Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is anti-Zionism a form of racism?

A friend once told me that "anti-Zionists" (as opposed to anti-Semites) can be defined as: Those who think that the founding of the state of Israel was a political or legal or moral mistake.

Based on this "reasonable" definition, I am inclined to say that "anti-Zionism is racism." (Remember the infamous "Zionism is racism" UN resolution.)

Explanation: After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI Britain and France pretty much dominated the Middle East and carved out various spheres of influence. From the late inter-war period, under the auspices of the League of Nations, until the end of WWII (circa 1949) the great powers tinkered with the borders, eventually carving out what is now Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel. (Egypt was pretty much intact already). So all of these countries are basically "colonial" creations. In fact the colonial powers even played one family against the rest, placing the Hashemites in Jordan, Iraq and Syria. All of these were basically the outcome of statist imperialism.

Now these anti-Zionists object to the creation of the state of Israel, but not the Kingdom of Jordan, or Iraq, Syria or Lebanon (whose borders changed quite often and dramatically in this period). Question: If Israel had been created as a Moslem state like the rest of them, would the anti-Zionists be objecting now? If the answer is no, then it is the Jewish nature of Israel that is the problem and not really the circumstances of its creation.