What is Zionism?

After I wrote the previous post, I was curious to see how “Zionism” was defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, which I use as my standard source of definitions. Here’s the total entry from the online version from the University of Chicago Library (I’ve left out the examples of usage, which don’t add anything):

But the term is not being used in this way by people like the Dyke March organizers. Rather, it’s being used to mean “approval of all of modern Israel’s actions and policies”. By changing the term’s meaning, they conflate those who simply favor the continued existence of the state of Israel with those who are seen as approving of or enabling the mistreatment and oppression of Palestinians. I favor a two-state solution to the issue, which, sadly, looks increasingly unlikely; but I’m regularly called a “Zionist”.

But in reality, “Zionist” has a third meaning, one used by Regressives and those who favor the BDS movement, as “those who want the Israeli state to continue existing.”  In that sense, “anti-Zionism” is anti-Semitism, and it’s hard not to see that this is often how it’s meant. It’s a euphemism, just like “states’ rights” was used as a euphemism for “segregation” in the South. In other words,  to many regressives “Zionist” simply means “Jew.”

That, in fact, is the usage among Muslims and hard-core anti-Semites: simply “Jews”– the ones depicted in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (notice the word “Zion”!)

If you’re going to throw around the terms “Zionism” or “Zionist,” why not explicitly say what you mean by them? Many Jews oppose some of Israel’s policies but still favor the nation’s existence. It’s unfair to label these people with a perjorative term used in the non-OED sense.

h/t: Malgorzata

44 Comments

  1. mikeyc
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Regressives did the same thing with “racsim” defining the term to mean something ither than what most people mean by it. To them POC can’t be racist just as Israel can’t be anything but an evil oppressor. It’s a deliberate attempt to paper over deep hatred of a race in one context and a culture in another.

  2. Mack
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Furthermore, Jews are no longer accepted as having a place in the heirarchy of the oppressed. Jews as individuals have lost their claim to protected status largely due to the policies of Israel. I think this sociopolitical blowback is one of the clearest examples of antisemitism in the Western liberal ideology.

  3. rom
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    For me Zionism is sort of synonymous with Israeli nationalism. Of course within the word nationalism there are positive, negative and neutral connotations.

  4. Posted July 23, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    The hypocrisy from the left on this is astonishing.

    Many atheists are anti-Islam, but support individual Muslim’s right to freedom of belief, oppose persecution of Muslims, even give support to reform Muslims.

    But many of those that are anti-Israel on land grabbing, or anti- the policing methods and segragation of Gaza, are still anti-Semite by association, even for those Jews that oppose the same aspects of Israel’s failings.

    A similar contradiction exists with regard to opposing religion generally, where the slightest conservatism of any Christian sect can be criticised, yet all but the most violent extremists of Islam are tolerated, … or at least ignored.

    This point is a particularly duplicitous game that many on the left play.

    It’s easy to get them to say, “Yes, of course I oppose FGM, homophobia, misogyny.”

    But point that out among Muslims and their first response is not to acknowledge the problem, which they have already agreed on, but rather to point out one’s Islamophobia. Once in that sort of conversation, getting them to again agree that this particular instance of FGM, homophobia, misogyny, etc., is bad is like getting blood out of a stone.

    The same happens in conversations about Israel. They condemn terrorism. But get them on the topic of Israel and they insist you condemn Israel for various acts; which you do. And then you ask them to condemn Hamas terrorism … not a chance: deflection, avoidance, Islamophobia, …

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

      I used to have a regular commenter on my site (who’s since been banned for another reason) and he openly admitted he was reluctant to criticize Islam or Muslims for anything. His reasoning was basically that it encouraged prejudice against Muslims. He was also one of those that thought all conflict in the Middle East could be laid at the door of the US, especially their support for Israel and the invasion of Iraq.

      I gave him the chance to write a guest post supporting his reasoning, which he did. He either ignored or didn’t accept any arguments that opposed his pov. For example, when it was pointed out that in the US Jews are the victims of many more hate crimes than Muslims according to official figures, he insisted that was because Muslims didn’t report it when they were the victims.

  5. rom
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Also there is much overlap in the word Semite. For example it could include Levantine Arabs at least ethnically speaking.

    Having said that anti-Semitism in its form has moved from a religious prejudice to that of racial/political prejudice.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      As I wrote a few times here the term “antisemitismus” was coined in Germany at the end of 19th century in order to supplant the plebeian word “Judenhasse” (German intellectuals who hated Jews wanted to have a nice sounding “scientific” term to describe their hatred). So it was racial/political prejudice from the beginning and had nothing to do with Semitic language or peoples.

  6. Frank Bath
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take Jerry’s side on this because it seems eminently reasonable to me.
    Moving on to the EOD’s definition of Zionism, I remain baffled by the description of Jews as a race. I’m not one to argue but can someone enlighten me?

    • Zach
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Without getting into the demographics, there’s a good theological argument for claiming that Jews are not just members of a religion, but a coherent ethnic group—namely, that Judaism is a race-based religion. Unlike Christianity and Islam, conversion to it is difficult, and in fact discouraged. Normally, to be Jewish, you have to be born to a Jewish mother. To be Christian, on the other hand, all you have to do is “accept Jesus,” and to be Muslim, all you have to do is recite the shahada: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”

      • Frank Bath
        Posted July 23, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm. Thank you.

      • Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Jews are not “a coherent ethnic group”. Jews used to evangelize and proselytize like other religious groups did and, as a result, there were Jewish converts. There were not only semitic Jews, but African Jews, European Jews, Mediterranean Jews, Egyptian Jews, probably some Indian (from India) and oriental Jews also.

        Ruth, a Moabite, became a Jew.The Khazars became Jews. Liz Taylor became a Jew. Madonna became a Jew, as I recall. However difficult it might or might not be, it is still possible to convert to Judaism and always has been. They are not a race.

        • Zach
          Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Unlike Christianity and Islam, conversion to it is difficult, and in fact discouraged.

          Nothing you wrote invalidated this point.

          And I don’t really have a strong opinion on the subject. I was simply addressing Frank Bath’s “bafflement” at the description of Jews as a race, and suggesting one reason for why this concept might make sense.

          Also, Jews have a long history of defining themselves racially. Who am I to tell them they’re wrong to do so?

          • Posted July 23, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            I really didn’t mean to sound as argumentative as I came across.

            The numbers of Jewish converts may not be huge, but to some degree the difficulty depends on whether one is converting as orthodox, conservative, reform, liberal, etc. Apparently, requirements may vary from country to country and a person converted in one place may not be acceptable in another; especially Israel.

            There are a number of online articles about converting, advising how to do it and who to contact. Apparently, there are online courses as well. Reform Jews sound quite inviting.

            Throughout the history of the Jews, they may have preferred to view themselves racially as the semite children of Abraham, siblings of Arabs, also children of Abraham. Even in Canaaan, although one is led to believe that it was almost exclusively Jewish after God gave it to the Jews, there were still villages of many other kinds of non-Jewish people living there according to archeology. Jews have been forced to live all over the world in many diasporas and some have intermarried with local populations wherever they’ve been. And there were large enclaves of Jews in many countries of the world outside Israel. They went where they were shoved or could find opportunities.

            We all have cultural myths that some of us prefer to believe about ourselves (America, the Christian nation, City on a Hill, etc.) The cultural myths we buy into may help us fit into the “racial” group, but that doesn’t mean it’s factual.

            I am American. My ancestors I know about came from at least seven different European countries. Who knows what nationalities or races of ancestors I have further back or that aren’t acknowledged in my family genealogy?. Of course, Jews can view themselves as a race if they want to do so, but not all of them do. And I would prefer to view all of us as one race: human. That’s what I put on any form that asks me my race.

            • Zach
              Posted July 24, 2017 at 1:19 am | Permalink

              Of course, Jews can view themselves as a race if they want to do so, but not all of them do. And I would prefer to view all of us as one race: human. That’s what I put on any form that asks me my race.

              Hehe… I do the same. Yet if a form asks my “ethnicity,” I’ll mark the “non-Hispanic Caucasian” box (or whatever it says), meaning “white.”

              I’m not sure why I do this. Which is to say, I grok why the term “race,” given its history, really grinds your gears. But at the same time, I don’t think the term “ethnicity” is totally useless and counterproductive. This could very well be a case of cognitive dissonance on my part, or my taking a jog on the euphemism treadmill. But I really don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with identifying with one’s ancestry, so long as doing so doesn’t involve claiming a right to dominate others in terms of their ancestry—which is the classic definition of racism.

              I’ll be honest though. I like the fact that Judaism has a conservative racial component to it. And when I say “conservative,” I mean it in two senses: first, in the sense that the religion is “transmitted” via the mother. Contra Islam, which claims that the the religion is “transmitted” via the father. Combined with the dictum that Muslim men may marry outside the religion, but Muslim women may not, this idea presents a perfect distillation of the expansionary (and in more barbarous times, sexually violent) nature of Islam.

              This, needless to say, is one of the reasons I don’t very much care for Islam. Nor Christianity, for that matter, because both, as I mentioned above, are deliberately geared towards proselytization. Judaism is not though. Jews generally keep their monotheism to themselves. And in the centuries-long clash between secularism and theocracy which we’re still going through, I find this a very endearing quality. Such is my second sense in describing Judaism, with admiration, as conservative.

              So… I guess I feel that for Jewish nationalism to be a real thing—which I think it should be—there needs to be an “ethnic” component to it. How much this component has to do with actual genes is not important, but at the same time it’s not totally irrelevant. Thus, I consider claims of a Jewish “race” and its right to national determination analogous to similar claims made by other groups, such as the Kurds—to pick a totally random example. (Honestly, not so random. I may be considered an anti-Arab racist for saying so, but I think the realization and empowerment of these two nationalities is vital in securing some semblance of civil modernity in that region of the world.)

              TL;DR: I’m a Zionist.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      As a partial answer I’ll offer that, in the 19th century when Civil War amendments to the US constitution were ratified, the term “race” was used more broadly to cover ethnicity — as in “the Italian race” or “the Irish race” or “the Jewish race,” etc.

  7. Zach
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    But in reality, “Zionist” has a third meaning, one used by Regressives and those who favor the BDS movement, as “those who want the Israeli state to continue existing.”

    Indeed, and this is worth repeating. Anti-Zionists—that is, explicit anti-Zionists, those who use the term “Zionism” pejoratively (this is a tell-tale sign)—do not think Israel is a legitimate state. Their preferred resolution to this conflict is not a two-state solution, but the eventual abolition of Israel, whether by military conquest or demographic change. The “nicer” ones prefer the latter possibility, since it will be less immediately violent. The ultimate result will be the same though, if history is any guide: no Jews in the land “between river and sea.” Keep this in mind when you hear supposedly tolerant calls for Israel’s right to exist, but with the caveat that it no longer define itself in terms of Jewish nationalism.

    Many have pointed out BDS-ers’ moral inconsistency when condemning foreign states. “Why do they single out Israel when so many other regimes are objectively worse?” This actually misses the point. BDS-ers’ unique opposition to Israel makes perfect sense if you grant their anti-Western premise: that it is a colonial apartheid state founded by European settlers. In their view, Saudi Arabia can be as oppressive as it wants, as long as it involves Saudis oppressing Arabians. They’re both indigenous to the region, so what they do is their business. Israelis, on the other hand, are seen as more akin to the early Boers of South Africa, slaughtering the Zulus and taking their land. This is why anti-Zionists love using the term apartheid in conjunction with Israel. Whether or not it accurately describes the current political reality is irrelevant; its more important function is to allude to South Africa—to white settlers dominating local people of color. The fact that so many Israelis nowadays are immigrants—really, refugees—from other parts of the Middle East is likewise irrelevant. The founding of their state is the problem, first and foremost, and it is that problem which anti-Zionists want rectified.

    Thus, those of them who disavow explicit anti-Semitism are, in my mind, just as abhorrent as anyone citing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For, if their convictions were turned into policy, it would result in a recapitulation of the Holocaust. The fact that anti-Zionism is so prevalent on the left nowadays is… problematic.

    • Danny Kodicek
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I’m just not convinced by this argument. Many people use ‘Zionist’ to mean specifically the aggressive expansionist policies of Israel, such as occupation of and illegal settlement-building on the West Bank. I would describe myself as opposed to such policies but not in any way opposed to the existence of Israel.

      This isn’t just a semantic argument. For many Israelis, support for Israel implicitly means support for expansion, and conversely, opposing expansion implies you don’t support the right of Israel to exist, and by definition are therefore anti-semitic. It’s a somewhat sneaky rhetorical trick, in my opinion.

      Having said all that, I think the whole miserable affair would never have arisen without the poison of religious identity. Ethnically there’s little difference between Arabs and Jews, as there isn’t between Irish Catholics and Protestants, or Pakistani/Indian Hindus and Muslims. In an ideal world, we’d let go of this religious nonsense altogether and we’d be hard-pressed to know what all the fuss was about.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        This is rather strange expansion: Israel had Sinai Peninsula after 6-days War. It gave it back to Egypt in exchange for peace. Israel had Gaza – it gave it Palestinians in the hope of peace (it got thousands of rockets). Israel had all of West bank – it gave it to Palestinian Authority in the hope that they will build foundations of a state and be ready for peace with Israel. Instead they got diverse intifadas, terror attacks and education of generations in hatred towards Israel. Israel is not willing to repeat the story with the West Bank and have rockets falling on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
        And if you check international law (not only what different people and organizations think is international law) you will find that most of these settlements are not illegal (and those that are, are illegal according to Israeli law and most of them are demolished by Israeli army). Zionism means exactly what it means – your own definition is invalid. If you are against Jewish presence in the West Bank just say so, or use another word without distorting the word “Zionism”. But why should you be in favor of any country in the world which is Judenfrei? Most of the Arab world, a home to hundreds of thousands Jews for millenia, already is, while in Israel 20% of population is Arab and nobody even dreams about making it “Arabfree”. And don’t forget that more than half of Jewish population of Israel consist of refugees from Arab countries and their descendants.

      • Zach
        Posted July 23, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Many people use ‘Zionist’ to mean specifically the aggressive expansionist policies of Israel, such as occupation of and illegal settlement-building on the West Bank.

        “Many”? How many? Surely not “most.” Because if most people used this narrow definition of Zionism, surely the 10-month moratorium on West Bank settlements back in 2010 would have had a more substantial impact on the peace process, and on anti-Zionist sentiment throughout the world.

        The fact that it’s often so difficult to tell which definition of “Zionism” anti-Zionists are using, and the fact that their specific objections so easily bleed into their broader ones, tells us much, I think, about the general movement. It looks very much like a prolonged motte-and-bailey exercise, where the “motte” is something like West Bank settlements, and the “bailey” is something much more sinister.

        I think you would be better served by opposing something like “Israeli expansionism.”

  8. jcook@napanet.net
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Greetings All, I am reading “Reclaiming Israel’s History” by David Brog. Published this year by Regency/Salem. Thus far it is pointing out the inconstancy in world attention to the Palestinian Arab situation while ignoring “refugee” issues all over the rest of Asia, Africa and the world. The rejection by the Palestinians of five ‘land for peace’ efforts -count ’em, five- is just the start of this very worthwhile book. Just over 200 pages. JC

    • Zach
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I was going to ask in the comments if anyone has a good primer on Israeli history. Most of what I find online is either too long—over-detailed and lacking a cohesive narrative—or too short, and over-politicized. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a good polemic, just so long as the author cites their sources and doesn’t “spin” things too much.

      Does this book have good documentation? Like, if I wanted to understand the relevance of the Balfour Declaration and how it came to be declared, does this book cover that?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        There are a couple of pretty good videos, I think by Vox, on YouTube. They have a liberal bent, but are fairly accurate and have good maps that help visualise the issue.

        I’ll try to find links, but I can’t do it for 2-3 hours.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 23, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          Here are three videos that are pretty good:

          The Israel-Palestine conflict: a brief, simple history

          Israeli settlements, explained | Settlements Part I

          Why Israeli settlements don’t feel like a conflict zone | Settlements Part II

          There are some other quite good ones that will show up in suggested viewing if you watch these.

          • Zach
            Posted July 24, 2017 at 2:51 am | Permalink

            Thanks for the videos.

            One initial point strikes me as interesting (1:23):

            At first, the British allowed Jewish immigration [to the British Mandate for Palestine]. But as more Jews arrived, settling in farming communities, tensions between Jews and Arabs grew. Both sides committed acts of violence, and by the 1930s the British began limiting Jewish immigration. In response, Jewish militias formed to both fight the local Arabs, and to resist British rule.

            Pertaining to the “limiting Jewish immigration” bit… I recall one commenter on this blog recently, when the subject of Zionism came up, who alluded to a certain colonial power “encouraging” immigration to the region. Hmm.

            Also, I will never forget an argument I had last year about American anti-Semitism with commenters on a leftist blog. (I was staking out the position that it was never as bad as in continental Europe, and thus an analogy between Nazism and American xenophobia—which the OP was making—was overwrought.) During which, it was widely claimed that the Immigration Act of 1924 (which severely restricted immigration from Eastern Europe) constituted a piece of legislation as insidious as the Nuremberg Laws, and which made the U.S. morally culpable for the Holocaust.

            The first point is ridiculous, but the second one is interesting. How many Jews might have been saved if Britain and America had been more open towards their immigration? We’ll never know. But—and here’s the real conundrum—what, exactly, are we to think of Jewish emigration from continental Europe? The subject of Zionism never came up on that blog, but I can’t help thinking that if it had, many of the commenters there would have had serious reservations about it, to say the least. However, that points to a potentially head-exploding contradiction in their worldview—namely, that Britain could be condemned for limiting Jewish immigration to its own land because of WASP-y anti-Semitism, and at the same time be applauded for limiting immigration to its most logical colonial holding in the 1930s/40s.

            I mean, really… does anti-Western sentiment know no logical constraints?

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

              I take it as a given that the regressive left know little or nothing about history. I was once attacked for being stupid and ignorant by some for pointing out the way atheists were treated by Hitler and quoting some bits from Mein Kampf that made it clear that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was tied up with his Catholicism. Also the support given by the Vatican to assist multiple leading Nazis to escape.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 23, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          This video is weighted to the Israeli side, but is accurate nevertheless:

          • Posted July 24, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

            Just taking the last 100 years of our history, a tiny sliver, we have witnessed and been part of convulsions and revolutions that have resulted in the displacement of millions upon millions of people. Over these years new facts on the ground have been imposed upon us. Take any series of maps starting from 1917 and try to keep track of all the changes. To take just one small example, many of us and our families living here in the US lost everything when we were lucky enough to escape from Europe during WWII. To go back now and single anyone or any entity out for the sake of some abstract idea of retributive justice would be like trying to turn the clock back and redraw the border between Poland and Ukraine. How many innocent people in Galacia lost everything during those terrible years? Just one example. Palestine: where BDS and like-minded activists, and the like-minded extremists on the other side, get it wrong is that there is no one to single out. There is no one-state solution.

            • Posted July 24, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

              Oops: Galicia.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

              Yes. Something I’ve said I’d like to see, but I know is unlikely ever to happen, is for the focus to be on how to move forward. Both sides are bogged down in arguments about who has been treated worst in the past. They have a need to win that first.

              It doesn’t help that Hamas is currently in charge on the Palestinian side. Their charter still includes explicit reference to ‘The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’ as if it’s a real thing and not a forgery exposed almost a century ago.

    • Tom
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      The two state solution is probably dead in the water.
      Neither Egypt, Jordan or Syria want an Israeli State or a Palestinian State.
      If Israel folded its tent tomorrow and went elsewhere these powers would violently quarrel over the whole area.
      If Israel/Palestine had never existed something like it as a buffer state would have had to be invented to keep them from tearing each other apart.

  9. Posted July 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    You only have to look at a map, with numerous islets of one people in the midst of the other, to despair of the possibility of a two-state solution. It would require massive migrations of people from one place to another. Too bad, I agree.

    As for Zionism, it has been changing ever since it was first conceived. Herzl, whom we all think of as, if not the founder, at least the great purveyor of the idea, was quite different. He lived before the Shoah and was neither particularly religious nor particularly attached to the notion of a Jewish state in Palestine. Indeed, he talked with many world leaders in the hops of establishing a Jewish state … almost anywhere. One very serious candidate was South America.

    So what happened? Germany murdered six million Jews and in thanks Europe gave them land in Palestine to form a state. Would it have not been more logical to give them, say, Bavaria? But I digress…

    • Zach
      Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, he talked with many world leaders in the hopes of establishing a Jewish state … almost anywhere. One very serious candidate was South America.

      Without knowing much about the early Zionist movement, I’m somehow skeptical about the “seriousness” of this proposal. Or any other, for that matter, which would renounce the Jewish homeland in favor of a Jewish homestead.

      In other words, I’m skeptical that Jewish nationalism could ever reach fruition anywhere other than Palestine. At least, I’m skeptical that it would have any staying power outside of Palestine, and wouldn’t just slowly devolve into another diaspora.

      I might be wrong, of course. But there’s a lot to reckon with when it comes to the interplay of ethnic identity, geography, and history.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted July 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        South America was one (not very well researched) option. There was also a proposal to establish a Jewish enclave in Uganda.

        All beside the point. There was a pattern of Jewish settlement (re-settlement?) into Palestine from the mid-19th century (see, incidentally, Chapter 4 of Ulysses, where Mr Bloom picks up a flyer inviting investors in plantations near Jaffa, “to be bought off the Turkish government”). The Turkish – ie Ottoman – government ceased to exist not long afterwards. The “Jews” have at least as much right to exist (and form a state) in that bit of the Levant as do the “Palestinians”.

        • Zach
          Posted July 23, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          South America was one (not very well researched) option. There was also a proposal to establish a Jewish enclave in Uganda.

          And let’s not forget about Madagascar!

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    There are Muslims & Arabs who identify as Zionists [dictionary def.]

  11. Craw
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Why not say what you mean by them? Because deniability is useful. Exactly as with the example you cite, states’ rights.

  12. Posted July 23, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Being in favor of: “the Israeli state to continue existing”
    and 
    “the development of the nation-state of Israel in Palestine for the assured settlement of the Jewish people”, senses (1) and (3)
    mean pretty much the same thing.
    The antidemocratic and anti-progressive “Left” take these definitions of Zionism to reject them. I today’s world, this position amounts to anti-Semitism, plain and simple. I suspect that people like the “Dyke March” organizers are taking Zionism in the same sense to also reject it, in the same way that that the antidemocratic and anti-progressive “Left” does. They are clearly falling into the same anti-Semitism, because I don’t think (unless I can be shown to be wrong) that the Lesbian marchers who were carrying a gay pride flag with a Star of David were proclaiming “approval of all of [or any of] modern Israel’s actions and policies” (corresponding to definition #2).

  13. Posted July 24, 2017 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    “But in reality, “Zionist” has a third meaning, one used by Regressives and those who favor the BDS movement, as “those who want the Israeli state to continue existing.” In that sense, “anti-Zionism” is anti-Semitism”.

    Several confusions here. First,, the BDS movement does not claim Israel should cease to exist. Some of them do, and some if them don’t. Secondly, support for BDS doesn’t make one a regressive leftist. Finally, neither support for BDS nor believing Israel has no right to exist implies hatred of Jews.

    Apart from these mistakes, thanks for this wonderful site.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 24, 2017 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      Singling out a Jewish state for opprobrium and boycott when there are many other states with much, much worse violations of human rights and international law is substituting Jewish state for Jews and is anti-Semitic. Believing that Jews have no right to self-determination and no right to exist is very clearly anti-Semitic. The founders of BDS movement stated many times that they are against the existence of a Jewish State, no matter in which borders. People supporting BDS movement should know what they are supporting. If they want only to change the policy of the current Israeli government they should support some other movement, not the one which is against the existence of a Jewish state. Wilful ignorance is not an excuse. Moreover, on most of BDS rallies and demonstration the slogan “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” is a very clear expression of desire to see annihilation of Israel.

  14. Phil Rounds
    Posted July 24, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The Israeli/Palestine problem is a complex situation.

    On one hand you have a nation (Israel)
    essentially created by the west based on the premise that god has guaranteed Jews exclusive ownership of this land. On the other, you have Palestinians who rail against what they perceive as an invasion and who refuse to come to terms with the reality that Israel is not going to just go away.

    I see problems on both sides. Israel continues to expand its occupation and Palestinians continue to use violence to combat that expansion. Neither side is truly the “bad guys”. That’s why so much effort has been expended to find a peaceful solution.

    I think the US should remain as neutral as possible. I don’t think either side holds the absolute moral high ground in this dispute. Favouring one side or the other will only prolong the situation.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 24, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Jewish nation existed long before Western civilization. Jewish Diaspora existed not only in Western countries but also in all Arab and Muslim countries (where lived almost half of the world’s Jewish population), China, India, Afghanistan and practically every part of the world. Today Jews from the West make less than half of the Jewish population in Israel. Your statement that it “was created by west on the premise that god guaranteed exclusive ownership of this land” shows both ignorance and, possibly, malice.
      Like others who define “anti-Zionism” according to their own whims, you define expansion contrary to everything it means. Expansion according to Oxford Dictionary: “The action of becoming larger or more extensive”. Since 1967 Israel shrank. In exchange for peace or hope for peace it gave Arabs Sinai, Gaza Strip, parts of the West Bank. Had the Palestinians accepted peaceful co-existence, it would most probably gave back almost whole of the West Bank and removed its armed forces. For 25 years no new Israeli settlement was built on the West Bank and existing settlements take less than 2% of the area of the West Bank. Some expansion!
      Yes, this conflict is very complex: http://abuyehuda.com/2017/07/the-three-jewish-arab-conflicts/


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