Feb. 15, 2019
- It Is Anti-Semitic to Oppose Israel’s Right to Exist – Rob Berg
Israel should be challenged and scrutinized in the same way as any other country. Yet other countries, no matter how they came into being or how they behave, do not have their legitimacy or right to exist questioned or their outright destruction called for. Anti-Zionism should not be conflated with mere criticism of Israeli policy. Anti-Zionism rejects the very idea of a Jewish state.
Zionism is the belief in the right to self-determination of the Jewish people (a right guaranteed to them by international law) in their historical and spiritual homeland, Israel. It acknowledges the Jewish people as indigenous to the land and Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, although all citizens, including Israel’s 20% Arab population, have equal civil rights. For most Jews, Zionism is core to their identity.
Had a Jewish homeland been set up anywhere else, for example in Uganda, then the accusation of colonialism would have legitimacy. But in the Land of Israel, where Jewish people are the Tangata Whenua – a Maori term that means “people of the land” – accusations of colonialism are made to delegitimize the Jewish presence in their ancestral homeland.
Anti-Zionism has become the new form of anti-Semitism. The state of the Jews has become the Jew of the states. Yet Zionism is not just an idea but a reality whose elimination would mean 6.5 million Jews facing the prospect of ethnic cleansing and a return to homelessness. The writer is president of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand and the Jewish National Fund NZ. (New Zealand Herald)