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Jimmy Bitton

Anti-Zionism is Antisemitism

Bob Marley’s iconic song “Exodus” masterfully intertwines the biblical motif of the Israelites’ journey to their promised homeland with the profound longing of the Black diaspora. By invoking the image of the Israelites being led by “Jah” (God) to their rightful home, Marley not only draws a powerful parallel between the ancient Jewish experience and the modern African diaspora but also amplifies a universal theme of hope, resilience, and the quest for freedom. Marley sings, “We know where we’re going; we know where we’re from. We’re leaving Babylon (the place of Jewish exile after the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BCE.), we’re going to our Father’s land,” and “Send us another Brother Moses, gonna cross the Red Sea.” Just as Marley’s song inspires a vision of return and liberation for the African diaspora, Zionism embodies the unbroken longing of the Jewish people for a return to their ancestral land. Through “Exodus,” Marley crafts a poignant anthem that mirrors the Zionist ethos, underscoring the shared human longing for homeland.

Zionism, often misunderstood and misrepresented, is fundamentally an anti-colonialist movement that seeks to return the dispossessed Jewish people to their ancestral homeland from which they were forcibly exiled by colonizing powers. Far from being a modern enterprise, Zionism is the Jewish people’s movement for civil rights, aimed at correcting historical injustices and restoring the indigenous rights. Zionism is not an extraneous political ideology imposed upon Jewish identity; it is a fulfillment of millennia-old religious and historical aspirations. Contrary to the arguments of the anti-Israel camp, Zionism is deeply rooted in Judaism. The longing for and imperative to return to the land of Israel is a recurrent theme in Jewish religious texts, including the Bible, the Talmud, and several Jewish ritual practices.

The Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel spans over three millennia and is one of the oldest and most documented in human history. This connection is affirmed by archaeological evidence, historical records, and religious texts. During their prolonged period of dispersion, Jews were subjected to myriad expulsions and pogroms by various colonial and imperial powers.

Modern Zionism emerged in the late 19th century as a response to centuries of oppression and as a movement to reclaim Jewish sovereignty in their native land. It represents the collective yearning of an indigenous people to return to their land and reestablish their independence. This return is not an act of colonization but a rightful reclaiming of heritage and homeland, akin to the struggles of other indigenous peoples. Zionism seeks to ensure the safety, self-determination, and sovereignty of the Jewish people in their historical homeland. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 marked a significant milestone in this journey, providing Jews with a sanctuary where they could exercise their rights and rebuild their society. This was not merely a political achievement but a profound act of justice and historical correction.

The Jewish people, as the indigenous inhabitants of the land of Israel, have a claim supported by historical evidence, religious texts, and international law. Standing against Zionism is to negate history, Judaism, and international resolutions. The atrocities committed against the Jewish people throughout history, particularly during the Holocaust, underscore the need for a Jewish state.

This is not to say that there are no other indigenous claims to the land. Israel’s consistent willingness to negotiate peace demonstrates its commitment to coexistence. The Abraham Accords, which have normalized relations between Israel and several Arab countries, further highlight Israel’s continued desire for peaceful and prosperous relations with its neighbours. The obstacle to genuine and sustainable peace with the Palestinians hinges on the outcome of an internal discourse taking place in the Muslim world: one perspective, exemplified by countries like Bahrain, the UAE, and Morocco, looks to the future, seeking modernization and greater prosperity. In contrast, entities such as Iran, ISIS, Hezbollah, and Hamas cling to regressive, imperialistic aspirations of Islamic hegemony.

Anti-Zionism aligns with this regressive agenda, which threatens not only Israel but also more progressive countries of the Middle East and, more broadly, all democratic nations. Sustainable peace and progress in the region depend on the triumph of forward-looking, modernizing forces over those who seek to impose a fundamentalist, imperialistic vision.

Zionism is a movement that transcends mere politics; it is a deeply human story of survival, hope, and renewal. It underscores the Jewish people’s unbroken connection to their land and their enduring aspiration for a future where they can live in peace and security. Embracing Zionism is not only an act of supporting Jewish self-determination but also a profound commitment to justice.

About the Author
Jimmy Bitton, B.A., B.Ed., M.A., is a seasoned education professional with over a decade of experience in management, training, and leadership. Renowned for his commitment to mentoring and professional development, Jimmy integrates cutting-edge technology and innovative practices, particularly in Generative AI, to drive excellence and continuous improvement. Jimmy is also a prolific writer contributing to respected publications and delivering lectures on Jewish matters.
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