Nothing is more dangerous than confusing different concepts, and particularly those concepts that aim at showing what we are opposed to. Such confusion is generally a precursor for disorder and acts of violence.
And today, we are often anti-everything and anything, without really specifying exactly what we are opposed to.
For example, we are increasingly having a harder time marking the difference between “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Zionism”; and the most zealous supporters of the Israeli government thus label as anti-Semitic anyone who dares to criticize the policy of the Jerusalem government.
As such, for the sake of being accurate, it is necessary to mark the distinction between three different concepts, which are almost entirely unrelated: Anti-Semitism describes those who hate Jewish people (in all its dimensions by attributing a series of imaginary failings to it). Anti-Zionism refers to those who are opposed to the existence of the State of Israel. There is no label to describe those who are neither anti-Semitic nor call into question the existence of the State of Israel, but are opposed to the policy of the current Israeli government. I suggest that we call them “antibibists”; in reference to the nickname (Bibi) of the Israeli Prime Minister who leads this policy.
Many Israelis, Palestinians, and people of goodwill from all over the world are anti-Bibists, without being anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic. And only the supporters of this disastrous Prime Minister, in Israel as elsewhere, have an interest in maintaining this suicidal confusion.
And it is urgent to remember that for many Israelis and Palestinians, Arabs and Jews around the world, and for most people of goodwill, there is a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem: two States, within secure and recognized borders; for them, the “bibi-ism”, which opposes it every day, inevitably leads to the definitive impossibility of creating a viable Palestinian state, which subsequently leads to the abandonment of this demand by the Palestinians, and ultimately leads to the creation of a unique State, immediately transforming Israel into a new apartheid-era South Africa. “Bibi-ism” is thus, in the long run, the worst enemy of Israel, the worst enemy of Zionism; the best ally of anti-Semitism.
Similarly and symmetrically, though careful distinctions ought to be made between these groups, many people intertwine Islamists, Palestinians and Muslims in order to stigmatize them.
This double confusion, if it continues, will plunge not only the Middle East into violence, but also all the regions of the world where the Religions of the Book live in peace today. And France in particular.
It is urgent to state clearly that we can oppose both Netanyahu and Hamas, while at the same time being in favour of peace and being respectful of each other.
These distinctions, so essential, between the different forms of opposition, must also be made in many other fields; such as economics, art, ideology and geopolitics. Thus, we must not confuse “anti-American”, “anti-Trump” and “anti-capitalist.” The same goes for “anti-Russian” and “anti-Putin.” And we must stop entertaining so many other dangerous confusions.
More generally, in a civilized society whose aim is peace, it is better to define ourselves as “pro” rather than “anti.” We will then discover that we can be both “pro-palestinian” and “pro-Israeli.” “Pro-american” and “Pro-russian.” “Pro-european” and “pro-french.”
Life is easier, in all of its dimensions, if we define ourselves by what we approve and not by what we reject.