Do liberals tend to dislike zionists? I'm a bit confused because I joined a liberal FB page and it said zionists would be banned. I ended up leaving obviously.
That’s an excellent question. Unfortenetely there are many ignorant people in the world who view the Israel-Palestinian Conflict from a very skewed perspective. Where on the far-right, we face anti-semitism on the far left Jews often face anti-semetism conceled within a mask of anti-Zionism.
Many of these people are not aware that a wide spectrum of political beleif exists in Israel and in the Jewish community. Intensified by racist propaganda from the Zionist/Israeli-right and anti-Israel/BDS propaganda from the far-right Muslim world, many folks on the left often do not see the complicated nature of the Conflict. For example, many “anti-Israel” groups online typically post photos of children in Syria and argue that they were taken in Gaza. They see stories posted by far-right groups (on both sides of the Conflict) and see them as fact.
I am a very proud Zionist and a liberal person. One of my major goals (and hopefully many of your goals) is to stamp at the notion that Zionists can only be extremely right wing. I am very open in social circles and online that I am a Zionist, hope and pray for peace, condemn the Occupation AND terror aimed at Israel from Palestinians and other groups, and I hope and pray for a viable and economically stable Palestinian state that recognizes the State of Israel (and visa-versa).
There are many reports going around detailing the rise in anti-semitism throughout the US, and there is absolutely no denying that, along with the general rise in xenophobia since Trump’s inauguration.
What people SHOULD pay attention to, however, is that many orgs that track anti-semitism alone frequently lump genuine anti-semitism with acts against Israel and actions against Zionism.
For example, as part of their 2013 audit, the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] included Palestinian-led protests & blogs in their list of “anti-semitic incidents”, in one case citing that a banner that read “my heroes have always killed colonizers” [a banner presented by an Indigenous American group referring to their genocide] as an example of “violent anti-semitism”. They have also included Israeli Apartheid Week demonstrations and articles critical of Israel in their audit.
If the Anti-Defamation League were truly only interested in incidents of anti-semitism, then why would they have a list on their site featuring “Top 10 Organizations Critical of Israel”?
The reason is simple - despite what they claim, they want to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism to both drive up their numbers & demonize those who advocate against Israel in ways they don’t personally approve of.
The ADL President has smeared Black Lives Matter for their joint work with Palestinians, claiming that accusing Israel of genocide was “baseless” and considering it to be anti-semitism.
The ADL frequently works against BDS activists, claiming that BDS is a “source of anti-semitism”, despite being an entirely non-violent movement dedicated to the boycotting of Israeli goods until Palestinians are free and the occupation is ended.
The ADL regularly advocates on behalf of hardline pro-Israel policies in the US & work with pro-Israel groups that have a history of demonized and attacking pro-Palestinian organizers.
ADL President views any exclusion of pro-Israelis from an event or space as an act of anti-semitism, rather than an act to ostracize those who would seek to do Palestinians harm.
The ADL president is a defender of Israeli settlements, blaming their expansion on the Palestinians who “refuse” to accept peace with Israel.
Consider that for a moment - the President of the Anti-Defamation League seems to be justifying the expansion of hardline Jewish-only settlements built on actively stolen Palestinian land and entirely off-limit to Palestinians and illegal under international law on the refusal of Palestinians to accept “peace” with the same state that continues to expand those same settlements…and he claims to be running an organization dedicated to documenting hatred against the Jewish people.
Which is entirely, and thoroughly false.
The ADL is a bogus organization that mixes lies amidst truth. If you visit their site and read their audit on anti-semitism by state, you’ll find that they have “selected incidents” for anyone to view, all of which are blatant anti-semitism featuring hate-speech, swastikas, and assaults against Jewish individuals. Note that these are “selected incidents”, while any of the incidents /not/ shown to the public readily are those featuring anti-Israel activity, from anti-Israel protests to BDS events to Palestinians defying Israelis soldiers and politicians on US campuses.
By doing this, they’re able to increase their number of “anti-semitic incidents” while simultaneously continuing Israel’s work of conflating anti-Israel activity with anti-Semitism.
I know that most of you sharing these posts detailing the rise in anti-Semitism as reported by the ADL are doing so from a position of wanting to do good, but the ADL is simple another anti-Palestinian organizations disguised as an “anti-hate” org.
What’s telling in all of this is the extent to which this letter received bipartisan support. It’s unsurprising to see the likes of Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker sign up, more notable perhaps is so called “progressive” Democrats such as Bernie Sanders also sign the letter.
Sanders during the Democratic Primaries attempted to draw some distinction with his position on Israel with Hillary Clinton’s. During the forming of the DNC platform, Sanders platform team which included Cornel West and James Zogby, attempted unsuccessfully to improve the language of the platform on Palestine.
Since the end of the election however, Sanders has done little on Palestine except for a speech at J Street and his move in endorsing a letter that essentially says the UN shouldn’t criticise Israel and that the BDS movement is anti-semitic, suggests his positioning during the Democratic Primaries was less to do with any real concern for Palestinian human rights but more as a wedge issue he could use to attack Hillary Clinton. Soft left Democrats such as Chris Murphy and Al Franken signed the letter, as did Elizabeth Warren, which extends her shameful support for Israel.
The disgraceful support that these “progressive” and “left wing” Democrats have offered Israel in signing this letter is yet another reminder that the left cannot rely wholly on their politicians to provide justice in the world. The likes of Sanders, Ellison and Warren will always be compromise candidates; preferable to the Clinton’s and Obama’s but still part of the same system that props up US Empire and protects Israel’s illegal, brutal and apartheid occupation of Palestine.
You are aware that BDS is classified as antisemitic, right?
being anti-israel is not anti-semitic. plenty of zionist and israeli state organizations (or just israel supporters generally) constantly try to blur that line because it serves their interests to be able to shut down criticism by calling it anti-semitic.
im sure there are some people involved in bds movements who are anti-semitic but i oppose their anti-semitism (as i do all anti-semitism) while also opposing the state of israel.
idk i dont feel like this is a super complicated position to take and ive spoken about it before on this blog so i hope this isnt coming as a surprise to anyone
Hi, I've been wondering about BDS. A number of people have blogged about "BDS-safe" makeup, avoiding companies that deal with Israel, even though the official website says that boycotting every company that does so isn't worth it, only some. And I know your criticisms of BDS, such as the boycott of Israelis themselves, who could often only be safe in Israel. What about comparisons to apartheid South Africa, re: boycotts? Or the idea that Israel now= other settler states in say the 19th century?
My big problem with the comparisons with South Africa as far as BDS is concerned is that while there are similarities in effect, the causes are very different.
There was no pressing reason for Europeans to be in South Africa. For the most part, they went to the country to exploit it for profit and for empire.
Israel is largely a refugee state. Most of its population is Jews who fled from anti-semitism in some form (the Holocaust, MENA expulsions, state anti-semitism in the Soviet Union and Ethiopia, etc.) They didn’t come to improve a privileged standing. They came to live with their own people where no government would enact such atrocities against them.
Now, you can point out that the Palestinians weren’t responsible for the Holocaust or the MENA expulsions or anything that happened outside of the region and you’d be correct. But at the same time, the BDS movement for South Africa was protesting a former British Colony with colonists who had a home nation to return to. That’s really not the case with the Jews in Israel who aren’t there because it was the most profitable option for them and their ancestors, but because they were unsafe living elsewhere, frequently the countries where people are now engaging in BDS practices.
This is where I get very frustrated with the popular colonial point of view. Because we have people marching, right now in favor of better treatment and admission for refugees. I agree with those sentiments. At the same time, the doors of those very same countries were closed to Jews. Israel is guaranteed to always be open for Jews. As a diaspora people who’ve experienced numerous expulsions throughout our history, this is an important point that can’t be overlooked. The British effectively closed Palestine to Jewish refugees in 1939 in response to Palestinian anti-British and anti-Jewish immigrant riots, the year World War II started in an about face from the Balfour Declaration that there would be a safe Jewish home there. Yes, that’s British colonialism, but it was also the place where hundreds of thousands of central European Jews were able to escape from Nazism from 1933-1939. The question you have to ask yourself is “with no real alternative, would I have let those Jews die in Europe rather than escape and survive in Palestine?”
When around a million Jews were expelled from countries in Africa and the Middle East, Israel took them in. I’m not going to pretend that they didn’t face racism and Ashkenazi supremacy issues in Israel or that they still don’t today, but it’s a lot better than staying in countries where Jews were being executed for Zionism regardless of whether or not they were Zionists, having their rights and property stolen, faced pogroms and worse and had to pick up and go.
The thing people fail to understand is that, unlike the English, Jews have been vilified by our own countrymen for thousands of years. We’re used to it. We expect it. Using dehumanizing tactics like Academic or Cultural BDS just feeds into that notion. The mindset here is “we’re unsurprised that you hate us, but we have our own country and we don’t need to live under your judgment anymore. You taught us that we only have each other to count on and you’re proving it right now.”
Because the Israeli mindset is so fundamentally different than the White South African mindset, different tactics would be more effective. For many Jews Israel’s existence isn’t merely a matter of “I was born and raised here and my family came here in 1887 and it’s been good to us,” it’s a matter of “they didn’t let me exist anywhere else and my parents and grandparents faced death for being Jews in another country.”
I think it’s easy for a lot of non-Palestinian gentiles to look at Jews they know in countries that have been better to Jews like the USA and think “well, they seem to be doing alright.” But it’s a different question to bring that up to an Israeli Jew whose family had to flee under desperate circumstances that they’re no different than Cecil Rhodes.
As I’ve stated before, I don’t know that it’s effective, but I can see and respect the point of economic BDS. It’s when you get into the cultural and especially the academic BDS that encourages not just economic but interpersonal disengagement, that I think the plot is really lost. Economic boycott can start a conversation, cultural and academic boycott insists on stopping one. When that happens, your voice disappears while the hardliners keep talking and the people who can be swayed only hear the people whose voices can be heard.
Again, Israelis don’t care if the world loves or hates them. They care that they can live. When your mind is trapped in existential queries, questions of protecting the rights of other people becomes a secondary concern. The message “they hate us, they want to kill us, we have to protect ourselves, we have nowhere else to go” is incredibly powerful. BDS doesn’t take away that mindset. It reinforces it.
IT’S OFFICIAL NOW. This photo was taken today (Monday). closing the West Bank “sodastream” israeli Factory, following a boycott campaign of the BDS that lead to these 74 arab employees loses their jobs. Way to go BDS. You must be very proud of yourself!
Roger Waters: Pink Floyd star on why his fellow musicians are terrified to speak out against Israel
Roger Waters: Pink Floyd star on why his fellow musicians are terrified to speak out against Israel
American musicians who support boycotting Israel over the
issue of Palestinian rights are terrified to speak out for fear their
careers will be destroyed, according to Roger Waters.
The Pink Floyd star – a prominent supporter of the boycott,
divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel since its
inception 10 years ago – said the experience of seeing himself
constantly labelled a Nazi and anti-Semite had scared people into
“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic,” Waters told The Independent,
in his first major UK interview about his commitment to Israeli
activism. “I know this because I have been accused of being a Nazi and
an anti-Semite for the past 10 years.
“My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a
voice [against Israel]. There’s me and Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Manic
Street Preachers, one or two others, but there’s nobody in the United
States where I live. I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared
“If they say something in public they will no longer have a career.
They will be destroyed. I’m hoping to encourage some of them to stop
being frightened and to stand up and be counted, because we need them.
We need them desperately in this conversation in the same way we needed
musicians to join protesters over Vietnam.”
Waters likened Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid South
Africa. “The way apartheid South Africa treated its black population,
pretending they had some kind of autonomy, was a lie,” he said.
“Just as it is a lie now that there is any possibility under the
current status quo of Palestinians achieving self-determination and
achieving, at least, a rule of law where they can live and raise their
children and start their own industries. This is an ancient, brilliant,
artistic and very humane civilisation that is being destroyed in front
of our eyes.”
A trip to Israel in 2006, where Waters had planned to play a gig in
Tel Aviv and the end of the European leg of his Dark Side of the Moon
Live tour, transformed his view of the Middle East……
Do you consider the BDS movement to be anti-Semitic? Like, I already know that there are far too many anti-Semitic people and ideas within the movement, and I assume you would feel similarly. So my question is more whether you consider the basic position of BDS itself to be anti-Semitic?
I question its efficacy, but I don’t think it’s inherently anti-semitic. That said, plenty of BDS advocates are being anti-semitic in effect if not intent.
I’m not going to pretend that the Israeli government is saintly, or hasn’t used excessive force, or hasn’t intentionally performed actions that have derailed the peace process, and doesn’t deserve criticism and reprisal for building into the occupied territories which are supposed to be part of a sovereign Palestinian state as part of a two state solution it claims to support.
If you engage in BDS focused entirely on products and institutions of the occupied territories, I think it’s pretty clear you’ve done your reasearch, understand what you are protesting, and are applying appropriate pressure where it should be applied. If you refuse to buy any Israeli products, then you start entering a slippery slope where you are potentially boycotting Israelis who don’t support the occupation, who might not be Jewish, who might actually be in favor of a single secular state. That’s troublesome.
It becomes anti-semitic when, in the case of someone like Roger Waters, you insist you AREN’T singling out Israel when you, in fact, are. It becomes anti-semitic when you buy products from major human rights abusers from other countries, but won’t buy products from Israel. Take for example Roger Waters performing in China, Istanbul, the United States and the UK during the Iraq War. There are points where the exclusion seems especially conspicuous. Then it becomes a question of “why single out the only Jewish state when Tibet is still occupied, when the Kurds are still being denied rights, being forced to abandon their ethnic identities and are being displaced by the millions, when the US and the UK are fighting illegal wars of choice that are causing enormous death and destruction to no purpose? If your argument is because American and British governments provide economic support to Israel, keep in mind the US funds moneys to all sorts of other regimes that have also committed abuses. The singling out bothers me and will continue to bother me and most justifications I hear for total boycott smack of justification after the fact.
I question the effectiveness of BDS when one considers the history of anti-semitism. Israel exists because Jews feel oppressed and excluded by gentiles. Do you expect Israel to respond to BDS with anything other than thoughts of “we are under attack from the goyim yet again?” Outside of Israel, Jews are an oppressed minority who have been singled out and scapegoated for generations. Too many gentiles don’t understand that Jews expect this kind of oppression from gentiles and don’t see it as genuine concern, but as yet another attempt to persecute us. Failure to understand the long history of anti-semitism and its role in the creation of Israel makes Jews squeamish. It feels like gentiles are focusing on Israel, the Jew among nations, the same way Europeans blamed Jews for all the problems with their own governments.
From a global perspective, the Jews and the Palestinians are BOTH oppressed people. Israeli Jews are oppressing the Palestinians to be sure, but the rest of the world needs to understand that Israel exists because of their oppression. Israeli Jews are largely refugees from the Holocaust, MENA and the Soviet Union who were oppressed, exiled and murdered by their former nations. With some justification, they see external focus on the country as just the latest incarnation of a long hatred. Their attention does not become focused on the state of Palestinians, but on the focus of a world that is and always has been harsh to the Jewish people.
So my answer is complicated, I suppose, but everything about this situation is complicated. The problem I encounter far too often is people who refuse to appreciate the complexity of the situation, looking to pick a side and get righteously engaged with it. There is far too much confirmation bias and far too little desire to work towards a solution. I’m concerned that many BDS proponents don’t understand the nature of Israeli Jews and anti-semitism.
I’d probably ask myself the following questions:
1. Do I engage in any other BDS campaigns against other countries? If not why Israel and only Israel? China is still occupying Tibet. The condition of the Native Peoples in North America is awful. Are you fighting for these causes, too? Why or why not?
2. Do I believe Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish homeland and, if I don’t, am I fighting global anti-semitism because Jews have experienced horrific oppression in the diaspora and without Israel Jews lose that guaranteed escape hatch? Jews fleeing the Holocaust were barred from immigration in many, many circumstances. What would you do to prevent that sort of problem from ever occurring again? Are you fighting for immigrant rights now? Do you support a liberal interpretation of refugee status? Because this is the world that many anti-zionists fail to consider as a consequence of their actions.
3. Have I ever read any zionist literature? Have I allowed them to make their case before I reject them? Do I understand why many Jews would choose to be Zionists, even above their other moral quandaries, because of a legitimate fear of anti-semitism passed down through the generations from survivors of genocide, expulsion, pogroms and other such horrors?
this is going to fall on deaf ears because not many people are online but the bds movment is not monolithic. an action taken by advocates of bds whether it’s removing non-israel kosher products from a store or targeting jewish individuals shouldn’t represent the entire movement. it is a problem when these things aren’t only a one-time thing but it’s unfair to paint an entire movement as anti-semitic especially when it is endorsed by palestinians in palestine and who greatly rely on it for some sort of collective action from the international community. also by doing so, you also paint those palestinian advocates of bds as ‘anti-semites’ which, like i said, is completely unfair.
Hello! I am an Israeli-Jew living in the U.S. I support and encourage legitimate criticism of the govt of Israel and its policies. I push myself to be as critical of the govt and the occupation as I would have been if I was not an Israeli-Jew. However, I'm often confronted with ppl whose criticism crosses the line into thinly veiled anti-Semitism, by comparing Israelis and Jews alike to Nazis committing genocide and ethnic cleansing. How do I combat these claims w/out belittling legit criticism?
Here’s the issue. To an anti-semitic Israel critic your voice is invalid, doubly so because you’re Israeli. Our best hope in such a context are allies who can express where the line is in language that they can understand.
Unfortunately, to the anti-semitic Israel critic, any Jewish person who calls out their anti-semitism is a “Zionist” and therefore unworthy of fair consideration. This has happened to some of the most outspoken anti-Zionist Jews I’ve seen. I think the biggest case in point of late has been the Jewish Voice for Peace vs. Alison Weir blow-up where defenders of Weir were quick to defend Weir because they valued her Pro-Palestinian activism more than they cared about how her actions were anti-semitic. JVP is one of the most vocal and consistent pro-Palestinian Jewish groups out there and is frequently called out by Jews further to the right for being self-hating or anti-semitic. So the notion that Jews who advocate for BDS and have opposed anti-anti-semitism measures at the University of California are called “Zionists” to silence their criticism of anti-semitism in the Pro-Palestine movement shows that, to some people, the issue isn’t Palestine but Jews. Or rather, they believe that to help the Palestinians, JEWS must be defeated, not Netanyahu, or the occupation, or even the State of Israel.
Now, as far as we are concerned, the best thing we can do is avoid cheapening the understanding of “anti-semitism” by not using the accusation on fair criticism. It’s not going to be much, but it’s really the only choice we have as Jews. Again, this is where genile allies who can’t be as easily accused of “bias” can really help out. Distrust of Jewish voices is a central core of anti-semitism. We are believed to be excessively powerful, manipulative and untrustworthy. Nothing we say as Jews will have an impact by virtue of that prejudice.