Zionism Is Racism: The Dead Horse That Never Dies
Many thought that we had finally defeated the idea that Zionism is racism in 1991, when the UN revoked its infamous anti-Zionist resolution. But that is no longer the case.
The objective of anti-Zionists is to deny the right of the only Jewish state on Earth to exist. The US State Department defines antisemitism as, in part, a form of racism directed at Israel, due to the use of double standards and other discriminatory practices.
Here are some commonly used and toxic statements by anti-Zionists that we must push back on:
1. Jews are not a “people,” but rather only a religion.
Wrong. Jews descended from the generations that came forth out of Egypt, established their presence in our homeland of Israel, and maintained that presence all throughout the centuries. The Bible refers to us as a nation, and we share that common bond with all Jewish communities in the Diaspora.
2. Israel’s claims to the land of Israel are based only on the Bible.
Wrong. Jews have had a three millennia-long physical presence in Israel, supported by every synagogue in the world built with its holy ark facing the Jerusalem Holy Temple. The Balfour Declaration, embodied in the San Remo treaty and League of Nations Palestine Mandate — and accepted by the United Nations — endorsed our claim to our homeland in international jurisprudence.
3. Israel is a colonial enterprise.
False. Israel was brought into existence by an army of homeland Jews that took on all the neighboring Arab nations that invaded while vowing to destroy the Jewish state. The Jews are the indigenous people, speaking the same language and practicing the same religion and customs as thousands of years ago.
4. Israel is an apartheid state.
False. Arab citizens of Israel are represented — and serve — in the Knesset. They serve throughout the government, have the exact same rights as Jews, and are found in every public and private sector of Israeli life.
5. Israel stole Palestinian land.
Wrong. Palestinian Arabs have never in history ruled any part of the land of Israel.
6. Jews are not “Palestinians.”
Wrong. The 1947 UN Partition Plan referred to the “two Palestinian Peoples.” The PLO was not even created until 1964. The region was named by the Romans after the Philistines, the sworn enemies of Israel, to disassociate what had been Jewish from the Jews. During the British Mandate, it was the Jews who were commonly known as “Palestinian”; they created the Palestine Post, Symphony, and Electric Co. The Arabs there considered themselves South Syrians.
All efforts to delegitimize Israel, whether from the right or left, are red flag signs of antisemitism. We must not let them use this terminology.
Lee Bender is the co-author of the book, Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z, author of dozens of published articles, co-founder of the website www.factsonisrael.com, and co-president of the Zionist Organization of America-Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
Jerome R. Verlin, a former vice president of ZOA’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter, is the author of the book, Israel 3,000 Years: The Jewish People’s 3,000 Year Presence in Palestine, co-author of Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z, and co-founder of www.factsonisrael.com.