Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Friday, 23 March 2012

"Anti-Zionism is a form of racism more dangerous than classical anti-Semitism": Judea Pearl

The lily-livered Jewish students at Leeds University who, like the apprentice "trembling Israelites" they appear to be, withdrew their invitation to pro-Israel activist Brooke Goldstein to address them last week, would do well to reflect on this article entitled "Anti-Zionism is Racism", which appeared as an op-ed in the New York Jewish Week.  It's by Professor Judea Pearl of UCLA, whose son Daniel, professional journalist and gifted violinist, was savagely murdered by judeophobic Islamic fanatics in Pakistan.

Writes Judea Pearl:

'In the past three months, I have visited four “troubled” campuses — Duke, York (Canada), Columbia and UC Irvine — where tensions between Jewish and anti-Zionist students and professors have attracted national attention. In these visits, I have spoken to students, faculty and administrators, and I have obtained a fairly gloomy picture of the situation on those and other campuses.

Jewish students are currently subjected to an unprecedented assault on their identity as Jews. And we, the Jewish faculty on campus, have let those students down. We have failed to equip them with effective tools to fight back this assault.

We can reverse this trend.

Many condemn anti-Zionism for being a flimsy cover for anti-Semitism. I disagree. The order is wrong. I condemn anti-Semitism for being an instrument for a worse form of racism: anti-Zionism.

In other words, I submit that anti-Zionism is a form of racism more dangerous than classical anti-Semitism. Framing anti-Zionism as racism is precisely the weapon that our students need for survival on campus.

Anti-Zionism earns its racist character from denying the Jewish people what it grants to other collectives (e.g. Spanish, Palestinians), namely, the right to nationhood and self-determination.

Are Jews a nation? A collective is entitled to nationhood when its members identify with a common history and wish to share a common destiny. Palestinians have earned nationhood status by virtue of thinking like a nation, not by residing where their ancestors did (many of them are only three or four generations in Palestine). Jews, likewise, are bonded by nationhood (i.e., common history and destiny) more than they are bonded by religion.

The appeal to Jewish nationhood is necessary when we consider Israel’s insistence on remaining a “Jewish state.” By “Jewish state” Israelis mean, of course, “national Jewish state,” not “religious Jewish state” — theocratic states (like Pakistan and Iran) are incompatible with modern standards of democracy and pluralism. Anti-Zionist racists use this anti-theocracy argument repeatedly to delegitimize Israel, and I have found our students unable to defend their position with conventional ideology that views Jewishness as a religion.

Jewishness is more than just a religion. It is an intricate and intertwined mixture of ancestry, religion, history, country, culture, tradition, attitude, nationhood and ethnicity, and we need not apologize for not fitting neatly into the standard molds of textbook taxonomies — we did not choose our turbulent history.

As a form of racism, anti-Zionism is worse than anti-Semitism. It targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the people of Israel, who rely on the sovereignty of their state for physical safety, national identity and personal dignity. To put it more bluntly, anti-Zionism condemns 5 million human beings, mostly refugees or children of refugees, to eternal statelessness, traumatized by historical images of persecution and genocide.

Anti-Zionism also attacks the pivotal component of our identity, the glue that bonds us together — our nationhood, our history. And while people of conscience reject anti-Semitism, anti-Zionist rhetoric has become a mark of academic sophistication and social acceptance in Europe and in some U.S. campuses.

Moreover, anti-Zionism disguises itself in the cloak of political debate, exempt from sensitivities and rules of civility that govern interreligious discourse. Religion is ferociously protected in our society — political views are not.

Just last month, a student organization on a UC campus hosted a meeting on “A World Without Israel.” Imagine the international furor that a meeting called, “A World Without Mecca,” would provoke.

So, in the name of “open political debate,” administrators would not think twice about inviting MIT linguist Noam Chomsky to speak on campus, though his anti-Zionist utterances offend the fabric of my Jewish identity deeper than any of the ugly religious insults currently shocking the media. He should be labeled for what he is: a racist.

Strategically, while accusations of anti-Semitism are worn out and have lost their punch, charging someone with racism makes people ask why anyone would deny people the right of self-determination in a sliver of land in the birthplace of their history. It shifts the frame of discourse from debating Israel’s policies to the root cause of the conflict — denying Israelis their basic rights as a nation.

Charges of “racism” highlight the inherent asymmetry between the Zionist and anti-Zionist positions. The former grants both Israelis and Palestinians the right for statehood, the latter denies that right to one, and only one side. This asymmetry is the most effective weapon our students should use in campus debates, for it puts them back on the high moral grounds of “fair and balanced” and forces their opponents to defend an ideology of one-sidedness.

For example, I have found it effective, when confronting an anti-Zionist speaker, to ask: “Are you willing to go on record and state that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a conflict between two legitimate national movements?” Western audiences adore even-handedness and abhor bias. The question above forces the racist to unveil and defend his uneven treatment of the two sides.

America prides itself on academic freedom, and academic freedom entails freedom to teach hatred and racism — we graciously accept this fact of life. However, academic freedom also entails the freedom of students to expose racism, be it white-supremacy, women-inferiority, Islamophobia or Zionophobia wherever it is spotted. Not to censor, but to expose — racists stew in their own words.

In summary, I believe the formula “Anti-Zionism = Racism” should give Jewish students the courage to both defend their identity and expose those who abuse it.'

(Courtesy: Zionism and Israel on the Web ( Hat tip: reader Shirlee)


  1. Not only is anti-Zionism a form of racism, it has organized itself under the banner of BDS within progressive-left venues throughout the west.

    As far as I am concerned, we are betrayed.

    Israel Thrives

    1. Thanks for the link, Michael!
      I'll add it to my blogroll.

  2. This is an excellent post. I would add that in the US or wherever people enjoy academic freedom, students have not only the freedom to expose hatred, racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism, but the *responsibility* to do so. Freedom requires vigilant watch and hard work in order for people to truly remain free.

  3. Zionism is a far reaching global politic which has entrenched it's self at every level of government. Being "anti-Zionist" is no different than being anti-Labour or anti-Liberal, to say that it is merely a vehicle for anti-semetitism is at the least reactionary and defensive and at most slanderous and repulsive. The purpose of such venomous attacks is to deny those that disagree with it's principles, politics and deep entrenchment in western governance a voice with which to counter there dangerous and traitorous ideology. Zionist support by our leaders is demanded and expected in closed circles out of the publics gaze, yet you would deny those that object to its entrenchment a voice.

    Zionism is a dangerous and hateful ideology which now far outreaches it's original tenet and needs to be exposed for it's vile and insidious machinations.

    1. What absolute racist rubbish!!!

    2. A worthless, puerile ad hominen attack. An intelignet response would be to counter the 'actual' arguement FWIW, but I suspect this is beyond you.

  4. That you chose to misrepresent and deceicve by omission the facts and arguments against zionism doesn't surprise or infuriate me the least. It simply bolsters my argument and proves that your blinding vitriolic hatred cannot stand the light of day. If anything it is amuesing and shows how your racist ideaology is pathetic and helpless when up against an informed public engaging in robust debate.