Summary of the Source
In modern society, it is common for people to use the terms anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism to mean the same thing. However, that may not necessarily be true based on various factors. Anti-Semitism is a general hatred that an individual or a section of society may have towards Jews. It may be an attack on Jews’ religious practices, economic strategies, or any other aspect of their life. On the other hand, anti-Zionism is a hatred that specifically focuses on the political activities of Israel as a nation in the Middle East, especially in the occupied territories. Kahn argues that “an attack on a synagogue is more likely to be anti-Semitic than an attack on an Israeli embassy” (1). An attack on a synagogue is a sign of hatred towards the culture of Jews and it is an expression of intolerance. However, an attack on an Israeli embassy is a political statement that expresses displeasure with the activities of the Israeli government. It is important to understand the difference between the two concepts.
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The anti-Zionists are particularly uncomfortable with the ambitious plans of Israel as a nation to establish its kingdom in Palestine. These people may not have any problems with the Israelites as a people. However, they are of the view that an attack by the Israeli government on Palestine is wrong. They are opposed to the police brutality and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (Pawlikowski 11). The anti-Semitics on the other hand are opposed to the beliefs and practices of Jews irrespective of their geographic location or socio-political and economic activities. They are of the general view that Jews are greedy, manipulative, cunnings, and self-centered. They are uncomfortable with the existence of Jews, especially in cases where they have to share socio-economic or political space. The author found out that anti-Zionism is more common than anti-Semitism in Europe and North America. More people are against territorial expansion by Israel than some hate Jews because of who they are (Shaw 186). However, sometimes anti-Zionism easily degenerates into anti-Semitism, especially in cases where a country experiences economic challenges.
Evaluation of the Source
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are two concepts that express the dissatisfaction or hatred that a section of the global society has towards Jews and their activities. Kahn notes that “while anti-Semitism has a fairly well understood meaning as speech criticizing Jews, the meanings of anti-Zionism are harder to pin down” (4). An anti-Semitism is a form of criticism against the Jews that goes beyond the political and geographic landscape. In American colleges, it is common for Jews students to be criticized by their colleagues primarily because they are Jews. Words such as Jews are greedy and unsocial are common in colleges and they express the intolerance that society has towards Jews. McQuiggan explains that most of these sentiments are based on misleading stereotypes that have no basis (2). These are people who rely on what they have read in books or heard from colleagues or family members to develop hatred towards Jews. It is a problem that affects Israelites in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and other parts of the world. Anti-Zionism is more specific and focuses on the activities of Israelites in the Middle East.
The biblical accounts and other historic documents place Israelites in the Middle East, with Jerusalem as their Capital (Burden 14). However, historical events led to their dispersal all over the world, and Palestine ended up occupying most of that territory. The anti-Zionists are opposed to the act of brutal force used by the Israeli government to claim territories that they believe are theirs based on historical facts. McQuiggan argues that most Palestinians were born and brought up in the regions they currently occupy (2). It is not their mistake that they find themselves in these territories. Therefore, it is barbaric- according to the anti-Zionists- for the Israeli government to use force to displace them and claim the territory. These people may not have any other place to call home when they are sent away from the West Bank and Gaza. According to Ter-Matevosyan, most of the anti-Zionists often feel that their sentiments against Jewish activities in the Middle East are justified (106). They cite the senseless killings of children and women in the war-torn regions by the Israeli soldiers as one of the reasons why they are against the occupation.
In the chapter Anti-Zionism is Never Anti-Semitism, the author tries to explain that anti-Semitism has been unfairly used in discrediting the Palestinian solidarity movement (Kahn 15). Failure to distinguish the two concepts (anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism) creates a scenario where anyone who criticizes Jews and the activities of the Israeli government in the West Bank and Gaza is considered anti-Semitic. The mass murder of Jews in Germany during the Second World War was a result of anti-Semitic views that had become popular in Europe at that time. It had nothing to do with the political activities of Israelites in the Middle East. It was pure hate that was based on socio-cultural and political factors in Europe at that time (Burden 18). In modern society, some people still view Jews with suspicion irrespective of the geographical location or events going on in the Middle East. Such stereotypical perception based on some historical accounts or distorted information is considered anti-Semitic. However, a section of the global society is genuinely concerned with the unfair deaths and suffering of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers. These people are not anti-Semitic. They do not hate Jews for who they are. They are specifically against the political activities of the Israeli government, and especially the unjustified murder and mass displacement of Palestinians in the occupied land.
Relationship to Other Sources
The source gives a finer detail about the issue of anti-Semitism and how it differs from anti-Zionism. It is closely related to the article Christian Anti-Semitism: Past History, Present Challenges: Reﬂections in Light of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ by Pawlikowski who also explains the problem of anti-Semitism from a religious angle (2).
Possible Use of the Source
The document will be very important in my argumentative essay because it looks at the hatred that a section of the global society has towards Jews from a new angle. The article argues that some of the hatred is justified, specifically because of the current military activities of the Israeli government that often result in death and mass displacement of Palestinians. Some of those affected are women and children. The source explains why anti-Zionism may fuel anti-Semitism in modern society.
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Burden, Thomas. “Rivers of Blood and Money: The Herero Genocide in German Southwest Africa.” The Student Researcher, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017, pp. 2-25.
Kahn, Rob. “The Overlapping of Fools: Drawing the Line between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism in the Wake of the 2014 Gaza Protests.” Legal Studies Research Paper, vol. 15. no. 11, 2015, pp. 1-29.
McQuiggan, Sean. Nazi Anti-Semitism Remembered: Jewish Memorials in the SBZ and GDR between the Years 1945–1987. Dissertation, Charles University in Prague, 2016. CUP, 2018.
Pawlikowski, John. “Christian Anti-Semitism: Past History, Present Challenges: Reﬂections in Light of Mel Gibson’s the Passion of the Christ.” Journal of Religion & Film, vol. 8, no 1, 2016, pp. 1-15.
Shaw, Martin. “Book Review: Genocide as Social Practice: Reorganizing Society under the Nazis and Argentina’s Military Juntas.” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, vol. 9, no. 3, 2016, pp. 183-187.
Ter-Matevosyan, Vahram. “Book Review: Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler.” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, 2017, pp. 106-108.