Mar. 12, 2019
Ilhan Omar and her defenders have a point about anti-Zionism—a very small point.
The House voted last week to condemn anti-Semitism and a long list of other hatreds—but not anti-Zionism. Rep. Ilhan Omar and her defenders insist anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. They have a point, but a far weaker one than they think. Anti-Zionism is a form of hatred against Jews.
The ideology of “anti-Semitism” was created in 1879 by German pamphleteer Wilhelm Marr. He put a modern, Darwinian gloss on ancient anti-Semitic myths by positing that Jews were innately inferior because of racial characteristics handed down through generations.
Well-meaning activists often say that even though Hitler was defeated, anti-Semitism was not. But in this narrow sense, anti-Semitism was largely defeated. Hardly anyone makes a “scientific” case for Jewish inferiority anymore. But Jew-hatred, like a virus, survives by adapting to changing conditions. Today’s version focuses on a new “evil,” as Ms. Omar calls it. The French diplomat Daniel Bernard might have put it most concisely when he said in 2001: “All the current troubles in the world are because of that s—y little country, Israel.”