ANTI-SEMITISM Question: IS CRITICISING ISRAEL OR ZIONISM THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM?
‘The “working definition” shilled by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has been highly controversial since it was published in 2016 due to its conflation of opposition to Israel and its racist ideology, Zionism on one hand with anti-Jewish bigotry on the other.’ — Asa Winstanley, 2021 Memo
Anti-Semitism means hostility and prejudice directed against Jewish people based on their race and religion, and hatred of Jews not because of what they do, but because of who they are. The Zionist hostility and prejudice for Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and Asians also extends to hatred of anti-racist Jews who are compelled to publicly oppose ongoing Zionist human rights abuse, racism, apartheid and genocide. Zionists routinely label anti-racist Jews as ‘self-hating Jews’ or ‘self-loathing Jews’. Racism that targets Jews, like all forms of racism, must be condemned and resisted.
Anti-Zionism means opposition to the secular nationalist ideology that sought to create, and now to sustain and expand, a Jewish state in the Middle East corresponding to the Biblical boundaries. This seems self-evident, but those who wish to equate anti-Semitism with critics of Israeli state policies care less for accuracy and more about silencing and punishing critics by any means, legitimate or not.
The age-old definition of anti-Semitism has been reformulated by Zionists for political purposes. They have declared that there is no difference between the State of Israel and the worldwide community of Jews. Therefore, if you are opposed to Israel, you are anti-Semitic. This lumping together of Israel and the Jews en-masse is historically, demographically, and certainly, religiously false.
Anti-Semitism has always been defined as hatred of Jews, as occurred in Germany less than a century ago. This hatred was underpinned by a vast number of historical myths and fantastic conspiracy theories, but at its core, the anti-Jewish tide was close to pure racism – a Jew was undesirable not because of what he or she had done, but because of some racial taint genetically transmitted. But the Zionists are now using the horrors of their own experience in Germany and the German-occupied countries in World War II to stigmatise anyone who has the temerity – or courage – to criticize the actions of the Israeli State. The irony
is that this stigmatization serves as a talisman to ward off any criticism of their own behavior which, many assert, is approaching a level of racist heartlessness not dissimilar to that which fuelled the holocaust.
Whenever Israel comes under renewed international pressures to withdraw from occupied Arab territories, its apologists mount a new campaign alleging that the world is awash with anti-Semitism. This shameless exploitation of anti-Semitism
delegitimises criticism of Israel and makes Jews rather than Palestinians the victims.
It is true that Jew-hating white supremacists and neo-Nazis sometimes use ‘Zionist’ for ‘Jew’ as a thin veneer for their own racism. But other right-wing fascist groups in modern times have embraced an opportunistic form of Zionism – to carry Israeli flags on their violent anti-Muslim provocations.
Zionism is the fundamental ideology of the state of Israel. Zionism means: occupation, ethnic cleansing, regular massacres, bombardment of entire civilian populations, wars of aggression against every neighbouring Arab state, dispossession, exile, systematic racism and apartheid-style separation. Zionism means that there should be a Jewish state in Palestine, ‘Jewish’ in the sense of giving privileges to Jews and denying many rights of the indigenous Palestinians.
Zionism is a racist, supremacist ideology responsible for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity in recent history. This is the historic and current reality of Zionism.
WHEN PEOPLE CRITICISE ISRAEL, A COUNTRY GOVERNED BY THE IDEOLOGY OF ZIONISM AND NOT BY THAT OF JUDAISM, THEY ARE MOST EMPHATICALLY NOT BEING ANTI-SEMITIC.
Abd al-Hay, W., 2021. Academic Paper: Israel’s Employment of “Anti-Semitism” – AL-Zaytouna Centre. https://eng.alzaytouna.net
Dadoo, S. and Osman, F., 2013. Why Israel? Anatomy of Zionist Apartheid – A South African Perspective.
Finkelstein, N., 2008. Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of Anti- Semitism and Abuse of History.
Johnson, A., 2018. Denial: Norman Finkelstein and the New Antisemitism. https://fathomjournal.org/