Most Americans confuse zionism and Judaism.
While many assume that zionism simply means allowing the Israeli nation to exist, many zionists in high positions within the Netanyahu and Sharon administrations advocate for very different policies altogether, including the use of offensive wars throughout the Middle East. See this, and read the section entitled “Securing the Realm” here.
In reality, many devout Jews are against zionism as being antithetical to traditional Jewish values. As such, many Jews say that criticizing zionism is not anti-semitism. … and some zionists themselves admit that even non-Jews have the right to criticize Israel.
As such, the common practice of American politicians and media of interchanging Iran’s words about the “zionist regime” with the word “Israel” is disingenuous. For example, AP reported today:
Israel‘s existence is an “insult to all humanity,” Iran’s president said Friday ….”The existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity,” Ahmadinejad said.
Criticizing a particular “regime” in Israel is akin to criticizing the “Bush administration” or the “Obama administration”. For example, saying that Bush should have been impeached is not calling for the American government to be overthrown.
Similarly, the AP story repeated the old canard:
Tensions between Iran and Israel have intensified since 2005, when Ahmadinejad said in a speech that Israel will one day be “wiped off the map.”
As a New York Times translation notes, Ahmadinejad wasn’t referring to Israel at all, but to the “regime” – i.e. the current political administration – in Israel.
Moreover, it was not Ahmadinejad himself speaking. He was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini, who died in 1989 (and who looked exactly like Sean Connery’s long-lost twin).
People can debate whether zionism is helpful or counter-productive, or which form of zionism is best. But interchanging zionism and Israel without explanation is misleading.
And anti-semitism is wholly unacceptable, as is prosecution of Christians, Muslims or anyone else for their religion or race.
But whatever Iran’s faults, the fact is that:
- The U.S. has been looking for an excuse to bomb Iran again for many decades
- The U.S. funds terrorist groups within Iran
- Iran protects Jews, and it’s constitution officially recognizes their rights (scroll to bottom; on the other hand, our close ally Saudi Arabia is virulently anti-semitic, and is the main backer of terrorism in the Middle East and abroad)