No, Jonathan Freedland, anti-Zionism is not perfectly fine with us

Cross posted from the blog Simply Jews

It is, probably, a sad necessity, to repeat from time to time the old position statements. Not that the positions change too much, but people sometimes do veer from a position to position, tending to forget the last held one. As it usually goes.

This post is inspired by a stumble upon discussion between a staunchly anti-Zionist lady, Noura Erakat*, a vaguely pro-Israeli (Guardian journalistJonathan Freedland and other minor characters. The discussion was staged by Al Jazeera. Jonathan Freedland has already appeared on these pages, the other protagonist is more of interest. Ms Erakat is a lawyer, so one should be careful describing her… er… anything, but at least she doesn’t hide her anti-Zionism and her desire to see the proverbial Palestine “from the river to the sea”, if you understand what it means. If not, check out this short paragraph.

So why do I consider Jonathan Freedland to be vaguely pro-Israeli? If you scroll the recording below to about 9:55, you shall hear a response by Mr Freedland to the proud self-declaration by Ms Erakat as an anti-Zionist:

I think it is absolutely fine, and more than fine, of course it’s completely legitimate to hold the position she has…

Fine and legitimate? Maybe from your Guardian offices in London it is. Not from where I bother my keyboard. Because, and apologies for repeating the obvious:

Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel.

While the mission of Zionism in this definition is by and large completed, the anti-Zionism comes as a simple negation of Zionism and has a quite busy program in mind:

The term is broadly defined in the modern era as the opposition to the ethnonationalist and political movement of Jews and Jewish culture that supports the establishment of a Jewish state as a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel.

In other, simpler words, Jonathan (are you listening? I guess not) the so-called “anti-Zionists”, whose legitimacy you so warmly confirm, are these same guys we all used to call “Jew-haters” or “anti-Semites”, to be historically authentic. These guys who desire to disperse and/or kill us all here again.

Still fine and legitimate, Jonathan?

While I hate to repeat position statements, from where I am, the so called “anti-Zionism” is the same old murderous and hateful beast, albeit with a new PC name. (Anti-Zionism is also considered antisemitic by the British government.)

So there.

(*) As a sample of Ms Erakat’s professional creativity, here is her article:

No, Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory

It was published in 2014, 9 years(!) after disengagement from Gaza strip, which is meant as “Occupied Palestinian Territory” in that headline. While the headline offers enough information as it is, there are some fine examples of word juggling that show a fine, albeit totally unsuccessful legal mind behind the article.

Editor’s Note: On March 1st, we corrected a passage which falsely claimed that Mr. Freedland was no longer employed at the Guardian. In fact, he still works as a full-time journalist for the media group. He had only given up his executive duties overseeing the Guardian’s Opinion pages.

27 replies »

  1. In his account of an event at SOAS, (here: ) David Collier describes what he calls “A twisted definition of Zionism”. He goes on to say:

    “For those that watched the video, it cannot have escaped notice that he described the Israelis he had spoken as not ‘Zionists’. He was wrong. They were 100% Zionists. This is part of the stolen narrative, the propaganda machine through which all Zionism is smeared.

    In the recent undercover investigation into the PSC I released last week, I found this, part of a post from Chester PSC in 2014:

    “Zionism is a virulent form of Jewish nationalism opposed by many Jews. It asserts the right of the Jews to the land of Israel as defined in biblical scripture- a land significantly bigger than Israel’s current border. Clearly many believe that the policies pursued by the Israeli government gave elements of Zionism…”
    The Palestinian I spoke to yesterday, has fallen for the same fake narrative. It shows just how deep rooted this smear has become. Zionism is defined as only the extreme, so to be a Zionist or a Zionist state, automatically makes you an extremist. The Palestinian spent some time talking to Israelis, those willing to talk, to understand, to compromise, and that, for the student was enough to suggest they were not Zionists. This, even as they wore the Israeli flag.”

    Jonathan Freedland has obviously fallen into the same trap.

    • Indeed. This is the same kind of lie that sees Jew-hating reactionaries described as ‘liberal progressives’.
      Orwell described this very accurately in 1984.

    • Zionism is a secular national movement. When anti-Zionists don’t even know what our national movement is based on, and for them to speculate some religious nonsense that only they pronounce (that Jews are better than the others), they practice the latest, lamest version of anti-Semitism our planet has seen.

      Jew Haters are too stupid to not be Jew Haters. That’s our problem.

  2. Unfortunately history teaches that antisemitism is often thinly guised by claiming it’s really about something else. Passive, uberliberal “Progressive” weak Jews like Freedlan empower the hateful thinking that nearly all Jews understand underlies the Arab mentality which has never accepted them as a country and who polls consistently show are fine with murderous terrorism against Jews everywhere.

    Read something before getting your antisemitic rocks off by saying stupid stuff.

    Like about Syria for example…which i’m sure bothers you not in the slightest.

  3. Did Jonathan Freedland say it was fine with you? No. What he said was: “I think it is absolutely fine, and more than fine.”


    He wasn’t purporting to speak on anyone’s behalf but his own. You’re just taking offense because he said something you disagree with. Which, living in such a vibrant democracy as Israel, must happen to you quite often, which is a shame.

    • Correct. For Freedland like for any other haters of Israel anti-Zionism is fine. Anti-Zionism is the polite and educated version of classic anti-Semitism so why not be considered more than fine for a Jew-hating Jew like a leading staff member of al-Guardian?

  4. “You’re just taking offence because he said something you disagree with”. Wow!
    No one has better form in that than Webber, the ubiquitous troll & scourge of anyone with the chutzpah to express an opposite viewpoint to his genius insights.

  5. What exactly did Noura Erakat say prior to 9:55 that Freedland commented “I think it is absolutely fine, and more than fine, of course it’s completely legitimate to hold the position she has…” ? Why is that not mentioned and discussed in this article ? Another example of shoddy journalism by Adam Levick.

    • ‘External’ when you ask, “What exactly did Noura Erakat say prior to 9:55 that Freedland commented “I think it is absolutely fine, and more than fine, of course it’s completely legitimate to hold the position she has…” ?” Is that a serious question, or your attempt at a rhetorical question?

      Why do you claim that this is, “Another example of shoddy journalism by Adam Levick.” when it is a Guest/ Cross Post as is clearly indicated at the top?