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Palestinians Urge UN to Declare: 'Zionism is Racism'

United Nations
United Nations

JERUSALEM, Israel - The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) urged the United Nations Thursday to reinstate a resolution rescinded in the 1990’s that claimed: "Zionism is racism."

"To all those who are defending the state of occupation, it's time to drop the claim that its the only democracy in the Middle East now that it has opened the apartheid road, which separates Israeli and Palestinian drivers," PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said.

Majdalani's comments come after Israel officially opened the first section of a new highway in the Judea (also known as the West Bank) Thursday. The highway features a separation wall that allows Israelis to drive on one side and Palestinians on the other. 

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the highway is "an example of the ability to create coexistence between Israelis and Palestinian while guarding (against) the existing security challenges."

Meanwhile, the Palestinian leadership calls it an "apartheid" road.

Majdalani wants the UN to reinstate Resolution 3379, which was adopted in 1975 and declared "that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination."

The resolution was harshly criticized for being anti-Semitic and was later revoked after a campaign against it led by then-President George H.W. Bush.

Zionism, the movement that promotes the right of the Jewish people to have self-determination in their ancestral homeland, has traditionally been the target of fierce debate.

This historic debate played out recently among American newspapers and politicians.

New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg argues "Anti-Zionism isn't the same as Anti-Semitism."

"The conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is a bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand that depends on treating Israel as the embodiment of the Jewish people everywhere. Certainly, some criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, but it's entirely possible to oppose Jewish ethno-nationalism without being a bigot." Goldberg wrote.

"As long as the de facto policy of the Israeli government is that there should be only one state in historic Palestine, it's unreasonable to regard Palestinian demands for equal rights in that state as anti-Semitic," she said.

David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist, disagrees.

While he concedes that "anti-Zionism isn't 'the same' as common anti-Semitism," he argues  "Anti-Zionism is the most significant and consequential form of anti-Semitism that exists in the world today. Anti-Zionism has done more to undermine Jewish safety than all the ugly tweets, dog whistles, and white nationalist marches combined."

"Opposing 'Zionism' itself — the movement for a Jewish homeland — is to deny the validity of a Jewish claim to a nation altogether. It puts you in league with Hamas and Hezbollah and the mullahs of Iran," Harsanyi explained.

"To argue against Jews' nationalism — which is to say, to argue against the ability of Jews to defend themselves in their own state — is substantively anti-Jewish."

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