To understand what anti-Zionism is, we must first understand what Zionism is. Zionism is the movement for Jewish self-determination in the Land of Israel. In practical terms, this translates to support for the establishment and continued existence of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. 

In the First Zionist Congress, the participants defined Zionism as “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz ­Israel [the Land of Israel] secured under public law.”

Zionism is not support for any Israeli government, Israeli policies, or even any particular solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Likewise, anti-Zionism is not opposition to any Israeli government, Israeli policies, or any particular solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionism. In other words, it’s an “anti” ideology that’s not necessarily “for” anything — other than to oppose Zionism. That means that virtually anyone who opposes Zionism is an anti-Zionist, whether they be Ilhan Omar or David Duke. 

Just as Zionism is not support for any Israeli government, Israeli policies, or even any particular solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, anti-Zionism is not opposition to any Israeli government, Israeli policies, or any solution to the conflict. Rather, it’s opposition to Jewish sovereignty in Israel in and of itself. 



Early anti-Zionism can be divided into two categories: Jewish anti-Zionism and non-Jewish anti-Zionism. 

Zionism was, initially, of very little consequence to the non-Jewish world, which paid little attention, or regarded it cynically as a “Jewish trick.” But it was cause for rigorous debate among Jews. Jewish anti-Zionism itself can be divided into two categories. First were some Orthodox Jews, who believed a Jewish state should only be established upon the coming of the Messiah. Some fringe Orthodox sects, like the Satmar (not to be confused with the Neturei Karta), still believe this. The second group were those who believed that Zionism was a far-fetched, “reactionary” idea, and that the best course of action for Jewish survival would be for Jews to integrate into full members of their societies. 

The earliest non-Jewish anti-Zionists were European antisemites. Wilhelm Marr, the antisemite who coined the word “antisemitism,” wrote of the First Zionist Congress, “the entire matter is a foul Jewish swindle, in order to divert the attention of the European peoples from the Jewish problem.” 

The Catholic Church responded to the First Zionist Congress by invoking ancient antisemitic tropes: “According to the Sacred Scriptures, the Jewish people must always live dispersed and vagabondo [vagrant, wandering] among the other nations, so that they may render witness to Christ not only by the Scriptures...but by their very existence.”

Most notably, the First Zionist Congress inspired the writing of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, the most influential antisemitic hoax in history, which purported to document the minutes of the First Zionist Congress. 



Until the 1917 Balfour Declaration, most Arabs had never actually heard of Zionism. The Balfour Declaration was a British document that stated, “His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” While the Balfour Declaration never specified the exact nature of this Jewish national home, it seemed to contradict the promise that the British made to the Arabs just a year prior, in which they promised them a unified Arab state in Greater Syria, which included Palestine. 

That said, in 1899, the Arab mayor of Jerusalem, Yousef al-Khalidi, wrote to the chief rabbi of France, “Who can deny the rights of the Jews to Palestine? Good lord, historically it is your country!…But in practice you cannot take over Palestine without the use of force…” The chief rabbi of France forwarded al-Khalidi's letter to Theodor Herzl, who was quick to send a reply, assuring al-Khalidi that the Zionist movement had no intention of displacing the Muslim and Christian populations. It’s also worth noting that during this time period, Palestine experienced a mass influx of immigrants from other Jewish countries. Thus, it wasn’t immigration that al-Khalidi opposed, but rather, Jewish immigration. 

An anti-Zionist Palestinian Christian newspaper, Falastin, was first published in 1911. It’s worth noting that while Falastin claimed to differentiate between Zionists and Jews, it dabbled in antisemitic conspiracies from the Elders of Zion, described Hitler as “Innocent and Noble, strong and beloved by his people,” threatened the Jewish communities of the rest of the Muslim world should a Jewish state be established, and opposed the Nuremberg Trials. 

It was in the 1920s, under the influence of Haj Amin al-Husseini, that Arab anti-Zionism grew into the mainstream. Al-Husseini mobilized the Palestinian Arab population with false threats that the Jews intended to take over Al Aqsa mosque to rebuild the Temple. This incitement led to a series of massacres. 



Since the 1960s, there has been a concerted propaganda effort to portray Zionism as a continuation of Nazism. The Nazis, however, made their anti-Zionism no secret from the beginning. 

Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “For while the Zionists try to make the rest of the world believe that the national consciousness of the Jew finds its satisfaction in the creation of a Palestinian state, the Jews again slyly dupe the dumb Goyim. It doesn’t even enter their heads to build up a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organization for their international world swindle…”

Shortly after the Nazis came to power, they began breaking up Zionist meetings in Berlin; for example, a 1934 Jewish Daily Bulletin headline reads, “Nazi Officials Raid Zionist B’nai B’rith Meeting in Berlin.” 

In 1937, a Nazi document on foreign policy read, “(1) The formation of a Jewish state or a Jewish-led political structure under British mandate is not in Germany’s interest…(2) Germany therefore has an interest in strengthening the Arab world as a counterweight against such a possible increase in power for world Jewry.”

By 1941, the Nazis officially banned all Zionist activities in Germany. 

Also in 1941, Hitler personally assured Palestinian Arab nationalist leader Haj Amin al-Husseini that Germany “supports an uncompromising struggle against the Jews…[this] would include, of course, opposition to a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which is nothing more than a national hub for the destructive influence of Jewish interests.” 



Islamism is, in essence, political Islam. Islamists believe that the doctrines of Islam should be congruent with those of the state. Islamists work to implement nation-states governed under Islamic Law (Sharia), emphasize pan-Islamic unity (in most cases, hoping for an eventual worldwide Islamic Caliphate, or empire), support the creation of Islamic theocracies, and reject all non-Muslim influences. For this reason, Islamists tend to portray themselves as “anti-imperialist,” while in truth they are striving to swap western imperialism with Islamic imperialism. 

Despite what many might expect, the antisemitism at the core of Islamist movements did not originate as a response to Zionism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, Islamists justify their antisemitism because of the Prophet Muhammad’s initial conflict with the Jewish tribes of the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century. 

Nevertheless, Islamists believe Zionism and Israel are “proof” that Jews are in an eternal struggle with Islam. It’s not uncommon for Islamists to conflate the past, such as the Arabian Jewish tribes’ rejection of Islam in the seventh century, with the present, such as Israeli policies they find unfavorable.

Finally, Islamists see Zionist Jews and the State of Israel as “usurpers” of what they consider to be rightfully Islamic land, belonging to a future Islamic Caliphate. 



In the 1870s, Wilhelm Marr coined the word antisemitism to replace the previously-used term, “Jew-hatred.” This was at the height of the scientific racism movement, when being “anti” the so-called “Semitic race” would be considered a positive thing. As in, “I’m not a Jew-hater, I’m an antisemite!” Surely this sounds familiar.

In the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, the gruesome images emerging from Nazi death camps shocked the world. Open antisemitism became associated with the evils of Nazism. So the Soviets, who’d long expressed antisemitic views, switched strategies.

In 1969, the United Nations passed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Both the United States and Brazil wanted to add a clause including antisemitism. The Soviet Union, which had been heavily oppressing its Jewish population since the 1950s, worried that such a clause would be used to rebuke them for persecuting Soviet Jews. As such, they included a counter proposal, which was a clause that equated Zionism to Nazism. That way, they could say that they were (rightfully) anti-Zionists, not antisemites. Neither clause passed.

But the Soviets were never covert about the fact that their “anti-Zionism” was actually just antisemitism. In the 1960s, Soviet propaganda made blatantly antisemitic claims, including: “The character of the Jewish religion serves the political aims of the Zionists,” “Zionism is inextricable from Judaism, rooted in the idea of the exclusiveness of the Jewish People,” comparisons of Judaism to the Italian mafia, and claims that Israel was merely a means to an end of Jewish imperialism and world domination.

To strengthen their sphere of influence over Arab and African nations, the Soviets launched a covert operation against Israel, named Sionistskiye Gosudarstva, meaning “Zionist Governments.” According to KGB chairman Yuri Andropov (1967-1982), “We had only to keep repeating our themes—that the United States and Israel were ‘fascist, imperial-Zionist countries’ bankrolled by rich Jews.’”

As the Soviets gained increasing influence over the Palestinian cause in the 1960s, the Palestinian leadership, too, shifted from the overt expressions of Nazi-esque antisemitism of the 1940s to the language of anti-Zionism. 



The predominant debate of pre-Holocaust Jewish Europe was whether Jews should pursue their own national aspirations (Zionism) or whether it was best to try to assimilate into their host nations as full citizens, as Jews had only recently become emancipated in Europe. The Holocaust shattered any illusion of integration. 

Today, young Jewish anti-Zionists tend to glorify the General Jewish Labor Bund, the predominant anti-Zionist — or arguably non-Zionist — Jewish group in pre-World War II Europe. The Bund was officially disbanded in the 1920s, as the Soviet Union cracked down on its Jewish population, but its legacy continued through the International Jewish Labor Bund. After the Holocaust, Bundists in Displaced Persons camps advocated for Jewish refugee migration to Palestine. However, the Bund opposed partition, advocating for a binational state instead (something that the Arab leadership of Palestine itself rejected multiple times between 1939 and 1947). 

A minority of ultra-Orthodox sects continue to reject a Jewish state before the coming of the messiah. However, one extremely fringe group, the Neturei Karta, seems to always steal the spotlight. The Neturei Karta are not just religious anti-Zionists but vicious antisemites who have closely allied themselves with the murderous Islamic Republic of Iran, blame Zionists for the Holocaust, and more, so much so that another religious anti-Zionist sect, the Satmar, issued a cherem (“censure,” similar to excommunication) against them. 

Of course, today, there are a number of anti-Zionist left wing Jewish groups, such as Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. I’ve talked about both those groups at length in other posts. Polls consistently show that between 80-97% of Jews are Zionists. 



Recently some people expressed shock that “pro-Palestine” influencer Sneako and journalist Sulaiman Ahmed met with white supremacists Nick Fuentes, Jake Shields, and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. To me, this is entirely unsurprising. People who openly hate Jews will naturally have unfavorable views of a Jewish state. It’s not shocking that they would find common ground with allegedly non-antisemitic anti-Zionists. 

Islamist-Nazi collaboration dates back to the 1930s, when the Nazis helped fund the Muslim Brotherhood. Similarly, the alliance between the Nazis and the father of Palestinian nationalism, Haj Amin al-Husseini, is well-documented. Al-Husseini spent World War II in Berlin working as a Nazi propagandist, visited the concentration camps as the Holocaust was unfolding, and met with both Hitler and Mussolini. 

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, both Palestinian Arab paramilitaries — the Army of the Holy War and the Arab Liberation Army — were trained by former German Nazis. The Nazis even formed their own legion, Black International, to fight alongside the Palestinian Arabs against the Zionists. Fawzi al-Qawugji, the leader of the Arab Liberation Army, had severed in the Nazi forces himself. 

In the 1950s, the Soviets, who loudly proclaimed themselves “anti-Zionists,” exported Nazi propaganda films to the Arab world to “inflame” anti-Israel sentiment. These were films that had been produced by the Nazis in Germany during the Nazi regime. 

Wolfgang Abramowski and Willi Pohl, two German neo-Nazis, helped the Palestinian terrorist “anti-Zionist” group Black September plan the 1972 Munich Massacre. They provided weapons, forged passports and other documents, and drove the terrorists around as they planned their attack. 

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