Is anti-Zionism the same as anti-Semitism?

October 30, 2008

I am a student at Leeds University in England and a member of the Palestine Solidarity Group http://www.leedspsg.org/

The Jewish Society at our union is trying to make the union adop the EUMC working definition of anti semitism. This definition is being used to silence critics of Israel, as the definition states that being against the right of the state of Israel to exist in its current form is anti semitic.

Here are links to the working definition in English and Hebrew.

http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-anti...

http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-anti...

I was hoping you could read this and perhaps give us a statement against the definition to help us prove that there are anti Zionist Jews who oppose this definition and oppose the state of Israel.

With my deepest Respects

Hanif

Dear Hanif,

Thank you for your letter. Our group, True Torah Jews Against Zionism, is a mouthpiece for the Satmar Chassidic movement and other like-minded Chassidic and Lithuanian movements of Jews who maintain staunch opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel. We believe that Zionism represents a blasphemous distortion of Judaism and an illegitimate pre-empting of G-ds plan for Jewish exile and redemption, as expressed in the Torah, Talmud and its commentaries. We are also pained at the fact that the Zionist states actions have tarnished the Jewish image in the world and led to hatred and strained relations between our people and many peoples with whom we once lived in peace.

One of the well-known tactics of Zionists to silence their critics is to accuse them of anti-Semitism. Of course, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two separate things. Take the following excerpt from the European Forum on Anti-Semitisms Working Definition of Anti-Semitism.

Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include: Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

Why does opposing Jewish self-determination make one anti-Jewish? We are Orthodox Jews, believers in the Torah, and we believe that Jews do not have the right to run their own state in our times. This is because G-d commanded it to be so, for the benefit of the Jewish people.

Non-Jews who do not accept the Torah might also oppose Jewish self-determination, at least in Palestine, for a variety of reasons. Possibly, according to their interpretation of history, the land of Palestine rightfully belongs to another people. If I believe the Muslims should not have their own state in the United States or in England, does that make me anti-Muslim? So why is the European Forum on Anti-Semitism branding as an anti-Semite anyone who holds a particular interpretation of the history of Palestine?

As to the question of racism, a strong argument could be made that discrimination in immigration policy based on whether a person has Jewish blood or not is racism. Why does the European Forum on Anti-Semitism wish to stifle important discussion of this point?

Now take this example of anti-Semitism, quoted from the same source

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

This depends if the accusation is made at the Jews in general, or at particular Jews. We are greatly pained when we hear blanket accusations against our people, or any people, for that matter. But certain Jews may, by their actions and words, demonstrate a greater loyalty to the Zionist state than to their own country. There is nothing wrong with pointing this out.

The groups of Jews represented by our organization number over 150,000 worldwide. For more information on our views, go to truetorahjews.org.