Is Anti-Zionism And Antisemitism the same thing?

Short answer: theoretically yes, but there are exceptions…

A slightly longer one: Not at all, but statistically most often they are used in the same way to mean the same thing.

Now for a more full answer… a guy in a YouTube comment asked me "If Zionism isn't Judaism, why is Congress passing laws saying it is, laws now passed and, on the books, saying that anti-Zionism is anti Semitism? Looks like Jews want them to be one and the same." – And here's my reply:

I am not an American, so I can't explain why Americans do things.

I am not a politician, I don't understand those most of the time either. They don't decide facts, they sometimes manage to rewrite historical narratives, it doesn't always work, not on everyone at least.

So some basic facts:

Judaism is a religion. You don't have to be born into it, you can convert. That's how the mid-eastern ancient Bney Yisrael are no longer the only genetic source of ethnic Jews. You have African, Central Asian and even Mongol and Japanese Jews.

The Jewish people is also a culture. A very diverse and heterogeneous culture, because for hundreds of years of living as a diaspora all over the world, customs, languages and traditions changed, but a lot of the basics remained, such as common faith principles, holy days observed and so on. One of the pillars is a longing for the return to the land of Israel and Jerusalem. That hope is woven into texts, it's part of the Passover blessings and the wedding ceremony. Zion is one of the many names of Jerusalem, and also sometimes used to refer to the entire land of Israel. "It depends on the context" as professor Gay put it do well.

Zionism is the latest attempt (and so far the first successful one) to return to the holy land that had very few Jews remaining between year 70CE to about 1850, based on the European momentum of the formation of nation states, and seeing that the Jewish people deserve a state as well – whether as a place to recreate their national home or to escape persecution. Lots of non-Jews think that Jews should have their own country. It was voted in the UN on November 29, 1947 and a majority of countries were in favour, that can be counted as Zionist thinking or a support of Zionism. Joe Biden sees himself as a Zionist, and he's obviously not Jewish.

Anti Zionism: people who believe Jews should not have their own state or that the state of Israel has lost all (or never had any) justified reason to be founded. There are Antisemites who don't want Jews in their lives, and prefer they all piss off to their own country, and in a twisted way that's also a kind of Zionism. Others hate us so much that they would not want Jews to have a state either, those would be anti-Zionists.

There are also a few Jews that are not in favour of a Jewish state. Famous secular examples are Jon Stuart, Gabor Mate, Noam Chomsky, Sam Seder among many others who identify as anti-zionists. On the very religious end you have messianic Neturey Karta, a Jewish sect that believe that Jews should only return to Israel when the messiah comes back (Somewhat like a second coming of Jesus but the Jewish version).

Final definition: Modern religious "zionism" (See also previous post in this blog). I don't even give it the respect of capitalizing the Z because I don't think it has anything to do with why my grandparents left their families in Europe to build this country. They believe that Jews deserve an "ethnically pure" Israel, and it should be from the river to the sea and beyond (some aspiring to include most of modern Jordan, Lebanon and Syria), and that it should be ethnically clean of non-Jews. I find that idea unhinged, immoral and criminal, yet they are vocal enough (and targeted enough by the Palestinians in the media) that people started thinking that is the "true" Zionism. I assure you it definitely was not the secular Zionism of the 19th and most of the 20th century that I was brought up on. They are the ones building towns on lands that were supposed to be occupied only temporarily, against all international rules of occupation. They are probably also to blame for lobbying for all those nutty rules in America. That's why the pro-Palestinian call "From the river to the sea" is the racist genocidal call of the other side. The right wing extremists that can't see two states next to each other call "From the river to the sea" meaning either Arabs or Jews but not a mix or a two state solution. Whether used as an anti-Arab or an Antisemitic call, it's racist and genocidal, and not the direction any self-respecting humanist or leftist/liberal/progressive should be taking. The liberal, Progressive, humanistic solution is two states – Not an intifada or any sort of genocide. Maybe in a generation we can consider becoming a confederation so people could live anywhere and move around more freely, but not before hatred cools down and the education systems stop poisoning the young minds on both sides.

Summing up: Zionism is not only Jewish, a very small number of Jews are anti-Zionists, but the majority of anti Zionists believe Israel should be destroyed so they seem to be fine with dead Jews, so therefore Antisemitic. I hope that covers it.

"So how are you both for the oppressors and the oppressed?"

This is the middle east, so of course it's even more complicated than that. I'll try to give a very compressed answer here, it's missing a lot of nuance.

First, I'm a humanist, I want no one person to die or suffer. This is not a Utopia so I'd like to have Hamas' operatives stripped of a few freedoms, i.e. put in jail, for their crimes, However I don't think their subjects (That's civilians in dictatorship-speak) should suffer for their wrongdoings.

Second, the question of oppression here is a bit complex. There are extremists, nationalists, fundamentalists on both sides. I think both sides must suppress theirs so we can get peace. Hamas are the first obvious target, as they are terrorists. They killed thousands of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians, they are a clear-cut example of a terror organization thinking only about itself, and it's unfathomable how they are still considered "freedom fighters" by anyone.
They took billions in donations, over a billion dollars in cash were even hand delivered to them by Israel (Seriously, Bibi actually believed it would appease them), And that's AFTER they took over in a vicious coup in 2007 and killed hundreds (some sources say 1500) of the Palestinian Authority's local government in some very gruesome ways (some were publicly thrown off towers or dragged behind bikes for all to see). Those billions were supposed to build Gaza – education, industries, hospitals – and instead they built bombs and tunnels (but not a single public bomb shelter for the civilians). They shot missiles into Israel from school-yards and hospitals for two decades knowing that the IDF would fire back and children would die. It was their intention. They wanted the world to paint us as the bad guys, and they helped cultivate an ethos of Palestinians as refugees and martyrs, a whole generation of mothers in Gaza believe their life should be dedicated to making more kids to end up as martyrs for the cause.
So how were Gazans oppressed? Well, they after the missiles started we had to put up the blockade. Of course we could not allow them smuggle in ammo – but food, water and electricity was flowing in. They obviously managed to get in machine guns, AK-47s. RPGs and anti-tank missiles of all sorts. in fact dozens of missiles were found now in Gaza that trace back to black markets in Ukraine, given to the Ukrainians for self defence by NATO and they end up killing Israeli soldiers, We even found weapons made by Iran and North Korea in Gaza. So not much of a blockade either, I assume they came through the Egyptian border. IDF will have to reclaim the Philadelphi Corridor to stop the smuggling.

So from my POV, I agree Palestinians are oppressed in the west bank by Israel, but in Gaza it's definitely Hamas that are the stronger oppression over the Gazans. They steal most of their funds and use it for their military goals, not long or short term safety and prosperity of the Gazans, just the miles and miles of terror tunnels they hide in, and using the Gazans as human shields.

Pat Condell in 2012, seems like nothing has changed

Third, the West Bank situation. That is the one place Israel is really being oppressive and I hate it. I have been protesting against it for 40 of my 50 years. It's a real injustice that needs a real solution but our extremists managed to colour that land grab as "National necessity" that personally I find abhorrent to the core. The one good thing that may come out of this senseless war is that maybe Israel will on longer have a choice but give the Palestinians land and independence, the sooner the better.

!But it's a genocide

As Jews we see the definition of "Genocide" quite differently. I personally lost at least a third of my extended family in WW2. Genocide is when you are systematically trying to kill off an ethnicity or a people. But Israel is not killing its Arab citizens, nor the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, nor all Gazans. The enemy is Hamas (well, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, on the way). They are the group who declared they would like to kill all Jews, starting with the Israelis, and demonstrated what will happen if they are given free reign, then went to hide under defenceless civilians. Like most wars taking place within civilian neighbourhoods, there are high numbers of collateral casualties, and soldiers on both sides. Israeli soldiers including many officers on the ground, were injured or killed. If we were trying to kill all the civilians, we would not have bothered going into Gaza on foot and in tanks, we would carpet bomb from the air and not warn anyone. This is clearly not the case. We warn, we helped evacuate Gazans when Hamas was in the way, we go in on foot to try and surgically kill terrorists with even less collateral damages.

An intelligence gathering unit turned into a civilian evacuation helper for this war

…Well you obviously think Israel is so perfect

Oh, no, I have lots and lots of criticism of my government and army. Aside from handling our own civilian situation badly, being totally unprepared on October 6th and barely starting to wake up on October 12th, this government has been dysfunctional, Ben-Gvir and the religious "zionism" have been taking liberties executing ethnic cleansing moves in the west bank, there are a lot of functional issued going uninvestigated by the army, and Bibi Netanyahu seems uninterested in trying to reach any agreements to release more of our hostages. It's a clusterfuck of incompetency, evil doers and agents of chaos making up our government. I am no longer certain at all if we should keep fighting and not stop to call the Hamas' bluff and see if they actually negotiate the release of the hostages. Israel is passively dragged around by Hamas instead of initiating creative ways of moving the negotiations along.

The situation is hard, and sad, and difficult. I personally believe the Palestinians of Gaza will have much better lives without a terror organization in charge, and I hope that means we will be able to return to a calmer time and start planning a permanent agreement that leads to independence. whether it's a two or three state solution. Israelis will have to give up claims to land in the west bank, the Palestinians will have to give up claims to all of Israel. In general the extremists will have to be takes down 8 notches on all sides. The sooner we have an independent state (or states) for the Palestinians, we can hope that in a generation or two of peace and commerce we can even have open borders. That's the only sane way forward.

We are going to have enough problems with energy, clean water, climate change, climate refugees from Africa, so much shit is going to hit so many fans in the next decades, we really should put aside the fights we can prevent so we can do the right things to help the suffering from the problems we can't prevent.

I hope I managed to condense my frame of thought into this tiny answer. fire away if you have questions, or if you know how to get an English post to display with correct directionality of the titles in a Hebrew WP blog…

Post Pandemic Poem


I hope to live a few more years
and find a way to get more healthy.
I don't regret decades of beers,
but if death comes, I hope it's stealthy.

I have survived a year of doom,
with cancer, plague, and long work days.
And now I pick an FC Loom,
as evening sets, and vent malaise.

For though our woes seem oversized,
and future questions unsurmised,
I'm calmer, Jack, I got my own;
I rolled my sleeve and got me Pfized.

In six months' time we all will hug,
and kiss and lick (and so much more…)
Until there comes another bug,
And we mask up and go to war.

I wish the future generations
Will learn from our stupid slips.
Fly less, walk more, consume more local,
and god forbid, no cruising ships!

So wait a bit and don't take shortcuts!
Get vacced,
not vexed,
and wax poetic.
This too, I promise you, shall pass!
Lest masks become the new aesthetic…

Have you written to the FCC today?

Just posted this on Dear FCC:

Dear FCC,

I'm Ira Abramov and I live in Ramat Gan, Israel.
Net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data that travels over their networks equally, is important to me because without it My freedoms of expression, usage and being informed are hurt.
A pay-­to-play Internet worries me because new, innovative services that can’t afford expensive fees for better service will be less likely to succeed.
My entire professional and activist life is based on the ability to learn through the net, communicate with and activate people through it. It's the real land of equal opportunities that can't be matched today by political and pricey educational systems. It's like taxing pedestrians for walking certain streets, reading the signs and walking to stores. It is an unfair and unjust tampering with an important public resource.

Ira Abramov

Feel free to post your own plea!

A Eulogy for Yaron Abramov

English translation follows below. You are welcome to add your thoughts below in the comments.

את ההספד הזה כתבה ברובו אחותי ענת והוספתי לו בעצם מעט מאוד:

נגמר, אבא כבר לא סובל. אנחנו עצובים ושבורים, אבל מרגישים הקלה בשבילו.

יש מכם שהכירו אותו יותר ופחות. הוא היה אדם עם מאגרים עצומים של ידע מרתק, בהמון נושאים, ובפרט כל דבר שקשור לארץ ישראל, דתות, תרבויות, גיאולוגיה וארכיאולוגיה. מדריך תיירים עם מעריצים (ומעריצות) בכל העולם, אוהב לבשל ולאכול אוכל טוב, מתעד נלהב בכל סוגי המצלמות, מעריך גאדג'טים מסור, נהג-נווט אלוף, וכח העל שלו היה מציאת־חניות-בדיוק-ממול, והכל עם המון הומור אינטיליגנטי ומשחקי מילים. חלק מהדברים עברו אלינו בירושה בצורה כזאת או אחרת, וחלק פשוט העשירו את חיינו ויצרו חוויות משותפות נפלאות וזכרונות נעימים. בעיקר הוא היה אבא אוהב, מחבק ומלטף עם ידיים מופלאות שהעלימו כל כאב.

הוא נגע, לרגע, בחייהם של מאות אנשים שהדריך לאורך השנים, ויחד עם זאת היה אדם מאד פרטי. אהב לטייל בכל מקום, תמיד לגלות מקומות וכבישים חדשים, סקרן בלתי נלאה ומורה נלהב. הוא הפך חשדנים לציוניים נלהבים, וקיבלנו לאורך היום מכתבי חיזוק מקוריאה ועד ארה"ב. לא רק בארץ הוא הדריך, היה לו גם רומן לא קצר עם ברלין וכבישי גרמניה, ואפילו לגרמנים הוא הצליח להכיר את הבית של עצמם קצת יותר לעומק.

ובימים שלא עבד בהדרכה, אהב מאד את הבית שלו והשקט שלו, עם התה והאוסף מוסיקה, הספרים והסרטים הישנים… לרגע לא הפסיק ללמוד ולהתעמק, וכשהציעו לנו הבוקר שערוץ דיסקאברי יצלם את ההלוויה לסרט אנתרופולוגי על הלוויות, חשבנו שאין ראוי מזה לאדם שאהב כל כך לטייל ולפגוש אנשים, שימשיך לטייל בעולם בשידורים חוזרים לעוד הרבה שנים, כך או אחרת.

עוד לפני ימי האינטרנט ותוכנות הניווט, וגם אחרי, היו הרבה אנשים שהיו מתקשרים אליו לשאול שאלת ידע או כיוון והוא תמיד היה משאיר אותנו עם תחושת ביטחון שהגענו למקום הנכון.

הוא ייחסר בכל כך הרבה מובנים מעבר לכמה המילים האלו.

יהי זכרו ברוך.

And here I'll attempt to translate it for our international readers. It was mostly written by my sister with small additions by me.

It's over, Father no longer suffers. We are broken and sad, but feel relieved for him.

Some of you knew him better than others. He was a man commanding vast fascinating knowledge in a myriad subjects, especially anything and everything to do with the land of Israel – Theology, culture, geology and archeology. A tour guide with fans all over the globe, who loved to cook and eat well, loved documenting in all types of cameras, gadget appreciator, champion driver/navigator and his super power was finding parking spots right in front of where he needed; all of it with intelligent humour and puns. Some of those we inherited this way or another, and some just enriched our lives and created wonderful joint experiences and pleasant memories. Mainly he was a loving, hugging father with wonder hands that made all pains vanish.

He touched, even for a moment, the lives of thousands he guided along his years, and at the same time he was a very private man himself. He loved taking trips everywhere, always discovering new places and roads, a passionate learner and teacher. He converted sceptics to Zionists, and for the last few days we got letters from as far as Korea and the western USA. He guided people also overseas, he had a long love affair with Europe and its roads, and especially Berlin, where he managed to get even its natives to their own city a little deeper.

And on the days he did not work as a guide, he loved his home, with a peaceful cup of tea and music, the old books and movies. He never stopped studying and seeking deeper knowledge, and this morning, when the Discovery channel offered us to film the funeral for an anthropological docu about funerals, we felt it was the most befitting parting gift for a man who loved travelling and meeting people so much. This way he will continue travelling the world on reruns for many more years.

Years before the internet and navigation software, and many years after, many would call him up to ask for directions or knowledge, and he always left us with the confident feeling we arrived at the right destination.

He will be missed in so many ways beyond these few short words.

Blessed be his memory

We buried dad at sunset, at a pastoral corner of the cemetery. Parts of the funeral will probably play on Discovery in about a year. I'll try to let everyone know.


RIP Yaron Abramov

I'm writing this post in English because It is meant to be a permanent page for people from all over world to leave their public thoughts and messages (since on Facebook things get washed away in the stream). You can also write us personal thoughts at, both Anat and Ira will get your messages.

ירון אברמוב, 1947-2013

Dear Friends and family,

With a grave feeling of loss and a broken heart, mixed with the relief that his suffering ended,
we write to inform you that our beloved father Yaron has passed away last night.
The funeral will take place today, Monday, June 24th 2013, at 7pm
in Har Hamenuhot, Giva'at Sha'ul, Jerusalem.
From tomorrow we will be in the house we grew up with our father, in Derekh Hatatzpit 1, Ein Karem, Jerusalem.

If you need to contact us, use Yaron's number +972-544-304060, and one of us will answer

Ira and Anat Abramov.

חברים יקרים,בלב שבור וגעגועים, מהולים בהקלה על כך שהסבל שלו נגמר,
אנחנו כותבים להודיע לכם שאבא שלנו ירון נפטר אתמול בערב.
ההלוויה תתקיים היום, יום שני, 24 ביוני 2013, בשעה 19:00
בהר המנוחות בגבעת שאול, ירושלים.
ממחר נשב שבעה בבית שבו גדלנו עם אבא, בדרך התצפית 1, עין כרם, ירושלים.

אם יש צורך ביצירת קשר, אפשר להתקשר למספר של ירון 0544-304060, ואחד מאיתנו יענה.

עירא וענת אברמוב