Category Archives: Jewish opposition to Zionism

My Parents Founded a Settlement, Now Trump Could Make Their Dream Come True

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.776450

My Parents Founded a Settlement, Now Trump Could Make Their
Dream Come True

Yair Svorai Mar 12, 2017 4:37 AM

U.S. President Donald Trump’s “two-state and one-state” pronouncement
last month effectively signaled the demise of the Oslo Agreements – a
significant reversal of the long-established U.S. position, now in
contrast with a near-universal international consensus. It also supports
the continuation of Israel’s colonization of the territories it has
occupied since 1967.

Indeed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the spirit of
occupation-as-usual by demanding “security control” over the entire area
west of the Jordan River, proclaiming, in the words of The Nation’s
Rashid Khalidi, “A permanent regime of occupation and colonization,
ruling out a sovereign independent Palestinian state, whatever fictions
of ‘statehood’ or ‘autonomy’ are dreamed up to conceal this brutal
reality. Trump’s subsequent silence amounts to the blessing of the U.S.
government for this grotesque vision of enduring subjugation and
dispossession for the Palestinians.”

The expansion of Jewish settlement in, and control of, Palestine has
followed a consistent pattern for about 100 years: people replacement –
the replacement of Palestinians by Jews. It is crucial to understand the
timing of such expansion: whenever the opportunity arises. And, for
Israel, Donald J. Trump is a historical opportunity on a grand scale.

In 1907, the leadership of the World Zionist Organization sent Dr.
Arthur Ruppin on a fact-finding mission to Ottoman Palestine. Ruppin, a
German-Jewish economist and lawyer, subsequently developed a plan with
the ultimate goal of establishing Jewish self-rule in Ottoman Palestine,
where Jews were a small minority (between 6 and 9 percent).

The plan included establishing new settlements in such a way that over
time they would form a mass of settlements – Israel’s first settlement
bloc – to be used, much like today, as a geopolitical leveraging tool.

In the following three decades, prior to the Holocaust and before anyone
could imagine the horrific fate awaiting European Jews, the foundation
of the State of Israel was set in place via the creation of elaborate
pre-state institutions, buttressed by small waves of immigrants whose
political orientation ranged from Zionist socialists to right-wing
ultra-nationalists.

Among the latter were my parents, Moshe and Tova Svorai, arriving as
children from Eastern Europe in the early 1920s and belonging to the
most far-right elements of the Zionist movement – Betar and Brit
Habirionim, followed by the Irgun, and then the Lehi (Stern Gang); both
of these were pre-state Jewish terrorist organizations.

In the big-picture sense, left-wing and right-wing Zionists wanted the
same thing – a Jewish state in Palestine. The differences among them
were largely semantic: a matter of political style, timing and competing
approaches on how to reach that goal.

The elephant-in-the-room facing Zionism was – then, as now – ignored:
the land was already populated by Palestinian Arabs, who had been there
for centuries. Ignoring the physical reality, from early on Zionist
terminology was designed to perpetuate the myth of an empty land
awaiting its lost people: “A land without a people for a people without
a land.”

A dunam here and a dunam there

Following the original Ruppin Plan, the expansion of Jewish settlement
started with land acquisitions from absentee Arab landlords, culminating
in a military campaign to drive the native population off its land. As
the old Zionist saying goes, “A dunam here and a dunam there” (a dunam
is approximately equal to a quarter of an acre), whenever the
opportunity arises.

The same opportunistic vigor was used to remove the Palestinian people
from what was soon to become Israel.

The best known milestone in the removal of the Arab population was the
Deir Yassin massacre of April 9, 1948, conducted by Irgun and Lehi
forces, designed to scare Palestinians and cause them to flee their
homes, towns and villages.

Israel’s War of Independence consisted of other massacres, too. The war
itself followed Plan Dalet (Plan D), carefully developed by the
“moderate,” mainstream Haganah leadership to expand the territory of the
future state beyond the UN Partition Plan and to remove as much of
Palestine’s Arab population as possible. Then, as now, the goal of the
Jewish state has been to maximize its land area and to minimize the
Palestinian-Arab population residing in it.

This was the Nakba, the catastrophe – a term used by the Palestinian
people to describe the loss of their homeland: the disappearance of
entire communities totaling some 750,000 people, who were forced out of
their country. Post-1948 Palestine was a drastically changed land: about
500 Palestinian towns and villages had been emptied of their
inhabitants, their homes mostly razed and their lands divided among the
Jewish kibbutzim (communal farms) and villages.

The term Nakba, which is central to Palestinian nationhood as much as
the Holocaust is for Jews and slavery is for African-Americans, is
shunned by most Israeli Jews for obvious reasons: Even the mere
implication of responsibility for the Nakba war crimes is unacceptable.

Those Palestinians who managed to remain, now known as “1948
Palestinians,” were placed under military rule, with their basic civil
rights – such as the freedom to assemble, travel and claim their
properties – removed. In addition, most of their lands were confiscated
by the newly created Jewish state and transferred to kibbutzim and villages.

Military rule lasted until 1966 and assured that the dispossession of
the Palestinians could be carried out in a well-organized and highly
controlled manner – “a dunam here and a dunam there” – with the remnants
of the subject population confined to specific territories, in many
cases restricted to their villages, homes or jail cells.

‘This will belong to us’

The Green Line – the 1949 armistice line separating Israel from the West
Bank of Jordan – followed the line of Jewish settlements put in place
during the 1920s-’40s, in close adherence to the Ruppin Plan. It is
probably the first example of how “facts on the ground” proved to be
crucial for the success of the Zionist project, something that Ruppin
appreciated possibly before anyone else.

But the old Green Line was irregular and left a great deal of fertile,
hilly land on the other side. And then there was Jerusalem, whose
eastern parts, including Temple Mount, were also on the other side of
that border. Standing with my parents near the Montefiore Windmill in
the early ’60s, looking at the Old City on the other side of the
then-border, I vividly remember my astonished reaction to hearing my
mother say, “One day, this too will belong to us.” She was soon to be
proved right.

The swift military victory of the 1967 war offered an unprecedented
opportunity for Israel to expand in all directions. Jerusalem was the
nationalist-religious pinnacle; even more importantly, the last
remaining parts of old Palestine were now there for the taking – the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip, totaling 22 percent of historic Palestine.
Ditto the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights, and Sinai (which was
subsequently returned to Egypt under a separate “peace agreement”
following the 1973 war).

Since 1967, under the so-called “moderate” and “extreme” Israeli
governments led by the Labor and Likud parties, some 130 settlements and
100 outposts have been established in the West Bank, with a population
of some 400,000 Jewish settlers. Additionally, some 200,000 Israelis
live in East Jerusalem.

Any relocation of the occupier’s population into occupied territories,
whether into government-established settlements or so-called “rogue”
outposts, is considered illegal according to international law and
conventions.

When they were in their 60s, my own parents were among the founders of a
settlement in the northern West Bank, where they spent the rest of their
days. They were firm believers in the absolute and exclusive right of
the Jewish people to its biblical homeland, and remained committed to
making their personal contribution to their cause to the very end.

They were guided by Lehi’s “18 Principles of Rebirth” essay, which
defined biblical Israel as starting at the Nile and reaching to the
Euphrates River – a vast territory that includes parts of Egypt and
Saudi Arabia, most of Jordan and Syria, and all of Lebanon.
Incidentally, a large number of Israeli right-wingers, among them
Netanyahu and members of his government, admire Lehi and its principles
– including, at least in spirit, its territorial desires.

Immediately after the 1967 war, the Syrian population of the Golan
Heights (some 130,000 people) was forced out by Israel, 1948-style,
leaving the territory largely empty for Israeli colonization to take
root. Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights followed in 1981.
(Netanyahu is now seeking U.S. recognition from Trump of Israeli
sovereignty over the Golan Heights.)

Erasing the past

And the Nakba continued. The initial period after the 1967 war included
a number of known cases where West Bank villagers were expelled from
their homes by an Israeli military command attributed to Gen. Yitzhak
Rabin. Among them were the villages of Imwas, Yalo and Bayt Nuba in the
Latrun area, which were subsequently razed. (I visited the three
destroyed villages in August 1967. There was very little left other than
broken stones and fruit trees bursting with fruit left unpicked by
villagers, now turned refugees.) In an attempt to eradicate the villages
from history and erase them from public memory, the victors attempted to
conceal their crimes by planting a recreational forest, named Canada
Park, on the land formerly owned and cultivated by these villagers – a
concealment method that had been used before.

As for the rest of the West Bank, in a slow process that has lasted
nearly 50 years – and which continues to this day – the Palestinian
population has been stripped of much of its land and pushed into
Bantustan-like areas surrounded by Jewish settlements. The territory is
now dissected into enclaves designed by Israel to assure a discontinuity
of Palestinian land, thereby guaranteeing that a viable Palestinian
state cannot be established.

“Facts on the ground” work in both directions: the presence of one
population (Jewish) and the absence of another (Palestinian). Now, most
of the Jordan Valley has been cleared of the Palestinian population; in
hamlets of the poorest population – the Hebron Hills Bedouin – families
are routinely uprooted and forced out of their shacks.

And throughout the West Bank, bit by bit, “a dunam here and a dunam
there,” Palestinians are forced out by Jews. Houses are demolished, land
is taken or its cultivation is prevented; olive groves are uprooted by
settler thugs with full impunity, under the watchful gaze of Israel’s
occupation army – euphemistically called the Israel Defense Forces. And
Israeli government policy greatly restricts Palestinians in the West
Bank from using their land and natural resources, especially water
required to cultivate crops.

Thus, while Israeli settlements enjoy unrestricted water usage with lawn
sprinklers galore, Palestinian farmers who dig out a 10-foot-long
(3-meter) trench to collect and divert rainwater into a field or
vegetable garden risk punishment and the destruction of their fields and
gardens.

And the Nakba continues. A similar crackdown on Israel’s Palestinian
citizens takes place with predictable regularity along similar patterns
– as witnessed most recently by the destruction of the Bedouin village
of Umm al-Hiran, whose population is to be corralled elsewhere in the
Negev and its lands designated for a new Jewish settlement. The more
things change, the more they stay the same.

This is a very short list of the evils of Israel’s occupation – all of
this, and much more, has been widely reported over the past five
decades, and documented in great detail by UN agencies, multiple
international aid organizations, foreign consulate staff and local civic
organizations, both Palestinian and Israeli. (The death and destruction
in Gaza, its collapsed infrastructure, economy, essential public health
facilities, child nutrition and basic resources of livelihood require
separate coverage.)

The Oslo II (“Taba”) Agreement divided the West Bank into Areas A, B and
C – a division that is used by Israel to divide and rule, confine and
control the local Palestinian population.

The experience of 1948 and the early years of statehood have proven most
beneficial to Zionist colonialism. A slow and methodical acquisition of
land, this time by means that are entirely illegal, coupled with
strategic removal and confinement of the Palestinian population,
resulted in settlement blocs – vast land areas that are largely
Arab-free and a network of highways, other infrastructure projects and
state institutions serving the Jewish-only settlements.

This is nothing short of new-age apartheid, where the indigenous
population is not only of no value to its colonial masters – not even as
a source of cheap labor – but it is essential for the success of the
colonial project that it be removed: the more of “them” that are gone,
the better off “we” are. That people-removal process is called ethnic
cleansing, which is a crime against humanity under the statute of the
International Criminal Court.

All of this has been carried out mostly in plain view, under the world’s
watchful eye. It has also been made possible and indirectly funded by
the United States, under Democratic and Republican administrations alike
– notwithstanding outgoing President Barack Obama’s lame-duck UN
Security Council non-veto move, and various U.S. declarations about
Israeli settlements being “a threat to peace,” or making it “almost
impossible … to create a contiguous, functioning Palestinian state.”
Both true, but meaningless.

Despite the rhetoric, the United States has been the primary enabler of
Israel’s occupation: military aid (currently $38 billion over the next
10 years), including the very latest technologies, and close military
coordination; tax exemptions for donations to Israel, including to
organizations that fund settlements; global diplomatic protection; and
the lending of legitimacy to a state whose actions would have otherwise
made it a global pariah long ago.

Thus, under the guise of a never-ending “peace process,” the United
States has acted as a dishonest broker and purveyor of broken promises,
e.g., a “two-state solution” where the territory of the imagined state
is eaten up by the other, already existing regional-superpower state
while “peace talks” continue. It’s like the pizza analogy where two
parties engage in lengthy negotiations over the splitting of a pie,
while one of them keeps eating the slices. Over these past 50 years, the
United States has facilitated the replacement of the Palestinian people,
bit by bit, one dunam and one person at a time, as Israel grabs every
opportunity that arises, paid for by Uncle Sam.

For Israel, the election of Trump to the highest office in the land
presents a historical opportunity on a grand scale to accelerate both
settlement expansion and the process of people replacement.

Never before has a U.S. president expressed such unbridled support for
an Israeli government – especially one that is widely seen as the most
right-wing, aggressive Israeli government ever.

In light of the new opportunity, the Israeli government has unleashed a
wave of settlement construction permits in the West Bank and East
Jerusalem – so far totaling about 6,000 homes for Jewish settlers – and
announced the creation of a new settlement.

In addition, a new law allowing the confiscation of privately held
Palestinian land for the benefit of Jewish settlements was recently
passed. As journalist Jonathan Cook explained in The National, “In
practice, there has never been a serious limit on theft of Palestinian
land. But now Israeli government support for the plunder will be
explicit in law.” The Nakba continues, vigorously.

Reality could not be much uglier and the future could not look much
bleaker – most especially for Palestinians, but also for Israeli Jews.
As Haaretz writer and occupation expert Amira Hass noted, “It’s hard to
admit that the Zionist ideology and its product – Israel – have created
a thieving, racist, arrogant monster that robs water and land and
history, that has blood on its hands under the excuse of security, that
for decades has been deliberately planning today’s dangerous Bantustan
reality, on both sides of the Green Line.”

Perhaps hard to admit, but crucially important to recognize.

The writer, a former Israeli, has lived in the United States for 45 years.

The Disturbing Alliance Between Zionists and Anti-Semites

http://forward.com/opinion/363545/the-disturbing-alliance-between-zionists-and-anti-semites/
Opinion

The Disturbing Alliance Between Zionists and Anti-Semites

Suzanne Schneider, Forward (New York), February 19, 2017

Between the congressional hearing for David Friedman, the visit of Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Trump’s refusal to address the rising tide of anti-Semitism, it’s been a tense time within the American Jewish community. For those on the right, Trump’s abandonment of the two-state solution, much like Friedman’s nomination, comes as an assurance that the new administration will firmly commit itself to an expansionist form of Zionism. And along with the presence of Jared Kushner within the President’s inner circle, keeping Friedman and Bibi in the wings is taken by many as a signal that Trump is not really an anti-Semite, despite surrounding himself with figures of questionable persuasion. According to this logic, the strong commitment by Trump and Steve Bannon to Israel undermines any suggestion that they harbor antipathy toward Jews. Yet, for many centrists and liberals, the idea of Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon working together causes endless confusion: How could the descendent of Holocaust survivors find common cause with the ideological leader of the alt-right?

The answer may lie in the history of the Zionist movement, a history which demonstrates that there is no inherent contradiction between Zionism and anti-Semitism. The two ideologies have in fact often worked in concert to achieve their shared goal: concentrating Jews in one place (so as to better avoid them in others). Even before the modern Zionist movement arose in the late 19th century, Christian philosophers and statesmen debated what to do with the “oriental” mass of Jewry in their midst. As the scholar Jonathan Hess of the University of North Carolina has noted, one “solution” popular among Enlightenment figures who harbored anti-Semitic feelings was to deport Jews to a colonial setting where they could be reformed. Johann Gottlieb Fichte, among the founders of German Idealism, noted in 1793 that the most effective protection Europeans could mount against the Jewish menace was to “conquer the holy land for them and send them all there.”

Indeed, Zionism crystallized as a political movement among European Jews explicitly to solve the problem of political anti-Semitism. For Zionist pioneers like Leo Pinsker and Theodor Herzl, anti-Semitism was an inevitable phenomenon that would occur at any time and place where Jews were a sizable minority. Normal relations with other nations could only be established by moving Jews to a place where they were a majority. Thus rather than pushing contemporary states and societies to devise new ways of accommodating difference, Zionist thinkers of Herzl’s generation ascribed to the logic that the Jewish “problem” could only be settled by removing Jews from European states.

The idea that Jews belong not in their actual place of residence and origin, but in the Holy Land, was of course not a position that all Zionists ascribed to, either then or now. Yet it is not hard to see the very problematic logic that links such assertions to the sort of blood-and-soil nationalism that led to the destruction of European Jewish life. Nazism of course grew out of this context and insisted that Jews could never really be German. The Nazis, however, took this conclusion to a radically new place: it was ultimately extermination, rather than resettlement, that drove the Nazi position.

Though the scope of destruction was not yet known in the 1930’s and early 1940’s, many nevertheless find it astounding that there were attempts by right-wing Zionists during these years to establish ties with Nazi Germany. Numerous scholars have noted the fascist sympathies of certain members of the Revisionist Zionist camp, who bitterly feuded with mainstream Zionists and denounced them as Bolsheviks. The antipathy was apparently mutual, as David Ben-Gurion in 1933 published a work that described Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of the Revisionist movement, as treading in the footsteps of Hitler. The Zionist Right’s flirtation with fascism reached its tragic peak in 1941 when Lehi, Avraham Stern’s paramilitary splinter group, approached Otto Von Hentig, a German diplomat, to propose cooperation between the nationally rooted Hebraic movement in Palestine and the German state. Nazi Germany declined his generous offer, having stumbled across quite a different “solution” to the question of Jewish existence.

It has been with this history in mind that I approach contemporary debates about Donald Trump’s presidency and the alliance it fosters between members of the white nationalist “alt-right” on one hand, and a certain segment of American Jews, on the other. The argument that the latter should work with the former because they all share a commitment to “Greater Israel” belies the fact that not all allies, or alliances, are created equal. When Richard Spencer voices his admiration of Zionism (because, in his understanding, the movement stands first and foremost for racial homogeneity), we should realize that this is not incidental to his suggestion that America might be better off with a peaceful ethnic cleansing of those population segments that are not of white, European descent. Do American Jews really believe that they will pass muster within such a state? And are the swastikas and other acts of intimidation that have been so abundant since Trump’s victory really just peaceful incentives to realize that our true home is in a land far, far away?

The answer must be a resounding “no.”

Jewish life flourishes in pluralistic societies within which difference is not a “problem” to be resolved, but a fact to be celebrated. The alliance of right-wing Zionists and the alt-right should not be viewed as an abnormality, but the meeting of quite compatible outlooks that assert — each in their own way—that the world will only be secure once we all retreat to our various plots of ancestral land. Nationalist thinking of this sort wrought more than its fair share of damage during the twentieth century. Let’s not enact a repeat performance in the twenty-first.

Suzanne Schneider is a historian of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Zionist movement, and a director and core faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.
The Forward’s independent journalism depends on donations from readers like you.

The Menace of Jewish Fascism

The Menace of Jewish Fascism

By WILLIAM ZUKERMAN

The Nation, April 25, 1934

London, April 2

FOUR years ago, when a speaker at a Zionist Congress at Basel casually uttered from the platform the words “Jewish Hitlerites,” the storm of protest and indignation which arose was so great that the session broke up in tumult and riot; the speaker was obliged to withdraw his words and to apologize publicly for casting the shadow of an ugly suspicion upon a Jewish party. To Jews then, as to non-Jews today, it seemed preposterous that a growth so closely allied to anti-Semitism should ever strike roots in Jewish life. But now the words no longer evoke any pro­test and no one dreams of contesting the reality which they stand for. Fascism is too glaring a fact of Jewish life for denials. Strange as it may seem to an outsider, a Jewish Fascist Party not only exists but has already passed the point of struggling for recognition and is aspiring for power within the best-organized Jewish social movement. The party has an organized membership of 50,000; it controls a large press; it exerts a strong influence on Zionist policy within and outside Palestine; it dominates Jewish public opinion in Poland, and sways Jewish sentiments all over the world. It may sound like a paradox, but it is nevertheless a fact that the Jews, especially in Eastern Europe and Pales­tine, probably more “than any other people except the Ger­mans are stricken with the virus of fascism.”

The grimness of the paradox is increased by the fact that Jewish fascism is in its origin, aims, and tactics more akin to the Teutonic brand of that movement than to the Italian. Not only is the uniform of the Jewish Fascist Party brown, but its driving force, like that of the Germans, is also a strong feeling of national wrong, and its source of inspiration is one of the treaties resulting from the World War. Its following, like that of the Nazis, is recruited from among the nationalist youth. The movement, naturally, also has its Leader, a journalist of great proficiency well versed in the art of stage dramatics, and its forces, like those of the Nazis, are also divided into storm troops (Brith­ Trumpeldor”) and bodyguards (Brith-Chail”), To complete the comparison, Jewish fascism also advocates “revolution­ary” action against both Marxists and a foreign government, and its forces are drilling under Polish military officers in preparation for some war known only to their leaders.

The seat of Jewish fascism is Palestine: the field of its activity is the Zionist movement the world over but especially in Poland its backbone is the dying Jewish middle class, which is being mercilessly ground between the millstones of anti-Semitism and the post-war economic development; its driving force is its grievance against the Mandatory-Power in Palestine. It is these real economic, political, and social forces which give the movement a solid basis.

Before the war Zionism was more a movement for Jewish social reconstruction than for economic betterment. It aspired to make over all that abnormal life which had been imposed upon Jews by the old ghetto and the newer anti-Semitism. The war and the post-war settlement entirely revolutionized this ideal. The Treaty of Versailles, by breaking up the former economic units of Eastern Europe, swept away whatever economic position the Jews had In that region. In addition, all the newly created states began their political careers with a wave of violent anti-Semitism whose purpose was to drive out the Jews from even those occupations still left to them. Worst of all, the countries overseas which before the war had absorbed the surplus Jewish population from Eastern Europe, and thus eased the situation, closed their doors to new immigration. Jews in Eastern Europe – which means primarily Poland, for in Soviet Russia Jews have found an altogether different solution to their problems – found themselves in a situation almost without parallel even in their long tragic history. The state of subjection to which the Nazis in Germany are striving to reduce the German Jews has already been achieved in Poland.

Under such transformed circumstances the early aspects and aims of Zionism have also been transformed entirely. From a spiritual center the National Home has become chiefly an economic refuge. From a subjective liberal experiment Zionism has become an exclusively political utilitarian movement. Palestine has become the primary country of Jewish immigration. Jews have begun to turn to it with hopes and aspirations which neither the pre-war Zionists nor the framers of the Balfour Declaration ever envisaged. The settlement of Palestine has passed chiefly into the hands of Jews from Poland, who have brought to the country an immense store of enthusiasm and enterprise which is still of the old, individualistic kind, the kind which the Russian Jews have sought to abandon – an enthusiasm for building up big businesses and private fortunes. Together with the old Halutz (Jewish pioneer and land laborer), there have begun to come to Palestine in greater and greater numbers the ruined shopkeepers, petty traders, bankrupt business men, brokers, agents, and middle-class men of all kinds who can no longer exist in Eastern Europe. These people come to Palestine not with the old idea of transforming their own lives, but with the idea of transforming the country to fit their old economy; not to escape from the ghetto, but to transplant it; not to build a new home on entirely new social foundations, but to resurrect the old one–the ideal of the middle-class fascist the world over.

It is this new immigration into Palestine that forms the social and economic basis of Jewish fascism and makes it the serious danger that it is. The newcomers are not only the victims of fascism but spiritually also its supporters. They come to Palestine not because of any idealism, but because all other places are closed to them, and because that is the only country where they can have a fascism of their own and where they can hope to revive the glory of their passing world. The recent prosperity in the National Home has served to enhance these hopes. In this respect this windfall, like so many others, has proved a mixed blessing. The leg­ends of the great boom are attracting people of a most un­desirable character and raising most undesirable hopes.

Already the character of Jewish Palestine is changing appreciably. The agricultural, labor, and productive aspects of the settlement are being obscured by the financial and speculative aspects. Social enterprise is giving way to private adventure of a pernicious type. Land speculation is rampant. Private enterprise is in open competition with the National (land) Fund, and in certain districts the National Fund has to withdraw altogether. Tel-Aviv is rapidly becoming a miniature European metropolis with all the evils and artificiality of uncontrolled Western civilization. The boom is on. The speculators, brokers, small shopkeepers, petty traders have found the Promised Land again. These people take their revival in the National Home more seriously than does Hitler’s Kampfsbund des Mittel-Klasses. Their fight against “Marxists” and labor is more bitter than that of the Nazis. There is hardly another Jewish community in the world where the class struggle is being fought with so much hatred and venom as in Palestine now, and nowhere else is party strife so savage. In short, the social and economic reorganization of Palestine along fascist lines is in full swing.

The menace of Jewish fascism appears at first sight to be negligible. The party itself, its Brown Shirts, its military drills in the backyards of Poland, its fight against the Mandatory Power and Marxism, its attempts to restore the de­composing body of the Jewish middle class – all this appears to be a comic-opera imitation which has no basis in Jewish reality. But this is only a first and partial view of the manifestation. A closer analysis reveals a situation much more complicated and menacing. Behind Palestine there is always Zionism, and that movement is so intricately interwoven with Jewish social life the world over that if it succumbs to fascism, a porthole is opened for fascist sentiments to flow in freely and flood every Jewish community. The real danger of Jewish fascism is not in its own organized strength but in the influence which it exerts upon other parties standing near to it, which are ostensibly far from fascism. This was the case with the Germans and it is true also with the Jews. The Zionist movement, like all nationalist movements, is the most fertile field for fascism. Under the guise of nationalistic grievances and demands, fascist sentiments can easily pass unnoticed, and they now do in Zionism. Jewish orthodoxy openly embraces the fascist program, political as well as economic. Other parties, not so frank in their avowal, are tacit supporters of the most extreme demands of fascism. In Poland there is no longer any distinction between the fascist and the Zionist press. In America the “revolutionary” anti­ British stand is awakening sympathy. In Palestine, it is true, labor is putting up a brave and strong fight, but it is a lone fight which has the support only of a few individual Zionist liberals. The bulk of the Zionist movement gravitates toward fascism, although Zionists are mostly not aware of it, and the majority would indignantly deny that their pure, selfless nationalism, which wants nothing of others, or even that their “Great Zionism,” as Jewish fascism often calls itself, has anything in common with the brutal fascism of Germany.

The situation resembles very much that in Germany before March, 1933, when the Nazi dictatorship, with its Brown Houses and concentration camps, had not yet been officially proclaimed, but had been made possible by the tacit acceptance and support of the whole nationalist part of German society. There was scarcely a nationalist German, no matter what his party, who did not think inwardly what the Nazis said aloud to the world, and who was not convinced of the justice of the German grievance and of the right of the Nazi demands. It was this moral disintegration of non-Nazi society, not the hordes of Hitlerism, that brought about the fascist victory in Germany. Exactly the same dis­integration and the same danger exist now within Jewry.

For it must not be forgotten that Jews are predominantly a middle-class people, and that class has been more thor­oughly ruined among Jews than among any other people. While other nations have strong agricultural and industrial classes to offset the ruin of their middle classes, the Jews have none of these. The ruin of the class means therefore the ruin of the nation. In addition, the anti-Jewish outburst in Germany has aggravated a tragedy which was hardly capable of further aggravation. It has revealed that the Jews not only have natural economic forces working against them but that they are surrounded on all sides by a bitter, personal hatred which has no parallel in modern times. Jews have encountered the enmity of men before, but never social forces allied with personal enemies. The very foundation of their economic existence is being knocked from beneath their feet. Communism on one hand and fascism on the other are both working toward the elimination of the Jews from their middle-class positions. The former does it constructively and with consideration, the other destructively and with hatred and curses, but the direction of both is the same. There is certainly no mistake about the trend of events for Jews. The age of individualism, which was on the whole favorable to them, is passing. They will have to reconstruct their economic lives as they did in Soviet Russia.

That a portion of the Jews fighting under such stress should turn to a fascism of their own creation in the hope of retaining their old position is no wonder. But if Zionism shows itself as blind as German nationalism, and impelled by legitimate national grievances and economic despair, opens the door to fascism among Jews, the moral disintegration which will set in will not be less than that which led to the establishment of the Brown Houses and concentration camps. The crime of Zionism will be even greater, for it has already the lesson of German nationalism before it, and there is no excuse for ignorance and blindness now. Zionism today is fighting a terrible battle. It fights not only for its own soul, but for the soul and even the physical existence of the Jewish people.

Why I protested the Jewish National Fund

Why I protested the Jewish National Fund

By Jesse Benjamin,  12 October 2010
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/why-i-protested-the-jewish-national-fund.html#more-27226 

This Columbus Day weekend, the Jewish National Fund USA held its annual meeting in Atlanta. Like many Jews from the US, I grew up in communities that raised money for seemingly benign JNF campaigns to plant trees in Israel through our purchase of Hanukkah candles. But this year, as the JNF gathered in Atlanta, I stood with many Atlanta Jews and others to protest JNF practices which stand as obstacles in the path to a just peace based on freedom, safety, and equality for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

As a charity with 501c3 status, the JNF, created in 1901 to acquire land exclusively for Jewish settlement, enjoys a wide reputation as a leading environmental organization. To many of us, however, this reputation has become incompatible with the reality that the trees we funded for all those years were purposefully used to plant over and to hide villages from which Palestinians were forcibly removed (greenwashing). Far from a charity organization, the activities of the JNF are based on its discriminatory founding mission: the removal of indigenous Palestinians from their land and property to hold in exclusive reserve for Jews living in Israel and elsewhere. This is only one part of a worrying trend when it comes to American tax dollars and Israel.

A recent New York Times report identified “at least 40 American groups”, such as the controversial Hebron Fund, that over the last decade “have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts “for illegal and often extremist Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.” Illegal Israeli settlement policies are today widely seen as a central obstacle to U.S.-backed peace efforts in the region. We are confident that challenging the JNF’s similarly counterproductive mission is both relevant and timely for those of us who wish for peace.

With ostensible control over vast tracks of Israel’s land holdings, the JNF’s forestation efforts have generally coincided with the erasure of historic Palestinian villages by over-planting pine and other fast-growing species in forests often named for donor countries, such as the controversial “South Africa Park” that covers the depopulated and destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya.

To support this mission the JNF has for decades employed its own paramilitary force, which in Orwellian fashion is named the Green Patrol, in order to uproot Palestinian trees, destroy Palestinian houses and crops, and confiscate livestock for resale to Jews. In one recent action in the Negev/Naqab Desert, the JNF teamed with military and police units, as well as Jewish high-schoolers to destroy the historic Bedouin village of Al-Arakib to make way for planned Jewish settlements and suburbs.

For decades, the JNF and the Israeli state have insisted that only modern urban Jews can protect the fragile desert ecology, when in fact it is often Israeli military exercises, suburban sprawl, industrial agriculture, and overuse of water resources that pose the greatest threats to these same ecosystems. Palestinians, on the other hand, have been recognized by UN and other agencies as the stewards of the land. As is common amongst indigenous peoples, they use age-old, environmentally sustainable methods of grazing, farming, dry riverbed cultivation, water harvesting, cistern catchment, and arid forestry. Not only does the JNF refuse to acknowledge this expertise, it actively portrays local peoples as harmful to the environment in order to acquire more land.

Such policies explain the growing number of Jews who stand with Palestinians and others in exposing the truth behind the JNF and in support of the wider Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. The BDS movement, which was initiated by Palestinian civil society as a peaceful means to create meaningful change, embraces non-violent tactics not unlike those used by Black South Africans in the 1980s and Dr. King before that. The campaign against the JNF–including a call to revoke its charitable status–is part of this urgent initiative. Atlanta, with its rich civil rights tradition, was active in the anti-apartheid struggle decades ago, and now Atlanta communities are joining Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a growing chorus in calling for an equally strong BDS campaign against the hard-line Israeli state and its policies of discrimination, segregation, and occupation.

Linking the JNF with systematic discrimination is not to be taken lightly, and it is no small task to challenge the state of Israel and its practices, even for an Israeli citizen like myself. However, doing so is not only imperative, but is in line with a major trajectory within Jewish history and culture committed to social justice

Jesse Benjamin, an associate professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University, is a US and an Israeli citizen. He is a member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN).

The Zionist Attack on Jewish Values

The Zionist Attack on Jewish Values

by Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is Professor of History at West Chester University in West Chester PA. He is the author of two recent books, America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (University Press of Florida, 2001) and Islamic Fundamentalism (Greenwood Press, 2003). His last contribution to Logos “Orwell and Kafka in Israel and Palestine,” appeared in the winter 2004 issue. 

On November 17, 1917 Sir Arthur James Balfour, acting for the wartime British cabinet of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, issued what has historically become known as the Balfour Declaration. Promising a national home for the Jews in Palestine, the declaration established an alliance between the Zionist movement and the British Empire. For the Zionists the end game was to turn Palestine into a Jewish state. Though the Zionist leadership probably did not initially intend it, an eventual consequence of this ambition was the transformation of institutional Judaism into an adjunct of Zionist state ideology.

Even before the Balfour Declaration was announced the danger to Judaism inherent in the Zionist state orientated ideology was sensed and criticized by insightful Jewish individuals. They would describe their anxiety in varied ways, sometimes using political, or moral, or religious argument. All of them, however, could draw on a tradition of Jewish tolerance and humanitarianism that, in its modern formulations, went back to the work of Moses Mendelssohn and the 18th century Jewish enlightenment.  For instance, Ahad Ha-am (the pen name of the famous Jewish moralist Asher Ginzberg), noted as early as1891 that Zionist settlers in Palestine have “an inclination to despotism. They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds; and no one among us opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination.” He warned that such behavior stemmed from the political orientation of the Zionist movement which could only end up morally corrupting the Jewish people.

Unlike Chaim Weizmann, who famously desired that the Jews become a nation like all other nations, Ha-am (who was dedicated to Jewish cultural revival in Palestine) believed that the return to Zion was worthwhile only if the Jews did not become like other nations. By 1913 Ha-am knew this was not to be, and he completely rejected the nature of Zionism as it was evolving. “If this be the ‘Messiah,’” he wrote, “I do not wish to see his coming.” In effect, critics like Ha-am were making a distinction between Judaism, with its moral values and cultural richness, and the ethnocentric, tribal Zionism that was now coming into being.

As the issuance of the Balfour Declaration drew nearer other Jews voiced their worries. In England, on May 24, 1917, the Joint Foreign Committee of two Jewish organizations, The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association issued a statement which asserted, “the feature of the Zionist program objected to proposes to invest Jewish settlers in Palestine with special rights over others. This would prove a calamity to the whole Jewish people who hold that the principle of equal rights for all denominations is essential. The [Zionist program] is all the more inadmissable because…it might involve them in most bitter feuds with their neighbors of other races and religion.”  In the United States, a letter typical of the Jewish opposition to Zionism was sent by Henry Moskowitz to the New York Times on June 10, 1917. He wrote the following, “what are the serious moral dangers in this nationalistic point of view from the standpoint of the Jewish soul? Here are some of them: first, it is apt to breed racial egotism….the establishment of the Jewish state may coarsen the quality of Hebrew spirituality and result not in a pure but in an alloyed idealism.” A year later the debate over Zionism still went on in the American Jewish community and occasioned Rabbi Louis Grossman of the Plum Street Synagogue in Cincinnati to write to President Woodrow Wilson. He told Wilson, “…a considerable number of Jews condemn the misrepresentation and resent the campaign which is being conducted by the Zionists and the political complications into which they are dragging our faith and ideals….The Zionists may have alleged to you that Zionism is extra-religious…but there are Jews who differ from them and maintain with equal certainty that the Zionistic assertion is a violation of their religious sanctities, and they protest against the secularization of their faith.”

Even though remarkably prescient, these warnings were steadily pushed aside by the rise of Zionist ideology among Ashkenazi Jews. The cause of this was the virulent anti-Semitism in Europe. The imprinting of fear and paranoia that was the primary psychological effect of pogroms and the Holocaust seemed to render the criticism of the Zionist position foolhardy. Anti-Semitism was posited as an eternal phenomenon that could only be effectively answered by the drive for a Jewish state.  However, even given these severe conditions, Jews of high intellectual and moral sensitivity still expressed important reservations about where Zionism was leading. Hannah Arendt, one of the most insightful Jewish political philosophers of the 20th century, characterized the Zionist movement in a 1945 essay as a “German-inspired nationalism.” That is, as an ideology that holds “the nation to be an eternal organic body, the product of inevitable natural growth of inherent qualities; and it explains peoples, not in terms of political organizations, but in terms of biological superhuman personalities.” The result was a modern form of tribal ethnocentrism that led to virulent, politicized racism. In 1948 She and 27 other prominent Jews living in the United States (including Albert Einstein) wrote a letter to the New York Times condemning the growth of right wing political influences in the newly founded Israeli state. Citing the appearance of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut) led by Menachem Begin, they warned that it was a “political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy, and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.” Begin would go on to become one of Israel’s prime ministers and the present day ruling party in Israel, Likud, is a direct successor of the “Freedom Party.”

Albert Einstein, was also a Jew of acute moral sensitivities. As such he too ultimately distanced himself from both Zionism and the Israeli state it created. Like Ha-am, Einstein was most interested in a cultural safe haven for the Jewish people and this was reflected in his strong support for the founding of Hebrew University. The political policies of the Zionists, however, alienated him. In 1938 he observed, “I would much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain–especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our ranks….” Later, toward the end of his life, he warned that “the attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people.” An investigation of the conclusions drawn by every human rights organization that has examined Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians over the last 50 years, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Israel’s own B’Tselem, leaves no doubt that the Zionists have failed Einstein’s test.

Yet that is just the conclusion that today’s Zionist cannot face. Thus, any revival of these early and prescient objections as part of a contemporary critique of Zionism represents the promotion of supposedly traitorous anachronisms that are not only an embarrassment, but also politically dangerous. Jews who express such concerns are systematically denigrated and non-Jews who are critical of Zionism are slandered with charges of anti-Semitism. The U.S. media, still bound by the mythology of Israel as a democratic, modern, secular state that shares America’s pioneering tradition, have traditionally ignored or downplayed critics of Zionism. And, indeed, one has to hunt for contemporary expressions of these traditional apprehensions and objections. How many have heard of Neturei Karta(Jews United Against Zionism) or the other 18 presently active anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish organizations?

Generally speaking these groups assert a religious objection to Zionism and claim that Jewish “peoplehood is based exclusively on the Torah” and not on the land or state of Israel. Among the more secular there tends to be a focus on and rejection of Israel’s policies of occupation and colonization as the basis for a moral critique of political Zionism. For instance, there is Not In My Name, a coalition of American Jews founded in Chicago in 2000. The organization declares that “the State of Israel often claims to act in the name and interests of world Jewry, but …these actions do not reflect our Jewish values and beliefs.” They not only oppose Israel’s present illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands, but also reject as morally unacceptable the position that “Jewish survival depends on unconditional support for the Israeli government and its policies. There is also Tikkun, a mainly (though not only) Jewish organization that opposes the aggressive style of Zionism that has resulted in the colonization of the Occupied Territories and the persecution of Palestinians, while seeking, among other things, “the spiritual renewal of Judaism.” The American organization, Jews Against The Occupation, based in New Jersey, points out that Judaism is a cultural and religious identity, which must not be equated with Zionism, a political movement.” The British organization, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, affiliated with the European movement, Jews for a Just Peace, promotes the “human, civil, and political rights” of the Palestinians–the victims of the Zionist movement.  These are just a few of the Jewish organizations now existing worldwide that find themselves at odds with the present political and institutional manifestations of Zionism.

Mainstream Judaism, however, is ever more closely identified with Zionism and the state of Israel. There are some 13 million Jews throughout the world (approximately 5.8 million of them live in the United States as compared to 4.6 million in Israel). According to the Jewish Agency, “70% of Jews around the world see Israel as vital to their Jewish identity.” Zionist education is aimed at the remaining 30%, who are categorized as victims of “assimilation and Jewish illiteracy.” Again, quoting the Jewish Agency, “Jewish Zionist education is a critical aspect of Jewish continuity and identity.” This effort, ongoing since before the Balfour Declaration, has been remarkably successful. Walk into the vast majority of synagogues anywhere in the world, and you will see pictures, posters, declaratory statements, or other indicators of a connection with the State of Israel. Talk to the congregants and you soon find that they see Judaism and the Israeli state as inseparably bound together. It is in fact the case that most Jews have been raised to be viscerally concerned with well-being of their tribal state. While we might not quite be there yet, the opinion of Professor Robert Wolfe is indicative of the direction in which both Zionism and Judaism are evolving. “There exist innumerable definitions of Zionism,” Wolfe tells us, “in my view, Zionism is Judaism.” 

What does this growing identification mean for Judaism? To answer this question we have to look at both the ethical values that historically characterize modern Judaism and compare them to the values of Zionism as characterized by the practice of the Israeli state.

If one looks at the descriptions of Judaism’s ethical stance, particularly as expressed by concerned and learned Jews outside of Israel, we often find variations on goodness, tolerance, acceptance of others (good neighborliness), justice for all, and the maintenance of peace. For instance, the Columbus Platform of the Reform oriented Central Conference of American Rabbis states that “the love of God is incomplete without the love of one’s fellow men. Judaism emphasizes…justice for all….it aims at the elimination of man-made misery and suffering…of tyranny and slavery, of social inequality and prejudice, of ill-will and strife….It regards justice as the foundation of the well-being of nations and the condition of enduring peace.”

The more Orthodox Rabbi Naftali Brawer, representing England’s Chief Rabbi’s Cabinet at the December 2001 Interfaith Meeting on “The Peace of God in the World” told his audience that since ancient times the Jewish ethical outlook had been that “the world endures by three things: truth, justice, and peace…if there is no justice there can be no peace.” Where an interpretation of truth conflicts with the ideals of peace the Talmud teaches that “we abandon the ‘truth’ and strive instead for peace.” Part of this striving for peace (“one of the most exalted ideals in Judaism”) is the exercise of tolerance, or an “appreciation for the other. Shalom comes from the word Shalem – Whole. We must recognize that alone we are incomplete, it is only when we see the value of the other that we ourselves can be whole.” Variations on these themes can also be found in the writings and sermons of some Conservative and Reconstructionist Jewish leaders in the diaspora. It can be argued that such an emphasis on tolerance, peace, and justice grew up because preaching them was in the interest of the historically vulnerable diaspora Jews, but this does not negate the essential positiveness of such values.

When the question of ethics and values are discussed in relation to Israel, however, there is a change of categories and interpretation. For instance, Conservative Judaism as it manifests itself within Israel as the Masorti Movement, declares that “the Jewish State of Israel is the ultimate concretization of Judaism’s goals and ideals.” The movement views the “building of the land and the nation as a primary mitzvah” (good deed). That is, the process of state building and reclaiming the land somehow incorporates and projects Jewish ideals, ethically and otherwise. However, the Masorti Movement does not recognize, at least in its public statements, the possibility that adaptation to a tribal (in this case manifested through an exclusively Jewish state) rather than pluralistic nationalism may negatively impact the traditional Jewish emphasis on “truth, justice, and peace.” Nor do other Zionist oriented Jewish organizations active in the United States such as Hadassah, B’nai B’rith, and Hillel consider it possible that a perversion of values might result from the melding of Jewish identity and the religio-tribal, Israeli/Zionist ideology. On the contrary, these groups openly assert that values of tolerance, neighborliness, and a sense of justice, can best cultivated and enhanced by the “Israeli experience”– that is, through the vehicle of the tribal state. What they mean, however, is not a universal practice of these values, but rather a practice restricted to the Jewish community.

A recent paper on “Jewish Values in the Jewish State” issued by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs renders Jewish ideals and values into something less universal and more tribal through association with religiously defined nationalism. The paper speaks of Israelis struggling to adapt the “universalistic values of humanitarianism and social justice which Jews have acquired over centuries from the Bible and Jewish tradition” to the “specific situations that they confront” in the state of Israel. Yet the example offered by the Center refers to a situation that, from a non-Zionist, outsider’s point of view, seems to belie both humanitarianism and social justice. Thus, the example given is “the recent controversies over building the bypass roads in the [occupied] territories between those who want the roads to be built as rapidly as possible so the peace process can continue in the field and those…who worried about permanent damage [caused by the road building] to the environment”(my emphasis). The paper does not mention that the construction of these roads facilitates illegal Israeli colonization, that access to them is restricted to Israelis only, and that they are used almost exclusively by Jewish colonists and the army. To what extent, the non-Zionist can ask, do such bypass roads serve to promote truth, justice, and the “peace process”? Later on in the paper we find the following statement, made without irony, “…those Jews among the least attuned to an overt recognition of the place of Jewish values in our society are among the most active in the struggle for Israel-Arab peace….The peace process…will undoubtedly be involved in the clash of values between those who see peace as a preeminent value and those who see other Zionist and Jewish values as equally if not more important” (again, my emphasis). Compare this to Rabbi Brawer’s emphasis that peace is among the highest of Jewish values, a value more important than any particular (tribal) interpretation of “truth.”

A negative transformation of Jewish values is further encouraged by the Zionist emphasis on the idea of covenant as a source of those values. As applied to Israel, the primary interpretation of covenant involves God, the land and the creation of a tribal state. That is, following divine instruction, Jews are given the land of Israel and possess it as an exclusive Jewish community. Most of today’s Jewish rituals, holidays, liturgy, and religious education have served to reinforce this position. Within the context of this defining relationship of the Jewish “nation” and God as it now acts itself out in contemporary history, those principles of the Talmud (for instance peace and tolerance) that tend to the universal are necessarily trumped, or subject to reinterpretation, by the particularism of state building and its foundational religio-tribal ideology. Disagreements might arise between the Jewish citizens of the covenant state as to the proper balance between the religious and secular norms, esoteric debates might arise as to who can perform legitimate conversions, and hand wringing can be witnessed over the effective or ineffective enforcement of the sabbath, but these are secondary to the almost unanimous belief in the divinely bonded nature of land and people. Within the Israeli context, Jewish values must conform to this a priori ideological doctrine or, sooner or later be downgraded if not discarded. Justice, tolerance, and “peace” become understandable only in reference to the advancement of tribal interests.

What happens, in practice, when this religious tribalism clashes with the traditional humanitarian interpretation of their values that some Jews of the diaspora have continued to cultivate, not only for their humanitarian worthiness, but as long term survival principles? Here one can take the recent case of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Great Britain’s Chief Orthodox Rabbi. Taking Rabbi Sacks public statements over the years as a whole it is clear that he supports the existence of Israel. Yet, in August 2002, the consequences of aggressive Israeli expansionism brought him to warn that Zionist state policies, as they manifest themselves in the colonization of the Occupied Territories and the associated persecution of the Palestinians, are perverting “the deepest ideals” of Judaism. Sacks emphasized the Jewish values of acceptance and tolerance. “Do not ill-treat a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Referring to this commandment, he observed that, “you cannot ignore a command that is repeated 36 times in the Mosaic books: ‘You were exiled in order to know what it feels like to be an exile.’ I regard this [tolerance and a sense of justice toward the “stranger” who shares the land] as one of the core projects of a state that is true to Judaic principle. And therefore I regard the current situation as nothing less than tragic, because it is forcing Israel into postures that are incompatible in the long-run with our deepest ideals….There is no question that this kind of conflict, together with the absence of hope, generates hatreds and insensitivities that in the long run are corrupting to a culture.” It is clear that the culture he is concerned about is Jewish culture itself, as it has metamorphosed under the influence of Zionist tribal nationalism.

Diaspora reactions to Sacks’s assertions were mixed. The Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues in England supported him. “What Jonathan Sacks has said is what liberal and reform rabbis have been saying for many years.” On the other hand Likud-Herut GB (Great Britain) asserted that Sacks position was one of “moral blindness.”  In the United States, where most official Jewish organizations are lock-step supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Likud Party, Sacks was largely ignored or given short shrift. For instance, in the case of the major American Jewish newspaper the Forward, Sacks’s remarks got scant coverage. What there was, however, ended with this quote from Rabbi Sholom Gold, dean of the Jerusalem College for Adults in Israel, “…it is extremely sad for me to hear him make comments of such a nature which for all intents and purposes will now make him irrelevant in the world Jewish community.” In Israel major news and official outlets were often harshly condemnatory. 

On August 8, 2002 the Jerusalem Post published an editorial that called Sacks’s remarks “morally inexplicable and astonishingly naive.”  The Post continued, “For Sacks to lecture us about ‘our deepest ideals’ is worse than insulting…it deprecates the fundamental value that we are fighting for our freedom and our very lives….Indeed, rather than ‘corrupting’ us this war of self-defense has brought out some of our finer qualities, such as patriotism, national pride, and willingness to make personal sacrifices on behalf of the common good.” The Post than called on Rabbi Sacks to resign his position as Chief Rabbi. The official Voice of Israel radio combined descriptions of Sacks’s criticism with the fact that the Chief Rabbi had recently met with Iran’s ayatollah Abdullah Javadi-Amoli at a UN conference of religious leaders in New York. Sacks had said that he and the ayatollah, as two men of faith, had “quickly established a common language.” What Rabbi Sacks meant was the “particular language believers share.” However, the way the Voice of Israel reported it implied a connection between Sacks’s criticism of Israel and his “common language” with the Iranian cleric. To those, such as Rabbi Arik Aschermann, the head of the Jerusalem based Rabbis for Human Rights, the aim of the Voice of Israel was clear, the criticism of Rabbi Sacks “was an effort to discredit him.”         

Those who assert that Zionism is the tuest form of Judaism must dismiss or discredit the critics of Israeli policies. For these Zionists it is logically impossible for such policies to do damage to Judaism because faith and fatherland have been melded into one. Those who, like Sacks, imply that Israel’s behavior may indeed do such damage appear as traitors. Therefore, they must be rendered “irrelevant to the world Jewish community.” It would be interesting to see how today’s tribal Zionists would react to the statement made in 1961 by the great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber. Essentially sharing Sack’s distress, Buber asserted that “Only an internal revolution can have the power to heal our people of their sickness of causeless hatred….Only then will the old and young in our land realize how great was our responsibility to those miserable Arab refugees in whose towns we have settled Jews who were brought here from afar; whose homes we have inherited, whose fields we now sow and harvest; the fruits of whose gardens, orchards and vineyards we gather; and in whose cities that we put up houses of education, charity, and prayer….” Buber concluded that the situation was so morally reprehensible that “it is bound to bring complete ruin upon us.” Buber too would now have to be labeled “irrelevant in the world Jewish community.”

The continuing disagreement as to what constitutes the real values of the community has, in effect, split Judaism into majority and minority parties. The majority element, which controls the religion’s institutional manifestations, openly identifies itself and its ethics with the expansionist, brutalizing policies of the Israeli tribal state. They have given themselves and their religion over to the Zionist dream of a Jewish state. What they have inherited, however, is the very worst aspects of nationalism that comes when nationhood is pursued not in a pluralistic spirit, but in a tribal one: chauvinism, aggressiveness, and xenophobia. As a result there has been a militarization of the Jewish mind, the Passover ritual and other Jewish celebrations have been turned into paeans of nationalism, imperialism and colonialism, and Zionist nationalists have invented (as a vicarious act of fratricide) the category of “self-hating Jew” for those who share their religion but not their politics. 

And what of those other, hopefully more authentic Jewish ideals, the humanitarian ones? They have gone over to a small minority of the Jewish people who seek to promote them as a curative to the values that underlie the aggressive and colonialist policies that now characterize Zionist-Israeli behavior. It is worth noting that this minority appears to be growing. Jewish activists, both within Israel and the diaspora, now organize and support boycotts, divestment campaigns, and demonstrations that spotlight the aggressive and oppressive policies of the Zionist state. These people are Judaism’s best hope for the future. They are also Israel’s best hope, in that the interpretation of Jewish values they preserve may help to eventually de-tribalize, and civilize that country. Civilitas successit barbarum–with struggle civilization can succeed barbarism

Dissident Jews: Unwanted in Germany?

http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/dissident-jews-unwanted-in-germany/

Dissident Jews: Unwanted in Germany?

By Raymond Deane | Pulse Media | February 25, 2010

A European country that scapegoats a Semitic people, persecutes defenders of human rights by stripping them of employment, and denies freedom of speech to Jews: surely a description of Germany during the Third Reich?

Yes, but unfortunately also a description of Germany at the outset of the 21st century.

In the wake of German Chancellor Merkel’s craven speech to the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) two years ago, I wrote: “a penance is being paid for Germany’s past crimes… by the Palestinians to whose plight Merkel is so indifferent…. By scapegoating the victims of its former victims, Germany is compounding its past crimes.”  (Scapegoat upon Scapegoat, Electronic Intifada, 20 March 2008).

Just one year later I described the case of Hermann Dierkes,  forced to resign his position as representative of Die Linke (The Left Party) on Duisburg city council after tentatively advocating a boycott of Israeli goods. I commented: “It appears that freedom of speech, supposedly one of the proudest acquisitions of post-Fascist Germany, is readily suppressed when exercised to advocate positive action against the racist, politicidal institutions and actions of the Zionist state.” (A public stoning in Germany, Electronic Intifada, March 2009).

I mentioned as something of an anomaly Thomas Assheuer’s application of the “antisemite” label to Canadian Jewish author Naomi Klein (Die Zeit, 15 January 2009) because of her support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. In the light of recent developments this seems far less anomalous.

In July 2009 the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) was awarded to Felicia Langer, German-based Jewish lawyer and former Israeli citizen who has repeatedly defended Palestinians in Israel’s courts. There ensued a virulent if unsuccessful campaign by right-wing German Jews like Ralph Giordano, backed by the neo-conservative American Jewish Committee, to have this decision reversed.  Langer called this “a campaign of defamation” designed to stifle criticism of Israel, and described Giordano as “motivated by… a bottomless hatred.”

In November 2009 the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe saw his projected lecture at Munich’s Pedagogical Institute cancelled by the municipality after protests from Zionist lobby groups. In an open letter to the Munich Mayor, Dr Pappe wrote that his father “was silenced in a similar way as a German Jew in the early 1930s”. Like himself, he wrote, his  father and his friends were regarded as “‘humanist’ and ‘peacenik’ Jews whose voice had to be quashed and stopped.” Pappe professed himself “worried… about the state of freedom of speech and democracy in present day Germany”.

Norman Finkelstein’s lecture on Gaza scheduled for 26th February 2010 in Berlin, under the auspices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, was attacked by the neo-conservative lobby group “Honestly Concerned”, which is German despite its English monicker. They described Finkelstein – a US Jewish academic who is the son of Holocaust survivors  – as an antisemite engaged in “historical revisionism”. The Foundation promptly withdrew its support.

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, close to Die Linke and named after a murdered anti-Zionist Jewish Marxist, stepped into the breech. However, after an outcry orchestrated by the Shalom Working Circle (BAK Shalom), a youth faction within Die Linke itself, this support was also withdrawn. Despite a rescue attempt by the leftist daily newspaper junge Welt, Finkelstein cancelled his German trip with the words: “If I come to Germany to speak before a few people in a small room it will be said that free speech was not violated in Germany. I do not want to lend credibility to this lie.” (As a footnote to this: at the time of writing, junge Welt proposes to go ahead with this event anyway; speakers mooted include the abovementioned Hermann Dierkes.)

It would be a serious mistake, however, to conclude that such defamation is exclusively the province of Zionist Jews. They are backed by a slew of small groups, so far to the left that they have ended up on the right, known as the “anti-German” movement.

An understanding of this bizarre phenomenon is essential to an understanding of the political atmosphere in which events such as these can occur. The Anti-Germans reject German nationalism. This leads them to unconditional support for Israel, seen as “representing the Jews”, the main victims of that nationalism in the 1930s and 40s. Next, they offer  unconditional support to the USA as Israel’s main sponsor, and to each and every war in which the USA and NATO are implicated. They define these wars in neo-conservative terms as a battle for Western civilization against the forces of barbarism. This has led the Gruppe Morgenthau,  an “anti-Nazi” group that vilifies “liberal” Israeli Jews, to call for the lifting of “anti-racist taboos”. The Anti-German newspaper Bahamas has praised Jean-Marie Le Pen of the French far right Front National for his “rational objections… to unlimited Islamisation”, and a Bahamas author – Martin Blumentritt – has described criticism of the West as “the propagation of a racial struggle against the ‘white race’”.

Thus the initial rejection of fascism leads to a new racism and thence back to a kind of fascism. The absolutism with which a rational liberal position has been turned inside out suggests that the anti-Germans couldn’t be more thoroughly German.

Disturbingly, this lunatic fringe does not only thrive on the margins. There is an influential anti-German clique within Die Linke itself, represented by, among others, the above-mentioned BAK Shalom faction, one of whose spokesmen (Benjamin Krüger) wrote that “Finkelstein is internationally popular among antisemites because, merely by describing himself as a Jew and the son of Holocaust survivors, .he is accorded credibility…”, a formulation that it is tempting to describe as antisemitic.

Ralph Giordano, in opposing the award of the Bundesverdienstkreuz to Felicia Langer, accused her of being an inspiration to those Germans “who seek to relieve the pressure of their own guilt by criticizing Israel”. In fact, of course, the exact opposite is happening: unconditional support for Israel caters to the narcissism of those Germans who need constant reassurance that their “penance” – transferred to Palestinian scapegoats – is universally applauded.

Shortly after his tour of Germany in 2002 (it was possible then!), Finkelstein mocked the “operatic courage” of his German critics and accused them of engendering antisemitism among their compatriots. The antics of the anti-Germans and their ilk whip up racial tensions that can only lead to a climate reminiscent of the 1930s. Perhaps the travails of Pappe and Finkelstein may serve ultimately as a wake-up call to activists to place Germany – the most powerful country in the European Union – high on the list of Palestine’s most deadly enemies after Israel and the USA.

Raymond Deane is a composer and activist based in Ireland and Germany

The State of Israel denies there is any such nationality as `Israeli’

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=376724
 
 
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
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28/12/2003
 
 
So this Jew, Arab, Georgian and Samaritan go to court…
 
The state denies there is any such nationality as `Israeli’
 
By Moshe Gorali <mailto:mgorali@haaretz.co.il>
 
A group of Israeli public figures last week petitioned the High Court of
Justice to order the Interior Ministry to register them as Israelis.
"We’re Israeli, and wish to be registered as such," said the petition,
presented by Attorney Yoela Har-Shefi.
 
The Interior Ministry has a list of 137 nationalities, including
Abkhazi, Assyrian and Samaritan – but you won’t find "Israeli" among
them. The State of Israel doesn’t recognize the existence of "Israeli"
as a nationality.
 
The petitioning group is headed by Professor Uzi Ornan of the Hebrew
University and the Technion and the 38 intellectuals, academics and
scientists include Shulamit Aloni, Uri and Rahel Avneri, Yehoshua Sobol,
Gavriel Solomon, Yigal Eilam, Meron Benvenisti, Yehoshua Porat and Oren
Yifta’el.
 
Also in the group is singer Alon Olearchik, formerly of the army Nahal
entertainment group and the Israeli rock band Caveret – his mother is
Christian and father Jewish, so he is not Jewish. Adal Ka’adan, the
Israeli Arab who tried in vain to buy a house in the Katzir community,
also wants to be registered as Israeli.
 
Among the petitioners are those categorized on the identity cards as
"Jew," "Druze," "Georgian," "Russian," and even one "Hebrew." Not one of
them is "Israeli," and the reason is simple – the Israeli state does not
recognize any Israeli nationality that isn’t Jewish. Even the Supreme
Court ruled in 1970 that there was no such thing as Israeli nationality.
 
Georg Rafael Tamrin returned from a visit overseas to find a new law –
an amendment to the law following the "who is a Jew" affair – ruling
that to be an Israeli one must be a member of "the Jewish nation."
Tamrin asked the population registrar to change the nationality clause
in his identity card from "Jewish" to "Israeli." He maintained that
"there is already a definite Israeli nationality today, to which I
belong according to all subjective criteria – identification, feeling of
belonging, loyalty and declaring it."
 
Tel Aviv District Court Judge Yitzhak Shilo rejected Tamrin’s suit
stating "a person cannot create a new nationality just by saying it
exists, and then say he belongs to it." Shilo then added the real
reason: "I can fully declare that there is no Israeli nation that exists
separately from a Jewish nation."
 
Tamrin appealed to the High Court of Justice, which adopted the District
Court’s position. Justice Shimon Agranat denounced the petitioner: "If a
handful of people or more wish to separate themselves from the Jewish
people – only 23 years after the establishment of the state – and
acquire the status of a separate Israeli nation, this separatist trend
should not be regarded as legitimate and should not be recognized."
 
*Who is a Druze?*
 
The new petition challenges these conclusions. Professor Ornan, formerly
the chairman of the League Against Religious Coercion and the Israeli
secular movement, is the chairman of the "I am Israeli" organization,
which has collected more than 2,000 signatures of Israelis. One
petitioner, former Air Force commander General Benny Peled, died, but
signed a power of attorney for the group.
 
Another petitioner is Druze businessman Carmel Wahaba. In 1990 he and
his French partners wished to set up an import-export company in France.
The company’s registration required a notarized translation of his birth
certificate.
 
When the French clerk saw the translated documents, he scolded Wahaba:
"What’s a Druze nationality? I know of no Druze state. Do you want to
tell me that there is a Druze state within the State of Israel?"
 
Wahaba, who was suspected of trying to trick the French authorities,
tried to explain but the clerk would have none of it, demanding
authorization from the embassy that the translation was accurate and
that Wahaba was indeed an Israeli whose nationality was Druze.
 
Petitioner David Yanukshvili, a pensioner, is registered as "Georgian."
The petition says: "He abandoned Georgia and wishes to conduct his whole
life in the State of Israel, not merely as a citizen but as a member of
the Israeli nation. Why is the Georgian nationality being foisted on him?"
 
Ornan once classified himself as Canaanite, a member of an ideological
group whose founders included the late poet Yonatan Ratosh. When
Ratosh’s ID was lost, the Interior Ministry issued him a new one, citing
his nationality as "Jewish." Ratosh hastened to appeal to the High Court
of Justice to be registered as "Hebrew" again – a term which appears on
the Interior Ministry’s list of nationalities.
 
"What is the Hebrew nationality?" asks the petition. "Just because two
or three obstinate people insisted on their right to be registered as
such, and the High Court consented, a Hebrew nationality was created,
while the firm reality of an Israeli nationality is not recognized as
such? It seems to us that the right of tens of thousands, who declared
their nationality to be Israeli, is no less than the right of the
Hebrews, whose right was recognized."
 
*Social harmony*
 
The petitioners believe every man has a right to belong to the
nationality of his choice. It is not right to force a person to be
classified according to his religion in an essential official document,
since this leads to discrimination against members of various religions.
 
It is even less proper to force an atheist or someone openly hostile to
religion to be identified with his "religion," since this is a kind of
religious coercion.
 
The petition further says that "Israel and any representative Jewish
organization are always fighting tooth and nail against mentioning that
a person is `Jewish’ in official documents of other states. How come
something that is an abomination when done by others, becomes worthy and
kosher when we do it?"
 
In democratic Western states citizenship is usually identical in meaning
to nationality. In Israel the clause "citizenship" in the population
registration office is accompanied by another clause called
"nationality." Hence "nationality" and "citizenship" in Israel are two
different things.
 
About three years ago, when the High Court instructed then Interior
Minister Eli Yishai to register Reform converts as "Jews" in the
nationality clause, the minister ordered the clause to be canceled in
IDs. Instead of "Jew" a row of stars appears now. A lady who applied for
a new ID when her old one wore out was amazed to find stars instead of
her Jewish identity. She appealed to the High Court of Justice to
reinstate the "Jew" classification.
 
Attorney Har-Shefi expects both petitions to be debated together so that
the court can examine the affiliation between Judaism and being Israeli.
There is no contradiction between the two, she says. Just like there is
an American Jew, there can be an Israeli Jew.
 
"The American Jew is both American by nationality and Jewish, and so is
the French Jew or the Norwegian Jew. We believe that an Israeli Jew is
also eligible to be called Israeli, while being a member of the Israeli
nationality, like his brother who belongs to the American nationality,"
the petition says.
 
The arguments go into values, interests and comparative law, the right
of man for self definition, equality, realizing his rights from the
Declaration of Independence and even strengthening the harmony in
Israeli society.
 
The petition also cites the Or Commission’s ruling that "a central goal
of the state’s activity must be obtaining real equality for the state’s
Arab citizens. Recognizing the right of all those who feel that way –
both Jews and Arabs – and want to define themselves as Israelis, would
open the way to minimizing discrimination, helping reconciliation, and
establishing all Israelis identification with their state."
 
According to surveys, Har-Shefi says 60 percent of Israeli Arabs would
jump at the chance of being registered as Israelis. Today only about 25
percent of them are registered as Israelis.
 
As for Jews, the recognition of the Israeli nationality would remove a
source of dispute and division both among Israeli Jews and between
Israel’s Jews and the diaspora Jews, the petition says.
 
The petition’s main object is separating state from religion, or at
least separating religion from nationality. Petitioner Nili Kook is the
widow of Professor Hillel Kook, who died two years ago.
 
"He told me that his great uncle, Rabbi Kook, would have supported the
petition. Like the late Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz, he wished to
separate religion from nationality and the state. They believed only
such separation would increase respect for religion in Israel,"
Har-Shefi says.
 
The appointment of Avraham Poraz as Interior Minister raised hopes among
the petitioners but their requests to him, like their letters to Haim
Ramon when he was Interior Minister, went unheeded. The loaded issue was
shelved. A petition to the High Court is a good way to raise an issue
for the agenda, but it is doubtful whether the High Court is the right
address.
 
As Judge Shilo said, a nationality is not created by saying it exists.
It is hard to assume that the judges say so would create the Israeli
nationality. On the other hand, Supreme Court President Justice Aharon
Barak is retiring in about three years and perhaps history, in the form
of 38 "Israelis," has provided him with the last big case to create
another revolution.

Reframing Anti-Semitism: Alternative Jewish Perspectives (Book Review)

"This collection of essays is a significant contribution to the debate on antisemitism, the Palestinian issue and U.S. policy toward the Middle East. It clearly demonstrates that there is no monolithic Jewish position on Middle East issues. The book reminds us all to be on guard against antisemitism and all forms of racism, including anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism, but that the charge of antisemitism must not be used to suppress criticism of Israeli state practices or the political ideology of Zionism."

Middle East Policy Journal
Volume XIII, Spring 2006, Number 1
 
BOOK REVIEW
 

Reframing Anti-Semitism: Alternative Jewish Perspectives

by Jewish Voice for Peace, eds. Oakland California, 2004. 92 pp. $9.00, paperback.

Edward C. Corrigan, immigration and refugee lawyer, London, Ontario

 Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is said to be the largest American Jewish peace organization; its newsletter boasts more than 7,000 subscribers. This size and reach underscores the often overlooked fact that Jewish opinion in America is not monolithic. Debate and dissent are core Jewish values in a longstanding tradition of social justice and humanitarianism. This collection of essays by JVP authors, Reframing Anti-Semitism: Alternative Jewish Perspectives, reveals perspectives on U.S. policy, Israel, Arab Jews, Zionism and anti-Semitism that are at variance with the American Jewish establishment. They offer critical discussion of American policy toward the Middle East and practices in Israel toward the Palestinians and Arab Jews and even Zionism itself.

 In the introduction, co-editors Henri Picciotto and Mitchell Plitnick preemptively lay out a resounding denial of the accusation that criticism of Israel or Zionism is “antisemitic?:

 "[S]ome have equated all criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, while some anti-Semites have used the Palestinian cause to mask their hatred of Jews. Nevertheless, we refuse to get stuck: drawing our inspiration from Jewish tradition, we work for peace, social justice and human rights, even if our stance is unpopular in some circlesÖ (p.ii)."

 Plitnick opens the book with “Reclaiming the Struggle against Anti-Semitism,” which examines the history and development of the term. He begins with the nineteenth century German linguist Wilhelm Marr, who invented the term “Semitic? to serve as a new anti-Jewish epithet purportedly based on racial characteristics. The term itself refers to a group of languages that includes Arabic and Hebrew, and Marr found that he could use this obscure linguistic reference to improve upon the current term of opprobrium, Judenhass (hatred of Jews).

 The Holocaust, says Plitnick, is the ultimate expression of Marr

Neturei Karta rabbi to Iran newspaper: Israel will cease to exist

In an interview with official Iranian news agency IRNA, Rabbi David Weiss, of the Neturei Karta movement, said "Israel was established in the name of Judaism but is impure and Godless. We are sure that it will cease to exist."
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3291956,00.html

Neturei Karta rabbi to Iran newspaper: Israel will cease to exist

Rabbi David Weiss says: Israel was established in the name of Judaism but is impure and Godless

Dudi Cohen
16 August 2006

In an interview with official Iranian news agency IRNA, Rabbi David Weiss, of the Neturei Karta movement, said "Israel was established in the name of Judaism but is impure and Godless. We are sure that it will cease to exist."

Neturei Karta is a small group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews who reject all forms of Zionism and oppose the existence of that state of Israel. This stems from their belief that Israel can only truly be reestablished with the coming of the Messiah and, subsequently, that any state of Israel prior to this exists in violation of divine will.

In an interview with an IRNA journalist, in New York, Rabbi Weiss stated that "We don’t know how much blood will be shed until the state of Israel will cease to exist, but we pray to the Creator that it will happen with the minimum amount of loss and bloodshed."

According to Weiss, "The creation of the state of Israel does not conform to Jewish law and, actually, is contrary to it. Jewish rabbis around the world fear to express their opinions because of the intimidating atmosphere creating by the Zionists."

Weiss addressed UN Security Council resolution 1701 and said: "I oppose this decision because it does not touch upon the demands of the Lebanese or Palestinian people."

"We believe that the day is close at hand when Israel will lose its strength. The Torah says that whatever exists in opposition to divine will cannot continue. As I understand it, things are changing every day and we are sure that Israel will cease to exist."

‘Problem today is Zionism’

Weiss discussed Israel’s weakening hand in the war on terror and said: "In 1967, if you would have said anything about giving away part of the Gaza Strip to Palestinians, people would have killed you. Now we see that, after more than fifty years, Israel is trying to defeat Palestinian resistance, but is not succeeding."

Regarding the demographic problem, he said that "The Muslim population in Israel is growing rapidly and, in the upcoming years, most of the state will be Muslim."

"As long as Olmert and his government are weakening, so much the better, but we would prefer a general revolution in Israel. Olmert expected a miracle but Lebanon showed him the opposite. In the Torah it says that an illegal government of Jews is considered a revolt against God and, therefore, God will not help them," he continued.

Weiss was asked what solution he suggests to Muslims, Christians and Jews in order to live in peace and security, side by side. In response, he answered: "We and the Muslims lived side by side for hundreds of years with no problem. At that time, there was no UN and no human rights. The problem today is not religion, but rather Zionism. Zionism takes advantage of religion and sees all of its opponents as anti-Semitic."

"The solution is for Muslims to invest primarily in global PR. Muslims must show the world that, in the past, Muslims and Jews lived side by side with no problem."

Book Review: Prophets Outcast – A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing about Zionism and Israel

The term "prophets outcast" is borrowed from historian Isaac Deutscher, "himself a great Jewish dissident," to "underscore the terrible price these remarkably prescient men and women have paid for speaking out" against Zionism and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Book Review

Review  of: Prophets Outcast: A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing about Zionism and Israel edited by Adam Shatz
Nation Books, New York, 2004
Pages: 408. $12.89

Reviewed by Edward C. Corrigan, 29 November 2005
In: Political Review Net (Middle East Policy)
http://www.politicalreviewnet.com/polrev/reviews/MEPO/R_1061_1924_083_1005242.asp

Adam Shatz, the literary editor for The Nation magazine, in Prophets Outcast has assembled an excellent anthology of writings by eminent members of the Jewish community. The book includes essays or excerpts from 24 leading Jewish intellectuals critically commenting on Zionism before Israel was created, and prominent Israelis and Diaspora Jews writings after the creation of the "Jewish State" in 1948.

The term "prophets outcast" is borrowed from historian Isaac Deutscher, "himself a great Jewish dissident," to "underscore the terrible price these remarkably prescient men and women have paid for speaking out" against Zionism and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. These Jewish dissenters have been attacked for giving ammunition to Israel’s enemies or as "self-hating Jews." However, as Tom Segev, author of The Seventh Million, states in an endorsement on the publication’s cover, "This book is a timely and important reminder … that it is anything but un-Jewish to criticize the State of Israel".

The editor covers the critique of Zionism primarily by Jewish leftists, Marxists and humanists. Isaac Deutscher, the inspiration behind the book, has two essays included in the volume, "The Non-Jewish Jew" and "The Israeli-Arab War, June 1967," both from The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays (1968). Shatz calls Deutscher "the soul and inspiration of Prophets Outcast." Also included in the book are excerpts from Leon Trotsky’s writings On the Jewish Problem (1934) and Abraham Leon’s "Zionism," from The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation (1940).

Left out of the collection are religious criticisms from anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews in the Neturei Karta and Satmar sects. Also omitted is the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism, founded by 92 Reform rabbis in 1943, and criticisms from other Reform Jews, such as Norton Mezvinsky and the late Rabbi Elmer Berger. Marc Ellis’s "The Palestinian Uprising and the Future of the Jewish People" from his Towards a Jewish Theology of Liberation: The Uprising and the Future (1988) is, however, included. Also here is an excellent article by Brian Klug, "A Time to Speak Out: Rethinking Jewish Identity and Solidarity with Israel," from The Jewish Quarterly, which encompasses Jewish religious themes. Right-wing Jewish criticism of Zionism from individuals such as Alfred Lilienthal, Mark Bruzonsky and Allan C. Brownfeld are absent.

Contrary to what some supporters of Israel argue, there are many Jewish critics of Zionism and Israeli policies. Before the full impact of the Holocaust was known, most Jews were noncommittal or openly hostile to the political ideology of Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Prominent leftist Jewish critics of Zionism who, in my opinion, merit inclusion are Isaac Asimov, Lenni Brenner, Uri Davis, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Halevi (a Jewish Palestinian), Jeff Halper, Amira Hass, Eric J. Hobsbawm, Gideon Levy, Judah Magnes, Baruch Kimmerling, Ilan Papp

The Left-Wing Gatekeepers of the American Anti-Israeli Occupation Movement

The Left-Wing Gatekeepers of the American Anti-Israeli Occupation Movement

by Seth Farber
www.dissidentvoice.org
 October 7, 2005

After the invasion of Jenin, while the Left in America debated whether the Israeli Army had committed a "massacre" or just an ordinary war crime, I decided that I wanted to protest against the crimes committed by the "Jewish state." Thus I prepared to begin work on a book of interviews with anti-Zionists and non-Zionist Jews. The book is titled Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers: Conversations with Jewish Critics of Israel (Common Courage Press, 2005). I was keenly aware that the most well known American Jewish critic of the 1967 Israeli occupation is Michael Lerner, editor of the left-wing magazine Tikkun. I was not impressed by Lerner’s effort to separate the decades long occupation, dispossession and persecution of the Palestinian people from the mythic and ostensibly innocent era of Israel’s origins and youth, thus legitimating the Zionist project. I decided to put together a book that would serve as an introduction to the anti-Zionist faction of the Jewish anti-occupation movement, much as Lerner’s book Healing Israel/Palestine made the argument for the Zionist wing of the anti-Occupation movement.

In 2002, I also joined Jews Against the Occupation (JATO), a NY group that supported the Palestinian right of return as guaranteed by UN Resolution 194 — that is, the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to the land they fled or were expelled from in 1947/8. My first two interviews were with the prominent leftist scholar Norman Finkelstein, whose most recent book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, is a searing deconstruction of Alan Dershowitz’s book The Case for Israel (and thus of his case), and Ora Wise, a young spokeswoman for JATO whose father was a Conservative rabbi. After I found a publisher I resumed work on the book. One phone call I made in 2004 lingers in my mind because of my exchange with the Jewish scholar to whom I spoke symbolizes for me the problem with the Jewish left in the US today. He is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and a non-Zionist scholar. I told him of my plan for my book and asked if he would agree to an interview. He raised his voice and stated: "You are dividing Jews. What is your political rationale for doing this book?" His tone put me on the defensive. I mentioned that he sounded angry. He did not modulate his voice but repeated, "I am merely asking you what is your political rationale for dividing Jews. Why are you writing this? Tell me what do you hope to accomplish politically! Otherwise how could I agree to an interview." There were a number of thoughts that were clamoring in the forefront of my mind but I decided not to express them because the tone of his voice was forbidding, not genuinely inquisitive.

I could not predict the political effects of my book — how can one ever do that with any degree of certainty? I wanted to make the anti-Zionist argument (against current Israeli policies) known to a larger public because it is the strongest, most cogent, and the most moral argument for opposing the Israeli occupation — and thus for becoming active in the pro-Palestinian movement. Whether it would succeed in mobilizing opposition to Israel — of that I had no way of knowing. But it was an argument that deserved to be heard. How could there be any adverse effects from telling the truth? The Zionist argument that Israel’s cause was noble and was corrupted in 1967 was a falsehood. Why should my book accommodate those whose advocacy was based on illusions? Why should I not tell the unvarnished truth, as ugly as it was?

Had I made such a statement on the phone I suppose the JVP scholar would have repeated: "You are not taking responsibility for the effects of presenting only one side of the argument against the occupation and you are placing a divide in the middle of the Jewish left." But I had a response to that also: "I do not care. It is irrelevant to me that many left-wing Zionists will feel attacked. I believe that one of the virtues of the anti-Zionist argument is that it will appeal to many Palestinians and many Arabs and Moslems who believe quite rightly that the Zionist argument is disingenuous. It is Palestinians and Moslems who are the victims here, and I care more about making an alliance with them on the basis of an acknowledgment of the wrong-doing committed in our name, the name of Jews, than I do about presenting a united front of Jewish leftists to the world." This went through my mind in the few minutes I was on the phone, and I could imagine his voice crescendoing to a vociferous rage. Thus I beat a polite retreat and managed to terminate the conversation.

But I think both of the responses I did not make would have met with the agreement of the persons I interviewed for the book. When I asked JATOite Ora Wise in 2003 (printed in my book) what kind of solution she supported to end the oppression of Palestinians, she responded: " I will follow the lead of my fellow Palestinian activists and intellectuals and the Palestinians living under occupation. I know right now… [that] so many Palestinians living under occupation … just need to get the boot of the Israeli military off their neck — that they’re simply calling for an end to the Occupation. And so I will follow the lead of Palestinians and their communities. …[H]owever, I believe that a two-state solution will never lead to true justice or equality." This is the essence of JATO’s approach. Some in JATO believe a two state solution is the most practical. Others are committed to one secular state for all. And there are other positions, as well. JATO does not hold an organizational position on this issue. Although virtually all of us believe that a Jewish state cannot be fully equitable we uphold the right of Palestinians to determine their own future. It is the Palestinians who were the victims of Israeli colonialism. It is thus the Palestinians to whom we owe our primary political allegiance, not other Jews. JATO upholds the Palestinians’ right of return as affirmed by international law. The question — what will other Jews say? — is irrelevant for Ora, and for all the persons I interviewed. The yardstick for the rectitude of Ora’s public statement and advocacy concerning a peace settlement is not what do other American Jews think, but what kind of settlement do Palestinians want -? within the parameters of a recognition of human rights for all parties.

As progressive Jews our concern should be entering into an alliance with Palestinians, not with reaching an agreement within Jewish ranks (first) of what Palestinians should be offered, or what face Jews should present to the world. More than any other group on the left, Michael Lerner and Tikkun promulgate this latter approach. One has the impression that Lerner is talking in Tikkun only — or primarily — to other Jews. Since from Lerner’s perspective Jews had the right to set up a state in Palestine in the first place, there can be no question of expressing remorse for the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948. Self-respecting Palestinian and Arabs are not interested in an alliance with Lerner — since he defends the "original sins" by which Israel came into existence. Tikkun represents an interest group for progressive Jews, and it thus sets the standards for most non-Jewish progressives of what is acceptable criticism of Israel. (Although Tikkun does publish writers with more radical perspectives than Lerner’s.) The fly in the ointment is that Jews do not need yet another interest group. We need groups that demonstrate to the world that Jews too can place the exigencies of justice over that of bargaining for our "interests" — however progressively defined.

The problem lies within Zionism. Jacqueline Rose, author of the recent book The Question of Zion, would agree. However she confuses matter by referring to those Jews in the 1930s and ’40s who opposed a Jewish state as "Zionists". They were indeed called Zionists at the time, but to call them Zionist now is misleading. Rabbi Judah Magnes, the renowned Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, and the binationalist "Zionist" labor organization Hashomer HaTzair did not support a Jewish state. Today anyone who opposes a Jewish state is considered anti-Zionist. Bi-nationalists were called Zionists before Israel was founded because they were adherents of cultural Zionism — the idea that a Jewish homeland in Palestine would become a center for Jewish culture and fructify Judaism and Jewish culture among diaspora Jews. This vision has been destroyed by the militarism, racism and consumerism of Israeli society. The only Zionists today are political Zionists and — in Israel — religious Zionists. But political Zionism resulted in the ethnic cleansing of over 3 quarters of a million Palestinians in 1947-8. And all of the people interviewed for my book believed that the expulsion of Palestinians and the consequent refusal of Israel to re-patriate them was a moral evil. (Israel reneged on its agreement to let the refugees return as mandated by UN General Assembly Resolution 194 — which Israel originally accepted as a condition for its admission to the UN.)

The persecution of Palestinians by Israel today and historically is rooted in the theory of political Zionism which posited that the land of Palestine belonged to the Jews, and that every Jew was a member of a race and a nation (constituted by Abraham in the Bible) which had a right to create a Jewish state in Palestine. "The Bible is our Mandate," Ben-Gurion, ironically an atheist, stated. The political Zionists had no moral qualms about ethnically-cleansing the land of Arabs, and thus they had no motive to reach an accord with the Palestinians. After the Arab revolt of 1929 Hans Kohn wrote that the Zionist settlers "have not even once made a serious attempt at seeking through negotiations the consent of the indigenous peoples" (cited in The Question of Zion).

In 1937 Ben-Gurion wrote to his adolescent son: "We must expel the Arabs and take their places … and … if we have to use force — not to dispossess the Arabs … but to guarantee our own right to settle in those places — then we have force at our disposal" (cited in Masahla, Nur, Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of Transfer in Zionist Political Thought, Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestinian Studies, p66) At the same time, 1937, that Ben-Gurion was writing this privately, publicly he denied any intention of creating a Jewish state because he believed, he said "the Palestinians have the right not to be at the mercy of the Jews" (cited in Noam Chomsky, Middle East Illusions, p. 34). Rabbi Judah Magnes genuinely believed in bi-nationalism, as did Buber and others. As Magnes put it, "The slogan Jewish state is equivalent to a declaration of war by the Jews on the Arabs." Thus the bi-nationalist "Zionists" advocated negotiations with the indigenous Arabs for a binational state. The reason the negotiations never occurred, I believe, as Magnes believed, is because Ben-Gurion sabotaged these possibilities. The bi-nationalists believed that the indigenous people of Palestine had equal or greater rights to Palestine and that it was morally incumbent upon the Zionists to negotiate, to reach an accord with the Palestinians. In 1946, Magnes wrote in The New York Times that the political Zionists, notwithstanding Ben-Gurion’s public statements to the contrary, "want a Jewish state, dominated by Jews" (cited in The Jewish State, by Yoram Hazony, p. 248). In the beginning of 1948, Ben-Gurion told an audience of Zionists that the war would in effect allow the Jews to steal the Palestinians’ land: "The war will give us the land … The concept of "ours" and "not ours" are peace concepts only, and in war they lose their whole meaning" (cited in Masalha, 1992, p. 180).

Aharon Cohen (Israel and the Arab World, 1976, NY: Beacon Press) agreed that negotiations did not take place because Ben-Gurion did not want to compromise with the indigenous Arabs — the Palestinians. When the Palestinian Arab Adil Jabr and the Zionist binationalist Haim Kalvarisky drew up a program for bi-nationalism in 1940-1 which they wanted to present to Arab leaders for discussion, Kalvarisky first tried to secure the approval of Ben-Gurion at the end of July 1941. Ben-Gurion got angry and called it "an abomination." A few weeks later, Sharett, Ben-Gurion’s right-hand man and future Prime Minister of Israel, wrote that the draft was not acceptable unless it was revised to include a Jewish state. Cohen concluded that the "bottleneck" to negotiations with Arabs was Ben-Gurion’s refusal to accept a bi-national Palestine based on political parity. Of course this was not known at the time because Ben-Gurion publicly favored binationalism until the early 1940s. The obstacle was not — I quote Cohen who was a participant at the time — "the oft heard complaint that there is no one to talk to in the Arab camp. "(This alibi is a stark reminder that history repeats itself.) Jacqueline Rose is correct: "For a brief moment Zionism [she includes here the bi-nationalists] had the chance of molding a nation that would not be an expanded ego, but something else" (p. 86). That is, it could have been a nation based on the kind of genuine cooperation between Jews and Arabs that was advocated by Buber, Magnes, Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein and others. (See my interview with Chomsky in Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers) Lerner implicitly denies this possibility and ignores the initial internal dissent that attended the victory of political Zionism.

Michael Lerner faults the Palestinians for not accepting the UN 1947 partition plan – about which they were not even consulted — but he fails to mention that Israel did not accept it entirely either: It did not accept its provisions for an independent Palestinian state. Furthermore in his book Lerner ignores the efforts made by binationalists for years to get the Yishuv leadership to sit down and talk with the indigenous Arabs, and glibly and pompously dismisses Buber, Magnes and the binationalists with the comment, "Most Jews felt these idealists were out of touch with reality…"(p. 52) — as if he was rendering history’s verdict. For Lerner, the Palestinian leadership were equally responsible for the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of 3/4 of a million Palestinian refugees, and the recent exposure by scholars of the Zionist leadership’s long-harbored design to expel the Palestinians from Israel (see Nur Masalha, The Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of Transfer in Zionist Political Thought) is not acknowledged by Lerner as a validation of Palestinians’ openly expressed fears and resistance to the Zionists.

The possibility that the Zionist leaders may not have genuinely represented the interests of Israelis is not even considered by Lerner. In Lerner’s mind the conflict is between "the Jews" and the Palestinians. It is this vestigial notion that governs the gatekeepers of the movement today. Thus Lerner depicts the Zionist leadership as the legitimate representative of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, despite the fact that no one elected them to such a position, despite the fact that the historical record shows that throughout WWII they consistently subordinated the goal of rescuing European Jewry to that of creating a Jewish state (see Boas Evron, Jewish State or Israeli Nation, and the works of Lenni Brenner) — even though at many points, these goals were in conflict. Michael Lerner provides his own specious answer to the question of what the Palestinians could have been done to prevent the Zionists from expelling them from their country — which they were determined to do to make room for the ingathering of hundreds of thousands of Jews who the Zionists expected (unrealistically) would all move to Israel with the support of American and Soviet imperialism. The Palestinians should have turned to "the Jewish people" (Lerner obscures the fact that the decisions were not made by "the Jewish people" but by the Zionist leaders — and that furthermore most of the Jews who escaped to Israel would have emigrated to the US had the Zionists not prevented them from being given a choice) with a "simple plea": "Give us an opportunity to prove we can live as loyal citizens and a minority within a Jewish state and that we can show you that we can do so and acknowledge the validity of your having created such a state" ( Lerner in Healing Israel/Palestine, p. 69).

Despite the fact that Israel had not accepted the United Nations provision for a Palestinian state, despite the fact that Ben-Gurion was welcoming a war as an opportunity to steal the land owned by the Palestinians (Lerner knows this) and to ethnically cleanse the large minority of Palestinian who inhabited the land that was the basis for the new Jewish state that the UN created by fiat, Lerner assures readers that if the Palestinians had meekly submitted to the theft of their own land, "it would have certainly changed the politics of Israel" (p. 69). He does not add "to the Palestinians’ further detriment." Presumably he means this passivity would have prevented Palestinians’ expropriation from the new Israel although obviously not from their own homes and land. But there is no reason to believe that contention, considering the massacre of the villagers of Deir Yassin (to pick one of many examples) who had made a peace agreement with their Israeli neighbors –much to the indifference of the Irgun (the Israeli terrorist group that played a major role in the 1947-8 war) and the Israeli Army, the Haganah. Regardless, thus do colonizers preach sanctimoniously to their victims, reassuring them that if only they submissively accept the yoke of colonialism everything will be best for all concerned.

This view — that Palestinians share responsibility for their expropriation — is common on the Jewish left. Perhaps this is why the Jewish Left has failed to establish fraternal relationships with the "enemy," why little effort is made by larger Jewish anti-Occupation groups to ally with our Arab/Moslem brothers and sisters. To put it another way, why does the largest Jewish left-wing magazine publish very few articles by Palestinians? Why do certain Jews insist that because my book is anti-Zionist it undermines the Jewish left? And why is it that my book is being ignored by large left-wing publications, most of which have a significant editorial representation by Jews — despite the fact that it is the only recent anti-Zionist book intended to be intellectually accessible to persons unfamiliar with these issues and that the book was endorsed not only by leading scholars like Tanya Reinhart and Naseer Aruri, but by Rev. Daniel Berrigan who called it "a ray of light amid the darkness that lays claim to our world, from Tel Aviv to Washington"? In fact the only groups or individuals who responded to me and said they would review my book are two Moslems (one an editor of a magazine), one Palestinian Christian (Mazin Qumsiyeh, author of Sharing the Land of Canaan) and one anti-Zionist Jewish conservative Allan Brownfeld. The left-liberals prefer to ignore my book and, I predict, many of them will ignore Norman Finkelstein’s important dissection of Dershowitz and of Israeli propaganda.

Most importantly should not the priority of the Jewish Left be to resume the dialogue with Arabs begun by binationalists during the 1930s — which Magnes and Buber stated in the 1930s and 40s was a precondition for a moral Jewish polity in Palestine? And if, as the binationalists argued, unilaterally establishing a Jewish state was wrong in 1948, if establishing any kind of Jewish polity without first negotiating with the indigenous Arabs was wrong in the 1940s — and was declared as such by significant voices within the movement defined then as Zionism — by what act of moral gymnastics can this deed, the establishment of Israel by military conquest, be declared justifiable today in hindsight? And what can justify many left-wing Jews’ insistence on giving priority to creating a united front of Jewish critics of Israeli policies, rather than to reaching out without calculation to our Palestinian comrades to support them in their battle against Israeli colonialism and state-terrorism?  

Seth Farber, Ph.D is an anti-establishment psychologist who believes mental illness is a myth. A radical since he became an anti Vietnam War activist in high school, his first book Madness, Heresy and the Rumor of Angels contains a foreword by Thomas Szasz. His current book Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers (Common Courage, 2005) is mentioned above. His memoirs will be published next year; they are entitled Lunching With Lunatics: Adventures of a Maverick Psychologist.

Jewish author no longer ‘in love with the Zionist narrative

http://www.amin.org/eng/uncat/2005/aug/aug2-0.html

August 2, 2005

Author no longer ‘in love with the Zionist narrative’


 
By: Deaglan de Breadun
Irish Times

** Israeli activist Susan Nathan who recently visited Ireland was interviewed by the Irish Times July 28. On August 2, the foreign editor of the paper gave permission to post the following article:

The most accurate description of Susan Nathan comes from herself: "What I do is that I live what comes out of my mouth." She is the only Jew among 25,000 Arabs in the northern Israeli town of Tamra and has taken up the cause of the Palestinians who remained inside the borders of Israel after the state was set up in 1948.

Her harshest critics could not say she has chosen a comfortable path. Friends and even some relatives have turned against her, she says, but she is standing by her controversial claim that the Palestinians in Israel are victims of apartheid-style discrimination and mistreatment.

Now she’s written a book to tell her story and make her case, The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish-Arab Divide (HarperCollins). The writing style is direct and simple: she wanted "Joe Bloggs on the street" to be able to read it and say, "I didn’t understand that it was like that". In person, too, Nathan is direct and to the point. As far as she is concerned, the issue itself is a simple one. Her Jewish co-religionists took the land from the Palestinians, who have been severely oppressed and treated as second-class citizens ever since.

She only came to this conclusion in her 50s, having been an ardent Zionist all her life. It took a long time for the penny to drop but there is now no self-doubt or hesitation.

Nathan says that initially she was "brainwashed and in love with the Zionist narrative". Very few non-Jewish people understood the power of Zionist propaganda.

"You are brought up to believe that you are outside of society, that you are forever persecuted, that Israel is your safe haven . . . It is like being part of a cult." The Zionist claim that Israel exists for the salvation of the Jews in case of another Holocaust was "a very cynical misuse of people’s fears and the Holocaust".

She is the daughter of a Harley Street physician. Her father, Samuel Levy, studied in South Africa and then Trinity College Dublin in the late 1920s and early 1930s. "He used to spend Friday night and all Saturday with the family of Chaim Herzog [future president of Israel, whose father was Ireland’s chief rabbi]."

The family came from the Baltic region. Fleeing anti-Semitic pogroms, they made their way to Odessa on the Black Sea. Family lore has it that they wanted to go to Hamburg but the ship was full so they had to sail for South Africa instead. "And that’s how we escaped the Holocaust."

Born in 1949, she grew up in South Africa and England. She got married, reared a family and got divorced when she was 50. Initially she was an avid supporter of the Israeli state. Having worked as a teacher and HIV/Aids therapist, Nathan decided at last to realise her lifelong Zionist dream of emigrating to Israel. "I applied under the Right of Return," she says. Under Israeli law, anyone with a Jewish grandparent can emigrate to Israel and become a citizen.

"It was a wonderful homecoming. I believed the Zionist ideology, I really believed this was ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’. Palestinians were not on the map for me in any shape or form." She was offered "a very good job" teaching business English in Tel Aviv. Around the time of her arrival, the latest intifada rebellion erupted at the end of 2000. She saw "the wonderful achievements of our forces" being extolled on Israeli television.

"I really fell for that line," she says. But then she became very ill and had to be hospitalized and this brought her into close regular contact with Palestinians. She began to ask herself, "Where am I in this society, what is my role?" She became involved with a Palestinian-Jewish NGO dealing with deprived communities, and worked on a project in Tamra. "I started to understand the enormous similarities between Arab-Israeli society and black society during the apartheid years in South Africa."

But it’s not as if Israel adopts petty measures such as having separate Arab and Jewish toilets the way South Africa had separate toilets for blacks and whites. "In Israel it’s far more sophisticated than that, because it’s all heavily veiled. It’s very important for Israel to be seen to be democratic, Western, accepted by the US and Europe." But as far as she is concerned: "Israeli society in its current form really equals a half democracy, a democracy for Jews only."

Nathan’s version of Israeli history would not find favour in Zionist circles: "The major form of discrimination comes in the confiscation and appropriation of Arab land. All of the state of Israel is built on Palestinian land. Around 480 to 500 villages were totally destroyed during the battle of Israeli independence in 1948. And this discrimination and dispossession goes on and on and on.

"Israel is the only country in the world where you can be an eternal refugee, where you can be present but absent by law from your property, being deprived of the right of return to your property and your land, even though you own the deeds for that property and that land, and to be without compensation. It is appalling.

"And once I had seen the comparison with South Africa, I decided that I could no longer keep my mouth closed." Nathan decided to go and live among the Arabs in Israel and "help to activate change".

She vigorously rejects any allegation that she is an anti-Semitic or "self-hating" Jew. "One is not called anti-British if one criticizes the policies of the British government." This is "just a rather nasty political ploy".

But she knows there is a price to be paid for the stand she has taken. "Everything in life comes with a price." Taking a phrase from the late Edward Said, she says: "What I do with my life is the politics of embarrassment." Predicting there will be another intifada uprising soon, she adds: "Israel should have been the safest place in the world for Jews to be and actually . . . now, ironically, it has turned out to be the most dangerous." Nathan’s "personal dream" is that Israel will ultimately be a bi-national state."

Her sympathy for the Palestinians is largely unqualified and she sharply rebukes a member of the audience at a Dublin meeting who raises a question about the rights of gays and lesbians in the Palestinian Territories. The question is "incredibly offensive", she says, warning of the "moral superiority of the West".

"As far as I know, you’re not a Muslim, you don’t live in the Muslim world. The Arab world is perfectly capable of dealing with those issues in its own time and in its own way."

Speaking to her afterwards, I said many people would regard gay and lesbian rights as universal human rights, so why couldn’t outsiders raise them? "Because I don’t think people from other cultures should interfere."

As for suicide bombing, she says: "I don’t condone it. I don’t say it’s right. But I think we have to say, ‘How does this come about? Why do we have this phenomenon?’" When I put it to her that the Irish were oppressed but didn’t use suicide bombers, she responds: "Yes, but did you have the entire army unleashed on you? Did you have jet-fighters bombing your homes? Did you have your homes demolished while you were in them? Did you have 40 years of brutal occupation and conniving to come to some sort of artificial peace process? Did you have that?"

Zionism and other Marginal Thoughts

Zionism and other Marginal Thoughts

by Gilad Atzmon
21 January 2005


http://www.gilad.co.uk

One way to look into marginal politics is to illuminate the problematic  tension between demands for equality and the maintenance of clannish supremacist  world views. I am referring here to the difficult duality involved in requesting  to be seen like everyone else while considering oneself to be superior. At  first glance, it seems as if a humanist demand to equalise civil rights would  address the issue and resolve any form of tension between the margin and the  centre. But marginal politics intends to defeat any humanistic call for  equalisation. For the marginal politician, assimilation, emancipation, integration and  even liberation are death threats.

Once assimilated, the margin may face a severe “identity crisis”. To a  certain extent, the marginal subject is asked to renounce his particularity and  singularity. Following integration, the heroic “pre-revolutionary? days of the  righteous struggle for civil rights are replaced by a nostalgic narrative. In  its post-revolutionary phase, what had once been the margin becomes an  unnoticeable entity, an ordinary crowd. Thus, we should deduce that, at least at the  level of identity, the demand for equality is in itself a self-defeating  mechanism. Once equal, one is no different from anyone else. The success of  integration may transform any meaningful marginal self-realisation into irrelevant  anachronistic content. This is the reason that we find so few marginal  politicians who willingly endorse a political call for assimilation. Such a call would  mean political suicide, a self-imposed destruction of one’s political power.

By contrast, we can easily conceive of an individually motivated tendency  towards assimilation; we can envisage a member of the so-called margin searching  for ways to integrate within mainstream society. A glimpse into the social  reality of pre-Second World War European Jews provides an interesting insight  into the issue. Assimilation has never been presented as a Jewish marginal  political call. It was rather individual Jews who welcomed and enjoyed European  liberal tendencies. I would add that even the Bund that supported Jewish political  assimilation insisted on maintenance of Jewish cultural heritage.  

A survey of our surrounding contemporary Western reality would reveal an  image of multiplicity. Our society is an amalgam in which many who were once  marginal are now fully assimilated and integrated. Moreover, various minorities do  not even regard their integration as a process of assimilation but rather as a  natural celebration of their civil rights. This natural tendency to merge  with one’s surrounding society is seen by the marginal politician as a major  threat.

This paper offers a critical perspective on different aspects of marginal  political thought. I argue that theories and political thoughts should be  differentiated by their strategies of justification rather than by their mere  content. Further, I suggest that something is inherently dangerous in any form of  marginal politics. My focus here is the marginal politics of Zionist and lesbian  separatist thinking. Although this paper criticizes marginal political  discourse and thought, by no means does it suggest any criticism of the marginal  subject or any minority whatsoever.

The Margin

“The margin? is a term that refers to those who live on the edge of society.  It describes those who fall behind, those who cannot express their authentic  voice within mainstream discourse. The margin is always oppressed, harassed,  humiliated, subject to despicable jokes, and so forth. The margin is marginal  as long as its pain is not acknowledged within the main discourse. The margin  retains its marginal qualities as long as the injustices committed against it  are not addressed within mainstream discourse. Once the particularity of the  margin is recognised and accepted by the crowd, the margin becomes an inherent  part of the larger community; in other words, it becomes a minority group or  even just an ordinary crowd. Hence, it should be accepted that the state of  being marginal is, at least to certain extent, defined by the centre.

But then, one should ask, can the margin also be understood within its own  terms? Can the margin be defined by its own means? Is being a lesbian enough to  turn one into a “marginal lesbian? regardless of the surrounding social  circumstances? How can one decide whether one belongs to any given margin? Is being  a Jew, a Muslim, a gay or an ethnic Albanian enough to transform one into a  “marginal identity”? Clearly not. We can think of many Jews, Muslims, gays,  lesbians and ethnic Albanians who detach themselves from any ties with marginal  identification. They do not see themselves as marginal; nor are they seen as  such by their surrounding environment. The margin, therefore, is dynamic and  shaped by its relationship with the centre. The margin is that which fails to be  the centre. The margin is defined in terms of negation (i.e. what it isn’t)  rather than by its positive qualities (i.e. what it is). This is the reason that  marginal politics is so concerned with depicting reality in terms of binary  oppositions. For the gay ideologist the binary opposition is gay/heterosexual;  for the feminist politician it is femininity/masculinity; for the Zionist it  is Jew/gentile and Zionist/diaspora Jew. The marginal subject is inclined to  define itself via a process of negative dialectic.

As soon as the centre is willing to expand its categorical understanding of  itself, the margin’s reality fades; the margin becomes merely a minority. This  is the point at which marginal politics interferes and the binary opposition  is introduced.    

The marginal politician is engaged in the maintenance of negation. This  negation is usually achieved by elevating hostility towards the margin within the  centre. The Zionist is there to provoke anti-Semitism. Similarly, gay marginal  politics is dependent on the existence of homophobia and the feminist  maintains the image of patriarchal society. It seems as if marginal politics is  destined to engage in an ideological exchange with mainstream discourse. It is there  to retain negation. And yet, the question remains: can the marginal define  itself by its own means? In order to address this question we must grasp the  notion of identity.

Identity, Identification and Authenticity

In order to transform “marginal self-perception? into a meaningful notion,  the marginal subject must assume that being a “marginal subject? conveys a  real and authentic identity. An American Jewish settler living on confiscated  Palestinian land must genuinely believe that being on occupied land, being daily  engaged in an endless list of war crimes and breaching all possible moral  codes, while risking his own life and the lives of members of his family,  constitute direct fulfillment of his “true self”. The settler must believe that he is  the son of Abraham and that this relation to his ancestor grants him special  rights where Palestinian land is concerned. The marginal subject must believe  that he conveys a genuine self.  

Belief in a truly authentic identity is crucial for the realisation of the  self as a genuine autonomous agent, but is authenticity possible? A  phenomenological thinker may say yes. Husserl argues that we can refer to “Evidez”, which  is “awareness” of matter itself as disclosed in the most clear, distinct and  adequate way for something of its kind. Accordingly, one can experience a  pure awareness of oneself. This notion was articulated by Descartes? cogito: “I  think therefore I am.” In phenomenological terms, it is the pure and lucid  “awareness” of me thinking which removes any doubt concerning me “being in the  world”, at least as a thinking entity. Phenomenology attempts to describe how  the world is constituted and experienced through conscious acts and what is  given to us in immediate experience without being mediated by preconceptions and  theoretical notions. According to phenomenology, one’s self-awareness can  depict an unmediated authentic form of knowledge.

It didn’t take long for Husserl’s student Martin Heidegger to expose major  cracks in his teacher’s philosophical endeavour. Heidegger revealed that  “being in the world? might be slightly more complicated than Husserl had suggested.  It was the former’s notion of hermeneutics that exposed the shortcomings of  Husserl’s phenomenology. Hermeneutics deals with the complex interaction  between the interpreting subject and the interpreted object. Within his critical  reading of Husserl, Heidegger exposed the embarrassing fact that unmediated  awareness is actually hard to conceive. Human beings, it appears, do “belong to  language”. Language is out there before one comes to the world. Once one enters  the realm of language, a separating wall made of symbolic lingual bricks and  cultural mortar blocks one’s access to any possible unmediated awareness. Can we  think without applying language? Can we experience at all without the  mediation of language? Admittedly, we are capable of feeling desire while dreaming or  being overwhelmed by beauty but then, as soon as we think it through, we find  ourselves entangled in a process of naming. As soon as we name, the awareness  ceases to be unmediated. Once within the realm of language, our perception of  the world is shaped by meanings that are not ours. It would seem that a  comprehensive authentic awareness is impossible.

If this is the case, there is no longer room to talk about identity in terms  of a genuine expression of a real self. Unmediated self-awareness is not  available to any of us. Even when we touch the sublime or come across an  inexpressible unmediated experience, as soon as we aim to share it even simply within  ourselves, we are already surrendering to language. Hence, looking into oneself  can never reveal an authentic identity.

Alternatively, we may be able think of identity as a set of ideas, narratives  or “thinking modes”, as a world view or a perception. But then rather than  really talking in terms of a genuine “self-awareness? we are intentionally  moving to deal with a mental process that is better described as  “identification”. We identify with ideas, narratives, thinking modes, certain world views,  perceptions and so on. We must then accept that when we talk about identity we  are really talking about identification. The notion of identity that is so  crucial for post-modernist and marginal theoreticians is a myth. When we refer to  “marginal identity”, what we really mean is “marginally identifying”.

Thus, being a lesbian is not enough to turn one into a “marginal lesbian”.  While being a “lesbian? is a state of being, being a “marginal lesbian? is a  form of identification. As we can see the marginal subject cannot define  itself by its own means. The American Jewish settler who mistakenly believes that  he follows his true call is in fact simply identifying with a messianic Zionist  identity. He is identifying with an external idea rather than revealing his  “real self”.  

As we come to view identity as a meaningless term, we move towards an  understanding of self-perception as a dynamic mechanism. When talking about identity  we refer to an axis of identification: at one pole we find the elusive notion  of authenticity produced from unmediated self-awareness (something that is  almost impossible to achieve), at the other pole we find a state of estrangement  that is achieved by identification. Thus, the search for one’s genuine  identity should be associated with utter misery: the more one searches for one’s  authentic self the more one is engaged in the process of identification that will  eventually lead to complete alienation. Here I turn to Lacan’s subversive  twist on Descartes? cogito, in which “I think therefore I am” became “You are  where you do not think.” If anything, thinking removes one from oneself.  Identification positions one far from any possible authenticity.

Back to “Marginal Politics?

It appears, therefore, that identity is a myth and authentic awareness a rare  experience. Thus, the marginal subject cannot define itself by its own means.  The statement: “I look into myself and see a Zionist, a gay, a woman, a  nation, a watermelon and so on? is anything but an expression of authentic  awareness. What it really means is: I identify with the Zionist, gay, woman, nation  … Again, “Zionist”, “gay”, “woman” and so forth are lingual expressions  that are communally and collectively assigned. They are not within the realm of  unmediated privacy. But then even “I feel gay”, “I am a lesbian” and “I feel  Jewish? are not authentic, unmediated expressions. Such expressions only mean  that an external lingual web orchestrates our feelings. Once we think, we are  already defeated by the dictatorial power of language.

Marginal communities are generally very sensitive to the power of language  and this is probably the reason that a substantial amount of their political  energy is concerned with imposing lingual restrictions within the mainstream  discourse (usually in the name of political correctness). This is the reason that  marginal communities are so creative in their use of marginal languages. The  Zionists? relationship with the resurrected Hebrew language is a good example.  Early Zionists realised that full control over language would allow them to  impose their world view on subsequent generations of Jews. But Zionists are not  alone in this respect. Other marginal groups are known for their creative diale cts, spelling and vocabulary. The following list presents different spellings  for the word woman/women used by lesbian separatists in the 1970s: wimmin,  wimyn, womyn, womin. These alternative spellings were intended to “prove” that,  at least symbolically, woman could be “complete? even when the word man/men  was taken out of woman/women. “We, as womyn, are not a sub-category of men? ( http://www.msu.edu/~womyn/alternative.html). The lingual meaning defines the  world view.  

But then, if language has such a crucial role in marginal politics, the  margin can never detach itself from the centre. Even when it establishes its own  discourse, this discourse can only be realised in terms of its relationship with  mainstream discourse. Moreover, if there is no room for self-grounded  marginal identity in terms of self-realization or self-awareness, we are bound to  deal with the margin in terms of its pragmatic strategies of exchange with the  mainstream discourse.

The Strategies Lobbying

Since the possibility of assimilation is occasionally presented to the margin  by the hegemony, opportunities for integration within the centre are  available to the marginal subject. Assimilated Jewish Americans have always been  extremely excited about the possibility of becoming American patriots. Many  American Jews have found their way into the leading classes via the academic world,  banking, real estate, the stock market, the media, politics and so on. But  since they have been in key positions within mainstream society, their patriotic  tendencies have been challenged by those they had left in the margins. Zionist  lobbies in America specialise in tracing rich and influential Jews. They  pressurise them to “come out of the closet” and to show greater commitment to the  Jewish nationalist venture. Gay marginal politicians behave similarly. Some  marginal politicians seek to shame their integrated brothers and sisters. This  serves two purposes. First, it conveys a clear message that real assimilation  is impossible: once a gay, always a gay; once a Jew always a Jew. This logic  was reflected in a recent Hollywood cinematic cartoon. Shrek and Princess Fiona  were doomed to find out that “Once an ogre always an ogre. One can never  escape one’s real identity.” Second, it pushes the assimilated being towards  collaboration with his old clan. You will never escape being who you are so you had  better be proud of it. The American Zionist takes this ideology one step  further, telling the assimilated Jew: “You will never escape being who you are so  why not be proud of it and work for us.” These points help us understand the  impact of Jewish political lobbies within the American administration.  Moreover, they may give an explanation for the growth of Jewish espionage within  Americ strategic centres and businesses.

Let us review the logic behind this strategy. At the first Zionist Congress,  in 1897, Chaim Weizmann announced: “There are no English, French, German or  American Jews, but only Jews living in England, France, Germany or America.”  According to Weizmann, first you are a Jew and then an American. In other words,  Weizmann called for Jews to celebrate their sameness; he aimed to remove or  even eliminate differences between them. Being Jewish is an essential  characteristic; all other qualities are contingent. Thus it would seem that even the  “good Jews”, those who protest against Israeli atrocities while shouting “not in  my name”, fall into Weizmann’s trap. First they are Jews and only then are  they humanists. In practice, without understanding it, they adopt Weizmann’s  anti-assimilationist strategy. In other words, they prove that the clan is more  important than any other category. Weizmann’s strategy is sophisticated and  hard to tackle. Even saying “I do not agree with Israel although I am a Jew? is  to fall into the clannish trap. Having fallen into the trap, one cannot leave  the clan behind; one can never endorse a universal language. As bizarre as it  may sound, even when one denounces one’s own clan one is destined to approve  the clannish marginal philosophy.

In the early days of Zionism most Jews refused to buy the Weizmann agenda,  preferring to see themselves as American, British or French people who happened  to be Jewish. This dispute between the individual Jew and the Zionist movement  developed into a bitter conflict. During their struggle for recognition,  Zionists admitted their contempt for the diaspora Jew. This was essentially the  birth of Zionist separatism. Zionists confronted the Jewish people in the name  of the call for their liberation.   

Separatism

Before the emancipation the Jew was a stranger among the peoples, but he did  not for a moment think of making a stand against his fate. He felt himself as  belonging to a race of his own, which had nothing in common with the other  people of the country. The emancipated Jew is insecure in his relations with his  fellow-beings, timid with strangers, suspicious even toward the secret feeling  of his friends.                          ? Max Nordau, address at the first Zionist Congress,  Basle, 1897   

The term “separatism? refers to the process in which a minority group  chooses to break away from a larger group. Separation is called for as soon as the  marginal politician senses immanent danger of integration into mainstream  society. Separatism refers not only to attempts to create alternative societies,  but also to exclusionary practices within marginal communities themselves.

Zionism developed as a reaction to the emancipation of European Jewry, a  process that started with the French Revolution and spread rapidly all over Europe  during the nineteenth century. By the late nineteenth century a few prominent  assimilated Jews (such as Nordau, Herzl and Weizmann) realised that  emancipation of the Jewish people might lead towards the disappearance of the Jewish  identity. Their argument was simple: ghetto walls had been demolished and yet  Jews were failing to integrate into European life. Additionally, the Europeans  were accused of being insincerely sympathetic towards Jews: “The nations which  emancipated the Jews have mistaken their own feelings. In order to produce its  full effect, emancipation should first have been completed in sentiment  before it was declared by law.” The argument is of a very basic character: first  you should love me and only then should you marry me. This idea appears  reasonable but we have to remember that, unlike a love affair, civil life is based on  respect rather than affection. I expect my neighbour to respect me; he may as  well love me but I can never demand it.

In order to support their views, Zionists illustrated an image of emerging  anti-Semitism. Their illustration was far from accurate. In fact, by the late  nineteenth century Jews were already deeply involved in every possible aspect of  European civil life. Moreover, the Zionist leaders themselves were highly  integrated within their Christian context. But a persistent myth of persecution  was needed.

On 15 October 1894 Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the sole Jewish member of the  French armx’s General Staff, was detained on charges of spying for Germany.  Throughout his trial Dreyfus declared his innocence. For many it was clear that  Dreyfus was a victim of a despicable racist allegation. Theodor Herzl, a prominent  Viennese journalist who traveled to Paris to cover the trial, was moved by  the saga and deduced from it that assimilation was doomed to fail. The only  solution according to Herzl was ?[a] promised land, where we can have hooked  noses, black or red beards – without being despised for it. Where we can live at  least as free men on our own soil, and where we can die peacefully in our own  fatherland? (Judenstaat, Theodor Herzl). Apparently the trial had an immense  impact on Herzl but, as Lenni Brenner points out, “Herzl misunderstood the  Dreyfus case. The secrecy of the trail, and Dreyfus? insistence on his innocence,  convinced many that injustice was done? (Zionism in the Age of the Dictators,  http://www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/ch01.htm). In fact the case created a  huge surge of gentile support. Although Dreyfus never managed to clear himself  (in a retrial that took place in 1899 Dreyfus was found guilty again), the  French government bowed to pressure and reduced his sentence. Following the  intense support of French intellectuals and the European left, Zionism lost its  grip in France. The French Jews felt truly emancipated. Herzl’s displeasure was  evident in the following extract from his diary: ?[French Jews] seek protection  from the socialists and the destroyers of the present civil order ? truly  they are not Jews anymore. To be sure, they are not Frenchmen either. They will  probably become the leaders of European anarchism.” It would appear that Herzl,  a marginal politician, sensed better than anyone else the immanent threat of  Jewish integration. This example illustrates the essence of separatist  ideologies; they aim at putting barriers between people. As we can see, Herzl, the  separatist politician, came up against his fellow Jews. Separatism is a strategy  of ghetto building and Zionists have followed this strategy since the late  nineteenth century. And yet, who are the first to suffer? Of course, those Jews  who are weak enough to take Zionist Separatism seriously and those who are  doomed to be born into a Zionist reality in Israel.  The case of lesbian separatism is very similar. In the 1970s, when women were  closing social gaps and achieving greater equality, a radical militant  feminist tendency developed. In her article “The Way of All Separatists? (Blatant  Lesbianism, 1978  Sydney Magazine. P.10-13 ),  Ludo McFingers writes: “They  hate men, see women as a sex class, support biological determinism, reject  reformism and despise the left.”

The underlying premise of lesbian separatism is that men cannot or will not  change. Consequently, women can only guarantee their own freedom by detaching  themselves from men. Some separatist women suggest a need for violent  confrontation with men to overthrow their power. Not surprisingly some of the most  radical lesbian separatists would prefer to live in a world entirely free of men  and some have gone so far as to state that “Dead men don’t rape”. One is  reminded here of the equally devastating Zionist expression “A good Arab is a dead  Arab.”

The similarities between Zionist and feminist separatists are evident.  Moreover, from time to time the two radical ideologies merge into a singular  devastating voice. When it was suggested to the American Jewish feminist Andrea  Dworkin that the idea of Womenland was insane she answered: “didn’t they say that  about Israel? And didn’t the world think that Theodor Herzl, the founder of the  Zionist movement, was a crank? The Jews got a country because they had been  persecuted, said that enough was enough, decided what they wanted and went out  and fought for it. Women should do the same. And if you don’t want to live in  Womenland, so what? Not all Jews live in Israel, but it is there, a place of  potential refuge if persecution comes to call ? as the Jews fought for Israel  so women have the right to execute ” that’s right, execute ? rapists and the  state should not intervene? (Guardian, 13 May 2000). Earlier in the same  interview, Dworkin, the “far left? activist, admitted that “She remains a supporter  of Israel’s right to exist, of the Jewish right to have their own state and  the Jewish right to fight back against those who tried and still try to kill  them; just as she thinks that women have the right to fight back, even kill, the  men who have abused them.” Dworkin may represent the views of a minority but  the ideological similarities between the two calls are clear.

A long time ago I found that through the replacement of the word “woman?  with “Jew” and the word “man? with “gentile”, a lesbian separatist text could  be transformed smoothly into a radical Zionist pamphlet and vice versa.  Lesbian separatism is a form of “ultimate feminism?; it requires a shift from the  realisation that “every woman can be a lesbian? to the radical perception that  “every woman should be a lesbian? (“Women, Wimmin, Womyn, Womin, Whippets ?  On Lesbian Separatism”, Julie McCrossin,  http://www.takver.com/history/womyn.htm).

Similarly, a Zionist would argue that “every Jew should be a Zionist? rather  than that “every Jew can be a Zionist”. Some Zionists would go further to  argue that since Israel is “the state of the Jewish people? every Jew should be  seen as a Zionist. Accordingly, rejection of Zionism by a Jew should be  considered an act of treason, or at least self-hatred. Naturally, most women would  not seriously accept their categorisation by radical feminists. I would say  that, at least before the Second World War, the majority of Jews were offended  by the Zionist call. It appears that the Holocaust and its industrial  exploitation by Zionist institutions changed the attitude of world Jewry towards  Zionism and Israel. The Holocaust was the biggest Zionist victory, just as a single  case of a rape is seen by feminist separatists as proof of the validity of  their theories. As we have seen, marginal politics is maintained by hostility  against oneself. In order sustain marginal politics one should evoke loathing  against oneself. Zionists need burned synagogues and lesbian separatists need  rape victims. If there were no burned synagogues the Zionist would burn some  himself. If there were no rape victims the lesbian separatist would invent a lie.  Within the separatist world view, such behaviour is legitimate because  strategy and campaign are more important than any moral code. From a separatist point  of view everybody out there is an enemy.

The Single Narrative

Imposing lingual restrictions within the mainstream discourse serves the  marginal cause. Political correctness is, in fact, a political stand that doesn’t  allow any political opposition. On the surface it looks like a revolt against  the notion of freedom of speech. But the marginal politician aims at  establishing a single narrative, a singular vision of reality, with a clear particular  historical account.

A single narrative is an interpretation that opposes the possibility of  competing interpretations. It is a narrative that includes a refutation of any  possible competitive narrative within its body of arguments or set of ideas. The  marginal politician aims to dictate the acceptance of a single narrative within  both the margin and mainstream society.

Within the margin, such a task can be easily achieved. Since marginal  identity is based on collective identifying with an artificially constructed set of  ideas, meanings and appearances, all the politician has to do is locate the  desirable narrative within the body of the identified set. Being a Zionist simply  means that one is identifying with the Zionist single narrative. For  instance, it means a total acceptance of the Zionist vision of the Israeli/Palestinian  conflict as well as an acceptance of the official Zionist account of the  Holocaust.

But then, how can the marginal politician impose a single narrative on the  entire society or on distinct cultures? How can he impose politically correct  idioms? The case of the Holocaust is a classic example. No one in the West is  allowed to suspect the official Zionist narrative of the Holocaust and this  prohibition is (in some countries) imposed  by law. Furthermore, Zionists demand  that their enemies, the Arab countries, endorse their Holocaust narrative.  While every junior Second World War researcher realises that the official Zionist  tale falls short of providing a comprehensive account of the complexity of the  events, no one is allowed to suspect the Zionist tale in public. Anyone who  exposes the extensive collaboration between the Zionists and the Nazis is  labelled a “revisionist?; anyone who suspects the figures, the measure, or even  the order of events becomes a Holocaust denier. It would appear that Zionists  have managed to prevent the West from accessing one of the most devastating  chapters of Western history. The West, it seems, has willingly obeyed.

How does the Zionist manage to dictate a single narrative? My view is that,  at certain moments, the Zionist narrative has suited Western leading classes  and political decision-makers. For instance, the Zionists shaped their narrative  to make it to fit nicely into the post-Second World War American world view.  Herein lies the essence of political Zionism: it is an attempt to establish  symbiotic relationships between Zionism and major colonial forces. This is the  story of the bond between Zionism and the different super powers: first the  Ottoman Empire, then the British Empire, now the United States.

Zionism is not unique in this respect. It is not a coincidence that feminist  groups were the first to “declare war? against the Taliban, many years before  President Bush realised where Afghanistan was (assuming that he now knows).  And yet very few marginal groups have been as successful  as Zionists in  dictating their narratives. I have no doubt that the official Zionist account of the  Holocaust suited the victorious Anglo-American Allies very well. Within the  vast acceptance of the tragedy of the Jewish people, no one really found the  time to discuss in detail the Allies? murderous bombing raids of German cities,  clear attacks against innocent German civilians. According to the Zionist  narrative the Americans were the liberators (which isn’t really the case: it was  mainly Soviets who liberated the East European camps) and the Germans were the  killers. Within the commonly adopted Zionist Holocaust narrative there is  little reason to talk about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why should we? Isn’t Auschwitz   terrible enough? The Americans represent the ultimate good; the rest are  evil (sometime even the “axis of evil?). This very restrictive world view  allowed the Americans to turn their attentions to Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and  Iraq. Since the Second World War there has not been a single year in which the  USA has failed to bomb innocent civilians. Until recently, Americans were seen  by many as the ultimate liberators, the champions of democracy and freedom,  those who fought Hitler and liberated Europe. But in practice it wasn’t even  Hitler that they fought with, it was Stalin. The decision to raid the beaches of  Normandy in June 1944 was actually the outcome of Hitler’s defeat in  Stalingrad. The Americans and British realised that unless they join the war in Western  Europe immediately, they would soon have to face a reality of red soldiers in  Calais. The Americans didn’t only endorse the Zionist Holocaust narrative;  they owned at least some of the copyrights. Within the heavily dictated Zionist  Holocaust narrative, the Allies liberated Europe and saved the Jews. The fact  that the main initiative was blocking Stalin has been completely neglected.  The Zionists never raised too many questions. They never asked their allies why  they did little to help the Jews during the war. They never really asked why  they didn’t bomb Auschwitz. Within the acceptance of the Zionist account, many  of the most crucial questions have been pushed under the carpet. This  obviously suits both the Americans and the Zionists.

Thus, the domination of a marginal single narrative should be understood as  an outcome of a symbiotic partnership between the margin and some key elements  within the centre. It usually happens when the marginal narrative is made to  suit the mainstream narrative. Consequently, the Zionists should realise that  the success of their Holocaust narrative might be temporary. Within a political  and intellectual shift in the West, the Zionist tale will be abandoned or at  least severely modified.

The Sabra, the Settler, the Dyke and the Queer

The Sabra, Tough and Tender ? the Native born Israeli has been given a  sobriquet “Sabra? after the wild cactus which flourishes in the arid soil of  Israel, the fruit of this plant is prickly on the outside and soft in the inside.  This implies that our sabres are tough, brusque, inaccessible and yet  surprisingly gentle and sweet within. The nickname is given affectionately and is borne  with pride of our young, who enjoy the reputation that they cannot be  “savoured? from outward appearances. “But you don’t look Jewish? is the dubious compliment a young Israeli  usually receives when he goes abroad. The Sabra is usually a head taller than his  father, often blond and freckled, often blue eyed and snub nosed. He is cocky,  robustly built, and likes to walk in open sandals in a free swinging, lazy  slouch.          ? Tough and Tender, an art installation by Gabi Gofbarg, 1992

I would like now to analyse the prospects of marginal stereotypical behaviour  in terms of a dialectic of identity. It is apparent that marginal identities  are quick to adopt eccentric behavioural codes that make the marginal subject  unmistakably distinguishable. On the surface it would make sense: the newly  liberated identity celebrates its detachment from the oppressive mainstream  society. It would seem as though the marginal subject was revealing its “true sel f”. As discussed above, the notion of manifested true identity cannot be taken  seriously. Nonetheless, we can allow ourselves to move one step forwards. If  the notion of the real self is left out or vague, then an external means of  identification is required. This would explain the fact even the most lefty  Zionists, those who regarded themselves as atheists, haven’t given up on the idea  of circumcising their sons. All things considered, appearance is more important  than ideology. Marginal identities make themselves easily distinguishable in  the crowd. This applies to the Sabra, the settler, the orthodox Jew, but also  to any other stereotypical marginal identity (the dyke, the queer and so  forth).

I will now dig into one of the most notable twentieth-century caricatures of  marginal identity, the Sabra. Zionism claims to reveal the true essence of the  liberated Jew. The Sabra is the stereotypical icon of that liberated  identity.

As we should expect, the Sabra, being a separatist Jew, is defined in terms  of negation in relation to the “inauthentic? diaspora Jew. “Like a wild  cactus? the Sabra “flourishes in arid soil”, while the despised humiliated European  Jew declines mentally in reactionary Europe. The Sabra “is prickly on the  outside and soft in the inside”, while the “speculative capitalist? “Diaspora  Jew? appears soft on the outside but is extremely shrewd where business is  concerned. The Sabra is “tough and tender?; he can kill like a real “man? when  he has to but this doesn’t stop him from crying like a “woman” that the  “Weeping Wall? as soon as he has completed an invasion of the Old City of Jerusalem.  He can ethnically cleanse the entire Palestinian population on Friday and then  attend a “Peace Now? demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening. Unlike  the “softy? humiliated bent Jew, the Sabra is tough; he is “a head taller than  his father”. Like a German soldier he is:  “often blond ” often blue eyed ?  He is cocky, robustly built.” But then unlike a German soldier he likes to  walk in open (biblical) sandals in a “free swinging, lazy slouch ?”. Basically  he is kind of a compromise between an SS commander and a biblical Moses. A  kind of Nazi in jeans, a puss in boots.  As interesting as this caricature is,  there is nothing authentic about this outrageous construction. As an Israeli  male secular Jew between the 1940s and 1980s one was destined to participate  willingly in a process that would rob one of any sense of authenticity.

As funny as it may sound, the birth of the settler Jew, a radical messianic  militant who plans to confiscate the entire “land of biblical Israel”, is an  attempt to bring the Sabra back home. It is an effort to resolve the impossible  schizophrenic Sabra identity. Like the Sabra, the settler walks in open  sandals in the winter; like the Sabra he is slightly athletic and robustly built  (until the age of twenty-two, when he grows a gigantic belly that stands as a  symbol for good Jewish health). But then, unlike the Sabra, he has a skullcap on  his head, his Tzizit falls out of his trousers and patches of hair cover his  young face. He is far from being handsome. As a matter of fact he is pretty  ugly. Needless to say, he fails to resemble a Wehrmacht soldier. He looks very  much like a diaspora Jew strapped to an Uzi automatic rifle. He looks like a  Jew because he is one and he is proud to be one.  

May I mention, within the same breath, the astonishing fact that the biggest  crimes against the Palestinian indigenous population were committed by  so-called left Sabras, by young IDF officers, soldiers such as Rabin and Sharon (for  those who don’t know, Sharon’s political origins are within the Israeli left;  for years he himself was an icon of young Israeli male beauty). We may now be  able to explain the Israeli left’s hypocritical and merciless conduct. People  who are engaged in the process of identification arrive eventually at a  complete detachment from any possible authentic understanding. They cannot behave  in an empathic manner because they cannot put themselves in the place of the  other; they simply lack any sense of “self-ness”. If we consider Kant’s  “categorical imperative” which implies that one should “always act in such a way  that the maxim of one’s action can be willed as a universal law”, we should  agree that it is not applied in the case of the Sabra. He simply lacks a lucid  notion of self. If one is totally identified with a remote collective icon, then  the “maxim of one’s action? is, in practice, the action of a collectively  identified subject. Thus, in the eyes of the Sabra his action is a form of  “universal law”. In other words, the Sabra has no ethical sense, not to mention  realisation of universalism. This revelation might explain the fact that within  the Israeli political world, it was Menachem Begin, the diaspora Jew, who  initiated the peace process with the Arab world. It may also be the reason that it  is Shimon Peres, the other diaspora Jew, who is still engaged in a process he  mistakenly regards as a peace process.

The case of radical feminists is similar. The astonishing labelling of the  entire male gender as rapists can only be understood in terms of a severely  troubled ethical sense. More than often we come across a groundless story of a man  who is blamed for sexual harassment. I am not trying to argue that sexual  harassment doesn’t exist; I am simply trying to illuminate the conditions that  make such ungrounded accusations possible. I am trying to expose the structure  of collective victimisation. I would argue that collective victimisation  results from a surrender to the process of identification, a surrender which leads  to an absence of empathic and moral sense.

Marginal politics that occasionally presents itself as the expression of the  oppressed margin is, in fact, engaged in the robbery of the marginal subject’s  notion of the self. Marginal politics is in practice specialising in robbing  its followers of their most basic human qualities. Zionism, being a radical  form of marginal politics, should be seen as an anti-humanistic movement. This  may explain the Zionist conduct: past, present and future.

But then, we cannot really blame the marginal subject. The Sabra murderer  isn’t really an authentic subject; it isn’t him who kills, it is the “identity”,  the caricatured identity, he is destined to bring to life. The separatist  lesbian who wants men out of the world doesn’t really express her own wish; that  separatist isn’t really her, but rather a collective singular identity she  adopts, an identity that exists merely in a platonic ideological realm.  

Conclusion

We should leave the old binary left/right behind us. What matters is not  whether one is in the right camp, how good one is at producing lefty arguments,  nor the content of one’s political outlook. What matters is one’s strategy of  justification. Marginal politics is wrong whether it appears on the right or on  the left. Marginal politics is a call against humanity. It is a call against  the multiplicity of the human landscape. It is a rejection of the idea of  being amongst others. It is about erecting walls and building ghettos, whether  those ghettos are made of bricks and mortar, concrete or simply cultural  boundaries.  

 
 

Jewish opposition to the partition of Palestine

Jewish opposition to partition

(excerpts from Henry Cattan, The Palestine Question, pp. 34-5)

The partition of Palestine was opposed not only by the Palestinian Arabs and by the Arab States, but also by the indigenous Orthodox Jews of Palestine who lived on good terms with their Arab neighbors. In fact, the concept of a Jewish national home was foreign to the indigenous religious Jews in Palestine. Ronald Storrs, the first British Governor of Jerusalem, wrote: ‘The religious Jews of Jerusalem and Hebron and the Sephardim were strongly opposed to political Zionism

Opposition also came from leading Jewish statesmen. Notable among the opponents of partition were Sir Herbert Samuel, the first British High Commissioner in Palestine and J.L. Magnes, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Both men, as we have seen in discussing the Balfour Declaration, had proclaimed their opposition to its leading to a Jewish State. In a speech at the House of Lords on 23 April 1947, Sir Herbert Samuel, then Viscount Samuel, said: ‘I do not support partition, because knowing the country as I do, it seems to be geographically impossible. It would create as many problems as it would solve . In his testimony before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine, J.L. Magnes declared:

The Arabs have great natural rights in Palestine. They have been here for centuries. The graves of their fathers are here. There are remains of Arab culture at every turn. The Mosque of Aksa is the third Holy Mosque in Islam . . .’   

In a memorandum to UNSCOP dated 23 July 1947, J.L. Magnes formulated the case against partition in the following terms:

We have been asked for a statement as to why we are against th partition of Palestine … We believe genuine segregation to be impossible. No matter where you draw the boundaries of the Jewish state, there will always be a very large Arab minority … It is impossible to draw satisfactory economic boundaries … The larger the Jewish state, the more impossible becomes the economic existence of the Arab state …

Satisfactory ‘national boundaries’, if the object is to promote peace, cannot be drawn. Whenever you draw these boundaries, you create irredentas on either side of the border. Iffedentas almost invariably lead to war … There are those who say that we should accept partition now, because ‘borders are not eternal’ … In other words, the partitioned Jewish Palestine would be a bridge-head for the further conquest of the whole of the country.

Many Jews are in favour of partition . . . But there are many Jews, moderates and extremists, religious and not religious, who are opposed to partition. Almost all the Arabs are opposed to partition … Imposing partition would therefore be a hazardous undertaking.

Under all these circumstances, we find it strange that anyone should claim for partition that it, at least, gives finality. To us it seems to be but the beginning of real warfare … perhaps between Jew  and Jew, and warfare between Jew and Arab."

For an Indivisible and Free Palestine

For an Indivisible and Free Palestine

Elias Davidsson, Sept. 1988

Although I don’t live in Palestine since my young age, I cannot hide my passion for this tormented and bleeding country. Born in 1941 in Palestine to Jewish immigrants, who were exiled from Nazi Germany, I owe my existence to Palestine, a land which provided a refuge for my parents, a land where I, a four year old boy, was almost killed by an angry Arab crowd who attacked the bus we were travelling in, and was saved by a gentle old Arab fellah (farmer). I think of Palestine and my heart is bleeding over its wounds.

I spent my first years in Baq’a, a suburb of Jerusalem, where Jews and Arabs lived side by side in peace. My family had good relations with Arab Palestinian families in the neighborhood. My mother, I am proud to say, learned the language of the country, Arabic. As for me, I will never erase from my memory and from my flesh the images, sounds, smells and sensations which impregnated me at this tender age. I carry these so to speak in my veins and find in these a source of inspiration and of vital energy.

The destiny of my life brought me far away from Palestine. But in spite of the distance, my interest for my native country and the concerns for its well-being, have not dissipated.

Like most "Israeli" children, I was submitted in my youth to a systematic Zionist indoctrination. I spent my teens in France, where I joined a Zionist (socialist) youth movement, Hashomer Hatza’ir. I liked the activities in this movement, its dynamism, the emphasis on human socialism, on justice and on civil courage. But we also were introduced to the principles of Zionism. The tutors, special envoys from Israel whose duty was to make of us good Zionists , emphasized that we were special people, that we were Jews, and that we had no place elsewhere under the sun, except in Palestine (called Israel by these envoys). One of the main reasons advanced was that all Gentiles, from China to Peru, from Finland to the Cameroon, were Jew-haters, knowingly or unknowingly. Accordingly it was naive to wage a struggle against racism and anti-Jewish discrimination. Anti-Jewish feelings were ascribed as basic and irrational constituents of Gentile personality, transmitted quasi by inheritance from father to son. Having elevated this obscene myth to the status of a natural law, we were told that only a Jewish national state could safeguard the personal security of "Jews".

I, for my part, objected to this argumentation. I could not accept such prejudices against mankind. My personal philosophy was that every person was to be trusted unless he proved the contrary. My personal experience, especially relations with Gentiles, contradicted entirely these prejudices.

At that time I did not know yet about the practical implications of Zionism, as they were felt by the Palestinian people. I had not the slightest idea about the racial discrimination practised by so-called socialist kibbutzim, about the organic and natural collusion between Zionism and Imperialism, about the massacres perpetrated against the Palestinian population to provoke its flight in 1948, about the racialist legislation of the Zionist state.

 

It only at a much later date, and only very gradually, that I realised how little I knew about my country and about the fate of the people who had lived there, the Arab Palestinian people. The first publications that opened my eyes to the criminal side of Zionism were written in Hebrew by courageous Israeli citizens. At that time, I did not venture in reading publications written by Arab Palestinians, because Zionist prejudice had still an impact on me.

I needed many and long years to get rid of the poisonous prejudices that the Zionist ideology inoculated into me. After I read the writings by Dr. Uri Davis and by martyrs Said Hammami and Naim Khader, I finally decided to take a decisive step in supporting the Palestinian cause. It was because I recognized in their writings my basic philosophical attitudes as a humanist and a democrat, as a supporter of human rights and as an staunch opponent of racism and prejudice. Through their writings I began to understand the aims of the Palestinian revolution, the realism, political maturity and generosity of its leaders, which offer to the Jewish immigrants inhabiting the State of Israel reconciliation instead of revenge and propose to them a common destiny in Palestine, within a framework worked out amiably.

 


They are too numerous, the religious fanatics in the Middle-East, who wish to impose with violence ultra-reactionary regimes on the Middle-Eastern populations. The State of Israel, The Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia are the most prominent examples of such regimes. These states place rabbinical or Shari’a law above the law of modern civilization. Such regimes cannot be truthfully described as democracies. The inhabitants of the State of Israel had never hitherto been obliged to chose between democracy or theocracy. By their struggle for national and democratic rights, the Palestinian people under occupation are now helping the inhabitants of the State of Israel who consider themselves democrats, to face reality and recognize the anachronism of their racialist regime.

The leadership of the Palestinian Revolution is now directing its efforts to the establishment of a Palestinian State alongside Israel. This solution would imply de facto recognition of the Jewish state. But a Jewish state in the Middle-East, surrounded by Arab cultures, can only maintain its integrity as a Jewish state if it surrounds itself by high physical and psychological barriers. A Jewish state could not maintain its cultural or racial "purity" if permanent peace prevails, peace of open frontiers, cultural cross-fertilization and intermarriage. Already the majority of the Israeli public is Arabic in culture. Under conditions of democracy and secularism and with the development of a modern secular society, assimilation is very likely to occur. But exactly this perspective is considered with horror by Zionist and Jewish religious leaders, who view intermarriage as a calamity to the Jewish people, comparable only in gravity to the Holocaust. And because they view assimilation of Jews as an existential threat to the ‘Jewish people’, it is logical that they attempt to counter this ‘threat’ by all the means available, including mental and physical terrorism.

The traditional disdain of Zionist leaders towards Middle-Eastern cultures has its roots in the colonial-racist attitudes of Europeans towards ‘non-Whites’. Israel’s participation in European symposia and festivals, systematic provocation of neighboring countries, extreme repression of Palestinian nationalism and the seemingly pathological fright of the Zionist regime to engage in a dialogue with the PLO, are not signs of an irrational behaviour. They are a clear signal to neighboring countries and to the Arab nation, that Israel is not wishing to integrate as a full part member in the Middle-East. Already Vladimir Jabotinsky, the ideological mentor of Israeli terrorists Shamir and Begin, perceived in the 1920s the need for the Zionist settlers to build an "Iron Wall" between themselves and the native Palestinian population.

All those, including supporters of Palestinian rights, who insist on the need of guaranteeing the security of the State of Israel must ask themselves, in the light of the above remarks, whether the State of Israel, based on Zionist law and practice , could at all turn into a peaceful and law-abiding state, whether such a state could at all integrate into the Middle-East.

For my part, I consider the struggle for the emancipation of the Hebrew-speaking community of Palestine (Israelis) as the key to a progressive solution in the Palestine issue. And it is the Palestinian National Movement, represented by the PLO, which holds this key. The PLO has already initiated certain timid measures by including in its ranks Hebrew-speaking (Israeli) militants. Such measures are important but too isolated as to be perceived as policy. It must be borne in mind that the Palestinian National Council sees itself as representing mainly (only ?) those Palestinians who identify themselves as Arabs. The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews, or as I prefer to call them Hebrew-speaking Palestinians, don’t see themselves as potential partners in the Palestinian national movement, partly because they have never been included in it nor invited to participate in it as equal members. Here I am speaking mainly of those progressive Israelis who might wish to join ranks, if they were offered a honorable option to do so.

The Palestinian Revolution holds today, in the face of the political erosion of Zionism, the key to a political solution of the Palestine question. It is imperative that the movement use its credibility and authority to build a future of peace and well-being for all those who love their native country, Palestine. By inviting the totality of the Palestinian population, regardless of religion, residence or ethnical affiliation, to participate in the democratic Palestinian revolution and in the formulation of its aims and its means of struggle, the Palestinian national movement would enable a common struggle for the dismantlement of the Zionist state and its replacement by a democratic and unified Palestinian state for all its inhabitants. Today this vision seems remoter than ever. But perceptions change fast and the creation of a common Israel-Palestinian framework to combat the Zionist structure might be received as a relief by many Israelis.

 

This article was published in Arabic by
Filastin al-Thawra, official organ of the PLO

 

 

Anti-Zionism (Encyclop. of Zionism and Israel)

Anti-Zionism

Entry in the Encyclopaedia of Zionism and Israel (ed. Patai), excerpts

(…)
Anti-Zionism is both an inner Jewish phenomenon and a non-Jewish trend directed against the Zionist idea in its various manifestations or against Zionism as a political movement, or both. In general it can be stated that anti-Zionism in the Jewish camp was directed primarily against the Zionist idea, whereas non-Jewish anti-Zionism was aimed mainly at the political movement and its achievements.

 

The anti-Zionism of Orthodox and Reform Jews rejected any definition of Jewry in nonreligious terms. The Orthodox anti-Zionists criticized Zionism for adopting secular policies in order to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine instead of relying on Divine Providence. The Reform movement considered Zionism an obstacle to the universal mission of Judaism.

 

Other anti-Zionist trends within Judaism were opposed either to the concept of a Jewish nation [or people], which would separate the Jews from the social and cultural milieus in which they live and unite them all over the world, or to political aspirations that would free (sic) Jews from their minority status and establish a Jewish State.

 

The emancipatory movement, which feared that Zionism might prejudice the civil rights recently acquired by the Jews, opposed it as did the universalists, who denounced all forms of so-called religious, national, or racial segregation. Many anti-Zionists considered Zionism a mere Jewish counterpart of anti-Semitism that was bound to wither away as mankind continued its progress. Some Jewish anti-Zionists trends accepted nationalism but rejected the idea of Jewish territorial concentration, while others objected to the idea of concentration in Palestine.

 

(…)
Common to many versions of anti-Zionism (the religious Orthodox excluded) was the rejection of the Zionist interpretation of Jewish history as a national history centred in Palestine, either in actuality or at least in the dreams and aspirations of the Jewish people.

 

The social gamut of opposition to Zionism was as wide as the intellectual one. In the beginning, all major Jewish organizations either opposed it or, at best, took a non-Zionist position. The Jewish communities and the Jewish press sympathized with Zionism only to a very limited extent. Individual Jews in high positions in politics and finance were reserved and often hostile to Zionism. Jewish labor was influenced by general socialism and communism. Intellectuals and the youth were attracted by universal culture and only rarely found universal values in Zionism.

 

Advertisement by Orthodox Jews, Neturei Karta

Why do you violate G’d’s Order? It will not succeed

Advertisement by Neturei Karta (1) in New York Times, May 18, 1993

There is much discussion in the media about peace and peace conferences. The Torah cannot be ignored because G’d deals with us in the ways of the Torah which was given to us by Him on Mount Sinai.

 

What does the Torah say?

According to the Torah, before the Almighty gave us the Holy land 3264 years ago, He made these conditions. If we will abide by the Torah, it is ours, if not, we will be expelled. Alas, we sinned and were expelled, even though at that time we were very strong and as the prophet Jeremiah said ‘All the kings and people of the world did not believe that any invader would be able to come through the gates of Jerusalem’ (Lamentations 4:12)…Because of our sins we were expelled from our land. Only through complete repentance will the Almighty alone without any human effort or intervention, redeem us from exile. At that time there will be universal peace. This will be after the coming of the prophet Eliyahu and the true Moschiach ‘not by might and not by power, only by My spirit (Zecharie Chapter 4). The Zionists rejected the Jewish belief and claimed that the cure for the Jewish problem is to have a strong state with a strong army. This exchange of the sacred belief for nationalism is destroying the holy essence of the Jewish people and has brought constant war and bloodshed. The result is their state is the most dangerous place.

 

Betrayal of the Jews

The Zionists have sacrificed Jewish lives in their ongoing conflicts. To achieve their goal of statehood the Zionists have always deliberately provoked anti-Semitism. During the Second World War the Zionists were against giving money to rescue Jews. The Zionist leader Yitzhak Greenbaum said in a speech in Tel Aviv on Feb. 18, 1943 that ‘One should resist this wave to push Zionist activities to secondary importance’. He also said ‘One cow in Palestine is more important than all the European Jews’. Their interest was not to save Jews, on the contrary, more spilling of Jewish blood would strengthen their demand of the nations for the creation of their state. Their motto was Rak B’Dam (only by blood will we get the land).

 

Rabbis warned of danger

All of the greatest rabbinical sages warned of the dangers Zionism would bring. The euphoria over Zionism and all its paraphernalia, i.e. army, embassies, flag, etc. is, according to the Torah, ‘the work of Satan’ to test the faith. But the true faith of Jews has not changed and ‘peace talks’, past or present, cannot change it. The belief is that not only can there be no real peace as long as the Zionist state exists but worse than this, the Zionist state is the biggest catastrophe for the Jewish people!

 

‘No peace, G’d said, for the evil doers’ (Jesaiah 48 and 57)

 

The Three Oaths

We have been adjured by the Almighty ‘not to use human force to bring about the establishment of a state, not to rebel against the nations, to remain loyal citizens, not to leave exile ahead of time. Even if the land would be given to us by all nations, we are not allowed to accept it. To violate the oaths would result in your flesh be made prey as the deer and the antelope in the forest (Talmud Tractate Ksubos III). Jews lived in Palestine in peace and harmony with the Palestinians until the Zionists came. The true Jews are not just against the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza with the daily oppression and killing, but are also opposed to the occupation of the entire land of Palestine. According to the Torah, all Palestine should be returned to the Palestinians and other occupied territories should also be returned to their rightful owners.

 

* According to the Torah, Jews are not allowed to shed blood, harm, humiliate or dominate another people

 

* Let the world know that being a Jew means being devoted to the Torah and rejection of the Zionist heresy. In the Zionist state Jews suffer religious persecution and intolerance and even ancestral graves are destroyed and desecrated in line with the Zionist plan to destroy the Jewish religion. Even if the Zionists advocate religious observance it would still be an atheist state.

 

* Zionist politicians and their fellow travellers do not speak for the Jewish people, the name Israel has been stolen by them. Indeed, the Zionist conspiracy against Jewish tradition and law makes Zionism and all its activities and entities the greatest enemy of the Jewish people.

 

 

Signed:
American Neturei Karta – Friends of Jerusalem
Rabbi E. Schwartz – P.O. Box 1030, New York, NY10009

 

 

(1) Note by Elias Davidsson:
Neturei Karta is a community of Orthodox Jews who reject Zionism and refuse to recognize the Zionist state. Members of this community are found mainly in Jerusalem, Antwerp, London and New York.