Monday, July 17, 2017

Anti Zionism is Anti Semitism

French President Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
There are those that will argue that being anti Zionist does not mean one is antisemitic. On the surface this seems like a fair statement. But is it? Not according to the newly elected French President, Emmanuel Macron. And I generally agree with him.

But what about that? Why isn’t it possible to be opposed to State of Israel and yet have no issue with the Jewish people? I think that’s because Israel is defined as a Jewish State. And even though the State does not necessarily represent all of my Jewish ideals – which are Torah based – nor does it represent all of the Jewish people - Israel is nevertheless seen that way by much of the world. If I am not mistaken, Israel now has more Jews living within its borders than does the United States or any other country. It’s hard not to see being anti Israel as not being antisemitic.

This does not of course mean that one can’t be critical of the Israeli government. Clearly there are many Jews critical of the government, including – and perhaps especially –some of its own citizens. But when one says something like Zionism is racism – as did the UN years ago, it can only be seen as a thinly disguised form of antisemitism. (While the word ‘semite’ technically includes Arabs, current usage of the word ‘antisemite’ refers to being prejudiced against the Jewish people.)

It’s nice to know that the new French President understands the distinction between being critical of some of Israel’s policies and being anti-Zionist.  Especially – as the World Jewish Daily notes, France has been pretty pro Palestinian in recent years: 
At a Paris event marking the Holocaust with Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron pledged, "We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism." 
This new approach is heartening in light of the wave of recent antisemitism in France. It has become so bad that immigration from France to Israel is unprecedented. Prime Minister Netanyahu has done his best to publicly encourage it, telling Jews to leave France because of it - and make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel!

A lot of people thought it took quite a lot of Chutzpah for a sitting Israeli prime minister to insult an ally by urging French Jews to leave France en masse and come to Israel.

I suppose it did. But what followed is a passionate plea from then French Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying words to the effect that France without Jews – is no France at all. I guess that the French leadership finally saw the threat of a massive exit of so many Jews from their country was very real and that antisemitism was what was causing it. And they did not like it. The last time they saw that happening was when they contributed to it during the Holocaust! Not a piece of history French political leaders are proud of. At least most of them.

The only question is, will it last? Or will antisemitism continue to be a major problem there? We shall see. But in the meantime, I’m glad President Macron uttered those words.