(Not Anti-Semitic) Anti-Zionism is Anti-Jewish (BDS)


Sometimes or often enough, anti-Semitism, loosely defined as an antipathy to Jews and Judaism, inflects BDS and anti-Zionism writ large. Recent evidence for such is sustained by a story recently making the rounds, which you can read here, regarding the co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine.  But perhaps the more apt term is “anti-Jewish.” Over time, the State of Israel, for all its many and serious faults and failings, has come to be perceived to be a vital Jewish political interest by the large segments of the population that dominate the community, both in Israel and in the United States. BDS is not the same as working to end the occupation or to promote a just and peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts. This has nothing to do with the 1967 occupation of Palestinian territories and the Israeli settlement project. Anti-Zionism opposes the very notion of a democratic Jewish majority state in any part of Palestine, in which the culture, values and narratives are defined by “Judaism” and “Jewishness.” For many/most Jews, sovereign Israel, being a majority Jewish country, is the one place in the world not defined by the cultures of either Christianity or Islam. Supporters of BDS, be they non-Jewish or Jewish, are dense in not understanding the rage they provoke from large segments of the active Jewish community when they propose to cast off and stigmatize the place and polity under which half the Jewish people call home. BDS and anti-Zionism may or may not be anti-Semitic as classically defined; the jury is out and proceeds case by case. But there’s every reason to see why so many Jews understand BDS and anti-Zionism to be “anti-Jewish.”


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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2 Responses to (Not Anti-Semitic) Anti-Zionism is Anti-Jewish (BDS)

  1. dmf says:

    good reasons to think that ethno-nationalism is bad for democracy and for religious life…

  2. alt28 says:

    I support BDS because Israel is positively perpetrating crimes against humanity. People around the world know this, hence BDS.

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