Sunday, March 15, 2009


This morning's Los Angeles Times op-ed section features an exchange on the question, "Is Anti-Zionism Hate?"

The first piece is from Judea Pearl, "
Is Anti-Zionism hate? Yes. It is More Dangerous Than Anti-Semitism, Threatening Lives and Peace in the Middle East."

Pearl's introduction discusses a UCLA forum in January featuring speakers who "criminalized Israel's existence, distorted its motives and maligned its character, its birth, even its conception. At one point, the excited audience reportedly chanted "Zionism is Nazism" and worse."

But Pearl's conclusion is especially worth noting:

... anti-Zionism is in many ways more dangerous than anti-Semitism.

First, anti-Zionism targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the Jewish population of Israel, whose physical safety and personal dignity depend crucially on maintaining Israel's sovereignty. Put bluntly, the anti-Zionist plan to do away with Israel condemns 5 1/2 million human beings, mostly refugees or children of refugees, to eternal defenselessness in a region where genocidal designs are not uncommon.

Secondly, modern society has developed antibodies against anti-Semitism but not against anti-Zionism. Today, anti-Semitic stereotypes evoke revulsion in most people of conscience, while anti-Zionist rhetoric has become a mark of academic sophistication and social acceptance in certain extreme yet vocal circles of U.S. academia and media elite. Anti-Zionism disguises itself in the cloak of political debate, exempt from sensitivities and rules of civility that govern inter-religious discourse, to attack the most cherished symbol of Jewish identity.

Finally, anti-Zionist rhetoric is a stab in the back to the Israeli peace camp, which overwhelmingly stands for a two-state solution. It also gives credence to enemies of coexistence who claim that the eventual elimination of Israel is the hidden agenda of every Palestinian.

It is anti-Zionism, then, not anti-Semitism that poses a more dangerous threat to lives, historical justice and the prospects of peace in the Middle East.
The rebuttal to Pearl is offered by Ben Erhenreich, "Zionism is the Problem," an essay that frankly, and perniciously, proves Pearl's point.


UPDATE: Israel Matsav offers a critical and detailed analysis of Pearl's essay, "Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism Are Two Sides of the Same Coin (via Memeorandum):

Judea Pearl argues that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are unique and that anti-Zionism is more dangerous. I disagree with Pearl, and believe that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, albeit one that allows its followers to hide behind the supposed sins of the State of Israel in perpetuating the world's oldest prejudice. I believe that arguments like Pearl's allow rank anti-Semites to mask their true nature by hiding behind their objections to Israeli policy ....

Anti-Zionism is just a form of politically correct anti-Semitism. Deep down maybe Pearl (whom I have taken to task before for this kind of argument) sees that ... Anti-Zionism is a way for anti-Semites to hate Jews without incurring the social revulsion that anti-Semitism still carries in polite circles in countries like the United States, Canada and Australia. So why does Pearl continue to make an illogical argument that tries to divorce anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism?


Philippe Öhlund said...

I think it is very important that we in the Western world defend Israel.

If the Lord guides us by His Spirit and His Word, who can be against us?

Anonymous said...

Can anybody move to Israel?

Nope. Because they're racist and Israel is for Jews only.

Yet, the Jews lobby for legislation that's turned the USA into a multicultural hell hole on the verge of another Civil War.

Go figure.

The hypocrisy and double standards of Israel are disgusting.

Why don't we all strive to make Israel the "melting pot" of the Middle East?

Every man must investigate and arrive at his own answer to 'The Jewish Question'.

Anonymous said...

Mr Rodrick asked: "Can anybody move to Israel?

Nope. Because they're racist and Israel is for Jews only."

Israel, a nation about thrice the size of Delaware, is clearly founded upon its Jewish identity, as are most nations in the Eastern Hemisphere. The United States, a nation of very mixed ethnic foundation, with a tremendous amount of empty land, also chooses to restrict immigration, at least legal immigration.

Had the United States opened its gates to Jews fleeing the Nazis in World War II, there might be no Israel today. Had ant-Semitism not been an old, old European problem, in virtually every country, not just Germany, Zionism would probably never have come about.

Zionism exists because the Jews learned, learned the hard way, that they could not count on anybody else for their security.

Anonymous said...

Mr Rodrick also asked: "Why don't we all strive to make Israel the "melting pot" of the Middle East?"

Because such things do not always work. Even in the United States it hasn't worked all that well; drive through Philadelphia sometime, and ask yourself how well we have melted together.

I cannot think of any "melting pot" country in the Old World; every nation there is based upon ethnic boundaries and conquest.

It's worked slightly better in the New World, but that is because a flood of European immigrants basically exterminated the indigenous populations; few Indians remain save those shunted into ethnic enclaves.

Of course, there's also the problem of what the Israelis want, and even what their Arab neighbors want; neither of them wants to live in an ethnic melting pot; both want to be dominant.

Dave said...

"Can anybody move to Israel?

Nope. Because they're racist and Israel is for Jews only."

That is going to come as quite a shock to the approximately 20% of the Israeli population that is made up of Arabs who are Israeli citizens.

Last time I checked, well over half of them said they were planning on maintaining their Israeli citizenship even if a Palestinian state was formed.

You don't suppose that has to do with the fact that an Arab who is an Israeli citizen enjoys far more rights than their Palestinian friends do living under Hamas?


Anonymous said...

There's an interesting discussion occurring on this subject on the Delaware Liberal. One frequent liberal commenter was labeled an anti-Semite by one of the site hosts for some of her comments. The accused responded that she was vary much an anti-Zionist, not an anti-Semite, but the comments on which she was being called out had nothing to do with Israel or Zionism or foreign policy.

Be aware in advance: not all of the words used on the Delaware Liberal can be said on broadcast television.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

They are two halves of the same coin.
If you exterminate Israel you kill lots of Jews. What is so hard to understand about that?

shoprat said...

As much as the Muslims hate the Jews no such melting pot is possible at this point in time. The Jews are merely protecting themselves.

Anonymous said...

Not every American is religious, only those that are ignorant of the better things in life. Jewish people are just as important as Palestinian people, but Israel (The country) seems to be the most oppressive and racist country of the entire world. I, as an American, do not believe that Jews are more important than any other race, specially Palestinians. Without USA wellfare, Israel would be... well just another country.