Antisemitism is hatred, discrimination, and prejudice against Jewish people because they are Jewish. It is in their blood. At least, that is what the man who coined the word thought. Wilhelm Marr rejected any word that had the word “Jew” in it for Jew hatred because a Jew could convert. His claim was that the Jew had a genetic defect that no amount of Hail Marys could heal.
Seeking a word that had a racial and “scientific” connotation rather than a religious one, he chose Antisemitismus. For him and the legions of people who adopted this word, it meant one thing and one thing only: hating members of the Jewish “race.”
Zionism is the belief that the Jewish people—an ethnic and religious people—have the right to self-determination and to return to their ancient homeland to establish their own country. Keep in mind that when Israel was reestablished in 1948, there was no nation there. For some 400 years, it had been under the Ottoman Empire, and then since 1917, part of the British Empire. There was no Palestinian state then or at any time ever before.
The enemies of Zionism seek to present Israel as an imperialistic force. But let’s make a few things known:
1. When Israel became a nation in 1948, she was three years separated from the Holocaust, where 6,000,000 Jews (two-thirds of Europe’s Jews) had been murdered. The survivors were barely alive themselves. They had no real army, and because of the UN-imposed embargo against Israel, she could not legally buy weapons. (The Arabs were under the same embargo, but nations gladly broke it to arm them—not so with Israel.)
2. Israel has given up more land than it initially occupied. Israel has expanded her territory only because she has been attacked constantly by the Arab nations surrounding her. With each war, she surprisingly won and thus grew. But Israel gave the entire Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt in 1982 in exchange for a peace treaty with Egypt signed in 1979 at Camp David. The Sinai desert by itself is bigger than Israel!
For years, particularly those on the left have tried to get us to believe that they are not antisemitic. We have a problem with the state of Israel, not Jews, they claim. Of course, they obsess over a tiny nation on a sliver of land in the Middle East while ignoring atrocities in North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and the list goes on.
Anti-Zionism is not simply being critical of the Israeli government. I am often critical of my government in Israel (particularly now!). Alvin Rosenfeld writes in the foreword to The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism, that “clear, honest criticism of discrete Israeli policies or actions that are deemed injurious or even illegal is perfectly appropriate, and such criticism is not in itself anti-Semitic.” Abraham Foxman, the outspoken former head of the Anti-Defamation League, writes,
In every public forum, I’m always careful to say that criticism of the state of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic. There are legitimate disagreements over the path to peace in the Middle East. Israelis themselves are engaged in an ongoing debate over exactly how to resolve the tension between the aspiration of Palestinians for their own homeland and the essential security needs of Israel.
Zionism = Nazism???
But when Israel is compared to Nazis, you’ve left the world of legitimate criticism and entered into antisemitic hate speech. “Coupling the Star of David with the swastika, and Israel with the Nazis . . . is not to engage in ‘criticism of Israel’; it is rather to engage in political anti-Semitism in its most traditional form.” Israel does not have concentration camps. They do not destroy Arab-owned businesses. They do not commit genocide. Israel certainly has the means to inflict far more pain on her detractors in the Palestinian territories but uses incredible restraint that neither Iran nor China uses in dealing with their own citizens!
One of the three supreme court justices in Israel is an Arab. Arabs serve in the Knesset (Parliament), and in the last government, four Arab MKs were part of the ruling coalition. How many Jews were invited to be part of Hitler’s government?
The anti-Zionist does not merely criticize Benjamin Netanyahu, but he says that the state of Israel is illegitimate. In 1975 the United Nations voted 89 to 67, not merely to criticize Israel but said, “Zionism is a form of racism.”
Why is this statement anti-Semitic? Think about what the resolution states and what it implies. If Zionism is racism, then what is permissible, what is laudable, what is universally accepted for all peoples in the world—self-expression, self-determination, independence, sovereignty—is not permitted to Jews. The anti-Zionist doesn’t condemn Irish nationalism or Basque nationalism or French nationalism or Palestinian nationalism. Only Jewish nationalism is racist.
When Israel is unfairly called out for supposed abuses, and the world turns a blind eye to North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia, that is antisemitism. Last year, in 2022, the United Nations General Assembly passed 15 resolutions against Israel. They passed resolutions against other 7.8 billion people exactly 13 times. Yes, in 2022, the United Nations General assembly condemned Israel nine times more than it condemned Russia (6), which has committed genocide and rape in Ukraine.
The UN Watch Database also documents that from 2006 through 2022, the UN Human Rights Council has adopted 99 resolutions against Israel, 41 against Syria, 13 against Iran, 4 against Russia, and 3 against Venezuela.
I want to keep this blog short. The purpose was very simple. To help you see that being anti-Zionist is simply antisemitism in a new outfit. What is the new antisemitism? Israel is singled out for condemnation, despite being one of the smaller nations in the world. She is surrounded by dictators and despots who routinely kill their own people (Iran and Syria, for example), but Israel is condemned. Iran is currently executing people for protesting—Israelis don’t even have a death penalty and could not even fathom doing such a thing. Where is the outrage in the UN?
Israel is attacked for one reason, and one reason only: The inhabitants are Jewish. For over 3,000 years, the Jewish people have been the most persecuted people on earth. It goes back to Pharaoh and continues with Haman. Jerusalem is destroyed in 70 CE and then again in 132 CE. Jews are forcibly exiled in 721 BCE, 586 BCE, and 132 CE. Next, the Church believes it is her duty to persecute the Jews—God’s enemies.
Jews were raped, robbed, and slaughtered by the Crusaders and persecuted during the Inquisition, where tens of thousands of Jews were expulsed from Spain because they refused to convert to Catholicism. Whole Jewish communities were slaughtered because of the false claim that they poisoned the wells of Europe, causing the plague (Forget the fact that the plague came from Mongolia and that Jews died along with everyone else!). The Church had created a theology that the Jews were guilty of murdering God and needed to suffer.
All this culminated in Hitler, who used the Church (he was particularly fond of Martin Luther) as the foundation to unleash the worst case of genocide the world has ever known.
Somehow, out of the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel was reborn. You would think the nations of the world would have compassion on the rebirthed nation of Israel after having suffered so much—but no, they have constantly resisted this tiny but incredibly productive nation and even compared them to the people who sought to exterminate them—Nazis.
Anti-Zionism is not legitimate criticism. It is plain and simple antisemitism.