Guardian

Debunking the Guardian myth that anti-Zionism is not antisemitic


In a long Guardian op-ed, Peter Beinart argues that anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitic.  In his piece (Debunking the myth that anti-Zionism is antisemitic, March 7), Beinart argues that the 30 countries who’ve adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, which defines as antisemitic denying Jews the right self-determination, have made a tragic mistake.

First, he claims it’s wrong to suggest it’s racist to deny Jews the right to self-determination by making the following argument:

The Kurds don’t have their own state. Neither do the Basques, Catalans, Scots, Kashmiris, Tibetans, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Lombards, Igbo, Oromo, Uyghurs, Tamils and Québécois, nor dozens of other peoples who have created nationalist movements to seek self-determination but failed to achieve it.

Yet barely anyone suggests that opposing a Kurdish or Catalan state makes you an anti-Kurdish or anti-Catalan bigot.

However, these aren’t currently states, whereas the Jewish state actually exists.  Opposing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is to oppose the continuing existence of actually existing Jewish state – which is completely different than opposing a theoretical state that doesn’t yet exist.  On a moral level, opposing Zionism in 1947 is radically different than opposing it in 1948.

Beinart then argues that to define anti-Zionism as antisemitic is to silence millions of Palestinians and Arab Israelis who reject the idea of Zionism, a logic that not only denies Jews – and only Jews – the right to define what is racist, but also absurdly grants that right – or at least a right to veto any such definition – to Palestinians, who, based on polling, are the most antisemitic people in the world.  In this line of critique, Beinart is echoing the talking points of Jeremy Corbyn’s most ardent supporters, who (unsuccessfully) campaigned against the party adopting the IHRA definition by claiming that it would silence Palestinian voices.

Beinart also maintains that it’s false to argue, as many have, that, as a practical matter, anti-Zionism and antisemitism are animosities necessarily related to each other.

In the real world, anti-Zionism and antisemitism don’t always go together. It is easy to find antisemitism among people who, far from opposing Zionism, enthusiastically embrace it.

Actually, in the ‘real world’, they do in fact go together.  A comprehensive study by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) and the Community Security Trust showed an extremely strong correlation, in the UK, between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, with those expressing extreme hatred of Israel being far more likely than most people to also express classic antisemitic views.  The study concluded that “the nexus between medieval and modern anti-Jewish tropes and the ways in which Zionism, the State of Israel and the actions of its government are questioned, criticised or condemned, have become central to understanding and defining contemporary manifestations of antisemitism”.

Whilst the case that anti-Zionism is antisemitic doesn’t rest upon the intentions of anti-Zionists, it’s dishonest to deny a relationship between the two.

Beinart then tries to undermine the case for anti-Zionism being fundamentally antisemitic by noting that some who are, or at least profess to be, Zionists also express classic antisemitic views – such as some on the far-right.  However, the fundamental moral legitimacy of Zionism doesn’t hinge on the moral purity of a minority of its adherents.  Trying to undermine the claim that anti-Zionism is antisemitic by pointing to the moral hypocrisy of some Zionists is as flawed as arguing that the moral case against slavery in America was undermined by the racism of some anti-slavery activists. 

Zionism is the belief that Israel has a right to continue to exist. Anti-Zionism is the belief that says Israel has no right to exist and shouldn’t continue existing. It is not a theoretical position. It’s an effort to forcibly dispossess over six million Jews of a right they currently have. It doesn’t say that nation-states shouldn’t exist, just that the Jewish state – the only safe-haven for Jews around the world – shouldn’t exist. 

It also seems predicated on the premise that millions of Israeli Jews in the Middle East would, in the long run, be safe and have their rights protected in a country with a Palestinian majority and a Palestinian government – confidence that only makes sense if you ignore endemic antisemitism in the region and the experience of hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Muslim majority countries since World War 2.  Anti-Zionism isn’t just antisemitic in theory. In practice, it would almost certainly have a profoundly dangerous antisemitic impact.

For all their erudition, Beinart and his Guardian fellow travelers fail to grasp a point that most Jews know instinctively: that Jews can never, and will never, replace the Jewish state with the pre-Holocaust state of perpetual political weakness which left Jews continually vulnerable to antisemitic scapegoating, violence and genocide.

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32 replies »

  1. Beinart ignores another important point, i.e., the other nationalities that he mentions above inhabit territories that comprise parts of already existing states. Founding independent Catalonia, Kurdistan, or Scotland. The British and Ottoman Empires, which thankfully and rightfully are a part of history, were not countries.

  2. Beinart, another “progressive” Jew feeding antisemitism. Like that dunsky Shapira who made a pro Ilhan Omar film.
    You have to hand it to the KGB. Their plan worked.

  3. So yeah, the Chinese have one Million Uyghurs in concentration camps.
    The Kurds are hunted like dogs by fascist Turkey and Iran. Entire Kurdish cities get flattened by the Turkish Army. Turks are routinely raped and tortured. There are 500.000 Kurdish refugees in Germany alone.
    Kashmir is a war zone.
    Scotland is a referendum away from becoming a nation etc etc .
    What is Beinart but a half baked utterly ignorant “progressive” American. Who gives this man a platform? Sheesh.

  4. Am I missing something here. When I was at school
    in the UK in the 1940/1950s we were taught that
    Palestine (then British owned) had already been
    divided into 2 States. Jordan for the Arabs,
    Israel for the Jews. The Arabs got the lions share
    of the deal because they ended with 80% of the territory
    while the Jews ended up with 20%.

    Another point that needs explaining is how does it come
    about that the Arabs that do not want to live in Jordan
    are now re-branded as Palestinians? The term Palestinian
    used to be reserved to refer to the Jewish population,
    not the Arabs. The British Army had Palestinian regiments
    that were wholly Jewish. Somehow the term Palestinian has
    been hijacked to make it appear that the Palestinian Arabs
    are the only legitimate heirs to the area.

    In my humble opinion the Arabs need to be told that they
    have already had 80% of Palestine.

    Be satisfied with that and learn to live with each other
    and go and live in Jordan. Or is that the elephant in the
    room that nobody can see?

    Is Jordan the Hashemite-occupied Palestine?

    In all seriousness: Has any non-Muslim population EVER lived in peace with Muslims anywhere in the entire world?

    • “The Jordan Alternative ” is already proposed as a solution . However, as it would probably result in the overthrow (assassination ) of King Abdullah II, the Hashemites are naturally less than enthusiastic. Delinquents are notoriously hard to foster. Remember Egypt refused the offer of Gaza. See Elder of Zyon for details.

  5. Beinart doesn’t understand the basis of Judaism is the return to Zion and Jerusalem. Jews pray towards it. Then look at the so called Hashemite people who call themselves Palestinians. They objected to Jews owning land. Racist Islamist also used apartheid and men and women prevented from working in many areas allowed to their Muslims. The Jews in the area known as British Palestine (30 years of occupation) were the Jews of Palestine. No Muslim was citizens but the British used the Hashemite tribe and created a king and parliament and even army for Jordan with 3/4 of the area..they have a country. The other Hashemite cousin was made king of Iraq. Both kings were assassinated by their own tribe! Jordan however still has control as their king’s son survived and brutally took over. His son is now on the throne. So such place called Palestine. No such people except Jews. No currency. No history. No artefacts. No historical monuments. The people called Palestinian were invented by Yasser Arafat, the Egyptian born Jihadist who together with 750,000 others came into Israel to prove indigenous Muslims. They were invited to do jihad by the British created Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Syrian vile murderer, who spent World War Two at Hitler’s side encouraging total genocide of the Jews. He returned to carry on his Nazi ideology of extermination of every Jew in the Middle East. At his encouragement, he invited Islamists from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Gaza, and of course the newly created Muslim country of Jordan. 750,000 came but their leaders feared a rumour that Jews were raping their women and they fled back to their countries. They wanted the Jews who were ethnically cleansed from all the Arab countries…more than a million to “Walk to their own country,” usually at the butt of a gun within five minutes of being told. 850,000 Jews from Arab countries made it to Israel. But their plan to commit genocide was thwarted by these Jews whose understanding of the Arab and Arabic was exceptionally used. They lost War after war until eventually Arafat declared BDS propaganda was the way to destroy, after the Russians coached him into the use of lies, deceit and illusion. As this coincided with Taqquiya Quran 3.28: Muslims are permitted to use lies deceit and illusion when performing jihad against the Jews and infidels. They have used this evil lying as they still fight towards their genocidal goal.

  6. An anti-Zionist is someone who believes that all religions and ethnic groups have a right to their ancestral lands and holy places, except the Jews. Sounds pretty antisemitic to me.

  7. I support and admire CAMERA’s work, but sometimes, as in this analysis of Beinert’s op- ed, the main point gets lost in intricate intellectuality. The main point is that anti-Zionism is anti-semitism because the success of this philosophy would lead immediately to a second Holocaust. The philosophers can argue whether this is necessarily so in all imaginable worlds, but in our actual world at this time it is obvious and undeniable.

    • Thanks for you comment, Ned, but I made something similar to this point in the closing paragraphs:

      “It also seems predicated on the premise that millions of Israeli Jews in the Middle East would, in the long run, be safe and have their rights protected in a country with a Palestinian majority and a Palestinian government – confidence that only makes sense if you ignore endemic antisemitism in the region and the experience of hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Muslim majority countries since World War 2. Anti-Zionism isn’t just antisemitic in theory. In practice, it would almost certainly have a profoundly dangerous antisemitic impact.

      For all their erudition, Beinart and his Guardian fellow travelers fail to grasp a point that most Jews know instinctively: that Jews can never, and will never, replace the Jewish state with the pre-Holocaust state of perpetual political weakness which left Jews continually vulnerable to antisemitic scapegoating, violence and genocide.”

  8. When Beinart’s anti-Zionist friends come for him, he’ll understand it’s about being Jewish. What a fool he is, and ignorant of history and Jewish values.

  9. My friend George is a philo-Semite. He enjoys the company of Jews. He likes Jewish culture and certainly likes Jewish food. However, he’s anti-Zionist because he fears the consequences of locating millions of Jews in a small territory within range of a soon-to-be nuclear Iran. In other words he fears another holocaust. Is my philo-Semitic friend an anti-Semite?

    • Since that state already exists and the we accept the challenge – the short answer is yes. Just because Islamofascist colonists invaded the region does not negate our rights and we can and will continue to defend ourselves

    • “Is my philo-Semitic friend an anti-Semite?”
      No. In fact, there is no “friend.” You’re just a rather pedantic navel gazer with a penchant for blind alleys.

  10. I don’t think it was well-written. To give just two examples: Adam says that Beinart claims anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. What Beinart actually claims (if you bother to read his article) is that anti-Zionism is not always and necessarily anti-Semitic. He acknowledges that sometimes it is. Secondly, Adam implies that Beinart ignores the difference between anti-Zionism pre-1948 and anti-Zionism post-1948. Again, if you bother to read Beinart’s article, you’ll see that he deals with this distinction at length.

    • If anyone followed Beinart’s writings and discussions, it was always very clear that to him the rights of Arabs were more important than the rights of Israeli Jews. The unavoidable slaughter of many Jews as a result of his ideological policies is to him an acceptable compromise. Beinart’s blind ideology prevents him from seeing the reality of the situation.

  11. Yuri Bezmenov: Psychological Warfare Subversion & Control of Western Society. In this video from the early 80s Yuri talks about the Wests media at length and how they will be used to deliver us to the enemy butcher. It is eerie.

  12. So basically, Beinart wants to protect the Palestinian right to try to destroy Israel and he wants to ensure that this objective has a clean name. This to him is more than protecting Jews from Jew-killing, the very purpose of Zionism (per Theodor Herzl).

    So what if Palestinian leaders: assisted Hitler (Hajj Amin al-Husseini), assisted the Iranian revolution (Arafat), and questioned the Holocaust (Abbas’s thesis). So what if the Hamas charter goes on about Jew-killing…. because it’s worse to be called an antisemite than to be one!

    What a fascinating thing, Jewish minds like Beinart’s!

  13. Zionism is a means of self defense for Jews in a specific situation: living in nations where the hostility runs from lethargic and indifferent protection of Jews’ basic rights to out-and-out extermination of Jews. Zionism means Jews having their own state.

    As for other ethnic groups like the Kurds, There are constant reports of attacks against Kurds by Arab governments like Iraq, Syria, Turkey, etc. Denying Kurds their own state could very well be regarded as anti-Kurdish.