Professor Judea Pearl, the father of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, invented the word ‘Zionophobia':
Pearl blames “classical anti-Semitism” for fueling the men who killed his son, but also sees “Zionophobia,” a term he coined. Zionophobia is different from anti-Semitism, and he feels the organized Jewish community has been slow and incompetent in fighting it.
“Denying Jewish people the right for nationhood is straight racism, not anti-Semitism. Jews fight Zionophobia by labeling it anti-Semitism, which is a mistake. It is so easily deflected by saying ‘My best friends are Jewish’ or ‘I’ll go to prison to defend a Jew’s right to wear a yarmulke or eat kosher food’ but still want Israel to be abolished,” argues Pearl. — JWeekly
I have been looking for this word for some time, but I want to add to Pearl’s definition a little. In part it’s anti-Zionism and denial of Jewish nationhood, but it’s also something else:
Zionophobia is an extreme and irrational fear and hatred of the state of Israel.
- It’s the force behind the propensity of so many journalists to apply a double standard to the conduct of Israel and its army, in a way that other nations are never judged.
- It’s the force behind the apparent need to focus so closely on the Israeli-Arab conflict when far more bloody conflicts — like the recent events in Sri Lanka or the continuing saga of Darfur — receive only passing mention.
- It’s the force behind so many academic conferences, Mideast Studies departments, human rights groups, and even ‘social action’ projects which do nothing but bash Israel.
- It’s the reason that there can be groups like ‘Queers for Palestine’ when homosexuals in Gaza would be murdered if they came out.
- Its concrete realization is the United Nations, with its resolutions, committees, rapporteurs and even divisions devoted to trying to damage the Jewish state.
It is related to antisemitism but not identical to it. Golda Meir touched on it when she said that “Israel is the Jew among nations”, and most antisemites are also Zionophobes. But a Zionophobe does not have to be antisemitic.
In fact, as Pearl pointed out, it is counterproductive to ask this question: it is no less reprehensible. Zionophobia is racism, and just as white racism gave rise to the horrific phenomenon of lynching in recent American history, Zionophobia has as its aim the destruction of a nation, Israel.
For some reason, some of the worst Zionophobes are Jews: Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappé, Philip Weiss and others proudly proclaim their Zionophobia before the world. Others claim to be ‘pro-Israel’ but their public positions are in fact Zionophobic: organizations like J Street, and Jewish Voice for Peace come to mind.
There is no more reason to accept Zionophobia as a legitimate position than antisemitism or any form of racism.
It’s time for those who like to say that they are only engaging in ‘criticism of Israel’s policies’ to ask themselves if they have taken ‘criticism’ a bit far and slid into a racist extreme and irrational hatred.