Anti-Zionism is not Antisemitism

The Centrality of Palestinian Liberation in the Struggle for Anti-Oppressive Education


  • Laura Jaffee Colgate University


anti-oppressive education, antisemitism, anti-Zionism, Palestine, BDS movement, student activism


In recent years, a distorted definition of antisemitism that conflates anti-Jewish prejudice with criticism of Israel has increasingly been adopted in U.S. state and federal legislation. The intended effect of such legislation is to silence activists, students, teachers, and workers who speak out against Israeli apartheid and for Palestinian freedom. This article takes a historical approach to disentangle actual antisemitism from legitimate critiques of a nation-state both by analyzing actual antisemitism as intimately linked to ableism and white supremacy and through examining the long history of Jewish resistance to Zionism. Understanding that legislation conflating antisemitism with criticism of Israel is part of an effort to silence teaching about Palestine is illustrative for making sense of broader attacks on decolonial, anti-racist, and gender and sexuality-affirming education. Refusing the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism is critical to promoting anti-oppressive education and resisting the present attack on the policing of permissible knowledge in schools.