At the time, French President Emmanuel Macron had one thing to say about the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem: It caused deaths. People died.
The statement infuriated the Israeli government. It was a punch in the gut to the new nationalistic and imperious form of Zionism.
At the beginning of the month, the French National Assembly voted to declare that anti-Zionism is a new form of anti-Semitism. Macron’s remarks were anti-Zionist, so based on the new parliamentary resolution, the French president is an anti-Semite.
Last month, the European Court of Justice ruled that all of the countries of the European Union are obligated to implement the 2015 EU decision to clearly label products from West Bank settlements as such. That is an explicitly anti-Zionist decision, and therefore not only the court but also all of the EU member states that have implemented it are anti-Semitic.
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According to this definition, international law, which has also deemed the settlements as illegal, is anti-Semitic. So are most of the world’s leaders and a large portion of the world’s Jews, the Arab countries, Arab Israelis, soft left-wingers and extreme leftists, many members of the U.S. Congress, and Israeli politicians who have expressed opposition to the American decision, to the annexation of the Golan Heights or to the continued occupation.
“Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land,” Lord Arthur Balfour wrote in 1919. It was the declaration two years earlier that bears Balfour’s name and that he drafted expressing Britain’s support for the establishment of a national home for the Jews. But like the Balfour Declaration, the French National Assembly’s resolution also contains a significant flaw. It doesn’t define Zionism.
Is Jewish colonialism Zionism? Is the dream of a Greater Land of Israel part of those hopes that Balfour described as having “profounder import” than the desires of the Arabs? And most importantly, is the interpretation of Israel as the Jewish state and as the standard bearer of Zionism, as well as the policy of its government, the only accepted definition of Zionism?
There is no dispute over the fact that the State of Israel is the crown jewel of the Zionist dream, the fulfillment of an ideology aimed at providing the Jews with a designated area where they can live their lives. International recognition of Israel gave it legitimacy to be the Jewish national home in the world, but at the same time it required Israel to conduct itself according to the rules of the international community, international law and the universal rules of ethics required of every country that is a signatory to international conventions.
Those conventions recognize situations involving occupation, but also set rules regarding the occupation and the settlement of occupied territory.
When Israel adopts racist laws, when it violates international conventions related to the occupation, when it permits the relocation of the occupying population to the occupied territory, when it incites against a national minority living in its territory, its legitimacy is eroded and its founding idea, Zionism, undergoes diabolical mutation that destroys its values.
That mutation feeds the anti-Semitic monster that is unable to distinguish between Jewish identity, Zionism and Israeli identity. Paradoxically, Macron’s diagnosis that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism helps the anti-Semites. Based on his equation, support for Zionism even when it is distorted and deceptive, even when it brings tragedy upon another people, even when it gets a racist interpretation from the Israeli government, is a supreme test of humanism, just like the war on anti-Semitism.
From now on, anyone who seeks to fight anti-Semitism must also swear allegiance to Zionism. It comes as a single package. We’ll see how many fighters against anti-Semitism around the world agree to come together around the Zionist banner.