Antisemitism, Anti-racism and Zionism: Old Debates, Contemporary Contestations

JVL Introduction

In May 2019 we reprinted an article by Nira Yuval-Davis, first printed in Spare Rib in May 1984, under the title From the archives: Zionism, antisemitism and the struggle against racism.

We did so because of its “clear resonances with debates today”.

Feminist Review has now reprinted the original article together with a new introduction by Nira Yuval-David  and four contemporary comments by Islah Jad, Catherine Rottenberg, Marlene Ellis and Miriam David.

This article was originally published by Feminist Review on Fri 24 Jan 2020. Read the original here.

Antisemitism, Anti-racism and Zionism: Old Debates, Contemporary Contestations

It is in the context of the current moment in which Zionism, antisemitism and anti-racism are at the centre of British political debates that Feminist Review republishes here an article that Nira Yuval-Davis had originally published in Spare Rib in 1984. The FR collective believe that the re-publication of this article after 35 years is important for the following reasons: First, it predicted the conflation of any critique of Israel with antisemitism, as can be seen today in the allegations raised against the Labour Party, where criticism and opposition to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is equated with or reduced to antisemitism. Second, the article analyses antisemitism and Zionism in their relationship to the struggle against racism in a systematic way. Thirdly, the article points out why reflecting on these issues and participating in the struggle against all forms of racism, as well as settler occupation, is a feminist issue.

Along with the original article, we publish a new framing introduction by Yuval-Davis and four contemporary reflections by Islah Jad, Catherine Rottenberg, Marlene Ellis and Miriam E. David.

Zionism, antisemitism and the struggle against racism: some reflections on a current painful debate among feminists’, Spare Rib, September 1984 (PDF download) (text-only version available on Jewish Voice for Labour website)
Nira Yuval-Davis

Introduction: reflecting back on my 1984 article
Nira Yuval-Davis

The anti-Zionism, antisemitism, anti-racism controversy revisited — controversially?
Islah Jad

Feminist solidarity and social justice: a response to Nira Yuval-Davis’ 1984 ‘Zionism, antisemitism and the struggle against racism: Some reflections on a painful debate among feminists’
Catherine Rottenberg

Afriphobia in a Zionist and anti-Semitic feminist context
Marlene Ellis

A Jewish sisterly tribute to Nira
Miriam E. David

Comments (1)

  • Brocklehurst says:

    A UK report on anti Semitism yesterday (Feb 5th 2020) said there had been a four-fold rise in anti-Semitism in the UK. 130 of these were linked to alt right and Nazi groups, and included graffiti and online attacks using vile abuse and swastikas. But the largest proportion of the ‘rise’ , within some 550 other registered reports of anti Semiic abuse, was entirely to do with mentioning Israel and using the word Zion. As expected, anti-Semitism has risen because during Brexit and given the anti-immigrant or anti’the other’ messages emanating from this Government from Windrush and through Brexit rhetoric about migration, the alt right now feels it has permission to scream abuse against Jews and others. Meanwhile, the weaponisation of anti-Semitism, as stretched by some of the clauses within the IHRA definitions, has been employed quite cynically, to suppress any criticism of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinian people.

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