MYTH: Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.


To mask their antisemitism, many people claim they only hate “Zionists,” “Israelis,” “colonists,” or “settlers,” not Jews, but these are only euphemisms.

Opposition to the Jewish state has become a socially acceptable way to express anti-Jewish attitudes.  As British author Howard Jacobson observed, “Israel has become the pretext [for antisemitism]…All the unsayable things, all the things they know they can’t say about Jews in a post-Holocaust liberal society, they can say again now.  Israel has desacralized the subject. It’s a space in which everything is allowed again” (Ben Judah And Josh Glancy, “The Jewish Jane Austen, or England’s Jeremiah?” Tablet, February 25, 2015).

The European Union issued a statement in 2022 that said, “Antisemitic hatred has no place in our world, and it makes no difference if it is disguised as anti-Zionism or whether it comes from far-right or far-left extremists or from Islamist and other religious fundamentalists.  We Europeans cannot – and will not stay indifferent in the face of increasing antisemitism (Ariel Kahana, “EU condemns antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism,” Israel Hayom, April 27, 2022).

        When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.

 —Martin Luther King in Seymour Martin Lipset.

 “The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews, and Israel,”
 Encounter, (December 1969)

“Not all Jews are Zionists, just as not all Jews observe the Sabbath or adhere to kosher dietary rules,” explains Alyza Lewin, president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

“However, just as it is antisemitic to attack, harass or discriminate against Jews on the basis of their Sabbath or kashrut observance, so, too, is it antisemitic to attack, harass or marginalize Jews who advocate, express, or support the Zionist part of their Jewish identity” (Alyza Lewin, “The executive order that defines and combats antisemitism without stifling speech,” JNS, December 18, 2019).


Published at Myths & Facts. Jewish Virtual Library

Check Also

The War on Zionism – and the West

“Zionist is the code word. Jew is the actual word.”   Diana Fersko, Tablet, November …

One comment

  1. Zionism is much more than a component of an individual’s Jewish identity. It is a fundamental part of the Jewish faith itself. That some Jews choose to ignore the centrality of Israel, as they may ignore the Sabbath or kashrut, does not reduce Israel to merely a chosen identity for the majority.

Please use your full name & a working email address, which is not published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.