With a longstanding history of the Jews being oppressed in the 1492 expulsion of Late Medieval Spain, the Eurocentric Christian attitudes associating Jews with filth and disease during the years of the plague to the Modern terror of the Holocaust, there is surely much to say on the historical front of Anti-Semitism. However, recently there has been an erroneous conflation of Anti-Zionism with Anti-Semitism, which is the danger in the arguments of Israeli supporters in the world-famous conflict violently encountered with the Palestinians.
Let us first examine the etymological origins of the two words to demarcate where the confusion may lie. Objectively speaking, when you type ‘Zionism’ into Google, the first definition which appears reads ‘a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel’. Anti-Zionism is thus a political movement denouncing the promotion of the settlement of Jews in Israel. Surely, the danger can lie in manipulating the wording as ‘Anti-protection,’ thus making it seem that there are Anti-Semitic beliefs involved with this political movement. Anti-Semitism, on the other hand, is predominantly a racial movement, and the two do not necessarily intertwine depending on the context due to the fact they refer to separate concepts, let alone are synonymous with one another. If we phrase it as such, we are taking it out of the current political context in which it is being used and have to face the negative implications of conflating the two terms.
It is important to remember that Palestine was previously a British colony before Britain allowed Israeli rule to dominate the Palestinian nation on the grounds of religious justification, claiming it was a promised land to which they now want to return. If I disassociate my own personal views from the matter, which may or may not be Pro-Israeli in the case of the conflict, Zionism is thus a justification for Jewish settlement in Palestine. Granted the justification was morally and ethically right or wrong in its political and biblical context, it is important to remember that the conflict has equally led to the slaughter of a nation, almost as what we could term as a present-day genocide. So effectively, Zionism is being utilised to justify the oppressive actions of the Israeli population towards the Palestinians, and labeling this threatening settlement to Palestinians is ‘Anti-Semitism?’
I would not be writing this article if there was a somewhat peaceful cohabitation existing in certain areas of Palestine or even a political compromise between the two countries. I have friends who have lost cousins in Palestine in bloody gun episodes with the intervention of Israeli soldiers. While I do not actually overtly oppose Jewish settlement within a certain country or even dare to question governmental choice based on Biblical and legal terms to grant Palestine to the Jewish nation, my stance being limited and thus neutral until I read more on the matter, I certainly do oppose terming Anti-Zionism as Anti-Semitism within this specific political context which indirectly serves as a justification for the murder, oppression and hatred towards the Palestinian people.
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