Wednesday, June 26, 2019

  • Wednesday, June 26, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is a guest post from someone who goes by the pseudonym Adam Johnson.

There has been increasing recognition by Jews that anti-Zionism in modern times is in no way distinct from antisemitism. Any distinction that may have been able to be drawn between the two in the 19th Century when there was no a Jewish state is not able to be drawn in the 21st Century when we are commemorating 70 years of the reborn Jewish state in which the majority of the world’s Jews now live. The consensus is that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism, or something along those lines.

But there has unfortunately been little success in spreading this to the wider public’s consciousness. Large numbers of people continue to believe that anti-Zionism is a wholly legitimate and distinct thing from antisemitism, even if the former on occasion becomes the latter.

We have hit a roadblock and the discussion has turned into a merry-go-round. It has moved on from arguments of substance to the various sides now rehashing and repeating the same arguments, occasionally throwing in a new turn-of-phrase or an original example to keep things seeming fresh.
The recent Intelligence Squared debate between Melanie Phillips and former Israeli Labor MK Einat Wilf on the one side and Ilan Pappe and Mehdi Hassan on the other demonstrates the issue perfectly. The proposition to be debated was that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. While Ms Phillips and Ms Wilf argued admirably for the proposition, Mr Hassan won well enough by pointing out that the proposition in question was not that anti-Zionism can turn into antisemitism, but simply that it is antisemitism, which he asserted is false because Zionism and anti-Zionism are political philosophies and antisemitism is not.

It’s hard to fault the arguments that Ms Phillips and Ms Wilf offered. Both of them are more than qualified to represent their side. But most normal people already accept that trying to destroy Israel is a morally repugnant thing to do regardless of any debate about anti-Zionism. Most people don’t believe that deliberately murdering Jews or Israelis is acceptable. Most normal people in general support some kind of two-state solution, even though they may wrongly blame Israel for its absence.

That doesn’t mean we should relax the fight against such things. It means that just as much as people don’t believe anti-Zionism is antisemitism, they don’t particularly care for anti-Zionism anyway, or they believe ‘anti-Zionist’ activities are immoral or undesirable for other reasons.
If that’s the case, there’s little point in trying to advance further on this front by merely repeating that anti-Zionism is usually bad or very bad or similar.

But if anti-Zionism literally is antisemitism and not just a form of it on occasion then it’s just not good enough to get stuck in the mud. It’s important for Jews to know it. And it’s not just important for Jews to know, it’s important for everyone to know. Because we all know that what starts with the Jews doesn’t end with them. Ms Phillips in particular has been very clear on this point. That being the case, we must have a breakthrough.

What if the very existence of a concept called anti-Zionism is antisemitism? What if anti-Zionism is not at heart antisemitism, but antisemitism is actually just anti-Zionism? What if we have it all backwards? What if this whole discussion is antisemitism in action? What if we are really discussing whether or not if antisemitism is antisemitism?

Zionism is poorly described as being about the establishment of a Jewish homeland or state. Truthfully, it is about the rights of the Hebrew nation in the Hebrew homeland. Of course, technically speaking, there is some distinction to be drawn between the Hebrew nation and the Jewish people. That distinction is splitting hairs by any measure.

The modern world so strongly associates Jew with Judaism, and Judaism with religion, that any mention of Jews or a Jewish state is almost always misunderstood. It is not surprising that no ground is being made when the basic premise of Zionism is so poorly expressed.

This distinction is also vital because the antisemite, upon being identified as such, will always immediately claim (pathetically) that he respects people of all faiths and that he just hates Zionism. The discussion has been immediately misdirected.

We know too that the Palestinian Arabs and their aides deny large amounts of Hebrew history, even accusing Israel of faking the Dead Sea Scrolls. And when they do that, they simultaneously claim that Jews used to live in peace with Christians and Muslims before the Zionists. Lo and behold, the heritage of the Hebrews has vanished and we are left in the trenches babbling more about religion and ethnicity, about Christians and Muslims, and in general about everything other than the rights of the Hebrew nation.

By emphasising that Zionism is about the rights of the Hebrew nation, we emphasize the ancient claim of the Jews and counter the idea that it is about religion. We are less susceptible to misdirection and are in a better position overall.

Antisemitism was a polite word for Jew-hate in Germany. But what if antisemitism is not really about Jew-hate? What if the Jew-hate is actually hatred of the Hebrew Semitism? A Hebrew hate? It is after all the Hebrew aspect that gives the Jews their association with Semitism. It is the Hebrew language we all learn and love. It is the Hebrew Bible that we have all read. It is the Hebrew homeland that Jews dwell in and it is the rights of the Hebrew nation that Zionism is concerned with. And by no special extension, anti-Zionism is antisemitism and antisemitism is anti-Zionism: because Zionism is the Semitism in antisemitism.

During the debate with Ms Phillips and Ms Wilf, Mr Hassan expressed the idea that Zionism is a political philosophy. But the rights of the Hebrew nation are not a political philosophy. And here we reach the point where we discover not only that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, but that the very existence of anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

If Zionism is a political philosophy, then what is the corresponding political philosophy for other nations? For Argentina, Ukraine, or Indonesia? Can anyone think of any corresponding word for Zionism at all? If you can think of one, and I’m sure there are some, when was the last time you heard about it? Or about a debate where they discussed whether anti-whatever was a form of prejudice against that nation? I’m not much of a betting man, but I’m going down to my bottom dollar on this one that the answer is ‘no’ or ‘never’. Only the Hebrew nation has to justify itself in this way.

Something like pan-Arabism or pan-Slavism is a political philosophy. Uniting different Arab or Slavic nations is a political philosophy; having those nations live freely in their own lands is not. The very existence therefore of this debate is a double standard: one standard for every other nation whose national rights are taken for granted and who suffer no prejudice against them, and one standard for the Hebrew nation, whose friends and representatives must vainly fight to convince people from near and far that their national life is no political philosophy. This is all the more ridiculous when we are living 70 years after the re-independence of the Jews.

If the distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism can be drawn after or before the independence of modern Israel, then why can’t it be drawn in the time of the Roman Empire? Or at any other point in history? The Roman Empire did somewhat distinguish between Jews in Judea and Jews elsewhere; yet that is mere geography. Everyone can distinguish between a Chinese community in Canada and the Chinese nation whose home is China. That is elementary. There are still no debates about ‘anti-Chinaism’ and whether or not it is ‘anti-Sinism’.

The Romans destroyed the Hebrew nation and expelled it, carting of its treasures and its people. They had no distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, even accounting for the recent origins of those words. No one in history has drawn the distinction that we now debate; neither should we.

The facts as stated clearly establish that anti-Zionism is not only antisemitism, but that the very concept itself is antisemitic. Jews around the world are threatened and attacked every day, but instead they waste time on discussing this garbage. Anti-Zionism is so absolutely antisemitic that the only solution to my mind is to get Western governments to recognize it as such.

The last, desperate strategy of the antisemite is always to ask if such and such a person was really antisemitic. The most common example given is always anti-Zionist religious Jews. ‘Zionism is not the same as Judaism’ they always say. The time has come to put the nail in that coffin.
Judaism is a Zionist religion. It presupposes axiomatically that Zionism is a fact. It speaks ceaselessly about a Hebrew people and a Hebrew homeland with Jewish soldiers and Jewish leaders. The Bible has been called a Zionist handbook and Zionism is a basic principle of Judaism, being all but commanded by it. And so we must be very clear that belief in Judaism is itself an act of Zionism, as it was for generations of ancient Jews. This is a fact of history; in a way, Zionism is indeed nothing more than the facts of history. This is not negated by someone’s personal opinion.
People can believe what they want, of course: but anti-Zionism is antisemitism and no one can change it.

I suspect that large numbers of Jews and their friends have cottoned on to all of the above in their own way over the years. Nowadays we see attempts to coin a word for it. The candidates include Ziophobia and the dreadful misoziony. There are alternatives. Anti-Zionism. Antisemitism. Zion-hate. How about “Hebrew-hate”?

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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