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Deborah Lipstadt, you’re wrong to say Jewish BDS supporters are enabling antisemitism

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Dear Professor Lipstadt,

Your new book ‘Antisemitism Here and Now’ has much to recommend it. You bring your considerable authority as a scholar of the Holocaust and Holocaust denial to today’s increasingly intolerant, divided and racist world. With nuance, you examine the global resurgence of antisemitism on the right and the left and within Islamist thinking. You examine ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ examples of Holocaust denial and the casual, unthinking antisemitism that enables the more dangerous varieties.

But when your turn your attention to Israel, and in particular to Jewish supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign for Palestinian rights, your thinking is trapped in a liberal Zionist outlook that abandons your academic rigour. I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s a failing that’s on show time and again from leading voices within the Jewish community and it’s the cause of much misunderstanding about antisemitism as well a devaluation of the word itself.

In the end, you leave complex issues around antisemitism under-examined and you downplay the misuse of antisemitism as a tool to vilify Palestinian solidarity.

I’m choosing to write a letter to you as that’s the format you’ve used to structure your book. But rather than an imaginary Jewish student and a made-up academic colleague, I’m a real Jew who supports BDS. While I want to respect your contribution to Jewish studies and your successful libel defence against the Holocaust denier David Irving in 2000, I find your accusation against Jews in solidarity with Palestinians far too simplistic and patronising.

You’re now touring to promote your new book, with a lecture in London in May. I hope you’ll take seriously the criticism I offer here.

The standard rhetoric

Rather than treat Zionism as an ideology and an historical phenomenon, you adopt the standard partisan political rhetoric used daily by Jewish and non-Jewish advocates for Israel.

In actual fact, Zionism is the national liberation movement of Jews. To argue that only Jews, among all the peoples of the world, are not to be permitted to have a national home (or more precisely, to return to their national home) is to deny Jewish peoplehood. The negation of Jewish nationhood is a form of antisemitism, if not intent, then certainly in effect. [Page 178]

This is not an academic definition of Zionism. It’s the ideological justification for the displacement of another people. You’ve used a narrow reading of Jewish history; an amalgam of religious and cultural myths; a misunderstanding of the meaning of Jewish peoplehood; and an incorrect assessment of ethnic nations in order to argue that anti-Zionism is an attack on Jews collectively.

Ethnic nation states

It doesn’t take much research to discover that many ethnic national groups do not have their own nation state despite having a distinct culture, heritage and language. Often they are communities with their own history of discrimination and oppression and with their own nationalist movements.

There are 76 million Tamils without a state of their own living in India and Sri Lanka; there are 35 million members of the Yaruba people in Western Africa; and 30 million Kurds living in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Scots and the Welsh don’t have their own states either despite decades of active campaigning for national independence. And then, of course, there are the Palestinians themselves. In fact, it turns out that “among all the peoples of the world,” most ethnic national groups do not live in states where they are the majority.

So why present opposition to Zionism as a unique discrimination?

You argue that an intellectual opposition to Zionism was legitimate before the Jewish State was created but not now it is an established fact. But that closes down any debate about potential constitutional arrangements that would give all of Israel’s citizens equal status legally, institutionally and culturally.

As for “denying Jewish peoplehood”, since when was Jewish peoplehood dependent on even a homeland let alone a Jewish nation state? For the bulk of our history we have not been in possession of a homeland let alone a State. Much of what we consider to be essential elements of Jewish thought and practice evolved away from the Land of Israel. When I googled “Jewish Peoplehood” one of the top results was a video by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (hardly an anti-Zionist) in which he lists seven principles for maintaining Jewish Peoplehood. Israel isn’t one of them.

It’s true that there are some Palestinians and their supporters who see Zionism as nothing more than a European Settler Colonial project. I’ve always thought there was much more to the story of Zionism than that. But to present it as no more than “the national liberation movement of the Jews” is equally misleading. It lacks historical context and fails to acknowledge the reality that Zionism was not an entirely innocent endeavour. Zionism, as Professor Edward Said famously noted, had “victims”.

Jewish support for BDS

You argue at length that supporting BDS leads inevitably to antisemitism because its aims, in particular allowing the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their homeland, means the end of Israel as a Jewish majority State.

If BDS were to succeed in restoring Palestinian legal rights it would indeed remove the privileges and advantages that the current Zionist State gives to its Jewish citizens and which it denies to Palestinians, and other non-Jews under its jurisdiction. But that’s quite different to antisemitism. It’s usually called democracy.

The assumption that only when and where Jews are a majority can they guarantee their security and self-determination ignores both Israel’s own history since 1948 and also the experience of Jews living successfully in liberal democracies around the world. Your assumption that a Palestinian majority could never protect its Jewish minority also strikes me as profoundly prejudicial.

You make particular criticism of Jewish supporters of BDS.

Anti-Zionist Jews who are opposed to Israel’s existence believe that they are expressing universalistic Jewish “values” such as support for the downtrodden and for victims of injustice. It’s unfortunate that they have bought in to the anti-Israel narrative and are proud of the fact that they have the “courage” to counter what they feel is a deluded, omnipotent, organized Jewry. I feel sad and frustrated that these people have internalized these antisemitic motifs. They may not be personally antisemites, but they facilitate it. [Page 183]

There’s so much wrong with these sentences.

As a Jewish supporter of BDS, I am not opposed to Israel’s existence. I am in favour of a truly democratic state for all who call the Holy Land home.

I have not bought into “an anti-Israel narrative.” I have recognised a profound problem with Zionism while also understanding the historic experience of Jews in Europe which motivated the Zionist movement.

The “values” you say I am upholding don’t need to be surrounded by your doubting speech-marks. We’re coming up to Passover, with its universal message of freedom from oppression, freedom from unjust Pharaohs. Since when did Jewish values become “antisemitic motifs”?

To use your phrase, I too feel “sad and frustrated”. But my sadness and frustration is directed at the Jewish community which raised me and which is now immersed in denial about what has taken place in the name of Jewish liberation and security. As a community, we are outraged when we see antisemitism – and that’s an appropriate reaction. But when there are outrages committed against the Palestinian people (from IDF snipers along the Gaza fence, to water theft in the West Bank) our community leaders opt for defending the indefensible or staying silent.

For me, Israel is not the most evil regime in the world. There are far worse. But what takes place there happens in my name and in the name of Judaism and the Jewish people. And that’s what makes it my priority.

The misuse of Antisemitism

While you spend pages arguing against BDS and other ‘progressive’ support for Palestinians, you pay far too little attention to how pro-Israel advocates misuse both antisemitism and the Holocaust.

I welcome this observation which comes very late in your book:

Those of us who want to fight this scourge do ourselves no favor if we automatically brand ideas which we disagree “antisemitic”. Too often, some Jewish organizations and their leaders reflexively fall back on this position. [Page 206]

You go on to acknowledge that “Some of Israel’s defenders use rhetorical weapons” such as declaring supporters of BDS “no different from the Nazis of the 1920s and 1930s” but your criticism is limited to saying “These comparisons distort history and contemporary reality. They use charges of antisemitism as a cudgel and give validity to those who accuse Jews of citing the Holocaust “too much”.

What’s missing from your analysis is the impact such misuse has on pro-Palestinian solidarity.

There’s no doubt that antisemitic tropes have found their way into Palestinian discourse. It’s also true that some on the political left believe every enemy of Israel deserves to be their friend. Such behaviour is deeply detrimental to a cause that must be built on human rights, international law and the principles of democracy. But false accusations of antisemitism also create a climate in which any form of Palestinian solidarity (but especially BDS) is made illegitimate. An inversion takes place, similar to that you have studied in Holocaust denial, whereby the real victims are turned into perpetrators of hate and violence.

Enabling racism

Professor Lipstadt, your protection of Zionist ideology, even in its most liberal version, becomes, if not racism itself, then a soft enabler of racism. In the name of modern Jewish identity, you are upholding and defending an ideology that ultimately denies the rights and history of another people, not just in the Occupied Territories but within Israel itself. Your analysis of what can constitute antisemitism enables an anti-Palestinian outlook that desperately needs to be challenged.

Yours sincerely

Robert Cohen

This post first appeared on the Patheos site. 

Robert Cohen
About Robert Cohen

Cohen is a British writer. He blogs at Micah's Paradigm Shift. http://micahsparadigmshift.blogspot.co.uk/

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65 Responses

  1. pgtl10
    pgtl10
    April 8, 2019, 1:52 pm

    Sounds like the Palestinians are racist because they won’t let Jewish Israelis be racist. A common Zionist trope.

  2. eljay
    eljay
    April 8, 2019, 3:00 pm

    In actual fact, Zionism is the national liberation movement of Jews. To argue that only Jews, among all the peoples of the world, are not to be permitted to have a national home (or more precisely, to return to their national home) is to deny Jewish peoplehood. …

    Zionism is the movement for Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of geographic Palestine.

    Geographic Palestine is not the national home, historic homeland or ancient homeland of people all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish.

    There exists no right for any “peoples of the world” to be supremacists or to have a supremacist state. (And one does not justify his “right” to rape by pointing out that murderers exist.)

    To argue that Jews…
    – are entitled to be supremacists;
    – are entitled to have a supremacist state; and, in order to preserve those entitlements,
    – are entitled to do unto others “necessary evil” that they would not have others do unto them,
    …is hateful and immoral.

    It is, in a word, Zionist.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 8, 2019, 4:25 pm

      ” In actual fact, Zionism is the national liberation movement of Jews.”

      And any number can play, no minimum.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 8, 2019, 5:04 pm

        || Mooser: …” In actual fact, Zionism is the national liberation movement of Jews.”

        And any number can play, no minimum. ||

        I hear that it’s all about percentages.

  3. Boris
    Boris
    April 8, 2019, 11:07 pm

    There are 76 million Tamils without a state of their own living in India and Sri Lanka; there are 35 million members of the Yaruba people in Western Africa; and 30 million Kurds living in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Scots and the Welsh don’t have their own states either despite decades of active campaigning for national independence. And then, of course, there are the Palestinians themselves.

    Funny! Have you heard of Tamil Tigers fighting for independent Tamil state. Actually, they are the ones who “invented” suicide bombing. Kurds had been fighting for their own state for quite some time. There is a significant Scottish movement for independence from Britain.

    And so on… Native Americans, anyone?

    Actually, Israel is the best example of people re-establishing their nation state in their ancestral home.

    As far as Palestinians – they want the entire area for themselves, don’t want to share. They are not getting anything any time soon.

    • YoniFalic
      YoniFalic
      April 9, 2019, 12:02 am

      Only a moron, an ignoramus, or a liar claims ancient Romans are ancestors of more than a small minority of modern Roman Catholics.

      Likewise only a moron, an ignoramus, or a liar claims modern Jews descend from ancient Judeans, who are ancestors of modern Palestinians.

      Boris espouses essentialist and primordialist nonsense just like that of German Nazis.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot
        April 9, 2019, 7:07 am

        Let’s test this scientifically.
        Question: Are ancient Romans ancestors of more than a small minority of modern Roman Catholics.
        The moron: I saw Gladiator and it was great, with all the fights and the mean guy with the scar!
        The ignoramus: Didn’t Juventus buy those Romans? Paid too much for them too if you ask me!
        The liar: I never did those things, it wasn’t my fault and why are you targeting me while others have done so much worse?

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic
        April 9, 2019, 8:56 am

        Good response :-)

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 9, 2019, 11:32 am

        But… Boris, born and bred in the Ukraine and with a Russian name, did a DNA test from 23andme and boasted to us all that he had genes which are most commonly associated with….. the Ingush people. Which of course makes him a direct descendant of the ancient Judeans and means he and other Eastern Europeans who practice a certain faith have more right to live there than non-Jews who can trace their roots back in the region for generations, with no help from 23andme.

        So there.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 9, 2019, 12:43 pm

        || Maximus Decimus Meridius: … Boris … and other Eastern Europeans who practice a certain faith have more right to live there than non-Jews who can trace their roots back in the region for generations … So there. ||

        Boris’ assertion agrees with the Zionist pronouncement made by y.f. earlier today that no actual ties to a region are required for people to claim it as their own and take it from the people to whom it belongs.

        I suspect that – in typical hypocrite Zionist fashion – this “right” to steal from others belongs only to Jews.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        April 10, 2019, 1:42 am

        @YoniFalic

        Exactly right!

    • Brewer
      Brewer
      April 9, 2019, 3:47 am

      Good grief. Is it any wonder this conflict has reached this ridiculous pass when a supposedly rational being can come up with such a mess of pottage.
      There is a vast difference between the struggles of indigenous peoples and the Zionist colonial project.
      The Zionist project is unique in that the indigenous people it dispossesses are in fact the descendants of the very people the interlopers claim as their own – despite the easily observed fact that many of them bear distinct European physiognomy – a fact largely confirmed by geneticists.
      Then there is the totally fictitious legend upon which Zionism bases its ideology – a supposed expulsion that no Historian or archaeologist will support.
      It simply beggars belief that someone who descends from two thousand years of European ancestry can somehow construct a case for not only a cultural tie to the land of Palestine but proprietorship! That people who do not even speak the language of an area let alone identify the property that their imaginary ancestors occupied can claim ownership and kinship with legitimate indigenous movements is simply preposterous.
      The fact is that Zionism is a colossal fraud.
      I call you out Boris. What piece of land in Palestine did you or any of your friends own two thousand years ago?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        April 9, 2019, 10:23 am

        Believers in Judaism need not believe in their physical descent from the ancient Judeans in order to claim the land of Israel. In fact every convert is given the name of son of Abraham (ben Avraham) and by becoming part of the covenant they have accepted Abraham as their father and Abraham left the land of his father to wander to the Land of the Canaanites and God promised him this land, so for a believer the connection to Abraham is sufficient.

        Certainly nonbelievers will look at this with askance and wonder how such a belief system is supposed to coexist with the international order and the clash of belief and rejection of the Jewish belief system (in this regard in particular) is part of the description of Palestine versus Jewish Zionist conflict. The people who are not believers in the Torah and the Abraham conversion connection will answer you that in the course of history the pressure on the Jews of Europe was so great that along with the great migration across the Atlantic there developed a move towards self emancipation and the focus of a specific land does not need genetic justification but it is sufficient that a sufficient number set their minds on a purpose and in fact achieved it, to the point of becoming a major center of Jewish population.

        I feel a connection to Jerusalem and cannot say what portion is “Next Year in Jerusalem” and what portion is personal experience. my willingness to share the city with the Palestinians (which will earn the scoffs of you gents and dames) is not shared by most of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem or Israel and thus there is a split between me and them, not based on the past, but based on the future.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 9, 2019, 11:22 am

        “I feel a connection to Jerusalem…” “WJ”

        I too, said a little prayer of gratitude when we went from DSL to cable internet.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 9, 2019, 11:27 am

        || wondering jew: Believers in Judaism need not believe in their physical descent from the ancient Judeans in order to claim the land of Israel. … ||

        It was bad enough when you Zionists believed that the most-remote ties to Palestine sufficed to steal it from its indigenous Palestinian population. But now you’ve upped the ante with the assertion that territory can be claimed by anyone who feels a “connection” to it regardless of how remote or even non-existent are those ties.

        Zionism really f*cks up the human mind.

        || … I feel a connection to Jerusalem and cannot say what portion is “Next Year in Jerusalem” and what portion is personal experience. … ||

        Irrelevant. Regardless of the “connection” he feels to those women, Joe has no right to “self-determine himself” in them.

        || … my willingness to share the city with the Palestinians (which will earn the scoffs of you gents and dames) … ||

        It earns scoffs for its breath-taking arrogance.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 9, 2019, 11:31 am

        “Believers in Judaism need not believe in their physical descent from the ancient Judeans in order to claim the land of Israel.”

        You said it, bro! Guns, shelling civilian Palestinians and groveling for non-Jewish support work pretty good, too.

        It is all there in the Torah, in a chapter called “Epigenesis”.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 9, 2019, 11:33 am

        @wonderingjew

        Believe in whatever Bronze Age myths you like. Nobody much cares unless you think your irrational beliefs give you rights to other people’s land and resources.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 9, 2019, 12:23 pm

        “It earns scoffs for its breath-taking arrogance.”

        “Yonah” is ready to take on the entire world. Not even anti-semitism scares “WJ”:

        ” i think that viewing the jews as a distinct national or economic class that is antagonistic to other national or economic groups (particularly if one puts it in historical perspective without painting with too wide a brush) is a viable argument.
        Unfortunately Hitler gave antisemitism a bad name.”
        “wondering jew”

        Breath-taking? More like an embolism.

      • lyn117
        lyn117
        April 9, 2019, 5:19 pm

        “I feel a connection to Jerusalem” “WJ”

        I feel a connection to money. I hope you will help me rob the local bank, or defraud people or something.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 9, 2019, 5:32 pm

        Wonder Ring Jew

        “In fact every convert is given the name of son of Abraham… so for a believer the connection to Abraham is sufficient.”

        “for a believer” in the Colonial Mission of the White Man, aka Zionism.

        “Certainly nonbelievers will look at this with askance”

        Believe me, all the rest of humanity will, and does, look at it “with” more than a skance. Or two. Or even a full dozen. The only problem so far is that skances are not efficient weapons to dislodge insane invader varmint.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        April 9, 2019, 7:17 pm

        lyn117- For whatever cause or reason the nations of the world, beginning with the Balfour Declaration, which was endorsed by the League of Nations and the mandate they gave Britain and continuing in the partition resolution and the acceptance of Israel into the UN, and continuing with Resolution 242, which implicitly accepted the 49 armistice line as a boundary, have recognized the connection. If it was only in my mind and the mind of the armed forces devoted to the idea you could denigrate it with ease, but in fact, it is a fact of the world at this point of time and i merely explain the global events while you rail against them. I do not doubt the sincerity and the deep seated passion of the Palestinians. I do not rail against their claims. I merely explain my personal take on the passions that have driven the situation until this point of time.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 9, 2019, 7:32 pm

        @wondering jew

        Your willingness to share that which is not yours is duly noted.

        You used to be someone supports past and ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the rogue state of Israel.

        Thanks to your willingness to share you still are.

        A person of good and big heart you aren’t.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 9, 2019, 10:26 pm

        Back to Reb Freedman.
        //
        What an artist of self-goals.
        Starts with
        //
        “Believers in Judaism need not believe in their physical descent from the ancient Judeans in order to claim the land of Israel.”
        //
        and provides ironclad proof of the diametrical opposite with the rest of his paragraph:
        //
        “In fact every convert is given the name of son of Abraham (ben Avraham) and by becoming part of the covenant they have accepted Abraham as their father”
        //
        IE, to join the tribe you must (at least with your fictitious name) be a descendant. This is a religion reserved for a family –even if we accept you, the unclean, it is done only if you are at least labelled a descendant from our *race*.
        //

        “and so for a believer the connection to Abraham is sufficient.”
        //
        Nice. Our Freedman couldn’t stop himself from destroying the Zionist land claim by Kosher argument, too: “Abraham left the land of his father to wander to the Land of the Canaanites and God promised him this land”. Note their god that promises someone else’s land, fully against any laws anywhere.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 10, 2019, 12:05 am

        “Abraham left the land of his father to wander to the Land of the Canaanites…”

        Bang goes the claim that Jews are indigenous to Palestine.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        April 10, 2019, 1:48 am

        @Yonah

        Blame it on the Balfour, with its magic spell? I’m with lyn117 – I feel a connection to money and I demand all of yours.

      • Brewer
        Brewer
        April 10, 2019, 4:20 am

        WJ.
        “beginning with the Balfour Declaration”
        Did you forget this little zinger:
        “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine
        The Zionists’ well known intent rendered the Balfour Declaration null and void before it was written.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 10, 2019, 12:18 pm

        I thought “Epigenesis” (the chapter in the Bible that explains why believing you are entitled to Palestine changes your genes) was pretty good. And what price the “whole Megillahmania of Zionism”?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 12, 2019, 2:04 pm

        “so for a believer the connection to Abraham is sufficient.” “WJ”

        Oh, “WJ”, I’ve been meaning to ask you something, you being a bal toyreh and all. We all know how long and involved the conversion to Judaism can be, if it’s done right.
        Just sorta shrugging and saying, “well, I feel connected to Abraham” won’t get you any dunams in Palestine , there’s more to it than that!

        But here’s my question: Let’s say a person, an American Jewish person, is so revolted by the present Zionist project, and so distressed and alarmed by the atmosphere and corrupted religion involved, that he wants to stop supporting it. (Hey, it could happen, just bear with me)

        What is the ‘de-conversion process’ which can make it possible for this person to be anti-Zionist and not involve themselves (or, for God’s sake, their kids) in this?
        Is it lengthy, or involve getting a nice get, if you can get it?
        Is that de-conversion process even possible for a Jewish person, or is he or she just stuck with the situation?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 12, 2019, 4:37 pm

        “Abraham as their father and Abraham left the land of his father to wander to the Land of the Canaanites and God promised him this land, so for a believer the connection to Abraham is sufficient”

        And if the person didn’t believe that, they wouldn’t be Jewish, and so not entitled.
        After all what kind of person believes in a religion which doesn’t entitle them to something like land or a country?

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      April 9, 2019, 7:19 am

      The Tamil case is interesting actually. They show the link between islamic fundamentalism and suicide bombing so convincingly. Them being marxist and all that.
      In that respect it’s nice to point to Robert Pape, the head of CPOST , who linked suicide bombings to the combination of an occupier with what he called ungoverned space, which I understood as being social desintegration.

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 9, 2019, 7:32 am

      || Boris: … Actually, Israel is the best example of people re-establishing their nation state in their ancestral home. … ||

      Given that geographic Palestine was not (and is not) the “ancestral homeland” of people all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who have chosen to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish, Zionism’s “Jewish State” project (Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of geographic Palestine)…
      – is not an example of “people re-establishing their nation state in their ancestral homeland”; but
      – is a shining example of colonialism and religion-based supremacism.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      April 9, 2019, 9:27 am

      @Boris

      Firstly, I apologize to those readers who are already acquainted with the facts. However, if possible, I am compelled to attempt to set poor Boris and his ilk straight.

      For shame Boris!! With the vast amount of thoroughly documented easily accessible evidence proving you completely wrong, I am shocked (as I’m sure many others are) that you would erroneously declare that the entity referred to as “Israel,” established in 1948 by Zionist Jews of foreign origin through force of arms, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation, is “…the best example of people re-establishing their nation state in their ancestral home.”

      Reality:
      Firstly, as determined conclusively by recent in depth DNA analysis, today’s Palestinians and their ancestors, have lived continuously between the River and the Sea for about 15,000 years** (see below.)

      The Jebusite/Canaanites were ancestors of today’s Palestinians and it was they who founded Jerusalem around 3000 BCE. Originally known as Jebus, the first recorded reference to it as “Rushalimum” or “Urussalim,” site of the sacred Foundation Rock, appears in Egyptian Execration Texts of the nineteenth century BCE, nearly 800 years before it is alleged King David was born. Its name “seems to have incorporated the name of the Syrian god Shalem [the Canaanite God of Dusk], who was identified with the setting sun or the evening star…and] can probably be translated as ‘Shalem has founded’.” (Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem, One City, Three Faiths; Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1996, pp. 6-7)

      BTW, no credible archaeological evidence, or more importantly, writings of contemporaneous civilizations, have been found that prove Solomon or David actually existed. (Nor has any real evidence been discovered to confirm that the Jewish exodus from Egypt ever occurred.)
      Renowned Jewish Israeli writer/columnist, Uri Avnery: “[David and Solomon’s] existence is disproved, inter alia, by their total absence from the voluminous correspondence of Egyptian rulers and spies in the Land of Canaan.” (“A Curious National Home,” by Uri Avnery, May 13/17
      (http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1494589093/)

      It is estimated that the Hebrews did not invade until circa 1184 BCE and their resulting United Kingdom of Israel, which never controlled the coast from Jaffa to Gaza, lasted only about 75–80 years, less than a blip in the history of Canaan and Palestine. Even the Hasmonean Dynasty under the Maccabees lasted only about 70 years (circa 140–70 BCE) and it was under Roman tutelage. By way of comparison, the Crusaders occupied Palestine in whole or in part for about 200 years; Egyptians ruled the region between the River and the Sea for 615 intermittent years, including the era of the Muslim Mamelukes; the Romans ruled the region for 677 continuous years. It was also ruled for several centuries by two other peoples: the Arabs (Muslims), for 447 continuous years (638-1085) and the Ottoman Turks (Muslims), for 401 uninterrupted years (1517-1918).

      Jewish missionaries converted many pagan peoples to their faith in the Middle East, including Palestine, as well as Africa, Asia and Europe, especially during the two centuries preceding Christianity. Also, the Zionist claim that descendants of those Jews allegedly expelled from Palestine by the Romans have lived apart throughout the world for nearly two millennia and not intermingled with people outside of their religion is absurd. To quote Polish born David Ben-Gurion (real name, David Gruen): “‘race’ does not unite Jewry since the ancient people dissipated after so much dispersion.” (Philippe de Saint Robert, Le Jeu de la France en Mediteranee ,1970, p.182)

      Renowned historian/anthropologist and “Holy Land” specialist, Professor Ilene Beatty: “When we speak of ‘Palestinians’ or of the ‘Arab population [of Palestine]‘, we must bear in mind their Canaanite origin. This is important because their legal right to the country stems… from the fact that the Canaanites were first, which gives them priority; their descendants have continued to live there, which gives them continuity; and (except for the 800,000 dispossessed refugees [of 1948 along with the further hundreds of thousands expelled before and after the war Israel launched on 5 June 1967]) they are still living there, which gives them present possession. Thus we see that on purely statistical grounds they have a proven legal right to their own land.” (“Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan,” 1957)

      ** http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fgene.2017.00087/full
      Front. Genet., 21 June 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2017.00087
      “The Origins of Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic Jews, and Yiddish”
      “Recent genetic samples from bones found in Palestine dating to the Epipaleolithic (20000-10500 BCE) showed remarkable resemblance to modern day Palestinians.”

      Furthermore:
      “The non-Levantine origin of AJs [Ashkenazi Jews] is further supported by an ancient DNA analysis of six Natufians and a Levantine Neolithic (Lazaridis et al., 2016), some of the most likely Judaean progenitors (Finkelstein and Silberman, 2002; Frendo, 2004). In a principle component analysis (PCA), the ancient Levantines clustered predominantly with modern-day Palestinians and Bedouins and marginally overlapped with Arabian Jews, whereas AJs clustered away from Levantine individuals and adjacent to Neolithic Anatolians and Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Europeans.”

      “Overall, the combined results are in a strong agreement with the predictions of the Irano-Turko-Slavic hypothesis (Table 1) and rule out an ancient Levantine origin for AJs, which is predominant among modern-day Levantine populations (e.g., Bedouins and Palestinians). This is not surprising since Jews differed in cultural practices and norms (Sand, 2011) and tended to adopt local customs (Falk, 2006). Very little Palestinian Jewish culture survived outside of Palestine (Sand, 2009). For example, the folklore and folkways of the Jews in northern Europe is distinctly pre-Christian German (Patai, 1983) and Slavic in origin, which disappeared among the latter (Wexler, 1993, 2012).”

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 9, 2019, 1:25 pm

      “Funny! Have you heard of Tamil Tigers fighting for independent Tamil state. Actually, they are the ones who “invented” suicide bombing.”

      Funny eh? Hilarious. And guess who helped arm the Sri Lankan govt who put down the Tamil movement by means of massive human rights abuses.

      ” Kurds had been fighting for their own state for quite some time. There is a significant Scottish movement for independence from Britain.”

      Really daft comparison. The Kurds, Tamils, Scots etc are all indigenous to the regions in which they seek independence, and for the most part do not seek to displace other peoples who are also indigenous to those regions. Not at all the same thing as folks who came from places like Ukraine, adopted fake ‘Israeli’ names and created fairy tales about having been ‘expelled’ from the region 2000 years ago in order to get rid of the indigenous people who did not practice the same religion as them.

      “As far as Palestinians – they want the entire area for themselves, don’t want to share. ”

      I wouldn’t want to ‘share’ with religious supremacists from Ukraine either, in all fairness.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      April 10, 2019, 5:33 pm

      Tamils are not stateless. They are citizens of India, and citizens of Sri Lanka, and are independent of each other. They are also not living under a brutal occupation. You need to stop projecting – it is the European transgressors who were dumped in hostile territory where indigenous people lived for years before, that is systematically stealing Palestinians lands, farms, water, and anything their greedy hearts and minds wants, to build a nation BEYOND the 1967 borders given to them. The problem with them is, they have taken advantage of America’s charity and support to perpetrate the worst crimes against unarmed civilians, who are at their mercy because of a damn occupation. Who would want to share anything with their occupiers, who keep stealing their lands, and demolishing their homes, breaking all international laws?

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        April 10, 2019, 9:29 pm

        @Kay24 to build a nation BEYOND the 1967 borders given to them.

        The 1967 “borders” were GIVEN to them?

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        April 11, 2019, 4:03 am

        Mondo, did they steal that too?

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        April 11, 2019, 1:19 pm

        @Kay24 , Mondo, did they steal that too?

        Nope. but please explain how the Green Line was “given” to the Israelis.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        April 11, 2019, 6:50 pm

        Okay, “given’ is not the correct word. I ” miswrote”.

  4. tony greenstein
    tony greenstein
    April 9, 2019, 8:51 am

    This is a very thoughtful essay, as always, by Robert Cohen. I think I might have approached it differently but his analysis is still spot on. It is unfortunate that the discussion above is less lucid.

    Boris of course gives the standard response of Zionists which is
    ‘Actually, Israel is the best example of people re-establishing their nation state in their ancestral home.’ Err no it isn’t.

    It is IRRELEVANT whether modern European Jews are descended from the ancient Hebrews. EVEN IF their DNA were to match then they would have no right to ‘return’ after more than 2000 years to reclaim their lands. There is no inherent ‘right of return’ anywhere in the world for those who have voluntarily migrated to other pastures.

    And no, there is NO evidence that the expulsion of Jews 2000 years ago by the Romans took place. Most Jews had already left for the Hellenised cities of the Middle East. Those that remained largely converted to Christianity and then Islam, so it is the descendants of the ancient Hebrews who are now being driven off the land. Or in Primo Levi’s words, the Jews of Israel are the Palestinians.

    What Robert Cohen fails to deal with in Deborah Lipstadt’s boring and unoriginal monologue is that the Jews are not a nation or a single people. That is itself a racial conception. They are members of virtually every nation and none. Yes it isn’t necessarily racist to deny other people the right to self-determination, though it is clear that in the case of the Tamils and Kurds they are indeed the victims of racism, but they are indeed a nation. Being Jewish is a religion not an ethnicity.

    To construct an ethnicity about of being Jewish, as happens in Israel, CANNOT HELP BUT BE RACIST AND EXCLUSIVIST. Defining a nation, any nation, on the basis of religion is a recipe for racism and worse. You only need to look to Burma and the Rohinga people and those claiming it is a Budhist nation or the European fascist states b4 the war, Romania and Hungary, which declared they were Christian states.

    The Kurds are not religiously homogenous There were always Kurdish Jews and the Yazidis.

    What I always ask when someone says Zionism is a national liberation movement is when did this argument first take hold. Zionists such as Herzl, Ben Gurion, Jabotinsky etc. always described Zionism as a colonisatory project, which it was. It is only in an age where Black people in South Africa and elsewhere have forged national liberation movements that Zionism jumped on the bandwagon. It is however wholly dishonest. Israel and Zionism supported the Apartheid state. They were its best friends. They had and have nothing in common with the ANC.

    Zionism was the consequence of and a reaction to anti-Semitism in Europe. However it was an utterly reactionary and racist reaction. I don’t know whether Robert Cohen is familiar with people like Max Nordau, Herzl’s Deputy or Arthur Ruppin, the Father of Land Settlement in Palestine, but it was their eugenic racism and that formed the ideological underpinning of both the Kibbutz movement and the settlement project.

    Robert was in short too kind to Deborah Lipstadt, who owes her fame to the decision of David Irving to sue her or rather Penguin. She has contributed very little to our understanding of the Holocaust and has used her reputation to whitewash Zionism. In so far as the deliberately obscures the racist and apartheid nature of Israel and Zionism she is nothing but an apologist for the most visceral racism.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 9, 2019, 12:47 pm

      “. Most Jews had already left for the Hellenised cities of the Middle East. ”

      I don’t think that’s correct either. There is simply no evidence that large numbers of Jews left Palestine at all. They were a farming people, not a seafaring or mercantile people. Also, Jews in the Roman empire spoke the languages spoken around them, ie, Latin in Rome or Greek in the East Med. Surely if they were native to the Middle East they’d have spoken their own language for at least a few generations?

      About 1 in 10 if not more citizens of the Roman empire practiced the Jewish faith at the dawn of the common era. It’s simply impossible to explain this except by acknowledging that the vast majority of them must have been converts, though our friend Boris the Ingush will certainly try.

      “Or in Primo Levi’s words, the Jews of Israel are the Palestinians.”

      Not just in his words. Many early Zionists – including a certain David Gruen – believed this too.

      • Brewer
        Brewer
        April 9, 2019, 3:50 pm

        200 years before Christ, the Jewish author of the Sibylline Oracles wrote (of the Jews) that “Every land is full of thee and every sea”, a century later, Strabo, Philo, Seneca and Josephus, bore testimony to the fact that the Jewish race was disseminated over the whole civilized world on their own initiative.

    • hai_bar
      hai_bar
      April 9, 2019, 1:45 pm

      Thank you @tony greenstein for writing what you wrote. Reading the article felt to me as if Robert Cohen is enabling the nonsense being spoken by many people around the world, from all RELIGIONS and all LANGUAGE GROUPS. Capitals to emphasize that Judaism can never and shall never become a language group, or an ethnicity if you want. I’ve met non-Arab (Arab = language group) Muslims who I get along much worse (culturally/mentality..etc) than with Greek Orthodox (language X religion) for example.

      So some of those Jewish (Zionists) believe they are descendants of those ancient Hebrews (probably today’s Palestinians and other groups in the post Sykes-Picot Levant), thus those are the followers of the self-defined ultimate good faith and monopolizers of light. I don’t get how this could make sense spiritually – is the creator (Yehoda, Allah, or else.) into monopoly?

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 9, 2019, 2:46 pm

        I thought the same. The article read like ‘zionism lite’ to me. Jews are not an ethnicity or a ‘people’ or a ‘nation’, any more than Buddhists or Calvinists are.

    • Peter in SF
      Peter in SF
      April 10, 2019, 12:12 am

      Israel and Zionism supported the Apartheid state. They were its best friends. They had and have nothing in common with the ANC.

      This brings to mind Netanyahu’s comments on the death of Nelson Mandela:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJwU_Uz8YT8
      Netanyahu called Mandela “the father of his nation”, but the thing I find remarkable is that he never brought up any kind of parallel with his parents’ generation who fought to establish his own country. No, he called Mandela “a freedom fighter who rejected any violence”, and noted approvingly that “he never became proud or haughty”. Not-so-subtle signals to Palestinians. One standard for white people, another for non-whites.

  5. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    April 9, 2019, 10:29 am

    “Some Palestinians and their supporters who see Zionism as nothing more than a European Settler Colonial project. I’ve always thought there was much more to the story of Zionism than that.”

    But the same is true of all settler colonial projects. Such projects always have an inside and an outside. For the insiders, the settlers, their project has special meanings that they consider essential to its characterization. What these meanings are varies somewhat from case to case, but a common theme is liberation from the stifling confines of the society from which they are escaping into a new life. For the outsiders whom they displace or kill in order to clear room for their new life these inner meanings do not matter very much. That is understandable, because as outsiders they are not invited to take part in the new life. From their external vantage point settler colonial projects look very much alike, differing only in the relative weights of displacement and genocide.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 9, 2019, 11:37 am

      “the Jews are not a nation or a single people.”

      For Zionism to realize its whole Megillahmania it must colonize the diaspora too.

  6. David Green
    David Green
    April 9, 2019, 12:10 pm

    Cohen:

    “Your new book ‘Antisemitism Here and Now’ has much to recommend it. You bring your considerable authority as a scholar of the Holocaust and Holocaust denial to today’s increasingly intolerant, divided and racist world. With nuance, you examine the global resurgence of antisemitism on the right and the left and within Islamist thinking. You examine ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ examples of Holocaust denial and the casual, unthinking antisemitism that enables the more dangerous varieties.”

    Lipstadt has never been anything more than an opportunist, a “yenta” as Norman Finkelstein refers to her. Her book about holocaust denial was as thin as it was alarmist. And yes, she received notoriety mainly in relation to David Irving. Lipstadt’s views have always been a cover for Israel’s policies. The recent book linked to by Cohen is likely undeserving of any respect, given the blurbs on the publisher’s website.

    It would behoove supporters of the Palestinians not to make unwarranted concessions regarding the alleged rise of anti-semitism on “left and right.” It’s vastly overstated, and when Lipstadt throws in Corbyn and is blurbed by Bret Stephens, you know what’s going on.

    • JustJessetr
      JustJessetr
      April 9, 2019, 3:57 pm

      @David Green. This very website you subscribe to has wailed about how the real threat of AS comes from the right.

    • Keith
      Keith
      April 9, 2019, 7:51 pm

      DAVID GREEN- “It would behoove supporters of the Palestinians not to make unwarranted concessions regarding the alleged rise of anti-semitism on “left and right.”

      Yes, particularly now that criticism of Israel is defined by Zionists as anti-Semitism and accepted as such by much of the official West including the US State Department.

  7. JustJessetr
    JustJessetr
    April 9, 2019, 12:40 pm

    Lipstadt shouldnt be too hard on boycotters of Israel. BDS is the best friend Zionism ever had.

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 9, 2019, 2:31 pm

      || JustJessetr: … BDS is the best friend Zionism ever had. ||

      Zionism is (one of) the worst friend(s) Jews ever had.

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        April 9, 2019, 3:54 pm

        That doesn’t sound like a denial.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 9, 2019, 7:02 pm

        || JustJessetr: That doesn’t sound like a denial. ||

        Neither does yours. I’m glad we agree with each other’s statement.

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        April 10, 2019, 8:11 pm

        Ok, time to look in the mirror then, O’ clever one. Your encouraging the Palestinians to insist on the whole loaf when they won’t even get a quarter, and now with Nutty winning the election, probably none, you’re responsible for letting Palestinians die fighting for a pipe dream. So you’ll have the moral high ground, sitting on their graves and telling anyone who passes by about ethnic supremecism while you did less than nothing.

        And no, we don’t agree. I’m fighting for a 2SS where Palestinans will survive and thrive.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 11, 2019, 7:18 am

        || JustaJester: Ok, time to look in the mirror then, O’ clever one. Your encouraging the Palestinians to insist on the whole loaf … ||

        If calling for justice, accountability, equality and respect for human rights and international laws for all the people in and up to n-generations removed from I-P is “insisting on the whole loaf”, yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

        The fact that that disgusts you says all one needs to know about you and the hateful and immoral ideology that drives your (war) crimes and supremacism.

        || … So you’ll have the moral high ground, sitting on their graves … ||

        The graves you put them into. So much for your moral high ground, jester.

        || … And no, we don’t agree. … ||

        Of course we don’t:
        – I advocate the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.
        – You’re a Zionist, so you hypocritically advocate your preferred brand of evil.

        || … I’m fighting for a 2SS where Palestinans will survive and thrive. ||

        The only thing you’re fighting for is to preserve your preferred brand of supremacism in as much of the territory you’ve unlawfully stolen, militarily-occupied and colonized.

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        April 15, 2019, 7:25 pm

        I came back a couple of days later just to see if I’d win a little bet with myself. Yep, you had absolutely nothing new to say, and Palestinians are dying on your watch, coaxed into the graves you thought fitting as the moral high-ground. Congratulations.

        Join J Street while there’s still time.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 15, 2019, 7:57 pm

        || JustaJester: I came back a couple of days later just to see if I’d win a little bet with myself. Yep, you had absolutely nothing new to say, and Palestinians are dying on your watch … ||

        Buried in the graves you put them into. I won’t congratulate you on the success of your evil.

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        April 17, 2019, 4:55 pm

        And how has your political movement prevented the loss of one life, one dunam of land? Taken back one right, put one coin in a pocket? Gained the support of one political body with any power to push for a 1SS?

        70 plus years of boycotting, and not a single result. You don’t believe in anything Palestinian. Not if you support something less than useless. It’s just Israel-bashing, and that has allowed even more land theft. Keep up your good fight, maybe you can see the 1ss solution after all, except it will be all Israel.

        Name-calling, boycotting, inflexibility in a very complex situation. One-trick pony political posturing is all you have. You don’t scare me little bit, but you should scare the Palestinians.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 17, 2019, 6:09 pm

        || JustaJester: And how has your political movement … ||

        I am not – nor do I have – a political movement.

        || … Gained the support of one political body with any power to push for a 1SS? … ||

        Either you’re going off-script or ZioHQ supplied you with the wrong talking points. I advocate a 2SS.

        || … You don’t scare me little bit … ||

        I’ve never threatened you so there’s no reason I should scare you even a little bit.

        But you and your fellow Zionists do scare me a little bit:

        catalan: … I am however interested in doing evil, but not unto all others, but just you. … It’s people like you I truly wish I could do evil unto. That, sadly, would feel good. …

        And I know that that makes you smile.

        || … but you should scare the Palestinians. ||

        Nah, you’re the one they should be terrified of because you’re the one putting them in graves. If I were a Palestinian living in geographic Palestine, I definitely would be terrified of you.

  8. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 9, 2019, 1:24 pm

    @WJ
    ” I feel a connection to Jerusalem and cannot say what portion is “Next Year in Jerusalem” and what portion is personal experience.”

    Seriously creepy. Sounds like the meandering thoughts of a serial stalker.

    I recommend seeing a specialist about your “connections”. They might lead to you doing something really silly.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 9, 2019, 11:45 pm

      I’m reminded of the people they show on that Hoarders show; they always feel a deep connection to all that stuff in their homes. I’m also reminded of when soldiers lose a leg, they still feel it.

  9. Peter in SF
    Peter in SF
    April 10, 2019, 12:14 am

    Prof. Lipstadt spoke at the JCC here in SF a couple of weeks ago, and I heard the broadcast of her talk:
    https://www.kalw.org/post/binah-deborah-lipstadt-john-efron
    It was awful. This supposed renowned academic expert on anti-Semitism accused Ilhan Omar of having made anti-Semitic comments, but never explained how those comments were anti-Semitic. Shouldn’t we expect her to be more qualified than just about anyone else to explain that for us? And same with Jeremy Corbyn. She even said that until Corbyn became leader, most British Jews supported the Labour party — though the factual reality is that in the election under the previous leader, Miliband, who was even a Jew himself, most British Jews voted Tory.

  10. RoHa
    RoHa
    April 10, 2019, 12:36 am

    Kudos on being polite to the dreadful Deborah Lipstadt. I don’t think I could manage it. But I agree with others that you concede to much to her.

    “In actual fact, Zionism is the national liberation movement of Jews. To argue that only Jews, among all the peoples of the world, are not to be permitted to have a national home (or more precisely, to return to their national home) is to deny Jewish peoplehood. The negation of Jewish nationhood is a form of antisemitism, if not intent, then certainly in effect. ”

    I want to examine three main claims in this passage.

    1. Jews constitute an n-nation.
    2. Arguing that Jews are not permitted to have a national home is a denial that Jews constitute an n-nation.
    3. Denying that Jews constitute an n-nation is anti-Semitic.

    In the process I will look at some of the subsidiary claims.

    1. Lipstadt wants to claim that Jews are, and were, an ethnic “nation”, in the sense of nation used in the language of “national liberation” for some European nations. (Post-colonial “national liberation” mostly concerned itself with freeing a particular colony from imperial rule, regardless of how many disparate ethnic groups inhabited the colony.)

    The standard characteristics of such ethnic nations (n-nations) are:

    (a) a specific territory in which the majority of the population are members of that group, and in which the majority of the members live
    (b) a shared culture
    (c) a common first language.

    The Finns constitute a paradigm case.

    But pre-Zionist Jews in general did not have these characteristics. There might have been territories in Eastern Europe in which the majority were Yiddish-speaking Jews, but that is about all. The Jews of the world spoke a variety of first languages. Aside from their religion, they did not have a common culture.

    Thus, they do not constitute an n-nation.

    3. Anti-Semitism (in what used to be the standard sense of the term) is a nasty attitude to have, and can lead to persecution of Jews.

    The nastiness lies in (putting it briefly) denying the common humanity of Jews, and marking them off as separate and different.

    How is denying that Jews constitute an n-nation a denial the common humanity of Jews?

    How does denying that Jews constitute an n-nation (regardless of the increase the probability of persecution of Jews? I think it reduces the probability.

    It seems to me (as it seemed to Edwin Montagu and Sir Isaac Isaacs) that proclaiming that Jews are an n-nation is more likely to promote the idea that Jews are separate and different from the people they live among, and thus more likely to promote persecution.

    Lipstadt’s claim that “the negation of Jewish nationhood is a form of antisemitism” does not seem substantiated, unless we take “anti-Semitism” to mean “anything a Zionist does not want said”.

    I will discuss the “national home” question later, in a separate comment.

    • Peter in SF
      Peter in SF
      April 10, 2019, 12:45 pm

      She’s invoking the principle best expressed in its original German as “ein Volk, ein Reich“, which she thinks should resonate with most Americans, especially those concerned about anti-Semitism.

  11. RoHa
    RoHa
    April 15, 2019, 1:01 am

    “To argue that only Jews, among all the peoples of the world, are not to be permitted to have a national home (or more precisely, to return to their national home) is to deny Jewish peoplehood.”

    And Lipstadt goes on to make it clear that by “Jewish peoplehood” she means that Jews are an n-nation.

    I have already denied that. Whatever sort of group Jews are, they are not an n-nation, regardless of what they call themselves.

    Thus, any arguments by analogy with n-nations fail. The argument “other n-nations are permitted to have national homes, so the Jews should also be permitted to have a national home” does not work.

    (And the subsequent “and anyone who disagrees can only be disagreeing from anti-Semitism” is unfounded.)

    But I will set that aside, and discuss the “national home” idea without assuming that Jews do not qualify.

    First, we need to know what is meant by “national home”. Given the context, it seems she means “a territory in which the n-nation has established a state”.

    Now it is obvious that there are n-nations which have not established a state, and I cannot imagine that even Lipstadt is unaware of this. For this reason I suspect she means something on the lines of “Other n-nations are in some way entitled to establish a state, but anti-Zionists deny that the Jews are so entitled. (Because they are anti-Semites, of course.)”

    I cannot see what characteristics of n-nations entitle them to establish states.

    A common language and a common culture are certainly good things for a state (the slogan “diversity is strength” is both fashionable and official, so it can hardly fail to be complete bollocks) but they are not necessary* and are not sufficient to give a right to establish a state.

    (Provided there is fair amount of agreement on key issues and values, states can function reasonably well despite diversity. Canada and Switzerland manage adequately even though portions of their populations speak French!)

    If there is no entitlement or right for n-nations to establish states, then it is not anti-Semitic to deny the entitlement to Jews.

    But regardless of whether there is such a right or entitlement, or whether the other n-nations which established states were permitted to do so without having the right, the denial of permission to the Jews is still not anti-Semitic.

    There is no right to do wrong.

    Permission should not be given for wrongdoing.

    And Zionism involved major wrongdoing. The aim of the Zionists was to invade Palestine and take it from the native inhabitants. To deny that they had a right to do this, or to deny permission, is simple morality. No anti-Semitism involved.

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