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What is the relationship between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism Show more Show less

With the UK's Labour Party, the French Parliament, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in the US all at the centre of rows over anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, what is the relationship between the two concepts? Is either acceptable? Or do both words describe damaging and dangerous prejudices against Jewish communities across the globe?
Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not the same, but both are detrimental to the Jewish community.
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Anti-Zionism creates a favourable environment for anti-Semitism

Anti-Zionism assumes that Israeli Jews are racist human rights abusers. This legitimises anti-Semitism and creates an environment where prejudice flourishes.

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Context

Even if anti-Zionism isn't itself anti-Semitic, it creates an environment where anti-Semitism can flourish.

The Argument

Anti-Israeli expression creates an environment where anti-Semitism becomes more acceptable. In an environment where many people hold anti-Israel beliefs, they are less likely to challenge anti-Semitism when it occurs. This is reflected most prominently in Europe, where just 54% of respondents believe Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state. Around 25% believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance.[1] It is hardly surprising, therefore, that there is also a high rate of anti-Semitic attacks against European Jews. In 2015 in Paris, for example, four people were killed during the siege of a Kosher supermarket. In Sweden, firebombs were planted outside a Jewish burial chapel, and in Denmark, also in 2015, a security guard was shot while guarding a bat mitzvah. Sadly, armed guards are often required outside European synagogues. There is evidently a direct correlation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Even if anti-Zionists are not explicitly anti-Semitic, they create an environment in which anti-Semitism can flourish. Therefore, anti-Zionism is damaging to Jewish communities.

Counter arguments

Demonstrating Europe has a large number of anti-Zionists and Europe has a large number of anti-Semitic attacks does not prove causality. Anti-Zionism does not create an environment for anti-Semitic attacks to take place. The two are entirely independent and unlinked. Firstly, there are many anti-Semites who actually embrace Zionism. In 1905, the former British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour supported the Aliens Act, which restricted Jewish immigration to the UK and was widely seen as an anti-Semitic bill. In 1917, he also asserted he was very much in favour of Zionism.[2] The fact that the two beliefs can be held concurrently disproves any notion that anti-Zionism creates fertile ground for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semites come from all sides of the Zionism debate. Many argue for it and many against. Secondly, the vast majority of the anti-Semitic attacks which are carried out in Europe are carried out by radicalised Muslims. It would be a far more accurate statement to assert that radical Islam creates an environment in which anti-Semitism prospers, not anti-Zionism.[1]

Premises

[P1] Anti-Zionism creates an environment in which anti-Semitism can thrive. [P2] Therefore, both are dangerous to Jewish people.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Anti-Zionism has no impact on anti-Semitism.

References

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/opinion/antisemitism-europe-jews.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/mar/07/debunking-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-antisemitic

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Sunday, 20 Oct 2019 at 18:42 UTC