Forward Thinking

Conflating Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

  • Print
  • Share Share

A brief addendum to Gal’s earlier post on Ron Paul.

The New York Times published a thorough piece this weekend examining Paul’s much-discussed relationship with the racist fringe of the libertarian spectrum. The story, which reported that Paul doesn’t agree with his most extreme followers but that he won’t reject their support, is well worth reading.

But two lines near the top of the article — both of which appeared on the front page of the edition of the Times I read on Sunday — struck me as odd. My questions are more or less semantic quibbles relating to the line between a fierce rejection of Israel and a hatred of the Jewish people, but both bear mention due to the story’s front page play.

In the fifth paragraph, the Paul story reads:

“The white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy have not exactly been warmly welcomed. ‘I wouldn’t be happy with that,’ Mr. Paul said in an interview Friday when asked about getting help from volunteers with anti-Jewish or antiblack views.”

This paragraph is difficult to parse, but it appears to be using the terms “anti-Zionist” and “anti-Jewish” as synonyms. That’s not the only possible reading — it may also be that Paul was asked about anti-Jewish volunteers before the piece’s authors came up with the story’s framing. But if the terms are being used as synonyms, it’s worth noting that, while some anti-Zionists are anti-Jewish, some Jews are anti-Zionist, and the terms are certainly not identical.

I also thought it odd that the story lists a book called “The Invention of the Jewish People” as among the implicitly racist books published by an apparently extremist press that has supported Paul. “The Invention of the Jewish People,” written by Tel Aviv University professor Shlomo Sand, was certainly controversial when it was published in English in 2009, as the Times itself reported that year. And Sand could be called anti-Jewish, in the sense that he doesn’t believe Jews exist as a people. But he’s not an anti-Semite, in that his work is not apparently motivated by hate.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.