Anti-Zionism = Antisemitism

by Phyllis Chesler

“Are you sure, are you absolutely sure that you want to write that anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism? Really? Sure?”

Alan Rinzler, my editor on the 2003 edition of The New Antisemitism was berating, actually badgering me, about this way back in 2001-2002 as I was writing the book.

I wonder whether Alan has changed his mind. If so, he has never contacted me to say so. Well, the poor man lives in Berkeley and is surrounded by people who still believe that Israel is evil—and who only love dead Jews.

There’s more, so much more.

First, the New York Times, which had reviewed every single book of mine, often on the front page of the Book Review, sometimes even twice, refused to review this book. After a while, I asked a number of their editors whether they thought the book was not timely—or had they already reviewed too many books on the subject?

“It can’t be because I’m a woman—can it?”

Bill Keller, then the Executive Editor, got back to me. “If you’re accusing Chip McGrath (then the Book Review editor) of being an antisemite, then you’re a neurotic, paranoid woman.”

I had not brought that particular elephant into the room.

The Times did end up reviewing Abe Foxman’s book on the subject. Unlike what I’d written, his book failed to look at the alliance between Jew-hating Islamists and western “progressives,” and focused mainly on white, right-wing, Christians. Just their kind of book.

The left-liberal media in general refused to interview me.

For the first time in my career, what I had to say was welcomed by conservatives and Christians. One poor guy wrote: “Well, if I have to fight the good fight beside a feminist in the trench, so be it.” Another interviewer from Christian Broadcasting came to my home. He asked me how it felt to be so close to a believing Christian. I answered: “And how does it feel to be so close to a radical feminist?” We both laughed.

CNN in Washington D.C. had Judy Woodruff interview me. She was hostile, almost ballistic, and poorly informed. Wolf Blitzer backed out of interviewing me at the last minute. (I met him in the hallway). But the cameraman came out from behind his gear “to shake my hand.” That was a first.

The Jewish Museum in NYC refused to have me lecture there or even do a book signing. They told the employee who’d floated this idea: “No. The book is too Jewish.” He was distraught and came to see me. Gently, I told him that what they meant was that the book was not “politically correct.”

About a month later, what I said at a grassroots feminist conference held at Barnard caused a near-riot. I was lecturing on a completely different subject for a group of African-American women who loved every word I said—until an agent provocateur asked me about “the humiliation at the checkpoints.” I told her that I opposed apartheid and that Islamic countries are the largest practitioners of both gender and religious apartheid, as well as practitioners of slavery.”

The place went wild and I had to be escorted out for my safety.

I lost most of my left-wing feminist colleagues. Those who did not choose to ostracize me, insisted on fighting with me. They, too, did not believe that anti-Zionism had anything to do with antisemitism; that as good Jews or as good people, they believed in supporting the victim, not the victimizer, and Israel was always viewed as the “occupying victimizer of innocent civilians in Gaza and on the West Bank.”

To this day, those feminists who remain Marxists, (and who still talk to me), continue to tell me that I “just don’t understand, that Israel is in the wrong, that the Palestinians are innocent, that Hamas/ISIS are freedom fighters.” Some of them proudly join “Queers for Palestine” demonstrations. The sight of Jewish blood has excited them so much that they wish for more. They read Ha-aretz, The Nation, and Al-Jazeera. Their minds have been deformed by disinformation and lethal propaganda.

Early on, at a conference at New Paltz, I had to endure an Israeli psychiatrist, one Ruchama Marton, (a woman), who believed that Israel was like a battering husband and his wife was a Palestinian. Oh, how she was cheered.

For years, I needed police protection on campuses when I spoke.

At the time, I said: “going forward, will every Jew, every Israeli, require a personal bodyguard—or police protection?  Or, should every Jew learn martial arts and be trained to use and carry a gun?”

Having a gun, making that fact known, once saved the Jews in my father’s home town of Lutsk, in Ukraine.

I could go on with anecdote after anecdote, some more unbelievable than others, but this is enough for now.

As you can imagine, I am so very pleased that today, on October 27th, the very eloquent Michael Oren, Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States, has confirmed my view. He wrote: “Incontestably now, anti-Zionism is antisemitism.”

Jews are now engaged in an existential war for our survival, both in Israel and around the globe, including in the West. Soon, America will have to face the possibility and probability that World War 3 is upon us; that continuing to appease Iran will only lead to more danger; that Iran is behind Hamas and Hezbollah, that the Hama barbarians trained for their massacre in Iran; and that Americans have already been killed, captured, or fired upon.

Where do you stand?


10 Responses

  1. Another New reader (not the same new reader as the new reader from the other day though that new reader is not as new as me) says:

    One of the most painful things for leftists is the moment when they realize that they’ve been in a cult of death and that almost all of their beliefs are false.

    For some of them, horrific reality shocks like October 7 will “snap them out of it,” but not all.

    The greatest delusion for these death cultists is that while they believe that they are life affirming and paragons of humanitarianism they actually are worshippers of death. They are miserable and dangerous fools.

    The author of this article is to be commended for her courage and wisdom. I am not a feminist but I can see decency and goodness and humanity in people all of which are now in low supply.

    I don’t care at all that the author is a feminist – I only care that she is life affirming.

    Compliments to the author.

    1. Agree with all you’ve said, but Phyllis is still part of the death cult in relation to abortion. She’s still morally confused. She doesn’t really have a problem with that type of mass murder. So maybe “life affirming” isn’t the best term to use.

      1. I will respond to Phyllis: Once upon a time the Israeli government favored Hamas because they thought religious Palestinians would be better than the secular PA. They learned better and yet figured out a plan for “mowing the lawn,” and gaining a leg up by treating the Palestinian Authority badly too. I believe Netanyahu and his Security and Finance Ministers were awaiting a reaction that would allow the IDF to punish Palestinians in the West Bank not expecting Hamas to launch a brutal slaughter of Negev Jews. And now the door to Hell has been opened and Hamas and it’s Parent Iran and all the other proxies watch the Israeli response in Gaza and eagerly anticipate the World’s answer to the Jewish Question.

  2. @Siobhan–Good. Let’s enforce what we agree on, for starters, no matter what.
    For abortion, let’s agree to disagree when abortion is permitted. In 11.3 years, we will be able to go from womb development of a fetus to natural birth to AI- guided development of fetus from conception to to birth equivalent — all outside the womb, beginning in a ‘test tube’ for conception.
    Thus, mother is pleased, baby is pleased, the AI entity is pleased at it’s excellence of demonstrated unobstructed humaneness.

  3. As a Christian I pray for peace, abhor the horror of war and it’s consequences being visited on all concerned, but not at the expense of Zion. It is Israel’s land given to him by God. The terrorists are cowards putting civilians in Gaza in harm’s way. I enjoy your columns. I pray for you and your safe travels through life.

  4. PC is simply and actively a well-tempered humanist; she’s taken the heat and hasn’t missed a beat. Her tattoo reads —. InteGRITy.

  5. I completely sympathize with Phyllis. Most of our American Jewish community civil servants, politicians, and intellectuals failed to understand and respond to the gathering storm of leftist and Islamic antisemitism.

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