Last updated on: 1/11/2016 2:46:59 PM PST

Is Zionism a Form of Racism?

PRO (yes)

Steven Salaita, PhD, Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University at the time of the quote, in an Aug. 23, 2010 article for the Foreign Policy Journal titled "Four Reasons Why Americans Should Oppose Zionism," wrote:

"Zionism is racist:  This claim isn't the same as saying that all Zionists are racist.  I would make a distinction between the categories of 'Zionist' and 'Zionism.'  However, inherent in the practice of Zionism is a reliance on racialist judgments about who can fully participate in the benefits and practices of a national community.  Many Zionists view themselves merely as supporting freedom and safety for Jewish people.  I would suggest that people who identify themselves as Zionist look more closely at the ideology they support.  Such freedom and safety, both of which are in fact mythologies, come at the direct expense of people confined to Bantustans and refugee camps."

Aug. 23, 2010 - Steven Salaita, PhD 

Magda Haroun, Head of the Egyptian Jewish Community Council, in a July 16, 2013 interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm of the Egypt Independent titled "Interview: Magda Haroun - Head of Egypt's Jewish Community," stated:

"Zionism is a racist movement that discriminates between people on the basis of religion. They do not understand that I am loyal to my country, not Israel…

The failure to draw a distinction between Judaism as a religion and the Israeli state is the result of ignorance… Much like some people mix up al-Qaeda and Islam, others mix Israel and Judaism up. Just like not every Muslim is a member of al-Qaeda, not every Jew is an Israeli."

July 16, 2013 - Magda Haroun 

Gary Hicks, MA, Research Fellow at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library, in an Apr. 20, 2010 article published on the Communist Party USA's website titled "Convention Discussion: Zionism Is a Form of Racism and Has No Place in Our Communist Party!" available from, wrote:

"Zionism is more than bourgeois nationalism; it is a virulent form of racism. It was racism early on when - at the end of the 1800s - Theodor Herzl, one of its major ideologues, wrote Die Judenstaat, essentially a fundraising proposal addressed to British colonialist Cecil Rhodes, stating that since the Jewish population of Europe has not, does not, never will get along with non-Jews, then the Jews should be given land on which to create a society of like people…

Zionism is racism and genocide. The massacres at Deir Yassin [1948], Qiblyah [1953], Sabra and Shatila [1982], and other locales up to the past twelve years - Jenin and Gaza - are well documented, and - to the everlasting shame of the international community - not one perpetrator of these war crimes has been held accountable…

In 1975, the United Nations characterized Zionism as 'a form of racism'. By the early 1990s, under pressure from the United States, that characterization was rescinded. Such rescinding did not make the characterization any the less true then or now."

Apr. 20, 2010 - Gary Hicks, MA 

Ilan Pappe, DPhil, Professor of History at the University of Exeter (UK), in a June 21, 2008 interview with Apostolis Fotiadis of the Inter Press Service, and published in the Electronic Intifada under the title "Occupiers Cannot Also Be Liberal: An Interview with Ilan Pappe," available from, stated:

"A society that endorses a 40-year occupation of another people cannot be a liberal one. A society that discriminates against 20 percent of its population because they are not Jews cannot be described as progressive. The problem in Israel is not the role of religion or tradition; it is the role of Zionism, a very clear ideology of exclusion, racism and expulsion. This ideology allows the army to play a significant role in most of the domestic and foreign policies, and it is probably right to say that Israel is not a state with an army, but an army with a state."

June 21, 2008 - Ilan Pappé, DPhil 

Rabee Sahyoun, an economic development policy researcher, in a July 3, 2001 article titled "Why Zionism Is Racism," available from, wrote:

"I believe that zionism is racism, because in building Israel, the zionists were revising history, embracing the notion of racial superiority, an ideology that has empowered them to discriminate, with all of its associated social ills, injustices, and moral bankruptcy."

July 3, 2001 - Rabee Sahyoun 

The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, of Nov. 10, 1975, stated the following:


RECALLING its resolution 1904 (XVIII) of 20 November 1963, proclaiming the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and in particular its affirmation that 'any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous' and its expression of alarm at 'the manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas in the world, some of which are imposed by certain Governments by means of legislative, administrative or other measures'...

TAKING NOTE ALSO of the Political Declaration and Strategy to Strengthen International Peace and Security and to Intensify Solidarity and Mutual Assistance among Non-Aligned Countries, adopted at the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries held at Lima from 25 to 30 August 1975, which most severely condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperalist ideology,

DETERMINES that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination."

[Editors Note: On Dec. 16, 1991, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 46/86 which revoked Resolution 3379 by a vote of 111 to 25, with 13 abstentions. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "One of Israel's conditions for the participation of a UN observer in the Madrid Peace Conference [held on Oct. 30, 1991] was the revocation of the infamous resolution 3379 equaling Zionism with racism."]

Nov. 10, 1975 - United Nations (UN) 

CON (no)

Anne Roiphe, novelist and journalist, in an Apr. 13, 2015 article for Tablet titled "Is Zionism Racism?" wrote:

"Zionism is not about race. It is a nationalism. It makes a claim for the Jewish people that they are a folk like other folk and entitled to a land of their own just like the French have France and the English have England and the Bulgarians have Bulgaria...

Yes, Zionism can lead to excess of rage. It can inspire folks to deny others basic human dignity, the same way that anyone else's nationalism can. It can turn ugly when the desire for 'mine' becomes the desire to deny 'yours.' But that is not the Zionism of the Jewish people. It was not Herzl's Zionism…

Zionism is not racist to speak for itself and the illogic, the unthinking hatred behind that slogan, makes me sick. It is a lie and a smear hiding behind a proclamation of seeming virtue. To be against racism is good but to see it where it is not, to use the word to attack Jews, is appalling."

Apr. 13, 2015 - Anne Roiphe 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in an article on its website titled "Response to Common Inaccuracy: Zionism Is Racism," available from (accessed Oct. 21, 2015), wrote:

"Zionism is the Jewish national movement of rebirth and renewal in the land of Israel – the historical birthplace of the Jewish people.  Rooted in the liberal principles of freedom, democracy, equality, and social justice, Zionism is fundamentally incompatible with racism…

Zionism is an ideology that celebrates the Jewish national connection to Israel.  It does not discriminate against or judge other religions or nationalities. 

The false and biased charge of racism is a deliberate effort to delegitimize the right of Jews to a national homeland and undermine the Jewish nationalist movement."

Oct. 21, 2015 - Anti-Defamation League (ADL) 

David Hirsh, PhD, Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London (UK), in an Aug. 2, 2006 opinion piece for the Guardian titled "Zionism Is Not Apartheid," wrote:

"Zionism is not a form of racism or of Nazism or of apartheid. Those who insist on the truth of the identity statement 'Zionism = Nazism = racism = apartheid' license people to relate to Jews who do not identify themselves as anti-Zionists as racists, Nazis, or defenders of apartheid. To relate to Jews in this way is dangerous. The danger is that it will lead to the emergence of an antisemitic movement."

Aug. 2, 2006 - David Hirsh, PhD 

The World Zionist Organization, in the "Questions and Answers: What Is Zionism?" section of its website, available from (accessed Oct. 22, 2015), wrote:

"Zionism is the modern expression of the 1,900 year old dream of rebuilding Israel, after Rome put an end to Jewish independence in the land of Israel…

Anti-Zionists, in 1975, succeeded in passing a UN resolution determining that 'Zionism is a form of racism'…

In point of fact, far from being racist, the State of Israel is a pluralistic and open society, comprising many ethnic and religious groups, all free to practice their faiths and traditions, develop their cultures and participate in the country's democratic processes…

The Zionist movement - both before and since the establishment of the State of Israel - has always advocated and striven for peaceful and mutually beneficial relations among the peoples and the states of the region."

Oct. 22, 2015 - World Zionist Organization 

Big Tent Judaism, in the "Q&A: Jewish Life" section of its website, available from (accessed Jan. 11, 2016), wrote:

"Zionism is neither racism nor colonialism…

Zionism's primary goal was to create a Jewish national home in the land of Israel, with which the Jews have a special historical, religious and national claim to. Its intent was never to discriminate against Arabs or suppress Palestinian self-determination. In fact, Zionist leaders… supported the 1947 partition plan that would have divided the land into a Jewish and an Arab state. Had the Arabs not rejected the plan and attacked Israel, there would be two states there now. The Zionists' fundamental goal was in securing a Jewish homeland in Israel and not in the suppression of Arab claims to the land."

Jan. 11, 2016 - Big Tent Judaism 

Emanuele Ottolenghi, PhD, Leone Ginzburg Fellow in Israel Studies at Oxford University, in a Nov. 28, 2003 Guardian editorial titled "Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism," wrote:

"Negating Zionism, by claiming that Zionism equals racism, denies the Jews the right to identify, understand and imagine themselves -- and consequently behave as -- a nation. Anti-Zionists deny Jews a right that they all too readily bestow on others, first of all Palestinians."

Nov. 28, 2003 - Emanuele Ottolenghi, PhD 

Chaim Herzog, the late President of Israel and Israeli Ambassador to the UN, speaking on the floor of the United Nations on Nov. 10, 1975, stated the following:

"You dare talk of racism when I can point with pride to the Arab ministers who have served in my government; to the Arab deputy speaker of my Parliament; to Arab officers and men serving of their own volition in our border and police defense forces, frequently commanding Jewish troops; to the hundreds of thousands of Arabs from all over the Middle East crowding the cities of Israel every year; to the thousands of Arabs from all over the Middle East coming for medical treatment to Israel; to the peaceful coexistence which has developed; to the fact that Arabic is an official language in Israel on a par with Hebrew; to the fact that it is as natural for an Arab to serve in public office in Israel as it is incongruous to think of a Jew serving in any public office in an Arab country, indeed being admitted to many of them. Is that racism? It is not! That, Mr. President, is Zionism. Zionism is our attempt to build a society, imperfect though it may be, in which the visions of the prophets of Israel will be realized. "

Nov. 10, 1975 - Chaim Herzog