Modern Zionism, which began at the end of the 19th century, has three basic components:
- That Jews are a people who originate in the land of Israel
- That Jews should have self-determination and sovereignty in their homeland
- That such homeland will be a safe haven from anti-Semitism and a base from which to combat it
Zionism is without question a Jewish movement, as seen by the three items above. Despite the clear connection, people have debated whether anti-Zionism is necessarily anti-Semitic. Below is a review of various aspects of anti-Zionism together with a consideration of whether it is rooted in Jew hatred.
1. Against the Premise of Zionism
The 19th and 20th century goal of Modern Zionism was to recreate a Jewish State in the Jewish homeland. While Jews had always prayed to, yearned for, moved to and lived in the land of Israel, the idea that Jews should have self-determination and sovereignty in the land was once viewed as far-fetched. Dominant and powerful religious groups believed that the ‘Wandering Jew’ without a home was their curse for killing Jesus thousands of years ago or not following the Islamic prophet today. A Jewish home countered embedded anti-Semitic beliefs in some religions.
There are many ways in which anti-Zionism has become shaped in people’s thinking due to the way Israel is covered in the media and the United Nations, which are deeply anti-Semitic.
2. Manifestations of Anti-Zionism
The anti-Semitism embedded in almost every manifestation of anti-Zionism is both obvious and odious.
Denial Of History
The assertion that Jews are “colonialists”, “interlopers” and “invaders” is a denial of Jews’ 3,300-year history in the holy land. Imagine denying that African-Americans were slaves in the United States or the history of the royal family in the United Kingdom. It is simultaneously absurd and outrageous.
The rejection of Israeli history is specifically targeted against Jews and not the one-quarter of Israelis who are not Jewish.
Denial Place To Live
All people should be allowed to live anywhere and everywhere. No one says that Hindus cannot live in Egypt or gays should be denied citizenship in Norway. So how does anyone have the temerity to say that Jews should banned from living in Gaza or Bethlehem, or think that such a ban should be supported because the local Arabs demand it?
Israeli Arabs are free to relocate from Jaffa to Jerusalem or Jericho without being labelled as illegal “settlers.” The parameters of defining illegal “settlers” is specifically about religion and ethnicity, not nationality.
Denial Right To Pray
Jews, and only Jews, are denied their right to pray at their holiest location. The world has branded the people who demand such basic human right as “extremists,” rather than the jihadists who threaten those Jews with violence.
The invective is attached by anti-Semites / anti-Zionists to any Jew from around the world ascending the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, no such call is made about Israeli Arabs who visit the site.
Refusal To Call Out Anti-Semitism
The refusal to accurately label the blatant anti-Semitism of anti-Zionists is also anti-Semitic.
The foundational Hamas Charter is a Jew-hating manifesto which combines Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the notorious forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the worst possible reading of Jews in the Koran. And Palestinian Arabs elected Hamas to a majority of parliament with such charter. Perhaps not surprisingly, as ADL polls show that 93% of Palestinian Arabs are anti-Semites, and Palestinians own polls show that a majority favor killing Israeli Jewish civilians.
This outrageous sentiment is not reported by the mainstream media or at the United Nations. All pretend that Arabs are merely “resorting” to violence because they are “frustrated” by the lack of a state, not that they seek a state free of Jews.
Calling Israelis “Nazis”
The disgusting smear of calling Israelis “Nazis” is specifically designed to paint Jews in the blood of their murderers. It attempts to brand Jews, the victims of the worst modern genocide of a government against its own citizens, as the new oppressors in the vehicle of a Jewish State. The invective is tied toward Israeli Jews and the Jewish State, not Israeli Arabs.
Charges of “Ethnic Cleansing” and “Genocide”
Anti-Zionists defend Palestinian Arabs who went to war with the Jews who had just survived a genocide in Europe in 1948-9. They defend the five Arab armies who ethnically-cleansed Jews from the western bank of the Jordan and eastern Jerusalem by never talking about it. They skip the disgraceful anti-Semitic Jordanian Citizenship Law of 1954 that gave Arabs citizens and denied giving it to any Jew.
While ignoring the actual ethnic cleansing of Jews, anti-Semites / anti-Zionists claim that Jews are ethnically cleansing Arabs when in fact, the Arab population under Israeli rule has jumped faster that the population of both Jews and Arabs in surrounding countries. Like the absurd charge of “Nazis”, anti-Semite / anti-Zionists are specifically targeting Jews in the attack.
Simultaneously Calling For Two States And Undermining The Jewish One
The call for “two states for two peoples” – for Arabs and Jews – goes back to the 1930s and 1940s. It specifically called for one of the countries to be a Jewish state.
But the United Nations has endorsed the Arab demand that millions of Arabs go to the Jewish State under a “right of return”, while also demanding that the Arab state be Jew-free. That’s 1.5 countries for Arabs and 0.5 for Jews, awarding local Arab sovereignty with purity, while stripping Jews of self-determination.
It’s a direct attack on Jews, not Israelis.
Clear Arab Anti-Semitism in Anti-Zionism
For decades, Palestinians and their sympathizers made no attempt to hide their contempt for global Jewry, not just Israeli Jews. Blowing up a Jewish Center in Argentina, shooting Jewish worshippers in a synagogue in Turkey, or separating Jewish passengers from everyone else during the hijacking of a plane to Entebbe, Uganda was an accepted agenda. The world understood and condemned the noxious anti-Semitism in the Muslim attacks on Jewish civilians around the world.
With the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, Palestinian terrorist groups and leadership pivoted their violent actions more locally to garner global support for their cause. The Arabs were no less anti-Semitic but their strategy demanded global pressure on Israel, because defeating the Jewish State militarily proved unachievable.
While the Arab terrorist attacks of the “Second Intifada” raged in Israel, the Muslim world re-launched the “Zionism is Racism” slur at the 2001 Durban Conference. It called upon the world to isolate, boycott, divest and sanction the Jewish State as a racist enterprise. It inverted their own anti-Semitism as being warranted, because the Jews are the real racists. No longer was the matter simply about two people fighting about a small stretch of land, but one of them – the Jews – were depicted as evil.
The Evil Spiral From Desiring A Palestinian State
It is understandable that many people want to see the Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) have self-determination. While having a country is not an “inalienable right” the way the United Nations claims uniquely for Palestinian Arabs, the vast majority of Arabs already have self-determination via the Oslo Accords.
The anger at the failure of creating a Palestinian State is directed at the Jewish State, rather than the Arabs themselves who have refused peaceful coexistence for a century. The desire for a Palestinian State morphs into anti-Zionism by blaming the Jews for the plight of the Arabs. Once the Jews are blamed, they are accused globally and stripped of their basic human rights and dignity.
Global Manifestation of Anti-Semitism in Anti-Zionism
People around the world have ingested the anti-Semitism / Anti-Zionism. THEY come for the Jews actively and passively when they are angered by Israel. THEY have taken up physical / economic / moral arms against Jews in their hometowns, while the Arab jihadists wage war in the holy land.
In 2014, mobs in Germany and France came after local Jews in their synagogues during the Hamas War from Gaza. In 2021, anti-Zionists attacked Jews in the kosher restaurants in the United States. These attackers did not protest before an Israeli embassy, but came for local Jews because anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are fused as one.
3. Goal of Anti-Zionism
Israel is not a theoretical entity but a thriving democracy with millions of people. It is the most liberal country in the entire Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region, with rights for the 25% of non-Jews who live in the country.
Despite (or because of) the success of the Jewish State, anti-Zionists want to see it destroyed. They either want to strip the Jews of sovereignty or want them to be expelled from their homeland (like senior White House correspondent Helen Thomas urged).
Anti-Zionism is anchored in antagonism against Jews.
4. How To Break From Anti-Semitism In Anti-Zionism
Many anti-Semites become anti-Zionists as an extension of their Jew hatred, such as Neo Nazis. Many anti-Zionists are anti-Semites because of their anger at Jews coming to Israel and the lack of a Palestinian State.
While the Palestinian cause need not be anti-Semitic, the hatred has been encouraged by Palestinian leadership and echoed at the United Nations. The path to peaceful coexistence is to break the systemic Jew hatred that is currently embedded in the goal of creating a Palestinian state.
Allowing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. The current blatantly anti-Jewish edict banning Jews from praying at their holiest location is outrageous. That the United States and the United Nations insist on the “status quo” requested by fanatical Muslims is pathetic and demonstrates the power of 1.8 billion Muslims and trillions of dollars of oil wealth have over the world. The U.S. and U.N. should work with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reverse this anti-Semitic demand.
Reverse UNSC Resolution 2334. The idea that the United Nations passed a law that bans Jews – and only Jews – from living somewhere, let alone in their holiest city and homeland is disgusting. One would imagine that Nazis drafted the legislation. A Palestinian state can exist just fine with Jews living there, just as Israel has thrived with millions of non-Jews.
Amend the Palestinian refugee discussion. One cannot simultaneously argue for two states – one Jewish and the other Arab – while arguing for millions of Arabs to go to Israel and no Jews should be allowed in Palestine. The matter of refugees should clearly be articulated as to be settled only through financial payments, and should cover all descendants who lost homes in 1948, not just those living under the UNRWA umbrella.
Adopt the IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism. The IHRA definition has been adopted by thousands of municipalities and organizations. It lays out examples of anti-Zionism which are clearly anti-Semitism. It does not squash free speech as critics claim, but gives a template for people and organizations to understand what is hate speech.
Speak up for Jewish history and rights when discussing Israel. It is disgraceful that the media and United Nations undermines Jews and Israel consistently. For example, only calling the Temple Mount the al Aqsa Compound is an insult to Jews. Saying that the holy land is inherently and only Arab is an insult to Jews. Saying that Jews are not indigenous to their homeland is anti-Semitic. Equating the ‘Naqba’ to the Holocaust is disgusting and anti-Semitic. Demanding that Jerusalem maintain its ‘demographic character‘ achieved after Jordanian Arabs ethnically cleansed all Jews from the city is repulsive and reeks of Jew hatred.
Call out the anti-Semites hiding behind anti-Israel propaganda. When people like Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) talk about Jews behind the curtains making money off of racism from Gaza to Detroit, she should not be excused because she is a Muslim woman. She, and others with similar attitudes, must be condemned by everyone, including other Democratic politicians.
It is time to stop being polite on this subject and articulate clearly that anti-Zionists are anti-Semites, and should be called out and treated as such.
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