Anti-Semitism – Zionist myth v truth and reality

Any discussion of anti-Semitism should also take note of the words of Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, he wrote: “I believe it was a damaging error on Menachem Begin’s part to insinuate that criticism of Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.” In the same book Harkabi gave this warning:

“Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”

From the early 1980′s when those words were written, Israel’s “misconduct” has been the prime cause in the rise of what Zionism presents as anti-Semitism but which is actually anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism. Today the biggest danger to the Jews of the world is, as Harkabi warned, that anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism will be transformed into anti-Semitism, with the consequence at some point of another great turning against Jews.

My own view is that such a catastrophe will happen unless the citizens of the mainly Gentile Western world among whom most Jews live are made aware of the difference between Judaism and Zionism. As I have previously written and never tire of repeating, knowledge of this difference is the key to understanding two things.

One is why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (opposed to Zionism’s still on-going colonial enterprise) without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic.

The other is why it is wrong to blame all Jews everywhere for the crimes of the hardest core Zionist few in Israel.

In my analysis, the day when citizens of the Western world understand those two things and what anti-Semitism is and is not, is the day that will mark the beginning of the end of Zionism’s freedom and ability to impose its will on the Palestinians, the whole of the Arab world and the governments of the major Western powers, and to remain above and beyond international law.

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12 comments on this post.
  1. Nicholas Downey:

    Thank you Alan for your always useful articles. Just to add my two cents to this latest piece: I am not a Jew, but not only some of my best friends are, in fact most of them are, and I would say that all of them would agree with me that the actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinians have been abhorent, and are not proud to be associated with Israel for its behavior. I, for one can easily recognize the difference between anti-semitism and anti-zionism, and I most assuredly don’t subscribe to the former.

    Nicholas Downey

  2. Fakhri:

    Dear Alan,
    Having repeatedly outlined that after what anti-zionist
    outrage many people,including Jews,feel about what
    bandit Zionists in Israel are doing to the Palestinians
    and their property and land has nothing to do with
    historical anti-semitism, in many articles of yours,
    no sensible Westerner or other should anymore have
    a grain of doubt which is which.
    The “misconduct” Harkabi talks about is an embellishment
    of what colonial Zionists are doing in Palestine:daily
    dispossessing Jerusalemites of their homes and throwing
    them in the streets; daily gobbling vast lands in the
    occupied West Bank;kicking and beating women and children
    demonstrating the Hate Wall;uprooting that blessed olive
    tree-hundreds of that-and desecrating places of worship.
    All such deeds will not stand Zionists high in any
    civilized person’s eyes-except in like fascist’s eyes.

  3. Ronald Douglas Kennedy:

    When called Anti Semitic. My favorite reply to this ignorant statement is. “I have Jewish & Palestinian friends, they are both the children of SHEM.” Please don’t fall for the Zionist Big Lie and deny the true heritage of the Palestinians as Semitic, they are also the children of Shem.”

    Ronald D Kennedy, California USA.

  4. Vera Gottlieb:

    It should be noted that not all people of Jewish faith are “Semites”. Perhaps a more appropriate term might be “anti Jewish” or, with the present situation, “anti Israel”. The entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. converted to Judaism…that did not make him a Semite.

  5. Eddie:

    Always enjoy Mr Hart’s writings…. full of insights…

  6. Steve Meikle:

    I for one now flatly refuse the label anti semite should they try it on me for criticizing Israel’s crimes: in fact their resort to this piece of name calling is proof of the bankruptcy of their case. After all is name calling all they have got? In using this kind of name calling they have told the whole world that they have no rational response, that the case against them is irrefutable. Is that their intention?

    I think it is useful to remember that if criticizing the nation of Israel makes one anti semitic then the Old Testament prophets are anti semitic also. My case against Israel rests on the Law of Moses, where the inhabitants of the Land were commanded not to vex or oppress the stranger among them, for they too were strangers in egypt (Exodus chapter 22 verse 21)

  7. Bruce:

    When called Anti Semitic. My favorite reply to this ignorant statement is. “I have Jewish & Palestinian friends, they are both the children of SHEM.” Please don’t fall for the Zionist Big Lie and deny the true heritage of the Palestinians as Semitic, they are also the children of Shem.”

    Ronald D Kennedy, California USA.

  8. Billy Jack Douthwright:

    As I’ve been able to just begin to understand, and any can please correct me on this point, if leaving the political & state associations to the spiritual dimensions of Judaism aside to focus on the specifics of ethnicity as concerns ethnic heritage for peoples who can rightfully claim to being named Jewish, ethnic Jews{from Judah} have only ever been a relatively tiny group of Israelites, and Israelites in turn have only ever been a relatively small group of Semites-Semitic peoples or tribes?

    I think then, that it would be most helpful for a researcher/writer of your experience & empirical stature to provide us with a distilled statement, something like sound-bite or very very short article, explaining who this group is who you understand to be the tiny group of ‘Jews’ who established ‘Zionism’ in 1897? I do now suspect, or even expect, this to obviate the fraud which lies at the core of the claim to the ethnic identity of the modern day state of Israel?

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