July 4, 2020

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Misoziony (mis-OZ-yo-nee), noun: The irrational and extreme hatred of Israel and Zionists


In 2007, I coined the term “misoziony” to describe the irrational and disproportionate hate of Israel and Zionism.

As we have seen, use of “antisemitism” when discussing people’s anti-Israel views may be technically correct but it is often a distraction from the argument being made, and overuse of that term waters it down over time.

Misoziony  is a term meant to solve this problem.  Miso- is a prefix, based on the Greek misos, that means “hatred.” Misoziony – the hatred of Israel and Zionism – is a fundamentally irrational loathing that is just as disgusting as anti-semitism but without the baggage.

We don’t know for sure what is in the minds and hearts of people who spend their lives attacking Israel. Calling Walt and Mearsheimer, or Jimmy Carter, or even John Cusack “antisemitic” doesn’t help anyone. But no one can argue that they are misozionist.

Hating Israel in grossly disproportionate ways compared to the behavior of any other nation is in fact part of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, but the people who espouse that viewpoint passionately disagree and the meta-argument takes away oxygen from pointing out that the misozionist hate that animates them is no different psychologically or culturally from any other hate like racism, sexism or antisemitism.  “Jewish Voice for Peace” members may or may not be antisemitic but they are undoubtably proud misozionists. Changing the frame of reference allows us to engage in – and destroy – their arguments far more effectively, since they are animated by an irrational hate based on lies and gross distortions, demanding Israel adhere to impossible moral standards that no one else is expected to reach and obsessively hammering at Israel falling short of perfection as being proof of it being Nazi-like.

Anyone who would be obsessed with hating, say, Italy and Italians, writing papers and tweets to prove that Italianism is evil and must be eradicated, would be instantly recognized as a bigot. So are misozionists.

Israel-bashers like to claim that Zionists use the term “antisemitism” as a club to crush all criticism of Israel. The problem is, of course, that the same crowd uses the claim of Zionist use of anti-semitism as a means to avoid discussing real issues. The word misoziony can neatly solve that problem and can help re-focus the arguments back on their fundamentally untenable bases. Pointing out misoziony can help to sharpen the debate and point out the basic irrationality of the Israel-bashers.

No one else picked up on the term misoziony – until today, when The Jewish Press published an article by EoZ contributor Vic Rosenthal titled “Tikkunism Begets Misoziony.

It took twelve years, but maybe the time for using the term misozionists and misoziony when accusations of antisemitism would have no or negative effect.

(Rosenthal helpfully says the words are pronounced “mis-OZ-yo-nists,” “mis-OZ-yo-nee”.)

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