Anti-Zionism Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Zionism

Anti-Zionism is the opposition to Zionism, the movement that sought, and ultimately succeeded in establishing a Jewish state in the region of Palestine. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, anti-Zionism evolved into opposition to the state and its policies.

Anti-Zionism spans a range of political, social, and religious views. Prior to World War II, anti-Zionism was widespread among Jews for varying reasons. Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism on religious grounds and more secular Jews felt uncomfortable with the idea that Jewish peoplehood was a national or ethnic identity. Following the war and widespread understanding of the scale of the Holocaust, Jewish support for Zionism grew, with Jewish anti-Zionist groups either disintegrating, or transforming into non or pro-Zionist organizations.

Non-Jewish anti-Zionism likewise spanned communal and religious groups, with the Arab population of Palestine largely opposed to what they considered the colonial dispossession of their homeland. Opposition to Zionism was, and continues to be, widespread in the Arab world, especially among Palestinians.

Anti-Zionist views are also expressed by some antisemites. The relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is debated, with some academics and organizations that study antisemitism taking the view that anti-Zionism is inherently antisemitic, while others reject any such linkage as unfounded and a method to stifle criticism of Israel and its policies, including in its occupation of the West Bank.


Jewish anti-Zionism[edit]

Jewish anti-Zionism is as old as Zionism itself, and enjoyed widespread support in the Jewish community until World War II.[1] The Jewish community is not a single united group, and responses vary among Jewish groups. One of the principal divisions is that between secular Jews and religious Jews. Reasons for secular opposition to the Zionist movement are very different from those of Haredi Jews. Opposition to a Jewish state has changed over time and has taken on a diverse spectrum of religious, ethical and political positions.

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.[2] Other views regarding the various forms of anti-Zionism have also been discussed and debated.[3][4][5] Jewish anti-Zionists partner with like-minded non-Jewish groups, but tend to shy away from some of the overt antisemitism found in those groups.[6]

Before 1948[edit]

There is a long tradition of Jewish anti-Zionism that has opposed the Zionist project from its origins. The Bundists, the Autonomists, Reform Judaism and the Agude regarded the rationale and territorial ambitions of Zionism as flawed. Yevsektsiya, the Jewish section of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, targeted the Zionist movement and managed to close down their offices and place Zionist literature under a ban. However, Soviet officials themselves often disapproved of their anti-Zionist zeal.[7][8] Orthodox Judaism, which grounds civic responsibilities and patriotic feelings in religion, was strongly opposed to Zionism because, though the two shared the same values, Zionism espoused nationalism in secular fashion, and used "Zion", "Jerusalem", "Land of Israel", "redemption" and "ingathering of exiles" as literal rather than sacred terms, endeavouring to achieve them in this world.[9] Some Orthodox Jews also opposed the creation of a Jewish state prior to the appearance of the messiah, as contradicting divine will.[10] By contrast, reform Jews rejected Judaism as a national or ethnic identity and renounced any messianic expectations of the advent of a Jewish state.[11]


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.[12] 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).[citation needed]

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 the Jewish population in the Holy Land by immigration. It remains a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. Support for aliyah does not always equal immigration; however, most of the world's Jewish population resides 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.[13][14][15]

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[16] 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.


Prior to the Second World War many Jews regarded Zionism as a fanciful and unrealistic movement.[17] Many liberals during the European Enlightenment had argued that Jews should enjoy full equality only because 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 assimilation principles saw Zionism as a threat to efforts to facilitate Jewish citizenship and equality within the European nation-state context.[18]

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.[citation needed]

After 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"[19] 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.[19]

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 emphasized 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.


Neturei Karta call for dismantling of the state of Israel at AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, May 2005

Most Orthodox religious groups have accepted and actively support the State of Israel, even if they have not adopted the "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 worldwide and numerous different, smaller Hasidic groups, unified in America in the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada and Israel in the Edah HaChareidis.[20][21]

According to Jonathan Judaken, 'numerous Jewish traditions have insisted that preservation of what is most precious about Judaism and Jewishness "demands" a principled anti-Zionism or post-Zionism.' This tradition dwindled in the aftermath of the Holocaust, and the establishment of Israel but is still alive in religious groups such as Neturei Karta and among many intellectuals of Jewish background in Israel and the diaspora, such as George Steiner, Tony Judt and Baruch Kimmerling.[22]


Noam Chomsky has reported a change in the boundaries of what are considered Zionist and anti-Zionist views.[23] 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; by 1987, it lands him solidly in the anti-Zionist camp.[24]

Alvin H. Rosenfeld in his much discussed essay, Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism,[25] 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".[26] 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 [antisemitic] 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.[27][28][29][30] Today, some secular Jews, 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 that calls for "the dismantling of Israeli apartheid return of Palestinian refugees, and the ending of the Israeli colonization of historic Palestine."[31]

Proponents from other communities[edit]

Palestinian community[edit]

The Palestinian Arab Christian-owned Falastin newspaper featuring a caricature on its 18 June 1936 edition showing Zionism as a crocodile under the protection of a British officer telling Palestinian Arabs: "don't be afraid!!! I will swallow you peacefully...".[32]

Anne de Jong asserts that direct resistance from inhabitants of historical Palestine "focused less on religious arguments and was instead centered on countering the experience of colonial dispossession and opposing the Zionist enforcement of ethnic division of the indigenous population."[33]

Falastin is often described as one of the most influential publications in historic Palestine, and probably the nation's fiercest and most consistent critic of the Zionist movement. It helped shape Palestinian identity and nationalism and was shut down several times by the Ottoman and British authorities, mostly due to Zionists' complaints.[34]

According to Anthony Julius, anti-Zionism, a highly heterogeneous phenomenon, and Palestinian nationalism, are separate ideologies; one need not have an opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be an anti-Zionist.[35]

British empire[edit]

Government officials in charge of the administration of the British Mandate for Palestine were anti-Zionist.[36] The British press during the Mandate period followed suit. Editorials frequently decried the heavy burden it was to govern the land with competing national interests and claimed that Zionism's promise of a homeland for the Jewish people with civil rights for its Arab citizens was impossible to realize. Much of this sentiment was flavored with the anti-Bolshevism and antisemitism of the time.[37]

The British anti-Zionist[38] John Hope Simpson believed that the Arabs were "economically powerless against such a strong movement" and thus needed protection. Charles Anderson writes that Hope Simpson was also "wary of the gulf between Zionist rhetoric and practice, observing that 'The loftiest sentiments are ventilated in public meetings and Zionist propaganda' but that the Jewish National Fund and other organs of the movement did not uphold or embody a vision of cooperation or mutual benefit with the Arabs."[39]

Secular Arab world[edit]

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, pan-Arabist

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.[40] However, only after the Young Turk revolution in 1908 did opposition to Zionism in Palestine and Greater Syria became widespread.[41]

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.

Most Arab citizens of Israel do not have strong anti-Zionist views. 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 that guarantees equal rights for minorities. Israeli Arab support for a constitution in general was 88 percent.[42]

Muslim world[edit]

Quds Day demonstration in Qom, Iran

Anti-Zionist Muslims consider the State of Israel as an intrusion into what many Muslims consider to be Dar al-Islam, a domain they believe to be rightfully, and permanently, ruled only by Muslims as it was historically conquered in the name of Islam.[43][44][45]

According to Anthony Julius, anti-Zionism in the Muslim world is often flavored with classically European antisemitic canards. His research indicates that Palestinian media frequently portrays Zionists as child-murderers, echoing the medieval blood libel. A 2003 Syrian-produced anti-Zionist television series, "Al-Shatat," depicts scenes of Jews baking matza with the blood of gentile children.[46]

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."[47]

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.[48]

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom the Anti-Defamation League named "the leading anti-Semite in America",[49] has a long track record of hostility towards Jews in general and Zionists in particular.[50]

Christian community[edit]

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.[51] It is claimed the council has focused disproportionately on activities and publications criticizing Israel in comparison with other human rights issues.[52][53] The council members have been characterized by Israel's former Justice minister Amnon Rubinstein as anti-Zionist, saying "they just hate Israel".[54] 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.[51][55]

Presbyterian Church of USA[edit]

After publishing "Zionism unsettled", which it initially commended as "a valuable opportunity to explore the political ideology of Zionism",[56] the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) promptly withdrew the publication from sale on its website[57] 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.'[58] In February 2016, the General Assembly was lobbied by its Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) to lay aside a two state solution and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[59][60] Presbyterians for Middle East Peace described this proposal as a "one-sided, zero-sum solution".[61]

Political Zionism and Christian Zionism are anathema to Christian faith.... The true Israel today is neither Jews nor Israelis, but believers in the Messiah, even if they are Gentiles.... John Stott[62]

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".[63][64][65] 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".[66]

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 "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."[67][68] Subsequently, the Church issued a statement saying that the Church had not changed its "long-held position of the rights of Israel to exist".[69] It also revised the report.[70]

Methodist Church of Great Britain[edit]

Charles and John Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, held Restorationist views.[71] Following the submission of a report titled 'Justice for Palestine and Israel' in July 2010, the UK Methodist Conference questioned whether 'Zionism was compatible with Methodist beliefs'.[72][73] 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".[74] The UK's Chief Rabbi described the report as "unbalanced, factually and historically flawed", and said 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."[72][73]

Third Position, fascist, and right-wing[edit]

The flag of the Knights Party, the political branch of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Anti-Zionism has a long history of being supported by various individuals and groups associated with Third Position, right-wing and fascist (or "neo-fascist") political views.[75][76][77][78] A number of militantly racist groups and their leaders are anti-Zionist, David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan for example,[79] and various other Aryan / White-supremacist groups.[80] In these instances, anti-Zionism is usually also deeply antisemitic, and often revolves around conspiracy theories discussed below.

Soviet Union[edit]

During the last years of Stalin's rule, official support for the creation of Israel in 1948 was replaced by strong anti-Zionism. According to Izabella Tabarovsky, a researcher with the Kennan Institute:

"[T]he Soviets ... [claimed] that their ideology was anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. ... Soviet ideologues relied for inspiration on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, on the ideas of classic religious antisemitism, and even Mein Kampf, but adopted them to the Marxist framework by substituting the idea of a global anti-Soviet Zionist conspiracy for a specifically Jewish one. Jewish power became Zionist power. The rich and conniving Jewish bankers controlling money, politicians, and the media became the rich and conniving Zionists. The Jew as the anti-Christ became the Jew as the anti-Soviet. Instead of the Jew as the devil, they presented the Zionist as a Nazi."[81]

Indeed, comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany became a popular staple of anti-Zionist rhetoric due to the influence of Soviet propaganda in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[82]

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."[83] A 1972 publication of the Soviet Information Office of Paris argued that Zionism's "racism" and "atrocities" are rooted in the Hebrew Bible.[84] In 1989, according to Julius, "Soviet anti-Zionism was credibly considered the greatest threat to Israel and Jews generally. ... This 'anti-Zionism' survived the collapse of the Soviet system."[85]

International community[edit]

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 "Zionism is a form of racism."[86]

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.[87]

The Durban Conference organized by the United Nations in 2001 was ostensibly about combatting racism. However, the themes that emerged from the conference were condemnation of Zionism and downplaying antisemitism. Indeed, Zionism was the only form of nationalism condemned at the conference.[88]

An internal debate is occurring within the Far Left over how much cooperation with Islamism ought to be pursued. In the 2000s, leaders from the far-left Respect Party and the Socialist Workers Party of the United Kingdom met with leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah at international conferences in Cairo.[89] The result of the 2003 conference was a call to oppose "normalization with the Zionist entity."[90]

African-American community[edit]

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.[91] 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."[92]

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."[93] 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."[94]

Anti-Zionism and antisemitism[edit]

A sign held at a protest in Edinburgh, Scotland on January 10, 2009

In the early 21st century, it was also claimed that a "new antisemitism" had emerged that was rooted in anti-Zionism.[2][4][95][96] 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.[97] Critics of the concept have suggested that the characterization of anti-Zionism as antisemitic is inaccurate, sometimes obscures legitimate criticism of Israel's policies and actions and trivializes antisemitism.

View that the two are interlinked[edit]

A number of sources link anti-Zionism with antisemitism.[98][99][95] Research by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows a positive correlation between respondents who agree with statements critical of Israel and those who agree with statements that are antisemitic.[100]

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:[101](p. 845–846) Marcus also states:[102] "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."[103]

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 Nazi Germany, has become a form of antisemitism[104][unreliable source?]

Dina Porat (head of the Institute for Study of Antisemitism and Racism at Tel-Aviv University) contends that anti-Zionism is antisemitic 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.[105][106]

In 2010, Oxford University Press published Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony Julius. In that book, Julius claims that "[a]nti-Semitism is implicated in contemporary anti-Zionism in much the same way as it was implicated in the anti-Bolshevism in the 1920s. It is as difficult for today's anti-Zionist to evade anti-Semitism as it was for the anti-Bolshevist of ninety years ago. Bolshevik Jews in alliance with New York were fomenting world unrest .... Zionist Jews in alliance with Washington are the cause of global instability."[107] Anti-Zionist thought, according to Julius, rarely rises above the coarse standard of these stereotypes.[35] Julius's research indicates that Muslim anti-Zionism is plagued by a particularly violent form of antisemitic invective.[108]

ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt told Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker, "[What] many in the anti-Zionist camp want for Palestinians or would want for other peoples, they would deny to Jewish people. Unless you don’t believe in nationalism as a concept and unless you support denying the legitimacy of any national project from France to Ukraine, if you hold the idea that Zionism is the only form of nationalism that’s wrong, that’s discriminating against Jewish people. That’s the anti-Semitism."[109] According to the ADL, "Anti-Zionism is a prejudice ... [that] may be motivated by or result in anti-Semitism, or it may create a climate in which anti-Semitism becomes more acceptable."[110] The American Jewish Committee expressed similar views: "The belief that the Jews, alone among the people of the world, do not have a right to self-determination — or that the Jewish people’s religious and historical connection to Israel is invalid—is inherently bigoted."[111]

View that the two are not interlinked[edit]

Evidence of direct linkage has been difficult to establish empirically. Political scientist Peter Beattie, in an analytical overview (2016) of the specialist literature which actually used polling data in several countries to test the purported link between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism found no necessary empirical correlation, cautioning that assertions of such an innate connection were calumnious. He concludes:

Above all, these results counsel against facile accusations concerning the intentions of the Israeli government’s critics. Most of those critical of Israeli policies are not anti-Semites. Only a fraction of the US population harbours anti-Semitic views (Levitt 2013), and while logically this fraction would be overrepresented among critics of Israel, the present and prior research indicate that they comprise only a small part. Inaccurate charges of anti-Semitism are not merely calumny, but threaten to debase the term itself and weaken its connection to a very real, and very dangerous, form of prejudice.[112]

The sociologist Steven M. Cohen likewise finds little correlation between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.[113] The German sociologist Werner Bergmann’s analysis of empirical polling data for Germany concluded that whereas right-wing respondents critical of Israel tended to have views overlapping with classical antisemitism, left-wing interviewees’ criticisms of Israel did not transfer into criticism of Jews.[114]

Antony Lerman, a former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, argues:

The anti-Zionism equals antisemitism argument drains the word antisemitism of any useful meaning. For it means that to count as an antisemite, it is sufficient to hold any view ranging from criticism of the policies of the current Israeli government to denial that Israel has the right to exist as a state, without having to subscribe to any of those things which historians have traditionally regarded as making up an antisemitic worldview: hatred of Jews per se, belief in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, belief that Jews generated communism and control capitalism, belief that Jews are racially inferior and so on. Moreover, while theoretically allowing that criticism of Israeli governments is legitimate, in practice it virtually proscribes any such thing.[115]

Some anti-Zionists argue that they cannot be antisemitic because the Arabs they support against Israel are Semites. They sometimes go so far as to claim that Israel is "antisemitic" due to its treatment of Palestinians. This argument, however, misunderstands the history and etymology of the English word "antisemitism," which refers solely to prejudice against Jews.[116]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

The antisemitic hoax The Protocols of the Elders of Zion came to be used among Arab anti-Zionists, although some have tried to discourage its usage.[117]: 186 [118]: 357  A similar conspiracy theory is belief in a powerful, well-financed "Zionist lobby" that clamps down on criticism of Israel and conceals its crimes.[119][120] Zionists are able to do this in the United Kingdom, according to Shelby Tucker and Tim Llewellyn, because they are in "control of our media"[121] and "suborned Britain's civil structures, including government, parliament, and the press."[122]

Anti-Zionism is a major component of Holocaust denial. One strain of Holocaust denial states that Zionists cooperated with the Nazis and charges Zionism with guilt for the crimes committed during the Holocaust.[123] Deniers see Israel as having somehow benefitting from what they refer to as "the big lie" that is the Holocaust.[124] Some Holocaust deniers claim that their ideology is motivated by concern for Palestinian rights.[125]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mike Marqusee, If I Am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew, Verso Books (2008) 2010 p.vii: "As long as there has been Zionism, there have been anti-Zionist Jews. Indeed, decades before it even came to the notice of non-Jews, anti-Zionism was a well-established Jewish ideology and until World War II commanded wide support in the diaspora."
  2. ^ a b Wistrich, Robert S. (Fall 2004). "Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism". Jewish Political Studies Review. 16 (3–4). Archived from the original on 25 August 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  3. ^ Said, Edward (November–December 2000). "America's Last Taboo". New Left Review. II (6): 45–53. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  4. ^ a b Zipperstein, Steven J. (2005). "Historical Reflections on Contemporary Antisemitism". In Derek J. Penslar; Michael R. Marrus; Janice Gross Stein (eds.). Contemporary antisemitism: Canada and the world. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-0-8020-3931-6. LCCN 2005277647. OCLC 56531591. Retrieved 27 February 2007.
  5. ^ Feiler, Dror (13 October 2005). "Letter sent to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia concerning the Working Definition of Antisemitism". European Jews for a Just Peace. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  6. ^ Julius, Anthony, Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England, Oxford, Oxford UP, 2010. pp.575.
  7. ^ Colin Shindler, Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimization, Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2011 ISBN 978-1-441-13852-1 pp.31-32,
  8. ^ Yitzhak Arad, The Holocaust in the Soviet Union, University of Nebraska Press 2009 ISBN 978-0-803-22270-0 p.19.
  9. ^ S. Almog, Jehuda Reinharz, Anita Shapira (eds.), Zionism and Religion, UPNE, 1998 citing Isaac Breuer,Judenproblem, Halle 1918 p. 89
  10. ^ Shapira, Anita (2014). Israel a history. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. p. 15. ISBN 9780297871583.
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  114. ^ Werner Bergmann,’Is There a “New European Antisemitism?” Public Opinion and Comparative Empirical Research in Europe’, in Lars Rensmann, Julius H. Schoeps (eds.), Politics and Resentment: Antisemitism and Counter-Cosmopolitanism in the European Union, Brill, 2010 ISBN 978-9-004-19046-7 pp.83-115 p.110:'right-wing-oriented people are more likely to project a critical attitude towards Israel onto all Jews, and this view only reveals a significant correlation to classical anti-Semitic views here. It is interesting to note- unlike the sample as a whole and among right-wing respondents. that left-wing respondents do not show a significant correlation between criticism of Israel and the transfer of this critical view onto Jews in general, This suggests that such criticism, regardless of whether it is correct or not, is actually directed at the concrete policies of Israel and is not generalized or being used to coin form one’s own antisemitism.’
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  116. ^ Julius lists as "commonplace of anti-Zionist discourse" the claim that "the Arab Muslim world cannot be anti-Semitic because Arabs themselves are Semitic−a piece of semantic nonsense that is much deployed now." Julius, pp. 525-526
  117. ^ Esther Webman, ed. (2012). The Global Impact of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Century-Old Myth. Routledge. ISBN 9781136706103.
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  119. ^ New Statesman, 11 February 2002. Qtd. in Julius, p. 484
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  121. ^ Qtd. in Julius p. 490
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  123. ^ Julius, p. 508.
  124. ^ See Richard Evans, Lying About Hitler (New York: 2001), p. 135. Qtd. in Julius, p. 65
  125. ^ "Some [Holocaust deniers] opportunistically propose that opposition to Zionism and a concern for Palestinian rights motivates their Holocaust denial." Julius, p. 65.

External links[edit]

Works related to Zionism at Wikisource