Ten reasons why anti-Zionists are antisemites

The Zionist is the new “marrano.”

An anti-Israel protest in London in June 2021. Credit: Loredana Sangiuliano/Shutterstock.
An anti-Israel protest in London in June 2021. Credit: Loredana Sangiuliano/Shutterstock.
Jarrod Tanny
Jarrod Tanny

(1) Before 1948, anti-Zionists rejected an independent Jewish state as the best approach to solving the Jewish question, but they nevertheless understood that Zionism was a movement for Jewish national self-determination. Since 1948, anti-Zionists have grossly mischaracterized Zionism, branding it as an example of European imperialism; supremacist, racist and genocidal by definition; and necessarily linked to oppression worldwide.

(2) Before 1948, Jews were not subjected to litmus tests over their views on Zionism. Since 1948, they have been, first in the Soviet Union, then in most of the Arab world and now among the illiberal academic and activist left. The Jews today must either hide their Zionism or publicly renounce Israel. Otherwise, Jews will be shamed and excluded from numerous public spaces. The Zionist is the new marrano.

(3) Much as white supremacists insist that Jews are exercising power from the shadows to replace white people with minorities, the intersectionalist left insists that Zionists work from the shadows to keep white supremacists in power and minorities oppressed. In both instances, Jews are charged with perniciously exerting control through proxies. This is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

(4) Anti-Zionism today is premised on traditional fears of Jewish power and dual loyalty, antisemitic tropes that emerged during the Enlightenment and culminated in the Holocaust and Stalin’s campaign against “rootless cosmopolitans.”

(5) The imagery and rhetoric deployed by anti-Zionists is virtually identical to those used by traditional antisemites. It is no accident that “Jewish supremacy” is now a term favored by anti-Zionists.

(6) BDS entails boycotting 50% of the world’s Jews, which means discrimination against a collective of millions of individuals simply because of where they happen to have been born and their ethno-national lineage. This is racism.

(7) The Jews are the only nation whose self-determination is being denied and negated decades after self-determination was achieved and long after the U.N. recognized Israel’s independence. No other nation has to justify its right to exist as a state on a daily basis.

(8) The Jewish people are the only ethno-national community that boasts a significant number of activist members who are working to undo the community’s right to self-determination. They do so because non-Jewish activists have vilified Zionism as imperialist, racist and genocidal. Thus, non-Jews continue their millennia-old tradition of claiming the right to define what is acceptable and what is unacceptable Jewish behavior. Jewish “social justice” advocates have accepted this, even though they have granted every other minority the right to define its own oppression and shape its own destiny.

(9) Most countries in the world do reprehensible things from time to time. But the anti-Zionist left believes the Jewish state is uniquely reprehensible. This is a double standard and double standards constitute bigotry.

(10) The preceding nine points indicate that the world continues to see the Jew as a pariah, which has been the norm in Western Christendom for over 1,500 years, even though the ostensible reasons have changed. The “othering” of the Jews predates the demonization of any other minority community and is a global phenomenon. Much as Christianity defined itself in opposition to the Christ-killing Jew, much as Nazism defined itself in opposition to the degenerate conspiratorial Jewish race, the social justice left portrays Zionism as a transnational ideology that impedes the realization of a just world. Thus, the Jewish state and its supporters preclude the liberation of humanity.

Yes, these ten examples lack nuance. This is precisely the point, because like all antisemites, anti-Zionists reject nuance through double standards, stereotypes and demonization. Searching for nuance among racists legitimizes racism.

Jarrod Tanny is an Associate Professor and Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History in the Department of History, University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is the author of City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia’s Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa. He is also the founder of the Jewish Studies Zionist Network.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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