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Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionism, and a term which has been used to describe several very different religious and political points of view, both historically and in current debates. All these points of view have in common some form of opposition to Zionism, but their diversity of motivation and expression is so great that "anti-Zionism" cannot be seen as a single phenomenon. This article examines opposition to Zionism both historically and as it currently exists.


Zionism may be defined as, "An international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel."[1] Zionism is also "a political movement among Jews which holds that the Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to a national homeland", and as "a movement to support the development and defense of the State of Israel, and to encourage Jews to settle there." Therefore, anti-Zionism is opposition to these objectives, and people, organizations or governments that oppose these objectives can in some sense be described as anti-Zionist. Opposition to defining Israel as a Jewish state[2] or opposition to the policies of the Israeli government, advocacy of an Israeli withdrawal from the Israeli-occupied territories etc., are not necessarily synonymous with anti-Zionism. Many Israelis also hold these views, as do many Jewish and other supporters of Israel outside Israel.

Diversity of anti-Zionism

Opposition to Zionism has changed over time and has taken on a spectrum of religious, ethical, political or military forms. Some include, opposition to the creation of a Jewish state prior to the appearance of the messiah, objection to the idea of a state based on maintenance of a Jewish majority, differing democratic values and differing dimensions.[3]

Some commentators argue that anti-Zionism represents fair opposition to Israel or its policies, particularly in the occupied territories.[4] Others contend that to the extent anti-Zionism represents an opposition even to Israel's existence, it is inherently antisemitic,[5] yet some Jews remain anti-Zionists.[6] 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. A range of other views regarding the various forms of anti-Zionism is discussed and debated.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Jewish anti-Zionism

Interpretations of Aliyah

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

Hope for return to the land of Israel is embodied in the content of the Jewish religion. 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.[14] 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).

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 Jewish population in the Holy Land by immigration and it remains a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. Support for aliyah does not always equal immigration however, as a majority of the world Jewish population remains 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. It should be noted that 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 all of the Conservative, and more recently, the Reform movement.[15][16][17]

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 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.


In the early history of Zionism many traditional religious Jews opposed ideas of nationalism (Jewish or otherwise) which they regarded as a secular ideology and because of an inherent suspicion of change. Key traditionalist opponents of Zionism included Isaac Breuer, Hillel Zeitlin, Aaron Shmuel Tamares, Hayyim, Elazar Shapiro (Muncatz), and Joel Teitelbaum, all waged ideological religious, as well as political, battles with Zionism each in their own way.[18]


The Jewish community is not a single united group and responses vary both between and within Jewish groups. One of the principal divisions is that between secular Jews and religious Jews. The reasons for secular opposition to the Zionist movement are very different from those of religious Jews.

Prior to the Second World War many Jews regarded Zionism as a fanciful and unrealistic movement.[19] Many liberals during the European Enlightenment had argued that Jews should enjoy full equality only on the condition that 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/or assimilation principles saw Zionism as a threat to efforts to facilitate Jewish citizenship and equality within the European nation-state context.[20]

In Europe particularly, many Jews oppose Zionism due to their left-wing and internationalist beliefs. The Jewish Anti-Zionist League, in Egypt, was a communist-influenced anti-Zionist league. In Israel, there are several Jewish anti-Zionist organisations and politicians. Many of these are related to Matzpen or Hadash, including Dov Khenin, who scored 34.3% for the Tel Aviv's 2008 municipal election.

WWII and the creation of Israel

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”[21] 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 lead to the founding of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism.[22]

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 life-long atheist who nevertheless emphasised 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. In the 1960s, Deutscher renewed his criticism of Zionism, scrutinizing Israel for its failure to recognise the dispossession of the Palestinians.

Anti-Zionism outside the Jewish community

Secular Arab

File:Al-Farida, Lebanon pre-1967 war.jpg

Nasser (Egypt), backed by other Arab states, kicks Israel into the Gulf of Aqaba. Pre-1967 War cartoon. Al-Jarida newspaper, Lebanon (Oren, 2002)

Anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist narratives—particularly popular in Arab countries with violent experiences of colonial rule—focus especially on parallels with cases such as French immigration to Algeria or English and Afrikaner immigration to Rhodesia, seeing it in terms of a foreign power encouraging immigration into the country of a group which then sought to dominate the country. According to this view, the natural means of combating Zionism is considered to be Palestinian revolution, and the expulsion or weakening of the Zionist occupiers. Among Palestinians, examples of notable individuals or political parties that emphasize anti-imperial and anti-colonial narratives in their opposition to Zionism include: Ghassan Kanafani, Edward Said, Leila Khaled, George Habash, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Palestinian Revolutionary Communist Party. Examples of Palestinian solidarity groups that root their activism against Zionism in anti-imperial and anti-colonial terms include: Students for Justice in Palestine Al-Awda and Sumoud [7].

According to philosophy professor Michael Neumann, Zionism as an "expansionist threat" has caused Arab hostility toward Israel and even antisemitism.[23] Anti-Zionist sentiment has increased with ongoing Arab Israeli conflicts: after the June 1967 Six-Day War where Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights; during the 1982 Lebanon War where Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon, attacking the PLO, as well as Syria, leftist and Muslim Lebanese forces, leading to Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon; the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank, including the attack on the Jenin refugee camp; the 2006 Lebanon War; and the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.

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. Pan-Syrian narratives, promoted mainly by Syria, are essentially parallel.

Palestinians who struggle for self-determination emphasize their view that the history of the Israeli-Palestine conflict has led to over 90 percent of the pre-1948 British Mandate of Palestine being controlled by Israel and millions of Palestinians made refugees.

Map of British Palestine and Trans-Jordan

In contrast,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 which guarantees equal rights for minorities. Israeli Arab support for a constitution in general was 88 percent.[24]


Muslim anti-Zionism generally opposes the State of Israel as an intrusion into what many Muslims consider to be Dar al-Islam, a domain rightfully, and permanently, ruled only by Muslims.[25][26][27]

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). Maps of the Middle-East frequently do not show 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".[28]


Catholic Church anti-Zionism

Many modern Popes have been openly critical of Zionism, including Pius X, Benedict XV and Pius XII.[29] Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val reportedly explained the Church's policy of non possumus to Theodore Herzl and his emerging movement of Zionism, saying that as long as the Jews deny the divinity of Christ, the Church certainly could not make a declaration in their favor.[30] The Holy See did not establish relations with Israel until 1993 because of these issues.

Positions of the World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches has been described by some[who?] as taking anti-Zionist positions in connection with its criticisms of Israeli policy. They believe the council has focused disproportionately on activities and publications criticizing Israel in comparison with other human rights issues[who?].[31] The council members have been characterized by Israel's former Justice minister Amnon Rubinstein as anti-Zionist, saying "they just hate Israel." [32]

Opposition to Christian Zionism

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Catholic), the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land have recently published the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism. The statement is very critical of Christian Zionism because it provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism.

Western liberalism

In the liberal Western world, political opposition to Zionism initially focused on the United Kingdom and the Balfour declaration, which was controversial from the start; some Britons believed it undermined Britain's relationship with Muslims in the Middle East and India. Between 1919 and 1939, the British government steadily reduced its support for Zionism. In 1939 Britain formally announced its intention to create an Arab state in the whole of Palestine in the White Paper of 1939, equalizing its support for the Balfour declaration. In light of this diminished support in British policy, Zionists changed their policy, and in part, sought to enlist support from the United States. After the Second World War, attacks by Zionist militants on British troops and personnel in Palestine led to increased British rejection of Zionism for some years.

Soviet Union

From 1928-1934, during the so-called "Third Period" in the Soviet Union, Zionism was outlawed. But by the late 1930s, the official position of Zionism began to change to a more favourable one. In the Soviet encyclopedia of this time, it was stated that Jewish migration to Palestine had become a "progressive factor" because many of the workers stood on the left. At the beginning of 1947, the Soviet Union supported the partition of Palestine. Stalin wanted to use the Jews in Palestine against British imperialism, and to establish a point of support for the USSR in the Middle East.

During the last years of Stalin's rule, official support for the creation of Israel was replaced by strong anti-semitism, officially carried out under the banner of anti-Zionism, were often borrowed directly from traditional Russian antisemitism. After Stalin's death, anti-Zionist antisemitism continued through the rise of "Zionology" in the 1960s and subsequent activities of official organizations such as the Anti-Zionist committee of the Soviet public.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union's position 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."[33]

During the Cold War, the spectre of Zionism raised fears of internal dissent and opposition. The Soviet government liquidated almost all remaining Jewish organizations. It placed synagogues under police surveillance, both openly and through the use of informers. At the same time, the persecution of Soviet Jews emerged as a major human rights issue in the West. (See Jackson-Vanik amendment.)


Many of the most important authorities on ethics in the 20th century have contributed to the debate on Zionism. Mahatma Gandhi stated in "Harijan" on 26 October 1938: "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs....But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart."[34][35][36]

US Secretary of State George Marshall strongly opposed the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, telling US President Harry Truman, "If you (recognize the state of Israel) and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you."[37][38][39]

In a 1938 essay, H.G. Wells commented: " In England, where there has been no social, political or economic discrimination against the Jews for several generations, there is a growing irritation at the killing and wounding of British soldiers and Arabs in pitched battles fought because of this Zionist idea. It seems to our common people an irrelevance, before the formidable issues they have to face on their own account. They are beginning to feel that if they are to be history ridden to the extent of restoring a Jewish state that was extinguished nearly two thousand years ago, they might just as well go back another thousand years and sacrifice their sons to restore the Canaanites and Philistines who possessed the land before the original Jewish conquest."[40]

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 that "Zionism is a form of racism."[41]

The decision was revoked on December 16, 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. Only three non-Muslim countries voted against the resolution: Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam. The rest abstained (including Turkey) or absented themselves.

Anti-Zionist conspiracy theories

Claims that the Zionist movement controls world history or seeks to achieve world domination are roughly as old as the Zionist movement. The most influential of these claims is the Tsarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which remains popular.

In 1939, the Nazi German paper Volkischer Beobachter, justified the German occupation of Czechoslovakia with the headline: "In Prague Jewry is in power". In 1968, the East German communist paper Neues Deutschland justifed the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia with the headline "In Prague Zionism is in power".[42] Simon Wiesenthal subsequently found 39 formerly influential Nazi party members working in the East German press and now directing their campaigns at Zionists.

From the 1960s, the Soviet Union promoted the allegation of secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist leadership. This included claims that the Zionist movement inflated or faked the impact of the Holocaust. The thesis of 1982 doctoral dissertation of Mahmoud Abbas (a co-founder of Fatah and president of the Palestinian Authority who earned his Ph.D. in history at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, with Yevgeny Primakov (currently Russian Foreign Minister) as thesis advisor) was The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement.[43][44] In his 1983 book The Other Face: The Secret Connection Between the Nazis and the Zionist Movement, based on the dissertation, Abbas wrote:

It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure [of Holocaust deaths] so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure [six million] in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions—fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand."[45][46][47]

A different version of this conspiracy theory claims that Nazis and Zionists had a shared interest or even cooperated in the extermination of Europe's Jewry, as persecution would force them to flee to Palestine, then under British administration. Similar claims are occasionally made by Hezbollah or Hamas sources.

In 1995, William Korey released a work entitled Russian antisemitism, Pamyat, and the demonology of Zionism. Korey's central argument is that the Soviet Union promoted an "official Judeophobic propaganda campaign" under the guise of anti-Zionism from 1967 to 1986; after this program was shut down by Mikhail Gorbachev, a populist and chauvinist group called Pamyat emerged in the more open climate of Glasnost to promote an openly anti-Semitic message.[48] Korey also argues that much official late-period Soviet anti-Semitism may be traced back to the influence of Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He notes, for instance, that a 1977 Soviet work entitled International Zionism: History and Politics contains the allegation that most major Wall Street financial institutions are "large financial-industrial Jewish monopolies" exercising control over many countries in the world.[49] Russian antisemitism was reviewed by Robert O. Freedman in the Slavic Review; while he concurs with the book's central thesis, Freedman nevertheless writes that the actual extent of Soviet anti-Semitism may have been less than Korey suggests.[50]

Before the Second World War many prominent Britons maintained that the tension between Germany and Britain was the result of Jewish warmongering. In 1935 the British Union of Fascists mounted a "peace campaign" against war, claiming an alliance of international financiers and Jews were leading Britain to war with Germany. However by 1938 the public mood had changed and Admiral Domville wrote "it is interesting to see how permeated these people are with the war germ. Israel has done its work well."[51] Similar accusations have been made regarding Zionism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[52][53]

The Sudanese government has alleged that the Darfur uprising (in which some 500,000 have been killed) is part of a wider Zionist conspiracy.[54] Egyptian media have alleged that the Zionist movement deliberately spreads HIV in Egypt.[55]

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Neo-Nazi and radical Muslim groups allege the US government is controlled by Jews, describing it as the "Zionist Occupation Government"[56].

Article 22 of the 1988 Hamas charter claims that the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists or forces supportive of Zionism.[57] Article 32 alleges that the Zionist movement seeks to create an Empire stretching from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates river in Iraq.

There have been widespread allegations that the September 11 attacks were the work of Zionists.[58]

Contemporary debates

Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism

In recent years, numerous commentators have argued that contemporary manifestations of anti-Zionism have become a cover for antisemitism, and that a "new antisemitism" rooted in anti-Zionism has emerged.[7][8][10][11][12][13][59][9][60] 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.[61] Critics of the concept argue that the equation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism is used to stifle legitimate criticisms of Israel, and trivializes antisemitism.[62]

Many commentators assert that anti-Zionism can be anti-Semitic, but that anti-Zionism is not necessarily anti-Semitism. The difference is rather one of emphasis with some preferring to emphasize the link and others to separate the issues. Others argue that contemporary anti-Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic.[60]

According to sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset, at a dinner shortly before his assassination in 1968, Martin Luther King responded to a black student who harshly criticized Zionists "Don't talk like that! When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism." [63] In an op-ed, U.S. Representative John Lewis, who worked closely with Dr. King during the civil rights movement confirms Dr. King's pro-Zionist views.[64] A widely-distributed essay, falsely attributed to King, states that "anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so". However, this has been shown to be a forgery, and was not written by King.[65][66]

Dina Porat (head of the Institute for Study of Anti-semitism and Racism at Tel-Aviv University) contends that anti-Zionism is anti-semitic 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.[67]

Professor Robert S. Wistrich (head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem believes that Anti-Zionism is not inherently anti-Semitic and

that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two distinct ideologies that over time (especially since 1948) have tended to converge, generally without undergoing a full merger.[68]

He argues that much contemporary anti-Zionism, particularly forms that compare Zionism and Jews with Hitler and the Third Reich, has become a form of antisemitism:

Anti-Zionism has become the most dangerous and effective form of anti-Semitism in our time, through its systematic delegitimization, defamation, and demonization of Israel. Although not a priori anti-Semitic, the calls to dismantle the Jewish state, whether they come from Muslims, the Left, or the radical Right, increasingly rely on an anti-Semitic stereotypization of classic themes, such as the manipulative "Jewish lobby," the Jewish/Zionist "world conspiracy," and Jewish/Israeli "warmongers."


In July 2001, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported that during a visit there, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stated that "anti-Zionism inevitably leads to antisemitism." [69]

Former Soviet dissident and Israeli Minister, Natan Sharansky has suggested a "3D Test of Anti-Semitism: Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization" [70]

Brian Klug has argued that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are distinct concepts:

There is a long and ignoble history of "Zionist" being used as a code word for "Jew," as when Communist Poland carried out "anti-Zionist" purges in 1968, expelling thousands of Jews from the country, or when the extreme right today uses the acronym ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government) to refer to the US government. Moreover, the Zionist movement arose as a reaction to the persecution of Jews. Since anti-Zionism is the opposite of Zionism, and since Zionism is a form of opposition to anti-Semitism, it seems to follow that an anti-Zionist must be an anti-Semite. Nonetheless, the inference is invalid. To argue that hostility to Israel and hostility to Jews are one and the same thing is to conflate the Jewish state with the Jewish people. In fact, Israel is one thing, Jewry another. Accordingly, anti-Zionism is one thing, anti-Semitism another. They are separate. To say they are separate is not to say that they are never connected. But they are independent variables that can be connected in different ways.[62]

Some scholars argue that Israeli propogandists and supporters often try to equate anti-Zionism and sometimes even criticism of Israeli policy, with antisemitism, to silence opposition to Israeli policies. Professor Noam Chomsky for example argues that

There have long been efforts to identify anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in an effort to exploit anti-racist sentiment for political ends; "one of the chief tasks of any dialogue with the Gentile world is to prove that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is not a distinction at all," Israeli diplomat Abba Eban argued, in a typical expression of this intellectually and morally disreputable position (Eban, Congress Bi-Weekly, March 30, 1973). But that no longer suffices. It is now necessary to identify criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitism -- or in the case of Jews, as "self-hatred," so that all possible cases are covered.[71]

American Political Scientist and Scholar Norman Finkelstein also argues that anti-Zionism and often just criticism of Israeli policies have been conflated with antisemitism, somtimes called new antisemitism for political gain. He argues

Whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle such as the Intifada or international pressure to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, American Jewish organizations orchestrate this extravaganza called the 'new anti-Semitism.' The purpose is several-fold. First, it is to discredit any charges by claiming the person is an anti-Semite. It's to turn Jews into the victims, so that the victims are not the Palestinians any longer. As people like Abraham Foxman of the ADL put it, the Jews are being threatened by a new holocaust. It's a role reversal – the Jews are now the victims, not the Palestinians. So it serves the function of discrediting the people leveling the charge. It's no longer Israel that needs to leave the Occupied Territories; it's the Arabs who need to free themselves of the anti-Semitism. [72]

European Jews for a Just Peace, an association of Western European Jewish peace organisations, are forthright in rejecting the association of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism:

Legitimate criticism of Israel, based on its policies against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as inside Israel cannot be called anti-Semitic. Such an accusation deliberately mis-uses the term, aimed at awakening fear of anti-Semitism, rather than diminishing it. It would represent the silencing of freedom of speech.[73]

Debates over a "Jewish" state

Most Orthodox religious groups have come to accept the State of Israel, even if they have not adopted "Zionist" ideology. The World Agudath Israel party (founded in Poland) has at times participated in Israeli government coalitions. The main exceptions are Hasidic groups including Satmar Hasidim, which have about 100,000 adherents world wide, as well as numerous different, smaller Hasidic groups, unified in America in the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada and in Israel in the Edah HaChareidis.[74]

Noam Chomsky has reported a change in the boundaries of what are considered Zionist and anti-Zionist views.[75] 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; today, it lands him solidly in the anti-Zionist camp.[76] Modern American groups such as J Street are taken as evidence of an "anomalous pattern of internal defection" created as a result of anti-Zionism.[77]

Alvin H. Rosenfeld in his much discussed essay, Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism,[78], 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."[79] 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 [anti-Semitic] 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."

See also


  1. Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary, ("Zionism")
  3. Raffaella A. Del Sarto, Israel’s Contested Identity and the Mediterranean, The territorial-political axis: Eretz Israel versus Medinat Israel, p.8

    Reflecting the traditional divisions within the Zionist movement, this axis invokes two concepts, namely Eretz Israel, i.e. the biblical ‘Land of Israel’, and Medinat Israel, i.e. the Jewish and democratic State of Israel. While the concept of Medinat Israel dominated the first decades of statehood in accordance with the aspirations of Labour Zionism, the 1967 conquest of land that was part of ‘biblical Israel’ provided a material basis for the ascent of the concept of Eretz Israel. Expressing the perception of rightful Jewish claims on ‘biblical land’, the construction of Jewish settlements in the conquered territories intensified after the 1977 elections, which ended the dominance of the Labour Party. Yet as the first Intifada made disturbingly visible, Israel’s de facto rule over the Palestinian population created a dilemma of democracy versus Jewish majority in the long run. With the beginning of Oslo and the option of territorial compromise, the rift between supporters of Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel deepened to an unprecedented degree, the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin in November 1995 being the most dramatic evidence.

  4. Klug, Brian. No, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism., Wednesday December 3, 2003.
  5. Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism; Behind much criticism of Israel is a thinly veiled hatred of Jews, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Guardian, 29 November 2003 [1]
  7. 7.0 7.1 Template:Cite interview
  8. 8.0 8.1 Laqueur, Walter (March 2006). "Golda Meir and the Post-Zionists". Dying for Jerusalem: the past, present and future of the holiest city. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc.. pp. g. 55. LCCN 2005-25006. ISBN 9781402206320. OCLC 61704687. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Wistrich, Robert S. (Fall 2004). "Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism". Jewish Political Studies Review 16 (3–4). Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
    Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Wist2" defined multiple times with different content
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Working Definition of Antisemitism" (PDF). EUMC. 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Said, Edward (November–December 2000). "America’s Last Taboo". New Left Review 6: 45–53. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Zipperstein, Steven J. (2005). "Historical Reflections on Contemporary Antisemitism". in Derek J. Penslar, Michael R. Marrus, and Janice Gross Stein, eds. (GoogleBooks). Contemporary antisemitism: Canada and the world. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press. pp. 60–61. LCCN 2005-277647. ISBN 978-0802039316. OCLC 56531591.,M1. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Feiler, Dror (October 13, 2005). "Letter sent to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia concerning the Working Definition of Antisemitism". European Jews for a Just Peace. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  14. Taylor, A.R., 1971, 'Vision and intent in Zionist Thought', p. 10,11
  15. [2] Rachael Gelfman, Religious Zionists believe that the Jewish return to Israel hastens the Messiah
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    "what was then called 'Zionist'....are now called 'anti-Zionist' (concerns and views)."

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    "I was interested in socialist, binationalist options for Palestine, and in the kibbutzim and the whole cooperative labor system that had developed in the Jewish settlement there (the Yishuv)...The vague ideas I had at the time [1947] were to go to Palestine, perhaps to a kibbutz, to try to become involved in efforts at Arab-Jewish cooperation within a socialist framework, opposed to the deeply antidemocratic concept of a Jewish state."

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External links

ar:معاداة الصهيونية bg:Антиционизъм ceb:Anti-Syonismo da:Antizionisme et:Antisionism hu:Anticionizmus ja:反シオニズム no:Antisionisme ru:Антисионизм sv:Antisionism tl:Anti-Siyonismo wa:Sconte-Siyonisse