There are two definitions of anti-Semitism in its Jewish context. One was born in real history and represents a truth. The other is part and parcel of Zionist mythology and was invented for the purpose of blackmailing non-Jewish Europeans and North Americans into refraining from criticizing Israel or, to be more precise, staying silent when its leaders resort to state terrorism and demonstrate in many ways their absolute contempt for international law.
A tale of two anti-Semitisms
Anti-Semitism properly and honestly defined is prejudice against and loathing and even hatred of Jews, all Jews everywhere, just because they are Jews.
Anti-Semitism as defined by Zionism, the colonial, ethnic cleansing enterprise of some Jews, has come to mean almost all criticism of Israel’s policies and actions, in particular its oppression of the Palestinians, and, also, criticism on the basis of revelations from the documented truth of history which expose Zionism’s propaganda for the nonsense it is. Put another way, anti-Semitism as defined by supporters of Israel right or wrong is anything written or said by anybody that challenges and contradicts Zionism’s version of events. In effect Zionists say, “If you disagree with us, you’re anti-Semitic”.
As a blackmail card to silence criticism of Israel and prevent informed and honest debate about who must do what and why for justice and peace in the Middle East, Zionism’s false charge of anti-Semitism has worked wonderfully well to date. Why? In the long (and still present) shadow of the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, a European crime for which, effectively, the Arabs were punished, there are few things Westerners in public life, politicians and media people especially, fear more than being accused of anti-Semitism.
Unable to refute the substance of documented and objective messages of challenge and criticism, Zionism’s policy always was, and still is, to shoot the messengers with false charges of anti-Semitism.
Zionism – myth and reality
For a complete understanding of what anti-Semitism is and is not, it’s necessary to know what Zionism is and is not.
Zionism claims to be the nationalist movement of the Jews, all Jews everywhere. If this were so, the assertion that anti-Zionism is almost by definition a manifestation of anti-Semitism might appear to have a degree of credibility. But this Zionist claim does not bear examination.
As I document in detail in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the truth is that from Zionism’s foundation in 1897 until the Nazi holocaust, its colonial enterprise was endorsed and supported by only a tiny minority of the world’s Jews and was opposed by many of them.
Also true is that from Israel’s unilateral declaration of independence in 1948 until the final countdown to the 1967 war, most Jews of the world had no great affinity with Israel. That changed when most Jews believed – because they were conditioned by Zionism and the mainstream Western media to believe – that poor little Israel was in danger of annihilation. In that light Israel’s stunning victory was a source of great pride for most Jews of the world.
Though most Jews didn’t and still don’t want to know it, the truth was different. The Arabs did not attack first and were not intending to attack. The 1967 war was one of Israeli aggression.
Today much of what supporters of Israel, right or wrong, claim to be anti-Semitism is actually anti-Israelism, which in my view is best described as anti-Zionism. And contrary to the assertions of Zionism’s spin doctors, anti-Zionism is not by definition anti-Semitism.
Short or long, any discussion of anti-Semitism should include the fact that Zionism needs it. The first to acknowledge this was none other than Theodore Herzl, Zionism’s founding father. In one of his diaries, not published until 1962, Herzl wrote the following:
Anti-Semitism is a propelling force which, like the wave of the future, will bring Jews into the promised land. Anti-Semitism has grown and continues to grow – and so do I.
He was right. Without the anti-Semitism unleashed by Adolf Hitler in his Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe, Zionism’s colonial enterprise would have been doomed to failure for lack of enough Jewish support.
Today Zionism needs anti-Semitism or what it can present as anti-Semitism to go on justifying its policies and actions.
Zionism – a catastrophe for Jews
Any discussion of anti-Semitism should also take note of the words of Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving director of military intelligence. In his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, he wrote: “I believe it was a damaging error on Menachem Begin’s part to insinuate that criticism of Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.” In the same book Harkabi gave this warning:
Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.
From the early 1980s when those words were written, Israel’s “misconduct” has been the prime cause in the rise of what Zionism presents as anti-Semitism but which is actually anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism. Today the biggest danger to the Jews of the world is, as Harkabi warned, that anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism will be transformed into anti-Semitism, with the consequence at some point of another great turning against Jews.
My own view is that such a catastrophe will happen unless the citizens of the mainly gentile Western world, among whom most Jews live, are made aware of the difference between Judaism and Zionism. As I have previously written and never tire of repeating, knowledge of this difference is the key to understanding two things.
One is why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (opposed to Zionism’s still on-going colonial enterprise) without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic.
The other is why it is wrong to blame all Jews everywhere for the crimes of the hardest core Zionist few in Israel.
In my analysis, the day when citizens of the Western world understand those two things and what anti-Semitism is and is not, is the day that will mark the beginning of the end of Zionism’s freedom and ability to impose its will on the Palestinians, the whole of the Arab world and the governments of the major Western powers, and to remain above and beyond international law.
Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. He blogs on www.alanhart.net and tweets on www.twitter.com/alanauthor.