Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zionism and Racism?

For quite a while there has been and continues to be discussion on whether or not Zionism is racism. I would like to point out some things about Zionism that are quite odd.

In 1975, the UN passed Resolution 3379 which stated that Zionism was a form of racism and linked it to racist regimes in South Africa and Zimbabwe. [1] When people hear this they argue that it was repealed by UN Resolution 46/86, which was passed in 1991. [2] However, what is quite odd is that Zionism is an ideology, such as libertarianism and liberalism, and thus does not change. Thus, the entire debate over whether or not Zionism is racism is quite strange. Does one say that from 1975-1991 Zionism was racism, but now it isn't? Or does one argue that Zionism was never racist in the first place?

Also, Zionism is defined as "the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, advocated, from its inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims." [3] Yet, many in the Israeli government who push laws such as a bill that "would require the state to fine local authorities and other state-funded bodies for holding events marking Nakba Day" [4] call themselves Zionists. (Nakba Day is "how Palestinians refer to the 1948 founding of the state of Israel, when an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled following Israel's declaration of statehood.[5])

Also in 2010 the Israeli Knesset approved "a bill stipulating that owners of illegal structures will be billed for their demolition. However the new law will not apply to residents of the West Bank" [6] (emphasis added) What this implies is that Israelis who owned illegal structures would be refunded by the government, but those in the West Bank would still be able to demolish Palestinian homes. Many people in Israel and the Israeli government propose and pass this legislation which can be seen as racist, yet they call themselves Zionists. 

Does this mean that they are not adhering to some "true" form of Zionism or does it mean that the aforementioned laws and those like it are a part of Zionism or Zionist thought?

The question of whether or not Zionism is racism will linger for quite a while until there are clearer answers.

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