The antisemitic allegation that Zionism is a form of racism has become a mainstream motif in the South African political discourse.
This is a result of a systematic disinformation and propaganda campaign within our political, media and academic landscape. It stems from well-funded and well-placed pressure groups and their useful proxies who promulgate the cause. When, for instance, Jews at places such as the University of Cape Town are surrounded by a mob of angry radicals who call them incorrigible racists for identifying with Zionism, there is a sense that this campaign is paying dividends for its provocateurs.
Zionism is the struggle for and continuation of Jewish freedom and self-determination in our ancient homeland. It is the righteous demand for the Jewish State, representing Am Yisrael the Jewish People, to be treated equally, morally and fairly amongst the nations and peoples of the world. Few nations or peoples have more noble or worthy a cause than the Jews do of Zionism, and yet no nation has been more persecuted for identifying with its own right to sovereignty. Denying the Jews this right is antisemitic.
Zionism ought to have widespread support and sympathy in the South African struggle against historical oppression. And yet it regularly faces vicious enmity from many such movements and organisations who are often hijacked in pursuit of a divisive anti-Zionist agenda. This agenda often operates under the halo of not-for-profit, non-governmental or human rights organisations. South Africans should be more circumspect about joining causes that are ostensibly about fighting disenfranchisement but end up disenfranchising the Jewish People.
When a cause starts incorporating anti-Zionist murmurings instead of fulfilling its stated mandate, as we too often see in this country, then its members ought to consider why they are being manipulated and treated as fools. Conversely, when a cause reaches out to us and shows it shares our values of democratic freedoms, religious tolerance, rights of minorities, spreading knowledge and repairing the world we live in, we should stand with it.
As Jews and as Zionists, we ought to emphatically reject the real racists who reject our own rights to freedom and self-determination and embrace those who embrace us.