Some Words for the Zionists

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 25 Comments

I spent a lot of time with Zionists yesterday. I won’t say where, it’s a personal connection that I treasure. Dear old friends, a couple of whom I utterly love. They don’t even know about my blogging activities or if they do it’s a little secret we all have.

I want to say a word or two about them, not go into it too much. And yes, you can say I am claimed by them in the same way that I accused a prominent anonymous American journalist a few weeks back of being claimed by relatives in the hateful Hebron settlement. Because yesterday wine was poured that came from the Hebron hills, where Jewish colonialists poison Palestinian goats and erase a traditional way of life. I didn’t drink it. Still as I have said, all American Jews are tied by family to Israel. I am too. (And goddamn it I wish these journalists would talk about that.)

The words that come to me this morning are Europe, fear, innocence. First, Zionism is a European narrative. A couple of my friends were born in Europe. Central and Eastern Europe forever and ever shadow their lives. My heart breaks at the little stories that poke naturally into our conversations. Of hearing the glass on Kristallnacht. Of being a little boy taken by the housekeeper who didn’t know better to a Nazi rally at dusk and actually hearing Hitler, speaking from a stage where giant klieg lights shot shafts of light straight up into the evening sky like prison bars, 20 or 30 shafts, and sensing even as a little boy the powerlessness of his situation. Of the money being confiscated at the boat leaving. Of the professional lives destroyed.

Europe visited its horrors on Palestine and on the U.S. too, we are still all experiencing that, with the Israel lobby. I can feel the fear and powerlessness under the political motions in the newspaper (or not in the newspaper!) .

As for innocence, yesterday I thought, These are my people. I recognize them, I don’t fear them, though yes they are empowered, I see myself in their sensitive tough faces and weary apprehensiveness and long hardworking lives. They are just people, my tribe that raised me lovingly. I want in my generation for Jews to be bigger than that, to reach wider, still I see myself in them, their struggles, successes and roundshoulderednesses. By innocence I mean that there is no sense that what they have built is in any way wrong. Horrors have been dealt them again; the other day in Jerusalem we saw that horror. And there is alongside the immense grief, a feeling of innocence.

And a failure to see the other. My challenge, the challenge to my generation and the next, is to shift Jewish feelings so that they reflect the modern American scene, to lift Jewish life out of its particularism. I hope I can hold on to my compassion.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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25 Responses

  1. American
    March 9, 2008, 11:58 am

    Very strange post Phil. I find you confusing.
    There is some contridiction between your assimilation and "your people" identification. I might identify with my family as "my people" but I don't identify with all gentiles or all Christians as my people.
    It seems to me that what makes Jews call Jews their tribe or their people is not letting go of their victimhood. Being bound together for that reason is not good. Or healthy.

    It is harmless for people to be tribal or groupies for their football team or some other shared interest. But being bound together by victimhood and some kind of zionist loyalty to Israel is no win situtation unless those particular Jews are actually citizens living in Israel.

    Also I find something missing in the intellect of those who are "innocent"..they can't make the connection between what happens to Jews in Israel because of what Jews do to Palestines? That is a serious reality gap.

    It is very frustrating to watch the zionist community, they keep putting their hand on the hot stove over and over again and keep being surprised that it burns them every time. I don't get it.

  2. Castellio
    March 9, 2008, 12:12 pm

    I think Phil is on it. Jabotinsky is the response to the horror of the nation-less in eastern Europe writ large, and he is the godfather of the Zionists.

  3. Jim Haygood
    March 9, 2008, 12:33 pm

    "First, Zionism is a European narrative. Europe visited its horrors on Palestine and on the U.S. too, we are still all experiencing that, with the Israel lobby." – Phil Weiss

    A brave and honest statement, by a brave and honest man.

    Maybe that's why the header on AIPAC's website, featuring Israeli and U.S. flags flying over the Capitol building, makes me feel ill. It is both propagandistic and contemptuous.

    link to aipac.org

    I'm gonna write a new Torah, "Exodus Redux," when the Israeli pharaoh finally lets my people go:

    "And the Israelis made the children of America to serve with rigor: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor." etc.

  4. anon
    March 9, 2008, 1:00 pm

    Uri Avnery Gush-Shalom 8.3.08

    I WAS reminded this week of the old tale about a Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar`s army against the Turks.

    `Don`t exert yourself too much,` she admonishes him, `Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…`

    `But mother,` he exclaims, `What if the Turk kills me?`

    `Kill you?` she cries out, `Why? What have you done to him?`

    This is not a joke (and this is not a week for jokes). It is a lesson in psychology. I was reminded of it when I read Ehud Olmert`s statement that more than anything else he was furious about the outburst of joy in Gaza after the attack in Jerusalem, in which eight yeshiva students were killed.

    Before that, last weekend, the Israeli army killed 120 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them civilians, among them dozens of children. That was not `kill a Turk and rest`. That was `kill a hundred Turks and rest`. But Olmert does not understand.

    THE FIVE-DAY WAR in Gaza (as a Hamas leader called it) was but another short chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. This bloody monster is never satisfied, its appetite just grows with the eating.

    This chapter started with the `targeted liquidation` of five senior militants inside the Gaza Strip. The `response` was a salvo of rockets, and this time not only on Sderot, but also on Ashkelon and Netivot. The `response` to the `response` was the army`s incursion and the wholesale killing.

    The stated aim was, as always, to stop the launching of the rockets. The means: killing a maximum of Palestinians, in order to teach them a lesson. The decision was based on the traditional Israeli concept: hit the civilian population again and again, until it overthrows its leaders. This has been tried hundreds of times and has failed hundreds of times.

    link to kibush.co.il

  5. Ed.
    March 9, 2008, 2:48 pm

    The comments on this thread are interesting. Most of us agree that Zionism is beyond the pale, but what is Zionism? It is Jewish nationalism, and at its core, racist tribalism.

    But it is not just Europeans who have historically been guilty of racist tribalism, it is virtually every self-identified ethnic group in the history of the world, and nearly all have been murderous at one time or another.

    What makes Zionism different is its sense of entitlement: not only is it entitled to be racist, but it is entitled to murder those in its way, and it is entitled to receive financing from other nations to underwrite its murderous racism, and it is entitled to have the US veto resolutions of condemnation at the UN, etc, etc.

    British colonialists suffered from a similar smug sense of entitlement, but they didn't ask others to finance their Empire. They financed it themselves, often through plunder, but plunder they fought for.

    No, I see this sense of entitlement as peculiarly Jewish, probably originally Ashkenazi Jewish, (the overwhelming majority in Europe and America) but it has obviously spread to most Jews in Israel of all backgrounds. Does the sense of pathological entitlement spring from religious doctrine, from Zionists doctrine, from nature or nurture? I suppose all of that is up for debate, but what is no longer debatable, at least in my mind, is that a pathological sense of entitlement is a problem in the Jewish community.

  6. Richard Witty
    March 9, 2008, 2:55 pm

    "I hope I can hold on to my compassion."

    Do it. Don't allow yourself distractions.

  7. Landis
    March 9, 2008, 3:30 pm

    Ed (or Chris Moore if that is your name) – Don't you ever grow tired of Manichean thinking?
    You post your vile demonizations of Jews here every day multiple times a day. We get it. You are a bigot and you hate Jews. You are also a distraction to those of us who want to find a way out of this wilderness and are not interested in demonizing one group or another. Seriously, wouldn't you be more at home at Stormfront.org or a similar sort of website forum?

  8. Richard Witty
    March 9, 2008, 3:44 pm

    For your friends that strike you as naively innocent.

    Certainly, everyone has seen or read the news, the pictures of hurt Lebanese, of hurt Gazans, also of hurt Israelis.

    While some may not use the term "cycle of violence", most understand the phenomena as a series of escalations, each pretending to themselves to be a communication, but ultimately not communicating with the other.

    The difference in my math has been knowledge of the history from multiple perspectives. It allows me to understand most conclusions and positions, and fill in gaps where I have the opportunity to.

    One advantage with talking to people one on one, is that it is possible to state "I thought similarly, but my thinking changed when I learned x". Its not intimidating, not requiring perfection, a learning process.

    In public forum, the dynamics of power prevail, and the distractions from candor and learning.

    Propaganda as propaganda, stacked rooms, walls with ears (everything nakedly in the public record, for those of us that are courageous enough to use our real names), and the negativist approach to argument (finding the irritations, the flaws, rather than respectfully taking in the gist).

  9. Jim Haygood
    March 9, 2008, 3:59 pm

    .

    When the hortatory going gets tough, Witty's prose fractures into an colorful amorphous sparkle of abstractions.

    I think a "No" will mean a "Yes" but it's all wrong. That is, I think I disagree.

  10. Crimson Ghost
    March 9, 2008, 4:02 pm

    Zionist "peace" group condemns Jerusalem killings as "genocide" but implicitly approves the slaughter in Gaza.

    NAZI PHDs FOR PEACE mourn death of ubermenschen

    Scholars for Peace In the Middle East Condemns Genocidal Acts At Yeshivas Mercaz Harav and Calls For War Crimes Trials For Genocidal Acts

    03.06.2008 | Spme.net
    By Edward S. Beck, President, SPME

    March 6, 2008 For Immediate Release

    In response to the cold-blooded murders at the Yeshiva Mercaz Harav in Jerusalem, the Board of Directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, on behalf of its nearly 20,000 participant faculty network at over 1500 colleges and universities around the world, wishes to express its condolences to the mourners of the victims and to the community of educators in which we are all bound together in the common goals to to both educate and enlighten.

    The deliberate attack on this venerable institution of Jewish learning, a sacred seminary, cannot be interpreted as anything but an over act of premeditated, genocidal anti-Semitism not dissimilar from the acts of pogroms in Eastern Europe and Nazi SS raids on Jewish communities in Western Europe. Jews were killed simply because they were Jewish.

    In no way can this be interpreted as an act of political liberation or of Palestinian self-determination and if the Palestinians insist that it is, then it must be interpreted as nothing less than an act of war against Jews and not just Israel.

    Seminaries, synagogues and schools are meant to be solemn sanctuaries where scholarship, knowledge and learning is conducted in a safe and secure environment. When any school is violated with violence, there can be no justification for such actions and when those who attend a house of spiritual learning are violently violated in their sanctuary, such an action must be condemned in the strongest of terms.

    We urge those who read this statement to urge their governments, especially those who are members states of the United Nations Security Council to call for an immediate pressing of war crimes charges of genocide against those who continue to perpetuate these genocidal acts upon innocent civilians.

    Furthermore, we support the efforts of the Israeli and Palestinian Authority to work harder and more productively to bring an end to the long-standing conflict, but understand that Israel continues to maintain the right protect its civilians from genocidal attacks.

    For more information on Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, visit http://www.spme.net or contact [email protected].

    Edward S. Beck Ed.D., CCMHC, NCC, LPC
    Walden University; President, SPME

    Board of Directors

    Jonathan Adelman, Ph.D., University of Denver

    Steven Albert, Ph.D., MPH, University of Pittsburgh

    Brigitte Bailer, Ph.D., Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance and University of Vienna

    Leila Beckwith, MD, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)

    John R. Cohn, MD, Thomas Jefferson University

    Donna Robinson Divine, Ph.D., Smith College

    Stanley Dubinsky, Ph.D., U. of South Carolina

    Awi Federgruen, Ph.D., Columbia U.

    Rev. India E. Garnett, M.Div. Treasurer, Harrisburg PA Chapter, United Church of Christ

    Rabbi Peter Haas, Ph.D. Case Western Reserve U.

    Judith Jacobson, Dr. P.H., Vice President, Columbia U.

    Efraim Karsh, Kings College U. of London

    Matthias Kuentzel, Ph.D., Germany

    Richard Landes,Ph.D. Boston U.

    Ruth Lichtenberg-Contreras, Ph.D., Secretary, U. of Vienna and Natural History Museum of Vienna

    Robert S. Mirin, Esq., Harrisburg, PA

    G.S. Don Morris, Ph.D.,California Polytechnic U./Wingate Institute IL

    Barry Rubin, Ph.D. GLORIA Center, Interdisciplinary College, IL

    Philip Carl Salzman,Ph.D. McGill U.

    Ernest Sternberg, Ph.D. U. of Buffalo

    • Visit Scholars For Peace in the Middle East website http://www.spme.net

  11. samuel burke
    March 9, 2008, 4:55 pm

    israel is a miserable failure, the zionist experiment is a crime against humanity, the innocent jews of europe bemoan when the world turned their backs on them during the european battle between international communism and national socialism but today they are complicit with the zionist in israel in turning their backs on the crimes against palestinians.

    the german nazi officers and the leaders of zionism are a reflection of each other, careless men who have no respect for human life.

    americas zionist jews are duplicitous conmen who have forced their will on our military through the press and through the braintrusts that create what passes for intelligent thought in washington via the thinktanks and the op-ed liars in the press who pass on these lies to us.

    dual nationality has been called treason in the past.
    how can you guys condone the crimes of israel in good conscience, how can you justify what the zionist have done to the palestinian arabs for lo on now 60 years.

    justify aways you blind leaders of the blind, the pit is straight ahead and you and your followers will both fall headlong into it.

  12. The Sword Of Gideon
    March 9, 2008, 5:00 pm

    Sam:
    Take a valium.

  13. Charles Keating
    March 9, 2008, 5:17 pm

    I used my real name when I started to post on Phil's blog. My only intent was to ask questions and give thoughts, to the best of my medicore ability. I've tried to do the required homework; and I do get continually schooled, either for or against my thoughts at any given time. Witty uses his real name, as does Phil. I respect that, though I seem to disagree with Witty's characterizations and abstractions quite a lot. In contrast, Phil's observations seem to me very insightful. I think both of them are trying to understand. Many of Ed's comments are also very insightful. I don't think, if you go over them through the threads
    on the blog, it is objective to characterize his approach as a black and white one–in many ways, I see his comments and Witty's as mirror images. In short, I think they each contribute here from their respective POVs.

  14. Charles Keating
    March 9, 2008, 5:29 pm

    RE: "I might identify with my family as "my people" but I don't identify with all gentiles or all Christians as my people. –American

    It does seem, as American concludes, the history of victim, from biblical times to this day, is the cement. If not, what is? I wonder if Phil ever talked to his wife about how she feels about her attachment, if any, to her ethnic roots and their past. History of any given people gets harder to decipher by their own when they
    (as a group, not always individually) have power. It falls into sects, class, influence, etc. I think Phil shows he is strugging with this very issue, both as an American and as a Jew–with the Shoah & the Nuremberg Trials never far away in memory.

  15. peanut
    March 9, 2008, 6:47 pm

    "Witty's prose fractures into an colorful amorphous sparkle of abstractions."

    I've been wondering about the amorpousness occasionally lately.

    It he must be overwrought. He has to keep producing a parallel text to Phil's and at the same time perform an elaborate invocation ritual to save Phil's soul.

  16. Ed.
    March 9, 2008, 8:51 pm

    You post your vile demonizations of Jews here every day multiple times a day. We get it. You are a bigot and you hate Jews…
    Posted by: Landis | March 09, 2008 at 12:30 PM

    This is typical of Jewish Zionists: hiding behind all Jews, ie criticism of Jewish Zionists or Ashkenazi Jews disposed to warped thought patterns makes someone a "bigot" attacking all Jews.

    "You are also a distraction to those of us who want to find a way out of this wilderness and are not interested in demonizing one group or another."

    Jewish Zionists and their left-liberal and Christian Zionist sympathizers don't want to find a way out of the wilderness, they want to enable the continuation of their decades-long dysfunctional behavior indefinitely. Attempting to intimidate or suppress free speech by shouting anti-Semitism is one of the ways they go about that. Politically correct speech, which you seem to be hankering for, has accomplished nothing and actually enabled their attrocities for decades.

    "wouldn't you be more at home at Stormfront.org or a similar sort of website forum?"

    Wouldn't you be more at home in Israel, where the internet is now being censored and your sensitive ears wouldn't have be subjected to hard truths and realities? I understand that free speech is a difficult concept for Jewish authoritarians to comprehend, but it is (for the time being at least) still a reality in America.

    PS: To you and all the other whiny little left-liberals and Jewish Zionist sympathizers out there: Phil is the proprietor of this site and can ban me at any time he likes; I encourage you to email him asking him to do so if it is that important to you. Until them, quite your effeminate whining. The days where Zionists are shielded from long overdue tough criticism are quickly coming to an end. I'm just the tip of the iceburg. Get used to it.

  17. paul malfara
    March 9, 2008, 10:17 pm

    To Richard Witty (and everyone who is interested in peace and truth),

    "One advantage with talking to people one on one, is that it is possible to state "I thought similarly, but my thinking changed when I learned x". Its not intimidating, not requiring perfection, a learning process."

    Khaled Meshaal has a one-on-one message for you. Listen to him and think about what he says. He seems to make a lot of sense. If the US Mainstream Media played this interview, perhaps the American sheeple would begin to think…for themselves.
    Don't dismiss him out of hand because he's on the other side, Richard, like you usually do. Listen to his message. I'd like to hear your response.

    Part One

    link to tw.youtube.com

    Part Two

    link to tw.youtube.com

    PM

  18. Charles Keating
    March 9, 2008, 10:20 pm

    "Sam:
    Take a valium."

    I'd actually be a lot happier if Sam would take the whole bottle. Ideally with a liter of vodka . . .

  19. paul malfara
    March 9, 2008, 10:36 pm

    "Witty's prose fractures into an colorful amorphous sparkle of abstractions."

    Richard,

    If you really believe your words as pasted below…

    "The difference in my math has been knowledge of the history from multiple perspectives. It allows me to understand most conclusions and positions, and fill in gaps where I have the opportunity to.

    One advantage with talking to people one on one, is that it is possible to state "I thought similarly, but my thinking changed when I learned x". Its not intimidating, not requiring perfection, a learning process."

    …I urge you to take a listen to the following interview for one of the "multiple perspectives" that you seem to ignore or debase at every opportunity.
    Khaled Meshaal has a "one to one" message to you, the American people, the world. We would all do well to listen to him. I would go as far to say that if the Mainstream Media in the US played this interview every night for a month, the US sheeple might start to think for themselves.

    Part 1:
    link to tw.youtube.com
    Part 2:
    link to tw.youtube.com

    PM

  20. Bantam
    March 9, 2008, 10:58 pm

    Excuse me Landis,but doesn't your unsubstantiated,hate-filled attack on Ed rather demonstrate he's right on target?

  21. Richard Witty
    March 9, 2008, 11:09 pm

    Thanks for the reference to the video.

    I think you are in error on the reaction of rational people to Meshal.

    He assumes that the other is entirely to blame for the conflict, which is unreasonable.

    A responsible leader would inquire as to "what have I done to contribute to the devastation of those that I love".

    And, a free community would ask, "what has the leadership done to contribute to our well-being".

    The martial "you cannot weaken Hamas' resolve" is the expression of a war-mongering approach. If he accompanied that with "we DESIRE to reconcile with Israel for the purpose of accomplishing realization of a Palestinian state within the 67 borders", he would have more success.

    And, he would expose his people to far far less suffering.

  22. The Sword Of Gideon
    March 9, 2008, 11:21 pm

    Ed:
    "Effeminate whining" I'm truly wounded by that one you scum sucking Jew baiting piece of shit. Is that really the best you can do.

  23. Jim Haygood
    March 10, 2008, 8:48 am

    .

    "[Witty] must be overwrought. He has to keep producing a parallel text to Phil's and at the same time perform an elaborate invocation ritual to save Phil's soul."

    Dammit, peanut! You made me spit coffee on the computer screen. LOL!!

  24. paul malfara
    March 10, 2008, 11:34 pm

    Richard,

    Every statement you make in your response to Mehaal rings EVEN TRUER for Olmert, Barak, etc.

    PM

  25. Charles Keating
    March 11, 2008, 11:52 am

    RE Ed: "Phil is the proprietor of this site and can ban me at any time he likes; I encourage you to email him asking him to do so if it is that important to you. Until them, quite your effeminate whining. The days where Zionists are shielded from long overdue tough criticism are quickly coming to an end. I'm just the tip of the iceburg. Get used to it."

    "Ed: 'Effeminate whining' I'm truly wounded by that one you scum sucking Jew baiting piece of shit. Is that really the best you can do."–The Sword Of Gideon

    The Titanic slips on, headed for the tip of the iceberg. If it wants a savior, look to Phil, not the really limp sword of Gideon. He's just a joke–like an old Hollywood sword n sandals movie starring the beating breast of Victor Mature and his thigh tan lines.

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