Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism


To blunt increasing criticism of its brutal treatment of Palestinians Israel is trying to have opposition to Zionism, the doctrine on which its brutal policies are based, made synonymous with anti-Semitism, and so declared illegal.

Zionism is a geo-political ideology dedicated to the creation of an exclusive Jewish state in the historical land of Israel, which includes, but stretches far beyond, present day Palestine* And opposition to this geopolitical ideology, is anti-Zionism

The word Semite, from Shem, one of Noah’s three sons, distinguished Jews from those of other faiths in historical times, and it’s on that claimed three and half thousand year old historical lineage that Jews today base their identity. And opposition to Semites/Jews, as a people, is anti-Semitism.

By definition, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are clearly different. Anti-Semitism is the expression of racial bigotry, while anti-Zionism is opposition to a political ideology. And knowing full well the difference, Israel’s attempt to conflate the two is a cynical attempt to stifle mounting criticism.

In fact, it is due of the great care Israel’s critics take to ensure their concerns are clearly defined in terms of anti-Zionism, and not confused with anti-Semitism, that has made them so effective, and it’s that which now causes Israel to try and obfuscate the issue.

Notwithstanding, while many in the Jewish community support Zionism there are also many Jews who oppose it, so if anti-Zionism were ever to be legally equated with Anti-Semitism, Jews could be charged with being anti themselves

Seizure of land by conquest, for settlement or for exploitation of resources, or both, is not new and still being waged in the world today, but nothing goes to the very core of so many of those conflicts as Israel’s bloody suppression of the Palestinians.

Few of the conflicts being fought today in the Middle East would be being waged were it not for the fact that Israel’s very existence is made more stable by the ceaseless, engineered, instability those countries are made to endure.

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And peace in those countries would solve so many other issues, not least anti-Muslim bigotry, the scourge of global terrorism and countless millions of refugees wandering the globe.

Zionism has been described as indistinguishable from Apartheid, a comparison amplified by Israel’s close association with and military support for South Africa during its Apartheid years, but Zionism has an even more terrible twin

The cruel irony that Zionism is nowhere more reflected than in “Lebensraum,” Nazi Germany’s claim to right of “living space” in other lands, based on its spurious claims of ethnic superiority and mythical historical entitlement, is not lost on Israelis, and so the comparison is banned in Israel.

Be that as it may, as BDS, the Boycott Sanction and Divestment campaign, increases in effectiveness, Israel is applying pressure on Governments, including our own, to declare anti-Zionism an illegal racist pejorative, and so spike the guns of those opposed to Israel’s Zionist policies.

Zionism, a criminal doctrine that views the salvation of Jews as achievable only through the decimation and destruction of the Palestinian people, and whatever else we do we must not allow Israel to stifle debate by conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

*The biblical land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael, includes Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, northern Saudi Arabia, northern Egypt and the islands of Crete and Cyprus, but that definition’s not mentioned, for now.

Malcolm Evans is one of NZs most important political cartoonists and was banned from the NZ Herald for the above Cartoon. He cartoons on TDB.


  1. All well made points Malcolm. It is getting pretty impossible for the Israeli view to be upheld now that B’tselem, the Israeli human rights organisation witb huge international credibility has equated the Zionist Israeli state with apartheid. This is huge for the international fight against the atrocious human rights abuse perpetrated by the Israeli state and IDF against Palestinians.

  2. This is one political struggle which, despite various false “settlements”, has never been resolved in my whole lifetime. Hundreds of UN Resolutions gather dust, and billions upon billions of US aid and arms are cascaded on this travesty of a state–which has its very own “Warsaw Ghetto extermination precinct”–Gaza, the shame of the Mid East.

    The hope lies in BDS, the likes of Kia Ora Gaza, and enlisting the young to keep up the solidarity fight. The lengths to which Israel will go with its online troll farms, enticing ageing rockers to play in Israel, answering the smallest concern (e.g. Lorde) in countries like NZ shows how sensitive the zionist thugs are to criticism, let alone direct action! So keep it up people, counter this latest ideological battle where ever you can.

  3. Politics being absolute, you’re welcome to your opinion. I’ve spent the last few hours writing why I disagree, but it doesn’t really matter. The troubles in the middle east won’t be setttled here.

    Reason and The Herald don’t co-exist. Though we disagree, I do not think you should have been sacked from the Herald for your cartoon. It was effective in that it immediately points in a direction, but flawed in that people don’t often stop to examine the analogy for what it isn’t, and then their trains of thought get diverted and stuck. The absolute response is what you got from The Herald. If thoughts getting stuck means a person should lose their income, then we are all fucked. The Herald especially would have to ban themselves several hundred times over, every day. These last few days there have been three stories I’ve read of people losing their jobs when they didn’t have to. It’s a goddamn fucking waste, it’s hugely damaging, and completely wrong headed.

  4. Anyone who supports Hamas or Hezbollah is an anti-Semite fascist because the charters of both organizations promote the destruction of Israel and the killing of all Jews globally.

    • Don’t over-simplify. I can see how people might support certain but not all Hamas or Hezbollah policies. Are you really so blinkered?

    • That is an untruth at several levels. Support for both those organisations may be for varied reasons that have nothing to do with killing Jews.
      Jews Kill Palestinians so where does that place them by way of your reasoning.

  5. It seems much of the brouhaha over the terms ‘antisemitism’ and ‘antisemitic’ would disappear if they were were consigned to the dustbin of history. There are equivalent generic terms in common use that are eminently appropriate – ‘racist’ and ‘racism’. Obviously, there would be an outcry if the terms that are applied to only one group of people was abolished on the basis that there should be no room for subjective exceptionalism but should that be an over-riding consideration? The advantage would be that all groups that suffer from prejudice and abuses of basic human rights would be on an equal legal and moral footing.

  6. Miko Peled … : “Israel is a racist, violent state that peddles enormous amounts of sophisticated weapons to the darkest regimes on earth. It holds thousands of political prisoners, denies people water, medical care, food, and even the basic most freedoms, simply because they are Palestinian.

    In order to shield the country from those who would expose that racism and violence, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA, created what it calls a working definition of anti-semitism. It is a new definition that exists to protect Israel from its critics.

    The question that immediately comes to mind is what was wrong with the “old” definition of anti-semitism which defined anti-semitism as racism against Jews. The answer: It was not broad enough to include Israel or Zionism. Since Israel is a major violator of international law and human rights and has been so from its inception in 1948, it needed some sort of blanket protection that would shield it and paint its crimes as protection of Jews. It also needed a tool that would allow it to attack its critics by weaponizing the term anti-semitism.

    miko peled, ‘the generals son’

  7. It is past time to turn the narrative to the very real- and deadly- antisemitism of our time; Apartheid israel’s war crimes against the Semites of Palestine are happening now; Apartheid israel is the biggest anti-Semite in our world. Anti Zionism is something human rights supporters around our world support to end Apartheid israel’s antisemitism against the persecuted Semitic Palestinians. It would be anti-Semitic not to support anti-Zionism.

  8. There the Israeli state sits and there justice sits. In my view they are not combinable. I have to be on the side of the people of the land. Laughably, that’s interpretable.

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