An article by Ben Kentish in The Independent (Israel furious after Ecuador compares Zionism to Nazism, Dec. 8th) highlights the following comments made by Ecuadorian diplomat Horacio Sevilla Borja at a UN session marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People:

“…I cannot remember anything more similar [to the Nazi persecution of Jews] in our contemporary history than the eviction, persecution and genocide that today imperialism and Zionism do against the Palestinian people.”

The Indy then reports on the diplomatic fallout from Borjas’s comments, before concluding by providing readers with an explanation of Zionism:

Zionism is a controversial ideology that is interpreted in many different ways. Some people consider it to be a legitimate belief in the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East while others claim it is a racist or apartheid ideology has been used to aggressively expand Israel’s borders.

First, let’s remember that the most widely used official definition of contemporary antisemitismthe Working Definition of Antisemitism, includes bullet points outlining ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to Israel, including the following:

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

However, even if you are not convinced that the Zionism = Racism canard is (by seeking to delegitimize the world’s only Jewish state) antisemitic in intent, it is undeniably antisemitic in effect, because such a characterization necessarily means that Jews (the overwhelming majority of whom are Zionists) support a racist ideology. 

In fact, for many Jews, their views on Israel don’t merely represent a political opinion, but represent a central part of their Jewish belief and expression.  In the UK, for instance, polls have shown that 93% of British Jews say that Zionism forms at least some part of their Jewish identity. 

For a perfect example of how such extreme views impact Jews, read Dave Rich’s harrowing account, in his book The Left’s Jewish Problem, of how, in the 70s (within 18 months of the UN “Zionism is Racism” resolution), some Jewish Societies were effectively banned by the Student Union because their support for Zionism was seen to contravene the NUS “No Platform Policy” whereby “racist” ideas wouldn’t be tolerated on campus.  

Regardless of the Independent’s intentions, by placing the proposition that ‘Israel has no moral right to exist’ on par with ‘Israel has a right to exist’, they are legitimising the extremist belief that millions of Jews (not merely Israelis, but Jews qua Jews) are morally beyond the pale.