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Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism Vs Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism is criticism of the state of Israel and of how Israelis treat their Palestinian and Lebanese neighbors. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Semitic peoples (such as Jews) because of their religion or ethnicity. An anti-Semite will dislike Jews regardless of their political views. An anti-Zionist will oppose supporters of Israel, whatever their religion or ethnicity.
An anti-Zionist can and probably will admire many Jewish people. Simultaneously, they may criticize multitudes of non-Jewish people, such as Christian groups or American politicians, for their unequivocal support of the Israeli state. Anti-Zionism requires no religious or ethnic discriminatory beliefs against Jews. There is even a large Jewish anti-Zionist movement, some of whom can be seen protesting in the above picture.
Deliberate Confusion Helps Israel
Unfortunately, anti-Zionism is often confused with anti-Semitism, leading to accusations of racism against individuals who only intend to criticize the Israeli government. Certain political groups and media organizations appear to be deliberately aiding this confusion, with the apparent goal of making Israel immune to criticism. Some examples will be provided below. However, to dispel any suggestion that this is a conspiracy theory, let's listen to Shulamit Aloni, a former Israeli Minister of Education, who explains how it works:
Without question, it's wrong for a country to be made immune to criticism. Such a nation would have a green light to engage in criminal and immoral behavior on a daily basis without fear of condemnation or repercussion. Unfortunately, this may already be happening. Israel should not be free to invade neighboring countries; slaughter their enemies with disproportionate force; use chemical weapons such as white phosphorus; or ignore UN resolutions. Other countries have been dismantled for less.
The American and British governments refuse to condemn Israel, and they block or vote against UN resolutions that attempt to do so. The Western press follows suit, leading to a misinformed public that does not sufficiently challenge the views and decisions of their leaders. Deliberate attempts to confuse anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism appear to be conducive to this strategy of misinformation.
Further Examples of Anti-Zionists Being Maligned
It's become quite common for criticism of Israel to be reported as anti-Semitic racism. Indeed, the tendency to suppress anti-Zionist opinion preys on public sensitivities about race and the desire to appear politically correct. Such sensitivities are particularly prevalent in America, where racial division and civil rights are still a preoccupation for many.
The first example of anti-Zionists being maligned in this way concerns the California State Assembly who passed a resolution calling criticism of Israel anti-Semitic. As the conditions of this resolution are read out in the video below, it becomes abundantly clear that the actions of this political body represent a tangible threat to free speech. It shows just how corrupt some of our public officials have gotten when it comes to making Israel immune to criticism.
In the next video, we hear the fate of American journalist, Helen Thomas (since deceased), who had the temerity to criticize the Israeli occupation. When asked a leading question about where the Israelis should go, she said they should return to their homes in Poland, Germany, and America. Despite Helen Thomas actually being a Semite, the media portrayed the incident as being anti-Semitic. She was also fired from her position as a member of the White House Press Corps. She explains that many people lose their jobs for similar anti-Zionist remarks.
Is Iran Anti-Semitic?
The Iranian government repeatedly criticizes Israeli policy and makes other anti-Zionist remarks. In 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly said "Israel must be wiped off the map". The words were widely condemned by politicians and journalists alike. As can be seen in the video below, accusations of wanting a `genocide' soon followed. Iran had become an anti-Semitic state in the eyes of the world.
However, what Ahmadinejad actually said was: "Our dear Imam [Khomeini] said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the pages of time". So, not only was he quoting someone else, but he was talking about the removal of the Israeli governmental regime. For those who give a damn about fairness and justice, Ahmadinejad went on to say the solution in Palestine is to respect the democratic will of the people. The Western media removed this context and continued to use their false translation until the story was no longer of interest.
Understanding the propaganda war with anti-Zionist Iran:
There are several more reasons why Iran cannot be an anti-Semitic nation. For starters, Iran is home to the second largest population of Jews in the Middle East after Israel. About 25,000 Jews live in Iran, and they worship in synagogues across the country. They are free from persecution because the leader of Iran's revolution, Imam Khomeini, declared that Jews should be protected. Khomeini also reserved a seat for at least one Jewish representative in the Iranian parliament. Are these the actions of an anti-Semitic state?
Unfortunately, many Westerners still believe the propaganda they were exposed to regarding the "wipe off the map" controversy. Nevertheless, the Iranian situation represents the most profound example of anti-Zionism being branded as anti-Semitism.
If criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic, then criticizing India must reveal one's hatred for the Hindu majority in that country. Despite the absurdity, people who criticize Israel continue to be defamed in national and international politics. Complicit are a media who do not check facts when a headline serves the agenda of the political system they are entangled with.
Even though anti-Semites are also inclined to dislike Israel, the majority of people who share that sentiment are not racist. Indeed, there is no flavor of anti-Zionism that requires one to be anti-Semitic. The reward reaped by conflating the two is sown by those who the injustice serves.
"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize" - Voltaire
While such a conspiracy in which we're `ruled over by Zionists' would require a greater quantity of evidence, few would deny that Israel is able to exert considerable influence in Western politics. Regardless, Voltaire certainly provides us with a poignant and aphoristic afterthought.
© 2013 Thomas Swan