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Zionism doesn't challenge anti-Semitism

May 10, 2002 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,

In answer to Yves Coleman's letter (SW, April 19): Zionism is not Judaism. It seems that this cannot be said enough.

Judaism is a religion. Zionism is an imperialist ideology. Judaism is thousands of years old. Zionism was born at the end of the 19th century, and even at that time, the goal of a Jewish-only state wasn't exclusively focused on Palestine; Uganda was considered, then discarded.

In insisting that Judaism and Zionism are one and the same, Coleman does not serve the interests of Jews, but rather the Israeli and U.S. states. Equating Zionism with Judaism, anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, provides a cover for imperialist atrocities that have absolutely nothing to do with the Jewish faith.

A growing number of Jews both inside and outside Israel oppose the Israeli occupation and have criticized it quite harshly. Are these Jews anti-Semitic? Or are they outraged that human rights are being trampled in their names?

Coleman rightly shows concern about rising anti-Semitism in Europe. We as socialists must fight against anti-Semitism in every instance. The hundreds of thousands who poured into the streets to protest the rise of fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen showed how to do this best.

But the formation of Israel has never had anything to do with fighting anti-Semitism. Rather, it was a retreat from this fight, which has succeeded only in serving larger imperialist powers--first Great Britain and now the United States.

Yes, we must fight anti-Semitism. But defending Israel isn't the way. Zionism is not Judaism.

Elizabeth Terzakis, Oakland, Calif.

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