Anti-Zionism

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Template:NPOV Anti-Zionism is a term that has been used to describe several very different political and religious points of view, both historically and in current debates. All these points of view have in common some form of opposition to Zionism, but their diversity of motivation and expression is so great that "anti-Zionism" cannot be seen as a single phenomenon. This article examines opposition to Zionism both historically and as it currently exists.

Zionism may be defined as "a political movement that holds that the Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to a "Jewish National Homeland", and also as "a movement to support the development and defense of the State of Israel, and to encourage Jews to settle there." Anti-Zionism can be opposition to either of these objectives or their implementation.

Contents

Defining anti-Zionism

While the term "anti-Zionism" is not defined in modern dictionaries, its use dates back at least to 1902, and was regularly used in the 1920s and 1930s in relation to events in Palestine and controversies among Jews about issues related to Zionism. It has regained wide currency in political debate since the 1970s, as part of the controversy over the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Before the Six-Day War of 1967, opposition to the existence of Israel was largely confined to the Arab world, the Soviet Union and its satellites. Since the 1970s, however, opposition to the continuing Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has led to mounting criticism of Israel. This in turn has led to the growth of anti-Zionism: the belief that creation of Israel (or at least the way Israel had been created) was an "error", an "injustice", or even a "crime".

The defining characteristic of anti-Zionism is therefore opposition to the existence of the State of Israel (or at least opposition to the legitimization of its existence on the basis that the Jews had "the right to return to their homeland"), a state which was created as a result of the activities of the Zionism movement between 1897 and 1948. Opposition to the policies of the current Israeli government, or advocacy of an Israeli withdrawal from the territories, is not necessarily synonymous with anti-Zionism. Many Israelis on the Left also hold these views, as do many Jews and other supporters of Israel in the outside world.

Anti Zionism dictionary definitions

In addition to a conventional definition ("hostility toward Jews as a religious or racial minority group, often accompanied by social, political or economic discrimination"), the unabridged edition of Webster's Dictionary, originally published in 1961 and reprinted in 2002, gives a controversial second and third definition to anti-Semitism, defining the word as "opposition to Zionism" and "sympathy for the opponents of Israel". (The modern college editions based on Webster's Third all omit the second definition of "anti-Semitism.") The American-Arab Anti-Descrimination Committee has mounted a campaign to get this definition removed.[1] (http://adc.org/index.php?id=2175) A Merriam-Webster company spokesman defended the definition as "a relic" based on a handful of citations from about 1950 in which anti-Semitism was "linked more or less strongly with opposition to Israel or to Zionism." The spokesman also stated that the sense wasn't supported by current usage, and added that it would probably be dropped when the company publishes a new unabridged version in a decade or so. However, the company has no plans to remove it from its current edition. [2] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/11/weekinreview/11nunb.html)

Types of anti-Zionism

Political Zionism has encountered opposition ever since it was first articulated in the 19th century. It is therefore possible to speak of a history of anti-Zionism reaching back for more than a century. That history, however, embraces several different phenomena.

Some anti-Zionists, including many Palestinian and other Arab or Islamic militant groups, insist that the State of Israel is illegitimate and refuse to refer to it as "Israel", instead using the term "the Zionist entity". In the West the term is confined to small groups on the far left, although anti-Israeli rhetoric in the West has certainly escalated over the past decade and resonates in some circles of the Right and in the far right.

Among the governments of the Arab and Islamic world, public advocacy of the physical destruction of Israel is a minority position, which only Iran now openly takes. Other states, such as Saudi Arabia and Syria do not formally recognise Israel's existence. Egypt and Jordan have formally recognised Israel, and several other Arab states have tacitly done so, but still without official ties. The Palestinian leadership formally recognised Israel as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords, although that recognition has been rendered inoperative in practice since the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000.

Thus, although the governments of most Arab and Islamic countries have continued to proclaim their opposition to Zionism, most were likely willing in practice to accept the settlement of the Israel-Palestine dispute set out in the Oslo Accords, which proposed the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the mutual recognition of Israel and a new state of Palestine. Most, possibly all, governments would still accept such a settlement if one were again put forward. Public opinion in the Arab and Islamic world is another matter, but it is likely that a settlement involving the creation of a Palestinian state would lead to a decline in anti-Zionist rhetoric.

Other anti-Zionists advocate the replacement of Israel with a state comprising the current State of Israel, combined with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in which both Jews and Palestinians are citizens. These advocates maintain that such a settlement must be arrived at voluntarily and by peaceful means, and argue that it would be in the best interests of the Jewish inhabitants of Israel as well as the Palestinians for a non-Zionist state to be created.

Still other anti-Zionists hold that, while the creation of the State of Israel, either per se or by its character, may be judged to have been an error, there can nevertheless be no return to the status quo ante, and advocate only a settlement of the current conflict.

Jewish responses to Zionism

Before the 1930s the majority of the world's Jews who were in a position to express an opinion could loosely be considered anti-Zionist, in the sense that they did not actively support the Zionist project for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine or elsewhere. Nevertheless, the use of the expression "anti-Zionism" to describe their attitudes needs to be heavily qualified.

In the 19th and early 20th century, for example, Reform Jews of Germany used the word "Zionism" to refer to a political and social movement which encouraged them to emigrate to Palestine. Those Jews who did not want to emigrate are sometimes described as anti-Zionists. But Reform Jews did not reject the right of Jews to move to Palestine and reconstitute a Jewish nation within its borders. Rather, they rejected the view that they themselves had an obligation to do so.

Before the 1930s, the majority of Western European and American Jews, whether religious or secular, took the view that since Jews could live in conditions of safety and freedom in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, there was no need for a Jewish state, and that for Jews to campaign for one would be harmful because it would create the impression that Jews were not loyal to the countries in which they lived. Many Jews also felt that the Jewish "mission" had evolved to become universalistic and identified themselves as citizens of their country who happened to practice the Jewish faith.

Many 19th century and early 20th century Orthodox Jews objected to Zionism because they rejected secular and atheist attempts to build a secular and socialist Jewish state in Palestine. Orthodox Jews in this group did not reject the right of Jews to move to Palestine and reconstitute a Jewish nation within its borders, but instead hoped that if any such state were to be created, it would follow to some extent Jewish law and tradition, and that its leaders would be religious Jews. Other Orthodox Jews of that time objected to any creation of a Jewish state in Palestine before the arrival of the messiah, though they accepted the right of individual Jews to move to Palestine.

The many Jews, mainly in Europe, who supported socialist or communist political ideas, took the view that the defeat of anti-Semitism and the winning of civic equality for Jews required participation in the common struggle against capitalism and oppressive regimes, and that for Zionists to advocate emigration to Palestine was a means of perpetuating the segregation of the "ghetto" that they were fighting to overcome. (Some Jewish socialists rejected this view and became Socialist Zionists). The largest Jewish socialist organisation in Europe, the General Jewish Labor Union, known as the Bund, strongly opposed Zionism right up until the German invasion of Poland in 1939.

In the face of these varying forms of opposition, Zionism remained a minority view among Jews until the 1930s. The rise to power of Adolf Hitler, and the systematic murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi regime in the Holocaust, persuaded the majority of the world's surviving Jews that a Jewish state was an urgent necessity. Ever since, the great majority of Jews, religious and secular, have supported the state of Israel.

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Zionism_protest1.jpg
Members of the Neturei Karta protesting against Zionism.

A small minority of Jews, however, continue to oppose Zionism on either political or religious grounds. The most radical and vocal of these is the small Neturei Karta group, which not only opposes Zionism, but also opposes the existence of the State of Israel. Among more mainstream Orthodox groups the most significant anti-Zionist group would be the Satmar Hasidism, possibly the largest Hasidic group in the world, with over 100,000 followers, along with other Hasidic groups which are influenced by Satmar and revere the group's late leader, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, as an authority figure. Teitelbaum's book, VaYoel Moshe, is an important exposition of one Orthodox position on Zionism, based on a literal form of midrash (biblical interpretation).

According to Teitelbaum, God and the Jewish people exchanged three oaths at the time of the Jews' exile from ancient Israel:

  • That the Jewish people would not rebel against the non-Jews that ruled over them;
  • That the Jewish people would not return to Israel (although individual Jews could do so);
  • That God would not allow the non-Jewish world to persecute the Jews excessively.

This was the position of most of the Orthodox world until the Holocaust. Even today, many Orthodox Jews, including the Agudat Israel party, which has participated in most of Israel's coalition governments, accept the validity of these oaths. They argue either that the Holocaust represented "excessive persecution," and therefore the Jews are released from the second oath, or, more commonly, that although they are opposed to Zionism, Israel exists as a state, and it would be better to cooperate with it than to actively oppose it. Regardless of their position, almost none of these groups opposes the idea of Jews as individuals emigrating to Israel, but rather oppose the notion of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel, either in its current form, or sometimes in any form at all.

Opposition to the existence of Israel among secular Jews is confined to a minority of socialist or other radical Jews in western countries. Most of these do not argue that the Jewish settlement of Palestine should be reversed or that Israel should be destroyed by force. Rather they argue that Israel as a specifically Jewish state should be replaced by a secular state in which Jews and Arabs live together.

Arab anti-Zionism

At the time when the Zionist settlement of Palestine began, most of the Arab world was under the control either of the Ottoman Empire or of one or other of the European colonial powers. There was thus no official voice for the Arab peoples.

Towards the beginning of Zionist settlement in Palestine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a few Arabs were willing to consider alliance with the Zionist movement; for instance, Emir Faisal, the son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca, who helped lead the Arab nationalist revolt against the Ottomans, signed the following agreement with Chaim Weizmann at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference:

Mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab states and Palestine.

Furthermore, this agreement called for the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and supported all necessary measures:

to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.

However, Faisal had conditioned his acceptance of the Balfour Declaration on the fulfillment of British promises of independence to the Arab nations; these were not kept. Moreover, he had little local support for his position; Arab Palestinian leaders, among them the mayor of Jerusalem, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, rejected this agreement made in their name. Although there was little specifically Palestinian national consciousness before the 1920s, the Arab inhabitants of Palestine rejected any suggestion of Palestine being severed from the Arab-Islamic world. A Jewish minority had lived in Palestine for centuries, with a second-class dhimmi status (not applicable to most of the more recent Zionist immigrants) conferred by Islamic law, and attacks against them were rare and illegal; but the Arab Palestinians were strongly opposed to the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish immigrant state, and hence to any immigration that would threaten to change the majority status of the Arab population. Thus, while small-scale Jewish immigration (such as the "First Aliyah" of the 1880s) caused little trouble and indeed was often welcomed for the economic development it would herald, larger influxes of Jews were resisted strenuously.

Once the Balfour Declaration made it clear that the Zionist project intended to establish a "Jewish national home" in Palestine rather than merely to encourage settlement there, Arab opposition grew much firmer, and has grown steadily more so as the early Palestinian nationalists' fears of becoming a minority in part of the British Mandate of Palestine had been realized. As the 1920, 1929, 1936 and 1939 Arab-Jewish riots (see also Jerusalem pogrom of April, 1920, 1929 Hebron massacre) occurred, hostilities increased.

Nasser (Egypt), backed by other Arab states, throws Israel into the sea. Pre-1967 War cartoon. Al-Farida newspaper, Lebanon
Enlarge
Nasser (Egypt), backed by other Arab states, throws Israel into the sea. Pre-1967 War cartoon. Al-Farida newspaper, Lebanon

When the Arabs found themselves in a position of conflict with Zionism, a Jewish movement, over the destiny of Palestine, anti-Semitic sentiment also began to spread among Arabs. Most of the Arabs knew little of the events in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. They asked why they should be expected to give up their homeland to provide a refuge for the victims of European anti-Semitism. Asked why Jews from Europe and America would want to come and seize Palestine from the Arab-Islamic world, some Arabs turned to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other pieces of European anti-Semitic propaganda for explanations: the Jews were an evil and malignant race, were the sworn enemies of Islam, were agents of the western Christian-imperialist powers, etc. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husayni, eventually allied himself with the Nazi regime. Anti-Semitic views had become widespread in the Arab world by the 1970s, and since then have been greatly inflamed by the mounting Israeli-Palestinian armed conflict.

Arab anti-Zionism is also partly a reflection of the internal politics of the Arab states. Most Arab governments since the end of colonial rule have been more or less oppressive, whether monarchies or dictatorships. Although oil wealth has given prosperity to the smaller Gulf states, most Arab regimes have provided notably less material well-being and political progress to their large and rapidly expanding populations than, for instance, comparable East Asian governments. Diverting popular anger towards Israel and its western sponsors has thus served as a useful safety-valve for some Arab regimes. Even in Egypt, which has formally recognised Israel, the regime encourages its frustrated intellectual and political class to indulge in anti-Zionist an anti semitic rhetoric, partly as a means of drawing attention from domestic political issues.

Modern anti-Zionism in the Arab world comes from a variety of ideological backgrounds, different ones being emphasised by different groups or in different countries—local nationalism, pan-Arab (or more rarely pan-Syrian) nationalism, Islamism, socialism, and anti-colonialism, to name a few—and is nearly universal as a popular sentiment. (Among Palestinians themselves, of course, the motivations are often more concrete than ideological, and would deserve a separate treatment.) The principal objections to Zionism found in all varieties of Arab anti-Zionism are the views that the Palestinians' land was unjustly taken from them by the British Empire (through the Balfour Declaration) and subsequently by Israel, first in 1948 and then again starting in 1967; that this process continues today in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and that the Palestinians are still suffering from its consequences. Different ideologies, however, emphasize different aspects of this, and differ on the appropriate response.

Anti-colonialist narratives—particularly popular in Arab countries with violent experiences of colonial rule—focus especially on the parallels with cases such as Algeria or Rhodesia, seeing it in terms of a foreign power encouraging immigration into the country of a group which then sought to dominate the country. In this narrative, the natural means of combating Zionism is considered to be Palestinian revolution, and the ends would be expulsion or weakening of the Zionists seen as "occupiers".

Pan-Arabist narratives—which enjoyed their heyday in the 1960's in the Nasser era, but have declined since—emphasize the idea of Palestine as a part of the Arab world taken by others (partly overlapping with the previous.) As such, Israel is seen as both a symbol of Arab weakness and—insofar as it geographically cuts the Arab world into two noncontiguous halves—an obstacle to any union of the Arab world. In this narrative, the natural means of combating Zionism is Arab nations uniting and attacking Israel militarily. Pan-Syrian narratives, promoted mainly by Syria, are essentially parallel.

Local nationalist narratives, outside of Palestinians, emphasize the idea of Israel as a threat to the nation (commonly citing extremist Israeli individuals' dreams of a nation stretching "from the Nile to the Euphrates"). Among Palestinians, these emphasize other issues—such as the Palestinian refugee problem, and that in their view, over 90% of the pre-1948 British Mandate of Palestine is controlled by Israel; this is best treated separately. Israel on the other hand claims that it controls only 23% of the original mandate[[3] (http://www.palestinefacts.org/images/map_mandate_overview.jpg)], with the rest under the control of the [[[Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan]], which already has a majority Palestinian Arab population.

Arab socialist narratives differ little from those of the rest of the world, which are covered in other sections of this article.

Islamist anti-Zionism

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Islam_problem_israel.jpg
Front cover of Islam and the Problem of Israel (1980)

Islamist narratives, originally more popular among the more conservative nations of Arabia itself but now fairly widespread, emphasize the idea of Palestine as Muslim land—land once ruled by Muslims and once having a Muslim majority—taken by a non-Muslim political power, and regard it as the duty of Muslims to retake this land. They also emphasize the suffering of the Palestinians, seeing it as Muslims' duty to aid them against what they consider to be their oppressors. In this narrative, the natural means of combating Zionism is considered to be jihad, whether by Palestinians or others.

An example of this narrative is the work of Ismail al-Faruqi (1926-1986). In Islam and the Problem of Israel (1980), he argued that Zionism was a "disease" largely influenced by European romanticism far removed from the religion of the Jews, Judaism. He opposed the "Zionist occupation" of Palestine and called for the dismantling of Israel and the launch of a jihad. He said that the injustice caused by Zionism is such that there is no means of stopping it short of war. From the standpoint of Islam, Faruqi wrote, Zionism represents apostasy against Judaism.

Western anti-Zionism

Before the 1970s, serious criticism of Israel, let alone opposition to its existence, was almost unknown in the western countries, except to some extent in the Communist parties. Indeed there was an almost completely uncritical acceptance of Israel's projected image of itself as a nation of brave pioneers making the desert bloom. This was partly motivated by genuine admiration for the efforts of the pioneering Israelis, partly by a sense of guilt about the failure of the west to prevent the Holocaust or to take in the Jewish refugees of the 1930s and 1940s, and partly by relief that the "Jewish question" had now finally been solved by the creation of a Jewish state. Pro-Zionist sentiment in the west peaked in the 1960s, epitomised by the Hollywood epic Exodus (1960) and by support (except of France) for "plucky little Israel" in the Six-Day War.

The tide of opinion turned after 1970, however, as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), formed in 1964, began to conduct its campaign of "armed struggle" against Israel, through terrorism in Europe against Jewish and Western targets. These acts included the hijacking and destruction of passenger airliners and the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics. These events coincided with the wave of radicalism which swept through the western intellectual world in the wake of the anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s (see The Sixties). Many Western radicals and Third World activists came to see the Palestinians as an oppressed people like the South Vietnamese or the Black South Africans, and the PLO as a national liberation movement of the type they supported in other places.

This wave of radicalism soon passed, but it left an intellectual climate in most western countries much less sympathetic to Israel than had existed before 1967. This anti-Israeli sentiment might have faded had there been an Arab-Israeli settlement, as seemed possible for example after President Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979. But the repeated disappointments of Middle East diplomacy, and the spread of the opinion that the Palestinians were the victims of western neo-colonialism in the form of a Jewish settler state planted in the Arab world, created a permanent reservoir of anti-Zionist sentiment among western intellectuals, including some Jews. Maxime Rodinson's 1973 book Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? was influential in promoting this view.

The active expression of western anti-Zionism has tended to ebb and flow in relation to events in the Middle East. When developments seem positive, such as during the period of the Oslo Accords and the prime ministership of Yitzhak Rabin, and again during the Barak-Arafat negotiations in 1999-2000, western opinion, even on the anti-Zionist left, welcomes the reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. When events turn out badly, such as after the assassination of Rabin and again with the launching of the Second Intifada and the election of the Sharon government, western anti-Zionism flares up again.

Most Western anti-Zionism is of the second or the third type described above, advocating coexistence rather than expulsion: very few western intellectuals actively desire the physical destruction of Israel, and most would welcome any settlement if it was acceptable to the Palestinians.

Most western anti-Zionists deny vehemently that they are anti-Semites or that anti-Zionism can be equated with anti-Semitism. Israelis and Zionists outside Israel often respond that a demand to destroy or abolish the state of Israel is intrinsically anti-Semitic, since Israel represents the fulfillment of the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination. Both these positions are in most cases sincerely held, and the conflict arises from the absence of an agreed definition of key terms such as "anti-Semitism" and "Zionism," and the fact that many western anti-Zionists either do not accept the concept of a right to national self-determination (for any nation, not just a Jewish nation) or do not accept that Israel represents its fulfillment. This debate is complicated by two further factors: the habit of genuine anti-Semites of using the term "Zionist" as a synonym and/or euphemism for "Jew," and the tendency for radical Islamist elements to use the rhetoric of traditional European anti-Semitism. These rhetorical cross-currents make it almost impossible for Zionists and anti-Zionists to converse across the gulf of hostility and incomprehension which has grown up over the past 30 years.

The distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is, however, recognised by some Jewish commentators. Jonathan Sacks, The Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said in 2002: "I see three distinct positions: legitimate criticism of Israel, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism can certainly become a form of anti-semitism when it becomes an attack on the collective right of the Jewish people to defensible space. If any people in history have earned the right to defensible space it is the Jewish people. But anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are different things. We're hearing more voices in Britain now who are denying Israel's right to exist and I have to fight that - but I don't confuse that with an assault on me as the bearer of a religious tradition." [4] (http://books.guardian.co.uk/extracts/story/0,6761,781928,00.html) However, in 2003 he said "Today’s anti-Semitism has three components: The first is anti-Zionism, the notion that Jews alone have no right to a nation of their own, a place in which to govern themselves. No. 2—all Jews are Zionists and therefore legitimate targets like Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl. No. 3, Israel and the Jewish people are responsible for all the troubles in the world, from AIDS to globalization. Put those three propositions together and you have the new anti-Semitism." [5] (http://www.chiefrabbi.org/articles/other/haddassah.html)

Soviet anti-Zionism

Missing image
Sov-mold-aug-27-1971.jpg
The spider (an image traditionally used by anti-Semites to dehumanize Jews) is Zionism, the web is woven from: slander, lies, provocations, Anti-Sovietism, Jewish question, anti-Communism. Newspaper Soviet Moldavia, August 27, 1971

In the Soviet Union from the 1920s Zionism was viewed as a form of "bourgeois nationalism," and its active promotion among Jews was banned. During the years of Joseph Stalin's rule Soviet Jews were frequently attacked as "Zionists," although the majority of Soviet Jews at that time were not Zionists. After the creation of Israel, however, many Soviet Jews began to sympathise with Israel, arousing further antagonism from the government, who saw Zionism as a potential source of disloyalty. With the development of Soviet interest in the Middle East from the 1950s onward, official Soviet anti-Zionism grew more intense, and began to borrow slogans and themes from traditional Russian anti-Semitism.

Since Israel was emerging as a close Western ally and the specter of Zionism raised fears of internal dissent and opposition, during the Cold War Soviet Jews were classed as possible traitors. The Communist leadership liquidated almost all Jewish organizations, with the exception of a few token synagogues. These synagogues were then placed under police surveillance, both openly and through the use of informers.

The anti-Semitic campaign of 1948-1953 against so-called "rootless cosmopolitans," the fabrication of the Doctors' plot, the rise of "Zionology" and subsequent activities of official organizations such as the Anti-Zionist committee of the Soviet public were officially carried out under the banner of "anti-Zionism," but the use of this term could not obscure the anti-Semitic content of these campaigns, and by the mid-1950s the state persecution of Soviet Jews emerged as a major human rights issue in the West. See Jackson-Vanik amendment.

In 1975, the Soviet Union sponsored the UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, discussed below.

International anti-Zionism

In parallel with the rise of anti-Zionist sentiment in the west was increased hostility towards Israel at the international level. During the 1950s and 1960s Israel made great efforts to cultivate good relations with the newly independent states of Africa and Asia, and hostility to Israel was confined to the states of the Arab-Islamic world and the Communist block. But a combination of inter-related circumstances in the 1970s radically changed this situation.

The first was the increased hostility to Israel following the onset of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in the late 1960s, as described above. The second was the decline in the prestige of the United States following the end of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. The third was increased economic power of the Arab oil-producing states in the aftermath of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the resulting energy crisis. The fourth was the rise of radical anti-western regimes in a series of African countries. The fifth was the increased diplomatic and economic presence of the Soviet Union, China and Cuba in Africa.

This anti-Zionist trend was manifested in organisations such as the Organization for African Unity and the Non-Aligned Movement, which passed resolutions condemning Zionism and equating it with racism and apartheid during the early 1970s. It culminated in the passing by the United Nations General Assembly of Resolution 3379 in November 1975, declaring that "Zionism is a form of racism." This resolution was passed by 72 votes to 35, with 32 abstentions. The 72 votes in favour consisted of all 20 Arab states, another 12 Muslim-majority states (including Turkey), 12 Communist countries, 14 non-Muslim African states, and 14 other states (including Brazil, India, Mexico and Portugal).

By 1991 this international situation had been completely reversed following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the American-led victory over Iraq in the Gulf War and the return of the United States to global political and economic dominance. On December 16, 1991, under pressure from the United States and Israel, the General Assembly passed Resolution 4686, repealing the resolution 3379, by a vote of 111 to 25, with 13 abstentions and 17 delegations absent. Thirteen out of the 19 Arab countries, including those engaged in negotiations with Israel, voted against the repeal, other six were absent. No Arab country voted for repeal. The PLO denounced the vote. All the ex-Communist countries and most of the African countries who had supported Resolution 3379 voted to repeal it. Only three non-Muslim countries voted against the resolution: Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam. Nevertheless, only one Muslim-majority country (Albania) voted for the resolution: the rest abstained or absented themselves.

International anti-Zionism, like domestic anti-Zionism in many countries, rises and falls in parallel with events in the Middle East, and the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 saw some revival of the anti-Zionist rhetoric in some countries; however, it is also possible that it was not until this time that media attention focused on the phenomenon.

Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

Main article: New anti-Semitism

Many argue that some forms of anti-Zionism are also forms of anti-Semitism [6] (http://www.yahoodi.com/peace/antizionism.html#isanti). Since the support and defense of Israel has become a central focus of Jewish life for many since 1948, many Jews see attacks on the existence of Israel as inherently anti-Semitic. For example, Yehuda Bauer has argued [7] (http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R501111000), "If you advocate the abolition of Israel... that means in fact that you're against the people who live there. If you are, for example, against the existence of Malaysia, you are anti-Malay. If you are against the existence of Israel, you are anti-Jewish."

On the other hand, Thomas Friedman says that this does not imply that Israel is above criticism. He has stated, "Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction - out of proportion to any other party in the Middle East - is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest" (The New York Times: "Campus Hypocrisy", October 16, 2002).

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