Andria Spindel

Is This a New Anti-Zionism?

A new Anti-Zionism has taken root. This is more insidious and harder to combat; it has names like JSpace, New Israel Fund and Canadian Friends of Peace Now, despite such organizations branding themselves as “Progressive Zionists.”

Let there be no mistake, established anti-Zionism continues its multi-faceted march against the Jewish people, under banners like Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, the goal of which is the eradication of the Jewish state. Its founder has made that abundantly clear, so it can’t be mistaken as a quiet and peaceful resistance movement. It is entirely resisting the very existence of Israel, and not quietly.

As fraudulent and dangerous as all the anti-Israel organizations are, we have the tools  to identify and combat them. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which has now been adopted by over 1100 major organizations including over 30 countries, is the internationally accepted definition against which one can compare the rhetoric of the anti-Zionists. That they masquerade as merely opposing Israel does not hide their antisemitism. They demonstrate with their double standard, demonization and denigration of the Jewish state that their message is antisemitic. Jew hatred wrapped in civil rights language is still Jew hatred, and now it is coming from Jews.

While the ideological war against Israel is constant, ongoing and very real, the new anti-Zionists demonstrate little respect for Israel’s vibrant democracy with their self-righteous attitude of superiority towards the majority of the Israeli electorate whom they deem “right wing,” and now, in street protests in Western cities, ally themselves with some of Israel’s worst detractors.

With the latest outstanding verbal attacks on Israel and protest vigils in Canadian cities, it is Israel’s verifiable democracy that is being slandered by Jewish Leftist, and anti-Zionist NGOs, including some rabbis, and this is beyond the pale. Calling the duly elected Israeli government a threat to democracy and staging large protests is what is the real threat. The Left/Liberal opposition and its diaspora supporters seem to be furious that they lost the election which translates to loss of power. They are energizing antisemitism by using words like “calamitous,” “fraudulent,” “criminal,” and “extremist.”

The Demonization of Israeli Democracy

A new Israeli government in this thriving democracy, having received a rounding victory by a majority of Israelis, has taken office and begun to act on its promises. This includes: a platform of changes to the judiciary, improvements in security, changes in the Right of Return Law, which was last altered in 1970, punishment for terrorism, and other initiatives.

However Jews in the diaspora feel about the proposed changes, the expression of which is also their right, the fact remains that the citizens of the State voted and their choice must be respected, and the new government must be allowed to take steps to address what the majority expects. There is no reason to assume that the rights of any minority group will be anything less than fully respected and enforced, as has been made abundantly clear by Prime Minister Netanyahu. There will be challenges but also consultations, there will be action on pledges and compromises. Protesting the very election results because one’s favourite party lost is ludicrous in the extreme, and potentially dangerous in its impact as it fuels the antisemitism that is already aflame about us.

Those who are unapologetic Zionists must be wary of any Jewish organizations or media outlets that are employing the language of our enemies to describe Israel, making false uninformed claims, and demonizing the only democracy in the Middle East. Anyone who describes the new Israeli government as “corrupt” or “fascist” or “criminal” has knowingly or unknowingly crossed over into anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

The protests and platitudes of these anti-Israel radical Leftists are now scorching the earth of Israel’s democracy. Their public criticism and extraordinary disregard for Israelis’ choice, will remain long after this and subsequent governments are in power. Such divisiveness is unwarranted, especially when Israel is experiencing rising acts of terrorism at home and more demonizing by the agencies and entities within the United Nations. The protesters are delivering a blow to Jewish pride and peoplehood and providing ammo for the weapons of her detractors.

Asserting their ‘Truth’ vs. knowing the facts!

The controversial proposals are still subject to the full extent of the Knesset’s review and to various committees and other checks and balances of a vibrant democracy.

The Knesset itself offers English resources and there is an extensive Israeli consular service that is available to speak to the government’s proposals. Already the Minister for Diaspora Affairs has been in the US to assure the Jewish communities in America that there is nothing sinister about any of the referenced changes and all will be done with due regard to the Law, and respect for all citizens.

Seeing through Israel-can-do-no-right ‘Zionists’

When Jews are killed in Jerusalem for no other crime than they were praying in a synagogue during Shabbat, when Hamas releases videos of kidnapped IDF soldiers, do anti-Netanyahu Jews organize mass rallies that show solidarity with the Jewish state? Or do they spend their time marching with those carrying PLO flags and focusing all their attention on their claim of Israeli mistakes?

Each government of Israel makes vital decisions on issues affecting everything from quality of life in Israel, to security and defense, to international diplomacy.

To get at the truth, Jews and non Jews need examine their sources for information, expand their sources, and listen to government representatives and not just the defeated opposition.

Taking a stand

So how can you help rout this latest malignant form of anti-Zionism?

  • For every Israeli policy you think you disagree with, check it out in detail and do not merely accept the negativity that emanates from non-neutral sources.
  • Double-down on your fight against BDS and all other forms of Jew-hatred. Anyone who speaks more about Israeli faults and flaws than about the harm caused to the region by Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority, and by threats from Iranian terrorism is no friend of the Jewish state.
  • Learn for yourself about the rights of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Learn about the valiant number of precautions the IDF takes to protect innocent civilians whenever it undertakes a raid to stop imminent terrorist attacks, which in themselves saves lives. Learn as well the many ways Israel is a leader in civil rights and democracy.
  • Learn historical and legal facts that support Israel’s indigenous rights to the land; Israel is NOT an occupier. “West Bank” is not a legal name for any area; but the imposed name by the illegal occupier Jordan which attempted to erase Jewish history from 1949-67. Learn to reference the accurate name of Judea and Samaria, or use the descriptor, the “disputed territory”.
  • Celebrate Israel at every opportunity. Declare your own Zionism, loud and proud at every opportunity. Champion Israel’s accomplishments, its successes, and the many ways it contributes to a better world.

If the same people who complain to you about Israel aren’t listening, then they are not proud Jews.

The Choice is clear: Israeli democracy is under threat from delegitimizers. Will you come to its defense?

About the Author
Andria held the position of President and CEO of March of Dimes Canada, one of Canada's largest charitable organizations for over 38 years. She retired at the end of 2018 and in 2019 became Executive Director of CAEF, a volunteer position. In the former role, she was instrumental in advancing human rights and accessibility legislation and programs for people with disabilities. CAEF, a charitable NGO, was incorporated in 2004 and has been alerting the Jewish community to rising antisemitism over these many years. CAEF offers information about all aspects of antisemitism, especially that masquerading as antiZionism. CAEF works on and building alliances with Jewish and non Jewish organizations, expanding internationally through webinars, newsletters and special projects, as well as powering End Jew Hatred Canada, the Jewish civil rights movement.