Is Anti-Zionism the Same as Antisemitism?
IsAnti-Zionism the Same as Antisemitism?
Anti-Zionismand anti-Semitism are epithets that emerged in the late nineteenthcentury. Anti-Semitism designates hatred of persons raciallyidentifiable as Jews whereas Anti-Zionism signifies opposition to theestablishment and the existence of a Jewish homeland.1A dangerous convergence exists between the two concepts, and this hasled to much debate about whether Anti-Zionism is merely Anti-Semitismin disguise. Numerous authors have raised the alarm about aconfluence of anti-Zionism within the Islamic world, and this is themost significant new danger of anti-Semitism. Some historians andwriters have used Anti-Semitism to describe each and every form of‘Jew-hatred` since pre-Christian times, especially religiousantipathy, otherwise termed as anti-Jewishness. On the other hand,anti-Zionism is manifested by a small minority of ultra-orthodox Jewswho believe that a Jewish homeland could only exist with the, stillawaited, coming of the Messiah2.Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism are delineable and complex, yetinterrelated social psychological phenomena.
Anti-IsraelPolicy and Anti-Semitic Policy
Theterm ‘anti-Semitism` was coined by Wilhelm Marr, also known as thefather of anti-Semitism, in 1879 and it laid emphasis on racialaspects instead of religious issues. Anti-Semitism examples in modernsociety entail encouraging, supporting or justifying the harming orkilling of Jews for the sake of an extreme religion perspective orradical ideology3.It also entails making false stereotypes or accusations regardingJewish people or their power, for instance, the myth about globalJewish conspiracy. Anti-Semitism also implies accusing the Jewishpeople of being accountable for imagined or real wrongs committed bya single Jewish group or person. Also, denying the Holocaust, this isgenocide in which Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany killed six millionEuropean Jews. Lastly, anti-Semitism also takes the form of accusingthe Jews of being more devoted to Israel or the supposed Jewishconcerns globally, than to the interests in their own countries.Anti-Semitism is mainly related, although not exclusive, toIsrael-Palestinian conflict4.Most of the anti-Semitic cases recorded over the last fifteen yearsare related to the Palestinian cause, and particularly the SecondIntifada and operations that were undertaken by Israel in the GazaStrip. Moreover, some European surveys recorded that more than halfof the citizens of the EU regard Israel as the nation threat opposedto global peace. Also, the survey revealed that the EU citizensbelieved that Jews are more devoted to Israel and not their hostcountries5.
Alarge number of prominent scholars have realistically argued thatanti-Zionism constitutes a type of anti-Semitism mainly because ithas a tendency to single out the Jewish State and deprives the Jewsof their right to national self-determination. Zionism is themovement to form a Jewish State in the Middle East that nearlycorrespond to the past land of Israel and hence support for thecontemporary Israel State.6Consequently, some scholars have argued that defaming Israel is awish to destroy the Jews. Additionally, to wish that Zionism neverexisted or would cease to exist denotes a wish to destroy the Jews.The balanced and legitimate criticism of various aspects of Israelipolitical policy does not necessarily reflect anti-Semitism.Consequently, scholars have put forward different ways of determiningwhether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic such as the 3 Ds includingdelegitimization, demonization and double standards in relation toIsrael7.Others argue that there is no variety of anti-Zionism that can belegitimately regarded as anti-Semitic. The background and conditionsof anti-Zionism, regardless of whether or not it is anti-Semitic incharacter, indeed appear to lead to anti-Semitism, both in action andcognition.
Mostof the current criticism of Israel goes beyond legitimate critique.Anti-Semitism is often denied even when it is manifestly evident. Thereasons range from ignorance to malice to overcompensation forvarious situations whereby Jews are considered to have cried wolf.During the early years of this century, most French pundits deniedthe measurable spike in violent anti-Jewish incidents that wereoccurring then. They even insisted that French Jews were "playingwith fire" by even mentioning anti-Semitism. Undeniably, victimsof anti-Semitism are usually tarnished for bringing allegations in"bad faith.8In the ‘Livingstone Formulation,` Ken Livingstone argued that Jewsusually raise the matter of anti-Semitism is a dishonest manner tosilence criticism of Israel. The formulation goes back to the"Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which blamed the Jews forcausing or inventing anti-Semitism. The formulation is a "strawman" against a charge of anti-Semitism, and ad hominem argumentthat wards off criticism conveniently by asserting that suchcriticism is made in bad faith9.Also, it deters engagement of meaningful debate since there are noreasonable answers for the argument. The formulation complicates theendeavors by the Jews to defend themselves against anti-Semitismactions as they seem almost unlawful and dishonest. It has been usedon various occasions to avert suspicion of anti-Semitism and tolegitimize the boycott campaigns.10There is often a deliberate obfuscation about what comprisesanti-Semitism. The Holocaust inversion is an excellent case in pointof anti-Semitism. It is comparable to other forms of what might bereferred to as human rights inversion that entails accusing victimsof every wrong that they have suffered. Amongst its many variants,the Holocaust inversion includes depicting Jews, particularly IsraeliJews, as Nazis, Holocaust perpetrators, Nazi sympathizers, holocaustcopycats and crypto-Nazis. It serves to silence, shock, legitimize,insulate and threaten. David Ward, the Liberal Democrat MP forBradford East, used the Holocaust to disparage Israel as well as ‘theJews.` He equated Israel with Nazi Germany characterized theHolocaust as a moral lesson from which the Jews have refused to takenote11.He said “I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievablelevels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few yearsof liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities onPalestinians in the new state of Israel and continue to do so on adaily basis in the West Bank and Gaza”12.The holocaust is thus depicted as a moral lesson for the Jews, and itis even used for condemning their morals. The Palestinians arepresented as the ‘new Jews` whereas the Israelis are cast as the‘new` Nazis. Holocaust inversion has a significant negative impacton the Jews considering that they are so sensitive to the issuesconcerning the Shoah.Consequently, the inversions have the power to silence the Jews andprevent them from expressing their viewpoints including speechregarding the sympathetic state of Israel. The use of Nazi motifs andJewish conspiratorial power are bound to have a peculiarly chillingimpact. The persons who object the inversions are told that they areacting in bad faith and their primary concern is to redirectcriticism of Israel.13The Holocaust is currently being used, instrumentally, to expressanimosity towards Israel and the Jews. It inverts morality andreality and recklessly spreads allegation of bad faith consequentlypreventing identification of the changing form of contemporaryanti-Semitism and is a hindrance to organizing active resistance toit.
Adeep-seated dismissal of the notion of a Jewish state fuels therigorousness and unevenness to which Israel is subjected14.The Palestinian policy and leadership are significantly exempted fromsuch critique. Taking into consideration that Israel was createdpredominantly to guarantee the flourishing as well as the safety ofthe Jewish people the rejection represents an attack on thewell-being of the Jews. The rejection is the latest type of thecenturies-old virus referred to as anti-Semitism it is immoral,illegitimate and should be stopped15.The University of California has been facing challenges regardinganti-Semitism. It has been endeavoring to tackle protests that campusprotests against Israel have become unacceptable since they entailharassment of Jewish students16.Santa Cruz, a Jewish member of the student government in theuniversity, was cautioned to "abstain" from voting on apro-BDS resolution since he was the leader of the Jewish StudentUnion and hence was "elected with a Jewish agenda"17.A report by the university regents working group sought to ensure abalance between criticism of hateful actions and support for robustdebate. Nonetheless, it conflated anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism.The report stated that they are both forms of discrimination that didnot have a place at the university. The equation of both concepts maymake it easier to promote more stigma protests against Israelipolicies, especially the way Palestinians are treated. It might takeplace even though the Palestinians do not object the notion of aJewish State. The pro-Palestinian activists in the University fearedthat the equation would target their support even though it does notinvolve harassing actions or anti-Semitic behavior. 18Although criticism of the state of Israel is allowed, it is possibleto do so without one being a bigot or racist. It is not right to usethe word ‘Zionist’ as a form of anti-Semitism.
Anti-Zionismis the root cause of the revival of anti-Semitism. It is a humanrights violation. It contravenes the right to self-determination,which is a fundamental aspect of human rights. Zionism is theexpression of the right to self-determination of the Jews. Bydefinition, Anti-Zionism rejects and denies this right as it deniesthe right to a state for the Jews. It is thus a form of racism itdenies the Jews a fundamental right to which persons globally areentitled. The tradition anti-Semitism was discredited by the horrorsof the Holocaust after the Second World War. Nonetheless,Anti-Semitism did not end and instead turned to anti-Zionism. Israelwas blamed for sins that it did not commit and was a target fordestruction. Currently, there is voluminous literature that affirmshostility to Israel and Zionism as the new form of anti-Semitism19
Anti-Zionismleads to the violation of rights since it generates abuses that haveto horrify each right-respective individual, regardless of theirviews on the existence of the state of Israel. Such violations stemfrom anti-Zionism and are a powerful argument against anti-Zionism.Attacking the existence of Israel has implied attacking thejustifications offered for its existence both outside and within theJewish people. It is not possible to understand the rhetoric againstthe country without understanding why it is there. Different patternsof prejudice flow from anti-Zionism and although it may bedistinctive in its ideology, it is classic in its consequences as itfits the mold of every form of bigotry. The justification byproponents that Israel is a haven from anti-Semitism has beenappropriation or denial of the victimization of the Jews, ofanti-Semitism itself. The very existence of anti-Semitism has startedthose against Israel to distort and contort its meaning. Hostilitytowards Israel might be a socially tolerable cover for anti-Semitismspecifically since other critics of Israel have intentions that arenot tainted by bias. Nonetheless, Anti-Semitism is one of the variedjustifications why some individuals may feel hostile to Israel orZionism20.
Inthe contemporary society, Anti-Semitism results from the increase ofextreme right movements that European populism represents increaseof Muslims in the United States and Europe relentless economiccrisis and determination of a radical leftist speech with populistaspects21.Nonetheless, all these sources of anti-Semitism draw on the conflictbetween Israel and Palestine as encouraging elements to expressanti-Zionism and anti-Semitism that operate in an interrelated andindiscriminate way, blaming the Jews and Israel for the problems inPalestine. The manifestation of anti-Semitism is evident in countriessuch as Latin America, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia22.Variousanti-Semitic occurrences are related to anti-Zionist positions thatare held by respective leaders and which are evident in the breakingof the diplomatic relationship with Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Boliviawith Israel within the conflict framework in Gaza in 2009. Chile andArgentina have varying anti-Semitic incidents and expressionsconcerning the Israel-Palestine conflict, and they tend to increaseboth qualitatively and quantitatively and are associated with thepresence of neo-Nazi movements as well as activities of some Araborganizations. The government of Israel promotes most of theAnti-Zionists and anti-Semitic attitudes, for instance, in November2014, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel sought toimplement initiatives for promoting the "law of the Jew State."The action was meant to enshrine the Jewish character of Israel, andthe move was vehemently opposed by the opposition, and it ultimatelyled to dissolution of government as well as new elections23.In this case, criticism of Israeli government policies is justifiednonetheless, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism emerge when the Jews areaccused of implementation of such policies.
Anti-Israelpolicy means Anti-Semitic policy. Numerous anti-Semitic cases havebeen recorded over the last decades, and they are related to theIsrael-Palestine relation. Thesources of anti-Semitism draw on the conflict between Israel andPalestine as encouraging elements to express anti-Zionism andanti-Semitism that operate in an interrelated and indiscriminate way,blaming the Jews and Israel for the problems in Palestine. Inthe light of the conflict between the two countries, most of thecurrent criticism of Israel goes beyond legitimate critique. The Jewsare accused of acting in bad faith to ward off criticisms of Israelpolicies. They are charged with every wrong they have sufferedincluding the Holocaust. They are depicted in a bad way to threatenand silence them. The Holocaust has been used instrumentally toexpress animosity towards Israel and the Jews. The hostility towardsZionism and Jews is the new form of anti-Semitism. Most criticism ofthe state of Israel is marred by bigotry and racism, and hence mostanti-Israel policy means Anti-Semitic policy.
BBC.What`sthe different between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?29 April 2016. Web.4
Caro,Isaac. “Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, and Israeli-PalestinianConflict from2000 to 2014:
SomeVision from Latin American Southern Core.” Trames,vol.19, no. 69/64, 2015, pp.289-307
EuropeanForum on Antisemitism. Antisemitismo.Definición de Trabajo.Web.4
Gordis,Daniel. “Rejecting Zionist Principles is a Rejection of the Jews.”TheNew York Times,
Jaspal,Rusi. Anti-Semitismand Anti-Zionism: Representation, Cognition and Everyday Talk. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014.
Klug,Brian. “Interrogating ‘new anti-Semitism.” Ethnicand Racial Studies,vol. 36, no.3, 2013,
Lesley,Klaff. “Holocaust Inversion and Contemporary Antisemitism.”Fathomvol.5, 2014.
Marcus,Kenneth. TheDefinition of Anti-Semitism.New York: Oxford University Press, 2015
Savage,Sean. “UC Santa Cruz Student warned to abstain from BDS vote over‘Jewish agenda.”
JewishNews Service,November 18, 2015. Web.4
Sicher,Efraim, and Linda Weinhouse. UnderPostcolonial Eyes: Figuring the “Jew” in Contemporary BritishWriting.London: University of Nebraska Press, 2012.
TheTimes Editorial Board. “UC’s Intolerance Policy goes dangerouslyastray on anti-
Semitism.”LosAngeles Times,March 31, 2017. Web.4
1 Rusi Jaspal, Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: Representation, Cognition and Everyday Talk (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014), xi
2 Ibid, xi
3 European Forum on Antisemitism, “Antisemitismo. Definición de Trabajo,” https://european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism
4 Isaac Caro, “Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, and Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from2000 to 2014: Some Vision from Latin American Southern Core,” Trames, vol. 19, no. 69/64, 2015, pp. 289-307
5 ibid, 304
6 BBC, “What`s the different between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?” BBC, 29 April 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36160928
7 ibid, 241
8" Kenneth Marcus, The Definition of Anti-Semitism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 11
9 Efraim Sicher and Linda Weinhouse, Under Postcolonial Eyes: Figuring the “Jew” in Contemporary British Writing (London: University of Nebraska Press), 27
10 ibid, p. 27
11 Klaff Lesley, “Holocaust Inversion and Contemporary Antisemitism,” Fathom, vol.5, 2014.
12 ibid, p.1
13 ibid, p.1
14 Daniel Gordis, “Rejecting Zionist Principles is a Rejection of the Jews,” The New York Times, 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/04/04/is-anti-zionism-anti-semitism/rejecting-zionist-principles-is-a-rejction-of-jews
15 ibid par. 6
16 Sean Savage, “UC Santa Cruz Student warned to abstain from BDS vote over ‘Jewish agenda,” Jewish News Service, November 18, 2015. http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2015/11/18/uc-santa-cruz-student-warned-to-abstain-from-bds-vote-over-jewish-agenda#.WN9QPW-GPIU=
17 ibid, par.1
18 The Times Editorial Board, “UC’s Intolerance Policy goes dangerously astray on anti-Semitism,” Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-uc-intolerance-20160316-story.html
19 Brian Klug, “Interrogating ‘new anti-Semitism,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 36, no.3, 2013, pp.468-482
20 ibid, p. 479
21 Isaac Caro, “Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, and Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from2000 to 2014: Some Vision from Latin American Southern Core,” Trames, vol. 19, no. 69/64, 2015, pp.289-307
22 ibid, p. 304
23 ibid, p. 291
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