Friday, April 9, 2010

Anti-Zionism = anti-Semitsm?

Someone on one of my earlier blog postings about Middle East issues asked if I could explain how anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism?” I directed her to a document I had posted in August 2009, Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism a report to Congress. It is a pdf document prepared by The United States Department of State which explores contemporary anti-Semitism and includes anti-Zionism. Picture taken by Zombie, see note at bottom 1.
The question was also asked how anti-Zionism follows from anti-Semitism. But the question could be turned around. In the above document this is explained:

“This report does not purport to ascribe motive to the various critics of Israel. However, disproportionate criticism of the Jewish State and/or Israelis and demon­izing them as barbaric, unprincipled, selfish, inhu­mane, etc. is anti-Semitic and has the effect of caus­ing global audiences to associate those bad attributes with Jews in general. Similar to the way that constant news coverage associating Muslims with terrorism, or blacks with crime, can have the effect of promoting anti-Muslim or anti-black prejudice, respectively, con­stant and disproportionate criticism of Israel can have the effect of promoting anti-Jewish prejudice.”

Going beyond this is the human tendency to become so engulfed in a cause that one loses the ability to sort through material and choose what at least has a semblance of integrity while discarding the appalling. In this matter an example of using integrity is Martin Niemöller. As a Christian pastor in Germany, concerned about the moral decadence of his country, he at first thought Adolf Hitler was a good person to lead Germany. He would later oppose Hitler, even to his face, with such tenacity that he became Hitler’s personal prisoner.

Dislike for some policies of the State of Israel is leading some organizations and some activist into some very shadowy corners. The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian (U.S.A.) has published a booklet, Steadfast Hope which suggests among other things that the Jewish European immigrants are not descendents of the ancient Israelites; the recent Presbyterian Middle East Study Committee recommends the Kairos Document that would do away with a Jewish State. And some activists join or, perhaps unintentionally, promote organizations that probably years earlier they would have rejected with great repulsion. The slide happens sometimes out of good intentions.

On one well known activist’s Facebook information page she has pages that truly cross the line from her concerns about Israel’s policies to the promotion of vulgar anti-Zionism which can certainly be equated with the worse kind of anti-Semitism. (Pages on Facebook consist of various groups that the person has joined because they care about the issues that organization or person promotes. For instance on my information page or profile I have such pages as Tim Keller, C.S. Lewis and the Simon Wiesenthal Center .

But, besides such recognized organizations as Amnesty International activist Anna Baltzer, who is Jewish and pro Palestinian, somehow, unaware of her pages, moves on to Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago and further to the World Antizionist Congress . This last site is vile. Another is Anti-Zionism and also vile. In this last one The Protocol’s of the Elders of Zion are discussed as though they are real.

Our society is slipping into anti-Semitism because it is slipping into a vile anti-Zionism. This is very serious. It is changing who we are as a people. It will change who we are as Presbyterians.

1. Zombie does photographic journalism: The picture above is from a rally in S.F. on March 20th 2010. He has entitled it:

San Francisco "Anti-War" Rally:
The New Communist/Truth/Jihad Alliance
Several pictures my bother some readers but the information about those forging alliances is interesting.


Steve Feldman said...

There may be some risk that anti-zionism may be associated with anti-semitism, but they aren't the same thing. At least some of us Jews-- Jews who care deeply about our religion-- have come to realize that it was wrong for us to have expelled peaceful Christian Palestinians from their homes and villages in order to create a Jewish state. There's nothing anti-semitic about thinking that those peaceful Christian families should be immediately allowed to return to their former homes and villages. Of course, the same is true about Muslim Palestinian families who were violently expelled from their homes (or even those who simply took their families and fled because of fear of violence).

My Jewish sensibilities tell me that a country where Jews, Muslims and Christians live peacefully together is real Zionism (a concept promoted by Jewish philosopher Martin Buber), not anti-Semitism.

Steve Feldman

Viola Larson said...

I appreciate your thoughts but I don't think that says anything about what I just wrote or linked to.

Stuart said...

Viola, this is just what I've been searching for, namely, the link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitsm, especially that which relates to Christians.

May I request to cross-post on our blog with the link to you?

Viola Larson said...

Yes, Stuart you may.

Stuart said...

Thank you.