Why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism – but criticising Israel isn’t


The Labour Party has become embroiled in a row about anti-Semitism. Why the row? After all, the Labour Party is committed to challenging racism and anti-Semitism – which is a particular form of racism. It’s a row because the anti-Semitism in question concerns anti-Zionism – and not everybody in the Labour Party agrees that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. At the heart of the current row, a tweet re-tweeted by Labour MP Naz Shah, which suggested that Israel be relocated to the United States. For those who shared the tweet, it seemed fair comment, given the support of the United States for Israel – and the fact that the second largest Jewish population in the world resides in the United States. Of the 14.2 million Jews living in the world today, six million live in Israel and over five million live in the US.
The tweet was anti-Semitic for at least two reasons. Within living memory, the Jewish communities of Europe were made Judenfrei, ‘Jew-free’, or Judenrein, ‘clean of Jews’, as the Jews who lived in them were systematically deported to ghettos, concentration camps and death camps in Eastern Europe. The ghettos themselves, where hundreds of thousands were penned into walled areas of cities, were simply holding places, from which the Jews were sent on to the death camps. After the defeat of Hitler, those who survived became displaced persons, the majority of whom were collected into camps – most notably on Cyprus – with nowhere to go. To suggest that Israel, which became the principal place of refuge for the Jews who survived the Sho’ah, should be relocated elsewhere suggests either an inane forgetfulness or a shocking indifference to the annihilation of six million Jews – at the time, one third of the world Jewish population – which took place in the space of just six years from the onset of the violent persecution of the Jews of Europe on Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938.
The tweet was also anti-Semitic in the context of the way in which, again and again, regardless of the oppression of peoples across the world by numberless nations, Israel is singled out for special condemnation because of its on-going oppression of the Palestinians. Where is the protest against the murder of the Tamils by the Sri Lankan regime? Where is the protest against China’s occupation of Tibet? Why is it that these nations and others like them have not been subject to boycott and disinvestment campaigns? Of course, the anti-Palestinian policies of the Israeli government must be challenged, and support must be given to the Palestinian people, in their struggle for self-determination, and the establishment of an independent state of Palestine. Equally, the regimes of China and Sri Lanka should also be challenged, and the Tibetans and Tamils should be supported in their struggles for self-determination.
And there is a larger issue connected to this singling out of Israel that demonstrates that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. How can it be that in theory, at least, the left supports the self-determination of oppressed peoples the world over, but that many groups on the left – including within the Labour Party – do not recognise that Zionism arose in Europe in the late nineteenth century as a movement for the self-determination of the Jewish people, in response to virulent anti-Semitism. Instead of acknowledging this, we have the repeated trope – in my memory, repeated since the early 1970s, when I was involved in Marxist politics as an undergraduate student at LSE – that ‘Zionism’ began life in the late nineteenth century as a form of colonialism, akin to French and British colonialism, and that the creation of Israel was motivated by American interests in the region.
To be an anti-Zionist is to deny the experience of the Jewish people as an oppressed and persecuted minority in Europe, which gave rise to the Zionist movement. That is not to say that all Jews then – as now – were Zionists. Not all Jews then – or now – were convinced that creating a Jewish nation would solve the problem of anti-Semitism. Many Jews in the nineteenth century – in particular in Eastern Europe – saw socialism as the answer, hence the establishment of the Bund – shorthand for the General Jewish Workers’ Union in Lithuania, Poland and Russia. However, being a non-Zionist, who is committed to enabling Jewish life to thrive in the diaspora, is completely different from being an anti-Zionist.
Of course, Zionism and socialism are not simply alternative expressions of the determination to live as Jews without the scourge of anti-Semitism. I grew up in a home in which my mother, the daughter of refugees who fled pogroms in Eastern Europe, was an ardent socialist Zionist, for whom the kibbutz movement was the ideal way of living as a Jew – an ideal she never realised in her own life. As it happens, both my parents were Labour Party supporters. However, my father, a Viennese Jew, whose father was incarcerated in Dachau on November 13, 1938, and managed from South Africa to get his parents and his siblings out of Austria on domestic visas, so that they could come to Britain, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, was an ardent internationalist. His response to Nazism was to leave his ‘refuge’ in South Africa in 1949, when the Nationalists came to power, and to reject all forms of nationalism – including Zionism. Nevertheless, recognising the existential threat to Israel, both my parents, together with my older brother, went to our local synagogue to give blood, when the Six Day War broke out in June 1967.
Non-Zionism is a respectable and acceptable political stance. Anti-Zionism is not. And there is another way in which the anti-Semitism underlying anti-Zionism is expressed: in the manner in which criticism of Israel is couched in terms which draw on anti-Semitic rhetoric and tropes. Binyamin Netanyahu is a right wing leader, relentlessly pursuing an anti-Palestinian agenda, but he is not ‘Hitler’. The people of Gaza are being subjected to horrendous collective punishment, meted out by both, Egypt and Israel, for having elected Hamas, an Islamist government, but they are not living in a ‘concentration camp’, or even a ‘ghetto’. To use this terminology is to equate Israeli government policy with Nazi policy. In concentration camps, those Jews, who were not sent instantly to their deaths in gas chambers, were exploited as slave labourers. Jews were forced to live in ghettos, where they were locked in at night for centuries. The ghettos established by the Nazis were used for collecting populations of Jews together in the East in readiness for their deportation to the death camps. Which brings me to that other recent anti-Semitic incident in the Labour Party: Ken Livingstone’s remark – which he has refused to repudiate – that Hitler supported Zionism. Quite apart from the fact that there is no historical evidence that Hitler supported Zionism, making such a slur involves, yet again, the equation of Nazism with Zionism. Once more, Zionism of all the nationalist movements for self-determination is singled out for repudiation.
So, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism – but criticising Israel isn’t. Those who challenge Israeli government policy towards the Palestinians and the continuing occupation are, indeed, part of a very long tradition that began with the biblical prophets, who, witnessing the practice of injustice in their own time, and, in particular, the trampling of the most vulnerable and marginal groups in society, challenged the leaders of their day. As it happens, Jews the world over remind ourselves of the prophetic challenge to confront injustice on a weekly basis, in the readings from the prophets, that follow the weekly Torah reading each Shabbat (Sabbath), and on every festival, not least on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the principal fast day. On Yom Kippur we read from the Book of Isaiah chapter 58 (5-7):
Is this the fast I choose, a day for human beings to afflict themselves? Is it bowing the head like a bulrush and lying in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast, a day which is favourable to the Eternal One? / Is not this the fast I choose: to release the shackles of injustice, to undo the fetters of bondage, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every chain? / Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and to bring the homeless poor into your home? When you see the naked, to clothe them, and never to hide yourself from your own kin?
In the Book of Isaiah we also find the call for the people to be ‘a light to the nations’ (47:6) – which may partly explain the singling out of Israel for special attention. Do people expect better behaviour from Jews than from other people? Exemplary conduct? Does the call to be ‘a light to the nations’ that we find in a text written after the return from Exile in Babylon in 538 BCE, explain why everyone – many Jews included – expect more from Jews? As it happens, Jews have been and are disproportionately represented in progressive movements the world over – and the reason for this can probably be traced back to the emphasis on ethical conduct and the pursuit of justice found, not only in the prophets, but first, in the Torah. Nevertheless, the reality is that Jews have been a minority people living a marginal existence in other peoples’ lands for most of our 4000 year history. After successive conquests by imperial powers in the region, the last Jewish state before the present one, established after the overthrow of the imperialist regime of the Assyrian Greeks in 140 BCE lasted just 85 years until the Romans marched in and occupied the land on the eastern border of the Mediterranean in 55 BCE. It is one thing for a powerless people to maintain an absolute commitment to justice, quite another for a people that assumes the reins of power to do so. The story of every nation throughout history tells us this. The particular story of Israel is no different – particularly, following the victory over hostile Arab neighbours in 1967 that resulted in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – and the Sinai peninsula (later handed back to Egypt in the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979).
And that is one of the ironies of the particular story of Zionism and Israel. One of the main objectives of the early Zionists was the ‘normalisation’ of the Jewish people. After centuries, of being forced into ghettos, denied the right to own land and the membership of skilled Guilds, and left with no other option but to be merchants and moneylenders, the Zionist dream was to be a nation just like other nations, in which a Jew would be free to pursue any occupation, and where Jews could live a ‘normal’ life, like other self-determining peoples. Israel was not established in order to be ‘a light to the nations’. In the end, Israel was not established because the Zionists won the argument in the Jewish world. Israel was finally established after the Sho’ah because most of the nations of the world acknowledged the need for the creation of a permanent and secure Jewish refuge from persecution in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. That is why, after years of arguments and deliberations, the United Nations ratified a resolution partitioning the land into two nations for two peoples on November 29, 1947. And it is the need for a refuge that provides the rationale for Israel’s ‘law of return’, which gives any Jew anywhere in the world the right to live in Israel.
That infamous tweet re-tweeted by Naz Shah MP included a photo superimposing Israel onto the map of the United States. Israel, the only nation on earth with a Jewish majority: a tiny speck on the map of one of the most powerful nations on earth. ‘A picture’, as they say, ‘is worth a thousand words.’ Ultimately, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism because it denies the right of the state of Israel to exist, and hence the right of Jews to have a nation; a right anti-Zionists do not deny to any other people. The time has come for everyone on the left to challenge all the regimes of the world that are engaged in oppressing other peoples – including Israel. And as far as Israel’s occupation of Palestine is concerned, there is a solution waiting to be implemented: the two-state solution. Perhaps if people on the left, began to recognise Israel’s right to exist and stopped engaging in anti-Zionist rhetoric, we might find ourselves a few steps closer to international support for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine.

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah is the rabbi of Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue and is also Liberal Jewish Chaplain at Sussex and Brighton Universities. ‘Elli has also continued to write, and in addition to writing a monthly article for Sussex Jewish News (2001-current), has contributed four dozen articles and several poems to various journals and anthologies. ‘Elli has also edited 5 books, including, ‘Women Rabbis in the Pulpit. A collection of sermons’ (co-edited with Barbara Borts, Kulmus 2015), published to mark the 80th anniversary of the first women rabbi in the world, and the 40th anniversary of the first woman rabbi in Britain. ‘Elli is also the author of Trouble-Making Judaism (David Paul Books, 2012). You can read more of Elli’s writing at rabbiellisarah.com.

28 thoughts on “Why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism – but criticising Israel isn’t

  1. Anti-Zionism questions Israel’s right to exist and seems to imply Jews right to exist.
    Criticizing Israel,implies criticizing the present policy of the country regarding certain issues.
    One doesn’t need a long winded sermon to figure this out.

  2. Nonsense. Although Zionism has always PRETENDED to be representative of all Jews, it’s been obvious from the beginning that it only represents a small faction in reality. And it only PRETENDS to represent a religion, using that religion as its shield. Even Herzl referred to it as “the mighty legend.” Zionism is nationalism, nothing more, nothing less. And in the sense that its primary purpose was to steal what belongs to others, it must be perceived as a criminal conspiracy. In short, Zionism is to Jews what the Mafia (La Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing”) is to Italians, it is comprised of a SUBSET of a chosen population.
    Mind now, that I am talking about modern-day Zionism, as it has evolved, especially since Ben-Gurion, Jabotinsky, Begin, Shamir, Stern, et al. Do I have a problem with the Zionism of Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber or Albert Einstein? Most certainly not.
    Perhaps, instead of pointing fingers at others, a certain amount of introspection is in order. Check your own heart before criticizing the hearts of others. As for me, I will be anti-Zionist and I refuse to be shamed, I refuse any and all criticism. Like Einstein, I’m am opposed to extreme nationalism (the term most often used today is “exceptionalism”). And, in its essence, modern Zionism is actually the antithesis of the teachings, culture and religion of Judaism. In the final analysis, it is merely institutionalized greed.

    • 1. You mention “nationalism” and “extreme nationalism” What is it? Zionism is no different tan any other national movement that has helped carve out nations all over the world That includes Israel’s Arab neighbors.. Why should the focus be place n one national movement and not the hundreds of others in recent history,. What makes Jews different.
      2. Herzl found the Zionist congress and Zionist movement as a result of anti Semitism observed n France at the time. A French army captain was being falsely accused of treason and the reason was that he was Jewish, or a stranger in France. The French and much of Europe never accepted Jews as one of their own. Times were desperate for Jews in eastern Europe. They were the targets of pogroms, Pleas put that into historic context
      3. Jews do not “take” or” steel” what was not their own. The set up a Jewish National Fund to legitimately purchase land in Ottoman and later British Mandated Palestine. Expansion later came from wars not precipitated by Israel. The Palestinians and the Arab world intentionally rejected the UN partition plan of 1947
      4. Your rejection of Zionism and the existence of Israel opens the door for a 2nd Holocaust. You’re in fact saying that Jews should be removed from a state they established one way or another. That is the bottom line. You do this under the guise that you pretend to understand Judaism and how it goes against a Jewish national movement.
      ” I refuse any and all criticism”
      I guess you are right and no one else can dispute that/. I’m sure we’ve heard that undemocratic comment before.

      • “Jews” have always been a diverse — and widely spread — population. Any claims to being some sort of “nation” are specious and contrived at best. The JNF, despite a frantic buying binge in the 1930’s and 1940’s, was able only to attain EIGHT PERCENT of Palestine by the time of partition. So please, let’s try to avoid claims that Jews somehow purchased Palestine legitimately. It was taken through force of arms …. period. Besides that, what did Palestinians have to do with Dreyfuss or pogroms anyway???

      • P.S. As for your statement that “Expansion later came from wars not precipitated by Israel,” please name a single action that was NOT precipitated by Israel. The obvious one to pick would be 1973 but even that would be a stretch, since in 1973 Egypt sought only to reclaim the Sinai, taken by Israel in 1967. It did not seek to go beyond the Sinai. Virtually ALL other conflicts were, indeed, precipitated by Israel.

        • 1948: Israel was invaded by Egyptians, Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese and Iraqi forces on the eve of independence
          – Egypt blocked Israeli shipping from passing through the international waters if Straits of Tiran, thus cutting off its oil supply route
          – Egypt demanded the removal of UN forces from the Sinai Peninsula increasing the chances of an Egyptian invasion
          – Nasser was giving speeches about destroying Israel
          – As part of the pan Arab Unite Arab Republic, Jordan joined in the war by opening fire on West Jerusalem. PM Levi Eshkol urged Jordan to stay out of the conflict
          -Syria was routinely shelling the Hula valley
          “Besides that, what did Palestinians have to do with Dreyfuss or pogroms anyway???”
          You mean the local and fluid population that lived in what became defined as Palestine under the British Mandate. I believe that Palestine included present day Jordan. The JNF bought a lot more than just 8% of the land and that does not included land Jews had already been residing on, The Jewish presence in the region has been continuous for thousands of years.
          If you are pushing for the liberation of occupied land, you mighty also want to turn to Turkish occupied Cyprus, Tibet and the Western Sahara. You mighty also want to include the land your own house sits on.. Free Tom’s house!
          If you want Palestinians who fled present day Israel to be made whole, you mighty want to included Jews forced out of Arab lands. Those present day Arab states are a party in the conflict thus they are part of the solution.
          You are wrong once again. I guess your god lie powers of always being right have gone wrong somehow,

          • Try to refute what I just wrote point by point. How is Zionism different for any other national movements? Zionism in large part was influenced by many national movements inside of Europe in ye 1800’s . Zionism is not a dirty word unless you defined Jews as a dirty people

          • I’m not going to educate you as to the realities, if for no other reason than that you would profess not to believe what I tell you. Rabbi Michael Lerner knows the real story, as does Uri Avnery, who writes frequently for Tikkun. Read some REAL history, the truth is out there, if only you take the time and interest to learn. (For starters, you might question what took place BETWEEN UN 181 on Nov. 29, 1947 and the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, which marked the beginning of the “Arab War” which you referenced. In the end, the Zionist conquest of Palestine was not radically different than Hitler’s invasion of Poland. It was taken simply because Zionists WANTED it.

          • Tom, have you ever hear of Godwin’s law?
            “Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s rule of Nazi analogies)[1][2] is an Internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1″[2][3] – ​​that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism”
            You just compared Zionism to Nazism. Not only is your knowledge of history seriously flawed, you’re sense rational judgment is as well.
            You could not even tell me what the borders of “Palestine” were based on the Mandate assigned to the UK by the League of Nations. You could not even figure out that Palestine was portioned twice. Finally, The Palestinians should very well have established a state in the West Bank. East Jerusalem and Gaza after the 1948 war but for a few things. Gaza fell under Egyptian occupation and the West Bank and East Jerusalem was ANNEXED by Jordan in 1952.
            You see, Tom, what I am describing is well documented history, not propaganda.
            Now go and protest Armenia’s illegal occupation of Nagorno Karabakh in 1994

          • You can take Godwin’s Law and stick it where the sun don’t shine. That’s nothing more than a diversionary ruse to try to avoid basic realities. (“Methinks thou dost protest too much.”) Nor will I spend my time “debating” someone who doesn’t even know the most elementary FACTS. It’s like trying to discuss Italian cooking with someone who doesn’t even know what pasta is. You want to discuss the borders of Palestine? How about the “borders” of Israel? Can you define them even now? To my knowledge, Israel has defined its borders only once, in a 1948 letter from Eliahu Epstein to President Truman. Since then, it’s only been a matter of unending expansionism … Lebensraum, if you will. Perhaps, in your studies, you will come across what is referred to as the Yinon Plan (which only bears Yinon’s name, since he described it … the “plan” itself pre-dates Ben-Gurion and Begin, who openly espounsed its principles). Goodbye, I’m done with you. You badly need education which you stubbornly refuse.
            I’ll leave you with this article, which directly addresses the question at hand: “These 5 Intellectuals Smash the ‘Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitic’ Argument”:
            As controversy surrounding the “new anti-Semitism” rages in Europe, important public intellectuals argue that critiquing Israel is not anti-Semitism.
            Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked commented recently on the controversy of “anti-Semitism” from the United Kingdom’s Labour party, which has lead to the suspension of Labour politicians.
            Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “must clarify that anti-Semitic comments are not within legitimate political debate, and that anti-Semitic views should end a politician’s career and disqualify them from any future public office,” she said in remarks broadcast from a ceremony in Krakow, Poland.
            The controversy started when Labour MP Naz Shah posted a map showing Israel superimposed over the United States, saying that the answer to Middle East peace was relocating Israel to the nation where Israelis are “most loved.”
            In response, Shah stepped down, but not before another Labour MP, Ken Livingstone, took to the airwaves to defend her. In a radio interview, Livingstone chose to bring up the cooperation between German Zionists and Nazis in the 1930s. While this is historically documented, Livingstone was not clear on the facts, and he has been suspended from the party.
            Anti-Semitism has a new definition in the UK and Europe, and some fear that this new definition conflates it with “anti-Zionism,” or the criticism of the State of Israel’s policies. Many call this the “new anti-Semitism.”
            For example, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks justice for Palestinians through academic, cultural and business boycotting of Israeli institutions that aid the occupation, has been outlawed in both France and the UK .
            Members of academia and civil society have weighed in on the debate.
            1. Norman Finklestein, U.S. political scientist, author and activist specializing in Israel-Palestine.
            Finkelstein’s website was the source of the map that kicked off the controversy. “Were it not for the current political context, nobody would have noticed Shah’s reposting” of the map, he told OpenDemocracy.
            Regarding the “new anti-Semitism,” Finkelstein said “these campaigns occur at regular intervals, correlating with Israel’s periodic massacres and consequent political isolation … Pew found [British] anti-Semitism levels at seven percent. Is that grounds for a national hysteria?”
            He then cited a 2015 poll which found that “40 percent of UK adults don’t like Muslims and nearly 60 percent don’t like Roma … So where is your order of moral priorities?”
            2. Ilan Pappe, prominent Israeli historian
            Pappe is a celebrated historian whose work focuses on the creation of the modern State of Israel, including the expulsion of the native Palestinian populace.
            “Whatever the Zionists in Britain point to, as an expression of anti-Semitism, which in the main are legitimate criticism of Israel, have been said before in the last 50 years. The pro-Zionist lobby in Britain, under direct guidance from Israel, picks them up because the clear anti-Zionist stance of BDS has reached the upper echelons. They are genuinely terrified by this development. Well done the BDS movement!”
            3. Frances Webber, Vice-chair of the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) Council of Management
            TeleSur: “Is Criticizing Israel the New Anti-Semitism?”
            Webber has a long history as a barrister who specialized in immigration, refugee and human rights law until she retired in 2008. She recently wrote a piece for the IRR’s website that challenged the definition of “new anti-Semitism” in Europe.
            “Although it might cause offence to some, it is no more inherently racist to attack Israel’s policies than it is to demand that ‘Rhodes must fall’ or to denounce US or British imperialism or these states’ complicity in torture.”
            4. Peter Beinart, U.S. journalist and noted liberal Zionist
            Beinart has written extensively in support of Zionism, specifically for The Daily Beast and Israeli daily Haaretz.
            In a recent column for Haaretz, he wrote that “when in the name of representing one ethnic group a state denies people who aren’t in that ethnic group the right to vote, or the right to live under the same law, that state throws its moral legitimacy into question.
            “That’s what Israel is doing in the West Bank. And in so doing, it’s strengthening the very anti-Zionism it fears. It’s making it easier for anti-Zionists to say that a Jewish state can’t really be a democracy at all.”
            5. David Palumbo-Liu, Professor of Comparative Literature, at Stanford University
            Palumbo-Liu is not only a celebrated academic and author, but also a frequent opinion writer for outlets such as Al Jazeera, Salon, and the Huffington Post.
            In an article for Salon, Palumbo-Liu wrote that the California Scholars for Academic Freedom, a group of which he is a member, maintains that “criticisms of Zionism are co-extensive with the history of Zionism and have from the start included Jewish voices from a variety of political and religious orientations … Many political positions, including those that favor Palestinian rights, statehood, and political self-determination, can be considered anti-Zionist although they comply with internationally accepted norms of human rights and principles of democratic self-governance.”

          • Tom
            “You can take Godwin’s Law and stick it where the sun don’t shine.”
            I am sure I can finda nice palce for you to place it
            “Can you define them even now? To my knowledge, Israel has defined its borders only once, in a 1948 letter from Eliahu Epstein to President Truman. Since then, it’s only been a matter of unending expansionismn”
            The borders with Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon are legally defined and recognized by peace agreements and UN certification. Israel has a land dispute with Syria and the Palestinians. Syria at present is disintegrating into a big nothing and is no position to negotiate a peace.
            Thank me later for a brief lesson n history,

  3. I’m not going to educate you as to the realities, if for no other reason than that you would profess not to believe what I tell you. Rabbi Michael Lerner knows the real story, as does Uri Avnery, who writes frequently for Tikkun. Read some REAL history, the truth is out there, if only you take the time and interest to learn. (For starters, you might question what took place BETWEEN UN Partition Resolution 181 on Nov. 29, 1947 and the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, which marked the beginning of the “Arab War” which you referenced. In the end, the Zionist conquest of Palestine was not radically different than Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939. It was taken simply because Zionists WANTED it.

    • Tom, Just like with the partition on India, the border were established by outsiders. India and Pakistan did not have defined borders until the day after the declaration of independence. Are you familiar with the hell the broke out there? I don’t think Israel had moment complete define what its borders were as it was invaded. And here is a little piece right from your horses mouth.
      “At that time, 1947, there was Resolution 181, the partition plan, Palestine and Israel. Israel existed. Palestine diminished. Why?” he told Israel’s top-rated Channel Two television, speaking in English.
      When the interviewer suggested the reason was Jewish leaders’ acceptance of the plan and its rejection by the Arabs, Abbas said: “I know, I know. It was our mistake. It was our mistake. It was an Arab mistake as a whole. But do they punish us for this mistake (for) 64 years?””
      I bet you would never find those words in Mondoweiss. IN fact Mondoweiss is so twisted an has been dissected so many times, it has no legitimacy
      You really do not get it and you still do not know what Palestine is, an entity that was not defined under the Ottoman Empire
      It’s called history, Tom, not propaganda. It’s not about accusing Israel of behaving like Nazi Germany. But I understand, you must be new at this.

      • “Once in the military system, Israelis never fully exit,” writes the prizewinning journalist Patrick Tyler in the prologue to Fortress Israel. “They carry the military identity for life, not just through service in the reserves until age forty-nine . . . but through lifelong expectations of loyalty and secrecy.” The military is the country to a great extent, and peace will only come, Tyler argues, when Israel’s military elite adopt it as the national strategy.”
        That is the biggest piece of BS I have ever read. Israelis who serve compulsory service make they way smoothly into civilian life. Most Israelis don’t enjoy their service but do it because they have to. many go on t be officers but exit into civilian life at a young age. Israel does not have a military academy lie West Point of the Naval and Air Force academy. And BTW, I d served in the IDF in compulsory and reserves for nearly 10 years. I along worth may I served with discarded our military identities and went on to enjoy civilian life. Israelis know how to enjoy life more than most of us. many travel the world between leaving compulsory service and entering civilian life. BTW, rabbi Lerner’s son served in the IDF. Surprise!
        You are so taken in by propaganda, you are unable to look at the conflict with objectivity. I have poked in so many of your views and you still keep n going. Hatred must be the real driver/

        • “You are so taken in by propaganda, you are unable to look at the conflict with objectivity.” EXACTLY, Fred, you nailed it. And this is why it’s so hard to achieve peace … because star-gazing fantasists like you will do anything to avoid the harsh reality, to avoid truth.

          • Very nice there Tom. Tbe very moment you accused Israel of behaving like Nazi Germany, you lost it. You obviously do not know Israel and have rarely met Israelis

      • Tom, was there anyone for Israel to talk to in 1948? No. There was no one. Do you realize that.But it really does not ,matter to you. You’re De-legitimizing the state of Israel. You might want to read about the partition of India the year before .
        Sadly you have no thoughts oc your own., You take the thoughts of faux Rabbi Lerner and Avneri, a former friend of Yasser Arafat
        What is it about Israel that you hate.. I assume you live in the US. You’re living stolen land. Wow! Have fun.

        • I keep on telling you to further your education, and you keeping off spewing the same old tired hasbara claptrap. Yes, certainly there was someone to talk to in 1947-1948 and that’s exactly what was happening at the United Nations … D’UH!?!! UN 181 was a PROPOSAL, a RECOMMENDATION. Before that went to the Security Council, two things happened. First, the Zionists stated that they would be unilaterally declaring statehood at the end of the British withdrawal, and second, the U.S. proposed that Palestine be put under a U.N. trusteeship at the end of the British Mandate. We all know what happened then. Truman, having been bought off by the Zionists in his 1948 election bid, went along with the Zionist move and gave it his blessing, making Chamberlain at Munich look like the White Knight in shining armor. But no, Fred, don’t take my word for it. Do some independent reading on your own. Learn something, educate yourself, do your own selective reading and see where it leads to. In the meanwhile, I am well and truly done with you. You do nothing but spout off “the party line.” I don’t know if you truly believe that crap or if you’re just deliberately spewing out misinformation, but either way, I’ve spent way too much time on the likes of you. As I said before, as long as you continue along these lines, you’re a supreme waste of my time. Good night and good bye.

          • Wow! Once again you are terribly delusional. The US actually tried holding Israel off from declaring independence, but by way of the 1947 partition plan, it was well within its legal right to do so. It was not an act of unilateralism . The Palestinians were in their legal right t declare independence, but they failed to do so. I believe the Soviet Union recognized Israel before the US. Were they bought off by the Zionists as well? By having someone to talk to , I meant Palestinians, not the UN or US.
            Try and read real history for a change.

          • Interesting piece in today’s Ha’aretz:
            Why would that general compare Israel to 1930s Germany? Hmm…
            What was going through that anti-Semite general’s head when he compared the Chosen People to 1930s Europe? A few pointers.
            By B. Michael | May 15, 2016 | 7:50 PM | 4
            With all the festivals and days of sadness behind us, we can now return to the nagging question: What on earth was going through that anti-Semite general’s head when he dared hint that we, the Chosen People, commit abominable acts like those perpetrated by the gentiles? Really, what’s he talking about?
            OK, let’s start with the small details known to everyone. Maybe he was talking about:
            1. The rising number of calls proclaiming, “Death to the unchosen people!”
            2. The demands not to employ the “unchosen” ones, buy from them or rent or sell apartments to them, and drive them from the Holy Land (all sanctified by the Rabbinate and other kosher rabbis, naturally).
            3. The growing thuggishness that labels every “unchosen” person a legitimate target for insults, abuse, assaults, vilification and, if possible, manslaughter.
            4. A soccer team that swears its ranks will include only those of pure blood and religion, and whose fans’ most popular chant is “Death to the unchosen ones.”
            5. A society that produces pogrom-like actions and lynch mobs, church and mosque arsonists, and plenty of thugs and scoundrels.
            6. Elected officials encouraging extrajudicial killings on our streets.
            7. A lawmaker (and his wife) openly demanding racial segregation between the pure and impure in maternity wards.
            In short, no big deal – just routine matters that no longer excite folk. Consequently, we have no choice but to expand the list and include some other items that may have escaped the collective memory…
            8. Spiritual leaders who publish books that determine when it’s acceptable to kill gentiles and their children. These religious leaders still tend their flocks.
            9. A movement that defends the purity of the people and its blood, and persecutes lecherous “unchosen” ones who dare consort with daughters of the Chosen Ones in order to defile them. On his Facebook page, the head of this holy movement calls for the mass murder of the “unchosen ones,” knowing no harm will befall him.
            10. Tens, if not hundreds or thousands, of businesses boasting of their employees’ purity.
            11. The chief Sephardi peddler of religion who declared, “Goyim were created solely to serve the Chosen People.” His noble predecessors determined that only Slavic nations were created in order to serve the then-master race. Our religious pastor surpasses them: he deemed all nations our servants.
            12. The education and culture ministers, who work tirelessly to synchronize education, culture, the media and arts, so everyone speaks in unison about one people, one state, one Torah and one viewpoint.
            13. The brilliant legal sophistry that prohibits the “unchosen” ones from purchasing state lands. Only the Chosen People may do so.
            14. The hundreds of communities that meticulously ensure the purity of their chosen population. The “unchosen” may not enter their gates lest they cause contamination by their very presence. All of this is legal.
            15. The Absentee Property Law, which regulates the assets of “absentees” even when the “absentees” are clearly present and living a stone’s throw away. Only the laws of Chosen People have clauses relating to “absent-present” persons whose presence doesn’t detract from their status as “absentees.”
            16. The fact that the assets of the “chosen ones” remain theirs forever, even after thousands of years of abandonment that exceed any statute of limitations. In contrast, the assets of the “unchosen” – even when they’re still holding them – will be confiscated, stolen, expropriated and transferred to the Chosen People. Just as our magnanimous Lord in heaven decreed.
            17. A society that controls millions of “inferior” people who lack civil and human rights, downtrodden by a mechanism called the “Civil Administration” and headed by a general.
            18. A state that locks up a million and a half people in a gigantic enclosure, unsure whether to call it “Pale of Settlement” or the “Gaza Ghetto.”
            19. A regime that imposes a grotesque legal system upon millions, which doesn’t require evidence and shows no truth, justice or compassion. However, the system does have a “court” – a contemptible theater whose main purpose is to give a “legal” and “authorized” appearance to a military dictatorship.
            20. A justice minister who goes out of her way to crush the legal system, liberating the rulers at last from oppressive legal constraints.
            21. A government that rules an occupied people, and sometimes its own subjects, according to emergency regulations that give it limitless authority “for security reasons.” (Damn, I wish I could remember where I’ve heard of this trick being used before.)
            22. A state – unique among all the world’s democracies – in which there’s no legal way for a “chosen” person to marry an “unchosen” one.
            23. A government that wholeheartedly believes in the Chosen People’s right to continue expanding eastward. This space extends from Mesopotamia to Nuweiba.
            24. A state that insists it’s the “only democracy” in the Middle East, whereas it’s actually the only “military theocracy” in the entire world.
            25. A state that proves pop psychology is occasionally accurate in its diagnosis: an abused child can indeed become an abusive adult.
            And that’s pretty much it.
            Is it because of these piffling details that Obersturmbannführer Golan remembered what he did? Odd. Very odd. There’s no comparison, clearly.

          • I lie tis one in particular
            “24. A state that insists it’s the “only democracy” in the Middle East, whereas it’s actually the only “military theocracy” in the entire world” Care to comment?
            And this:
            “22. A state – unique among all the world’s democracies – in which there’s no legal way for a “chosen” person to marry an “unchosen” one.”
            I will help you with this. State law has left it to the religious faiths of respective religions within the state to manage the legal act of marriage, that included Muslim, Christian and Druze clerics. Mint push for civil marriage but objections have come from al faiths, t’t’s borrowed from old ottoman law, but I guess you knew that
            “18. A state that locks up a million and a half people in a gigantic enclosure, unsure whether to call it “Pale of Settlement” or the “Gaza Ghetto.””
            The prison wardens can be identified as Hamas. They are the Palestinians worst enemies and theologians through and through.
            I am sure that your really do not have much of an original thought ,do you? You must be new at this. I have been around this conflict for decades, including as a member of the ID, .just like Rabbi Lerner’s son. Drop the Kool Aid, son, you’re out of your league

  4. The premise in the article and many of fred’s responses seem ridiculous to me. It might be as simple as the term “Zionism” having different meanings to different people. So yes *some* people might be anti-Semitic and express that as being opposed to Zionism. However many people might simple oppose a set of policies and approaches that comprise what Zionism means to them.
    It is not that difficult to use a few probing questions to discern which type of anti-Zionism a person is expressing. The only “downside” (sarcasm) seems to be that it means assessing people as individuals rather than having a blanket approach based on terminology.

    • Ask yourself why a Jewish national movement that is not unlike other national movements is singled. What makes it any different?

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