Don’t confuse them because anti-Zionism is NOT anti-Semitism

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On Feb. 5, 2021, the International Criminal Court ruled that it can investigate war crimes in Palestine despite Israel’s objections. Katherine Jimenez argues that this decision is not anti-Semitic. Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash.

On Feb. 5, 2021, the International Criminal Court ruled that it can investigate war crimes in Palestine despite Israel’s objections. To many Palestinians, this is a victory but to others, including the Biden Administration, the decision has been ignorantly declared as anti-Semitic. 

Before Israel became the first Jewish state in over 2,000 years, the majority of people dwelling in the region were Palestinians — Arabs who lived in what was then known as Palestine. Britain destroyed the Palestinian homeland early in the 20th century after seizing it from the Ottomans. At the end of World War II, the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews in Europe prompted efforts of mass migration to Palestine, and in 1948, Israel declared independence. 

What Israel has called its right to a Jewish state is what many Palestinians recognize as the Nakba, referring to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Since the establishment of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled or been expelled from their homes, forcing them to seek refuge in camps or foreign nations. Zionism, a Jewish nationalist movement that has promoted the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, has played a major role in Israeli politics and in further alienating the Arabs who have resided in the region even before British control. Opponents of the movement have been called anti-Semitic when a number of them, Jewish or not, are simply criticizing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Of course there are those who conceal their hatred of Jews within this concept; such actions are inevitable, but conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism downplays Israel’s war crimes

Would we call someone against Russian politics anti-Slavic? How about someone against Cuban politics? Are they anti-Hispanic? Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with how much people today are tied to the land. A majority of Palestinians also identify as Muslim despite residing in the Jewish state of Israel. The religiously divided society is what has prompted anti-Muslim hate both in and out of the nation. 

Being against the forced removal of people who have resided over a region for centuries does not make a person anti-Semitic; hate of Jewish people does. People should not ignore the problem with both sides of the issue but how will supporting an anti-Arab government prevent a bullet from piercing through an innocent child’s skull? Some propose a two-state solution, while others believe that peace will never be achieved unless one state has greater control over the other. Without Israel recognizing Palestine’s right to territory, common ground will never be achieved. The very acceptance of Palestine threatens Israel’s existence. It is a battle between who has the right to call the history of borders and buildings their own. 

I don’t think many people would leave a place that is called “democratic” without a proper reason. I don’t think that many would want to live in overcrowded refugee camps that lack basic infrastructures such as roads or sanitation, where the absence of proper medicine and education further damages inhabitants’ lives. The United States does not recognize the State of Palestine, but it does accept the violation of human rights. It allows the forced occupation of land, but given America’s history, it’s not at all surprising. The difference between the Biden and Trump administrations is only in name and political party. If only one of the two states, Israel and Palestine, were to exist, which one would President Biden choose? The answer is obvious as much as it was in Trump’s case. Palestine deserves justice and recognition within and outside the United States. 

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