Christian Zionism – part 3
More on Antisemitism
In my previous two posts I provided material on the subject of Zionism, Christian Zionism and the charge of Antisemitism.
In my first post I shared material that provided evidence and highlighted the fact that most of Jewish religious Judaism groups are apposed to the establishment of the State of Israel – as a sovereign Jewish State/homeland.
In the second post I shared material pertaining to Christian Zionism and the tremendous following Israel has from this Christian support base – both financiaal and moral. I show in this post the erroneous teaching from the Christian pulpits that has led to this support.
If you have not read these two previous posts then I would encourage you to do so in order for you to gain the broad understanding and implications of this predicament. Here are the links:
In this post I will provide additional content to illustrate how the charge of Antisemitism has eveolved into somewhat of a ‘witch hunt’ and now pursues anyone who even challenges the secular deeds of the political State of Israel in any manner whatsoever.
As mentioned in my previous posts, my interest is solely from the perspective of Biblical Truth. I have no interest in worldly politics from a secular viewpoint.I am however extremely interested in Biblical Prophecy and the signs of the times in which we now live.
I look forward with a desperate hope for the soon return of our Messiah Yahushua – first to receive his bride and therafter to set up his Kingdom here on this earth.
I am neither herein commenting on the Jewish people’s rights to have their own homeland or the legality of the current State of Israel and it’s political affairs. My views on such matters are personal and fall outside the scope of the content and objectives of this article. This commentary is purely focused on Biblical exegesis.
My grave concern with regards to the State of Israel is how many tens of millions of Christain believers are decieved into believing that the establishment and the affairs of the State of Israel and/or it’s city Jerusalem is the fullfimnet of Bible Prophecy. The New Testament is clear on who and what the temple is today for believers and what the ‘New Jerusalem’ is according to the book of Revelation – i.e. the bride.
The parables and illustrations used in the Old Testament were mainly shadows of greater things to come through the Messaih, who came to fulfil the Law and the Prophets of Old – Matthew 5:17.
Why are Christians falling prey to this deception from the Christain Zionist movement and FOZ – Freinds of Zion?
Our correct interpretation and understanding of the New Testament message pertaining to Isreal and Jerusalem should however not lead to any anger or aggressive critisism on our part towards the Jewish people – as a whole or individual Jews. This would be Antisemitism. The fact that there are a small number of individuals with unfounded Zionist political aspirations, those who hide behind a Jewish identity, should not motivate one to rise up against any other single or group of Jewish people in anger or resentment.
A New Testament believer should be humble and understand that we are the wild olive that has been grafted into the root and the new shoot – Y’shua. The old branches were broken off because of unbelief – Romans 11: 15 – 24
As I have said before, the Jewish people do not acknowledge the New Testament message and therefore only view Israel/Jerusalem and the temple from an Old Testament perspective. But we should know better and not follow their interpretation and deeds whcih contradict the New Testament revelation.
I beleive that most of the Jewish people will be converted to beleievers in the Messaih in a very short space of time when the ‘Two Witnesses’ reveal the True Gospel message at the coming day of Yom Teruah. For two thousand years now the Christain church has provided a Gospel message and New Testament messaage that is completely foreign to any informed religious Jew. The mainstream Christain message is a perverted message and appears as such to the Jews.
Listen to the critique of ‘Jews for Judaism’ – specifically Rabbi Michael Skobac and another Jewish Rabbi – Tovia Singer. These are learned men. To them the Christain message, rather the Christain interpretation of the New Testament, is complete nonsense. Unfortunately I have to share their view. Christainity has misrepresented the Truth of the New Testament for 2000 years. Read my section entitled ‘Holy Cow‘ for some of the reasons why I say this.
Dear Christians, it really is time to wake up.
Let us also not follow the Jewish ways which lack New Testament guidance and understanding. Let us also stop critisising the Jewish people for their lack of understanding and let us shine the light of Truth.
Without the Messiah there is no way to the Father:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The Jewish people don’t know this though because they dont read the New Testament.
They don’t know that we are the ‘temple’ – both individually and as a body.
They don’t know that a select body of believers. the ‘overcomers’, will be the ‘New Jerusalem’.
They don’t know that Israel was a name given to Jacob through submission to the Almighty and that this serves as a pattern for the New Testament ‘Israel’.
But we, as New Testament believers should know.
Old things are passed away – all things are become new:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
What does the following verse from the book of 1 john have to say about those who deny that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah?
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:22
And who are these who deny that Jesus is the Christ?
Wake up Zionist Christians. Wake up.
I provided evidence through my previous posts how political Zionsim is rooted in Christainity and not Judaism. The history of Zionism goes back to England and the Plymouth brethren. Theodor Herzl was clearly attracted to the opportunities contained within this Christain belief and became one of the founders of modern polical Zionsim.
One would probably ask what the thought process was behind this Christain Zionist teaching. It should be clear that these Christains understood certain end time Bible prophecy fulfilment being the Jewish people returning to ther land. This interpretation assumed that this would then usher in the return of ‘Jesus’. The present Christian Zionist views are the same. In fact they believe that the supposed ‘prophetic’ events regarding Israel’s establishmnet and the imminent building of a third temple are all end time prophectic events. Tens of billions of dollars are poured into Israel from the Church around the world as aid to support and expedite this claimed prophetic fulfilment. They see these events as ‘signs’ of the end times and the second coming of Messiah. But these are false, non-biblical signs.
These Christains, anxious to witness ‘signs’, are putting their hope in deception.
And what does our Messiah reveal regarding those who want a sign:
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.
Has the Church become a wicked and adulterous generation – deperately looking for a sign which is non-biblical?
I have included another article written by Rev. Dr, Stephen Sizer on Antisemitism which describes his personal experince. He is a leading voice speaking out against Christian Zionsim with full Biblical support. He is a prime example of what happens to those who proclaim the Truth. One can begin to understand how the ‘Two witnesses’ of Revelation will be killed for their testimony – Revelation 11:7
The New Antisemitism
BY Rev. Dr Stephen Sizer
Ten years ago, in September 2008, an anonymous ‘Mordechai Maverick’ sent a defamatory message about me to everyone in our church Facebook group. The message drew attention to a new but anonymous blog called Seismic Shock (intended apparently to sound like my name), which described me as a “dangerous anti- Semite” and promised to publish articles to expose me. The anonymous author(s) then began to write articles about me on a weekly basis, sometimes daily. These were subsequently re-posted on other websites such as Rosh Pina Projectand Harry’s Place. In a one year period September 2008-to July 2009 well over one hundred articles about me were published on the Seismic Shockwebsite.
Surrey police took an interest and provided me and my family with additional security. On 29th November 2009, I received a report from West Yorkshire Police to advise that they had identified and visited an individual and asked him to desist writing defamatory material about me and remove from his website material of that nature. I was asked to contact them if I became aware of further articles by the same individual “causing you harassment”. Despite the fact that at the time I did not know the name of the author, he subsequently went public and then accused me of using the police to suppress free speech on the internet.
On 30thJune 2011, he wrote to each of my staff, drawing their attention to three defamatory videos about me on YouTube. He stated,
“I am concerned about the way your church is being used to form ties with extremists. I will be making a formal complaint to the Bishop of Guildford, but I want to alert your church leadership to these facts beforehand. I am keenly aware of how the Incumbent reacts to lay criticism.”
On the 4thJuly 2011, on Harry’s Place, a comment was left for ‘Mordechai’: “I understand that you are compiling a dossier on one of Saleh’s supporters, the Rev Sizer, to submit to the church authorities. Bishop Christopher of Guildford has written me to say that he will take action if proof of anti-Semitic views, whether in written form or verifiable spoken form, can be sustained.”
In October 2012, Jonathan Arkush, on behalf of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, made a formal complaint to my Bishop, alleging “a clear and consistent pattern” of misconduct “unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders” Their complaint alleged that I had made “antisemitic statements”; that I was an “avid reader and publicizer of websites that are openly and virulently antisemitic”; of “trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material” to add to my website; of regularly publishing links on my website “to antisemitic websites, thereby re-publishing their anti-Semitism” in order to introduce readers to “racist and antisemitic websites.”
To maximize the embarrassment, the complaint was published on their website the same day it was delivered to my Bishop, so that I and many others were aware of it before he was. A year later in October 2013, the complaint was resolved by conciliation.I believe this was due in part to the robust support I received from several Jewish academics and rabbis, from leading politicians and several Anglican Bishops who spoke in my defence and challenged the allegations.Although the Board of Deputies withdrew their complaint on this occasion, the criticisms continued and eventually led to my early retirement, but that is another story.
Being accused of antisemitism is not something I would wish on anyone. It is painful and when such allegations are publicised, it is acutely embarrassing as well as distressing to family and friends.
This is a rather long introduction to explain why I have had a longstanding personal interest in how antisemitism is defined, and in particular, how the definition is now being broadened, conflating hatred of Jewish people with criticism of Israel. This has not gone unchallenged and has led to sharp divisions within the Jewish community.Antony Lerman, for example, asks,
“How is it that so many people who care deeply and genuinely about the problem of antisemitism find themselves on the opposite sides of a barricade fighting what sometimes seems like a war to the death? How many of us who have got caught up in these often bitter battles have hoped for some way of finding a common language through which we could discuss our differences?”
Dr Bryan Klug at St Benet’s, Oxford, defines antisemitism as ‘a form of hostility towards Jews as Jews, in which Jews are perceived as something other than what they are’The Community Security Trust (CST) defines antisemitism as “hatred, bigotry, prejudice or discrimination against Jews.”
The word “Antisemitism” came into use in the late nineteenth century to describe pseudo-scientific racial discrimination against Jews. Now, it generally describes all forms of discrimination, prejudice or hostility towards Jews throughout history; and has been called “the Longest Hatred”.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, recently accepted by the British government, reads:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The IHRA acknowledge that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” However, following the IHRA definition, examples of how the definition may be applied include “but are not limited to”,
– “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
– Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
– Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”
Lerman traces the historical development of the ‘new antisemitism’ and draws out how the new definition differs from traditional descriptions. He cites Irwin Cotler, Canadian professor of law and former minister of justice in the 2003-2006 Liberal government, as saying,
“In a word, classical anti-Semitism is the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the rights of Jews to live as equal members of whatever society they inhabit. The new anti-Semitism involves the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations, with Israel as the targeted ‘collective Jew among the nations’.”
Leading lawyers have described the new IHRA definition as having a “chilling effect” on free speech. Hugh Tomlinson QC was asked to give legal opinion on the impact the new definition could have on freedom of expression and assembly, by Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), Free Speech on Israel (FSOI) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).
Tomlinson stressed that the definition is not legally binding and public bodies are under no obligation to adopt it. Indeed, those that do so must take care in applying it or risk,
“unlawfully restricting legitimate expressions of political opinion in violation of statutory duties to ensure freedom of expression and assembly…”
Tomlinson further argues, “Properly understood in its own terms the IHRA Definition does not mean that activities such as describing Israel as a state enacting a policy of apartheid, as practising settler colonialism or calling for policies of boycott divestment or sanctions against Israel can properly be characterized as antisemitic. A public authority which sought to apply the IHRA Definition to prohibit or sanction such activities would be acting unlawfully.”
Tomlinson insisted that the new definition could “not be used to judge criticism of Israel to be antisemitic, unless the criticism actually expresses hatred towards Jews.” Criticism of Israel for its actions is clearly not synonymous with criticism of Israel for being Jewish. Designating Israel as a Jewish state is also problematic, not just for two million Israeli Palestinians, but also the five million Palestinians living under military occupation in the Palestinian Territories.
Anti-Zionism and antisemitism
Jewish activists have been among the most vociferous in voicing opposition to the new definition.Ben White cites several anti-Zionist Jewish campaigners.
“For Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a group with more than 200,000 online members and 60 chapters across the US, “equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism obscures the long history of Jewish anti-Zionism and diasporism.” According to the UK-based group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, fusing “Jewishness/Israel/Zionism” enables antisemitism to become “a weapon for imposing conformity on dissidents within the Jewish community.”
Chicago-based Rabbi Brant Rosen has described how “growing numbers of Jews” identify as anti-Zionists for “legitimate ideological reasons”, motivated “by values of equality and human rights for all human beings.” His words chime with those of a former President of Edinburgh University’s Jewish Society, who recently wrote of “the growing frustration felt by many millennial Jews about the default positioning that support for Israel receives amongst Jewish civil society organisations.”
But what about the claim that, since Zionism is simply Jewish self-determination, anti-Zionism is anti-Jewish bigotry? This is also misguided; put simply, “self-determination does not equate to statehood.” As legal scholar Michael Kearney has explained, self-determination is “less understood these days as a right to one’s own exclusive state, and more as a right to non-discrimination and to democratic participation in society.”
Israel’s supporters, however, are deliberately conflating terms such as ‘homeland’, ‘home’, ‘state’, and ‘self-determination’. The concept of a Jewish homeland is one thing; the creation and maintenance of a ‘Jewish state’, in Palestine, at the expense of its non-Jewish inhabitants, is another. The right to self-determination is never a right to colonisation, whoever is doing it.
Finally, to maintain that anti-Zionism is antisemitism is to deny the historical and contemporary reality of the Palestinians’ experience, and to dehumanise them as a people. For the Palestinians, Zionism has meant violent displacement, colonisation, and discrimination – are they ‘antisemitic’ for refusing to cheer their own dispossession? By extension, as orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor Charles H. Manekinput it recently, labelling Palestine solidarity activists as antisemitic is to imply that “the Palestinians have little justified claim to sympathy.”
Antisemitism objective and subjective
Frances Webber, of the Institute for Race Relations, raises a more fundamental concern that antisemitism is now being seen as not just about racist actions but also about prejudicial attitudes. In effect, he argues, the IHRA definition operates within the realm of ‘thought policing’.
“… what particularly concerns us here is the way that the definition of anti-Semitism is moving from deed to thought, from the objective to the subjective, from action to attitude.
The IRR has always maintained that it was important to distinguish between prejudices – the subjective – and the acting out of those prejudices – the objective – in discriminatory acts, physical attacks, government edicts etc. Penalising people for racist feelings or attitudes leads to thought-policing, whereas racist acts are measurable and therefore prosecutable before the law if needs be. And there are specific laws relating to incitement to race hatred, the committing of racially-motivated crimes, discrimination in provision of goods and services whether direct or indirect.
But, recently, emanating in part from cultural/identity studies in academia, a kind of victimology, a subjectivism is creeping into policy. Anything that is said or might be said that upsets people, gives hurt, merely makes them uncomfortable, is becoming equated with outright discrimination and liable for a prohibitive ban.”
Referring to the IHRA definition adopted by the Conservative government, Webber emphasizes that causing offence is not synonymous with racism.
“The conceptual flaw underlying Pickles’ definition is to equate racism with anything that gives offence. For while racism is offensive, not everything which gives offence is per se racist. Objections to cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist or paedophile are made not on grounds of their offensiveness – although they undoubtedly are – but on the grounds of the use of crude racist images to depict a religious minority as quintessentially evil. Although it might cause offence to some, it is no more inherently racist to attack Israel’s policies than it is to demand that ‘Rhodes must fall’ or to denounce US or British imperialism or these states’ complicity in torture. So Pickles’ definition not only appears to make an exception of Israel but also to close down on freedom of speech and of expression when it comes to defining what it is permissible to say about a particular country.”
What then is wrong with the new definition of antisemitism? Essentially, critics argue that it,
“conflates anti-Zionism with antisemitism, defines legitimate criticism of Israel too narrowly and demonization too broadly, trivializes the meaning of antisemitism, and exploits antisemitism in order to silence political debate.”
Blaming Jews and exacerbating antisemitism
Kamel Hawwash believes broadening the definition of what constitutes antisemitism to include criticism of Israel to be misguided and indeed, does “a disservice to the Jewish community in this country.”
“… once criticism of Israel is linked to hatred of Jews in the UK, a line was crossed which implicitly makes the Jewish community somehow responsible for the actions of a foreign state.”
Lerman goes further, arguing that perversely, the new definition actually provokes antisemitism.
“The de-coupling of the understanding of antisemitism from traditional antisemitic tropes, which thereby made criticism of Israel in and of itself antisemitic, necessarily made the opposite – support for Israel – into a touchstone for expressing sympathy with Jews. This opened the door to the phenomenon of Jewish support for far right, anti-Islam, anti-immigrant parties keen to whitewash their pasts and sanitise their anti-Muslim prejudice by expressing support for Israel and seeing the country and its Jews as the front line against Islam’s ‘incursion into Europe’.
It is not surprising, therefore, that acceptance of the ‘new antisemitism’ theory has contributed to the exacerbation of tensions between Muslims and Jews in the UK (and elsewhere in Europe). There is, however, mutual pre-existing misunderstanding and mistrust, while negative images of Jews unrelated to the Israel-Palestine conflict are common among some Muslims.”
The children’s story of Chicken Little who thought the sky was falling in when a leaf fell on her tail is pertinent.By broadening or diluting the definition of antisemitism, people may become complacent or immune to genuine antisemitism and not repudiate it as they should.
Klug argues, “When anti-Semitism is everywhere, it is nowhere. And when every anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite, we no longer know how to recognize the real thing—the concept of anti-Semitism loses its significance.”
Lerman adds, “Given the misery and murder that antisemitism has caused over the centuries,” … “one might expect pro-Israel groups to be more circumspect before using it indiscriminately as a political tool.” … “not everything that offends Jewish sensibilities is antisemitism”, and by labelling BDS as antisemitic, Israel advocates “are draining the word of any meaning.”
Ben White concludes, “This politicised redefining of antisemitism should worry us all: it dehumanises Palestinians and delegitimises solidarity, imperils the fight against real antisemitism, and constitutes a much broader attackon our democracy and political freedoms.”
Antisemitism and the UK Labour Party
In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have been criticised for failing to address antisemitism within the party. Pro-Israeli lobbyists know that a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn will introduce major changes to British foreign policy. Assuming Labour had a sufficient majority, Jeremy Corbyn’s government would likely recognise the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders, (like most of the rest of the world), and also might introduce sanctions against Israel as well as companies profiting from the occupation.
White cites Richard Kuper, spokesperson of Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), as saying, “there is clearly also a co-ordinated, willed and malign campaign to exaggerate the nature and extent of antisemitism as a stick to beat the Labour party”
He also observes, “The Labour Party has more than 400 MPs and peers at Westminster, in addition to almost 7,000 local government officials and some 390,000 members. The antisemitism ‘crisis’ has involved half a dozen individuals, most of whom have either never held, or no longer hold elected office. Corbyn himself has repeatedly condemned antisemitism since becoming leader, while according to Party General Secretary Iain McNicol, everyone reported for antisemitism has been suspended or excluded.”
Challenging both antisemitism and Zionism
Hawwash has called upon the British government to reject the IHRA definition of antisemitism for the following reasons:
“Our message to British politicians is this:as long as Israel continues to occupy Palestine, to oppress and murder, to lay siege to two million people, to steal our land and resources, to restrict our movement, to refuse to allow the refugees to return, to attack our religious sites, to illegally settle our land and to leave our people with no hope of freedom, dignity or independence, we and our supporters will continue to speak out, to educate and to demand that the British government changes its shameful, but deliberate policies which place trade with Israel above human rights.We will not allow Zionists who support a state that does all of the above to silence us under the disguise of the “new anti-Semitism” but we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Jews in their fight against the real anti-Semitism that some still undoubtedly face.”
It is lamentably true that in the past, church leaders have indeed tolerated antisemitism and incited racist attacks on Jewish people. Racism is without excuse. Antisemitism must be repudiated unequivocally.However, anti-Zionism is not synonymous with antisemitism. Judaism is a religious faith. Israel is a largely secular and multi-ethnic nation state. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. Indeed most Zionists are Christiansand many Jews are anti-Zionist.
This is why it is imperative to repudiate antisemitism, to defend Israel’s right to exist, within internationally recognised borders, while at the same time campaign equally for the civil, religious and political rights of Palestinians to be respected. This is surely the best way to bring an end to the evil of antisemitism.
“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”(Micah 6:8)
Update 30 August 2018
The Palestinian Return Centre has obtained an Opinion from Geoffrey Robertson QC on the interpretation and impact on free speech, of the British Government’s acceptance in 2016 of an extended definition of anti-Semitism promulgated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
 Antony Lerman, Defamation v Anti-Defamation, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2010/jan/14/dissenting-new-antisemism-film
 Antony Lerman, The ‘new antisemitism’, https://www.opendemocracy.net/mirrorracisms/antony-lerman/new-antisemitism
 Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Legal opinion finds major faults with government antisemitism definitionhttps://www.palestinecampaign.org/legal-opinion-finds-major-faults-government-antisemitism-definition
 Ben White, Shifty antisemitism wars, https://benwhite.org.uk/2016/04/22/shifty-antisemitism-wars
 Frances Webber, Anti-semitism – thought or deed? http://www.irr.org.uk/news/anti-semitism-thought-or-deed/
 Kamel Hawwash, Redefining anti-Semitism will not silence Palestinian’s struggle for justice, http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/balfour-anti-semitism-1450743096
 Lerman, op. cit.,
 Lerman, cited in Ben White, op. cit.,
 White, op. cit.,
 White, op. cit.,
 White, op. cit.,
 Hawwash, op. cit.,
 For a critique of Christian Zionism see Stephen Sizer, Zion’s Christian Soldiers: The Bible, Israel and the Church, Intervarsity Press, 2007. http://www.stephensizer.com/books/zions-christian-soldiers/
 See On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice: Jewish Voice for Peace, Haymarket Books, 2017.
original post : https://stephensizer.com/2018/05/the-new-antisemitism/
Criticizing Israel Isn’t Anti-Semitic. Here’s what it is.
Pro-Israel politicians don’t speak for young Jews like me. They shouldn’t pretend to.
written by Sarah Gertler – the Newman Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Weeks ago, when the first accusations of anti-semitism were being leveled against Representative Ilhan Omar, I was deeply agitated.
Not long ago I saw her address these accusations at a local town hall. She reminded the world that, as a Black Muslim woman in America, she knows what hate looks like — and spends her life laboring against it. Her words were clear, bold, and unflinching.
When members of Congress not only continued to gang up and falsely smear Omar as anti-semitic, but even created a House Resolution painting her words as hateful, I wasn’t just agitated. I was absolutely disgusted.
Omar has criticized the U.S. government’s support for Israeli actions that break international law. And she’s spoken out against the role money in politics plays in shoring up that support.
Neither is anti-semitic.
What is anti-semitic is the cacophony of mainstream media and politicians saying that criticizing U.S. policy toward the state of Israel is the same as attacking Jewish people.
Like most American Jewish youth, I grew up knowing Israel. During holidays, I sang prayers about Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. In Hebrew school, I learned about the country’s culture, its cities, its past prime ministers. At my Jewish summer camp, we started every day with the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah.
My image of Israel was a rosy one. When I finally visited it in college, I was spellbound by the lush landscapes and sparkling cities, certain I would one day move to this golden ancestral home myself.
All this emotional buildup made it all the more sickening when, in the years that followed, I learned the realities of the Israeli occupation.
The modern state of Israel was established by Zionists — a nationalist movement started by European Jews with the aim of creating a “Jewish state” as a refuge for persecuted Jews.
It’s true that Jews have faced centuries of brutal persecution in Europe. But the Zionists’ project shared unmistakably European colonialist roots.
In 1948, Israel’s war of independence led to the Nakba, an invasion driving 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. These Palestinians were never allowed to return, creating a massive refugee population that today numbers over 7 million.
While I was able to travel freely up and down Israel, the Palestinians who once lived there are legally barred from returning. While I wandered the marketplaces trying stews and shawarmas, Palestinians in Gaza can’t afford even the gas to cook their foodbecause of the Israeli blockade.
Zionism didn’t create an inclusive Jewish refuge either. In fact, the diverse Mizrahi — or Arab — Jewish population that was already thriving in Palestine was pushed out of Israeli society as Ashkenazi — or European — Jews became the elite class.
What it did create is an imperialist stronghold that continues to break international law by building settlements deeper and deeper into Palestinian territory, giving Jewish Israelis superior legal status to Arab Israelis and Palestinians, and attacking all who protest.
Since Israel’s origin, the U.S. has supplied tens of billions of dollars of military aid and ardent political support. Congress consistently ignores dozens of UN resolutions condemning Israeli abuses, and year after year gives it more resources to violently oppress impoverished Palestinians.
Pro-Israel lobbying groups’ considerable political influence has even pushed Congress to consider bills punishing Americans who support Palestinian rights. (Around half of all states already have such laws.)
More broadly, they rely on villainizing critics with false claims of antisemitism — especially when the criticism comes from a person of color, as we’ve seen with Angela Davis, Marc Lamont Hill, and Michelle Alexander before Rep. Omar.
I, along with an increasing number of young American Jews, want to discuss U.S. support of Israel. Talking foreign policy is not anti-semitism.
What is anti-semitic — always — is saying that all Jews support violence and imperialism.
Anti-Semitism or Antisemitism
What’s in a hyphen? Why writing anti-Semitism with a dash distorts its meaning
Regularly spelled with a hyphen in American English but without in academia, some experts claim the punctuation mark slashes the word’s potency
In April of 2015, Microsoft received an unusual memo. Crafted on behalf of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a group of scholars issued a “Memo on Spelling of Antisemitism,” urging a change to the mammoth hi-tech company’s auto-correct spelling policy. Until then, a hyphen had been perfunctorily added between “anti” and “Semitism” in the word commonly used for hatred and prejudice against Jews.
Far from being an innocuous debate over semantics, the IHRA claimed that a hyphened “anti-Semitism” gave credence to discredited Nazi racial theories, wherein humanity was divided into superior and inferior subcategories. Additionally, claimed the scholars, a hyphen dilutes and distorts the term’s meaning by implying that groups other than Jews are included within the supposed “Semites” being opposed.
Case in point is a 2015 speech given by consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader: “[Supporters of Israel] know how to accuse people of anti-Semitism if any issue on Israel is criticized, even though the worst anti-Semitism in the world today is against Arabs and Arab-Americans,” he said.
Addressing a gathering of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the five-time presidential nominee’s remarks focused heavily on Jews and Israel.
According to Nader, a longtime critic of the Jewish state, “The Semitic race is Arabs and Jews and Jews do not own the phrase anti-Semitism.” For this and other remarks, Nader was accused of “linguistically hijacking” the term anti-Semitism by some critics.
Like the word “Aryan,” the term “Semitism” is based on a mythical conglomeration of languages and race, as opposed to science. “Semites” were people who spoke one of several related languages, all of whom traced their roots to the Bible’s Shem, Noah’s son.
The term “antisemitism,” coined in 1879, was not a reference to groups of people who spoke similar Levant-based languages. Rather, as “invented” by German journalist Wilhelm Marr, “antisemitism” was intended to give an air of modernity and science to old-fashioned Jew-hatred.
After its inception in Germany, antisemitism — without a hyphen — spread across the continent. The term was never hyphenated in German, Spanish, or French. In English, however, the term has come to appear with a hyphen in most popular usages, outside of Europe.
For the IHRA, the addition of a hyphen to antisemitism is problematic in part because the group sees the hyphen as a “[legitimization] of a form of pseudo-scientific racial classification that was thoroughly discredited by association with Nazi ideology.”
According to the alliance, adding a hyphen also “divides the term, stripping it from its meaning of opposition and hatred toward Jews. Antisemitism should be read as a unified term so that the meaning of the generic term for modern Jew-hatred is clear.
“At a time of increased violence and rhetoric aimed towards Jews, it is urgent that there is clarity and no room for confusion or obfuscation when dealing with antisemitism,” stated the alliance.
‘Overreaction to Arab claims’
Since 2015, governments around the world have adopted the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, and Microsoft no longer “forces” a hyphen into the term. However, most English-language media outlets and writers outside of academia — including this one — continue to employ a hyphenated anti-Semitism.
Unlike those in the ivory tower, in the assessment of some Jewish communal practitioners, now is not the time for a semantic debate. When questioned by The Times of Israel, very few experts expressed concern about anti-Semitism continuing to be spelled with a hyphen among the general public.
Ken Jacobson, the Anti-Defamation League’s deputy national director, believes the conversation is “intellectually dueling and largely divorced from reality.”
In Jacobson’s assessment, the debate is “is an overreaction to Arab claims that they can’t be anti-Semites because they are a Semitic people,” he said.
Calling the term anti-Semitism “archaic and strange,” Jacobson noted that “it took the shock of Russian pogroms and the Holocaust to bring the term into everyday usage,” as he told The Times of Israel.
Because the term anti-Semitism has been spelled with a hyphen “millions of times in every vehicle possible,” said Jacobson, “changing it will not enhance anyone’s understanding and could even undermine a word that aptly conveys the power of this evil.” said Jacobson.
For Rob Leikind, head of Boston’s American Jewish Committee chapter, “There are good arguments with which to contend that the spelling ‘antisemitism’ more accurately depicts anti-Jewish hostility or prejudice than the spelling ‘anti-Semitism.’”
However, said Leikind, “‘anti-Semitism’ is the common way to spell the word, some extremists excepted. Nearly everyone understands that this word references Jews alone, and changing to ‘antisemitism’ would accomplish little beyond causing additional confusion.”
Clarity is also on the mind of journalist Cnaan Liphshiz, a Netherlands-based reporter for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“In my professional capacity I use whatever the style guide requires. Personally, I find the debate too persnickety to feel strongly about one way or another,” said Liphshiz, who regularly writes about anti-Semitism in Europe.
“However, I’m inclined to use the non-hyphenated variant because that’s how it’s spelled in virtually all the European languages that I monitor for my reporting,” said Liphshiz.
‘Embedded in our collective consciousness’
Among experts questioned by The Times of Israel, several made cases for the importance of “antisemitism,” as opposed to “anti-Semitism.”
“The term anti-Semitism (as you apparently spell it) is meaningless, because there is no Semitism one can be ‘anti’ to,” wrote Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer in an email to The Times of Israel.
According to Bauer, “There are Semitic languages, including for instance Tigrean in Ethiopia, and the term hardly refers to antipathy towards the Tigre. You cannot be anti-Semitic just as you cannot be anti-Indo-European,” said Bauer.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, head of the AMCHA Initiative focused on campus anti-Semitism, wrote that “Anti-anything — with a hyphen — describes a state of being opposed to a particular policy, idea or thing at a particular time.”
However, added Rossman-Benjamin, anti-Semitism goes beyond “opposition” to Jews, and involves “a profound and irrational hatred of them, a phenomenon embedded in our collective consciousness that has existed longer than any other form of hatred. Anti-Semitism — with the hyphen — does not seem to me to capture this understanding of the word,” she said.
According to Rossman-Benjamin, a hyphen-less antisemitism “is also the recognized spelling among scholars of antisemitism and the one we use in all of our scholarly work. The confusion arises because anti-Semitism — with the hyphen — has become the accepted spelling in most dictionaries and spell-checkers.”
Despite her case for ditching the hyphen, Rossman-Benjamin was pragmatic about the likelihood of “anti-Semitism” disappearing from popular use.
“The approach we take is to use antisemitism in the vast majority of our work, including scholarly articles, research, reports and presentations,” said Rossman-Benjamin. “However, when writing for news outlets we have no problem including the hyphen to be consistent with the preferred spelling of reporters, editors and fact-checkers, and it saves us much back-and-forth on corrections.”
Another organization with a focus on combating Judeophobia on campus is StandWithUs, which provides activists with strategies and materials about — for example — how to defend Israel against the BDS movement.
According to StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein, her organization has always used a hyphenated anti-Semitism.
“As incidents of anti-Semitism across the US and other countries have escalated, and the conversation should address both the incidents and the immediate need for solutions, we don’t want to distract people from the importance of the conversation by throwing a new spelling at them,” said Rothstein.
Echoing that sentiment was Alvin H. Rosenfeld, director of Indiana University’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.
“Will spelling the word in an unhyphenated way as “antisemite” and not “anti-Semite” correct its misuse? Probably not for those who willfully misuse it, but for others, it may clarify that no one ever beat or cursed a Jew because he hated ‘Semitism,’ but only because he hated Jews,” wrote Rosenfeld.
I urge all who read here to please watch the following video
Christian Zionism: The Antichrists’ Rewrite of History- The Scofield Bible is a LIE!
Before the foul Scofield bible, Christians in the USA all opposed the Zionist takeover of Palestine, declaring it to be an act of great evil. So the backers of Zionism, engineered a mass misinformation effort, with such corrupted, anti-truth, Antichrist tools of deception, as the Scofield Bible, which has been written, backed and promoted by those of the evil Satanic New World Order which detests devout Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. The Scofield bible created the false “Christian Zionism” by deceiving people into supporting Zionism. Many Clergy have exposed the lies of the Scofield bible and Christian Zionism and that it is completely untrue. Good Jews, the world over, condemn Zionism as being agaisnt God and Holy Scripture.