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This article is about opposition to and criticism of Zionism. For criticism of Israeli policy, see Criticism of the Israeli government.
Protest against the Gaza War in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2009

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.[1] 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,[2] have claimed that anti-Zionism has become a cover for modern-day antisemitism.[3][4][5][6][7]

Professors such as Noam Chomsky[8][page needed] and Norman Finkelstein[9] argue that supporters of Israel often try to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism, to silence opposition to Israel's policies.


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."[10] 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.[11] Opposition to Israel as a Jewish state is anti-Zionism or what can be called Post-Zionism.[12]


1800 - 1896[edit]

  • 1828 - In London Edward Swaine published a Biblical exposition, Objections to the Doctrines of Israel's Future Restoration to Palestine, national pre-eminence, etc.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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[edit]

After the Balfour Declaration[edit]

  • 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[18]
  • 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"[19]
  • 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"[20]

After the Biltmore Program[edit]

  • 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."[21]
  • 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[edit]

After the Six Day War[edit]

1994 to present[edit]

Diversity of anti-Zionism[edit]

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.[25] 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'.[26]

Brian Klug of The Guardian has argued that anti-Zionism represents fair opposition to Israel.[27] 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.[28] A range[clarification needed] of other views regarding the various forms of anti-Zionism is discussed and debated. [29][30][31]

Anti-Zionism outside the Jewish community[edit]

Secular Arab[edit]

Anti-Zionism in the Arab world emerged at the end of the 19th century, very soon after the First Zionist Congress was held in Basel in 1897.[32] However only after the Young Turk revolution in 1908 opposition to Zionism in Palestine and Greater Syria became widespread. [33]

According to philosopher Michael Neumann, Zionism as an "expansionist threat" has caused Arab hostility toward Israel and even antisemitism.[34] 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.[citation needed]

Map of Mandatory Palestine

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.[35]


A mural in Iran showing the yellow Hezbollah flag, and a quote from Ayatollah Khomeini which says: "Israel must be destroyed."

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.[36][37][38]

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."[39]

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.[40]


Positions of the World Council of Churches[edit]

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has been described as taking anti-Zionist positions in connection with its criticisms of Israeli policy.[41] It is claimed the council has focused disproportionately on activities and publications criticizing Israel in comparison with other human rights issues.[42][43] The council members have been characterized by Israel's former Justice minister Amnon Rubinstein as anti-Zionist, saying "they just hate Israel."[44] 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.[41][45]

Presbyterian Church of USA[edit]

After publishing 'Zionism unsettled', which it initially commended as 'a valuable opportunity to explore the political ideology of Zionism',[46] the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) promptly withdrew the publication from sale on its website[47] 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.'[48]

Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization[edit]

In January 2015, the Lausanne movement, published an article in its official journal made comparisons between Christian Zionism, the crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and described Zionism as "apartheid on steroids".[50][51][52] The Simon Wiesenthal Center described this last claim as "the big lie", and rebutted the "dismissal of the validity of Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish State".[53]

Church of Scotland[edit]

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."[54][55] Subsequently the Church issued a statement saying that the Church had not changed its “long held position of the rights of Israel to exist.”[56] It also revised the report.[57]

Methodist Church of Great Britain[edit]

Charles and John Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, held Restorationist views.[58] 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'.[59][60] 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.'[61] 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'.[59][60]

Soviet Union[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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."[62]

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."[63]

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.[64]


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.[65] 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".[66] 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."[67] 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."[68]

Anti-Zionism and antisemitism[edit]

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.[6][28][29][30][31][69][70][71] 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.[72] Critics of the concept argue that the equation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism is used to stifle legitimate criticisms of Israel, and trivializes antisemitism.[73] 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.[74]

According to David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain, "there has been an insidious, creeping attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel, which spills over often into anti-Semitism."[75]

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:[76]:845–846

  1. anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic in its essence and in most, if not all, of its manifestations;[77]
  2. anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are both analytically and historically distinct, but the two ideologies have merged since 1948;[78]
  3. anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism remain distinct, but anti-Zionism occasionally crosses the line into "outright anti-Semitism",[79] while anti-Semitism often pollutes anti-Zionist discourse;[80]:18 and/or
  4. 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.[81]

Marcus also states:[82] "Unsurprisingly, recent research has shown a close correlation between anti-Israeli views and anti-Semitic views based on a survey of citizens in ten European countries."[83]

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."


Dina Porat (head of the Institute for Study of Antisemitism and Racism at Tel-Aviv University) contends that anti-Zionism is anti-semitic because it is discriminatory:

...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.[85]

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.[86]

In July 2001, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported that during a visit there, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stated that "anti-Zionism inevitably leads to antisemitism." [87]

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.[73]

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.[8]

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."[9]

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.[88][89]

In the 2015 a German court in Essen ruled that Anti-Zionism equals Antisemitism. "Zionist’ in the language of anti-Semites is a code for Jew,” judge Gauri Sastry said in a groundbreaking legal decision. Taylan Can, a German citizen of Turkish origin who yelled “death and hate to Zionists” at an anti-Israel rally in Essen in July 2014 was convicted for hate crime.[90] In February 2015, a court in Wuppertal convicted two German Palestinians of an arson attack on a Synagogue, but denied the crime was motivated by anti-Semitism.[91]

Jewish anti-Zionism[edit]

"Jews Against Zionism" redirects here. For the book by Thomas A. Kolsky, see Jews Against Zionism (book).

Interpretations of Aliyah[edit]

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.[92] 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.[93][94][95]

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[edit]

Neturei Karta call for dismantling of the state of Israel at AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, May 2005
Main article: Haredim and Zionism

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.[96]

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.[97][98]


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.[99] 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.[100]

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.[101] 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.[102] 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.[103]

Alvin H. Rosenfeld in his much discussed essay, Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism,[104] 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."[105] Rosenfeld's general claims are:

  1. “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.”
  2. "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.[106][107][108][109] 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".[110]

World War II and the creation of Israel[edit]

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”[111] 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.[112]

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[edit]

Claims that the Zionist movement controls world history or seeks to achieve world domination are roughly as old as the Zionist movement.[citation needed] The most influential[citation needed] of these claims is the Tsarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which remains popular.

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".[113] Simon Wiesenthal subsequently found 39 formerly influential Nazi party members working in the East German press and now directing their campaigns at "Zionists", instead of Jews.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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.[114][115] In his 1983 book The Other Face: The Secret Connection Between the Nazis and the Zionist Movement, based on the dissertation, Abbas wrote:

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.[119] 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.[120] 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.[121]

Accusations have been made regarding Zionism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, claiming that tprominent Zionists were forcing Western governments into war in the Middle East for Israel's interests.[122][123][124]

The Sudanese government has alleged that the Darfur uprising (in which some 500,000 have been killed) is part of a wider Zionist conspiracy.[125] Egyptian media have alleged that the Zionist movement deliberately spreads HIV in Egypt.[126]

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Neo-Nazi and radical Muslim groups allege the US government is controlled by Jews, describing it as the "Zionist Occupation Government".[127]

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.[128] Article 32 alleges that the Zionist movement seeks to create an Empire stretching from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates river in Iraq.[citation needed]

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."[129]

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.[130]

See also[edit]


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  9. ^ a b Finkelstein, Norman (30 August 2006). "Congressmember Weiner Gets It Wrong On Palestinian Group He Tried To Bar From U.S.". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 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. 1974, the ADL, the Anti-Defamation League, puts out a book called The New Anti-Semitism. 1981, the Anti-Defamation League puts out a book, The New Anti-Semitism. And then, again in 2000, Abraham Foxman and people like Phyllis Chesler, they put out these books called The New Anti-Semitism. So the use of the charge "anti-Semitism" is pretty conventional whenever Israel comes under attack, and frankly it has no content whatsoever nowadays. 
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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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    "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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    "what was then called 'Zionist'....are now called 'anti-Zionist' (concerns and views)."

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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 [1947] 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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  130. ^ Against the Backdrop of Soccer World Cup in South Africa, Egyptian Cleric Mus'id Anwar Blasts Soccer, Other "Harmful Sports", as a Means Prescribed by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Order to Rule the World, MEMRITV, Clip No. 2503, 6 June 2010.

External links[edit]

Works related to Zionism at Wikisource