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‘Anti-Zionism is antisemitism,’ US House asserts in ‘dangerous’ resolution | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Washington, DC – Palestinian rights advocates are denouncing a congressional decision that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, calling it a “harmful” measure that goals to curb free speech and distract from the war in Gaza.

The Republican-controlled Home of Representatives handed the measure on Tuesday in a 311-14 vote, with 92 Democratic members abstaining by voting “current”.

The symbolic decision was framed as an effort to reject the “drastic rise of anti-Semitism in america and all over the world”.

However it contained language saying that the Home “clearly and firmly states that anti-Zionism is antisemitism”. It additionally condemned the slogan “From the River to the Sea”, which rights advocates perceive to be an aspirational call for equality in historic Palestine.

As an alternative, the decision described it as a “rallying cry for the eradication of the State of Israel and the Jewish individuals”. It additionally characterised demonstrators who gathered in Washington, DC, final month to demand a ceasefire as “rioters”. They “spewed hateful and vile language amplifying antisemitic themes”, the decision alleges.

Husam Marajda, an organiser with the US Palestinian Neighborhood Community (USPCN), mentioned the decision is an effort to “cancel” Palestinian rights advocates by accusing them of bigotry and labelling their criticism of Israeli insurance policies as hate speech.

“It’s tremendous harmful. It units a very, actually dangerous precedent. It’s aiming to criminalise our liberation battle and our name for justice and peace and equality,” Marajda instructed Al Jazeera.

What’s Zionism?

Zionism is a nationalist ideology that helped set up the state of Israel in 1948. It contends that the Jewish individuals have a proper to self-determination in historic Palestine, which Zionists view as their ancestral homeland.

The rise of Zionism within the late 1800s was partly in response to anti-Semitism in Europe.

However many Palestinians reject Zionism as a driver of the settler colonialism that dispossessed them through the founding of Israel. Israel’s institution coincided with the displacement of a whole bunch of hundreds of Palestinians who have been forcibly pushed from their properties in what is thought as the Nakba, the Arabic phrase for “disaster”.

Whereas Palestinians view themselves because the native individuals of the land, Zionists say Jewish individuals have historic and biblical claims to what’s right this moment Israel.

Some hardline Zionists, together with members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s authorities, argue that the present-day Palestinian territories — the West Financial institution and Gaza — additionally belong to Israel.

At a United Nations Normal Meeting speech in November, Netanyahu held up a map of Israel that confirmed the nation stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, encompassing the West Financial institution, Gaza and Syria’s Golan Heights.

Some Palestinians additionally blame Zionism for Israeli abuses in opposition to them, which amount to apartheid, in line with main human rights teams like Amnesty Worldwide.

Within the US, Palestinian rights supporters have lengthy rejected conflations of Zionism with Judaism, noting that many Jewish Individuals determine as anti-Zionist.

“Opposing the insurance policies of the federal government of Israel and Netanyahu’s extremism isn’t antisemitic. Talking up for human rights and a ceasefire to save lots of lives ought to by no means be condemned,” Palestinian American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib mentioned in a social media put up on Tuesday, explaining her vote in opposition to the decision.

‘Extraordinarily harmful’

Marajda careworn that Palestinians have a proper to oppose Zionism, a place he mentioned has nothing to do with prejudice.

“This decision is saying that when you’re vital of this Israeli government, primarily you hate Jewish individuals,” he mentioned. “I didn’t select — the Palestinians didn’t select — their occupiers.”

The decision is one among a number of pro-Israel motions accredited by Congress since October 7. Most US legislators have expressed unwavering help for Israel amid its offensive in Gaza, which has killed greater than 16,000 Palestinians.

Yasmine Taeb, the legislative and political director at MPower Change, a Muslim American advocacy group, known as the decision “extraordinarily harmful”.

“It unequivocally equates any criticism of the Israeli authorities with anti-Semitism. Basically it smears tens of millions and tens of millions of individuals demonstrating globally in help of a lasting ceasefire, together with Jewish-American organisations,” Taeb instructed Al Jazeera.

The advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) was additionally fast to denounce the congressional measure.

“Falsely stating that anti-Zionism is antisemitism conflates all Jews with the Israeli state and endangers our communities. It fuels lethal violence and censorship campaigns in opposition to Palestinians,” JVP Motion mentioned in a social media put up.

“We’re proud anti-Zionists Jews. We refuse to pit communities in opposition to each other.”

All Home Republicans however one — Congressman Thomas Massie — voted in favour of the decision. However Democrats were cut up on the measure: 13 voted in opposition to it and 95 for it, on high of the 92 who abstained with a “current” vote.

Jerrold Nadler, a key Jewish Home Democrat, had decried the decision on Monday, noting that some Jewish communities oppose Zionism for non secular causes and shouldn’t be branded as anti-Semitic.

“Whereas most anti-Zionism is certainly anti-Semitic, the authors, in the event that they have been in any respect conversant in Jewish historical past and tradition, ought to learn about Jewish anti-Zionism that was, and is, expressly not anti-Semitic,” he mentioned.

Democrats divided

Nadler accused Republicans of utilizing help for Israel to advance “partisan wedging on the expense of the Jewish neighborhood”. Nonetheless, he didn’t vote in opposition to the decision on Tuesday. He opted for “current”.

The vote highlighted the divisions among the many Democrats over Israel’s army marketing campaign in Gaza. Whereas the get together’s progressive wing has pressed for a ceasefire, President Joe Biden and nearly all of congressional Democrats have prevented such calls.

However that might sign a disconnect from the get together base. A Reuters/Ipsos poll in November indicated 62 % of Democratic voters thought-about Israel’s response “extreme”. Two in three survey respondents backed a ceasefire.

Republicans, in the meantime, have led motions that critics say are designed to carry the Democratic schism to the fore. Final month, as an illustration, they moved to censure Congresswoman Tlaib, the one Palestinian within the Home, over her feedback on the Gaza struggle.

Conservatives have accused Democrats who vote in opposition to such measures of being anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitic.

That creates a political dilemma for Democratic lawmakers. In the event that they help the payments, they danger upsetting giant segments of their base, but when they oppose them, they open themselves to Republican assaults.

Taeb mentioned the lawmakers who voted “current” didn’t wish to go on the report as equating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, however on the identical time, they wished to be seen as countering anti-Semitism.

“It’s simply politics,” she instructed Al Jazeera.

Tuesday’s decision was co-sponsored by Congressman Max Miller, who has confronted outrage in latest weeks for saying, “We’re going to show [Palestine] right into a car parking zone.”

Taeb mentioned the truth that lawmakers who’ve promoted anti-Palestinian hate are championing such resolutions reveals that Tuesday’s measure isn’t about combating prejudice.

“The intent of those members is to smear and silence peace activists calling to finish the bloodbath of Palestinian kids and households.”

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