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Trial Materials | Holocaust Denial on Trial

Posted By on March 6, 2019

In 1993, Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt wrote Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory to expose the lies, distortions, and political agendas that drive Holocaust denial. In the book, she discussed a number of specific Holocaust deniers including David Irving who she called a dangerous spokesperson for Holocaust denial.

In 1996, Irving sued Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin Books Ltd., for libel, saying his reputation as an historian was defamed. The suit was filed in the UK, where libel laws favor plaintiffs. Irving represented himself. Lipstadt was represented by barrister Richard Rampton, QC, and Anthony Julius and James Libson of Mishcon de Reya. The trial started on January 11, 2000, and ended on April 11, 2000, when Judge Charles Gray handed down his judgment: Lipstadt and Penguin had won their case resoundingly.

Judge Gray found that Irving had for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence in order to portray Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light particularly in his treatment of the Jews. Irving had significantly misrepresented, misconstrued, omitted, mistranslated, misread and applied double standards to the historical evidence in order to achieve his ideological presentation of history. Judge Gray also found that Irving was an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.

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Programs | American Jewish Historical Society

Posted By on March 6, 2019

CBST@40: Living NYCs LGBTQ Histories

Book Celebration & Talk

Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 6:00 pm

Do you know the histories of LGBTQ Jews in NYC?

Come learn about it with Programs@AJHS, as we mark pride month in the city!

This special program will host two of the foremothers of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ synagogue: the books author, Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, and the author of its preface, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, for a stimulating conversation on their longtime work at CBST.

We will celebrate the publication ofChanging Lives, Making History: CBST - The First Forty Years CBSTs 40th Anniversary Book. We will discuss the place, voice, and status of the LGBTQ Jewish community within the NYC Jewish community and the American Jewish community as a whole, the intersection of LGBTQ Jews work with other struggles for minority rights in NYC and America.

We will have a special display of AJHS archival materials telling the histories of LGBTQ Jews in America up for only one night. Refreshments will be served.

The story, or rather the stories inChanging Lives, Making History: Congregation Beit Simchat Torahilluminate forty revolutionary and transformative years in the life of New York City. These past forty years have witnessed, among other things, the impact of AIDS, breakthroughs in reproductive technologies and the gay baby boom, the emergence of queer and trans movements, and major Supreme Court decisions in support of equal rights. Through it all, CBST has been at the epicenter.

Come learn about it with Programs@AJHS, as we mark pride month in the city!

This special program will host two of the foremothers of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ synagogue: the books author, Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, and the author of its preface, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, for a stimulating conversation on their longtime work at CBST.

We will celebrate the publication ofChanging Lives, Making History: CBST - The First Forty Years CBSTs 40th Anniversary Book. We will discuss the place, voice, and status of the LGBTQ Jewish community within the NYC Jewish community and the American Jewish community as a whole, the intersection of LGBTQ Jews work with other struggles for minority rights in NYC and America.

We will have a special display of AJHS archival materials telling the histories of LGBTQ Jews in America up for only one night. Refreshments will be served.

The story, or rather the stories inChanging Lives, Making History: Congregation Beit Simchat Torahilluminate forty revolutionary and transformative years in the life of New York City. These past forty years have witnessed, among other things, the impact of AIDS, breakthroughs in reproductive technologies and the gay baby boom, the emergence of queer and trans movements, and major Supreme Court decisions in support of equal rights. Through it all, CBST has been at the epicenter.

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Programs | American Jewish Historical Society

Holocaust | Holocaust Denial in Muslim World

Posted By on March 6, 2019

The first flickerings of Holocaust denial in the Middle East began in the 1970s, when the German born Holocaust Denier, Ernst Zundel, published a four-page pamphlet entitled, "The West, War, and Islam," and sent it to the heads of state of several Middle Eastern countries.

In the 1980's, indigenous Middle Eastern sources began to develop, but it was not until the 1990s that Holocaust denial became prevalent in the Arab press. By that time, many Islamic social and political movements in the Arab world joined the resurgent trend of Holocaust denial among European anti-Semites. This was mainly the result and influence of the persistent activity in this field by Roger Garaudy, a French scholar and leading European anti-Semite.

Garaudy, a former Christian Marxist and French Communist Party member of the French parliament, converted to Islam following the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. He soon became a prominent figure in promoting anti-Semitism among Islamic movements. But since he was known for his anti-Jewish writings as a Marxist too, he gained the support of many Arab circles beyond the Islamic movements.

With Holocaust denial gaining popularity in the Arab press, individuals from the Syrian and Iranian government, as well as Palestinian political groups (including Hamas) began to publish and promote Holocaust denial statements.

A press release by Hamas in April 2000 decried "the so-called Holocaust, which is an alleged and invented story with no basis".

In a December 2005 speech, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Holocaust was "a myth" that had been promoted to defend Israel, ramping up his rhetoric and triggering a fresh wave of international condemnation. "They have fabricated a legend under the name 'Massacre of the Jews', and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves," he said. He also called for Israel to be relocated to Germany, or Austria, arguing it was these nations that persecuted the Jews, so they should carry the responsibility, not Palestinians forsaking their land to form a state of Israel. He also suggested the USA.

Ahmadinejad's speeches were followed by an unprecedented wave of Holocaust denials coming out of Iran, including those in the form of government-sponsored symposia and cartoon contests.

Some Muslims condemned Ahmadinejad's statement. A spokesman for Germany's oldest Muslim organization, the Islamic Archiv-Deutschland Central Institute, called Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial a "disgrace to all Muslims." In the United States, the Muslim Public Affairs Council condemned the Iranian leader's remarks.

It is sad to note that while in the West, Holocaust denial has traditionally been limited to the fringe movements of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, it has gained broad acceptance in the Muslim world, particularly in the Middle East. Whether wielded by governments, opposition parties, professional organizations or journalists, Holocaust denial in our midst is a scourge that must be rejected.

In 2006, then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said: "Remembering is a necessary rebuke to those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated. Holocaust denial is the work of bigots. We must reject their false claims whenever, wherever and by whomever they are made."

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Holocaust | Holocaust Denial in Muslim World

Sovereignty = Zionism = Stability – Israel National News

Posted By on March 5, 2019

Sovereignty = Zionism = Stability


Disseminating miracle solutions for complex problems is one of the major problems during the pre-election period. Parties seek to present solutions in slogans of up to four words to be emblazoned on billboards. But the public is smart and understands that complex situations require complex solutions.

These days we are in the midst of a well-financed (it is not yet clear by whom) campaign of intimidation in which former military authorities are seeking to return us to the blueprint of withdrawals and concessions and to instill fear in us from the vision of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria by wielding the sword of demography.

The same self-appointed experts are again trying to sell us the Arab Peace Plan, which includes a complete withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights and establishment of a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem. These former officers conceal the fact that they are left-wingers who, in the past, supported every proposal calling for Israeli withdrawal and capitulation. That was the case in the Gaza Strip, that was the case in Lebanon, and that is what they sought to do in the Golan Heights. We are still today paying the price in blood for the consequences of those initiatives, Hezbollah threats and Hamas rockets.

Despite the respect for their past as officers, these are people lacking historical and political awareness, lacking understanding of the destiny of the Jewish people, and lacking familiarity with the Arab, Middle Eastern mentality according to which the one who capitulates and withdraws invites the next attack until he ultimately surrenders.

One does not need to be a security expert to understand the disaster latent in withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. The objective that the Arab leadership has unceasingly declared is establishment of greater Palestine that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. Iranian and jihadist forces from all over the world will enter this state that those experts are seeking to establish; missiles fired on Ben-Gurion Airport will become a daily occurrence, preventing planes from taking off. Millions of Arabs will stream from Jordan to Judea and Samaria and will create a full-fledged demographic threat, with their ultimate objective being a return to Yafo, Ramle, Haifa, and Ashdod. The world will see and will again and again demand more withdrawals in order to appease the angry Arab mob.

All this is before we mention our historical obligation to take possession of the Land of Israel. Jews cannot relinquish Judea! There is no moral validity to our presence in Ramat Aviv if we cede Beit El, Shechem and Hevron to foreign sovereignty.

An Israeli withdrawal from the cultural cradle of the Jewish people and from its heartland will be national suicide. Only total Israeli control and sovereignty in Judea and Samaria will yield security, stability, and a moral-historical basis for our presence here.

For 51 years, we are responsible for the fact that a political question mark hovers over Judea and Samaria. The status quo, which, perhaps, pacifies certain right-wing supporters, does not really exist. Under its auspices, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is building and taking control of lands in Areas A and B, and establishing facts on the ground specifically in Area C. The Jews, in contrast, are paralyzed and subject to a building freeze. If this issue is not resolved soon, no land will remain available to the Jews. A clear Israeli declaration that there is no intention to withdraw, accompanied by actions, will thwart the hopes of the Arab enemy to establish a state on our ruins.

The challenge of sovereignty requires that we soberly address the demographic threat. In that interest, several proposals have been raised, whose purpose is one: A single Jewish State between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, in which there is a solid Jewish majority and an Arab minority loyal to the state. In order to ensure that result, it is possible to proceed in stages:

In the first stage, sovereignty will be applied to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, with no change in the status of the Arabs. Already at this stage, the insane idea of the establishment of a Palestinian state will be halted. In the second stage, sovereignty will be applied to the territories of Area C, which constitute 60% of Judea and Samaria (with some necessary border adjustments). The approximately 80,000 Arabs residing in those areas will be granted resident status like that enjoyed by the East Jerusalem Arabs. In the third stage, sovereignty will be applied to the rest of Judea and Samaria, and for the Arabs there, municipal autonomy will be established under Israeli sovereignty, which will oversee the school textbooks and maintain exclusive control of security and foreign policy.

We must take an honest look into the future. In 30 years there will be 20 million people west of the Jordan. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren expect us to conserve the land for them, to provide the option of a comfortable life, with reasonably priced housing, economic prosperity, and security and political stability.

In summary: Between the Mediterranean and the Jordan there is only one national entity Israel. Our primary commitment is to the Jewish people. The aforementioned steps are gradual; however, it is possible that we will be surprised by foundational historical events as in 48 and 67 when multitudes of Arabs decided to leave. We can also anticipate and must facilitate the aliya of at least another million Jews from the Diaspora. Under those circumstances, the entire balance will change even more for the best.

Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar are the co-chairs of the Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green

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Sovereignty = Zionism = Stability - Israel National News

Talmud synonyms, Talmud antonyms –

Posted By on March 2, 2019

That Jews are forbidden to worship idols is such a basic element of Judaism that the Talmud does not actually have much to say about it.Milestones include the first (unfinished) attempt at an English translation by American publisher Michael Levi Rodkinson at the turn of the 20th century, an abridged version by Rabbi Chaim Tchernowitz in the 1920s, and "The Soncino Talmud on CD-ROM" from 1995.Skibell begins the project with the frank admission that many of the passages in the Talmud are strange on their face, but he indicates that great beauty resides there, too.First, the Talmud mentions the differences between Ezekiel and Numbers regarding the animal sacrifices of Rosh Hodesh.Perhaps the most astonishing confirmation of this claim is the fact delivered on the next-to-last page of the book The Talmud has been adopted as a primary school text in, of all places, South Korea.Nahmanides quotes the description in the Talmud Rosh Hashanah 21b of the fifty categories (shearim) of knowledge created in the world, of which forty-nine were given to highly relevant for analyzing thinking processes in the Talmud.To one scholar goes all the credit for introducing into Talmudic studies a systematic reading of Pahlavi religion, law, history and literature, and that is Yeshiva University's Talmud superstar, Yaakov Elman, who has brought Iranian Zoroastrian studies into the world of the Talmud.Although the Islamic Republic insists it is anti-Zionist and not ant-iSemitic, Iran's first vice president has assailed the Talmud, Judaism's Holy book, saying it teaches Jews how to destroy the members of other faiths.With thousands of years of existence, the Talmud can often be daunting for modern readers.11) It is, however, noteworthy that the Tosefta, Talmud Yerushalmi, and Talmud Bavli (as well as Genesis Rabbah) all reflect restrictions related to participation at such fairs, and this clear rabbinic opposition-which extends to going near the site of a fair (according to T Avodah Zarah 1:5)--calls for elaboration.AARTS-accredited schools offer a program of Talmud and related studies.Dan JAFFE, El Talmud y los origenes judios del cristianismo.Roberto Rodriguez es uno de esos valientes, y Timba Talmud representa una creatividad de alto nivel, una joya de la musica afrocaribena.Just as the Talmud honors "radical rethinking, even about its foundational concepts" (2), so too does the Jewish American fiction under examination in this book celebrate "radical rethinking" through methods such as open-endedness and multiple perspectives that question the foundations of literary tradition.

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Talmud synonyms, Talmud antonyms -

Synagogue – Magdala

Posted By on February 28, 2019

This synagogue in Magdala is currently the oldest excavated in Galilee and one of seven from the first century in all of Israel. A coin minted in Tiberias in 29 CE was found inside the synagogue, proving that the synagogue was from the first century and the time of Christs ministry. Since the Bible tells us that Jesus taught throughout the Galilee, it is certain that he taught and frequented this very spot.

The synagogue is well preserved and included an entrance hall that also served as a study room (Bet Midrash), and a chamber for storing the Torah scrolls.

Walk Where Jesus Taught

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23 NIV)

The archaeological project is headed by Universidad Anhuac Mxico Sur (Anahuac University of Mexico South in partnership with Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico (National Autonomous University of Mexico UNAM) and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Next: The Magdala Stone


Synagogue - Magdala

Jewish American Heritage Month | Programming Librarian

Posted By on February 26, 2019

Held each May, Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) was established in 2006 to recognize more than 350 years of Jewish contributions to American culture in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.

The JAHM Coalition website has a wealth of resources for celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month, including an events calendar to which libraries can add their events, stories about notable Jewish Americans, a historical timeline, and teacher curriculum and program ideas. Libraries can also download JAHM logos to help promote programs.

The Library of Congress, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, also has an informative site devoted to Jewish American Heritage Month. Offering information on exhibits and collections, images, and audio and video, the site includes stories from Jewish Americans, including From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America and Jewish Veterans of WWII as well as the National Park Services Jewish American Historical Places.

You can find general information about Jewish culture as well as related links, bibliographies, music and DVD lists, and more at the following sites:

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Jewish American Heritage Month | Programming Librarian

Young Anti-Zionists: Be Uncomfortable, Like I Am With My Zionism The …

Posted By on February 23, 2019

Last week I received an email from a woman I have never met. She told me she had lived in Israel earlier in her life and that, while critical of some of its policies, loves the country in ways she can scarcely express.

Then she outlined her problem: Her niece has declared herself an anti-Zionist. Not a critic of Benjamin Netanyahu or of Israeli settlements but someone who believes Israel is on stolen land and shouldnt be there. Those sentiments, my correspondent explained, took my breath away and left me crushed. Then she asked me a question: If your niece, whom you dearly love, suddenly announced that she was an anti-Zionist, what would you say?

Ten years ago in the American Jewish community, this family drama would have been exotic. Now it is increasingly common. Heres my answer.


Dear X,

Congratulations: Youre part of a long Jewish tradition. Jews have opposed Zionism since its birth as a political movement more than a century ago. Your tradition is not mine; I believe in a certain kind of Jewish state. But my goal is not to convince you of my point of view. Its to make you think about yours. If youre going to be an anti-Zionist, be a good one.

First, listen. Youre rightly ashamed that so many American Jewish Zionists never listen to Palestinians and are thus ignorant of their trauma and dismissive of their opinions. Dont make the same mistake with your own people.

Find a Jew born in Europe before 1948 and ask them about the moment they heardor their parents heard, if they were lucky enough to still be alivethat Jews had recreated a country after two thousand years. Listen and try to imagine how it felt to watch the nations of the world permit the destruction of two-thirds of the Jews of Europe and then learn that there would be one nation on earth dedicated to ensuring that Hitlers successors never completed his work.

Imagine how it felt to watch anti-Semitic armies wield the flag of the country of your birth and then witness the creation of a flag with a Jewish star.

But dont stop there. Find a Jew your own age from the former Soviet Union or Sweden or France and ask what Israel means to them. Listen and try to imagine what Israel might mean if you lived in a country where you couldnt safely wear a kippa or a Jewish star walking down the street.

These people may not change your mind. But let them into your heart.

Recognize that your experience growing up in perhaps the most privileged, assimilated and secure (Trump notwithstanding) Diaspora Jewish community in the history of the world is atypical. It is atypical and there is no guarantee it will grow more typical in the years to come.

Yes, the Israeli government and its supporters fan and exploit Jewish fears. But those fears arent imaginary. You have likely never felt you needed the refuge that Zionism offers. Imagine what Zionism means to people who do.

Second, after listening to Zionists, learn about Zionism itself.

Understandably, a lot of people today identify Zionism with whatever the Israeli government does. But like any nationalist movement, Zionism has come in many flavors.

For instance, the writer known as Ahad Haam perhaps the second most influential turn of the century Zionist thinker after Theodor Herzl wasnt focused on creating a Jewish state. What mattered to him was that Jews create a society in the land of Israel, a society thatbecause of the lands unique religious and historical significanceenriched Jewish life around the world.

Do you ever watch Israeli films, read Israeli novels or listen to Israeli music? Have you ever been to Israel and marveled as Jews from Yemen, Morocco, Lithuania and everywhere in betweencommunities separated for thousands of yearsbicker with each other in a language that hadnt been spoken on the street since the 3rd century?

If any of these experiences have enhanced your life as a Jew, youve tasted what Ahad Haam hoped Zionism would achieve.

Some of Ahad Haam mid-twentieth century successors Judah Magnes, the founder of Hebrew University, Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah and the philosopher Martin Buber opposed a Jewish state because they believed, like you, that it would come at the Palestinians expense. Instead, they wanted a binational state in which Jews and Palestinians lived as equals, each respecting each others cultural autonomy.

Yet they still saw themselves as cultural Zionists. The point is not merely semantic. Magnes, Szold and Buber opposed a Jewish state in the land of Israel but they believed passionately in a Jewish society there. I know you agree with them on the first point. But to figure out what you mean by anti-Zionism, you must figure out how you feel about the second.

If you dont care about a Jewish society in the land of Israel, then being an anti-Zionist is simple. Eliminate the hard shell of a Jewish state a state that undoubtedly oppresses millions of Palestinians and let the chips fall where they may.

But if you do care if you want to preserve the achievements of Ahad Haam then being an anti-Zionist is complicated. Its complicated because its hard to know what might happen to Jewish life in the land of Israel without the state of Israel.

Eighteen years ago, a renowned anti-Zionist scholar said that, The question of what is going to be the fate of the Jews [after a Jewish state] is very difficult for me. I really dont know. It worries me. The scholar was Edward Said. The history of minorities in the Middle East has not been as bad as in Europe, he added, but I wonder what would happen.

In the eighteen years since that statement, as Arab Christians have endured mounting oppression, the experience of minorities in the Middle East has grown considerably worse.

Sure, you might respond, but Zionism is complicated too, more complicated than many American Jews admit. Absolutely right. There is a deep tension between a national movement built to safeguard and represent one ethno-religious group and the principle of liberal democracy, in which everyone is equal under the law. That tension is most brutally obvious in the West Bank. But it exists inside Israel proper too.

As Zionists who care about liberal democracy, we must both admit that tension and work to minimize it. Ending Israels occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is only the beginning. Even inside the green line, Israel must become far more inclusive of its Palestinian citizens.

For me, the only aspect of Jewish statehood that is non-negotiable is that Israel must remain a haven for Jews in distress. Id change Israels discriminatory land laws, add a stanza to Hatikva that speaks to the hopes of the twenty percent of Israels citizens who arent Jews, and break the tradition that excludes Arab parties from Israels coalition governments.

Given the direction Israel is going, this may strike you as utopian. It may also strike you as insufficient. Thats fine. Pursuing a decent Zionism is difficult.

But if you care about the Jewish society between the river and the sea, your project is difficult too. Buber, Szold and Magnes wanted a binational state. But binational statesfrom Belgium to Czechoslovakiadont have a great track record.

Its hard to run a democracy when people are more loyal to their national communities than to the state that supposedly supersedes them. What is the army of Israstine going to look like? And what will keep it from fracturing into sectarian militias when things get tough? It was the prospect of civil war that led the British to propose partition back in the 1930s, and the divisions and hatreds of that era have only grown in the decades since.

When you dream about a country after Zionism, you may envision post-apartheid South Africa. But consider the possibility that you will get Lebanon instead.

So lets make a deal. Ill be an uncomfortable Zionist. You be an uncomfortable anti-Zionist.

And, above all, remember that we are a family: Not just you and me but the Jewish people itself. We are a family that has endured the greatest perils and the deepest divisions. We can endure the renewed division between Zionists and anti-Zionists too. But families only function well when there is both honesty and solidarity. Zionists must be honest enough to invite you to our communal tables and face your searing challenge.

You must show, even as you pose that challenge, that recognize you are speaking to family. Zionists should not consider you the wicked child. But when you speak about the six million Jews who live in Israel, dont speak like the wicked child, asking What do they mean to you. Ask: What do they mean to us.

This is the compact that can sustain our people. Zionism without Jewish exclusion. Anti-Zionism with Jewish solidarity. We need each other more than we know.

With affection,Peter

Correction: An earlier draft of this article misstated the year Edward Said worried about the fate of the Jews. It was in 2000, not 2010. We regret the error.

This story "Young Anti-Zionists: Be Uncomfortable, Like I Am With My Zionism" was written by Peter Beinart.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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What is Zionism ??? And how is it related to Jews? | Yahoo Answers

Posted By on February 23, 2019

Zionism doesn't have a single meaning, and probably never did.

At one time, it was the movement to persuade the British to create Israel out of the Palestinian Mandate, which Britain occupied from and after WWI, and which comprised FAR more than just what is Israel and Palestine today.

That being accomplished, the original Zionist movement is no more.

Today the term's meaning depends on who uses it. To some it's anyone that wants to see Israel continue to exist. To others it's the secret movement that wants Israel to control the entire world and exterminate all Muslims. The first category is easy to find, they're all over Israel itself, and in many other parts of the world. The second is a little harder to get ahold of, there doesn't seem to be any known leader or even a post office box to write to them, and they don't seem to have a website. People like Achmidenajad seem to know who they are, though.

There are a lot of Christian Zionists, too. They believe that the Second Coming depends on the existence of Israel, so they support Israel more fervently than most US Jews even do.

I guess the bottom line of what it means to be a Zionist is one that goes beyond defining Israel as a sovereign nation, and including any kind of religious significance to Israel. That would include Israelis, Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and yes, that makes Mahmoud Achmidenajad a Zionist.

Israel is a sovereign nation. That's it. It happens to be largely Jewish, just like the US happens to be largely Christian or Agnostic, depending on who you ask.

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What is Zionism ??? And how is it related to Jews? | Yahoo Answers

Anti-Zionism equals Anti-Semitism? Macron fuels debate on how …

Posted By on February 21, 2019

Addressing a rise in hate crimes against the Jewish diaspora in France, President Emanuel Macron has supported the expansion of the definition of anti-Semitism to outlaw anti-Zionism as well, fueling public debate over the terms.

Anti-Semitism is hiding itself behind anti-Zionism, Macron said Wednesday, speaking at the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (Crif) and announcing that France seeks to define anti-Zionism as a modern-day form of anti-Semitism.

The rise of hate crime incidents in France, including the verbal abuse of philosopher Alain Finkielkraut at a Yellow Vest rally last weekend and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg, has prompted the French government to seek new means to fight growing animosity towards their Jewish population, the largest in Europe.

While Macron believes the new definition falls in line with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) interpretation, the organization's own terminology does not contain any reference to Zionism at all.

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews...[and which] might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity, the IHRA said, making clear that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

Just a day earlier the French leader had said he opposes criminalizing criticism of the state of Israel, after French lawmakers proposed a bill on Monday that would make anti-Zionism a punishable offense. Yet it seems Macron somewhat changed his mind a day after thousands of demonstrators gathered across France to condemn the rise of anti-Semitic attacks, a 74 percent increase last year, with 541 reported cases.

While the Office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to endorse the new proposed definition, it fueled the long raging debate challenging the assertion that being anti-Zionist automatically equates to being an anti-Semite.

Historically, different forms of anti-Semitism have existed across the world for centuries. Anti-Zionism, however, is a relatively new phenomenon which was born in the late 19th century to oppose the Zionist political movement that was founded by Theodore Herzl and advocated the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, at that time ruled by the British.

It is crucial to say that what is forbidden is to deny the existence of Israel. That has to be made a criminal offense, Sylvain Maillard, an MP with Macrons political party The Republic on the Move (LREM), told RFI. However, you obviously have the right to say you do not agree with the policy of the Israeli government. That is normal in a democracy.

If we consider opposition to Theodore Herzl's theory as anti-Semitic, then were saying that the millions of Jews who do not wish to live in Palestine and the occupied territories are anti-Semites, French journalist Dominique Vidal,toldFRANCE 24. It's historical illiteracy, or worse, stupidity.

The concepts of Zionism and anti-Zionism completely changed since the founding of Israel in 1948. Now anti-Zionism is largely associated with public anger towards the policies of the state of Israel, and not necessarily against Jewish ethnicity. It is most clearly defined in the worldwide Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) which the French president vowed to tackle on Wednesday, and criminalizing anti-Zionism could in theory allow him to do just that.

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