In this video I expose the obvious contradictions intrinsic to Jewish progressive thoughts as explored by Paul Jay and Max Blumenthal. We are dealing here with nothing short of controlled opposition.
This is my first attempt to produce such a video. I am obviously technically limited on that front. But I promise to improve quickly.
A Loyalist from Northern Ireland becomes Jewish, he plans to move to Israel and settle and start a new life. He exclaims that Palestine was a “political invention” and tells Palestinians who have lived there their whole life “you have had a nice holiday, time to go home”. This is an extremely valid argument as this man has never set foot on the Land of Israel or Palestine. This Snippet was taken from the BBC documentary called Shalom Belfast.
Gilad Atzmon comments:
We are not dealing here with Jewish race or gene. Taking on the Jewish religion in this case introduces a set of supremacist non ethical beliefs. This is what Jewishness is all about.
The campaign against me and my work fell apart a while ago. I assume that my Jewish detractors came to realise that I enjoy their attention and use it to affirm my criticism of their tribal and exclusivist identity politics.
But yesterday I had a nostalgic moment reading Max Blumenthal dissing me publicly. When Blumenthal was asked about Israeli critics he ended up talking about the vile ‘anti Semites’, ‘neo Fascists’ and the ‘racists’ in the movements. Interestingly enough, he failed to remember any name but one – Gilad Atzmon.
Atzmon is a “pure anti Semite who believes that all of the problems of Israel flow not from colonialism but from Judaism.” said Blumenthal.
Apparently, not buying into the clumsy ‘colonial paradigm’ makes me into a ‘neo Fascist’, ‘anti Semite’ and a ‘racist’.
It is obviously clear that Blumenthal didn’t read a single word by me. I naively believe that if someone insists to criticise my work, he or she better spend some time to read me first. It is an established fact that Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah also called for my disavowal while admitting to Prof. Norton Mezvinsky that he has never read a single word by me. Tragically enough, the fear of intellectual exchange and open discourse is endemic within the Jewish progressive ghetto but also within some quarters of the solidarity movement.
However, those who are even mildly familiar with my thoughts know that Blumenthal reacts out of hysteria rather than knowledge. My scholarship is not concerned with Judaism (the religion) nor am I referring to Jews (the people). I am critical of Jewish Identity politics and Jewish ideology. I elaborate on Jewish-ness and Jewish culture as opposed to Judaism. Race, genetics or biology have never been part of my study. If anything, I am critical largely of Jewish secular politics and culture rather than the Jewish religion.
I am indeed critical of the ‘colonial paradigm’ which Blumenthal adheres to. Colonialism is defined traditionally as a material exchange between a settler state and a mother state. Israel is clearly a settler state, however, it is far from being clear what is its ‘mother state’. Is it the USA, Britain or actually the Jewish people? In fact I argue adamantly that the colonial paradigm is there to divert the attention from the embarrassing fact that the Jewish State being racially driven, nationalist and expansionist is actually closer in its political nature to Nazi Germany rather than to South Africa. I guess that Max Blumenthal, who operates within Jews-only political cells doesn’t like this equation. Yet, such an argument doesn’t make me into a neo Fascist or an anti-Semite. If anything, it secures my status as an out-spoken observant mind.
Unlike Blumenthal and his comrades, I also believe that if Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, we are more than entitled to verify what its Jewishness stands for. Does this make me into a racist? I guess that the huge lists of scholars and humanists who decided to endorse my work didn’t think so.
But I also believe that since Max Blumenthal identifies politically as a secular Jew who operates within Jews-only political cells (and even signs on ‘Jewish letters’, as he himself admits), is actually a legitimate case study of Jewish tribal political operation.
Sooner or later Blumenthal and his comrades will have to make an effort and tell us what their ‘Jewishness’ stands for. Is it a love of chicken soup they share, or is it something more profound?
Being an expert on the matter and an avid reader of Jewish history, I know pretty well why Blumenthal is tormented by my work. Jewish hegemony within radical movements always backfired. My work indeed exposes an intrinsic dishonest element within the Jewish Left in general and Jewish anti Zionism in particular. I guess that the vastly growing popularity of the descriptive abbreviation AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists), only suggests that Blumenthal & Co have a good reason to panic. In The Wandering Who I give this very panic a name – Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre – TSD).
I would like to take this opportunity and advise Blumenthal that killing the messenger is not going to rescue his cause: it would only attribute him the characteristics of just another Judas and he has himself to blame for it.
Israeli apologists would like us to believe that Zionism, the political ideology guiding Israeli policies and practices since its establishment of Israel in Palestine in 1948, is God’s chosen national movement for the re-establishment and maintenance of a “Jewish homeland” in “biblical lands”. Moreover, they want us to accept that Zionism is Judaism and that present-day Israel is the Jewish “promised land”. As a religion, Judaism considers the return of Jews to Palestine before the coming of the Messiah a sacrilege.
God has never been involved in real estate transactions; neither has the Bible ever been considered a source of International Law governing relations between modern states nor a reliable source of human history or archeology. If the world were to be reestablished according to the Bible, the United States, Europe and most modern states would not exist. Furthermore, there are no eyewitness accounts or scientific evidence linking current Israeli Jews to the ancient Hebrews. Some historians and archeologists even dispute that Jews ever had a significant presence in the area.
A Brief Analysis
Israel was established by a European racist and settler colonial ideology through the use of carefully and deliberately fabricated myths. Unlike classical settler colonialism, Zionism and Zionists do not maintain an umbilical cord to a mother European country nor plans to exploit local natives and resources. Zionism and Zionists argue for close cooperation with disposable surrogate superpower(s), complete control of resources, and the expulsion of the indigenous population, the Palestinians. Zionism and Zionists claim that Palestine was desolate and the Palestinians never existed. The clear motive behind the myths is to justify the establishment of Israel in Palestine as a Jewish state and the gathering of Jews therein. Myths that are often repeated give way to delusional mindsets. Zionism and Zionists concluded that Palestine will become a home for the Jewish state regardless of the wishes of the Palestinians and in order to achieve this objective, the inhabitants will be ethnically cleansed. There are two main lies that the Zionists regurgitate: Palestine was desolate and there is no such a thing as Palestinians.
Was Palestine desolate? Did the Palestinians exist in history?
Zionism, as practiced by Israel since 1948, is a racist ideology manifested in several ways. It is an archaic political ideology that holds and promotes Jewish racial purity and divine entitlement to Palestine. It is a military occupation enabling and supporting colonialist settlers. It practices ethnic cleansing through the confiscation of land and the expulsion of indigenous Palestinians. It exercises political domination and exploitation through the denial of basic human rights under the guise of divine entitlement and the spread of Western values. In short, Zionism in Israel today practices political, economic, cultural domination and persecution through control, systematic destruction, ethnic cleansing and genocide against the indigenous presence and heritage.
In Israel, the historical record shows that:
1. Zionism is a segregationist movement founded on the premise that all Jews, regardless of cultural differences and religious observance, are one nation, and cannot be secure except in a state of their own, because the non-Jewish world is inherently hostile to Jews. Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, argued that the key to establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine was to harness European anti-Semitism for the realization of the Jewish State by encouraging European governments to rid their countries of Jews. “Herzl regarded Zionism’s triumph as inevitable, not only because life in Europe was ever more untenable for Jews, but also because it was in Europe’s interests to [get] rid [of] the Jews and [be] relieved of anti-Semitism: The European political establishment would eventually be persuaded to promote Zionism. Herzl recognized that anti-Semitism would be HARNESSED to his own–Zionist-purposes.”(1) Many years later in Rome, Ariel Sharon as prime minister of Israel, stated: “If Israel is weakened … the Jews worldwide will not be able to live the lives they live today … We are witness to a great wave of anti-Semitism, and apart from the usual anti-Semitism against Jews, there is today the added hate of the collective Jew, which is Israel… The best solution to anti-Semitism is immigration to Israel. It is the only place on Earth where Jews can live as Jews.”(2)
2. Zionism practices a racist colonial-settler ideology which claims that historical Palestine was desolate and uninhabited and that the Palestinian people never existed. Before Palestine had been selected by the Zionists to be the site of their new state, Theodor Herzl himself acknowledged in his 1896 book, “The Jewish State”, that both Palestine and Argentina were populated, saying that “[i]f the Powers show themselves willing to grant the Jewish people sovereignty over a neutral territory, the Society [of Jews] will negotiate for the land to be taken. Two regions are possibilities: Palestine and Argentina. Noteworthy experiments in colonization have been made in both places, although they have been based on the mistaken principle of a gradual infiltration of Jews. Infiltration is always bound to end badly. For there invariably comes a moment when the government, under pressure of the native population–which feels itself threatened–bars any further influx of Jews. Consequently, emigration will be pointless unless it is based upon our guaranteed sovereignty.”
Leo Motzkin, another Zionist leader, wrote of his disappointment upon visiting Palestine and, finding the country densely inhabited and its fertile land utilized by its Arab natives, wrote: “One has to admit that the density of population does not exactly put the visitor to Palestine in a joyful mood. In large stretches of land, one constantly comes across big Arab villages, and it is a well-established fact that the most fertile regions of our land are occupied by Arabs.”
The fact that Palestine was inhabited and fertile did not deter the Zionists from perpetuating the big lie that it was desolate and uninhabited. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Zionists, as an integral part of their scheme to colonize Palestine, began using the slogan ‘A land without a people for a people without a land’ referring to Palestine.
The British Zionist Israel Zangwill, who visited Palestine in 1897, became so obsessed with this slogan that he consequently authored several versions of it to the point where it is often attributed to him. In using this slogan, the Zionists were deliberately trying to convince themselves and the world that Palestine was desolate and uninhabited and thus it was permissible to colonize it. This myth continued to be repeated to deceive the world, such that in 1969 Prime Minister Golda Meir stated in public that “There was no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”
In the few instances where Zionists conceded the existence of the indigenous population, they were labeled as “savages”, “barbarians” or “terrorists”. Zangwill wrote: “…the people living in Palestine were not a people with a history, culture, and legitimate claim to national self-determination of their own; to the extent than any of this existed, it was regarded as inferior in value to the history, culture, and claim of the Jewish people. Put differently, Palestine contained ‘people’, but not a people’. There were people who (possibly) had their homeland there, but they lacked a national identity and thus had no claim to national self-determination, let alone a state.”
The denial of the very existence of the Palestinian people and the process employed to demonize them enables Israel to this day to justify its brutal practices against them. Even when one finds some ‘humane’ Zionists who advocate some rights for the Palestinians, their advocacy never amounts to granting Palestinians the same rights enjoyed by Jews. This fact was not missed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, who ridiculed ‘humane’ Zionists when he said; “You cannot have humane Zionism, it is a contradiction in terms.”
According to Israel’s Basic Law, Jews, regardless of their country of origin or ethnicity, can settle in Israel on land that was confiscated by force after the expulsion of the majority of the indigenous Palestinians. In an essay titled “Judea and Galilee,” Ben Gurion describes the Zionist settlers in Palestine as “conquering, conquering a land. We were a company of conquistadors.”
Such ideological discourse prompted the late professor Israel Shahak to conclude: “It is my considered opinion that the State of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term: In this state people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried out today mainly in co-operation with the institutions of the Zionist movement.”(11)
3. Zionism distinguishes between Jews and Palestinians on various levels and its laws and practices are designed to keep them apart. All Jews in the world are considered ‘nationals’ of Israel, whereas a mere portion of Palestinians are considered citizens. Through the enactment of several laws, including but not limited to the Absentee Property Law 1950, the Land Acquisition Law 1953, and the Basic Law: Israel Lands 1960, Israel has confiscated lands belonging to those Palestinians who were uprooted and expelled from their properties and later declared as absentees and prevented by Israel from returning to it and from Palestinians who remained under its control. Israel established various schemes to keep, manage, and utilize Palestinian confiscated land for the benefit of Jews only.
According to the Israel Land Administration Authority (ILA), the Israeli government agency responsible for managing this land, Israel owns approximately 93% of the total land “… that is, either property of the state, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) or the development Authority.”(12) The land is comprised of 4,820,500 acres. Ownership of land according to ILA means leasing rights for 49-98 years. Palestinians, therefore, are treated merely as tillers and tenants on Jewish land and it is only a matter of time before they are completely expelled as were their predecessors. After expelling the majority of the Palestinians from Palestine in 1948-49, Israel concentrated on cleansing the Galilee of its indigenous people.(13)
4. Zionism is, in its campaign to segregate the Jews and to establish an exclusive Jewish state, derived from the narrow tribal understanding of Judaism that the cosmos is divided into five parts: plants, vegetables, animals, human beings and Jews – Jews being the noblest and the closest to God. This fanatic religious view is clearly reflected by Rabbi Yosef Ovadia, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, who advocates the annihilation of the Palestinians on the basis that they are not Jews. “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”(14) Unfortunately, the views of the Chief Rabbi on non-Jews are not only shared by some Jews, but it is becoming a central belief of American Christian-Zionists. “Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.”(15)
5. In addition to annihilating the Palestinians, the Zionist advocacy regarding the indigenous population is centered on four options:
a. A systematic attempt at purchasing the land of Palestine from the Palestinians and colonizing it through Jewish immigration for the benefit of Jews only. The Israeli historian Benny Morris described this thinking when he said: “The early Zionists had been aware of the Arab presence in the country–there were just under half a million around 1882, the year the first Zionists came ashore in Jaffa. And there were, at the time, some twenty-five thousand Jews in the country.”(16) Writing in 1882 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda wrote: “The thing we must do now is to become as strong as we can, to conquer the country, covertly, bit by bit . . . buy, buy, buy [the land from the Arabs].”(17) Writing decades before the holocaust in Europe, Ben-Yehuda and many other Zionist leaders believed that the country’s demographics would be changed through Jewish immigration which would ultimately alter its future to favor the Zionist scheme to colonize Palestine. Early Zionist leaders were not fully convinced that the Palestinians would sell their land and cooperate in their own colonization. Accurately predicting the swift and predictable reaction of the Palestinian Arabs to the Zionist colonial scheme through immigration, Herzl warned in 1896 that their objection and resistance could bring Jewish immigration to an end. Vladimir Jabotinsky, writing in 1923, argued that the consent of and agreements with Palestinian Arabs to hand over their country to the Zionists was not necessary: “There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs. Not now, nor in the prospective future. I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists. I do not believe that they will be hurt. Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting ‘Palestine’ from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority.” (18) He continued: “We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. So that all those who regard such an agreement as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say ‘non’ and withdraw from Zionism. Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population.”(19)
b. “[B]eing crushed like grasshoppers,” as Israel’s former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir wrote in Hehazit: “We have before us the command of the Torah, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: ‘Ye shall blot them out to the last man’.”(20) This genocidal view has been shared by many in Israel including several Prime Ministers such as Begin, Sharon, and Netanyahu.
c. There is no room for non-Jews in the Jewish state. Rehavam Zeevi, then Israel‘s Minister of Tourism, described Palestinians as living “illegally” in Israel. He is quoted as saying: “We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us.” In 1983, Raphael Eitan, then Israel’s military chief of staff, speaking of plans to increase Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, said: “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.” This racist ideological view in Israeli governing Zionist circles is widespread and determines Israel’s policies and practices toward the Palestinians.
Israel’s bases for apartness and discrimination
Israel is a state of Jews, by Jews, and for Jews. Its practices against non-Jews are racially motivated and designed to keep citizens apart, the meaning of ‘apartheid’ in Afrikaans.
Israel has laws but it does not have a constitution. Specifically, it has a Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel and a Law of Return. Said Declaration was signed on May 14, 1948, by thirty-seven colonists, none born in Palestine and only some who were recent colonial settlers. It consists of two pages which clearly define Israel as a ‘Jewish state’, although to this day Israel has failed to define who is a Jew. The document stresses that sovereign authority in Israel belongs to the Jewish people only: “This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.” It repeatedly uses phrases to emphasize this point such as: “Jewish people…in its own country,” “Jewish people to rebuild its national home,” “Jewish state,” “right of the Jewish people to establish their state,” “Jewish people in the up building of its state,” and “sovereign Jewish people”
In contrast, the American Declaration of Independence does not establish the United States as a Christian state, nor as a republic for whites only; neither does it appoint Christians or whites as the builders of the state and sovereign in the republic, nor does it expropriate property for the exclusive use of and benefit to Christians or whites. Furthermore, even though the United States adopted and enforced racist laws for many decades, it eventually and democratically dismantled such practices and institutions, giving life to the words of its own Declaration:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.
Before, during and after the establishment of Israel as a ‘Jewish state by European Jewish colonial settlers, a substantial majority of the indigenous people of Palestine were not Jews. The Israeli Declaration makes a clear distinction between Jews, who are to be the sovereign authority in Israel, and non-Jewish citizens of the state. Although Palestinians who remained in their homeland in 1948 are not necessarily denied certain privileges such as citizenship or the right to vote and hold office, the laws upholding said privileges are such that they do not dilute the character of the Jewish state and the bias toward Jews. Whatever is accorded to the non-Jewish citizens of Israel is done so with the explicit recognition and understanding that Israel is a country for the “Jewish people to rebuild its national home.” No democratic processes or alternatives are possible under Israel’s existing basic laws.
Israel’s Law of Return was adopted in 1950 and states that: “Every Jew has the right to immigrate to the country.” The indigenous Palestinians who were and continue to be deliberately uprooted and expelled are denied their right to return to their homes and properties and declared as ‘present absentees’ or ‘absentees’, their properties seized by Israel and in the possession of Israel’s Custodian of Absentee Property, who puts the property at the disposal of and for the benefit of Jews only.
Prior to and after the establishment of Israel, certain Israeli private organizations (non-governmental or non-profit) with quasi-governmental authority were created and empowered to formulate policies and oversee the affairs of non-Jews. The Jewish Agency is one of the major organizations in this category. The Jewish Agency shares many jurisdictions and overlapping functions with the Israeli government. It describes itself as “the agency for Jewish interests in Eretz ['the land of’] Israel … [it’s] role is defined…as a voluntary, philanthropic organization with responsibility for immigration, settlement and development, and coordination of the unity of the Jewish people.”(21)
The Israeli Citizenship Law aims to separate Jews and Arabs on a personal level. For example, a Jew and an Arab cannot legally marry in Israel and such marriages, if performed outside the country, are not recognized under Israeli law. The Citizenship Law even restricts the ‘family reunification’ of Israeli citizens with certain foreign partners. It denies entry or residential permits to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, and citizens of enemy countries or from areas involved in long-term conflict with Israel. The law affects mainly Israeli Arab citizens and their families from the West Bank and Gaza. In January 2012 Israel’s Supreme Court upheld this law banning Palestinians who marry Israel Arabs from gaining Israeli citizenship. (22)
Section 7A (I) of the Basic Law of Israel explicitly prevents Israeli citizens – both Arab and Jewish – from using the ‘democratic’ system of Israeli elections to challenge the inferior status of Arabs under the law or the exclusive Jewish character of Israel and restricts who can run for political office. This law states that: “A candidate’s list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if among its goals or deeds, either expressed or implied, are one of the following: (1) the negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the State of the Jewish People…”. In 1989 Justice Levine of the Israeli Supreme Court, speaking for the majority, ruled that this law meant that a political party could not run candidates if it intended to achieve the cancellation of one of the fundamental tenets of the State — namely “the existence of a Jewish majority, the granting of preference to Jews in matters of immigration, and the existence of close and reciprocal relations between the State and the Jews of the Diaspora.” (23)
According to ADALLAH, Israel has more than 30 laws that discriminate against its non-Jewish citizens. (24) It is easy to lose track of the exact number of laws and regulations pertaining to the Palestinians who remain under Israel’s military occupation, siege, and control. For the purpose of this paper, I deal with seven basic Israeli laws that discriminate against non-Israeli-Jews who are supposedly citizens of Israel:
(1) Law of Return 5710-1950- Right of aliyah – a term that means to ‘go up’ as opposed to ‘go down’ implying that immigration to Israel is the right thing to do. This law states in part:
1. Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh (M) olah (F) — terms in the Hebrew language that mean someone who immigrates to Israel. This law states:
2. (a) Aliyah shall be by oleh’s visa.
(b) An oleh’s visa shall be granted to every Jew who has expressed his desire to settle in Israel, unless the Minister of Immigration is satisfied that the applicant
1) is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people; or
2) is likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.
3. (a) A Jew who has come to Israel and subsequent to his arrival has expressed his desire to settle in Israel may, while still in Israel, receive an oleh’s certificate.
(b) The restrictions specified in section 2(b) shall apply also to the grant of an oleh’s certificate, but a person shall not be regarded as endangering public health on account of an illness contracted after his arrival in Israel.
4. Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before the coming into force of this Law, and every Jew who was born in this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this Law, shall be deemed to be a person who has come to this country as an oleh under this Law.
(2) The 1949 Discharged Soldiers (Reinstatement in Employment) Law, amended in 1970 [Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 3, p. 10 (1949) and art. 1, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 24, p. 126 (1970)]:
This Law makes an additional child support payment to ‘soldiers’. The amendment defines ‘soldier’ as “a person who is serving or has served in the Defense Army of Israel, the Police or the Prison Service”, or who served in one of the Zionist military formations (Haganah, Irgun, or LEHI) prior to the establishment of Israel. Since Israeli citizens who are not Jewish or Druze do not get called to serve in qualifying organizations, and since the qualifying organizations from the past were clearly selected so as to exclude non-Jews, this law gives to Jewish citizens of Israel rights that it denies to non-Jewish and non-Druze citizens of Israel.
(3) State Education Law, arts 2, 4, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 7, p. 113 (1953),
This law states that the purpose of elementary education is to teach “the values of Jewish culture’ and “loyalty to the State and the Jewish people”. This covers even “non-Jewish educational institutions”, whose curriculum is prescribed by the Minister of Education. The state funds an Orthodox Jewish private school system but does not fund schools for other religions, according to Izhak Englard’s “Law and Religion in Israel,” in the American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 35, p. 201 (1987). This law gives Jewish citizens of Israel the right to have their children educated in conformity with their religion, and denies this right to non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
(4) The Jewish Religious Services Budgets Law of 1949 arts. 1-2, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 3, p. 66 (1949) and the Jewish Religious Services [consolidated version] Law of 1971 Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 25, p. 125 (1971).
These laws call for local religious councils to submit budgets to the Minister of Religious Affairs. The budgets are financed one-third by the central government and two-thirds by the local government. There are no such statutes for other religions. Although funds are allocated for Muslim and Christian religious services, they are at a level far less than their proportion in the population, and without a legislative mandate.
(5) Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law arts 2(2), Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 34, p. 97 (1980),
This law gives legal status to the chief rabbinate and empowers and obligates it to undertake “activities aimed at bringing the public closer to the values of [Jewish religious learning] and mitzvot [Jewish religious duties]”. No other religion has a body with similar legal status, empowerment, or obligations.
(6) Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law [art 26, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 6, p. 150 (1952),
This law authorized the minister of finance to designate classes of persons for favorable treatment when they bring goods into Israel after residence abroad. Under this authorization, the minister issued the Purchase Tax Order (Exemption) 1975, [Definition 15 (returning resident), Definition 20 (returning national), Collected Regulations] which calls for a lower import duty to be collected from a returning national than from a returning resident. The order defines ‘returning national’ to include only a person who, ‘if the person were not an Israeli national the Law of Return would apply to him.’ Thus, only a Jewish person is a returning national with the right to favorable treatment when bringing goods into Israel after residence abroad.
(7) Nationality and Entry into Israel Law 5763 (Also known as the Citizenship Law) passed in 2003 and prevents non-Jews in the Occupied Territory from entering Israel to be with their Israeli citizen spouse. As noted above, this law was upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court in January 2012.
American Support for Israel
The Constitution of the United States clearly declares that “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…” The opening phrase, “We the people”, is universal and encompasses men and women, white and black, Christians and Muslims, rich and poor, etc. Although the interpretation of the phrase was not put into practice in the early stages of the Republic, the intent and hope of some of the founding fathers was that the US would evolve and keep changing in order to achieve that more “perfect union” by providing ways and means in the Constitution to encourage and achieve such transformation. The Israeli Basic Laws do not allow for such transformation to be achieved.
The Constitution further states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This prohibition is iron-clad and prohibits the US government from establishing or aiding in the establishment of a state religion. In addition, the Constitution allows for a process to change, amend, or challenge the political system. What was permissible in the past can therefore be changed, allowing for the unthinkable fifty years ago to become a reality, such as the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The Israeli system on the other hand does not allow for such change. It would not permit a Samir Abed-Rabbo who was born in Jerusalem but who is not Jewish to become the President or the Prime Minister of Israel. In order for equality to prevail, the Israeli system must be dismantled as in the case of the institution of slavery in America or Apartheid in South Africa.
George Washington, in his Farewell Address, referred to the “passionate attachment” of one country to another, in which the national interest of the one is betrayed by a “virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption or infatuation.” Those who dare to work against such an attachment “are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.”(25) This explains why in America today the supporters of a U.S./Israel relationship hypocritically acclaim a “democratic Israel” in which Israel’s victims become the “terrorists” while Israel itself, the violator of domestic and international laws and obligations, is rewarded with billions of our tax dollars and the military tools to maintain its racist policies and practices.
American recognition of and support for Israel occurred minutes after Israel declared itself independent. Initially, this support derived from a desire to settle Jewish refugees, displaced persons and survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, but rather than settling such persons in a vast and population-starved America, the United States succumbed to the Zionist political plan of settling Jews in Palestine and to establishing Israel on its ruins. The Holocaust was one of the rationales, if not the rationale, for a shift in Jewish support for the establishment of Israel, which began to grow particularly among the American Jewish community. The motivation for the support by a significant segment of the American Christian community was based on, once again, biblical convictions: some Evangelical Christians see the establishment of a Greater Israel as a sign for the Second Coming of Christ and the harbinger of Armageddon when approximately 86,000 people will survive and the blood of those who do not consent to their version of theology (including Jews) will be condemned. This significant American support has been augmented by a general identification with Israel as being a “democratic” society as well as “shared strategic goals” in the Middle East, the latter effecting nothing but the continual aiding and maintaining of ineffectual, tyrannical, corrupt, and inept Arab regimes. Another reason for American unconditional support of Israel is the US government’s contempt for Arab national aspirations for unity, freedom, independence, accountability and transparency.
US military support for Israel has transformed its military into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world and enabled Israel to develop its own military technological base and to retain the balance of power in the Middle East. US aid has subsidized and helped Israel develop and build an advanced arms industry that is equipped with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and is ranked among the world’s top ten exporters of weapons and. Economic aid has served a similar purpose. Up to the early 1990’s, US economic aid has stimulated and subsidized the lackluster Israeli economy. Starting in the 1990’s the US and Israel entered into scientific cooperation to build Israel’s hi-tech sector. As a result, Israel is now considered a fully industrialized state with an economy on a par with Western European countries.
American aid to Israel is channeled through various means, but two are of importance to us as taxpayers. First is direct aid offered by the United States Government and, second is indirect aid emanating from American institutions, organizations, companies and individuals. Israel is an advanced, industrialized and technologically developed state. The World Bank places Israel among the top fifty richest states in terms of per capita income. It enjoys one of the world’s highest per capita incomes of $32,351 in 2011.
The U.S. Government is the largest donor to Israel. All aid provided to Israel in recent years comes in the form of grants and subsidies, that is, money that need not be paid back. The term “aid” is not accurate, however, but is used to mean the same. Since 1948 the United States has provided Israel with a largess of approximately $115 billion in direct military and economic aid. Economic aid alone from 1949-2013 totals approximately $48 billion and military aid $67,423.4 billion. (Table 1) Unlike other recipients of American aid, Israel receives its share within 30 days from the enactment of the bill. Additionally, from 2006-2008 the US provided Israel with $426 million to develop its missile systems and $420 million for the settlement of Jewish refugees. Between 2003-2010 the US made guaranteed loans for economic recovery available to Israel in the amount of $11 billion. U.S. indirect aid to Israel, for the same period, is estimated at more than $60 billion. In recent years, annual direct aid exceeds $3 billion and indirect aid totals $1.5 billion, of which $1 billion comes through tax-deductible donations and $500 million from the sale of Israeli bonds. Israel is the only government in the world that receives American tax-deductible donations. In addition, Israel obtains an estimated $1 billion annually in short- and long-term commercial loans from American banks.
Writing on March 20, 2013 in Haaretz, one of Israel’s leading newspapers, Ora Coren and Nadan Feldman estimated American aid to Israel to be $233.7 billion. Others, including this author, think that American aid to Israel is higher than the published figures taking into account many obvious factors including fluctuation in the rate of inflation and the interest paid by the US on money given to Israel. From 1949-2013 American subsidy of Israel ranged from 1.2-14.2% of Israel’s GDP. (Table 2)
In one of his last acts as president of the United States, G.W. Bush, oblivious to the looming economic crisis, proposed a military aid package for Israel in the amount of $30 billion over a 10-year period. Not to be outdone and without consideration to sequestration and record national deficits and even though Netanyahu treats the President of the United States as the head of a Banana Republic, President Obama is considering a $40 billion military aid package to Israel over ten years.
Israel’s lobby and its domestic supporters make certain that American aid to Israel keeps flowing. American domestic supporters consist of an amalgam of strange bedfellows: professional politicians who need the organizational and financial backing of Israel’s supporters; a potent Israeli lobby, AIPAC, that understands, manipulates and influences the American political system on behalf of Israel; the potent and valuable support of the established, well-organized and well-positioned American Jewish community and its unconditional commitment to maintaining an exclusive “Jewish state” in Palestine; and the ever-increasing power of the Christian evangelical right on the American political scene. The evangelical right opposes any peaceful arrangement for fear of delaying the Second Coming of Christ and ferociously believes in establishing Israel in all of Palestine and in-gathering all Jews into Israel. Each group, for its own reasons, pours in their resources to keep and increase levels of American support for Israel. Evidence exists, moreover, that the collaboration between Israel, AIPAC, the established American Jewish community and the Christian evangelical right is giving rise to anti-Islamic frenzy in the United States. Is this the beginning of a war between civilizations?
Since 1948, the US has been the main supplier of Israel’s military equipment and its main diplomatic and economic backer. Without American support, Israel would not have been able to maintain its Apartheid system, current economic advancement and military development and posture. Israel possesses approximately 500 nuclear warheads, in addition to an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. It is ranked as the 4th military power in the world. By law, the 1952 US Mutual Defense Agreement and subsequent arms agreement between the US and Israel limit the use of American supplied equipment to “legitimate self-defense”. Also, the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, section 116, states: “No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of persons, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country.”
US money is enabling Israel to maintain its occupation of Arab lands, violating the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, killing innocent civilians, destroying their property and ignoring all United Nations Resolutions that call on Israel to abide by International Law. American financial support subsidizes and enables Israel to build colonies and settle its citizens in Arab occupied lands–activities that are considered war crimes. American support maintains an archaic racist governmental structure and funds its brutal practices. Certainly, US aid to Israel is not used for legitimate self-defense or for benefiting the needy in that country or in the service of the American national interest and its democratic values.
Three examples to illustrate the brutality of Israel practices
Between September 29, 2000 and December 26, 2008, Israel, under Prime Ministers Sharon, Olmert, and Netanyahu has been waging a relentless war against the civilian population of Palestine and the so-called peace process. During this period Israel killed 4,904 (26); between September 29, 2000 and April 29, 2003, 41,000 Palestinians were injured with 2,500 made permanently disabled (27); destroyed and damaged 12,273 homes (including twelve churches and thirty mosques); uprooted 34,606 olive and fruit trees; bulldozed, razed or burned 7,585 acres of cultivated land; and confiscated 291 acres of Palestinian land for the exclusive use by Jewish colonial settlers. In addition, Israel attacked hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical staff; hindered and attacked journalists; imposed partial and total curfews on Palestinian towns and cities as a form of collective punishment; detained approximately 15,000 Palestinians without charge; disrupted, raided and closed Palestinian colleges and schools; and disrupted and damaged the economic infrastructure of Palestine causing the loss of approximately $3.2-10 billion.
On July 13, 2006 Israel, under the leadership of Olmert, Livni and Barak, attacked Lebanon, with the Israeli Air Force launching more than 12,000 attack missions. The Israeli Navy fired more than 2,500 shells and the Army more than 100,000. As a result, large parts of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon was destroyed, including more than 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and 31 other civilian targets as well as Beirut’s International Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical grids and facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, more than 350 schools, and two hospitals. Fifteen thousand homes were destroyed and more than 130,000 more damaged. On July 15, 2006 the Israeli Air Force bombed the Jiyeh power station, resulting in the largest-ever oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea. The plant’s damaged storage tanks leaked more than 4 million gallons of oil into the eastern Mediterranean. Israeli bombing also caused significant damage to the world heritage sites of Tyre and Byblos. In Tyre, a Roman tomb was damaged and a fresco near the center of the site collapsed. In Byblos, a medieval tower was damaged and Venetian-period remains near the harbor were dramatically stained by the oil slick. Damage was also caused to historic ruins at Bint Jbeil and Chamaa and to the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek.
The attack resulted in a huge financial setback for Lebanon to the amount of $5 billion or approximately 22% of its GDP. The Lebanese top police office and the Lebanon Ministry of Health, citing hospitals, death certificates, local authorities, and eyewitnesses, put the death toll at 1,123 of whom 37 were soldiers and police officers; 894 were identified as civilians, 192 were unidentified. The Lebanon Higher Relief Council estimated the numbers of Lebanese injured to be 4,409 of whom 15% were permanently disabled. The death toll does not include Lebanese killed since the end of fighting by land mines or unexploded Israeli cluster bombs.
On December 27, 2008 Israel under the same leadership waged a criminal war against the civilian population of Gaza. The total areas of 360 square kilometers and with a population of 1,500,202 were subjected to sustained ground, sea, and air Israeli military attack. No safe haven or bomb shelters existed for the civilian population of Gaza. The Israeli air force carried 2,360 air sorties dropping bunker buster bombs and white phosphorus bombs in densely populated civilian areas. Before the ground invasion began, Israeli artillery bombarded the coastal strip which is considered the most densely populated area in the world. More than 400,000 Palestinians were left without running water; 1,370 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured; and 4,000 buildings were ruined. Damage to Palestinian economic infrastructure is still being tallied.
The above three examples are just the tip of the iceberg of Israel’s brutality and criminality since its inception in 1948.
Even if the US were to move, on moral grounds, to end Israeli racial policies and curtail Israeli brutal practices, Israeli politicians have taken certain measures to resist by blackmailing the US. As early as 1956 Francis Perrin, the father of the French nuclear bomb and a major collaborator in establishing Israel’s nuclear program, wrote: “We thought the Israeli Bomb was aimed at the Americans, not to launch it at the Americans, but to say: ‘if you don’t want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us. Otherwise, we will use our nuclear bombs”‘. Simha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to Washington during the Middle Eastern war of 1973, said, “If a massive airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I will know that the U.S. is reneging on its promises and… we will draw very serious conclusions. . .” The ambassador’s veiled threat to use weapons of mass destruction to reverse Israel’s misfortunes on the battlefield did not fall on deaf ears. President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger ordered a massive airlift to aid Israel in the war. But who should we hold responsible for allowing America to be held hostage?
During the last three years, Israel has escalated its genocidal war against the civilian people of Palestine and Lebanon, their properties and economic infrastructure. Entire refugee camps, towns and sections of cities have been destroyed by American-supplied weapons systems. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the most gruesome and despicable ways; entire families have been buried under the rubble of their homes by Israeli army bulldozers that are manufactured by Caterpillar and paid for by American taxpayers; civilian residents have been shelled by Israeli missiles and tank fire; Palestinian leaders and prisoners have been assassinated; and 15,000 civilians have been detained without charge. In return, the US announced a military aid package for Israel totaling $30 billion for ten years to be followed by another more generous one in the amount of $40 billion. Are these actions conducive to achieving peaceful and structural changes in Israel/Palestine or a recipe for prolonged conflict?
The US government is making sure that Israel’s war machine is well financed by our tax money and equipped with the best of US military weapons while Americans are left to face the consequences of the piling national debt with devastating impact on the elderly and the prospects of American children going to bed hungry and lacking health care and insurance.
This passionate attachment is an affront, a burden and a liability on America. Israel’s structure, laws, policies, and practices are in violation of the American Constitution, laws and mores. The continuation of this relationship is a harbinger for more Israeli brutality and oppression. Working for the ending of racism and brutality will usher in justice, peace and tranquility for the region and the world. This is the choice that the US and the world should pursue.
Whatever the rationale for American aid to Israel, American support helps Israel maintain its racist character and practices, aggressive military posture and its violations of international law. The amount and intensity of American assistance signify an active American partnership with Israel against the aspirations of the people in the region for self-determination, justice, peace, and development. By alienating the Arab and Muslim peoples, America is exacerbating and fomenting conditions that are ripe for social upheaval–the intensity of which threatens to engulf the region and impact US interests worldwide.
Israel’s supporters in the US should not be permitted to achieve their goal of igniting a clash of civilizations emanating from the region. Continuous war will not provide a tranquil place for the Second Coming of Christ, nor for justice, hope, and peace for the people of the region. The region needs a vision that values human dignity, equality, and justice for all, instead of aircraft, bombs, and bullets.
America can no longer hide its involvement in the region under the guise of worn-out ideas. People in the region are watching and weighing America’s every move. If history is a guide, Americans should not underestimate the damage that disenfranchised and alienated individuals, groups, and countries could bring to bear.
Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo is a Palestinian-American who was born in a refugee camp in Jerusalem.Completed college and university studies in the US where he obtained a Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Miami. Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo is the author/editor of several books and articles on US Aid to Israel, Palestine, Zionism, International Law and Islam. From 1995-8 he served as the Dean of The Jerusalem School of Economics and Diplomacy.
- Take It From the Rabbi’s Mouth (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Church of Scotland Report Challenging Jews’ ‘Divine Right’ to Palestine Unchanged (alethonews.wordpress.com)
“Zionism is much more than settler colonialism; its fundamental opposition is between Jew and gentile everywhere.”
What is to be done?
Worldwide, it is Israel Apartheid Week, 2013, a worthy expression of solidarity with the Palestinians suffering under Israel’s occupation of the territories it conquered in the June, 1967 war. However, the leading lights of the anti-apartheid struggle said a decade and more ago that Israel’s regime is much worse than South African apartheid. After 46 years, “the occupation” is clearly not temporary and transient as the word implies. It is egregiously wrong to use this language, which privileges the oppressors and further oppresses the victims. This language is universal and long-standing, reflecting habits of thought and action long overdue for replacement.
The following was written as notes for a discussion, about 2000 words, divided into 5 headings: Classical Liberal Views of Zionism; Zionism; Zionism in the US; Zionism on the Left; Strategy and Tactics.
Classical Liberal Views of Zionism
The Enlightenment and emancipation ended the subjugation of west European Jews to Judaic authorities, and to gentile regulation. Jews were admitted, gradually but inevitably, to liberal citizenship. The US was created on a modern, liberal basis, with no trace of pre-modern Jewish status.
Reform Judaism modernized traditional Judaism and allowed religious worship with the social status of Christianity. Many Jews abandoned religion for secularism, after Spinoza. Jews contributed disproportionately to modern liberal culture and left and liberal politics.
Zionism was dismissed as reactionary and atavistic. American Reform Judaism in 1885 expressly disavowed it. The Marxism of the Second International period viewed nationalism as reactionary and Zionism as a tool of imperialism. The Yiddish labor movements in the Russian Empire and their immigrant offshoots also opposed Zionism.
Zionism was a marginal, declining cult until World War I, which led to the Balfour Declaration, the British conquest of Palestine, and growth of the “Jewish national home.” Even then Zionism was a minority current, until the rise of Nazism. Yet classical anti-Zionism survived all the changes of World War II.
Elmer Berger, an American Reform rabbi, led a rearguard action against Zionism in the 1940s, and remained an avowed critic of Israel until his death in 1996. Isaac Deutscher and Maxime Rodinson, raised in Marxist internationalism, remained critics of Zionism and Israel until their deaths (Deutscher in August, 1967, Rodinson in 2004)
The Israeli Socialist Organization (Matzpen) attempted to reconstruct internationalism in the 1960s. Israel Shahak cited what he called the “modern, secular Jewish tradition,” which he traced from Spinoza, against Zionism. Shahak and Matzpen put the atrocities of Israel’s occupation on the map from the Israeli side. Shahak died in 2001; some senior Matzpen alumni are still active.
Obviously, these currents have different social bases, and different politics, aside from their rejection of Zionism. Yet they constitute the basis of modernity and any critique of Zionism must derive from them. The people cited were well to the left of what the US has produced since 1967, precisely because the US left has ignored classical sources.
Zionism is the Jewish contribution to right-wing politics and ideology, nothing more or less; it opposed liberalism and embraced anti-Semitism. Zionism agreed that “the Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations… and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation.” “The only solution is in the creation of a Jewish nationality, of a people living upon its own soil, the auto- emancipation of the Jews; their return to the ranks of the nations by the acquisition of a Jewish homeland.” (Pinsker, Autoemancipation) This was the view of bourgeois Jewish society in the Pale of Settlement, not the impoverished masses, who left by the million for the US.
Zionist “Jewish nationality” was not nationalism; it rejected the actually existing Yiddish nation in eastern Europe, including the Yiddish language, in anti-Semitic terms. Modern Israeli Hebrew was not “revived” but largely invented; modern Hebrew culture is inextricably Zionist, bound up with its conquest and dispossession. The alleged unitary history and historiography of the Jewish people have, unsurprisingly, been demolished by authors like Shlomo Sand, archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, linguist Paul Wexler, and others.
Racialism in Zionism dates to the proto-Zionism of Moses Hess; the chauvinism of Heinrich Graetz contributed to German anti-Semitism; German Zionism was Jewish Romantic nationalism, embracing Jewish Blut und Boden. Herzl was steeped in the racism of European colonialism. Zionism was a fraternal twin of anti-Semitism, and cooperated with it practically, down to the Nazi regime itself.
Elmer Berger co-authored the UN resolution on Zionism as a form of racism, and wrote on that theme. Noel Ignatiev called the Zionist “Jewish people” idea Jewish race doctrine. “Jewish genetics” tries to build a biological basis for Zionism. Zionism is much more than settler colonialism; its fundamental opposition is between Jew and gentile everywhere.
Zionism was an elite project of national renewal, concerned with “the problems of Judaism, not the problems of Jewry,” in Ahad Ha’am’s lofty phrase. It always placed its designs ahead of the fate of European Jewry. Hitler might have conquered the Near East; the Judeocide happened because of Nazi Germany, not because there was no Jewish state.
“Cultural Zionism,” “binationalism” and “socialism” were simply Zionism by other means. The culture of Zionist Jewish nationality was racialism. The binationalists wanted Jewish immigration leading to demographic parity and eventually majority, when Jews were a minority. The kibbutz was a means of Jewish settlement and was inspired by 19th c. German settlement plans to counter a Polish “demographic threat” in the eastern Reich.
Today the state of Israel is waging a race war, as fanatical as Nazi Germany, against the enemies of the Jewish people. This potential was inherent in Zionism from the start, though obviously many contingencies have enabled its fruition. Israeli Hebrew nationality is the replacement for Zionist Jewish nationality, secular and open to all, as Boas Evron argued in Jewish State or Israeli Nation.
Zionism in the US
The core of Zionism in the US is organized Jewry, gathered in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Many of these groups arose to meet the needs of the Russian Jewish migration before 1914. By the 1930s, this organized Jewish culture inspired the idea of “Judaism as a religious civilization,” and in the postwar period was called a “Jewish polity.”
The polity, and the Jewish public, supported Jewish statehood in the 1940s, but were still mainly concerned with integration and acceptance in American life. In the early 1960s, as this was achieved, liberalism was seen as threatening “Jewish continuity,” just as it was feared by the bourgeoisie in the Pale who founded Zionism. This chauvinism was fatally supercharged by Israel’s dramatic victory in June 1967.
The Jewish polity is the core of US support for Israel, which includes institutions and individuals throughout US culture; the “Israel lobby” is an inadequate term; “Zionocracy,” after the 19th c. “Slaveocracy” that wielded immense power in national politics until the Civil War, better describes it.
The Zionocracy has exercised quasi-sovereign power from the 1940s, when it overturned US diplomatic and military opposition to US support for a Jewish state in Palestine. The US did not create Israel, and does not commission its deeds, for its own purposes. Rather it has adapted to Zionist faits accompli in western Asia and in the US, and pursued its interests in their light.
Since the end of the Cold War Zionism has been the chief driver of US militarism at home and abroad. The Zionocracy influenced the Congressional vote for the Gulf War in 1990, the closest since the War of 1812. The crippling sanctions on Iraq and the “dual containment” of Iran and Iraq in the 1990s were largely by and for the Zionocracy, against substantial business opposition. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, with all their momentous consequences, were chiefly a strike against US patronage of Israel. The 2003 invasion of Iraq would not have happened without the neoconservatives. Only the Zionized left sees “oil” as necessarily and obviously requiring the US to invade Iraq, which has led to the present dissolution of Syria. The end of centuries of Sunni rule in Iraq and the Shia ascendancy there brought the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, to oppose actively the “Shia axis” from Hizbollah to Alawite Syria to Iraq to Iran. The Gulf states are the chief patrons of the armed rebellion in Syria..
Zionism has turned western Asia into the eastern front of the US empire, like the eastern front of the Third Reich, site of its most depraved deeds and ideologies—the annihilation of Arab and Muslim societies, and the Islamophobic “clash of civilizations” and “war on terror.” Disputes over Middle East policy between the miltarists (gentile radicals, and Jewish neoconservatives) and the realists, are like the differences between Nazis and non-Nazi conservatives in Germany.
Zionism on the Left
In the early 1960s the Jewish members of the New Left were universalist, had little interest in “Jewish identity” and identity politics. After the June, 1967 war, there appeared a “Jewish left,” which combined Jewish affirmation with criticism of “the occupation” and support for “Palestinian rights.” This has produced a truncated, minimal critique: “anti-occupation” rhetoric, but no critique of Zionism; “solutions” discourse, of maps and treaties, and false Zionist precedents, rather than overcoming Zionism; ahistorical “law and rights” discourse; the “strategic asset” view of the US-Israel relationship, with little attention to US Zionism; anti-anti-Semitism, but no critique of Jewish chauvinism. With variations, this outlook is hegemonic on the white bread left, including the US Campaign to End the Occupation. It has even absorbed and neutered the “Israel lobby” critique. Phyllis Bennis, long-time “strategic asset” proponent, now dominates Code Pink’s annual anti-AIPAC program, while excluding knowledgeable people like Jeff Blankfort, Janet McMahon, Grant Smith, Stephen Sniegoski, and Alison Weir.
This Orthodox Critique is a form of Zionism. Limiting criticism to “law and rights” trivializes the crimes and diminishes the victims, like calling Nazi aggression and the Judeocide a violation of collective security and minority rights. Referring to Israel’s “occupation,” after nearly 46 years, and to “Israeli apartheid,” when Israel’s regime is much worse than apartheid, is lying. Such apologetics about Zionism, clearest in the “strategic asset” dogma, are Jewish privilege and anti-gentilism, comparable to anti-Semitic essentialism about Jews. The Orthodox Critique replaces a universalist critique from classical sources, which would reject Zionism in its entirety, in Israel, and in the US Zionocracy, and affirm the values of Spinoza, Luxemburg, Berger, et al. against it. Zionism threatens all of us.
Identity can empower the oppressed, but identitarian struggles succeed on broader terrain. The Risorgimento succeeded because national rights were seen as legitimate. The struggles of women and minorities have succeeded because the sphere of rights was broadened. Identity categories are not political, because people have different politics, beyond their universal rights. Past a certain limited point identity politics is chauvinism. Garibaldi recognized the limited progressive value of nationalism. Compare Judith Butler’s attempt to derive liberal obligations from “diasporic Jewish identity,” in the Brooklyn College BDS event, to David Landy’s critique of “diasporic identity” in Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights.
Strategy and Tactics
The Orthodox Critique has deprived us of the most basic vocabulary and analysis. We are missing decades of literature on Zionism as reaction and racialism, on Zionist radicalization of the US, and on the universalist antipodes, and political organizing on those lines. Meanwhile, Zionism has become ever stronger and more destructive. This is the greatest disaster on the left since the German Communist Party misread Nazism.
The chief concern of US citizens must be the special role of the United States, the indispensable economic, military and political support it provides Israel. To the extent BDS sanctions the state of Israel directly, by boycotting its products, or its institutions, it at least stigmatizes Israel, and raises questions about US policy. BDS directed against “companies profiting from the occupation” implies that corporate profits drive US policies and diverts attention from the real actors.
The Zionocracy is not appeased by such limited terms, which Israeli diplomats and organized Jewry oppose fiercely. We can only gain by calling for Israel to be sanctioned, and by opposing Zionism forthrightly as the chief source of Islamophobia, our Middle East wars, 9/11, and our domestic police state. We should consider “Anti-Zionism Week”.
BDS in the US can be educational, but Europe is the chief market for Israeli products, and BDS is most effective there. Zionist domination of US politics must be our highest concern. Zionism is not a tool of the US, but a quasi-sovereign power in the US, which has activated the worst potentialities of US society. The classical anti-Zionists saw Zionism obviously as an attack on liberal modernity, to be rejected categorically. Liberal traditions allow us—obligate us—to reject Zionism and all its works, and also obligate us to distinguish adherents of Jewish people ideology from Jewish liberal citizens and their rights. They also obligate the latter to join unequivocally a common struggle against Zionism, which threatens us all.
Purim. One of the most popular Jewish holidays among Orthodox, traditional and so-called secular Jewish Israelis alike. The streets are packed with children and adults wearing costumes, make-up and all sorts of masquerading, on their way from one joyous Purim party to the next. Happy days. But behind the carnivalesque masks, ominous demons are lurking.
Tel Aviv, Sunday, February 24th
Hanan Usruf, a 40-year-old Arab sanitation worker for the city, was savagely beaten by some dozen Jewish men. The Jerusalem Post reported that Usruf’s injuries
include a fracture in his right eye socket and deep lacerations on his right ear and across almost his entire head. His vision is blurred in his left eye, but he can make out small numbers and letters, doctors said.
The Times of Israel added that the victim – an Israeli citizen, one should add – attacked by “drunken youth” required dozens of stitches and that doctors were doing their best to save his eye; under his horrendous photo in hospital, Usruf is quoted saying that
the youths kicked him and broke bottles on his head while shouting racial epithets at him. “They shouted things like ‘f**kin’ Arab’ and ‘get your own country.’
Jerusalem, Monday, February 25th
Hana Amtir, an Arab woman standing at the tram stop near the central bus station, was attacked by a group of young Jewish women. AFP quotes a (Jewish) eyewitness who took pictures of the attack and documented it on Facebook:
Suddenly shouts were heard, and a group of young religious Jewish women confronted the woman and suddenly a young Jewish woman punched her in the head, […] the rest then joined in, hitting and shoving the Arab woman. The woman tried to fight them off but they shouted at her not to dare touch Jews and they continued as a group to attack her and even forcibly pulled off her head covering, […] the incident was witnessed by a security guard from the rail company and a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish students who stood by and did nothing.
Both events – the lynch in Tel Aviv and the attack in Jerusalem – were reported widely in the Israeli media (separately or even together [Hebrew]), justly framed as hate crimes, sometimes with reference to similar crimes in the recent past. Some public protest followed – a demonstration, petitions and op-eds. However, no report I’ve seen mentioned the fact that both crimes were committed on Purim (24.2), a one-day holiday that lasts a day longer in Jerusalem (24-25.2). At best, one could find the holiday mentioned in passing, for instance in the Times of Israel that also described the Tel Aviv victimizers as drunken: “Police had yet to make any arrests […] After detaining suspects, the police will determine whether the attack was racially motivated, or the action of out-of-hand Purim revelers,” as if racist motivation and Purim revelry were mutually exclusive. But as a rule, Purim was simply ignored as irrelevant.
Is the Jewish holiday really irrelevant? The notion that the attackers were drunken can be easily traced back to the religious duty to get drunk on Purim. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Purim has been identified with Jewish violence (and with accusations of violence against Jews, true or false) for centuries. Just think of the West Bank town of Hebron for example: it was Purim 1981 when Jewish settlers brought down the roof over an Arab upholstery in “Beit Hadassah”, expelling its owner and taking over the house, a crucial step in what has since developed into a full-fledged ethnic cleansing at the heart of the Palestinian town. The settlers’ Purim parades in that city have become a tradition of provocations, with Jewish violence escalating from year to year – culminating in Purim 1994, when a Jewish settler massacred 29 and injured 125 Muslim worshippers in the Cave of the Patriarchs. The butcher joined the settlers’ hall of fame: “Purim in Hebron after 1994 was like Purim in Hebron since 1981, only more so – with a new Jewish hero for Jewish children to dress up as,” writes Israeli historian Prof Elliott Horowitz in his excellent Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (2006, p. 8), that documents the roots and history of Jewish Purim violence (alongside its anti-Semitic abuses by Christians) from ancient times to the present.
Like any legacy stretching from the Ancient World through the Middle Ages to Modern Times, Judaism is a multifaceted culture: it can be universal as well as nationalist; egalitarian as well as racist; liberal, even revolutionary as well as ultra-conservative – all these messages can be found in it. Among other things, Purim, however, has always reflected deep genocidal phantasies of revenge. The Book of Esther, the textual basis for this holiday, tells the story of the miraculous saving of the Jews of Persia from their enemies, most notably the evil Haman. It ends with the hanging of Haman by the Persian King. Consequently, the Jews take revenge and kill Haman’s ten sons, murder several hundreds of non-Jews in the capital Susa, and then massacre seventy-five thousand non-Jews all over Persia. That’s how the Book of Esther ends. The (probably non-existent) historical foundations of these events are irrelevant: it’s the myth and the memory that matter.
The genocidal roots of Purim go even deeper: Haman, as the short Book of Esther repeatedly stresses, is an “Agagite”, that is, an offspring of Agag. Agag was the King of the ancient Amalekites, the archetypal enemy of the Jews, on which the Bible commands to inflict genocide: “you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; do not forget” (Deuteronomy 25,19). When King Saul sins by sparing King Agag’s life, God regrets He had made him king of Israel, and Prophet Samuel “hews Agag in pieces before the Lord” (I Samuel 15,33).
These are not just idle interpretations for the learned or deep secrets known to the few; it’s all anchored in the liturgical practice of Purim. While the public reading of the Book of Esther is at the heart of the holiday itself, the Torah-text on blotting out Amalek is read in synagogue on the “Sabbath of Remembrance”, the last Saturday before Purim. Once the Arabs are seen as Haman/Amalek, Purim turns into a carnival of incitement against them.
Educating Israeli Soldiers
The Chief Rabbinate of the Israeli army has recently produced a short video (in Hebrew) to “explain” Purim to Israeli soldiers. It opens by stating the obvious, namely that Persia is today’s Iran; among the images that flash every now and then when Haman is mentioned we see not only Ahmadinejad, but also Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah, as well as (several times) Hitler, and, yes, Jesus Christ, who also makes a brief appearance. In a baseless rewriting of the legend, obviously aimed against present-day Palestinians, Haman and his sons are said to have resided in the Land of Israel, where they were inciting against the Jews and demanding to stop construction in Jerusalem (!) before moving to Persia, where the Book of Esther takes place.
In other words, the army “educational” video draws a line from Haman to Jesus, to Nazi Germany, to today’s Iran and Hezbollah, as well as to the present-day Palestinians. And Haman, as the video doesn’t even bother to remind its viewers, is Amalek, the eternal enemy of the Jews: “you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven, do not forget.”
From Hebron to Tel Aviv
It’s truly amazing that the Israeli media ignored the Purim context of the violent events in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Jewish Israelis are witnessing a trend of “rediscovering of” and “reconnecting to” their “Jewish roots”. In such an atmosphere, one would expect those “rediscoverers” to be aware the Jewish context of the violence: after all, this is also part of the Jewish legacy they are allegedly so fond of. But no: instead of coming to terms with the lights and shadows of the rich Jewish tradition, non-Orthodox Israelis fall prey to ominous Jewish demons without even noticing them, demons that have enjoyed an uninterrupted existence among Orthodox Jews like the radical settlers of Hebron, but have now sneaked even into “secular” Tel Aviv.
No large scale, long term, socio-political movements have emerged to challenge the bi-partisan dominant classes. For a brief moment the “Occupy Wall Street” movement provided a platform to denounce the 1% super-rich but then faded into memory.
Questions arose whether in the midst of prolonged hardship people would turn to religion for solace and escape into spiritual pietism. The question this essay addresses is whether religion has become the ‘opium of the people’ as Karl Marx suggested or whether religious beliefs and institutions are themselves in crisis, losing their spiritual attraction in the face of their inability to resolve the everyday material needs of a growing army of impoverished, low paid, unemployed and contingent workers and a downwardly mobile middle class. In other words are major religions growing and prospering in our time of permanent economic crises and perpetual wars or are they on the down-slope part and parcel of the decline of the US Empire?
According to the latest data as of 2008 the biggest religious group is Christianity with 173.402 million members representing 76% of the adult population followed by Judaism with 2.680 million representing 1.2% of the adult population; followed by Eastern religions 1.961 million and representing .9% and Muslims 1.349 million representing .6% of adults. The second most populous group after the Christians are those adults who state they have ‘no religion’ 34.169 million or 15%.
The dynamic trends over time show a declining percentage of adults who are Christians: between 1990-2008 they dropped from 86.2% to 76%; Jews have declined from 1.8% of adult population in 1990 to 1.2% in 2008 and Eastern religion is growing from .4% of adult population to .97% of population. Likewise, the percentage of Muslims in the adult population has grown from .3% in 1990 to .6% in 2008. The percentage of non-religious adult population has increased from 8.2% in 1990 to 15% in 2008.
While both practitioners of Christianity and Judaism, as a percentage of the adult population, have declined, there is a sharp divergence in terms of numerical change; between 1990 and 2008 the number of Christians has increased by 2,218 million while the number of Jews has declined by 457 thousand. Judaism is the only one of the major and minor religions to decline in absolute numbers.
The combined number of Eastern and Muslim religious affiliates now exceeds Judaism by 630,000 believers about 30%. Jews today represent only 1.2% of the adult US population compared to 1.5% for Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. The gap between Christians and non-religious US adults has narrowed over the past 20 years: from 86.2% to 8.2% in 1990 to 76% to 15% in 2008. Among Christians the biggest decline is among ‘mainline protestant churches’ (Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian/ Anglican and United Church of Christ) from 32.8 million in 1998 to 29.4 million in 2008; and among “unspecified Protestants” from 17 million to 5.2 million. The biggest increases are among “non-denominational Christians” rising from 194,000 to 8.03 million believers in 1990-2008, unspecified Christians from 8.1 million to16.4 million and Pentecostals up from 5.7 million in 1990 to 7.9 million in 2008. Catholic and Baptists grew in numbers but barely held their own as a percentage of the adult population.
Analysis of Religious Trends in Political-Economic Context
Contrary to most observers and pundits, the economic crisis has not led to an upsurge in religious memberships or identification – the search for ‘spiritual consolation’ in a time of economic despair. The mainline churches and synagogues do not attract or even keep membership because they have little to offer in material solutions to their members in time of need (mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcies, unemployment, losses of savings, pensions or stocks). Contrary to some pundits even the more otherworldly, apocalyptic, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Born Again Churches while increasing their number have failed to attract a larger percentage of the adult population over the past 20 years; in 1990 they had 3.5% of adults and in 2008 4.4% an increase of .9%.
The crises decade has had several major impacts – it severely weakened religious identity with any specific denomination, it increased religious uncertainty and vastly increased the number and percentage of adult Americans who are no longer religious. Between 1998 and 2008, the percentage of adults in both categories doubled from 10.5% to 20.2%; the numbers increased from 18.34 million to 46 million. It would appear that most of the ‘non-religious’ are drawn from former mainline Christians and Jews.
The rise of non-religious adults between 1990-2008 cannot be related to greater education, urbanization and exposure to rationalist thought which has more or less remained the same over the two decades. What has changed is the rising discontent over declining income among wage and salaried workers, the vast increases in inequality, the perpetual wars and the public discredit of the principle political and economic institutions – Congress is viewed negatively by 78% of Americans, as are banks, especially Wall Street. The religious institutions and religious faith is increasingly seen as irrelevant at best and complicit in the decay of American living standards and workplace standards. Despite the dramatic increase in ‘non-religious’ Americans close to 75% still claim to be believers of one or another version of Christianity.
The crisis in Judaism is far more severe than even the ‘mainline Christian’ churches. Over the past 20 years the number of adult Jews has declined by about 15%, over 450,000 former Jews ceased to identify as such. Some of the political economic causes for the flight from Judaism may be similar to the Christians. Others may be more specific to Jews: over 50% of Jews marry outside of the synagogue with non-Jews, cause and consequence of ‘defection’. Others may convert to other religions – Oriental or Christian. Some Jewish neo-conservative rabbis and ideologues rant about the threat of ‘assimilation’ being the equivalent of ‘genocide’. Most likely most former Jews have become ‘non-religious’ or secular and some of the reasons may vary. For some, Old Testament bloody tales and Talmudic rulings do not resonate with modern rational thought. Political considerations may also contribute to the sharp decline in self-identifying Jews: the ever tighter links and identity of Israel with Jewish religious institutions, the Israeli flag waiving and unconditional support of Israeli war crimes has repelled many former parishioners, who quietly retire rather than engage in a personally costly spiritual struggle against the formidable pro-Israel apparatus embedded in the inter-locking religious-Zionist networks.
The religious crises, the decline in belief and institutional affiliation, is intimately related to the moral decay in US public institutions and the precipitous decline of living standards. Among Christians the decline is incremental but steady; among Jews it is deeper and more rapid. No ‘alternative religious’ revival is in the horizon. The more fundamentalist Christian groups have responded by becoming more politically involved in extremist movements like the Tea Party demonizing public spending to ameliorate social inequities or have joined Islamophobic pro Israeli movements – precisely as increasing numbers of ex-Jews depart!
The secular or non-religious adult population has yet to organize and articulate a program in contrast to the fundamentalists, perhaps because they are too disparate a social category – in terms of socio-economic and class interests. ‘Not religious’ tells us little about what is the alternative. The shrinking percentage of religious believers can have several outcomes: in some cases it can lead to a hardening of doctrine and organizational structures ‘to keep the faithful in line’. In others it has led to increasing politicization, mostly on the extreme right. Among Christians it means insisting on literal readings of the Bible and anti- evolutionism; among Jews, the shrinking numbers are intensifying tribal loyalties and more aggressive fundraising, lobbying, and unconditional support for a “Jewish State”, purged of Palestinians, and more punitive witch-hunts against critics of Israel and Zionism.
What needs to be done is a movement that links the growing mass of rational non-religious people with the vast majority of American wage and salaried workers, experiencing declining living standards and the rising costs (material and spiritual) of imperial wars. Some religious individuals and even denominations will be attracted to such a movement others will attack it for sectarian and political reasons. But as a non-religious morality links individual and political crises to social action, so can the political community create the bases for a new society built on secular needs and public ethics.
As Jewish lawmakers lead the push for gun control in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, the rabbi of Newtown’s small Jewish community has castigated the culture that led to the massacre. Speaking to Israel’s Army Radio, Rabbi Shaul Praver of Temple Adath Israel said he told his congregants:
“We live in a culture of violence. All of our culture is based on violence and we need to teach the kids about the ways of peace. We need to change everything. There’s too much war, too much violence in our streets.”
Apparently Rabbi Praver saw no irony in decrying a culture of violence on the radio network operated by the Israel Defense Forces which had just been responsible for the deaths of 34 children in its Biblically-named “Pillar of Cloud” onslaught on Gaza. On the contrary, as the rabbi explained in 2005, in Palestine “only one party seeks the destruction of the other”:
Israelis simply want peace and would much prefer spending their time, tending their gardens, doing art, finding a cure for cancer, composing and performing world class music, and inventing more incredible bio-pharmaceuticals and computer technology. Real time internet applications, cellular telephones, color printing are just a few examples of the technology developed in Israel. There is so much brainpower and creative energy emanating from Israel’s diverse ethnic population that benefits every person on the planet. Yet even at a time that Israel pursues territorial concessions for the sake of peace, many people lack the ability to say even a few kind words.
I will say to them then, “Zionism is Beautiful!”
God bless Philip Weiss, the progressive Jewish blogger brave enough to admit in public those things other Jewish ethnic activists prefer to shove under the carpet. A year ago, Weiss was brave enough to confess to me that it is ‘Jewish self interests’ that stands at the core of his pro Palestinian activism. Also, a few weeks ago, the same Weiss was honest enough to announce that his Jewish ‘progressive’ internet journal, Mondowiess, changed its comment policy and “will no longer serve as a forum to pillory Jewish culture and religion as the driving factors in Israeli and US policy.”
But this week, the very same Weiss published a new polemic on his website. He now thinks that “it’s time for the media to talk about Zionism.” So, now Weiss is happy to join with the rest of us in talking about Zionism – so long as we avoid discussing ‘Jewishness’. Well, I’m afraid that Philip Weiss may have missed the train since, by now, many of us have already grasped that the time is ripe to talk about Jewishness and the role of ‘Jewish culture as the driving factor in Israeli and US policy.’
Weiss’ logic is no doubt fascinating. This Jewish ethnic activist does provide us with an insight into the level of deceit that is, unfortunately, inherent to Jewish left politics.
Weiss thinks Jews should ask themselves whether they really are ‘unsafe’ in America. Well, Weiss must know plenty about ‘safety’ since it was he himself who felt that it may be ‘risky’ to discuss Jewish culture and religion on his own Mondoweiss.
“Zionism,” he continues, “draws on a person’s worldview and has a religious character, it supplies meaning to his or her life.” Well again, Weiss should know because, like all Zionists, both overt and covert, he operates within a Jews-only political cell namely “Jews Voice for Peace’ (JVP). For some reason, just like his less enlightened brethren, this very ‘progressive’ activist prefers to surround himself with members of his own tribe.
Weiss well knows why the media avoids discussing Zionism, “it would involve a lot of squeamish self-interrogation on the part of Jews,” and Weiss knows what this means. That’s why he, and his Jewish partner Adam Horowitz, banned Jeff Blankfort from commenting on their site – Blankfort was critically discussing Jewish related topics. Weiss couldn’t allow it.
Weiss is brave enough to admit that “the acknowledgment of Jewish prominence in the Establishment, and of the power of Zionism, would make a lot of Jews uncomfortable”, but he isn’t bold enough to admit that the problem is far worse, since Jewish anti-Zionists like himself and JVP are relentlessly seeking a similar hegemony within the Palestinian solidarity discourse and openly campaign against prominent activists who challenge Jewish power. Is it possible that what we are dealing with here is a tribally-driven, power seeking tendency that is inherent to Jewish politics? The answer is a categorical yes, and I provide all the relevant information on this in my latest book The Wandering Who.
Weiss regards himself as an anti-Zionist while, as far as his language is concerned, he actually manifests every possible Zionist symptom. “Silence” on issues to do with Zionist power is “bad for Jews,” says Weiss. Like any Hasbara parrot he repeats the old mantra of ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ for the Jews. But then isn’t this just what you would expect from a Zionist?
It doesn’t take Weiss too long to drop his political bomb: the silence over Zionist power “allows people who are justifiably angry over our foreign policy to believe that all Jews support Israel.” Here, Weiss is absolutely correct. It is about time to deliver the message to the American people and the entire world – Not all Jews support Israel! In fact, at least two dozen American Jews including Weiss oppose Zionism because, as Weiss confesses, because “it is really bad for the Jews.”
If you think you’ve had enough of Weiss’ Judeo-centrism read this: “Zionism came out of the real condition of Jews in Europe in the late 19th and 20th centuries. I can well imagine being a Zionist at other periods of Jewish history. I would have been a Zionist if I had been in Kafka’s circle in Prague in the 19-teens with the rise of anti-Semitism. I would have been a Zionist if I had been born into the family of my mother’s best friend in Berlin in the 1930s.”
In this embarrassing passage, Weiss, the so-called ‘anti’ Zionist, actually admits that considerations of Jewish safety would justify the colonization of Palestine. This non-ethical vision is also apparent in JVP’s latest ‘educational’ video. It is clearly consistent with the Zionist take on the primacy of Jewish suffering. Which is exactly what you would expect from a Jew who operates politically within Jewish racially-segregated cells. There is only one possible conclusion – Jewish anti Zionism is a myth. Jewish opposition to Zionism is just another form of Zionism-lite that, just like it’s right-wing counterpart, locates Jewish self-interest firmly at its core.
Weiss is a pretty clumsy spin-doctor. He argues that the current militant and totalitarian aspects of Israeli society flow from a ‘Zionist belief system’. Here, Weiss misleads his readers and I think he does this consciously. Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and as the true embodiment of Jewish culture. Its barbarism is the direct outcome of its interpretation of Jewish texts and spirit. If anything, Zionism was born to ‘civilize’ the Diaspora Jew who, certain 19th century emancipated secular Jews found so repellent. So it is not Zionism that makes Israel barbarous, it is the way Israelis interpret their cultural, spiritual and textual heritage. Of course, Weiss is welcome to suggest that there is another possible interpretation to Jewish heritage, but he should be precise and point to those Jewish texts that preach universal ethics and world peace.
Weiss reckons that once we should be brave enough to deal with Zionism, “liberal Zionists will be pressed to decide what they believe in more, liberalism or Zionism.” But still I’m puzzled. If Weiss is so open and tolerant, surely he would allow discussion on his own website concerning the Jewish character of the Jewish State. He would invite a discussion concerning the Jewishness of the Jewish Lobby. I believe that Philip Weiss is operating unwillingly and unwittingly as a Zionist fig leaf. He invests all his intellectual energy diverting attention from the root cause of the problem – namely Jewish culture and Jewish identity politics. And why? Probably because of his own unease with is own Anti Zionist Zionist behaviour.
- Concerning Mondoweiss, Racism and Freedom of Speech (Uprooted Palestinians)