in which they became a people and a nation almost 4000 years ago.

When people criticize that, they are not talking about the state of Israel; they are talking about the Jewish people.

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  • Dan

    I’m not stupid. I’m intelligent and well-read. I don’t harbor any ill feelings towards Jews or the Jewish religion. Indeed, I’ve always admired and celebrated Jewish culture and history, so far as I’ve been exposed to it.

    And I feel that the current state of affairs with respect to Israel and the Palestinians is a blot on that bright historical record. Indeed, starting with the machinations after WWI to establish a Jewish homeland, I would say that the story is littered with gross moral lapses on the part of the Zionists.

    My own belief for a long time was that a two-state solution would have been most just, with major concessions by both sides; maybe a trade of right-of-return for East Jerusalem. But both sides have been so foolish, hate-filled and stubborn for so long, I’m beginning to feel there’s little hope for that Un-holy land.

    We could dispute the moral issues, and the whole extremely complicated story, but that’s not my intent here. Rather, I’d like to protest the continued false and cowardly charge leveled against anyone who criticizes Israel’s behavior, that they are anti-Semitic. No; they’re not. I’ll choose my own definition of “anti-Zionism” if you don’t mind, and mine simply means I object to the notion that ALL of the land in question should belong to Israel. I’m fairly confident that millions of non-anti-Semitic folk around the world feel the same way.

    Make your argument in favor of whatever you think is just and desirable in that part of the world, but don’t try to disqualify your opponents by making straw men of them. Tell me why I’m wrong to believe Israel shouldn’t continue annexing more and more land; why the 2,000,000 Arabs living in the Palestinian Mandate didn’t have a right to self-determination; why the BDS movement would make bedfellows out of people like me and truly anti-Semitic people. Make any argument you like, but stop trying to disqualify my opinion by throwing a hate-label at me.

    Thanks.

  • Joshua Laskin

    I agree that Anti-Zionism is Antisemitism. Antisemitism is fear of Jews. Traditionally, it was fear of Jews cheating at business, killing Gentile children, poisoning wells, conspiring to enslave Humanity, etc. Today, it’s fear that Jews are subverting liberal democracies, to further Israeli expansionism, thereby destabilizing the global order, and ultimately causing World War III. I fear that Justin’s statement, that “commitment to the Land of Israel is a core value of what being a Jew is all about”, will only reinforce this fear; as it seems to suggest, that the Jews of the world will stop at nothing, in pursuit of their goal, of regaining control of all lands ever controlled by Jews–which, of course, includes lands which are now parts of other countries. But, I wonder, if his statement is strictly true. My understanding, is that Zionists wanted a Jewish homeland, not because they couldn’t be Jews elsewhere than on traditionally Jewish soil, but rather because nowhere else were Jews allowed to fulfill their potentials; and also, they worried that Jews who were able to succeed, would assimilate, and stop being Jews. The worship of the ancient “Land of Israel”, which Zionism has turned into, was never a core Jewish value. Most Jews don’t feel any need to regain control of the entire land of the ancient Jewish kingdoms. Israel may be an interesting place–but being a Jew doesn’t depend on it. Someday, Jews will live on Mars, and be no less Jewish for it. Torah is portable, not place-dependent.

    • Ari Lopez Wei

      What you say about Jews wanted to regain control of all lands we’ve ever owned is completely wrong. We’re not Turks. We want the land of Israel and we have every right to be there, having had a presence there that predates even the religions of Islam and Christianity.

  • I notice that recently, a U.S. appeals court overturned a financial judgment against the Palestinian government for the Palestinian government’s sponsorship of terror that resulted in the deaths of Americans related to the plaintiffs.

    In defending the overturning of the decision that would have seen the victims’ survivors compensated, it was said that the Palestinian government would be destabilized if it had to pay out such a large sum, and that this would against peace because the U.S. has invested so much in the Palestinian government attempting to bring about peace.

    Meanwhile, in September, 2015, at the beginning of waves of vehicular attacks and stabbing attacks against Jews (and others, including the American Tayler Force) in Israel, the Palestinian Authority’s Abbas made an Arabic video in which he called the jihadist attackers “martyrs,” said they would be rewarded by Allah in heaven, and Abbas said that the “filthy feet” of Jews will never go near their mosque, and additionally Abbas said “We welcome every drop of blood spilled.”

    That’s what the U.S. government thinks constitutes “investment in peace.”

    Meanwhile, when did you last hear Obama or Kerry acknowledge that in 1947, when the U.N. proposed a two-state resolution to the conflict, Middle Eastern Jews accepted the proposal, whereas Arabs rejected it, and their only counter-offer was a war of annihilation with the announced intent of “driving the Jews into the sea”?

  • Jay Lavine

    True liberals have minds clouded by hatred and antisemitism? I don’t think this is what the author meant to say. A number of very liberal student groups in Europe have recently condemned BDS.

    It’s important to note that some of Israel’s most ardent supporters are people of Jewish ancestry who have adopted a secular right-wing ideological approach consistent with their personalities. In contrast to the Jewish way, which stresses honesty and evenhandedness and condemns deceit, they often present a one-sided picture of Israel, which is very harmful in the long run. Just as the biblical forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov were presented in an honest manner, warts and all, so must the state of Israel.

  • Jack Mutnick

    Entirely true Justin yet I find myself continuing to be surprised that Jews even legitimize these false sentiments espoused by morons. The more credence we give to idiots who spout stupid talk, the more they spout it. Unless we physically confront these idiots (which I support 100% and want to be a part of) there is no reason to provide idiots with a forum for recognition. This is not to say your article isn’t awesome, but my opinion is that shedding a single word in response to scum only gives them validity. Arabs will always teach hatred and murder of Jews so that cannot be changed but responding to any other vocal idiots in North America or Europe is unnecessary.

    • shelley dube

      Jack, I always thought the same thing that ignoring these groups was best. It seems though that not refuting them has led to the rise of their falsehoods now being seen as fact. I so appreciate voices like Justin as well. Interested to hear if people feel we are better off with cold silence ( or does that imply assent) or with submitting the real facts over their lies ( then again how can we ever expect to be heard over the roar of the clowns!)

      • Ari Lopez Wei

        I see the merit in letting the idiots spout their nonsense until they’re blue in the face, and just ignore it. However, this is largely a propaganda war, and in this case, I feel it’s important that we continue to push out factual information over the lies.

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