Wednesday, June 19, 2024

  • Wednesday, June 19, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

I watched much of the Munk Debate on Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism that was held on Monday night in Toronto.

Douglas Murray and Natasha Hausdorff argued that anti-Zionism is antisemitism;  Mehdi Hasan and Gideon Levy argued against.

Murray and Hansdorff won the debate handily, with the audience supporting their side 66% to 34%. But I didn't really see where they refuted Hasan's main argument that he made in his opening statement; much of the debate got sidetracked in discussions about Gaza and college campus protests.

Hasan was loose and fast with the facts. He took quotes by Arthur Balfour and Theodor Herzl out of context; (Hansdorff had the real Balfour quote and showed how Hasan lied.)

But Hasan's main argument did not seem to be addressed directly by the other side. So, I'll do it.

Here is what Mehdi Hasan said:
In 1917, over 100 years ago, Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, a card carrying anti-Semite, a man who had denounced the evils of Jewish immigration into the UK, a man who referred to Jews as an alien and hostile people.

Balfour was not an antisemite and he did not refer to Jews as an "alien and hostile people." He wrote, in his forward to Nahum Sokolow's History of Zionism, that antisemites refer to Jews that way, calling Zionism "a serious endeavour to mitigate the age-long miseries created for Western civilization by the presence in its midst of a Body which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile,." (The idea that Sokolow, in a book surveying Jewish peoplehood and nationalism from 1600 to 1918, would allow an antisemite to write the forward only makes sense in the minds of antisemites.) 

He issued his Balfour Declaration, which promised a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

It was the first time a major world power had come out in favor of Zionism, which at the time was a pretty new and pretty controversial movement, calling not just for a Jewish homeland, but for the building of a Jewish majority state in Palestine.

And yet the only Jewish member of the British cabinet at that time, a man named Edwin Samuel Montague, adamantly opposed both Zionism, which he called a mischievous political creed, and the Balfour Declaration, which he referred to as anti-Semitic and a rallying ground for anti-Semites in every country in the world. 
The only Jewish member of the British cabinet. That is what he said.

And yet tonight, here in Toronto, over 100 years later, we are being asked to vote for a motion that would damn Montague as the anti-Semite while praising Balfour as the champion of Jews and Judaism.

That's ridiculous.

Another false argument Mehdi and others use is to argue that Jews before 1948 who were ambivalent or argued against Zionism are comparable to today's anti-Zionists. That is false. Before 1948, there were valid arguments about whether a Jewish state would be good for the Jews - some Jews were concerned that their host countries would expel them if there was a Jewish state, for example. 

But once Israel became a fact, wanting to see an existing country get destroyed is a much different and extreme idea than not wanting the country  to be set up to begin with. No one talks about dismantling Pakistan or Syria or China; only Israel. And the only reason for that is because it is the only Jewish state. 

In fact, this entire motion tonight is ridiculous, disingenuous, ahistorical. It says. "Be it resolved, anti Zionism is anti-Semitism."

It doesn't say some anti Zionists engage in anti-Semitism, which I don't disagree with.It doesn't say some anti-Semites hide behind the cloak of anti Zionism, which again I don't disagree with....

The motion says anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

No ifs, no buts, no caveats, no exceptions.

Anyone, anyone who takes an anti-Zionist position is automatically, inherently, unavoidably anti-Jewish, an anti-Semite, a racist.

Throughout this statement, Mehdi relies on a straw man argument.  Saying that anti-Zionism is antisemitism does not mean that everyone who has an opinion against Zionism is an antisemite. Some people become anti-Israel out of ignorance or from believing propaganda; the bar for calling a person an antisemite is much higher than calling anti-Zionism itself antisemitism. 

[The debate is] about the legitimacy of anti-Zionism.

Whether you can be anti-Zionist, opposed to Zionism, which remember is a political ideology, a nationalist movement, not a religion, not a race, not a protected class. Whether you can be anti-Zionist, without being smeared, tarred, demonized as an anti-Semite.

And I want to be clear tonight, you could be the most pro Israeli person in this room tonight, the most proud and ardent Zionist here, and still vote against this motion with a clear conscience.

Still vote with our side, the right side.

Because this motion is not about whether you are pro Israel or pro Zionist.

It's about whether the rest of us have the right, the freedom to take a different view, on Israel, on Zionism, on Benjamin Netanyahu, even without being silenced, without being told we're racists. We're not.

 Everyone has the right to be anti-Zionist just as everyone has the right to be antisemitic. There is no law against it. No one is being silenced. It is another straw man. Hasan wants the right to make antisemitic arguments and not be called out on it.

Anti Zionism is not anti-Semitism. I'll tell you three reasons why.

Number one, if you vote for this motion tonight, you're throwing logic, history and the English language under the bus. Because anti-Semitism is hating Jews, the people, and Judaism, the religion.Anti Zionism is opposing Israel, the state, and Zionism, the ethno- nationalist ideology that underpins that state. 
Zionism is not Judaism. It's a very modern, secular political ideology movement that was founded less than 150 years ago by an atheist named Theodor Herzl,....

Hasan is right that Zionism is not Judaism, although Judaism is Zionist. However, anti-Zionism is not being a critic of Zionism - it is a fanatic obsession, a pure hate that can only be compared to classic antisemitism. 

Anti-Zionists keep trying to find new ways to make others hate the Jewish state. Whether it is "colonialism" or "ethnic cleansing" or "occupation" or "apartheid" or "genocide" or "Jewish supremacism" - all of these are falsehoods meant to make antisemitism palatable. 

Hasan wants to look at anti-Zionism in a vacuum, but it is part of a continuous tradition of hate for Jews that has morphed over time to be identical to whatever is most unpopular in every age. Only after the Holocaust has naked antisemitism become unfashionable, hence the arguments that Israeli Jews (never Israeli Arabs) "Zionists" are the worst people in the world, which is merely an update of the Nazi racial antisemitism and the Russian conspiracy theory antisemitism, the "philosophical" antisemitism of Voltaire and the rabid Christian antisemitism of Luther. Just as with the earlier versions, the practitioners of the new antisemitism have a missionary zeal to convince the rest of the world that Jews in Israel and their Jewish supporters in the Diaspora are uniquely immoral and evil. 

Notably, before and soon after Israel was reborn, Arab antisemites claimed to be anti-Zionist in international forums, but they made clear that they were boycotting Jews, not Zionists, from every country. This is the DNA of BDS.

 ...[Herzl] ho said, and I quote, "The anti-Semites will be our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries, our allies." His words, not mine.

Herzl was writing in his diaries about a fantasy he had that Jews in the Diaspora should turn antisemites into friends, by having the Jews liquidate their assets in their host countries when they leave to go to Israel, so the antisemites couldn't argue that they are taking national treasures with them. 

Just as with the Balfour quote, this is the opposite of what Hasan is claiming.

#2 If you vote for this motion, you're throwing Palestinians as a people under the bus.

You're telling an occupied people, a dispossessed people, to accept their own occupation, their own dispossession meekly in silence.

Otherwise they're racists.

As my friend Yusuf Munayyer  the Palestinian American activist, says to ask Palestinians not to be anti Zionist is to ask Palestinians not to be.

Well, every poll shows that Palestinians are indeed the most antisemitic people there are. That's reality. No amount of whitewashing can obscure that fact. They overwhelmingly support the most vicious terror attacks against Jews (way before October 7.) Look at Palestinian Media Watch. And then see of you can find Mehdi Hasan ever condemn Palestinian or other Arab antisemitism. 

And #3.

Last but not least, if you vote for this motion you throw a lot of Jews under the bus as well. If you vote for this motion tonight, you'll say my debate partner Gideon Levy, whose grandparents were killed in the Holocaust, who served for Shimon Peres, who's written for Haaretz for over 40 years, just won Israel's top journalism prize three years ago - he's an anti-Semite.

You're saying the Satmar, the world's biggest Hasidic Jewish sect, which says it is fighting God's war against Zionism, is anti-Semitic.

You're saying Jewish college students on campus, maybe some of them your kids, members of If Not Now and Jewish Voices for Peace, they're anti-Semites.

You're saying some of the most respected Jewish voices in the world, like Abraham Berg, the former speaker of the parliament, Miriam Margonis, the actress from Harry Bloody Potter. They're all anti-Semites.That is what you are saying.

No, although some of them undoubtedly are. We are saying that today's anti-Zionism is the modern manifestation of antisemitism.

And again, it is worthwhile to look at the history of antisemitism. The original racial antisemites swore they had nothing negative to say about Judaism, just the inferior Jewish race - they were more cultured than Christian antisemites. Nazis justified their antisemitism as a defense against Jews polluting their pure Aryan blood.  Every single flavor of antisemitism justified its hate for Jews as logical and even sophisticated - just like today's version which justifies its hate on the basis of creating false and twisted definitions in the lexicons of human rights and international law. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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