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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism

Guardian Letter from 88 Jews Rejects Chief Rabbi's Claim That Zionism is Integral to Judaism

The Guardian today carried a letter from the Free Speech on Israel group containing the signatures of 88 Jews.  The letter was originally sent to The Telegraph in response to a letter by the Chief Rabbi Ken Livingstone and the hard Left are spreading the insidious virus of anti-Semitism which asserted that claims that Zionism is a:

 ‘political; that it is expansionist, colonialist and imperialist’ movement  are ‘a fiction.’  According to Mirvis, Zionism is apparently ‘a belief in the right to Jewish self-determination in a land that has been at the centre of the Jewish world for more than 3,000 years. One can no more separate it from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.’

I guess that when your whole life is based on a fictional character called god, writing fiction comes easy.  Jewish life in the past 3,000 years is not one seamless tapestry.  Even at the time of the Roman occupation of Palestine in 63 BC the majority of Palestine’s Hebrews had emigrated to the Hellenised cities of the Mediterranean.  If there was a centre of Jewish life it was in Vilna not Jerusalem.  Palestine was the last place that Jews wanted to go.  Of the 2.5 million+ Jews who emigrated from the Russian Pale of Settlement from the mid 19th century until 1914, about 98% went to the United States and Britain.  Palestine was the last place Jews wanted to go.

The Daily Torygraph faithful to its traditions of free and open debate refused to take a reply, hence why we wrote to the Guardian referring to its coverage of Mirvis’s absurd letter.  It would be interesting to see how Mirvis explains the opposition of Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler to Zionism.  Writing in the English Review in 1878 responded to the question ‘what was ‘the political bearing of Judaism?’  Adler replied that ‘Judaism has no political bearing whatever.’

‘Ever since the conquest of Palestine by the Romans we have ceased to be a body politic.  We are citizens of the country in which we dwell.  We are simply Englishmen or Frenchmen or Germans, as the case may be, certainly holding particular theological tenets and practising special religious ordinances; but we stand in the same relation to our countrymen as any other religious sect, having the same stake in the national welfare and the same claim on the privileges and duties of the citizens.’ [Leonard Stein, The Balfour Declaration, 1961, London]

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