By Charles Pulman
On Nov. 10, 1975, the U.N. General Assembly adapted Resolution 3379 stating: “Determines that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The Resolution was approved by just 51% of the then members of the General Assembly.
On Dec. 16, 1991, the same body, the U.N. General Assembly, adopted Resolution 46/86 stating: “Decides to revoke the determination contained in its resolution 3379 (xxx) of Nov. 10, 1975.” This Resolution was approved by 67.7% of the then members of the General Assembly.
With the passage of Resolution 46/86, the antisemitic Resolution equating Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish People in their ancestral homeland, with racism was repealed, an acknowledgment that the 1975 Resolution was wrong in its determination.
In advocating for repeal of the 1975 Resolution, US President George H.W. Bush stated several truths that bear repeating today: “Zionism is not a policy; it is an idea that led to the creation of a home for the Jewish people, to the State of Israel. And to equate Zionism with the intolerable sin of racism is to twist history and forget the terrible plight of Jews… throughout history. To equate Zionism with racism is to reject Israel itself …. This body cannot claim to seek peace and at the same time challenge Israel’s right to exist.”
It is reported that Dr. Martin Luther King stated before his assassination in 1968: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”
While an overwhelming majority of the U.N. General Assembly, not a particularly strong friend of Israel today, recognized in 1991 that Zionism is not racism, that message apparently has not been heard by others. Today, almost 30 years after this recognition by the U.N., this false and defamatory statement against Israel and the Jewish people has reared its ugly head and is being expressed by those seeking to silence, defame and stigmatize Jews and others who support Israel as a Jewish state.
The current manifestation of this bigotry is the “cancel culture” that is strikingly similar to the McCarthyism of the 1950s hunt for Communists and to the Nazism of the 1930s hunt for Jews. In the case of Jews, this bigotry is cloaked in the wrapper of Zionism and Israel.
Evidence of the resurgence of this irrational hatred against Jews can be seen in many instances in the U.S. today — the attacks against the Jewish, former New York Times journalist Bari Weiss for her support of Israel, the attacks against former USC student government Jewish leader Rose Ritch for her support of Israel and the attacks against Israel and Zionists led by BDS and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Considering the words of President George H.W. Bush in 1991, the environment today and the twisted logic of the antisemites, the attacks against Jews for being Zionists bears a striking resemblance to the irrational hatred of racism.
The cancel culture is being used to brand Israel as racist and those people who support, and speak out for, Israel as racists. The cancel culture people and organizations making these claims and taking these actions against people exercising their U.S. constitutional and human rights base their claims on several false allegations against Israel, including Israel’s “occupation” of the non-existent entity they call Palestine and Israel being an “apartheid” state.
Of course, these allegations and the claim that the “occupation” is the sole impediment to peace are clearly wrong, as they know, since the attacks against Jews and Israel started long before the Israeli-defensive war of 1967 and the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964.
The essence of the failure of the many peace initiatives that have been offered by Israel and others, including the U.S., to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, including what is referred to as the two-state solution, is the result of Palestinian intransigence and their rejection of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
The Palestinians repeatedly refuse to engage in normalization of relations with Israel and assert a “right” to settle (occupy) the land of Israel or what the Palestinians allege to be a “right of return.” This so-called right is not about justice or statehood but about the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This tactic by the Palestinians is not a means to an end but the end itself.
We see this intransigence most recently in the Palestinians denouncing the historic agreement of the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE (with the high probability of more Arab countries to follow). Rather than look upon this announcement as an opportunity to engage with Israel to seek peace, the Palestinian leadership showed their true colors by immediately denouncing the UAE as traitors and condemning the initiative.
Rather than continue to be held hostage by the Palestinians, the Arab world, other than Iran, is moving away from the Palestinians and toward Israel as a result of the changing times, including not only the valuable resources offered by Israel in many fields but also the shared threat of Iran that has become magnified since the ill-conceived Obama-era Iran Deal.
People and organizations, some of whom profess their “pro-Israel” stance and their identity as Jews, such as Peter Beinart, who recently wrote of his support for the elimination of a Jewish Israel; or Jewish Voice for Peace, who has adopted a strongly worded anti-Zionist manifesto; or J Street, who misses no opportunity to criticize Israel harshly for many things without ever condemning the antisemitic propaganda and violence perpetuated by the Palestinians, are merely pawns in the hands of the proponents of antisemitism and the slander that Israel is racist with no right to exist.
The attacks against Israel and Jews are also played out in the Policy Platform of the organization known as The Movement for Black Lives at M4BL.org. This Platform, which was first adopted in 2016 and continues today covering a wide range of demands, is both Marxist and antisemitic and anti-Zionist. The Platform contains the express statements (in a location that is difficult to find) that Israel is guilty of, among other things, committing genocide against the Palestinians (a total fabrication) and of being an apartheid state (again a total fabrication).
In addition to slandering Israel, the M4BL Policy Platform expressly supports BDS and advocates for an alliance with the Palestinians. The sister organization, Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMN) at blacklivesmatter.com, admits its partnership relationship with M4BL.
As members of the human race created in the image of God, we as Jews seek, and throughout our history have fought for, the universal values of freedom, liberty and justice for ourselves and all people regardless of individual traits and characteristics.
As Jews, we know full well that when any of these universal values are denied, restricted, conditioned or eliminated to one group we all are at risk. What may start with Jews, does not end with Jews as we have seen over and over again in the course of history. Jews may be the first to suffer but we are never the last.
As such, we as Jews owe it to ourselves and humankind to seek actively these universal values for Blacks as well as others to whom these attributes are not fully exercisable. Racism in any form and directed against any people is, as President Bush stated, an intolerable sin.
However, taking such action does not mean that we as Jews, or any other group, relegate our own self-interests to a later day. It is not mutually exclusive to renounce racism against Blacks and at the same time renounce the irrational hatred and lies directed against us as Jews.
Some Jewish organizations, such as Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Israel Action Network, have published statements that make excuses for the antisemitic/anti-Zionist statements of M4BL and BLMN and advocate Jewish support for the BLM movement to “build bridges… before the issue of Israel is broadly discussed.”
If one thinks that the discussion on Israel should be deferred as a way of building bridges, then one need look no further than the very recent smear campaign (Drop the ADL) against the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish social justice organization, by a coalition of pro-Palestinian and left wing groups, including Palestine Legal, CAIR, M4BL, JVP, SJP and Dallas Peace and Justice Center.
If we do not denounce these attacks against us as Jews today, we run the risk there will not be a tomorrow to do so. Organizations and individuals who identify themselves as Jewish or have the word Jewish in their name and fail to call out today’s antisemitism against Israel and Jews, either willingly or out of fear, put us all at risk. Silence is neither an admirable trait nor acceptable.
Why Israel Matters: There are many responses to this statement, but one that is most salient today is this: Israel is the only country in the world that brings all Jews, including Black Jews, home to freedom. There is nothing more that needs to be said.
We have a sacred duty to our ancestors, ourselves and our descendants to be an “upstander” and speak out in pursuit of our rights as Jews and against the attacks on us and Israel. Strength, not weakness or appeasement, is a virtue.
Dallas attorney Charles Pulman is president of Why Israel Matters, Inc. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Texas Jewish Post.