Zionophobia is racism

Prof. Judea PearlProfessor 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.

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4 Responses to “Zionophobia is racism”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    I agree that there is a problem with using anti- Semitism for all cases of Israel- bashing. And it would seem a new term is in order. Somehow ‘Zionophobia’ does not ‘sound’ to me. But I might be wrong about this. I also do not like the term because it too my mind anyway is too mild. After all what is involved in most cases is an active, destructive hatred of Israel. In this regard I believe another possible term, ‘anti- Israelism’ is also too mild. Perhaps someone else has a more striking and effective alternative term.

  2. Vic Rosenthal says:

    Well, ‘Zionophobia’ is clumsy and ‘phobia’ really implies fear and not necessarily hatred. I am open for suggestions.

  3. Robman says:

    Valiant effort, but I also consider the suggested term clumsy and innacurate. Two points:

    1. Criticism of Israel can indeed be accurately described as anti-Semitism, if it is holding Israel to a standard that would not be applied to any other country. This is not my definition; this is part of the official EU definition of anti-Semitism.

    2. As to the problem of Jews being among Israel’s fiercest adversaries, I deal with this rhetorically in two ways:

    a. My preferred term for such Jews is “Judenrats”, after the German shorthand for the “Jewish committees” set up in occupied Europe during WW2. These are people who, for whatever reason, are in effect collaborating with the enemies of their fellow Jews. Like the actual people who served on such committees, they may do so for a variety of reasons. They may really believe they are acting in the best interest of Jews. Alternatively, they may only be acting in a craven, small-minded manner aimed at simply “cutting a deal” for themselves in the face of what they perceive as an implacable foe. But I like the way this word comes off the tongue like “Jewish rats”, for that is what they are, cowardly “rats” who are selling us all out.

    b. It should also be remembered that the phenomenon of traitorous Jews is not limited to this issue or our ethnic group. For example, there are many Americans – concentrated in academia, it seems – who readily blame all the world’s problems on their own country. Should their criticisms, no matter how outlandish, be taken at face value or given extra weight simply because they are issued by Americans? We need to work to dispense with this knee-jerk notion that just because a Jew or Israeli is critical of Israel, this criticism should necessarily be given any more credence.

    CONVERSELY: We must also fight against the habit of our adversaries of automatically denigrating any pro-Israeli source if that source is Jewish or Israeli. If confronted with this tactic, we should respond as follows:

    -Does this mean that Jews alone among peoples are not permitted to advocate for themselves? Back in the 1960s civil rights era, did anyone respond to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr.’s descriptions of the plight of American blacks by saying that, “Well, since he’s black, we can’t take him seriously. He’s self-interested, and probably lying or exaggerating as such. Maybe if a white comes along and says the same thing, we’ll give credence to his views.”?

    -We can also simply fire back by laying a guilt trip on our opponents. Does the downgrading or dismissal of a pro-Israeli source mean that we should assume that all Jews/Israelis are liars? Are we inherently a dishonest people? Such outright bigotry!

    Finally, back to the issue of Israel-hating Jews, an observation I made in a recent communication to some friends on this subject (specifically, the matter of a recent rabbi-led “Fast for Gaza”) follows:

    The only way I can explain this is to conclude that there is a certain
    segment of Jews who simply cannot grasp the responsibilities that come with nationhood. If one is part of a nation in the fullest sense of the word,
    and one is at war, there are grim choices that have to be made if one is to
    survive. Usually, this includes making your adversaries suffer. Simply
    put, that is why they call it “war”.

    War is the very essence of “collective punishment”. We didn’t call WW2 the “Second World Collective Punishment”, but using their logic, that is what we should have done.

    Speaking of which, I wonder if these same rabbis, transported back in time to 1944, would have fasted on behalf of the Germans and Japanese who were living under our bombs, suffering immeasurably more than any Arabs anywhere ever have.

    Only a saint could achieve the level of absolute moral perfection and purity that these rabbis demand of their fellow Jews. Saints have a tendency to become martyrs. For them, perhaps it is better to suffer as a martyr than to survive as a mortal human being. It stinks that their example gives ammunition to those who would persecute all of us, so that we have to endure the consequences of their own delusions along with them.

    Really, there ought to be some kind of
    mechanism for “excommunication” among Jews.

  4. Robman says:

    I might also add that much of what the author describes as “Zionophobia” does not involve fear, or even hatred, but outright bribery.

    It is estimated that the Saudis alone have spent some $70 billion over the past quarter century or so to defame and demonize Israel, and to cover up their own role in sponsoring terrorism (mostly the former). This is undoubtedly the largest smear campaign in history.

    Billions have been spent by the Gulf Arab states on “Departments of Middle Eastern Studies” or “Chairs of Middle Eastern Studies” at univerities throughout the Western world. These donors then control who teaches in these departments, and what is taught. Money hungry universities are not about to look this particular gift horse in the mouth, so the practice has gone unchallenged, and a whole generation of college-educated Westerners has thus been brainwashed to hate Israel. Walid Phares, a noted Lebanese-born Middle Eastern scholar, has documented and described this phenomenon in detail.

    Recently, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic Monthly has revealed that Human Rights Watch, one of the largest and most respected NGOs of its kind, was caught red-handed soliciting funding from the Saudis, advertising themselves as opponents of Israel. I’m sure the same goes on at Amnesty International, and countless other organizations, news media groups, etc. Why not? It sure beats expensive mass mailings, phone solicitations, etc., that only net nickel and dime contributions from the average bleeding heart types. In the case of the media, selling shares of their outfits to the Arab sheiks and princes with an agenda is sure more cost-effective than raising cash through ads and such. It doesn’t even take up copy, and all they have to do to get it is to beat up on Israel! What a deal! It’s not even illegal! Even if found out, no one would go to jail over this.

    I’m sure what Mr. Goldberg uncovered is only the tip of the iceberg, my friends. Look for more such revelations as time goes on. There is just too much out there to hide from public scrutiny forever.

    This is war by other means, folks. We better learn to fight back.

    Blogs like this are a good start. But they are only a start.