HTS 2041: The Modern Middle East

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Zionism in World Politics

Only a week ago, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recap Typo Endogan gave a speech in a United Nation conference, in which he compared Zionism directly with some of the most racist ideologies in the world: “We must consider—just like Zionism, anti-Semitism or fascism—Islamophobia as a crime against humanity”. This statement overtook his focus of the speech, which is to call for international cooperation in Syrian conflict, and drew the attention of the audience. Interestingly, the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Turkey as his first diplomatic visit one day after Erdogan made the statement. When I was searching for topic for this blog, I couldn’t help but notice the Kerry’s comment on Erdogan’s statement highlighted on the Middle East section of the Washington Post. I somehow felt that there are other reasons besides Kerry’s first diplomatic visit make this news important, so I did a simple research to see if there is any relation between Zionism and the U.S..


(Here is the video of the speech Erdogan gave in Vienna:

Zionism, as we talk about in class, is the ideology that Jews should establish their own country. The State of Israel was built on this ideology with help from the British. However, the original habitants of the land, Arabians, were ignored when British made the decision. Other than this, the Holy City of Islam (actually, the Holy City of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) was put under Jewish control. These facts inevitably put the State of Israel the antagonist of most of the Arabic states, especially the so called the State of Palestine (independence recognized by the U.N. only half year ago). In 1970s, an Arab-Soviet-Third World bloc form Palestine Liberation Organization, which lobbied the United Nations to take actions on Israel. Alone with the fact that Israel’s position and some of its actions made the Middle East unrest, the U.N. adopted United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, which determined Zionism to be a form of racism and racial discrimination. Therefore, accusing Zionism to be in the same category with anti-Semitism and fascism is not the invention of Erdogan; it exists with a considerably long historical background.

The United States came under the spotlight in 1990s. After drastic debates, the U.S. decided to take the position to support abolition of Resolution 3397. Despite the reason that the U.S. often takes position to proliferate liberty and justice, the U.S. had great sympathy for the situation of Zionism in Israel. As Baruch Kimmerling talks about in his book Zionism and Territory, Jews faced the same situation, which Americans faced in their early stage of immigration. Both were seen to be immigrations to other people’s land, the U.S. naturally opposed the concept that land should be ruled by the original inhabitants, in this case, Arabians. Moreover, the Independent War shaped the Americans to become supporters of nationalistic movement, and it caused them to support Zionism, which can be seen as a particular form of nationalism. Therefore, the U.S. took the lead in revoking Resolution 3379. When the Soviet Union started to collapse, the U.S. finally took his chance. In 1991, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 4686 revoked Resolution 3379. According to this background, it is clear to see why the U.S. government critics Erdogan’s statement as being “objectionable”.

Apparently, the Arabic world would not want Israel to ally with the world’s greatest power, and it is still hoping to eliminate Jews from the Arabic or so called Islamic world. Even if those Arabic states want to take actions against the State of Israel, as Erdogan implies in his speech, the Islamic world is being underrepresented in the U.N.. The voice of Arabians are not being heard, and the power of controlling Middle East is in other big countries’ hands, so the only way to attack Israel would be to attack the fundamental ideology the state of Israel is built on. When putting Zionism into the same category with the world’s most evil ideology, fascism (as the majority defines), the State of Israel is automatically on the side of evil.

Although I often heard the phrase “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, I knew nothing of its background before I took this class (It seems that the Chinese government does not want anyone to understand this conflict due to its political strategy, and I am sometimes too lazy to do research). For me, I support the U.S.’s idea of religious freedom and its approval for Jews to rule the land, while I carry the deep-rooted Chinese traditional resentment to other ethnics’ controlling over our land. I do not know what position I should take in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I personally do not think that Zionism is racist or evil.





  1. mjuren3 says:

    Your blog brings up a very interesting point of view. I had never before heard the idea that Zionism was a form of racism, especially being considered on the same level as fascism or anti-Semitism. The only thing is if you look up the definitions of anti-Semitism or fascism, you immediately see their connections to racism. However, the definition of Zionism on Merriam-Webster, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and even Wikipedia all say that Zionism is simply a nationalist movement that supports Jews living in Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel, but none say anything that would support a racist connotation of the word. I suppose from an Arab perspective Zionism would be considered racist and also fascist though as they see the Israelis as discriminating against Arabs and taking over what they consider to be their land.

  2. I hadn’t thought of zionism as “racist” per say; I think it’s a form of nationalism, and there are both good and bad aspects to nationalism. I looked it up and I saw that Israel was expelling some illegal refugees from Sudan and Eritrea because they threatened the Jewish identity of the state. It’s interesting when you try to mix religion with politics because you generally end up with a marginalized religious minority, and it’s interesting that the U.S. is partial to a Jewish state but not to Muslim states. I wonder if moving away from the zionist belief of only a Jewish state to a mostly Jewish state would be more helpful.

  3. akranc3 says:

    I guess you could say Zionism is a form of racism, if you strictly look at it being the formation of a Jewish state for Jews only. With that being said, there is no way to keep your state open to only Jews. People are going to move in and out as they please. With the original inhabitants of Israel being dispelled by the British, there was naturally going to be bad blood between the Jews and the Arabs of the region.
    With that being said, and in light of the Arab states saying that they are underrepresented in the UN, I guess the only way to try and slight Israel is to call them fascists. Seems a bit immature, but that’s politics.

  4. chai164 says:

    I completely agree with you on not knowing what stance to take. Growing up in India, a lot of our recent history was about British colonization and we’re still dealing with the repercussions today. Although that isn’t the same as mass immigration, I can see the Arab view on not wanting the Jews in the Arabic world.

    At the same time, from the Israeli perspective, they were and have been targeted against by anti-semitism groups from so long and so widely, that they have nowhere else to go. It’s definitely an interesting question.

    The only viable solutions seems like a partition, but that didn’t solve much between India and Pakistan, so it might not solve the problem here either.

  5. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    As with most conflicts about a combination of religion and culture, there is an extremely fine line that governments have to be careful not to cross. Zionism as a definition appears to just be a desire to establish a true-Jewish homeland but does that really justify the killings of Muslims? But the Palestinians really have no justification for violence against Jews other than them migrating into their country. I personally believe that a partitioned state such as the one the UN drew up would be a good long-term solution if the two sides could learn to respect each other and live in harmony. All over the Middle East Christians, Jews, and Muslims live in peace and cooperate with one another despite religious differences.

    So sure, Zionism may not be a definite form of racism but when it drives people to discriminate and use it as an excuse to justify their violent actions, it becomes one.

  6. jdowling6 says:

    I don’t personally see how Zionism can be compared to any of the terms mentioned. I also agree that I do not know what stance to take either. I somehow cannot convince myself that a nationalist movement is racism. I say this because at one point both Jewish and Arab people did not fight with each other as shown in the video we watched in class. The roots of the hatred did not start with racial differences but with the fact that the land was promised to both.The more I think about what the Turkish Prime Minister said the more it doesn’t even make sense.

  7. John Girata says:

    Turkey seems to be very secular, as far as Middle Eastern states go. It wouldn’t surprise me if the government of Turkey would oppose the establishment of any state with religious affiliation. Even though Zionism could be seen as an ethnic issue, I think the lines between ethnicity and religion are blurry when it comes to Judaism.

  8. ojanus3 says:

    I think an interesting thing this blog points out is the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, determining Zionism to be a form of racism and racial discrimination and the United States position on it. Even after listening to lectures about the Israel/Palestine issue I am still undecided about how it can be resolved. Im can’t wait to hear everyones opinions about it during the discussion tomorrow!

  9. flambert3 says:

    Its interesting to think of Zionism as racist or discriminatory because Jewish people have always been persecuted and hated in some cases.

  10. tnatoli3 says:

    I agree that Zionism is not evil, but from the point of view of the Arabs I can understand why they would think it is on the same level as antisemitism. Their land was given away based on religion because of the British without much of a say. I do not think this reason is enough to compare to a crime against humanity, but it is an interesting point of discussion.

  11. marymsherman says:

    I actually had a conversation on this topic with one of my friends who grew up I a Jewish household. He actually would agree with the Turkish dignitary’s comment, even as a Jew. I found some of his reasons interesting and valid. He says that some terrible atrocities have taken place towards Palestinians at the hands of the Israelites in the past few decades in efforts to “protect their land”. But this comes down to the rooted problem of who actually has rights to the land? I look forward to the conversation about this in class today.

  12. nathenj65 says:

    I think this is a very great topic of conversation because as part of this conversation it is necessary to talk about the Israeli/ Palestinian problems that have been occurring for as long as anyone can remember. I agree with mary in that it is something that these arguments always fall back on and that is that both countries believe they are entitled to the same land for various reasons and should fight to keep/ get it back.

  13. mcharles6 says:

    I’d like to focus on one statement that you made in the middle of this post. You referred to Jerusalem as the Holy City of Islam, or actually the Holy City of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. However, I would argue that the Jews have much more claim to the city. This land was given to the Jews by God. Jerusalem is where King Solomon built the Temple, where God dwelt among His people. The point is the Jews have reason to claim Jerusalem as their Holy City. It is a city that was explicitly given to them by God. Muslims did not come around until much later, so in reality, I believe that the Muslims infringed on the land of the Jews, not the other way around.

  14. Jeffrey Lester says:

    Until now I had really not heard of Zionism as a form of racism and before the class I really did not know much about Zionism to begin with. Like the Author I find what we have learned about the Zionism movement difficult to relate to racist and extremist. At the same time I don’t think there should be any independent religious states, I would much rather everyone just get along.

  15. mitch7991 says:

    I don’t think it’s racist or evil. But I do think it’s misguided. In the Old Testament of the Bible, God does set the Israelites apart from and superior to other nations. He drives the Canaanites out of present day Israel and gives the land to the Israelites. All this was because Israel was supposed to be a righteous nation, a nation whose God was the One and Only God. This is what their superiority was based on. But over time, Israel failed to meet these standards by worshiping other gods and acting wickedly. Therefore, they were not superior to any other nation and, in fact, were just like every other nation. That is why when Jesus came, the Messiah prophesied about in the Old Testament, He preached a message of singularity among all nations and spilled His holy blood, not just for Israel, but for all Nations. That way, God wouldn’t be just Israel’s God, but the God of the whole world, which is, indeed, who He is.

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