This is what branding looks like:
You have a product to sell. You must convince the market to buy.
The problem is that the product is old. It’s been seen before and has been rejected by many as faulty. The average person will not buy the product, as is. What do you do?
Rebrand. Package the product with new language, a new backstory, a new look and feel and many, probably enough, customers will be convinced they are seeing a new product and buy.
This is how antisemitism became anti-Zionism.
The “product” is Jew hate. The “customers” are anyone, anywhere and many are eager to buy. Some are less enthusiastic but, with successful marketing campaigns, can over time, be convinced as well.
Before the re-establishment of the Jewish state, when Zion was still a dream, it would not have made much sense to declare oneself an anti-Zionist.
In today’s political climate, it is socially unacceptable to discriminate against any minority, much less declare outright hatred or revulsion of a certain social group. This, however, does not mean that there is no hatred, it only means that those who hate must find a form of expression that is considered socially acceptable.
Israel hate is nothing more than Jew hate, rebranded:
- The language has changed, “Jew” is replaced with the term “Zionist” or “colonialist”.
- The backstory has changed, now it is Israel the aggressor, Israel who does to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews (which suddenly makes it possible and even acceptable to compare Jews to Nazis).
- The imagery has changed from that of the Shylock type Jew to the cruel IDF soldier who abuses Palestinian children
Looking beyond the pyrotechnics of marketing, it is easy to recognize that the content has remained the same, the only difference is the packaging. Most of all, the goal is the same.
Antisemitism demonizes Jews for the ills of the world, to the point of denying Jews the right to life (pogroms, Holocaust).
Anti-Zionism denies Jews the right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland, Zion. It is a denial of the right to have a home and to self-defense in that home. This is a denial of the right to life.
To clarify, criticism of one or even many of Israel’s policies is not illegitimate. That cannot be considered anti-Zionism whereas blanket criticism of Israel’s existence or the insistence on policies that would cause Israel to cease to exist is both anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic.
The most common stance of the modern anti-Semite is “I don’t have anything against Jews, I just hate Israel.” It is interesting to note that this paradigm is not accepted in regard to any other nation. “I don’t hate Americans, I just hate America,” “I don’t hate the French I just think France shouldn’t exist” are statements that would not even be considered by the average person. Why is the same sentiment acceptable when the focus is on Israel?
The hot topics of today are social justice, women’s rights, minority rights. It has become “cool” to be a “social justice warrior”. At the same time, Jew hatred in the form of anti-Zionism is becoming normalized.
The Women’s March Movement, for example, was supposed to be about feminism, about women’s rights. It was Linda Sarsour who took away the rights of Jewish women when she declared that it is impossible to be both a Zionist and a feminist. She created a new paradigm that her followers had to either accept or be rejected by their peers. She further normalized Jew hatred with additional declarations, comparing Zionists to white supremacists and racists.
If Zionists belong in the same group as white supremacists and racists, the Zionist no longer belongs to a protected minority group and instead belongs to a group that must be rejected and ejected from society.
To further exacerbate the problem, socially influential institutions are lauding Sarsour, making her anti-Zionist (read, anti-Semitic) statements even more acceptable. Glamour Magazine chose Sarsour as one of their 2017 women of the year. New York’s famous New School, chose Sarsour to chair a panel on antisemitism (scheduled for November 28th).
But the problem is not Linda Sarsour, or her ilk. Freedom includes the freedom to hate.
The problem is everyone who does not recognize antisemitism when they see anti-Zionism. The problem is everyone who has swallowed the marketing campaign and forgotten what Zionism means.
History has taught us that the dehumanization of Jews is not done in one day. It is a slow process of delegitimization. We’ve seen this show before. The costumes and the scenery are different but the content is exactly the same, the old horror, rebranded.