politinfo

Trying to make sense of a meshuga planet

Pro-Palestinian vs. anti-Israel (US campus redux)

On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians’ Real Agenda

Khaled Abu Toameh, a brilliant Palestinian journalist, was surprised at the intensity of anti-Israel feelings on some US campuses: “Listening to some students and professors on these campuses, for a moment I thought I was sitting opposite a Hamas spokesman or a would-be-suicide bomber.”

I was told, for instance, that Israel has no right to exist, that Israel’s “apartheid system” is worse than the one that existed in South Africa and that Operation Cast Lead was launched only because Hamas was beginning to show signs that it was interested in making peace and not because of the rockets that the Islamic movement was launching at Israeli communities.

I was also told that top Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for masterminding terror attacks against Israeli civilians, was thrown behind bars simply because he was trying to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

What struck me more than anything else was the fact that many of the people I met on the campuses supported Hamas and believed that it had the right to “resist the occupation” even if that meant blowing up children and women on a bus in downtown Jerusalem.

Here’s the personality type, sounds familiar?

The good news is that these remarks were made only by a minority of people on the campuses who describe themselves as “pro-Palestinian,” although the overwhelming majority of them are not Palestinians or even Arabs or Muslims.

The bad news is that these groups of hard-line activists/thugs are trying to intimidate anyone who dares to say something that they don’t like to hear.

When the self-designated “pro-Palestinian” lobbyists are unable to challenge the facts presented by a speaker, they resort to verbal abuse.

He definitely has a point, my emphasis here:

The so-called pro-Palestinian “junta” on the campuses has nothing to offer other than hatred and de-legitimization of Israel. If these folks really cared about the Palestinians, they would be campaigning for good government and for the promotion of values of democracy and freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Their hatred for Israel and what it stands for has blinded them to a point where they no longer care about the real interests of the Palestinians, namely the need to end the anarchy and lawlessness, and to dismantle all the armed gangs that are responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinians over the past few years.

The majority of these activists openly admit that they have never visited Israel or the Palestinian territories. They don’t know -and don’t want to know – that Jews and Arabs here are still doing business together and studying together and meeting with each other on a daily basis because they are destined to live together in this part of the world. They don’t want to hear that despite all the problems life continues and that ordinary Arab and Jewish parents who wake up in the morning just want to send their children to school and go to work before returning home safely and happily.

What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the “occupation” as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel.

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March 25, 2009 Posted by | Anti-Zionism, Education, US | , , , , | 1 Comment

Soviet (re)definition of Zionism

This is article “Zionism” from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition, 1969-1978. Translation from the original Russian is by yours truly. I think this piece of the Cold War deserves to be analyzed.

Zionism (term derived from the Mount Zion in Jerusalem), the most reactionary variety of Jewish bourgeois nationalism, which received significant propagation in the 20th century among Jewish population of capitalist countries. Contemporary Z. is a nationalist ideology, extensive system of organizations and politics expressing the interests of affluent Jewish bourgeoisie, closely related to the monopolist bourgeoisie of imperialistic countries. The main posits of the contemporary Z. are militant chauvinism, racism, anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism.

As a political movement, Z. arose in the end of the 19th century. It was designed to distract Jewish working masses from the revolutionary fight, to preserve the domination of the bourgeoisie over the workers. To implement these intents, the ideologists of Z. advanced their plans of resolving the “Jewish question” by creating a “Jewish state” with the aid of the Great Powers. This idea was presented, in particular, in the book of one of the ideologists of Z., an Austrian journalist Theodore Herzl Judenstaat (1896). In 1897, the first Zionist congress in Basel established the World Zionist Organization (WZO). The WZO proclaimed as the official goal of Z. “the creation of a home in Palestine for the Jewish people, secured by public law.”

Ideological doctrine of Z. is very eclectic. It actively uses many dogmas of Judaism, and also includes theories of bourgeois nationalism, social chauvinism, etc., adapted by ideologists of Z. Its basic positions may be reduced to the following:

  • Jews of various countries present an ex-territorial “united worldwide Jewish nation”;
  • Jews are “special”, “exclusive”, “chosen by god” people;
  • All peoples among which Jews live, in one way or another are antisemites;
  • Antisemitism is a phenomenon that is “eternal”;
  • Assimilation, i.e. the confluence of Jews with their surrounding peoples, “is unnatural and sinful”;
  • Jews have “historical rights” to the “lands of the biblical ancestors” (Palestine and adjacent areas), where they have to be concentrated in order to build a “purely Jewish” “egalitarian state”.

Ideologists of Z. attempt to prove the “unbreakable connection of Jews worldwide” with Z., to which they must subordinate their interests, no matter where they are. The politicized dogmas of Judaism about Jews “being chosen by god” and about their messianism, as well as mythical thesis about their “exclusivity” comprise one of the fundamentals of ultra-nationalism, chauvinism and racism, immanently inherent in the ideology and the practice of Z. The ideologists of Z. assert that the “Jewish question” is an “eternal”, “exceptional” and the above-class question. Zionists in every way possible propagandize the deceitful idea of the class peace between Jewish workers and Jewish bourgeoisie (“all Jews are brothers”). The ideologists of Z. declare all forms of the class struggle among Jews as national treason. With the aid of the demagogy and tactical trickery, the Zionists always strove and still attempt to disguise the anti-social reactionary essence of Z., posing it as the “national liberation movement of the Jewish people worldwide”.

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, by the UN resolution (on part of the territory of Palestine), Z. became the official state ideology of Israel. The main objectives of Z. are proclaimed as the unconditional support of this state by Jews of the entire world, concentration in Israel of the Jews from the entire world, persuasion of the Jewish population of various countries in the Zionist spirit. Z. poses the task of expanding this state to the boundaries of the so-called “greater Israel”. To solve this task, the Zionists use a thesis of the “eternal antisemitism”, while at the same time frequently inflaming it themselves.

Z. is the basis of the official state policy of Israel. Zionists declare the state of Israel the motherland of all Jews, no matter where they live and no matter how they relate to Zionism. The 28th congress of the WZO (took place in 1972 in Jerusalem) in violation of all norms of the international law accepted “the collective obligation of all national (in the form of Zionist and pro-Zionist) organizations to help the Jewish state under any circumstances and conditions, even in case if this runs against the authorities” of their corresponding countries.

The main line of Z. always was and still is the overt and covert fight against socialism, international Communist and national liberation movements, the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Immediately after the victory of October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, Z. unfolded active fight against the young Soviet State. After the Second World War 1939-45, in conditions of further deepening of the general crisis of Capitalism, the anti-Communism, anti-Sovietism and international Z. took even wider scale. The complete change of the ratio of forces in the world in favor of Socialism, the successful resolution of national (including Jewish) question in the USSR, the successive support of the national liberation struggle of the Arab peoples by the Soviet Union – all this causes strengthening of anti-Soviet and anti-Communist Zionist propaganda and activity.

The international Z. attempts to destroy moral and political unity of the peoples of the Socialist countries, detach the citizens of Jewish ethnicity away from the participation in the building of Socialism and Communism, it conducts clandestine activities against the Détente, in particular against the ongoing normalization of Soviet-American relations. Serving as the front squad of Colonialism and neo-Colonialism, the international Z. actively participates in the fight against national liberation movements of the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the Near East, the Zionist ruling circles of Israel carry out the policy of aggression and constant territorial expansion against the Arab peoples, and, first of all, the Arab people of Palestine. This policy turned Israel into the imperialistic gendarme in the Near East, and was the main reason for the Arab-Israeli military conflicts in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973. Z. became one of the basic allies of imperialism in its global battle against the world liberation movement.

Ideological concepts and political plans of Z. are implemented by the widely distributed and strictly centralized system of Zionist and pro-Zionist organizations, whose leading centers are located in the US and Israel. The main leading and coordinating center of international Zionism is the WZO system, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). The latter focuses mainly on questions of the immigration of Jews into Israel and represents WZO in the relations with the Israeli government. Legally, the supreme body of the WZO is world Zionist congress; the main role in the WZO plays the group having close connections with certain imperialistic circles in the US. Executive committee of the WZO consists of two branches: New York and Jerusalem. WZO directs and controls the activities of Zionist organizations in more than 60 capitalist countries. Largest: Women’s International Zionist Organization, World Union of General Zionists, World Labor Zionist Movement, Zionist Organization of America. Practically under the WZO’s control is the formally non-Zionist World Jewish Congress (WJC, created in 1936), whose organizations act in 67 capitalist countries. These centers directly or indirectly adjoin many local Zionist and pro-Zionist organizations, public committees, etc., which constitute the unified system of international Zionism. WZO possesses significant financial funds, provided mainly by Jewish monopolists; part of the funds is collected by requisitions, including forced, among the Jewish population.

The substantial part of the media is under control or influence of Zionist organizations: large number of publishing houses, radio- and television networks, motion picture companies (in the US, Western Europe, in a number of the countries of Latin America, Africa, in Australia) are in their hands.

International Z. always included and still includes a variety of ideological movements, political fractions and groupings: “socialist” Zionists, “political Zionists”, “spiritual Zionists”, “religious Zionists”, “general Zionists”, “Zionist-revisionists” (what is today Fascist party Herut and groups linked to it), etc., which only reflects specific interests of various groups of Jewish bourgeoisie and does not change, but only disguises its pro-imperialist essence.

In practice, the differences between various fractions in Z. do not cross the boundaries of disputes on tactical questions and frequently reflect the infights in the Zionist elite for the influential posts.

Marxists have always rejected and still reject both theory and practice of Zionism. V. I. Lenin revealed the reactionary essence of Z. by emphasizing that its dogmas were reactionary and fundamentally false, and contradict interests of the Jewish proletariat. He criticized the theses of Zionists regarding the special character of the Jewish people, the alleged absence of class distinctions in Jews and the imaginary commonality of their interests by explaining that the purpose of such assertions is to lead Jewish working masses away from global class struggle of the proletariat. The international Communist movement exposes the anti-social reactionary nature of Z. and activity of Zionists in all countries. The document accepted by the International Conference of Communist and Working Parties in 1969 contains the call “… to unroll the widest possible movement of protest… against racial and ethnic discrimination, Zionism and antisemitism, which capitalist reactionary forces inflame and use for political disorientation of the masses.” In particular, the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) carries on the consistent struggle against Z. It convincingly shows that Z. was always used by forces of extreme reaction and imperialism, that the ideology and practice of Z. contradict the interests of Jewish workers worldwide and the national interests of the people of Israel, that fight against Z. is vital for both the people of Israel and all progressive forces. The CPI exposes the allegedly “non-class” approach of Zionists to the “Jewish question” and proves that this question can be solved only on the condition of victory of democracy and Socialism, as evident from the experience of the USSR and other Socialist countries. The CPI speaks in favor of brotherhood and friendship of the workers worldwide, against anti-Soviet slanderous propaganda and diversionist activity of Zionist leaders and rulers of Israel.

As the general crisis of Capitalism deepens in the present stage, the crisis of ideology of Z. becomes ever more obvious, as well as the insolvency of all its concepts: the overwhelming majority of Jews rejects Zionist dogmas. The Jewish population of the USSR (with a rare exception), as all peoples of the Soviet Union and progressive forces of the world, decisively condemns the aggressive political course of the Zionist rulers of Israel.

The 30th session of the UN General Assembly (November 1975) qualified Z. as the form of racism and racial discrimination.

Worldwide, the steadfast and objective process of the assimilation of Jews is on the increase. The understanding grows not only among the Jewish communities of the Western countries, but also among the Israeli population, that Zionist politics of Israel’s ruling circles can lead its population to a genuine national catastrophe.

Lit.:

  1. Lenin V. I., ”Complete Works”, 5 ed., Vol. 7, p. 121; Vol. 8, p. 72;
  2. Lenin V. I., ”CPSU about Proletarian Internationalism”. Coll. of documents and materials, Vol. 1-2, of M., 1974;
  3. ”International conference of Communist and working parties”. Documents and materials, M., 1969;
  4. ”XVII congress of the Communist Party of Israel”, [ materials ], M., 1973;
  5. Ivanov Yu., ”Beware: Zionism!”, M., 1972;
  6. ”Zionism: Theory and Practice”, M., 1973;
  7. Braginsky I., ”The Class Entity of Zionism”, “Communist”, 1970 No. 9;
  8. Ehrlich V., ”Bankruptcy of a Reactionary Idea”, in “Problems of Peace and Socialism”, 1973 No. 3;
  9. Dadiani l., ”Against Ideology and Policy of Zionism”, “Communist”, 1975 No. 18;
  10. Vilner Meir, ”Fight Against Zionism is Class Struggle”, in “Problems of Peace and Socialism”, 1976 No. 1.

L. Drozdov.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, USSR | , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-Zionism vs. antisemitism

A very good op-ed by Judea Pearl in LAT: Is anti-Zionism hate?

Anti-Zionism rejects the very notion that Jews are a nation — a collective bonded by a common history — and, accordingly, denies Jews the right to self-determination in their historical birthplace. It seeks the dismantling of the Jewish nation-state: Israel.

Anti-Zionism earns its discriminatory character by denying the Jewish people what it grants to other historically bonded collectives (e.g. French, Spanish, Palestinians), namely, the right to nationhood, self-determination and legitimate coexistence with other indigenous claimants.

Anti-Semitism rejects Jews as equal members of the human race; anti-Zionism rejects Israel as an equal member in the family of nations. …

Given this understanding of Jewish nationhood, anti-Zionism is in many ways more dangerous than anti-Semitism.

First, anti-Zionism targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the Jewish population of Israel, whose physical safety and personal dignity depend crucially on maintaining Israel’s sovereignty. Put bluntly, the anti-Zionist plan to do away with Israel condemns 5 1/2 million human beings, mostly refugees or children of refugees, to eternal defenselessness in a region where genocidal designs are not uncommon.

Secondly, modern society has developed antibodies against anti-Semitism but not against anti-Zionism. Today, anti-Semitic stereotypes evoke revulsion in most people of conscience, while anti-Zionist rhetoric has become a mark of academic sophistication and social acceptance in certain extreme yet vocal circles of U.S. academia and media elite. Anti-Zionism disguises itself in the cloak of political debate, exempt from sensitivities and rules of civility that govern inter-religious discourse, to attack the most cherished symbol of Jewish identity.

Finally, anti-Zionist rhetoric is a stab in the back to the Israeli peace camp, which overwhelmingly stands for a two-state solution. It also gives credence to enemies of coexistence who claim that the eventual elimination of Israel is the hidden agenda of every Palestinian.

It is anti-Zionism, then, not anti-Semitism that poses a more dangerous threat to lives, historical justice and the prospects of peace in the Middle East.

Of course, being LAT, they had to “balance” it with an anti-Zionist piece (linked from there). I don’t approve of competitions in victimhood and even if we omit arguments concerning equality and the right of self-determination, consider this: had Jews have a safe haven a decade before the founding of the Jewish State, perhaps millions could be spared.

As for the religious argument: typically, Haredi anti-Zionism is based upon the Three Oaths (Babylonian Talmud, Ketubot 111a): 1) not to ascend to Eretz Yisrael as a group using force; 2) not to rebel against the nations of the world; and 3) that the nations of the world would not persecute the nation of Israel excessively.

Of course, anyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but to my imperfect taste, the persecution was a little too excessive throughout the centuries.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism | , | 2 Comments