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Yes – Anti-Zionism is Antisemitism

For the past week I have been really struggling with the explosion of antisemitic acts both in the United States and abroad. I know there is a contorted effort of “apologists” to defend anti-Zionist rhetoric, claiming it is separate from antisemitism, however, this is not true, no matter how hard people try to make that argument. One can certainly believe and argue against policies of the Zionist State, Israel – a JEWISH state – one can even oppose the government. That is NOT the same as advocating for the end of and destruction of Israel. As much as people try to disconnect Jews from the land of Israel, it is impossible; we are inextricably linked.

While I was going to write a more extensive blog on this critical issue, I am going to, instead, share with you a blog by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University and an internationally recognized educator, religious leader, and lecturer, who writes eloquently on this issue, and a video that Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l made on this subject. While no argument or presentation can address every nuance, or is ever complete, these two are very much on point. Please take the time to read the blog and watch the video. Please share them as well. We must be better educated on this topic, for the sake of our children, and we must not remain silent.

The focus of this blog is on the connection between anti-Zionism and antisemitism.  This in no way is intended to diminish the plight of the Palestinian people. While in many ways Israel is a progressive country at the forefront of diversity and inclusion, especially in the Middle East, I personally believe Israel must address the systemic discrimination against Israeli Arab citizens. In spite of the many catastrophic missteps Palestinian leaders have made that have prevented Palestinian statehood, I still believe the Palestinian people also deserve a place to call home, in peace, and side by side with a strong, democratic, and moral Jewish state – Israel. 

Rabbi Benjamin Blech: It’s Not About Israel; It’s about Being a Jew

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l: The Connection Between Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Judaism and Israel

Please note:  Today, May 27, 2021 is designated, ‘A Day of Action Against Antisemitism’. Please see how you can participate by clicking for more information here.

הָגֵן עָלֶיהָ בְּאֶבְרַת חַסְדֶּךָ, וּפְרֹשׂ עָלֶיהָ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ 

May Israel be shielded from harm and established as a place of peace -A Prayer For the State of Israel

2 Comments

  • Ian Schorr - May 27, 2021

    Kol HaKavod, as the political “leaders” in the USA, and elsewhere, are trying to separate the two anti-movements. We cannot oppose the actions that are harmful until we identify EXACTLY what they stand for. Our guard must be up for the nuances that keep coming and, most unfortunately, should be, but is not fought and opposed by ONE AND ONLY ONE single national organization. In unity there is strength and right now different Jewish organizations are opposing the anti-Semitic actions but ONE organization, combining the strength and finances of all the scattered Jewish social action organizations, is sorely lacking.

    VERY in line with Bret Stephens op-ed in the NYT:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/24/opinion/anti-zionism-anti-semitism.html

    I also think it is dangerous to link anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism to the welfare and rights of Palestinians to be treated properly within “Israel proper” and their rights to someplace they can call home. That process should be unlimked and have it’s own life, rather than we be held hostage to it. All that, of course, assumes that the Palestinians do not claim “from the River to the Sea,” and recognize a JEWISH STATE.

    Reply
  • Chelsea Gleis - May 27, 2021

    Thank you, Steve, for your leadership on this issue. I agree that supporting Israel does not mean denying Palestinians’ right to self-determination. What is happening in America – the conflation of our domestic social justice issues with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – is a dangerous and misguided path.

    Reply

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