Defense of Ilhan Omar: Anti-zionism is not anti-semitism

Ilhan Omar
U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) recently came under attack with accusations of anti-semitism by politicians on both sides of the aisle when she dared to criticize AIPAC. | Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA

By Jerry Goldberg

As an activist from a Jewish background, I completely defend Ilhan Omar’s remarks pointing to the role of AIPAC, the Zionist lobby in Washington, of paying politicians (both Republicans and Democrats) to attack those who stand up in defense of Palestine and especially who want to criminalize those who advocate the boycott and divestment movement from Zionist Israel.

Attacking Zionism and its U.S. lobby AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee) is not in any way anti-semitic. Judaism and Zionism are not the same. Zionism in its modern incarnation since Theodor Herzl is a racist, pro-colonial ideology, that was embraced by imperialism beginning with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, when it coincided with Western imperialism’s desire to have a Garrison State and outpost in the Middle East to guarantee the robbery of Arab oil and resources. That is why Israel is always on the wrong side of every progressive struggle worldwide, even embracing apartheid South African with its Nazi leaders.

Jews never embraced Zionism and had no interest in migrating into Palestine until they were essentially forced into Palestine when the United States closed its borders to Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. The imperialists conveniently and cynically saw the opportunity to use Jewish refugees with no where else to go as their shock troops in their war against the Palestinian people to create the illegal state of Israel. U.S. imperialism funds Israel to this day as its military outpost in the Middle East.

It is unfortunate that mainstream Jewish leaders embrace Zionism and have brainwashed too many Jewish youth and others in the U.S. into equating the racist Zionist ideology with the Jewish religion. Many of these so-called leaders turned their backs on defense of the Black liberation movement in the U.S. when its leaders understood the connection of the Palestinian struggle to the struggle for liberation of oppressed people in the U.S. and worldwide.

However, as an activist for 50 years, I am encouraged that the real role of Israel as a racist, imperialist outpost is now understood by more and more activists, including young progressive Jewish activists.

I fully defend Ilhan Omar and all those who stand up for the liberation of all oppressed people. I have every confidence that Israel’s days as an apartheid state are limited and a free Palestine that embraces all its people will ultimately emerge victorious.

Jerry Goldberg is former auto worker, a militant unionist, and a long-time activist based in Detroit. He played a leading role in fighting for the workers and community against the state-imposed emergency manager during the bankruptcy.

This article was updated on February 17, 2019.  “Defense of Ilhan Omar: ” was added to the title.

1 Comment

  1. Everything you said is true.
    A Jewish friend online set me straight about the false premise of Zionism.
    My advocacy began when I started to see the brutality and cruelty of what Israel continues to do to the indigenous of Palestine and the hypocricy of using holocaust for sympathy while destroying Palestinian lives.

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