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Anti-Zionism

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Anti-Zionism is the opposition to the existence of the State of Israel, and the conceptual denial of the right for Jews to have a Jewish state. It is the opposite of Zionism, which is the belief that Jewish people have a right to a nation state in the historical Land of Israel (Palestine).

Many anti-Zionists call for the destruction of Israel, often meaning the ethnic cleansing or deportation of the Jewish population. Such a stance is presented, for instance, in the Palestinian National Charter, and in the official charter of Hamas.

Moderate Anti-Zionists often argue that although the initial creation of Israel was wrong, it is improper and unrealistic to consider the destruction of Israel. Many moderate anti-Zionists support the changing of State of Israel to what they deem a "true democracy" - one that includes Palestinian refugees; in a secular and pluralist society; neither a "Jewish state" nor an "Arab state". Some Arab proposals do not object to such a state continuing to bear the name "Israel."

UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in November, 1967 was an agreement between states only; it did not deal with the issue of Palestinian refugees or Jewish refugees. There have been many subsequent proposals (see also Proposals for a Palestinian state), nearly all of which were vetoed in the UN by the United States and Israel, despite world support.

There is also Jewish anti-Zionism based on views similar to those of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum. According to groups like the Neturei Karta and Satmar, the early Zionists used methods contrary to halakha in order to achieve their goals. Thus, a Jew is prohibited by halakha from deriving benefit from the State of Israel or aiding it in any way. The Neturei Karta go so far as to argue that Jews have an obligation to help destroy the State of Israel.

Table of contents

Definition of Zionism

Zionists define Zionism as the belief that Jewish people have a right to a nation state of their own, in the Land of Israel (Palestine). Anti-Zionists believe that Zionism is a form of colonialism.

Zionists hold otherwise. For a Zionist, the land of Israel is not seen as an asset that can is gained for habitation, but rather a long-lost home, a subject of aspiration that has been regained. For most Zionists, the ultimate goal is a Jewish national revival in the perceived boundaries of the land of Israel. This concept does not imply any Jewish superiority; thus, most Zionists do not care about the creation of national national Arab states (and possibly, at Palestinian national state), so long as a Jewish state exists safely in the Land of Israel.

Zionists claim their self-definition marks a clearly-cut distinction from the philosophy of colonialism, in which the colonist comes to a land that is totally alien to him, and his legitimation in establishing a state (which is meant purely as a convenience, and not an ideological goal) is superiority. A colonialist would be likely to disapprove a desire of national self-determination by the indigenous people.

Many people outside the state of Israel are Zionist, as being a Zionist (by the standard definition) only means that one supports the right of Jews to have a state in Palestine; it does not necessarily mean that one must emigrate to that state (aliyah) in order to live there.

A relatively recent trend within anti-Zionism is the belief that the entire concept of a Biblical Jewish state is a hoax and a lie. According to a number of Arab writers, the entire history of the Jewish people in the Bible is an outright fiction, and that the progenitors of the Jewish people actually lived in Yemen or some other part of the Arabian peninsula. In this view, even the broad strokes of later Biblical book have had their historical correctness totally refuted. In this view, although many ethnic groups claim to have some sort of ancient or mythologic relationship to foreign soil; this does not give them the right to disposses the current population. This view, however, is rejected by the majority of the world's historians, archaeologists and Bible scholars.

Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism

Supporters of the State of Israel hold that in the vast majority of cases ideological anti-Zionists are also anti-Semites, combining the two concepts in a way that cancels the distinction between them. They hold that the conceptual denial of the right of Jews for a state is indicative of considering Jews inferior - which is exactly anti-Semitism. In addition, they claim that anti-Zionists fail to distinguish between Israel the state, and Israelis and Jews as individuals, and argue this is a form of anti-Semitic demonization and hatred.

Anti-Zionists point out that the world has literally tens of thousands of ethnic groups. For better or worse, not every ethnic group can have an independent state exactly where they would like. That is not racism; it is realism. In particular it was wrong to drive out Palestinian Arabs and establish a Jewish state on what should have become an Arab land. In this view, the world should have said to the Zionists: We sympathasize with you desire to restablish a Jewish state in Palestine after more than two thousand years. However, the land is already taken. We cannot grant your wish.

Many people who oppose nationalism, on very informal terms, acknowledging a distinction between patriotism and nationalism. Some Jews make accusations of anti-Semitism, when in fact anti-Zionism is perhaps a more appropriate term. For example anarchists, and Social Libertarians have been labeled as anti-Semitic, though tend not to comment on issues of race or religion as much as they do on social equity issues.

It should be noted that the majority of Jews distinguish between anti-Zionism and a specific criticism of the Israeli government or of a facet of Israeli society, which is, while done in good faith, is normal and beneficial. For instance, most Israelis and Jews worldwide hold that one can oppose the occupation of the West Bank without being anti-Zionist. However, many claim that in practice almost any critique of Israel results in an accusation of anti-Semitism.

Some anti-Zionists have nevertheless argued that Zionism is a form of racism. For example, Hassan Tahsin writes:

"... Nazism in Germany, Imperial Japan (until 1945) the Ku Klux Klan in the US, apartheid in South Africa and Zionism in Palestine are ... the worst types of racism in modern history. Zionism ... is 'a racist, religious and occupational movement connected from its inception by international colonialism.'" [1] (http://www.arabview.com/article.asp?artID=90)
Some have meant by this that Zionism is the actual belief that Jews are superior -- this is likely the view of many Arab anti-Zionists. However, it is obvious that this view is detached to a great extent from the way Zionists define themselves (see above). Moreover, the description of Jews as deeming themselves superior and twisting world affairs would be seen as anti-Semitic by many.

Criticism of Israel as a nation-state

Other anti-Zionists do not claim that Zionism is a form of racism (in the sense of the belief that one racial group is superior to another), but believe rather that any attempt to bring into existence a Jewish state must (given the realities of the world) involve discrimination against non-Jews and in favour of Jews. This argument could contradict the existence of numerous national states all over the world that do not discriminate against ethnic minorities; however, it cannot be disregarded completely considering the feelings of antagonism abundant in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Some anti-Zionist also argue that the notion of a Jewish state must inevitably exclude to some extent non-Jews, even if they are not actively discriminated against, and that it is wrong to create a state on territory occupied by a people (Palestinian Arabs), that is defined not to include those people. This view is not strictly opposed to Zionism as defined by many (for instance, the Israeli leftists), since (at least, conceptually), both a Jewish and a Palestinian state could co-exist in a single land.

The linguist Noam Chomsky is a prominent advocate of anti-Zionism. Some of his writings claim that his views are actually the "true" form of Zionism; and that all Zionists are actually "anti-Zionist". A detailed analysis of his views on Israel and Zionism are available in the Noam Chomsky article.

Accusations of racism

The United Nations General Assembly declared that "Zionism is a form of racism" in Resolution 3379 of Nov 10, 1975 (http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/UN/unga3379). The General Assembly rescinded this resolution in Resolution 46/86 of December 16, 1991 (http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/UN/unga46_86).

This issue is made more confusing by differing uses of the terms "racism" and "racial discrimination". Formally, racism is the belief that one race is superior to another; but many people use it as a synonym for racial discrimination. Furthermore, many people use "racial discrimination" broadly, to include discrimination on the basis of both ethnicity and race. The latter meaning has a greater emotional effect and is usually dominant; thus a person who would call Zionism racist or racially discriminatory imples that Jews believe themselves to be a distinct race from non-Jews.

While a speaker might be simply using sloppy terminology, most Jews would find the use of the word "racism" offensive, as its powerful conotation is known to all, and its use can be explained either by racial anti-Semitism, or by a desire by the speaker to perform an emotional hijacking.

Zionist leaders in the past and present have written that one's racial group had no relevance at all to his Judaism and therefore the ability to participate in the Jewish national revival. They claim that has been carried out in practice, as the State of Israel has allowed millions of people of all races and skin colors to become Israeli citizens including Hispanics, Vietnamese, Yemenites, Druze, Bedouins, black Africans, etc.

Zionism and Nationalism

Zionists argue that combining anti-Zionism with nationalism is inevitably anti-Semitic, since to deny the right of Jews to a state of their own, yet grant that right to others, is to discriminate against Jews. Anti-Zionists argue that not all ethnic groups are entitled to their own state (and that since there are thousands of ethnic groups in the world, giving them all their own states would be impossible), and that so long as deny Jews the right to a state is based on objective criteria (such as the existence of the Palestinian Arab people on that land for many centuries), it is not anti-Semitic. That stance, however, voids the widely accepted principle of self-determination, that states that national realisation is the subjective choise of each ethnicity.

Other anti-Zionists go further and deny the right of all ethnic groups to their own state, believing that states should be defined on a ethnically neutral basis. Most people regard this stance as too radical, at least in the current path of the development of civilization.

History of anti-Zionism

Anti-Zionism has been used to promote anti-Semitism include events in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the former Soviet Union. It is a common phenomenon in the Arab Middle East, where in most sources there's no distinction whatsoever between the "Zionist enemy" and a "Jew" in general.

Some Anti-Semitism existed in Poland in 1956 when Gomulka rose to power, but only at minor levels. His government was opposed to anti-Semitism. During this time period many Jewish Poles were repatriated from the U.S.S.R., and many of them immigrated to the State of Israel or other nations. However, in line with the official policy of the Soviet Union, after the Six-Day War of 1967 the government of Poland turned against its Jewish citizens. Gomulka publicly warned Jews against becoming a "fifth column" against Poland, and merely expressing sympathy for Israel was stated as reason to believe that someone was a traitor. Thus, most Jews instantly became suspected of treason if they had expressed any support for Israel. Immediately following this was an explosion of anti-Semitic books and articles filled with anti-Zionism, all carrying traditional anti-Semitic overtones. Immediately following this was a nation-wide anti-Jewish purge, removing Jews from their jobs in the government, universities, and many other fields. This purge was directed by the minister of the interior, and head of the security police, MieczysGaw Moczar.

Some Anti-Semitism existed in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, but not much. Tolerance towards Jews in this nation was traditional. The situation began to change when strong differences emerged between the liberal regime in Prague and the more conservative Soviet Union. By August 1968 the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to destroy the liberal regime, and the Soviet's instituted an anti-Zionist campaign against the nation's Jews. Soviet propaganda claimed that Zionist attempted a "counter-revolution", which the Soviet Union had to save the nation from. Immediately following this invasion Jews were purged from many government and university positions.

Israeli legislation

The Israeli constitution (like the British, contained in several pieces of legislation) provides that Israel is a Jewish state, yet also makes clear that non-Jewish Israelis have rights equal to those of Jewish citizens. Making certain that these rights are upheld in practice, however, has proven to be a difficult balancing act.

The State of Israel gives full civil rights to all Israeli citizens, of all national, ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Jews, Christians, Bedouins, Druze, Arabs, Karaites and Vietnamese; this includes a very large number of Palestinians, although some claim that the non-Jews receive poorer treatment by government agencies. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where elected Jews and elected Arabs work together in a nation's parliament. Professor Baruch Kimmerling at Hebrew University and others have nevertheless been critical.

Similar to Italy, Morocco, Germany and few other nations, Israel has ethnically preferential immigration laws; they prefer Jews to non-Jews, but do allow people of all faiths and ethnic background to become citizens. This is in contrast to Arab states, especially Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Jordan, whose immigration laws are so restrictive as to make immigration for all purposes impossible for non-Arabs; further, the laws of these Arab nations forbid Jews from becoming citizens. In contrast, most Western countries have abolished all ethnic or racial criteria in their immigration laws and treat members of all races and ethnicities equally for immigration purposes. Zionists feel that there is a double standard, as Arab nations are never accused of being racist.

As a matter of clarification, Judaism isn't defined as a race; there are people from all racial groups in the Jewish people: Caucasians, Hispanics, Indians, black Africans, and Asians. Judaism may better be viewed as an ethnic group that evolved from a nationality in exile. Using the terminology of Mordecai Kaplan, many Jewish scholars define Judaism as an evolving religious civilization. The national component to Judaism has always existed during the last 2000 years, but for political reasons Jews never had the ability to implement their beliefs in this area. From the Jewish point of view, the establishment of Israel as a state means that the Jews have achieved the goal of reconstituting itself within its original borders.

The Law of Return of 1951 stated, based on the Rabbinical practice, that:

4B. For the purposes of this Law, "Jew" means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism.
In 1970, an amendment was made so that the law read as:
4B. For the purposes of this Law, "Jew" means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.
The origins of this amendment lie in the case of Brother Daniel (Daniel Rufeisen), a Polish Jew persecuted by the Nazis and who converted to Catholicism and became a Carmelite monk. Israel's Supreme Court ruled that he was not eligible for citizenship under the Law of Return because he converted to Christianity. The rationale given by the Court was that the Law of Return was intended to sponsor Zionist consolidation of the Jewish nation in Israel; and by converting and choosing a life path outside of this nation, Rufeisen effectively gave up his intention to become a part of the Zionist effort, thus not qualifying for the Law of Return.

The decision aroused a controversy in the Israeli public. The consensus that emerged from the following public debate was that since Judaism is not seen by Jews exclusively either as nation (see above), once one rejects one's nationality, one can no longer simultaneously demand membership in it. Moreover, as a member of European clergy, Rufeisen's personal safety from possible persecution by Nazis was guaranteed. Having spent several years in Israel using a temporary permit, Rufeisen was granted citizenship by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, on the basis of the Law of Citizenship.

Section 4b of the Law of Return argues that being Jewish is both a nationality and a religion. Some could argue, based on this, that the authors of the Law of Return intended it as a religious measure, thus effectively creating religious discrimination between Jews. However, many claim that immigration law has a distinct status from domestic law, because it does not serve current citizens, and therefore it lacks the attribute of being discriminatory or non-discriminatory; in other words, a country is not anyhow obliged to let inside itself people who are not inside it.

See [2] (http://www.albalagh.net/current_affairs/zionism_racism.shtml) for an argument that Zionism is Racism, and [3] (http://www.cwfa.org/library/nation/2001-08-28_un-racism.shtml) for an argument to the contrary.

See also Terrorism against Arabs, Terrorism against Israel, History of the Jews in the Soviet Union (dealing extensively with issues of anti-Zionism)

Criticism of Anti-Zionism

Most Anti-Zionists mistakenly assume that there is a homogeneity of Zionist objectives, i.e. that all Zionists have the same basic beliefs and goals. Sometimes this is believed due to conscious or unconscious acceptance of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (i.e. "The Jews are organizing against us") or due to simply ignorance (i.e. "But they are all Jews, so don't they all think alike?") In point of fact, both early and modern-day Zionism display a wide variety of viewpoints, little of which match the homogeneity imagined by anti-Zionists.

For instance, some Zionists originally wanted a secular socialist Jewish state, but others wanted a secular capitalist Jewish state. A significant minority wanted the creattion of a religious socialist state, while others wanted to create a religious capitalist state. And among some Zionist movements, each of these wildly differing ideas also were expressed in the hope for a Zionist bi-national state of both Jews and Arabs. Without Arab cooperation then (or now) the idea of a bi-national state lost favor and became a moot point, and Zionism settled by default on creating a Jewish state. Even since that time, Zionism has never had one official ideology that all Zionist could agree on. The tension between the political left-wing and right wing, the religious left-wing and right-wing, and social left-wing and right-wing has created a wide array of beliefs and positions. Seen fom this viewpoint, Anti-Zionist critiques against "Zionism" are seen to be a strawman, in which some imaginary homogenized Zionism is being opposed, when none exists. In practice Anti-Zionism turns out to be the conceptual denial of the right for Jews to have any form of state, and as seen in the press of the former Soviet Union or many Arab nations, is often used as a veneer for thinly disguised anti-Semitism (Jew-hatred). In much of the Muslim Arab world, the terms "Zionist" and "Jew" are used interchangably, even in situations that have nothing to do with the State of Israel.

Anti-Zionism before the founding of the State of Israel bears little relationship to Anti-Zionism after its founding, for the simple reason that before-the-fact opposition to the creation of any state usually has no relationship to real-world attacks on a nation some time after it has been created. For instance, no groups held it to be bigoted if one was against the creation of a unified German nation, or American nation, from the many states and territories that would later be united. Today, decades or centuries after the fact, today, it would be a totally different matter to deny that Germans or Americans have a right to have nation. The same is true of the State of Israel, and of any other state. It is the after the fact denial of the right of Israel to exist that most Jewish and many non-Jewish groups find to be a a problem, and indicative of a special bigotry.

Many people who against all forms of nationalism are, by definition, opposed to Zionism, and this position itself is not held to be anti-Semitic.

For example, Albert Einstein was an anti-nationalist who believed that all nations, including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Soviet Union, should work to subjugate themselves to a higher trans-national authority, the United Nations, and that eventually all newer forms of nationalism, including Arab nationalism and Jewish nationalism, should be discouraged, and replaced with internationalism. "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind." In response to the creation of the State of Israel, Einstein responded, "The State idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with narrow-mindedness and economic obstacles. I believe that it is bad. I have always been against it. [4] (http://www.globalwebpost.com/farooqm/writings/other/einstein.htm).)

Jewish groups hold that it is misleading and intellectually dishonest to take his beliefs out of context and present Einstein as being opposed to the State of Israel, when in fact he was opposed to all forms of nationalism, including Arab nationalism.

Zionist conspiracy theories

Many people in fringe groups, such as Neo-Nazi parties and Hamas claim that the true aim of Zionism is world dominance; they call this the Zionist conspiracy and use this to support anti-Semitism. The idea of a Zionist conspiracy is one of the oldest conspiracy theories. This position has historically been associated with Fascism and Nazism. The most important text in this regard may be the false document the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

In addition, believers in Holocaust revisionism often claim that this "Zionist conspiracy" is responsible for the exaggeration or wholesale fabrication of the events of the Holocaust; critics of such revisionism point to an overwhelming amount of historical evidence that supports the mainstream historical view of the Holocaust. It should be noted that most academics also agree that there is no reliable evidence for any such conspiracy.



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