History and Zionism
In “Banning Anti-Zionism: Feasible? Desirable?” (Opinion, July 14), Ben Cohen suggests, as has the Anti-Defamation League and others, that anti-Zionism equals antisemitism.
Zionism, many forget, has always been a minority view among Jews. Most Jews believe that their Jewish identity rests on their religious faith, not any “national” identification. Jews in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and other countries do not view themselves as living in “exile,” as Zionist philosophy holds. Instead, they believe that religion and nationality are separate and distinct. The God they believe in is a universal God, not tied to a particular geographic site in the Middle East.
To label opposition to Zionism a form of antisemitism is to ignore the long history of anti-Zionism within the Jewish community. It is an effort to silence criticism of Israel and trivializes the real antisemitism which is to be found in our society and elsewhere in the world. Sadly, it is a form of idolatry to make a sovereign state, Israel, the virtual object of worship, replacing God and the Jewish moral and ethical tradition. The American Jewish community should welcome diverse opinions and points of view rather than use the term antisemitism to enforce a false conformity.
ALLAN C. BROWNFIELD
The writer is editor of Issues, the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism.