Yesterday, the Stanford Daily published an Op-Ed with the headline, “White supremacy is anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionism is not.” Unfortunately, the authors are mistaken in the title claim of their article. Anti-Zionism is the flag under which marches much present-day hatred of Jews.
This should be obvious. Zionism’s claim is a familiar one from liberal internationalism: Every people has a right to national self-determination and independent existence as a sovereign political community, ideally in that people’s historic homeland. The historic home of the Jews, one of the world’s most ancient peoples, is the land of Israel.
Anti-Zionists claim that there should not be a Jewish state, that the Jewish People should not be sovereign and secure in their historic homeland. Let us be clear what this means. The aim of the ideology of anti-Zionism, of its advocates, allies and sympathizers, is nothing less than casting the Jewish People once again into a condition of statelessness. Anti-Zionists seek to ensure that Jews never have a status above being subordinate, vulnerable minorities in other peoples’ countries. Simply put, anti-Zionism is a reactionary ideology that is trying to turn back the clock and force Jews back into the stateless political condition in which, for century after bloody century, Jews suffered the evils of persecution, pogroms and genocide.
In short, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
The liberal education we can gain at a school like Stanford includes a knowledge of history, which provides the context for events, even in the present, and helps us recognize ancient patterns in new guises. The history of anti-Semitism shows how Jew-hatred takes on different forms in different times — always with the same goal, of making possible the destruction of Judaism and the murder of Jewish men, women and children. The term “anti-Semitism” itself was coined by the German Jew-hater Wilhelm Marr as a euphemism to make his hate seem more neutral and respectable. “Anti-Zionism” has taken on this role today.
We long for the day when the enemies of the Jewish People will abandon their murderous ways and mendacious propaganda; the world would be better for it. Unfortunately, that day has not yet come, and Jew-hatred, whether overt or covert, is still active and detectable in our time. We must recognize it for what it is and fight it wherever it comes.
— Daniel Slate ’09
Daniel Slate (Philosophy ’09) is currently a graduate student in the J.D./Ph.D. program at Stanford Law School and the Political Science department.
Contact Daniel Slate at dslate ‘at’ stanford.edu.