Imagine a group of people who work to destroy Italy because, they claim, Italy’s origins are illegitimate. Imagine further that these people maintain that of all the countries in the world, only Italy doesn’t deserve to exist. And then imagine that these people vigorously deny that they are anti-Italian. Would you believe them?
Now substitute “Israel” for “Italy,” and you’ll understand the dishonesty and absurdity of the argument that one can be anti-Zionist—that is, against the existence of a Jewish state—but not anti-Semitic.
But that is precisely what anti-Zionists say. They argue that Israel’s existence is illegitimate. They don’t believe this of any other country in the world, no matter how bloody its origins. And then they get offended when they’re accused of being anti-Semitic.
How can they make this argument?
First, they change the topic. They say it’s unfair to charge those who merely “criticize” Israel with being anti-Semitic. But criticism of Israel is fine. Denying Israel’s right to exist isn’t. Anti-Zionism isn’t criticism of Israel. Anti-Zionism is opposition to Israel’s existence.
Zionism is the name of the movement that advocates for the return of Jews to their historic homeland. Over the past 3,000 years, there were only two independent states located in what is called Israel. Both were Jewish states, and invaders destroyed both. No Arab or Muslim or any other country ever existed in that land, which was only named Palestine by the Romans to remove all memory of the Jewish state they destroyed in the year 70.
Second, anti-Zionists claim they can’t be anti-Jewish because Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism. That’s equally false. It is the same as saying Italy has nothing to do with being Italian.
Judaism has always—always—consisted of three components: God, Torah and Israel. If Israel isn’t part of Judaism, neither is the Bible or God.
Third, anti-Zionists claim that Judaism is only a religion; therefore, Jews are only members of a religion, not a nation. But the Jews are called a “nation” more than a hundred times in the Bible. That is why there can be irreligious, secular and even atheist Jews—because Jews are not only a religion. They are also a people, or a nation. There are no atheist Christians because Christianity is only a religion.
Fourth, the anti-Zionists claim that Israel is illegitimate because it is racist. This is the fraudulent charge Israel-haters and America-haters make against two of the least racist societies in the world. Half of Israel’s Jews are not even white, and anyone, of any race or ethnicity, can become a Jew.
Plus, 1 of 5 Israelis isn’t a Jew. And these Israeli citizens, mostly Arab Muslims, have the same rights as Jewish Israelis.
As for Israel’s control of the West Bank, that has nothing to do with race. Israel doesn’t control the West Bank because Palestinians are of another race—but because Palestinians and their Arab allies tried to destroy Israel in 1967, and they lost the war. Palestinians have rejected offers to found their own state on five separate occasions since 1947. That’s the only reason they don’t have their own state. And why have they always rejected building a Palestinian state? Because they have always been more interested in destroying the Jewish state.
Finally, the anti-Zionists claim that Israel’s origins are illegitimate. Of all the world’s 200-plus countries, the only country anti-Zionists declare illegitimate is also the only Jewish one. That’s pretty much all you need to know about their motives. Why, for example, don’t they make this claim about Pakistan? In 1947, nine months before the establishment of Israel, India was partitioned into a Muslim state—Pakistan, and a Hindu state—India.
Unlike Israel, Pakistan had never existed before. Unlike Israel’s founding, which created about 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands and about 700,000 Arab refugees from what became Israel, the founding of Pakistan created about 7 million Muslim refugees from India and about 7 million Hindu refugees from Pakistan. And while the highest estimate of Arab deaths in the fighting that took place when Israel was established is 10,000, the number of deaths as a result of Pakistan’s creation is around 1 million.
So why is Israel’s legitimacy challenged while Pakistan’s isn’t? There is only one answer: Israel is the one Jewish state.
Of course, not all anti-Zionists hate all Jews. But if you seek to destroy Italy, you don’t have to hate every Italian to be anti-Italian. If you seek to destroy the one Jewish state, you don’t have to hate every Jew to be an anti-Semite.
I’m Dennis Prager.