The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Jewish, Israeli & Zionist Are Three Different Things

There are few people I despise more than those who conflate being anti-zionist with being anti-semitic.

Anyone who does this is a write off to me. Worthy of no respect; moral or intellectual. I only hope they are being paid well to be both evil and intellectually dishonest.

“We are going to emigrate to Palestine until we are the majority, then use force to steal Palestinian homes” is not defensible in any terms except “the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must.”

And no one who is Jewish should want to live in such a world.

Some Jews are Zionists, but not all Jews are Zionists. This is fairly basic.

One can be against the Zionist project and not be against the Jewish people. It is evil of Israel to wrap themselves in Jewishness, and push their crimes onto people who had nothing to do with them.

Some Jews are Zionists, but not all Jews are Zionists. This is fairly basic. One can be against the Zionist project and not be against the Jewish people. It is evil of Israel to wrap themselves in Jewishness, and push their crimes onto people who had nothing to do with them.

In the long run, the crimes of Israel, because Israelis wrap them in “Jewishness” do more damage to Jews than perhaps even to Palestinians.

Being Jewish and being Israeli and being Zionist are three different things.

Conflating them is wrong.

There isn’t much of a real opposition left in Israel; of people who genuinely oppose stealing other people’s homes. But they exist. That’s why being Israeli /= being Zionist.

Being Zionist means believing you have a right to take other people’s homes. Being Israeli is citizenship

This is similar to the fact that both Russia and the US have done a lot of evil shit, but that doesn’t mean all Russians or Americans are evil, just the ones who support doing evil shit.

Likewise, there were Germans who opposed the Nazis. They were not evil. They were good.

You don’t get to choose if you’re German, or Jewish, or American, or Russian. You do get to choose whether you’re a Nazi, a Zionist, a Neocon or a Stalinist.

You get to decide whether you support doing evil or oppose it.

Apartheid is evil. Are you for it, or against it?

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  1. NR

    You also don’t have to be Jewish or Israeli to be Zionist. There are a lot of American Christian conservatives who support Zionism, for example.

  2. DMC

    The best anti-Zionist argument I’ve heard so far comes from the Haredim, who are the original, pre 1945 Jewish inhabitants of Palestine: A Jew is forbidden to murder and a Jew is forbidden to steal. If they do not live as Jews, if they do not act as Jews, why call them Jews?” This is an argument for a functional definition of Jewishness. Jews who would be Zionists are dismissed as heretics at best and apostates at worst. And if the whole basis for Israeli legitimacy is the Torah, then we must logically restrict citizenship to those who conform to the standards therein. Note that the Haredim do not recognize the existence of the Israeli state, refer to Israeli security forces as “the Gestapo”, and support the Palestinian cause.

  3. StewartM

    What NR said. Moreover, it’s possible (Christian Nationalists in the US) to support Zionism while being anti-Semitic.

    The supreme irony here is that the goals of Zionists echo the goals of Hitler. The “preferred” and “inferior” peoples are just different. My former college landlady (herself enough Cherokee to look it) said that she thought that the Zionists treated the Palestinians the same way, and “just want them to disappear” so they can take their land.

    Moreover, the methods of warfare between the two groups and the way they were publicized was similar: the Palestinians (or Native Americans) would launch a small-scale attack that might kill a handful of people. Yet this was an ‘atrocity’ as it was done by fighters not wearing the proper apparel. Meanwhile the Israelis (or US cavalry) then launches an attack that kills many thousands of people, women and children included, and this is “militarily proper” as all the soldiers are properly attired. It’s been calculated that for the Palestinians to kill as enough Israelis to catch up with the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces would take 4 MILLION YEARS at the current rate. That too fits with the US vs Native American wars.

  4. Willy

    Nobody more Jewish than these fine dancers:

    Yet the Haredi are notorious for their anti-Zionism. I’m suspecting that Zionism might be something which was astroturfed and marketed-popularized by power players who care little about the Jewish religion.

  5. Feral Finster

    The New Hotness is that, because Israel is the only Jewish state in the world, being opposed to Israel means that one can somehow only be an antisemitism.


    Besides begging the question whether the Satmar Hassidim (who believe Israel literally to be satanic and who will not set foot there) are closet antisemites, when they’re not busy being the largest Hassidic sect in the world, this also leads one to ask , if Nazi Germany was the only German polity out there, opposition to Nazi Germany meant that one must somehow hate Germans.

    Wilhelm Furtwängler would like a word. So, for that matter, would Ernst Jűnger.

  6. Jim Harmon

    And you’re a write-off to me. No longer will I waste one second of my time on your site.

  7. Ian Welsh

    Thank you Jim. I appreciate that.

  8. willyrobinson

    Dear Ian,

    There are few people I despair of more than seemingly smart folks who conflate being anti-zionist with having a coherent intellectual world view. Anyone who does this would be a write off to me, but there are so many of them.

    Zionism is Israeli nationalism. Anyone born anywhere in the world will be coloured by their own nationalism, it’s part of the human condition. Anyone who thinks they’re not probably also thinks they speak without an accent.

    All nationalisms have an ugly side, and Israeli nationalism is particularly ugly, but the King Canute idea of being somehow ‘against it’ is idiotic – as would being against Israeli jealousy or against Israeli euphoria. You should accept nationalism as a human condition and not an intellectual choice. (Obviously, any individual living within a society is responsible for the choices they make, despite any baggage that society may have)

    To deny somebody else’s nationalism is viciously imperialistic, and the most common reaction is for them to double down. Obviously. As you yourself probably would. So it’s both idiotic and unhelpful to do so.

  9. Ian Welsh

    Zionism is the movement that says Jews should go make a homeland somewhere, and push out the people already there, stealing their homes.

  10. willyrobinson

    I could say that Unionism is the movement that says Protestants should go make a homeland somewhere, and push out the people already there, stealing their homes (if I thought reductive and trite statements like that were useful).

    But to be somehow anti-Unionist to me would be batshit crazy – it’s their nationalism, their condition. Anyone who is or was actively home-stealing though, I would hold them to account, just like this and previous Israeli administrations should be held to account for their actions.

    Can you see the difference? Crimes are crimes, nationalism is something else. You want to make a though-crime out of it, but you of all people should be wise enough to see that’s never a good choice.

  11. StewartM


    I could say that Unionism is the movement that says Protestants should go make a homeland somewhere

    Why don’t we just say that one’s “homeland” is where one lives, and be done with it? Why is there a need to surround oneself with others of the same stripe?

    Particularly (and it was you who lumped Protestants and Jews together) why would any religion be the basis of a state? Isn’t it the genius of the Enlightenment that separated religion from governance that pointed out basing a state on religious affiliation is a very bad idea?

    (This is a something that I’ve tripped up many American defenders of Zionism, over, asking “if Israel is a Jewish nation would you be then okay with Christians who want to make America a ‘Christian nation'”?—because almost always, they can see the problem with the US being a ‘Christian nation’, but cannot admit that a ‘Jewish nation’ is an equally horrid idea).

    Mind you, other ways of dividing up humankind as the basis of governance–‘race’, language, etc.–are just about as bad. So why can’t we all be just citizens of the place where we live? Many Zionists would likely agree that the sentiment of racist whites that African-Americans should ‘just go back to Africa’ would be horrid. But in fact there was an African-American movement, headed by Marcus Garvey, in the early part of the 20th century that agreed with white supremacists that African-Americans *should* move as a body back to Africa.

    Moreover, to drive the point really home, a common talking point of anti-Semites at the same time is that Jews should likewise ‘return to some homeland’–various places were mentioned, not just Palestine, but also Madagascar. In fact, Hitler himself advocated this:

    So why are those who oppose Zionism “anti-Semites” while those who embrace the actual proposals that the Jews just ‘go somewhere far away from here’ and accept a Nazi proposal not anti-semites? Seems to me that the anti-Semites are the ones who want the Jews to leave to some faraway place, while the true friends of those of the Jewish faith are the ones who say that “the Jews are our fellow citizens, and we should make sure they are well-treated in the countries of their birth”.

  12. willyrobinson


    I have never conflated anti-zionism with anti-semitism, I’m just saying it’s bone stupid to try to intellectually oppose somebody else’s lizard-brain identity thing. Not to mention counterproductive, unhelpful and frankly arrogant.

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