Chapter 14: Contemporary Anti-Zionism

Previous: Chapter 13: Judeophobia ('Antisemitism') in The United States


Anti-Zionism and Holocaust Denial are the two main new expressions of contemporary Judeophobia. We study them together because they both represent an attempt to twist history through hate. We saw in last chapter a focus of anti-Zionism, namely the USSR and the New Left, which went as far as to brand Zionism as an ideological offshoot of Nazism. One of the branders was Yury Ivanov whose 1969-“Beware Zionism” was hailed by Soviet press as “the first scientific and fundamental work on this subject.” In 1983 the Soviets created the Anti-Zionist Committee, which in five years published 48,000 leaflets “denouncing Zionist crimes.”

We are aware of what has been written on whether you can be anti-Zionistic with no Judeophobic leanings. Anti-Zionism singles out the national feelings and movement of the Jews -and only of the Jews- and considers Israel -and only Israel- an illegitimate state. It proposes actions which would bring death to millions of Jews. Although from a strictly theoretical point of view you could be anti-Zionistic and not Judeophobic, in the real world the two come together.

This identity is often explicitly worded by its spokespersons. Thus, Yakov Malik, the Soviet ambassador to the UN, declared in 1973: “The Zionists have come forward with the theory of the Chosen People, an absurd ideology.” (As it is well known, the biblical concept of “Chosen People” is part of Judaism; Zionism has nothing to do with it). In his book “America - A Zionist Colony,” Saluk Dasuki wrote that “Jews, whether they have preserved their religion, or whether they have adopted other religions, are known in the United States under the collective name Zionists.” In a propaganda film of the late 1970’s, the radical Vanessa Redgrave performed a sensuous dance with a PLO machine gun. Whenever the film attacks Jews and Judaism, although the Arabic word Yahud (Jew) is used, the English subtitles read “Zionists”. In the same tone, wrote Rachid Boujedra: “The State of Israel has been permitted gradually to encroach on its neighbors, in accordance with the Old Testament precept... Herzl’s theories have emptied Palestine of its inhabitants an brought in Jews from all over the world, thus giving effect to the prophecies of Joshua.”

Martin Luther King understood the question very clearly when he declared: “They criticize Zionists but they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.” Anti-Zionism shares with Judeophobia its main characteristics (remember first lesson?). Its obsessiveness was evident in a 1979-conference on “Human Rights in the Third World” at Harvard. There were massacres in Africa, there was Libya and Idi Amin... But only one item was placed on the agenda: “the So-Called Nation of Israel’s Terrorism and Genocide.”

Indeed, during the 1970’s the Arab world became the center of Judeophobia, through the Arab Boycott, vicious caricatures in the Arab press, and avoiding (till this very day) to mention Israel in their maps. “My Homeland, Palestine - Zionism, the People’s Enemy” was published in Germany in 1975. Author Ahmed Hussein presented Zionism as the promoter of Judeophobia in order to draw the Jews away from their countries to Palestine. “The dead Jew is the best propaganda for the State of Israel.” For the Jew, it was again a no-win situation, because even when resorted to self-defense and rejected Judeophobia, he would be considered “serving Zionist interests“ and turned into a target. “Having studied the subject thoroughly, and relying on materials by writers and scholars -says Hussein- I have come to the conclusion that during WW2 not a single Jew was killed for being Jewish... Only the lie of the six million enabled the Zionists to push the establishment of the State of Israel and the financing of its development by German capital.”

The overall attack on Zionism is appalling if we consider that even progressives such as feminists and ecologists were partners of the assault, even when in their areas of interest Israel can show a much better record than the Arab world, which can not exhibit one single democracy throughout its twenty-one states. Jean Paul Sartre reacted to the hypocrisy of considering the Arab world, with its slavery and feudal states as Socialist, and Israel, with its kibbutzim and welfare state as “a lackey of imperialism.” But the Arabs were consistently presented as the oppressed Third World fighting Israel, or Western technology.

The banner of “the non-justifiability of the state of Israel” is very surprising. In fact, Israel is one of the few states whose birth was indispensable to save thousands of lives. Or as Lord George Byron summarized it his 1815-poem: “The wild dove hath her nest/ the fox his cave/ Mankind their Country/ Israel but the grave!”

Another anti-Zionist focus was the UN, where Israel was turned into “the Jew of the countries.” One-third of all UN condemnations were against Israel. Only the national movement of the Jews was labeled racist (10/11/75) and hegemonist (14/12/79). Only Israel was declared “not a peace-loving State” (5/2/82) and was on the verge of being expelled from the family of nations (it is appalling to see how the same dangers that haunted the Jews as a group during centuries, threatened Israel as a state). Only Israel was (and is) repeatedly compared to the Nazis. And sometimes the condemnations were so absurd that they remind medieval fanaticism, such as charging Israel of poisoning Arab schoolchildren (23/8/83).

International news agencies and the main media networks were central in the rewriting of the history of Zionism, presenting it as an imperialistic movement born to exploit a pacific a millenarian nation. It is seldom mentioned in the media that there never was an independent state in the Land of Israel besides the Jewish state, that Jerusalem was never a capital but for the Jews, and that until the 1940’s the very word “Palestine” and “Palestinians” was dear only to the Jews, while the Arabs stuck to the notion that they were part of Southern Syria. Even in 1977 Zoher Mossein, head of the PLO Bureau of Military Operations declared: “There is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians and Lebanese; we are all members of a single nation. Solely for political reasons are we careful to stress our identity as Palestinians, since a separate State of Palestine would be an extra weapon in Arab hands to fight Zionism with. Yes, we do call for a Palestinian State for tactical reasons. Such a State would be a new means to continuing the battle against Zionism.” But out of the dozens of stateless peoples in the world, curiously enough the Palestinians are the one which arises most solidarity, no matter the methods they use to achieve their strategy.

The media is a persevering partner in the process of rewriting history in a way that the goal of Zionism -the recovery of the Land of Israel as a haven for the Jews- is delegitimized as a colonial movement, a tool in the hands of empires to uproot a pacific nation from its land. Not only the main news networks and news agencies, such as Reuters, the London BBC, but even well respected publications like “National Geographic” in its 1992 issue on “The Palestinians” traced their ancestry 5,000 years to a pre-Israelite “Palestine” (a word coined by the Romans in the 2nd century). Wide documentation of this subtle phenomenon of “stealing Jewish history” can be found in the 1993-book “Eye on the Media” by David Bar-Illan.

Gustavo Perednik


Gustavo Perednik


These pages are adapted by the kind permission of Dr. Gustavo Perednik.They are based on a twelve-lecture Internet course prepared for "The Jewish University in Cyberspace." During 2000 and 2001, the book by Gustavo Perednik "Judeophobia" was published in Spanish. This course summarizes the core ideas ofthe book. It presents a comprehensive and unique analysis of the development of Jew hate (Judeophobia or antisemitism) throughout history. It tries to answer the question "why the Jews?" - why have Jews been particularly singled out for ethnic, racial and religious persecution, and it traces the relationship between anti-Zionism and racist Judeophobia or so-called antisemitism.

The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism is grateful to Dr. Perednik for his permission to popularize his works.