The fight against antisemitism must begin by campaigning against racism and nationalism.
By Sivan Tal | Mondoweiss | May 28, 2020
Because Zionism is seen as the ‘new Judaism,’ opposition to it is labeled the ‘new antisemitism’ – and a new expression was born…
The Likud election campaign for the 23rd Knesset claimed that the Blue and White party aims to form a government supported by the Joint List, and this led Benny Gantz to declare that he “will set up a government with a Jewish majority” that will not depend on Arab parties. Yair Lapid continued in a similar vein, arguing that “we are just a few mandates away from forming a coalition of a Jewish majority.” The term “a Jewish majority” is used by those centrist politicians to refer to a coalition consisting solely of Jewish parties. Later, after being criticized by the entire political spectrum, they both regretted the use of the term “Jewish majority.” Lapid refined the claim by stating “We need a majority of Zionist parties that believe in a Jewish and democratic state,” meaning that “we are by no means racists, we are simply Zionists who believe the state must be Jewish (and of course – democratic).”
Why is the coupling of religion and nationality so important for Zionist Jews? Is Judaism a religion, or a race, or a people? Either way, once the state is by definition Jewish, any criticism of the Jewish state is viewed as criticism of Jews for being Jewish, and such critics are immediately called antisemitic. In this article, I characterize Judaism as it is perceived and shaped by the Zionist ideology, specify the differences between the concepts of Judaism and Zionism, and present the concepts of racism and antisemitism in light of these distinctions.