A Broken Language, a Crippled
Debate, and the Gift of Art

Anti-Semitism and Zionism as Synonyms

Support for Zionism does not always flow from a positive, healthy attitude toward Jewish people. There are people who celebrate the existence of Israel because it conveniently concentrates Jewish people there, instead of in their own neighborhoods. Such people could be called allies of Zionism, however, their beliefs and actions are an insult to the Jewish people.

There are Christians who support an exclusively Jewish Israel. Based on a peculiar interpretation of their sacred texts, they believe that the annihilation of the Jewish population of Zion is a necessary prerequisite to the return of their messiah. Therefore, they are looking to populate Zion with Jewish residents, so that this gruesome event might occur. Their interpretation of Zionism is synonymous with the spirit of the term anti-Semitism.

Inattentiveness, inactivity, and indifferent acquiescence to the policies and actions of hard-line Zionism in Israel or the activities of the hasbara movement in the U.S., is a form of anti-Semitism. “Let them have their settlements, their guns, their security fence; let them have the rope to hang themselves,” is the sentiment. In this instance, what could be called passive Zionism is a synonym for anti-Semitism.

Readers who would like to learn more about the complex relationship of the terms anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are referred to The Politics of Anti-Semitism by Alexander Cockburn, ed., and Jeffrey St. Clair, ed. (AK Press 2003).

Stop It!

Artist: Asher Kalderon (Israel)

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