Video: Why anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism

It is time to set the record straight.

In this new mini-documentary from The Electronic Intifada, I explain the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

A clear and simple way to define anti-Semitism is bigotry or discrimination against Jews just for being Jews. Palestinians have always clearly spoken out against anti-Jewish bigotry.

But I break down how supporters of Zionism are trying to contort and redefine what anti-Semitism is in order to shield Israel from accountability for its crimes against Palestinians.

Nowadays, Zionists are trying to soften their image by rebranding their ideology as a feel-good personal identity which deserves to be protected and even celebrated.

But I explain how Zionism is Israel’s state ideology, predicated on the expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland solely because they are not Jewish.

Zionism was conceived by anti-Semitic European Protestants even before it was adopted by secular Jewish nationalists who aimed to establish “a rampart” of European colonialism in Southwest Asia.

At every step – to the present day – the Zionist movement could not fulfill its goals without the violent dispossession, dehumanization and subjugation of Palestinians.

To mask this reality, Israel and its lobbies are pushing hard for legislation and policies to enshrine their definition of anti-Semitism all over the world.

The main vehicle for this is the so-called IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

It overtly conflates criticism of Israel and Zionism, on the one hand, with anti-Jewish bigotry, on the other.

It is being used to silence and repress Palestine solidarity campaigners in many countries by smearing them as the racists.

But the movement in support of Palestinian rights is growing, despite political and legal pressure.

I hope this video will be a useful tool for anyone new to the issue or curious about the ways in which students, activists and anti-racist movements are fighting the smear campaigns.

Produced, directed and edited by Tala Kaddoura.

Sound design by Ahmed K.

Written by Tala Kaddoura, Nora Barrows-Friedman and Ali Abunimah.

Production assistance from Tamara Nassar and Asa Winstanley.

For further reading on these issues, here is a list of useful resources:

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It is obvious that Antisemitism is used by Zionist ideologues to put down opposition to the Zionist colonial regime, however, that does not mean that Antisemitism is not real. It is also obvious that Antisemitism has and does target Jewish people. We have been targeted in fascist countries, democratic countries and socialist countries as in the Stalinized USSR. To ignore Antisemitism is to deny it exists. And to deny that Antisemitism exists other than an expression of Anti-Zionism is to cover up that Antisemitism. The critics of Zionism who equate Zionism and the Jewish People - as the Zionist State does - are being Antisemitic. The Jewish Bund has always opposed both Antisemitism and Zionism.

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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).