Twitter Poll: Is Anti-Zionism Antisemitism?

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Photo Credit: CFCA / Posters calling Israel "a racist endeavor" were found at bus stops in September, 2018.

On 7 June 2019, the WJC conducted a Twitter poll to see if our followers thought if anti-Zionism was the same as antisemitism.

As Israel is the Jewish state and home to the largest population of Jews in the world, anti-Zionism can be conflated with antisemitism. We wanted to know what our social media followers thought about this distinction.

We asked: “In your opinion, is anti-Zionism the same as antisemitism.”

Almost half of our respondents, 46%, said that they are the same. 18% said they may coincide. 16% selected that they are separate ideologies. 20% said that it is bad to equate the two ideologies.

This question has become a hot topic around the world. In February, a group of French lawmakers proposed a bill that would make anti-Zionism a criminal offense in the same way that antizionism is illegal in France. Ilhan Omar, an American politician and open anti-Zionist, has came under scrutiny recently for tweets that many believed conflated anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

These correlations are highlighted by many of the examples offered in the IHRA definition of antisemitism including: 

  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Historically, there have been different categories of antisemitism. These were usually religious, racial, or political reasons. However, since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, sentiments of anti-Zionism have brought us into a modern age with “new antisemitism” that intermingle two originally separate ideologies. The fact of the matter is, many of the respondents agree that anti-Zionism is used to gloss over thinly-veiled antisemitism.