What's the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?

The UK Labour Party has been at the centre of a row over anti-Semitism, including its relationship to anti-Zionism. What do these terms actually mean?

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended from Labour following a series of remarks about Israel, including the suggestion that Hitler supported Zionism before the Holocaust.

It follows the suspension of Bradford West MP Naz Shah after it emerged she had once suggested, among other things, that Israel should be moved to the United States. The new president of the National Union of Students, Malia Bouattia, has also been heavily criticised for remarks she made about Zionists.

Many in the Jewish community say the use of “Zionist” as a term of abuse reflects a rising tide of bigotry and racism directed at Jews.

The Labour peer Lord Levy told the BBC’s Newsnight: “There can be criticism of the state of Israel, but anti-Semitism – using the word ‘Zionist’ as another form of anti-Semitism – frankly can no longer be tolerated.”

Others – including Livingstone – argue anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, and that it’s wrong to mix up anti-Jewish prejudice with legitimate disagreement with the actions of the Israeli state.

However, critics of anti-Zionists point out that sometimes particularly harsh criticism of Israel goes further than disagreement with policies, but rather denies the right of the Jewish state to exist.