Benjamin Folkinshteyn

Anti-Zionism is Not Anti-Semitism and Other Fairy Tales

The constant refrain for many years prior to the horrific terrorist attacks on October 7 and repeated ad nauseum since then by Hamas apologists and supporters has been that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism, it is said, is merely criticism of Israel’s policies and does not target or single out Jews as a people or the State of Israel as a country.

Welcome to the world of intellectual gaslighting.

Of course, criticism of Israel’s policies is not anti-Zionism – every Israeli criticizes Israel’s policies from the left, the right and the center. Criticism of Israel’s is Israel’s national pastime. It is a legitimate form of discourse in any democratic country to criticize one’s government or other governments. (Good luck doing that in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, &c.)

What Israel’s detractors, however, have been doing for years is not criticizing Israel’s policies, but denying Israel’s very right to exist as a nation-state and measuring Israel by completely different standards than every other country on earth. That is what anti-Zionism is and that is indeed the same thing as anti-Semitism. Recycling decades-old of Soviet propaganda and coupled with millennia-old anti-Semitic canards, Israel, in their eyes, is the greatest threat to world peace.

As Soviet disenchantment with Israel’s failure to fall into USSR’s sphere of influence and control became more pronounced, the Soviet propaganda machine kicked into high gear to malign Israel as an obstacle to socialist victory over capitalism. Anti-Zionism became another political tool to unite international proletariat against the West. Using Marxist-Leninist methodology and language, Zionism became to be defined as:

“a reactionary, chauvinist and political ideology of the Jewish bourgeoisie. It arose at the end of the 19th century so as to distract the Jewish workers from the revolutionary struggle and to preserve the superiority over them of the bourgeois-clerical authority. The characteristics of Zionism as one of the leading imperialist movements are war-mongering chauvinism, racism, anti-Communism, and anti-Sovietism.”

The success of Soviet propaganda culminated in 1975 in the U.N. General Assembly Resolution No. 3379 which deemed Zionism to be a form of “racism and racial discrimination.” In an ironic twist, this resolution also referred to the previously recognized international consensus “the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination”. Apparently Jews are not people.

Although that resolution was subsequently repealed several decades later, its language and Soviet roots are pervasive in today’s discourse among international bodies, pro-Hamas demonstrations and college campuses, just repackaged in to remove any trace of Soviet influence.

In a feat of dishonesty and projection, the self-proclaimed Anti-Zionists-Not-Anti-Semites have brought forth blood libels and conspiracy theories that have resulted in severe shortages of tinfoil worldwide (probably). Go on social media today (if you have the stomach for it) and you will encounter mind-boggling false accusations about Israelis harvesting the organs of Palestinian Arabs, controlling world governments, and even staging the Hamas terrorist attacks of October 7.

On the latter point, as early as October 7, prior to any Israeli response to Hamas terror, the Democratic Socialists of America called for a march in New York City to show solidarity with, let’s be honest, Hamas. When the horror of Hamas’s bloodlust became too hard to ignore, the obvious next step was to just claim it never happened. When Islamic Jihad artillery fell in the vicinity of a hospital in Gaza instead of in Israel, the lie that Israel bombed a hospital and killed 500 people quickly spread on the Internet. It was quickly debunked by reputable intelligence sources and contemporaneous data, yet, Rashida Tlaib still remains unconvinced. She’d rather believe Hamas, a designated terrorist organization. Don’t let facts get in the way of the Narrative.

Further, the double standards applied to Israel defy all logic and sanity. The world turns a blind eyed and feigns ignorance of undisputed facts, acts of terror and crimes against humanity by terrorists to blame Israel for essentially everything. (Do you remember when Hamas had major operations in the same building as the Associated Press for over 15 years? The AP does not.) If only those Zionists would just shut up and die, the Middle East would be an inclusive utopia on earth for all peoples. Hamas terrorists hide behind human shields, use ambulances, schools, mosques and hospitals for military purposes, have built an extensive tunnel network under Gaza City, commit abhorrent acts of terror against its own and Israeli civilians and, explicitly promise to do again and again, and yet, the Anti-Zionists-Not-Anti-Semites would rather just ignore those inconvenient facts to project genocidal intentions onto the Jews.

And, most shamefully we have the ignoramuses in our own midst who joyfully parrot Anti-Zionist-Not-Anti-Semitic propaganda. The PLO Charter of 1964 helpfully explains that “Judaism because it is a divine religion is not a nationality with independent existence.” And cue Jewish Voices for “Peace” who recently and proudly proclaimed that true Jews are against Zionism. Lest we forget this is the same organization whose “rabbinical” council member argued with nary a hint of historical awareness in January 2023 that [t]he U.S. government itself is occupied by Zionist forces”. That statement sounds oddly familiar. Where do we learn about those power-hungry Zionists? Oh, yeah, that’s just the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Hamas Covenant repurposed for US audiences:

“After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

Sometimes is a cigar is just a cigar. But an anti-Zionist is always an anti-Semite.

About the Author
Benjamin Folkinshteyn is an attorney in private practice in the Greater New York area. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
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