What is Misoziony?

By Victor Rosenthal

Misoziony (mis-OZ-yoni), is the obsessive, extreme, and irrational hatred of Israel, the state of the Jewish people.

Misoziony is not the same as antisemitism (Jew-hatred), although it is closely related. Both ideologies are obsessive and irrational. Most misozionists are antisemites, and almost all antisemites are also misozionists. But the concepts are analytically different.

Misoziony is not simply “criticism of Israeli policies” as apologists often claim. The best way to determine whether comments about Israel are misozionist is to apply Natan Sharansky’s “3-D” criterion (Sharansky intended it to detect antisemitism, but I think it is more precise to say that it is a litmus test for misoziony):

Discourse is misozionist if its effect is to Delegitimize, Demonize, or apply a Double standard to the Jewish state.

The argument that Israel should not exist because it is a “European colonialist enterprise which dispossessed native Palestinians” is an example of delegitimization.

Complaints that Israel is committing genocide, targeting Palestinian children, stealing organs, etc. constitute demonization.

And the double standard is employed when Israel is accused of war crimes when it defends itself against murderous attacks, while actually taking more care to avoid collateral harm to civilians than any other military power.

The obsessive nature of misoziony can be seen by the misozionists blame every possible problem on Israel. For example, the misozionist group called Jewish Voice for Peace promulgated quite successfully the belief that American police brutality against black victims could be traced to training programs for police officers in Israel. Palestinian feminist organizations claim that ill-treatment of women by Palestinian men is a result of Israeli “oppression” of those men. Palestinians have recently claimed that the proliferation of weapons in the hands of Arab criminals and the use of weapons to shoot in the air at Arab weddings (which has resulted in several deaths) is deliberately orchestrated by Israel (the fact that the weapons are also used in terrorism against Israelis seems to have been ignored).

Misoziony is also irrational. For example, there is the popular “pink-washing” meme. According to misozionists, it is forbidden to note that Israel is highly accepting of homosexuals, especially in comparison to the intolerant and even murderous attitude in Palestinian society and other Arab countries, because Israeli liberalism is merely a screen to hide its oppression of Palestinians. Similar arguments are used whenever Israel is praised for any behavior or accomplishment. There is the well-known case of the student thesis that asserted that “IDF soldiers do not rape Arab women because they are racists,” which received high praise from a misozionist faculty member in a major Israeli university.

Misozionists display extremism in both their accusations and their proposed solutions. The intensity of their hatred and the use of the most extreme slanders – genocide, apartheid, Nazi-like behavior – is characteristic. Israel can only be improved, according to misozionists, either by eliminating it altogether or by “dezionizing it,” changing it from a Jewish state into a “secular democratic state of its citizens.” Such proposals usually include a right of “return” for the descendants of Arab refugees, so the intent is to create an Arab majority state. The most extreme misoziony expresses itself in the form of terrorism against Jewish Israelis.

It is impossible to deny the close relationship between misoziony and antisemitism. The misozionist considers Israel uniquely evil among nations. Israel has much in common with other nations, but there is one characteristic that it shares with no other nation: it is the state of the Jewish people. That isn’t an accident.

Misoziony is not precisely antisemitism, but it is a form of bigotry no less reprehensible. Indeed, since the objective of almost all misozionists is the destruction of a state and the dispersal and death of its people – the greater part of the Jewish people – it is a genocidal ideology that is far more evil than mere “prejudice.” It is ironic that the “woke” Left in the West, which has developed its taboo against all kinds of bigotry and racism to an exquisitely refined degree, which “cancels” writers, academics, and performers for “microaggressions,” not only doesn’t see misoziony (it barely sees antisemitism), but is one of the major creators and distributors of it.

The IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism includes both “classical” antisemitism – demonization and hatred of individual Jews and, collectively, the Jewish people – and misoziony, in which the target of abuse is the Jewish state. Misozionists are outraged, because they insist that they “only” criticize Israel. This does not absolve them, because their obsession is no less evil, no less potentially genocidal, than Nazi racial antisemitism. And by far the best explanation for the obsessive, irrational, and extreme nature of their “criticism” is that it comes from a similarly pathological antipathy for Jews.

One seemingly paradoxical aspect of misoziony is that it is very popular among left-wing Jews. The logical (but not practical) distinction between it and antisemitism provides them a psychological mechanism to avoid the cognitive dissonance that would otherwise come from having to admit their unspoken wish for the embarrassing Jewish people to disappear.

Israelis and pro-Israel Jews have grown accustomed to misoziony, but the sheer scope and pervasiveness of it, in schools, universities, the arts, social and mainstream media, labor unions, NGOs, churches (even some synagogues), and of course political bodies, is stunning. And it’s not just Arab propaganda funded by oil money any more.

One of the notable images used by Jew-haters from 19th-century Europe, through the Nazi period, and including today’s European and Middle-Eastern antisemites is the hook-nosed Jewish spider sitting in the center of his web, pulling strings that stretch his malign power throughout the world. But in reality, the opposite is true: there are a number of anti-Israel puppet masters, pulling the strings – and streaming money – into the literally thousands of loci of misozionist hate around the world. Money that originates in the UN, the European Union, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, the Ford Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and its satellites, and countless other sources flows into the numerous anti-Israel NGOs, student organizations, propaganda organs, Middle East Studies programs, and so forth.

Think about it. It’s truly spectacular. Has there ever been another enterprise like this in history? All this hate, lies, and vituperation (which sometimes expresses itself in actual violence) targeted at one tiny country!