Are Zionists worse than Islamists? According to how the mainstream media, the U.N., the E.U., NGOs, universities and academia, U.S. government officials, and Arab and Muslim propaganda tend to whitewash Islamism – including horrific acts of Islamic-inspired terrorism – and denigrate Zionism, the answer is yes. Here’s a handy guide.
Islamism: Can there be any serious argument about a religious-political system that seeks to enshrine and enact its laws (sharia) on lands it occupies, and attempts to conquer through jihad (holy war)? Sharia law essentially abuses women, endorses so-called honor killings and female genital mutilation, demands male supremacy, is biased against all “infidels,” glorifies those who chop off the heads of Jews and Christians or who otherwise murder infidels, stones adulterers, puts to death apostates, cuts off the hands of thieves, severely punishes those who criticize Mohammed or Islam, treats non-believers as second-class citizens (dhimmis), and is anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-democracy. Its ultimate goal is Islamic supremacy and triumphalism. What positive things have Islamists brought to the world at large?
Zionism: According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the term was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum and generally refers to “the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Zionism has come to include the movement for the development of the State of Israel and the protection of the Jewish nation in Israel through support for the Israel Defense Forces.” The Jewish people’s basic right to self-determination owing to its long history of being persecuted and living as a diaspora community is potent and self-evident. Israel is an open democracy that respects all civil rights and grants equal rights to women, minorities (25% are Arab and non-Jews), and gays. It has an independent judiciary, a robust free press, and excellent health care and educational systems. It upholds freedom of religion and worship with full and complete access to religious sites – in short, classic Western liberal values. This is all enshrined in its Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.
Moreover, Zionism has unleashed the potential of Israelis to endeavor in tikkun olam – repairing of the world. It is the “Start-Up Nation” and shares with the world amazing life-saving technologies and devices – innovations in computers, biomedicine, water, and agriculture. It is a first responder to humanitarian crises and natural disasters around the world. This is a deep expression of Jewish values. Jews have no interest in conquering land or taking over the land of others – there is no jihad equivalent.
Despite the above contrasts, Zionists continue to be slandered, libeled, and demonized, while Islamists are respected and in some cases labeled as victims.
Zionists and all Jews are routinely accused of stealing Arab lands, of oppressing Arabs, and of being colonizers – though the facts and international law refute these allegations. The Bible, the San Remo Conference, the U.N., and other sources clearly support the Jewish people’s claims to the lands. Israel has more legitimate claims to territories it gained in 1967 because it acquired them in a defensive war (as per international law) and because those areas were not legally part of another sovereign nation. But the false claims against Jews enable the justification of the incessant acts of terrorism and murder targeting Jews via suicide homicide bombings, stabbings, car rammings, missile and rocket attacks, and infiltration tunnels. This is likely also because Muslims are viewed as victims of Western colonialism and prejudice and because systemic social ills in Muslim societies are rarely if ever exposed.
Yet it is hard to see how Muslims are really so oppressed. Today, there are 56 Islamic countries with a population of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, including 22 Arab states with a population of 400 million. In contrast, there is one tiny Jewish state – Israel – with a population of 6.5 million Jews and 1.2 million Arabs, whose population has actually swelled since 1948. Israel’s land mass is one 625th the size of the Arab world. The total Jewish population on the planet is a mere 14 million. Israel is the true “David” even though it is portrayed as the “Goliath.”
It is the Islamists who refuse to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people. Just read and listen to what they repeatedly say in public. Two recent examples:
On official Palestinian Authority TV, Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of Treasury and Economy, Muhammad Shtayyeh stated, “The Fatah Movement never demanded that Hamas recognize Israel. To this moment, Fatah does not recognize Israel. The topic of recognition of Israel has not been raised in any of Fatah’s conferences” (Official PA TV, ‘Topic of the Day,’ March 26, 2017, translation in Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) bulletin, ‘Fatah leader: Fatah and Hamas agree Israel has no right to existFatah is the largest party within the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the president of the Palestinian Authority, which governs the Palestinian Arabs in Judea-Samaria/West Bank.
Hamas’ Political Bureau head, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, stated on Lebanese TV that “Our principles say that our land is all of Palestine, including the land that is under occupation [i.e., Israel] … [The proposal to establish a Palestinian state in Judea/Samaria and Gaza] is a tactical step that does not harm the right of the Palestinians to all of the land of Palestine” (Amad, independent Palestinian news website, March 28, 2017, translation in PMW bulletin, ‘Fatah leader: Fatah and Hamas agree Israel has no right to exist,’ April 21, 2017). Note: Hamas- the Islamic Resistance Movement- is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and rules in Gaza; its charter refuses to recognize Israel in any borders and until recently contained genocidal clauses against all Jews.
Moreover, Palestinian Arabs want an ethnically cleansed state, free of Jews.
This does not engender confidence that peace can be obtained with Islamists – full, equal peace. Because of political correctness, many tiptoe around expressions of Islamic law because, of course, we just can’t criticize another religion or judge it – even if its sacred texts call for subjugating non-believers. But when it comes to the Jews and their miniscule state, it is open season. Meddle away !
The irony is that these very same appeasers are acting just like the dhimmis Islamists expect them to be, but ultimately, they too will be victims of its burning desire to cleanse the world of infidels. It is not Islamophobic to note that at this time in history, the Muslim world is dominated by bad and dangerous ideas and beliefs that we in the West must counter – or ignore at our peril.
It should be clear that those who equate Zionism with Islamism, or who go so far to claim that the former is worse, have a nefarious agenda that, at its root, amounts to Jew-hatred. What else could explain condemning a positive movement while elevating a negative one?
-Lee Bender Co-President, ZOA-Philadelphia