and its many voices
Re “Is anti-Zionism hate?” (Judea Pearl), Opinion, March 15
As an American Jew raised in a large, loving Zionist family, I have seen the blindness that allows otherwise ethical people to champion a state that has stolen another people’s homeland, a state in which non-Jews are despised, third-class semi-citizens.
Judea Pearl’s essay reflects the Zionist rationalization for 61 years of colonial aggression: Because the Jewish faith was born in Palestine, the Jews apparently had a right, after 2,000 years, to claim the Palestinian homeland as their own and send its terrorized population fleeing into refugee camps.
Zionism does not deserve the support of any American who is committed to justice and democracy.
Pearl’s comparing of French or Spanish collectives with Israel is flawed. Do the ancient Celts living in central Europe thousands of years ago have the right to come back and establish a country there now?
And citing a “relentless drive for peace” is even more ridiculous. Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s program is to stall and evade any peace talks.
Pearl writes that “the vital tissues of Jewish identity today feed on Jewish history and its natural derivatives -- the state of Israel, its struggle for survival, its cultural and scientific achievements and its relentless drive for peace.”
Actually, the vital tissues of my Jewish identity feed on bagels and lox.
After attending the Near Eastern Studies Symposium on the bombing of Gaza, which Pearl discusses in his Sunday essay, I wrote the organizer to say that the symposium had made me proud of UCLA. All of the panelists were against Israel’s attack, but indignation and outrage formed no part of their presentation. Instead, they analyzed events, put them in historical perspective and evaluated their impact on the future relations of Israel with Palestinians, Arab Israelis and the rest of the world.
I heard no chants of “Zionism is fascism.” Far from being a “hate-fest,” the program educated.
Several weeks later, I heard the consul general of Israel speak at the UCLA Law School. Both events were marked by the seriousness of the audiences and the quality of their questions. They were exactly what one hopes from university gatherings.
The writer is a professor of history emeritus at UCLA.
These two opinion articles addressed anti-Semitism as separate from anti-Zionism. Pearl finds the latter more dangerous than the former. Ehrenreich suggests that anti-Zionism is nothing more than legitimate criticism of Israel.
The Anti-Defamation League views anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism -- and certainly one of its most pernicious.
We agree with Ehrenreich that there is a place for legitimate criticism of Israel. The anti-Zionist movement, as it has become today, seeks to delegitimize Israel as a nation and singles out Jews alone as a people who are not entitled to a homeland.
This position has been co-opted as a front for those who want to blame Jews for the perceived wrongdoings of Israel. It is not mere criticism of Israel but a movement to displace Jews from their internationally recognized homeland.
And it is just the beginning. As we saw during the recent Gaza conflict, there were numerous incidents of people allegedly protesting Israel and Zionism who wound up assaulting Jews and vandalizing Jewish institutions.
Don’t be fooled by the term. Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, and both are dangerous.
The writer is director of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League.