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Joshua Cypess
+ Your AuthorsArchive @JoshuaCypess PhD social scientist & Orthodox Rabbi. We're all in this together. He/him. #BlackLivesMatter #Steelers #Mets #Resist May. 28, 2021 4 min read

1/ People tell me it's possible to be anti-Zionist (AZ) and not antisemitic (AS). Ethical AZ would avoid any hint of AS.

Things you should know to avoid this hatred: (a) AS is a root conspiracy theory that demonizes Jews by attributing them superhuman evil power.

2/ Demonizing is more than "dehumanizing" - which itself leads to ignoring pain (see: racist treatment of Black patients in US health care). Rather, a "demon" is an unstoppable and uniquely evil enemy that requires extraordinary measures to bring them down by any means.

3/ AS is a seductive conspiracy theory because it becomes a simple answer to everything wrong with the world: people who can look like anybody yet, as demons, control everything in their favor.
See:  & 

4/ Since antisemitism is so common, seductive and dangerous, it would behoove someone who opposes the Jewish country to not engage in conspiracy theories. Especially if one is motivated by compassion for oppressed people, it's hypocritical to embrace a demonizing ideology.

5/ (b) Related to that is the subconscious cultural belief that American Jews are rich, powerful, and have inordinate political power. [See: antisemitic conspiracy theory above]

I've heard people say that this makes Jews a legitimate target. Because they can take it, right?

6/ Cognitively, even though people seem to understand intersectionality, too often it seems there's an exception made for Jews, the world-historical victims.

And again, thinking Jews are not vulnerable because of a presumed level of power is classical AS. 

7/ Lastly, (c) Zionism as a political philosophy was created by a belief that antisemitism was a dangerous, pervasive & unavoidable condition for Jews in the rest of the world. Then came the Holocaust. The UN established Israel soon after.

8/ So creating conditions in America & Europe that make Jews feel entirely unsafe - nearly every synagogue & school needs armed guards right now, and our danger spikes whenever Israel gets the world's focus - supports the logic of Zionism. 

9/ I've heard that Zionism is colonialism and that there's no valid reason for a Jewish state. That's hard to argue when people attack non-Israeli Jews in order to repay Israeli sins, telling them that they deserve the attacks because of sins they're presumed to have done.

10/ One can oppose Israel without being antisemitic. But it's really hard to do so, as we've seen this month. This doesn't mean people should stop protesting actions of the Israeli gov't; but like our civil rights protests during COVID: to avoid a deathly result, take precautions

11/ I'll add: since many Jews, religious & secular, believe that Zionism is a defensive reaction to a history of brutal oppression, the State of Israel was created partially in response to the Holocaust, to be anti-Zionist will feel like dismissing or discounting that history.

12/ If you're anti-Israel or anti-Zionist, you will need to have an answer for the thousands of years of pogroms, blood-libel, and genocidal hate. Because that's why many people will think an anti-Z or anti-Israel ideology equates to erasing Jewish tragedy.

13/ I studied Critical Race Theory in grad school. It's a good & necessary heuristic to understand structural racism (in sociology we're all about structure)

Ironically, those who reject CRT end up showing why it's correct. That's at play now about Israel

14/ Israel has been run by Netanyahu for 12 yrs and he made himself synonymous with the GOP & especially Tr*mp. But blaming Israeli citizens for the sins of the Prime Minister elected with 30% of the population is like condemning liberals in red states for being powerless.

15/ The Israeli Left wing, the leaders behind Oslo, have lost popularity over the past 20-30 years. This has largely been attributed to how withdrawal of occupied territory by Labor (Barak) & Kadima (Sharon) was met with increased terrorism. 

16/ Lebanon (Barak's withdrawal) is controlled by Hezbollah, Gaza (Sharon's withdrawal) by Hamas. Both organizations are funded by Iran. Israeli voters who supported giving land for peace were met with two implacable terrorist states on their borders. 

17/ I oppose the occupation and the question is how to make it safe for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank without creating another Gaza.

Anyone who ignores or dismisses this concern is ignoring these recent facts. It's de-facto delegitimizing Israel's right to exist.

18/ When I hear someone argue that Israel doesn't have a right to exist, I don't know if it's from ignorance of the past 100 years or 2000?

(And yes, I support safe haven countries for all persecuted people, including Palestinians, I support the 2 state solution).

19/ I locked comments on the thread and you know why: because anything on this topic will be met with vile abuse.

You know, women face that every moment online, and hearing that made me very conscious about misogyny in the world & what I may be doing to create that environment.

20/ I've changed my behavior over the decades to make sure I don't add to hate and violence against women. Or anybody. It takes vigilance, compassion, & empathy.

That's what I ask conscientious anti-Zionists. Don't add to hate while you advocate for what you believe is ethical.

21/ Israel brings out insane, genocidal hatred. And the only advantage of having a small account is I may avoid the bile.

But anyone responding to me with the standard hate will actually be proving my point.


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