Following are excerpts from an interview with Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Sheik Naim Qassem, which aired on Al-Kawthar TV on October 17, 2006.
Interviewer: Do you distinguish between Judaism, as a monotheistic religion, and Zionism, even though many Koranic verses refer to the Jews in a somewhat negative manner? They are depicted as miserly and cowardly, as the murderers of the prophets, as people who violate agreements, as usurers, or as people who use corruption to achieve their ends. Do you distinguish between Zionism and Judaism?
Sheik Naim Qassem: When the Koran talks about the Jews, and says: "You will find that the people most hostile to the believers are the Jews and the polytheists," it is describing the general condition of the Jews. In general, the Jewish path in history is replete with problems, such as hostility, slander, schemes, and conspiracies, going against human reality, and so on. When the Koran talks about the Jews, it is not referring to Judaism. Judaism, as a divine message, is part of the holy writings. Therefore, when the Koran talks about "the People of the Book," it is referring to the Jews, the Christians, and others of the People of the Book. Therefore, today, when we face the Israeli entity, when I when we concentrate on Zionism, and we refer to this entity, which was established through plunder, and to these Jews who defend this entity, we do not mean to get into a cultural or intellectual debate, which might conceal the facts. Today, if we say "the Jews," some will say that we refer to the religion, whereas we are referring to the people called Jews. We are not referring to their religion, but to them themselves. Therefore we often use words like "the Zionists" and "the entity" because we do not recognize it to be a state, and we do not recognize that they have such a right. As you know, to this day Israel has no [official] borders. Therefore, we prefer to talk about an "entity" and not a state. We prefer to talk about "Zionists" and "Israelis," instead of "Jews," to avoid confusion. Yet there is nothing wrong with using the term "Jewish entity" when referring to the sinning Jews who cause harm to humanity.