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The great American civil rights warrior, Martin Luther King, said way back in 1968 in response to a question from a student attacking Zionism, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking Antisemitism.”

Today there are many people who say they are only anti-Zionistic and not anti-Semitic.
They try to defend it by saying they have nothing against Jews, only Israel.

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Often this is done under the banner of so-called liberal and progressive movements that supposedly fight for freedoms and human rights. Groups such as Black Lives Matter or Jewish Voice for Peace or the United Nations Humans Right Council. The great irony of this is that true liberals who share progressive values should be at the forefront of supporting Israel with its freedoms for all its citizens, rather than leading the charge against it. But their minds are so clouded with hatred and antisemitism that they have lost all sense of what liberal values even mean. These are not groups of freedom but groups of hate.
And anti-Zionism is a movement of hatred, fuelled by the darkness of humanity, not the light. It brings out the worst in people, not the best. Its supporters are not driven by a sense of the lack of justice in the world, but rather by a sense of a reinforcement of long-standing injustice directed against only one particular group of people. They wave the banner of morality, while conveniently ignoring the absolute lack of morality of their own cause.

They try to ‘educate’ us by saying Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism – that somehow Zionism isn’t a Jewish movement at all, so you can therefore be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. Of course Israel can be criticised and there are no bigger critics than Israelis themselves, but these people are not against any policy at all – they are against the very existence of the country.

They want to confuse you into thinking it’s some kind of evil movement by throwing in emotive and inflammatory terms such as colonialism, white supremacism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

So let me unconfuse you by setting the record straight:

Zionism has EVERYTHING to do with Judaism.

Before there were any Jewish laws at all, there was the Land of Israel. It is absolutely a Jewish movement, and one that is as old as the Jewish people themselves. It began almost 4000 years ago when Abraham, the first Jew, started his journey to the Land of Israel, a place in which he made his home. And from that moment the Land of Israel and Jews have been intertwined with each other, so much so that the love and commitment to the Land of Israel is a core value of what being a Jew is all about.

And while there are non Jews who support Zionism – some very famous ones too who do amazing work, whenever you see any hate speech out there against Zionism or Zionists in particular, they are not referring to Muslims who support Israel, or Christians who support Israel, or Indians who support Israel, they are referring quite specifically to Jews:

When those who attack Israel compare Zionists To White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis, they mean Jews;

When the fascist BDS and other similar movements call for the liberation of palestine, they mean getting rid of the Jews;

When anti-Israel movements complain about the Zionist lobby in America, they mean Jews.

The leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, doesn’t even try to disguise it, such as when he was quoted with the following in the New York Times in 2004, “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

So yes, while there are still some Jews who think that if they join forces with movements who accuse Israel of genocide, maybe they’ll be liked, the reality is they are nothing more than poster children for self-hatred and self-flagellation. Should Israel ever disappear, so would the protective shield that provides their security to live openly as Jews anywhere.
And Jews know all too well what it means to not have our own country.

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Justin Amler is a noted South African born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues.