|This article may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text. (May 2011)|
Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionism, a nationalism of Jews that supports a Jewish nation state in the territory defined as the Land of Israel. In the modern era, Anti-Zionism is broadly defined as the opposition to the idea of an establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, the opposition to some policies of Israel and its extension, or to the modern State of Israel as defined as A Jewish and Democratic State.
The term is used to describe various religious, moral and political points of view, but their diversity of motivation and expression is sufficiently different that "anti-Zionism" cannot be seen as having a single ideology or source. Many notable Jewish and non-Jewish sources, including French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, have claimed that anti-Zionism has become a cover for modern-day anti-Semitism. Proponents of anti-Zionism, such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, argue that supporters of Israel often try to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism, to silence opposition to Israel's policies.[page needed][full citation needed][not in citation given][self-published source?]
- 1 Definition
- 2 History
- 3 Diversity of anti-Zionism
- 4 Anti-Zionism outside the Jewish community
- 5 Anti-Zionism and antisemitism
- 6 Jewish anti-Zionism
- 7 Anti-Zionist conspiracy theories
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
||This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (July 2011)|
Zionism may be defined as, "An international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel." Zionism is also "a political movement among Jews which holds that the Jews are a nation, and as such need to establish a national homeland", and as a social and religious movement within Judaism which encourages Jews to establish a sovereign commonwealth in the Land of Israel, and as "a movement to support the development and defense of the State of Israel, and to encourage Jews to settle there." Therefore, a possible definition for anti-Zionism is opposition to these objectives; and people, organizations or governments that oppose these objectives can in some sense be described as anti-Zionist.[original research?] "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism," an essay published by the American Jewish Committee, concludes that, with the maturing of Israel since its founding in 1948, the term anti-Zionism in scholarly work is often used to mean advocating the elimination of the State of Israel. Opposition to Israel as a Jewish state is anti-Zionism or what can be called Post-Zionism.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2014)|
1800 - 1896
- 1828 - In London, Edward Swaine published a Biblical exposition, Objections to the Doctrines of Israel's Future Restoration to Palestine, national pre-eminence, etc.
- 1879 - Kapper-Society founded in Austria
- 1882 - Moved by the hardships of Russian refugees he found starving in the streets of Constantinople, the United States minister to the Ottoman empire, Lew Wallace, called at the Porte's Foreign Office; he received a communication from the minister of foreign affairs in which the statement was made that Jews would be made welcome anywhere in the empire except in Palestine.
- 1885 - The Pittsburgh Platform, convened by Reform Judaism leaders Kaufmann Kohler and Isaac Mayer Wise, denounces Zionism, adopting the text: "We recognize, in the modern era of universal culture of heart and intellect, the approaching of the realization of Israel's great Messianic hope for the establishment of the kingdom of truth, justice, and peace among all men. We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state"
- 1891 - Jewish Colonization Association set up to facilitate settlement of Russian and Eastern European Jews in North and South America, but not Palestine
After the First Zionist Congress
- 1897 - General Jewish Labour Bund is founded in the Russian empire
- 1902 - The American Israelite calls Zionism a "pernicious agitation", and is used by a number of editorial contributors such as Rabbi David Philipson, Rabbi Moses Mielziner and Jewish history scholar Gotthard Deutsch to oppose Zionism, arguing that Judaism was a religion exclusively, and thus stateless.
- 1903 - British Uganda Programme offered to the World Zionist Organization
- 1905 - Jewish Territorialist Organization splits off from the World Zionist Organization, in order to obtain "a large tract of territory (preferably within the British Empire) wherein to found a Jewish Home of Refuge" outside of Palestine
- 1905 - Folksgrupe founded in the Russian empire
- 1908-09 - Palestinian anti-zionism begins to take shape
- 1915 - Philosopher Hermann Cohen publishes Deutschtum und Judentum, an Anti-Zionist work which encouraged German Jews to assimilate
- 1917 - Edwin Samuel Montagu submits his Memorandum on the Anti-Semitism of the British Government in response to ongoing discussions around the Balfour Declaration, in which he states "Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom" and outlines his four principles of anti-zionism
- 1917 - David Lindo Alexander, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Claude Montefiore, president of the Anglo-Jewish Association objecting to published statements of the Zionist leaders that "Jewish settlements in Palestine shall be recognized as possessing a national character " and the intention "to invest the Jewish settlers in Palestine with certain special rights in excess of those enjoyed by the rest of the population"
After the Balfour Declaration
- 1919 - Congressman Julius Kahn presents an anti-zionist petition to Woodrow Wilson ahead of the Paris Peace Conference, including the statement "…we protest against the political segregation of the Jews and the re-establishment in Palestine of a distinctively Jewish State as utterly opposed to the principles of democracy which it is the avowed purpose of the World’s Peace Conference to establish. Whether the Jews be regarded as a “race” or as a “religion,” it is contrary to the democratic principles for which the world war was waged to found a nation on either or both of these bases." The petition included signatures from over 300 prominent American Jews, including Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and Simon W. Rosendale
- 1919 - The US-Government sponsored King–Crane Commission advocated the creation of a Greater Syria, to include Palestine, stating "nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine"
- 1919 - Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten founded in Germany
- 1924 - Jacob Israël de Haan assassinated by Haganah for his anti-Zionist political activities
- 1935 - Louis Fles writes Godsdienst, openbare school en Zionisme
- 1936 - Victor Alter of the General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland labels Ze'ev Jabotinsky antisemitic, writing "No, it is not we who are creating a sense of alienation between the Jewish masses and Poland; this is being attempted by those who have supported Jewish reaction wherever and whenever it occurs, who wish to turn the Jewish masses into a collective of fanatics who are alien to the ideology and struggles of Polish workers"
- 1938 - Mahatma Gandhi writes "The Jews In Palestine", in which he states: "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs.... The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts....Let the Jews who claim to be the chosen race prove their title by choosing the way of non-violence for vindicating their position on earth. Every country is their home, including Palestine, not by aggression but by loving service"
After the Biltmore Program
- 1942 - American Council for Judaism founded
- 1943 - Orthodox Hungarian rabbi, Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, originally opposed to Secular Zionism, publishes Eim HaBanim Semeicha in Budapest under Nazi persecution which strongly advocates, on a religious basis, the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. He concluded that "Anti-Zionism was the root of evil befalling the Jewish people."
- 1944 - Philosopher Hannah Arendt publishes Zionism Reconsidered, writing "Only folly could dictate a policy which trusts a distant imperial power for protection, while alienating the goodwill of neighbours... If the Jewish commonwealth is obtained in the near future… it will be due to the political assistance of American Jews... But if the Jewish commonwealth is proclaimed against the will of the Arabs and without the support of the Mediterranean peoples, not only financial help but political support will be necessary for a long time to come. And that may turn out to be very troublesome indeed for Jews in this country, who after all have no power to direct the political destinies of the Near East."
- 1945 - Elmer Berger publishes The Jewish Dilemma, which argued that Zionism was a surrender to the racial myths about the Jews and that assimilationism was still the best path for the Jews in the modern world
- 1946 - The Jewish Anti-Zionist League founded in Egypt
- 1946 - Sir Isaac Isaacs publishes "Palestine: Peace and Prosperity or War and Destruction? Political Zionism: Undemocratic, Unjust, Dangerous"
After the founding of the State of Israel
- 1953 - Alfred Lilienthal publishes What Price Israel?
- 1961 - Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, leader of the Satmar Hasidim, publishes Vayoel Moshe, a robust castigation of Zionism, in which he blames the Holocaust on the "idolatry of Zionism".
- 1962 - Matzpen organisation founded in Israel
- 1965 - Moshe Menuhin publishes Decadence of Judaism in our Time
- 1967 - Maxime Rodinson publishes "Israel, fait colonial" in Jean-Paul Sartre's journal, Les Temps Modernes
After the Six Day War
- 1968 - Elmer Berger founds the American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism (AJAZ)
- 1970 - Ma'avak party founded
- 1972 - Aki Orr publishes The Other Israel: the Radical Case against Zionism
- 1973 - Trial of Revolutionary Communist alliance - Red Front members including Daud Turki, Udi Adiv and Dan Vered
- 1975 - United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 passed, which "determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination". [Note: this resolution was repealed in 1991.]
- 1979 - Edward Said publishes The Question of Palestine
- 1980 - Naeim Giladi writes Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews
- 1983 - Noam Chomsky writes The Fateful Triangle
- 1983 - The USSR founds the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public, headed by David Dragunsky
- 1984 - Uri Davis joins Fatah
- 1984 - Alternative Information Center founded
- 1988 - Ella Shohat publishes Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victims
- 1989 - Marc H. Ellis writes The Future of Dissent: a Reflection on What Shall I Do With This People? Jews and the Fractious Politics of Judaism
- 1990 - Thomas A. Kolsky writes Jews Against Zionism
- 1990 - Lenni Brenner and Stokely Carmichael found the Committee against Zionism and Racism
1994 to present
- 1994 - Israel Shahak writes Jewish History, Jewish Religion: the Weight of Three Thousand Years
- 2000 - Norman Finkelstein publishes The Holocaust Industry
- 2001 - Israel and the United States pull out of the World Conference against Racism 2001, also known as Durban I
- 2005 - Michael Neumann writes The Case Against Israel
- 2005 - Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign initiated
- 2006 - Yakov M. Rabkin publishes A Threat from Within: a Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism
- 2006 - Mondoweiss website launched
- 2006 - Ilan Pappé writes The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
- 2008 - Shlomo Sand publishes The Invention of the Jewish People
- 2008 - International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network founded
- 2010 - Former BBC and ITN journalist Alan Hart publishes Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews
- 2011 - Gilad Atzmon publishes The Wandering Who?
Diversity of anti-Zionism
Opposition to Zionism has changed over time and has taken on a spectrum of religious, ethical, political or military forms. Some include opposition to the creation of a Jewish state prior to the appearance of the messiah; objection to the idea of a state based on maintenance of a Jewish majority; differing democratic values and differing levels of geographical extension. Zionism 'met bitter opposition from conservative religious circles, who saw it as opposing divine will. The left, on the other hand, objected that this concept was based upon religion - something enlightened Jews should keep their distance from'.
Brian Klug of The Guardian has argued that anti-Zionism represents fair opposition to Israel. The legitimacy of anti-Zionist views has been disputed to the present day, including the more recent and disputed relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. A range[clarification needed] of other views regarding the various forms of anti-Zionism is discussed and debated. 
Anti-Zionism outside the Jewish community
According to philosopher Michael Neumann, Zionism as an "expansionist threat" has caused Arab hostility toward Israel and even antisemitism. Anti-Zionist sentiment has increased with ongoing Arab Israeli conflicts: after the June 1967 Six-Day War where Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights; during the 1982 Lebanon War where Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon, attacking the PLO, as well as Syria, leftist and Muslim Lebanese forces, leading to Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon; the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank, including the attack on the Jenin refugee camp; the 2006 Lebanon War; and the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.
Pan-Arabist narratives in the 1960s Nasser era emphasized the idea of Palestine as a part of the Arab world taken by others. In this narrative, the natural means of combating Zionism is Arab nations uniting and attacking Israel militarily. Pan-Syrian narratives, promoted mainly by Syria, are essentially parallel.
In contrast, a poll of 507 Arab-Israelis conducted by the Israeli Democracy Institute in 2007 found that 75 percent profess support for Israel's status as a Jewish and democratic state which guarantees equal rights for minorities. Israeli Arab support for a constitution in general was 88 percent.
Muslim anti-Zionism considers the State of Israel an intrusion into what many Muslims consider to be Dar al-Islam, a domain rightfully, and permanently, ruled only by Muslims due the fact it was historically conquered in the name of Islam.
Palestinian and other Muslim groups, as well as the government of Iran (since the 1979 Islamic Revolution), insist that the State of Israel is illegitimate and refuse to refer to it as "Israel," instead using the locution "the Zionist entity" (see Iran–Israel relations). Islamic maps of the Middle East frequently do not show the State of Israel. In an interview with Time Magazine in December 2006, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "Everyone knows that the Zionist regime is a tool in the hands of the United States and British governments."
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Amin al Husseini opposed the Jewish immigration to Palestine before the creation of the State of Israel, and in several documented cases expressed his hostility toward Jews in general and Zionists in particular.
Positions of the World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has been described as taking anti-Zionist positions in connection with its criticisms of Israeli policy. It is claimed the council has focused disproportionately on activities and publications criticizing Israel in comparison with other human rights issues. The council members have been characterized by Israel's former Justice minister Amnon Rubinstein as anti-Zionist, saying "they just hate Israel." The WCC has been charged with prioritising Anti-Zionism to the extent it has neglected appeals from Egyptian Copts to raise their plight under Sadat and Mubarak in order to avoid distracting world attention.
Presbyterian Church of USA
After publishing 'Zionism unsettled', which it initially commended as 'a valuable opportunity to explore the political ideology of Zionism', the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) promptly withdrew the publication from sale on its website following criticism that it was Anti-Zionist, one critic claimed it posits that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is fueled by a 'pathology inherent in Zionism.'
|“||Political Zionism and Christian Zionism are anathema to Christian faith...The true Israel today is neither Jews nor Israelis, but believers in the Messiah, even if they are Gentiles...John Stott||”|
Church Of Scotland
Despite its strong historic support for Restorationism, famously by Robert Murray M'Chyene and by both Horatius and Andrew Bonar, in April 2013 the Church of Scotland published "The Inheritance of Abraham: A Report on the Promised Land", which rejected the idea of a special right of Jewish people to the Holy Land through analysis of scripture and Jewish theological claims. The report further denied the "belief among some Jewish people that they have a right to the land of Israel as a compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust" and argued that "it is a misuse of the Bible to use it as a topographic guide to settle contemporary conflicts over land." The report was criticised by Jewish leaders in Scotland as "biased, weak on sources, and contradictory. The picture it paints of both Judaism and Israel is barely even a caricature." Subsequently the Church issued a statement saying that the Church had not changed its “long held position of the rights of Israel to exist.” It also revised the report.
Methodist Church of Great Britain
Charles and John Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, held Restorationist views. Following the submission of a report entitled 'Justice for Palestine and Israel' in July 2010, the UK Methodist Conference questioned whether 'Zionism was compatible with Methodist beliefs'. Christian Zionism was characterised as believing that Israel 'must be held above criticism whatever policy is enacted', and conference called for a boycott of selected Israeli goods 'emanating from illegal settlements.' The UK's Chief Rabbi described the report as 'unbalanced, factually and historically flawed' and charged that it offered 'no genuine understanding of one of the most complex conflicts in the world today. Many in both communities will be deeply disturbed'.
From 1928–1934, during the so-called "Third Period" in the Soviet Union, Zionism was outlawed. But by the late 1930s, the official position of Zionism began to change to a more favourable one. In the Soviet encyclopedia of this time, it was stated that Jewish migration to Palestine had become a "progressive factor" because many of the workers stood on the left. At the beginning of 1947, the Soviet Union supported the partition of Palestine. Joseph Stalin wanted to use the Jews in Palestine against British imperialism, and to establish a point of support for the USSR in the Middle East.
During the last years of Stalin's rule, official support for the creation of Israel in 1948 was replaced by strong anti-zionism. The level of confrontation with those deemed as anti-Soviet "Jewish nationalists" was toned down after Stalin's death in 1953, but the official position of opposition to Zionism remained in force: the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public, as well as numerous other initiatives, were state-sponsored.
As outlined in the third edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1969–1978), the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's position during the Cold War became: "the main posits of modern Zionism are militant chauvinism, racism, anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism,... overt and covert fight against freedom movements and the USSR."
At the same time, the spectre of Jewish allegiance to Israel amid the tensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict raised fears of internal dissent and opposition. The Soviet government liquidated almost all remaining Jewish organizations. It placed synagogues under police surveillance, both openly and through the use of informers. At the same time, the general restriction on the right of refuseniks, or Soviet Jews seeking to emigrate for Israel, emerged as a major human rights issue in the West. (See Jackson-Vanik amendment.)
Anti-Zionist sentiments were also manifested in organisations such as the Organization for African Unity and the Non-Aligned Movement, which passed resolutions condemning Zionism and equating it with racism and apartheid during the early 1970s. This culminated in the passing by the United Nations General Assembly of Resolution 3379 in November 1975, which declared that "Zionism is a form of racism."
The decision was revoked on 16 December 1991, when the General Assembly passed Resolution 4686, repealing resolution 3379, by a vote of 111 to 25, with 13 abstentions and 17 delegations absent. Thirteen out of the 19 Arab countries, including those engaged in negotiations with Israel, voted against the repeal, another six were absent. No Arab country voted for repeal. The Palestine Liberation Organisation denounced the vote. All of the ex-communist countries and most of the African countries who had supported Resolution 3379 voted to repeal it. Only four non-Muslim countries voted against the resolution: Cuba, Sri Lanka, North Korea and Vietnam. Likewise, only four Muslim countries voted for the resolution: Cote d'Ivoire, Albania, the Gambia and Nigeria. The rest abstained (including Turkey) or absented themselves.
After Israel occupied Palestinian territory following the 1967 Six-Day War, some African-Americans supported the Palestinians and criticized Israel's actions, for example by publicly supporting Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat and calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Immediately after the war, the black power organization Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee published a newsletter criticizing Israel, and asserting that the war was an effort to regain Palestinian land and that during the 1948 war, "Zionists conquered the Arab homes and land through terror, force, and massacres". In 1993, philosopher Cornel West wrote: "Jews will not comprehend what the symbolic predicament and literal plight of Palestinians in Israel means to blacks.... Blacks often perceive the Jewish defense of the state of Israel as a second instance of naked group interest, and, again, an abandonment of substantive moral deliberation." African-American support of Palestinians is frequently due to the consideration of Palestinians as people of color – political scientist Andrew Hacker writes: "The presence of Israel in the Middle East is perceived as thwarting the rightful status of people of color. Some blacks view Israel as essentially a white and European power, supported from the outside, and occupying space that rightfully belongs to the original inhabitants of Palestine."
Anti-Zionism and antisemitism
||This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (March 2010)|
In recent years, commentators have argued that contemporary manifestations of anti-Zionism have become a cover for antisemitism, and that a "new antisemitism" rooted in anti-Zionism has emerged. Advocates of this concept argue that much of what purports to be criticism of Israel and Zionism is demonization, and has led to an international resurgence of attacks on Jews and Jewish symbols and an increased acceptance of antisemitic beliefs in public discourse. Critics of the concept argue that the equation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism is used to stifle legitimate criticisms of Israel, and trivializes antisemitism. Others go the other way and claim "anti-Zionism" has become a requisite proof of progressive conviction today, and is similar to Jews converting to Christianity a century ago.
Professor Kenneth L. Marcus, former staff director at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, identifies four main views on the relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, at least in North America::845–846
- anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic in its essence and in most, if not all, of its manifestations;
- anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are both analytically and historically distinct, but the two ideologies have merged since 1948;
- anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism remain distinct, but anti-Zionism occasionally crosses the line into "outright anti-Semitism", while anti-Semitism often pollutes anti-Zionist discourse;:18 and/or
- anti-Zionism is analytically distinct from anti-Semitism, but much apparent criticism of Israel or Zionism is in fact a thinly veiled expression of anti-Semitism.
Professor Robert S. Wistrich, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the originator of Marcus's second view of anti-Zionism (that anti-Zionism and antisemitism merged post-1948) argues that much contemporary anti-Zionism, particularly forms that compare Zionism and Jews with Hitler and the Third Reich, has become a form of antisemitism:
Anti-Zionism has become the most dangerous and effective form of anti-Semitism in our time, through its systematic delegitimization, defamation, and demonization of Israel. Although not a priori anti-Semitic, the calls to dismantle the Jewish state, whether they come from Muslims, the Left, or the radical Right, increasingly rely on an anti-Semitic stereotypization of classic themes, such as the manipulative "Jewish lobby," the Jewish/Zionist "world conspiracy," and Jewish/Israeli "warmongers."
...antisemitism is involved when the belief is articulated that of all the peoples on the globe (including the Palestinians), only the Jews should not have the right to self-determination in a land of their own. Or, to quote noted human rights lawyer David Matas: One form of antisemitism denies access of Jews to goods and services because they are Jewish. Another form of antisemitism denies the right of the Jewish people to exist as a people because they are Jewish. Antizionists distinguish between the two, claiming the first is antisemitism, but the second is not. To the antizionist, the Jew can exist as an individual as long as Jews do not exist as a people.
Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini maintains that anti-Zionism is "politically correct antisemitism" and argues that the same way Jews were demonized, Israel is demonized, the same way the right of Jews to exist was denied, the right for Self-determination is denied from Israel, the same way Jews were presented as a menace to the world, Israel is presented as a menace to the world.
Brian Klug has argued that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are distinct but not mutually exclusive concepts:
There is a long and ignoble history of "Zionist" being used as a code word for "Jew," as when Communist Poland carried out "anti-Zionist" purges in 1968, expelling thousands of Jews from the country, or when the extreme right today uses the acronym ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government) to refer to the US government. Moreover, the Zionist movement arose as a reaction to the persecution of Jews. Since anti-Zionism is the opposite of Zionism, and since Zionism is a form of opposition to anti-Semitism, it seems to follow that an anti-Zionist must be an anti-Semite. Nonetheless, the inference is invalid. To argue that hostility to Israel and hostility to Jews are one and the same thing is to conflate the Jewish state with the Jewish people. In fact, Israel is one thing, Jewry another. Accordingly, anti-Zionism is one thing, anti-Semitism another. They are separate. To say they are separate is not to say that they are never connected. But they are independent variables that can be connected in different ways.
Some critics of Israeli policy argue that Israeli propagandists and supporters often try to equate anti-Zionism and criticism of Israeli policy, with antisemitism, to silence opposition to Israeli policies. Noam Chomsky for example argues:
There have long been efforts to identify anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in an effort to exploit anti-racist sentiment for political ends; "one of the chief tasks of any dialogue with the Gentile world is to prove that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is not a distinction at all," Israeli diplomat Abba Eban argued, in a typical expression of this intellectually and morally disreputable position (Eban, Congress Bi-Weekly, March 30, 1973). But that no longer suffices. It is now necessary to identify criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitism – or in the case of Jews, as "self-hatred," so that all possible cases are covered.
According to Norman Finkelstein: "Every time Israel comes under international pressure, as it did recently because of the war crimes committed in Lebanon, it steps up the claim of anti-Semitism, and all of Israel’s critics are anti-Semitic."
Rabbi Ahron Cohen a member of Neturei Karta states Zionists feed anti-Semitism worldwide in order to attract more immigrants to Israel. Neturei Karta opposes Zionism and consider it to be in total opposition with Judaism. Rabbi Cohen admits this view is currently not widely accepted among Jews. However he primarily intends to spread this message to the non-Jewish world. In order to remove what he says is a perceived stain on Judaism and the Jewish people.
Interpretations of Aliyah
Hope for return to the land of Israel is embodied in the content of the Jewish religion (see Kibbutz Galuyot.) Aliyah, the Hebrew word meaning "ascending" or "going up" is the word used to describe religious Jewish return to Israel, and has been used since ancient times. From the Middle Ages and onwards, many famous rabbis and often their followers, returned to the land of Israel. These have included Nahmanides, Yechiel of Paris, Isaac Luria, Yosef Karo, Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk among others. For Jews in the Diaspora Eretz Israel was revered in a religious sense. They prayed, and thought of the return, as being fulfilled in a messianic age. Return remained a recurring theme for generations, particularly in Passover and Yom Kippur prayers which traditionally concluded with, "Next year in Jerusalem", as well as the thrice-daily Amidah (Standing prayer).
Following Jewish Enlightenment however, Reform Judaism dropped many traditional beliefs, including aliyah, as incompatible with modern life within the Diaspora. Later, Zionism re-kindled the concept of aliyah in an ideological and political sense, parallel with traditional religious belief; it was used to increase Jewish population in the Holy Land by immigration and it remains a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. Support for aliyah does not always equal immigration however, as a majority of the world Jewish population remains within the Diaspora. Support for the modern Zionist movement is not universal and as a result, some religious Jews as well as some secular Jews, do not support Zionism. Non-Zionist Jews are not necessarily anti-Zionists, although some are. Generally however, Zionism does have the support of the majority of the Jewish religious organizations, with support from segments of the Orthodox movement, and most of the Conservative, and more recently, the Reform movement.
Many Hasidic rabbis oppose the creation of a Jewish state. The leader of the Satmar Hasidic group, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum's book, VaYoel Moshe, published in 1958, expounds one Orthodox position on Zionism, based on a literal form of midrash (biblical interpretation). Citing to Tractate Kesubos 111a of the Talmud Teitelbaum states that God and the Jewish people exchanged three oaths at the time of the Jews' exile from ancient Israel, forbidding the Jewish people from massively immigrating to the Land of Israel, and from rebelling against the nations of the world.
Jewish Orthodox religious groups
In the early history of Zionism many traditional religious Jews opposed ideas of nationalism (Jewish or otherwise) which they regarded as a secular ideology, which some viewed as a violation of the Three Oaths. Key traditionalist opponents of Zionism included Isaac Breuer, Hillel Zeitlin, Aaron Shmuel Tamares, Elazar Shapiro (Muncatz), and Joel Teitelbaum, all waged ideological religious, as well as political, battles with Zionism each in their own way.
Most Orthodox religious groups have accepted and actively support the State of Israel, even if they have not adopted "Zionist" ideology. The World Agudath Israel party (founded in Poland) has at times participated in Israeli government coalitions. Most religious Zionists hold pro-Israel views from a right-wing viewpoint. The main exceptions are Hasidic groups such as Satmar Hasidim, which have about 100,000 adherents world wide, as well as numerous different, smaller Hasidic groups, unified in America in the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada and in Israel in the Edah HaChareidis.
The Jewish community is not a single united group and responses vary both between and within Jewish groups. One of the principal divisions is that between secular Jews and religious Jews. The reasons for secular opposition to the Zionist movement are very different from those of religious Jews.
Prior to the Second World War many Jews regarded Zionism as a fanciful and unrealistic movement. Many liberals during the European Enlightenment had argued that Jews should enjoy full equality only on the condition that they pledge their singular loyalty to their nation-state and entirely assimilate to the local national culture; they called for the "regeneration" of the Jewish people in exchange for rights. Those liberal Jews who accepted integration and/or assimilation principles saw Zionism as a threat to efforts to facilitate Jewish citizenship and equality within the European nation-state context.
The Jewish Anti-Zionist League, in Egypt, was a Communist-influenced anti-Zionist league in the years 1946–1947. In Israel, there are several Jewish anti-Zionist organisations and politicians, many of these are related to Matzpen.
Noam Chomsky has reported a change in the boundaries of what are considered Zionist and anti-Zionist views. In 1947, in his youth, Chomsky's support for a socialist binational state, in conjunction with his opposition to any semblance of a theocratic system of governance in Israel, was at the time considered well within the mainstream of secular Zionism; today, it lands him solidly in the anti-Zionist camp. Modern American groups such as J Street are taken as evidence of an "anomalous pattern of internal defection" created as a result of anti-Zionism.
Alvin H. Rosenfeld in his much discussed essay, Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism, claims that a "number of Jews, through their speaking and writing, are feeding a rise in virulent antisemitism by questioning whether Israel should even exist." Rosenfeld's general claims are:
- “At a time when the de-legitimization and, ultimately, the eradication of Israel is a goal being voiced with mounting fervor by the enemies of the Jewish state, it is more than disheartening to see Jews themselves adding to the vilification. That some do so in the name of Judaism itself makes the nature of their assault all the more grotesque.”
- "Their contributions to what’s becoming normative discourse are toxic. They’re helping to make [anti-Semitic] views about the Jewish state respectable – for example, that it’s a Nazi-like state, comparable to South African apartheid; that it engages in ethnic cleansing and genocide. These charges are not true and can have the effect of delegitimizing Israel."
Some Jewish organizations oppose Zionism as an integral part of their anti-imperialism. Some secular Jews today, particularly socialists and Marxists, continue to oppose the State of Israel on anti-imperialist and human rights grounds. Many oppose it as a form of nationalism, which they argue to be a product of capitalist societies. One secular anti-Zionist group today is the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, a socialist, anti-war, and anti-imperialist organization which calls for "the dismantling of Israeli apartheid, the return of Palestinian refugees, and the ending of the Israeli colonization of historic Palestine".
World War II and the creation of Israel
Attitudes changed during and following the war. In May, 1942, before the full revelation of the Holocaust, the Biltmore Program proclaimed a fundamental departure from traditional Zionist policy of a “homeland” with its demand "that Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth." Opposition to official Zionism’s firm, unequivocal stand caused some prominent Zionists to establish their own party, Ichud (Unification), which advocated an Arab – Jewish Federation in Palestine. Opposition to the Biltmore Program also led to the founding of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism.
The full knowledge of the Holocaust altered the views of many who critiqued Zionism before 1948, including the British journalist Isaac Deutscher, a socialist and lifelong atheist who nevertheless emphasised the importance of his Jewish heritage. Before World War II, Deutscher opposed Zionism as economically retrograde and harmful to the cause of international socialism, but in the aftermath of the Holocaust he regretted his pre-war views, arguing for Israel's establishment as a "historic necessity" to provide a refuge for the surviving Jews of Europe. In the 1960s, Deutscher renewed his criticism of Zionism, scrutinizing Israel for its failure to recognise the dispossession of the Palestinians.
Anti-Zionist conspiracy theories
Claims that the Zionist movement controls world history or seeks to achieve world domination are roughly as old as the Zionist movement. The most influential of these claims is the Tsarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which remains popular.
In 1939, the Nazi German paper Volkischer Beobachter, justified the German occupation of Czechoslovakia with the headline: "In Prague Jewry is in power". In 1968, the East German communist paper Neues Deutschland justified the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia with the headline "In Prague Zionism is in power". Simon Wiesenthal subsequently found 39 formerly influential Nazi party members working in the East German press and now directing their campaigns at Zionists.
From the 1960s, the Soviet Union promoted the allegation of secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist leadership. This included claims that the Zionist movement inflated or faked the impact of the Holocaust. The thesis of 1982 doctoral dissertation of Mahmoud Abbas (a co-founder of Fatah and president of the Palestinian Authority who earned his PhD in history at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, with Yevgeny Primakov as thesis advisor) was The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement. In his 1983 book The Other Face: The Secret Connection Between the Nazis and the Zionist Movement, based on the dissertation, Abbas wrote:
|“||It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure [of Holocaust deaths] so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure [six million] in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions—fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand."||”|
A different version of this conspiracy theory claims that Nazis and Zionists had a shared interest or even cooperated in the extermination of Europe's Jewry, as persecution would force them to flee to Palestine, then under British administration. Similar claims are occasionally made by Hezbollah or Hamas sources.
In 1995, William Korey released a work entitled Russian antisemitism, Pamyat, and the demonology of Zionism. Korey's central argument is that the Soviet Union promoted an "official Judeophobic propaganda campaign" under the guise of anti-Zionism from 1967 to 1986; after this program was shut down by Mikhail Gorbachev, a populist and chauvinist group called Pamyat emerged in the more open climate of Glasnost to promote an openly anti-Semitic message. Korey also argues that much official late-period Soviet anti-Semitism may be traced back to the influence of Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He notes, for instance, that a 1977 Soviet work entitled International Zionism: History and Politics contains the allegation that most major Wall Street financial institutions are "large financial-industrial Jewish monopolies" exercising control over many countries in the world. Russian antisemitism was reviewed by Robert O. Freedman in the Slavic Review; while he concurs with the book's central thesis, Freedman nevertheless writes that the actual extent of Soviet anti-Semitism may have been less than Korey suggests.
Before the Second World War many prominent Britons maintained that the tension between Germany and Britain was the result of Jewish warmongering. In 1935 the British Union of Fascists mounted a "peace campaign" against war, claiming an alliance of international financiers and Jews were leading Britain to war with Germany. However by 1938 the public mood had changed and Admiral Domville wrote "it is interesting to see how permeated these people are with the war germ. Israel has done its work well." Similar accusations have been made regarding Zionism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The Sudanese government has alleged that the Darfur uprising (in which some 500,000 have been killed) is part of a wider Zionist conspiracy. Egyptian media have alleged that the Zionist movement deliberately spreads HIV in Egypt.
Article 22 of the 1988 Hamas charter claims that the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists or forces supportive of Zionism. Article 32 alleges that the Zionist movement seeks to create an Empire stretching from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates river in Iraq.
In April 2010, Abd Al-Azim Al-Maghrabi, the Deputy Head of Egyptian Arab Lawyers Union, stated in an interview with Al-Manar TV (as translated by MEMRI) that the Hepatitis C virus was produced by "the Zionists" and that "this virus is now spreading in Egypt like wildfire." He also called for it to be "classified as one of the war crimes perpetrated by the Zionist enemy."
In June 2010, Egyptian cleric Mus’id Anwar gave a speech which aired on Al-Rahma TV (as translated by MEMRI) in which he alleged that the game of soccer (as well as swimming, bullfighting and tennis) was in fact a Zionist conspiracy, stating that:
As you know, the Jews, or the Zionists, have The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Over 100 years ago, they formulated a plan to rule the world, and they are implementing this plan. One of the protocols says: “Keep the [non-Jews] preoccupied with songs, soccer, and movies.” Is it or isn’t it happening? It is...The Zionists manage to generate animosity among Muslims, and even between Muslim countries, by means of soccer.
- New antisemitism
- Anti-globalization and antisemitism
- Israel and the apartheid analogy
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel
- Jewish assimilation
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Reflecting the traditional divisions within the Zionist movement, this axis invokes two concepts, namely Eretz Israel, i.e. the biblical ‘Land of Israel’, and Medinat Israel, i.e. the Jewish and democratic State of Israel. While the concept of Medinat Israel dominated the first decades of statehood in accordance with the aspirations of Labour Zionism, the 1967 conquest of land that was part of ‘biblical Israel’ provided a material basis for the ascent of the concept of Eretz Israel. Expressing the perception of rightful Jewish claims on ‘biblical land’, the construction of Jewish settlements in the conquered territories intensified after the 1977 elections, which ended the dominance of the Labour Party. Yet as the first Intifada made disturbingly visible, Israel’s de facto rule over the Palestinian population created a dilemma of democracy versus Jewish majority in the long run. With the beginning of Oslo and the option of territorial compromise, the rift between supporters of Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel deepened to an unprecedented degree, the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin in November 1995 being the most dramatic evidence.
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Of all the currents that run through the ... World Council of Churches, anti-Zionism is the most powerful... [T]he World Council of Churches [hasn't] officially condemned anti-Zionism as a criminal ideology advocating the elimination of the State of Israel.
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"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. [...] However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.
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"Anti-Zionist discourse that has become polluted by antisemitic themes or content is also difficult to identify because it is often based on at least partial truths which have become inflated or exaggerated to the point that they are held to be typical of all Jews or demonstrative of an antisemitic Jewish stereotype.... An example of this would be remarks about the Israel lobby.... [I]n some quarters this be-comes inflated to the point where discourse about the 'lobby' resembles discourse about a world Jewish conspiracy."
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Nevertheless, I believe that the more radical forms of anti-Zionism that have emerged with renewed force in recent years do display unmistakable analogies to European anti-Semitism immediately preceding the Holocaust....For example, "anti-Zionists" who insist on comparing Zionism and the Jews with Hitler and the Third Reich appear unmistakably to be de facto anti-Semites, even if they vehemently deny the fact! This is largely because they knowingly exploit the reality that Nazism in the postwar world has become the defining metaphor of absolute evil. For if Zionists are "Nazis" and if Sharon really is Hitler, then it becomes a moral obligation to wage war against Israel. That is the bottom line of much contemporary anti-Zionism. In practice, this has become the most potent form of contemporary anti-Semitism....Anti-Zionism is not only the historic heir of earlier forms of anti-Semitism. Today, it is also the lowest common denominator and the bridge between the Left, the Right, and the militant Muslims; between the elites (including the media) and the masses; between the churches and the mosques; between an increasingly anti-American Europe and an endemically anti-Western Arab-Muslim Middle East; a point of convergence between conservatives and radicals and a connecting link between fathers and sons.
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"I was interested in socialist, binationalist options for Palestine, and in the kibbutzim and the whole cooperative labor system that had developed in the Jewish settlement there (the Yishuv)...The vague ideas I had at the time  were to go to Palestine, perhaps to a kibbutz, to try to become involved in efforts at Arab-Jewish cooperation within a socialist framework, opposed to the deeply antidemocratic concept of a Jewish state."
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Anti-Zionism.|
- "Why I Am a Zionist" feature article by Tom Doran, an ex-anti-Zionist
- The Other Israel: The Radical Case Against Zionism – essays by members of Matzpen
- Stanley Aronowitz, "Setting the Record Straight: Zionism from the Standpoint of its Jewish Critics", Logos, Issue 3.3 (summer 2004)
- Lawrence Davidson , The Present State of Anti-Semitism, Logos, Issue 9.1, (Winter 2010)
- Torah Jews Against Zionism
- Jews Confront Zionism by Daniel Lange/Levitsky, Monthly Review, June 2009
Works related to Zionism at Wikisource