Editorial: Demonizing Zionism and Sanitizing Hatred


The advent of the IHRA definition of antisemitism was correctly seen as a significant breakthrough by many of those engaged in responding to anti-Israel sentiment. Its rather awkward wording was adequately compensated by the useful examples by which it was accompanied. Specifically, it successfully cut the ground from beneath the feet of those who insist that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. 

Somewhat predictably, there was soon pushback from anti-Israel activists. That pushback has reached a new and critical level with the establishment of the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism.  Progressive leftist academics will gather for an inaugural conference entitled “Battling the ‘IHRA Definition’: Theory and Activism.” 

One commentator astutely observes that while ICSZ castes Zionism as a “political ideology tightly enmeshed with racism, fascism, and colonial dispossession”, in fact, “this deeply contrived view of Zionism bears no relationship to how the founders of Zionism framed their beliefs, nor how Jews have historically perceived and experienced Zionism.”

Responding to a particularly egregious example of anti-Zionism in NZ’s mainstream media, a recent Jerusalem Post article exposed the folly of applying a post-colonialist lens to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It further demonstrated that the experience and historical context of Māori is entirely unlike that of the Palestinians.

Veteran journalist Jonathan Spyer last month made comments at Oxford on the current political turmoil in Israel, articulating his desire to see the judicial reforms halted, despite his sympathy for some of the goals of the reforms themselves.

Also at Oxford, ISGAP founder Dr Charles Asher Small spoke of his findings concerning unreported funding by Muslim Brotherhood of the many of the West’s finest educational institutions. The implications for anti-Israelism are deeply disturbing. Perhaps equally disturbing is that an investigation started under the Trump regime was halted under Biden.

Finally, as we approach NZ’s general election be sure to view IINZ’s 2023 Voters’ Guide.

Perry Trotter