Slater says Jewish state is warranted by likelihood of recurrence of anti-Semitism

Israel/Palestine
on 113 Comments

Jerome Slater has a provocative post saying that Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state is not a deal-breaker. Weiss has pulled out a portion of his analysis, in which he seeks to answer the charge that a Jewish state discriminates racially and he argues for the need for a Jewish state:

In the last few months, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government have demanded that the Palestinians formally recognize Israel as a “Jewish State.” Depending on the latest iteration, this new demand has been presented either as a precondition for negotiations over a two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or as a necessary component of such a settlement. The demand has been strongly rejected by leading Palestinian officials: Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, Nabil Shaath, the deputy prime minister, and Saab Erekat, the PNA’s chief negotiator have all said that while the Israelis can call their state whatever they want, the Palestinians will “never” recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Most of my liberal Jewish colleagues and other critics of Israeli policies also oppose the Israeli demand….

Is the Demand for a Jewish State Racist? In a famous or infamous 1975 resolution (later revoked in 1991), the UN General Assembly stated that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” Aside from its political stupidity, that argument is untrue on the merits. To be sure, it is evident that many Israelis have racist attitudes towards Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular. Still, it is important to distinguish between Zionism in principle and its increasing corruption in practice, and to consider whether Zionism and the demand for a Jewish state is inherently racist. 

If it is to have any objective meaning, as distinct from being merely an instrument of denunciation, the term “racism” must include the belief that other races or peoples are inferior to one’s own. In that sense, Zionism is not inherently or necessarily racist: the driving force behind the Zionist quest for a Jewish state was not the belief that it was imperative because the Jews were superior but the belief that it was imperative because the Jews were vulnerable. 

Israel today is increasingly compared with South Africa under apartheid, and there are substantial reasons to do so. However, there are also important differences, among other reasons because South African apartheid was inherently racist, based as it was on the belief that whites were superior to blacks and therefore should rule over them, when necessary by great force and violence. Moreover, South Africa could not claim that because whites were vulnerable all over the world, they needed a state of their own.

To reiterate, by any reasonable definition the Israelis have become increasingly racist. Even so, the argument for a Jewish state is not racist by its very nature, and even in Israel today the predominant driving force behind the demand for formal Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is not so much racism as it is a consequence of a continuing and probably growing sense of Jewish vulnerability in what is believed to be an inherently anti-Semitic world. Of course, this belief blindly equates opposition to the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians with hatred of Jews as such; nonetheless, however paranoid and mindless, genuine beliefs have real consequences, including consequences that the Palestinians have to take into account.

Zionism and Democracy. Whether or not the Jewish state concept is inherently racist, there is a clear tension between a continuing commitment to a Zionist Jewish state and the requirements of democracy in the context of a substantial non-Jewish minority. This is the most difficult issue for defenders of the Jewish state concept, for once the tension between Zionism and democracy is acknowledged, as it must be, the issue of whether Zionism was ever justified or at least is justified today, is unavoidable. 

In thinking about this issue, it is important to distinguish between anti-Zionism and “post-Zionism.” Anti-Zionism usually entails the belief that the state of Israel should never have been created–though except for a handful of well-known crazies it does not include opposition to the continued “existence” of that state and its people, despite disingenuous or hysterical Israeli claims and propaganda. Post-Zionism accepts the need for the creation of a Jewish state in the past but holds that Israel today should no longer be regarded as a Jewish state, as opposed to the state of all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike; indeed, some post-Zionists accept the full logic of their position, in the sense that they would be prepared to accept an Israel in which Jews eventually might become a minority.

It is my view that in light of the long history of anti-Semitism, often murderous anti-Semitism, few if any other nationalist movements have had a more convincing claim to an imperative need for a state of their own than Jewish nationalism, or Zionism. Thus, the anti-Zionist argument, as applied to the founding of Israel, is quite unpersuasive. Post-Zionism today is another matter; even so, in the final analysis it is not convincing, for on what basis can one be confident that anti-Semitism will never again make life difficult—or impossible—for Jews anywhere in the world? 

For that reason I cannot agree with my estimable colleague Tony Karon, who writes: 

“The majority of the world’s Jews have not claimed a right to self-determination as Jews. On the contrary, we’re very happy that anti-Semitism in the West has been marginalized to the point that we can freely integrate ourselves into the democratic societies in which we’ve chosen to live….most young Jews in the West today are not assuming that their gentile neighbors are going to turn on them.”

True enough—today. However, go back to the 1920s and substitute the word “Germany” for “the West.” 

In short, it is historically short-sighted to be confident that the problem of anti-Semitism– a problem that has repeatedly and with disastrous consequences recurred for more than two thousand years–has now been solved and will not reappear in the future, anywhere. Nor is it necessary to cite the Holocaust to cast doubt on the End of History assumptions implicit in post Zionism–in the last thirty years there has been considerable Ethiopian and massive Russian Jewish immigration into Israel in order to escape growing anti-Semitism and persecution in those countries. In that light, the case for a continued Zionism and the need for a Jewish state remains a reasonably strong one. 

All that said, there is no denying that there is inherent tension between the requirements of Zionism and the requirements of democracy, a tension that already is a problem in Israel today and one that could become far more acute to the degree that the Israeli Arab minority becomes larger or increasingly alienated from the Jewish majority. While it is not only the size of the minority that matters, it is worthwhile to consider that issue: if the Israeli Arab minority should become substantially larger, would the tension between a Jewish state and a democratic one become irresolvable? 

Perhaps surprisingly, Moshe Arens, one of Israel’s most prominent rightwing politicians, has addressed this issue in an interesting and forthright manner:

“Most Israelis are determined to assure the state’s Jewish character…while respecting its Arab citizens. We insist on continuing the mission that the Jewish state has set for itself of providing a haven for those Jews throughout the world who may need one. What happened during the Holocaust can never be allowed to happen again. This requires a substantial Jewish majority.” 

“How big a majority? That’s a question that needs to be pondered. Is the present 80 percent Jewish majority sufficient? Would a reduction to a 70 percent Jewish majority be a catastrophe? Is it solely a question of numbers or is it also a function of the degree to which Israel’s minority population has been integrated into Israeli society?”

As implied in Arens’ argument– but not sufficiently emphasized–the degree of tension between two legitimate goals, a Jewish but still democratic state, depends not only on the size of the minority but also whether it is satisfied to continue to live in a Jewish state. Today the Arab minority is about 20% of the Israeli population; to some degree it is integrated into the fabric of Israeli life (although, of course, not equally so) and to some degree–apparently increasing–it is at odds with it. / In the context of an overall peace settlement with the Palestinians and the Arab world—readily attainable if only the Israelis would agree to it—the size of the minority might well decrease rather than increase because of the likelihood of some voluntary emigration of Israeli Palestinians into a full Palestinian state, especially if it becomes a political and economic success.

Perhaps more importantly, if Israel finally makes good on its commitment to full equality and rights for all its citizens, the “demographic problem,” to employ the Israeli euphemism, would likely become increasingly less important as non-Jewish citizens become fully integrated into the Israeli political system, economy, society, and culture.

113 Responses

  1. Shingo
    November 16, 2010, 4:10 pm

    “Still, it is important to distinguish between Zionism in principle and its increasing corruption in practice, and to consider whether Zionism and the demand for a Jewish state is inherently racist.”

    This is the same pathetic argument Witty presentd time and time against. Slater wants us to overlook Isrel’s racism because according to him, Zionism wasn’t intended to turn out that way.

    Of coure, that too is a lie. Even Hertzl was cycnical and honest enough to admit that Zionism could exloit anti Semtisim to achieve it’s aims. Therefore, Zionism set out to exploit racism from the beginning.

    Of course, how could any state that indentifies as belonging exclusively to an ethnic group not be racist, and how could the ideology behind it not be racist?

    “Moreover, South Africa could not claim that because whites were vulnerable all over the world, they needed a state of their own”

    Another lie. If Jews were vulnerable all over the world, the majority would not chose to live outside of Israel.

    “Even so, the argument for a Jewish state is not racist by its very nature, and even in Israel today the predominant driving force behind the demand for formal Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is not so much racism as it is a consequence of a continuing and probably growing sense of Jewish vulnerability in what is believed to be an inherently anti-Semitic world.”

    Clearly a fasle statement on it’s face. The growing sense of Jewish vulnerability is one that is fostered by the Zionist movement, because it is self serving. It would be like arguing that it didn;t matter that Iraq had no WMD, the Americans were tright to ionvade because there was a belief that he had WMD, factgs be damned.

    Throughout this thesis, Slater does not once mention anything about the occupation. It’s as though it doesn’t exist, hence, he makes a great effort to articulate the case for recogtion of Israel as a Jewish satte without actualyl commiting to defining where the borders of that state would be.

    Abbas put it best when he said that as long as Israel returns to and remains without the 1967 border, it can call itself anything it wants.

  2. potsherd
    November 16, 2010, 4:43 pm

    If Zionism simply meant a Jewish state, anywhere, Slater might have a better point. But Zionism has meant, almost uniformly, a Jewish-majority state in Palestine, and that necessarily means the expulsion of the Palestinian population that was living there already, before the Zionist project was conceived.

    And this is absolutely is racist. It says that the two peoples are unequal in their claim to the same land, and the one people has the right to expel the other and to repress by force the remnant. By Slater’s own definition, this is racism.

    • hophmi
      November 16, 2010, 6:35 pm

      “And this is absolutely is racist. It says that the two peoples are unequal in their claim to the same land, and the one people has the right to expel the other and to repress by force the remnant. By Slater’s own definition, this is racism.”

      So by staking claims to Alsace-Lorraine early in the 20th century, is it your contention that the Germans and French were guilty of racism toward one another?

      • Bumblebye
        November 16, 2010, 7:03 pm

        Stop being daft – Israel wants sovereignty over land without its non-Jewish people. Your example was squabbles over territory AND people.

      • hophmi
        November 17, 2010, 1:27 am

        Israel has Jewish people, Christian people, Muslim people, and lots of other people. This, like that, is a land conflict. And there is no element of racism, as Slater said. You simply don’t understand what racism is, because like a lot of other terms, you’re too busy throwing it around.

      • Shingo
        November 17, 2010, 1:40 am

        “This, like that, is a land conflict. And there is no element of racism, as Slater said.”

        The land conflict is based on racism you idiot. The argument is about which ethnicity has rights to it.

        “You simply don’t understand what racism is, because like a lot of other terms, you’re too busy throwing it around.”

        Racists shouldn’t be trying to define what racism is Hophmi.

        It’s best you sit this one out.

      • potsherd
        November 16, 2010, 7:09 pm

        Hophmi, the dispute between Germany and France was nationalist. The question was which state was to be sovereign over the territory, not what people would live there. The local population was not expelled, only transfered to different rule.

      • Citizen
        November 17, 2010, 6:44 am

        Postherd is right. A-L has been a border region subject to ownership/control dispute between G & F ever since the erosion of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1871, the region consisted of 93% of Alsace (7% remained French) and 26% of Lorraine (74% remained French). There’s no reasonable comparison with the World Jewish claim resting on biblical times and the very sparse Jewish % of the Mandate population at the time of the Balfour Declaration and for decades thereafter.

      • LeaNder
        November 17, 2010, 7:37 am

        What do you know about the history of Alsace Lorraine, hopmi. What about the origins of the conflict about that part of central Europe? And why do you think it matters or can be compared to the conflict between Israelis/Zionists and Palestinians?

  3. Diane Mason
    November 16, 2010, 4:45 pm

    the argument for a Jewish state is not racist by its very nature

    Perhaps not, if we’re theorizing about a Jewish state being established somewhere where it didn’t affect the rights of non-Jews. But the Jewish state wasn’t built in theory, it was built in Palestine, where the overwhelmingly (96%) non-Jewish preexisting population meant that the only way to create and maintain a Jewish state was – and is – by expelling and disenfranchising the majority population who happen to have the “wrong” ethnic-religious background. So what does his argument boil down to? “Zionism: not racist if you can imagine it existing in some way other than it exists in real life!”. What kind of argument is that?

    • Mooser
      November 16, 2010, 6:40 pm

      Just by calling itself “The Jewish State” it affects the rights of non-Jews.

      • eljay
        November 16, 2010, 6:53 pm

        >> Just by calling itself “The Jewish State” it affects the rights of non-Jews.

        But…but…RW swears that with “enough Zionism”, everything will be happy and fine! Mind you, I don’t think he clarified exactly for whom it will be happy and fine…

        Darn those “humanists” – they’re so sly! ;-)

      • Citizen
        November 17, 2010, 6:52 am

        Wonder what a self-proclaimed “Gypsy State” would be like? Do they harbor a nationalist movement? Do they deserve a state of their own? Haven’t they been picked on for centuries, and discriminated against? And weren’t they right up there at the top with the Jews on the Nazi extermination priority list? I once had a half-gypsy girlfriend in Chicago who thought so.

  4. Sin Nombre
    November 16, 2010, 4:45 pm

    I find this appalling. Simply appalling.

    If the requisite number of Americans—which includes lots of descendants of European Christians who fled here to escape what, in Slater’s words would be “murderous” communist anti-Christianism—tried to amend the Constitution so as to designate the U.S. as a “Christian” state—which would be perfectly within their right, Slater I suspect would be screaming bloody murder about how fascist this country was. Just as if same was tried in Russia, or Poland, or the Ukraine or damn near any other European country with any significant number of jews in same.

    But, apparently, Slater has never heard of the Gulag, nor what happened to the (overwhelmingly Christian) peasants in the Ukraine. No, only one people in the world have ever been really sinned against apparently Slater’s world.

    Moreover, the real stigmata showing that Slater is not just going wrong here but just doing the same old “special pleading” (using the Holocaust, not surprisingly), comes when one reads his incredible piece with the question in mind of how in the hell can anyone expect the Palestinians to so recognize Israel when no one knows what the hell it means? What, the arabs—and indeed perhaps everyone else in the world too in Slater’s mind—are in just such an inferior position that they just have to sign whatever Israel wants that isn’t even defined? Calling Rabbi Yusef!

    Because what does Slater say here if, say, it means a negation of the right of return? Oh, gee “there is no need to puzzle over this issue, since there is no chance whatever that Israel will agree to it.”

    In other words, of *course*—in Slater’s world—Israel has the right to decide that *already.* (Which then logically means it could also define what it’s asking anyway it wants in the future too.)

    And then, one might ask … well gee, what about the idea that recognizing Israel as “a jewish state” might be used against Israel’s own *already existing* arab or non-jewish population? E.g., may even be used later to say that it allows the expulsion/ethnic cleansing of same? What does Mr. Slater say to this?

    Well, aha, even though he admits (in the most delicate manner possible) that Israel has violated its own founding Declaration by already serially and institutionally discriminating against its own arab citizens, gee, he says … they would be protected by Israel once again merely agreeing not to continue to do so! (Which of course you’d first have to get Israel to even agree to, which would be meaningless since it’s already serially and institutionally violated the same pledge already.)

    But further, Slater says, if there’s a “real” peace, well then too despite that serial and institutional discrimination those Israeli arab citizens should be confident that somehow, someway, for some reason Israel will then feel more comfortable no longer discriminating against them.

    And then, to top it all off and so once more going back to his default position that Israel itself should always be able to determine everything, what more does Slater say for these Israeli arabs? Ah … “what is the alternative?” E.g., apparently, if Israel wants to just go and take ‘em by cattle car over the border ah well….

    Hey, Mr. Slater, here’s an alternative: Israel, which says it’s a liberal Western democratic country sharing liberal Western democratic values (that you hold against the West all the time, vociferously), doesn’t get recognized as “the jewsh state” or “a jewish state.” That the Palestinians and other arab countries and indeed especially the U.S. *doesn’t* recognize so recognize Israel. That, contrary to your express apparent desire, Israel doesn’t get to determine what everyone else in the goddamn world does, period.

    Stop the special pleading for the obvious double standard, dude. It is obvious.

    • Citizen
      November 17, 2010, 7:02 am

      Chicken, egg, tautology. Israel needs to be a Jewish State because it is the only safe haven for Jews born and bred anywhere now and for eternity. Since there is always the possibility that any advanced country might redo the German thing some day in the future, including the USA, Israel must always be able to do whatever it feels it needs to do to assure its survival as a Jewish State. The only possible alternative would be to exterminate all the gentiles who are en masse born with morally defective DNA when it comes to Jews. Now, Gentiles, is that too much to ask for?

  5. mok
    November 16, 2010, 5:08 pm

    I don’t get this sudden demand to be recognised as a Jewish state, it’s a red herring: Israel OKs another 8,000 Ethiopian immigrants—but these may be the last – JTA, November 16, 2010

    As for the Jewish-state-does-not-equal-racist-state argument, Haaretz reports: “If there is no justification for bringing the Falashmura here, why is Israel doing it, despite the considerable social and economic costs involved? If, alternatively, they are entitled to Israeli citizenship, why set a quota? For citizens of what other country has Israel ever set an immigration quota? Indeed, this smacks of pure racism.

    The argument that zionism was formed with good intentions but has become corrupted over time may have its merits, but the real question is if Ethiopian Jewish communities are barred from aliyah then what is Israel? Is it a Jewish state, or a zionist state or is it a democratic state? With each governing coalition changing the country’s image, seems to me that Israel is a bit like Madonna: doesn’t quite know what it is.

    • hophmi
      November 16, 2010, 6:37 pm

      “As for the Jewish-state-does-not-equal-racist-state argument, Haaretz reports: “If there is no justification for bringing the Falashmura here, why is Israel doing it, despite the considerable social and economic costs involved? If, alternatively, they are entitled to Israeli citizenship, why set a quota? For citizens of what other country has Israel ever set an immigration quota? Indeed, this smacks of pure racism.“

      And the Arab states, who won’t let any of them in at all?

      • potsherd
        November 16, 2010, 7:14 pm

        What should the Arab states admit Ethiopians, who don’t want to go there? Are you of the opinion that the entire population of North Africa is Arab?

        The real question is: what is the difference between Ethiopians and any other Jews? Why are Ethiopian Jews subject to a quota when Israel invites every French Jew to immigrate? The only answer is racism.

      • eljay
        November 16, 2010, 7:20 pm

        >> And the Arab states, who won’t let any of them in at all?

        I love this stuff. Defenders Of Israel detest comparisons with “the Arab states”, but whenever Israel is caught with its pants down, the first thing they do is compare it to “the Arab states”. Seriously, if Israel is supposed to be a superior, Western-style democratic state, judge it as one. And, if you do, you’ll see that it fails miserably.

        Oh, right, “but what about ‘the Arab states’…”

        What a joke.

      • hophmi
        November 17, 2010, 1:28 am

        Glad to compare Israel’s record on refugees to any Arab state. You guys will apologize for dictatorship until the cows come home. Go ahead, keep whining your heads off.

      • Shingo
        November 17, 2010, 1:38 am

        “Glad to compare Israel’s record on refugees to any Arab state.”

        Really. How many Arab states have created 4 million refugees other than Israel and Iraq (thanks to the US)?

      • mok
        November 17, 2010, 2:09 am

        Ok Hophmi, let’s begin with Palestinian refugees. Please compare Israel’s record to any Arab state you wish on this subject.

      • potsherd
        November 17, 2010, 5:55 am

        Hophmi, Falashmura aren’t refugees, they’re attempting to exercise their self-determination as Jews by immigrating to the “Jewish state.” Your comments about the Arab states are irrelevant, just a smokescreen to mask Israeli racism against dark-skinned Jews.

        You always raise these screens when the facts of Israeli evils are undeniable. “The Arab states are worse, so why do you criticize Israel?” So if some mental patient on the streets is sleeping in his own shit, do you stop taking a shower, just because someone else smells worse?

      • Citizen
        November 17, 2010, 7:09 am

        I don’t recall any Americans ever being taught or found believing that any Arab state is democratic or otherwise shares American values. Any help those crown kingdoms get from America is purely because we love their oil. It’s not for nothing that the CIA installed the tyrant Shah of Iran to prevent a more democratic Iran from turning over control of Iran’s oil to the Iranian people as a whole.

      • andrew r
        November 19, 2010, 1:39 pm

        If you don’t like Israel’s neighbors, move Israel somewhere else.

      • hophmi
        November 19, 2010, 2:15 pm

        Yeah, the Arabs love refugees. That’s why they have such a great record on the Sudanese.

  6. MHughes976
    November 16, 2010, 5:22 pm

    Slater’s basic premise, that Jewish people are – by way of an essential characteristic – vulnerable, to the point of being at risk of mass murder, presupposes that Jewish and non-Jewish people form objectively different groups, with inherently different moralities, and furthermore implies that non-Jewish people are not to be trusted. Their untrustworthiness is at the heart of the argument, the logical counterpart of the others’ vulnerability.
    I think it obvious that this implication implies moral inferiority on grounds of race. This is not – not!! – a form of belief in racial equality.
    The evil in non-Jewish people is supposed to lie so deep – we can never, ever fully trust you; your behaviour has made you unacceptable to us; you cannot change; the problem you pose cannot be solved – that the theory becomes one of the most racist ever imagined. I grieve and mourn to read it, all the more because of the deceptive tone of moderation and regret.
    I beseech people to reconsider the belief that a state based on racial separation might have been acceptable but for the unfortunate (ie in some sense accidental) fact that another ‘people’ happened to get in the way. The idea is all wrong not just in all the circumstances but in all circumstances.

    • hophmi
      November 16, 2010, 6:40 pm

      “The evil in non-Jewish people is supposed to lie so deep – we can never, ever fully trust you; your behaviour has made you unacceptable to us; you cannot change; the problem you pose cannot be solved – that the theory becomes one of the most racist ever imagined”

      What planet are you living on? The one where Jews have been treated with kid gloves throughout history, apparently.

      Jews didn’t wake up one day and decide that they could not trust Christian society. They were massacred and expelled over and over again, and after the Enlightenment, were massacred with greater efficiency.

      Therefore, we Jews have decided not to trust gentiles to take care of us. No one said gentiles were evil. It is just that they have a really bad track record. The Gentiles have had plenty of chances.

      • Shingo
        November 16, 2010, 7:06 pm

        “Therefore, we Jews have decided not to trust gentiles to take care of us.”

        What do you mean by “we Jews”. Apparently more than half of you refuse to migrate to Israel.

        “It is just that they have a really bad track record. The Gentiles have had plenty of chances.”

        So it’s time to punish the ones that are easy pickings right Hophmi?

      • hophmi
        November 17, 2010, 1:29 am

        You think that because Jews live outside of Israel, it’s the same as trusting the Gentiles?

        You just don’t get it, and you don’t want to get it.

        Enjoy your world of ignorance.

      • Shingo
        November 17, 2010, 1:37 am

        “You think that because Jews live outside of Israel, it’s the same as trusting the Gentiles?”

        No, it means that because the majority of Jews live outside of Israel, it’s means Jews are not in any danger

        “Enjoy your world of ignorance.”

        Enjoy your world of perpetual victim hood.

      • hophmi
        November 19, 2010, 2:16 pm

        “No, it means that because the majority of Jews live outside of Israel, it’s means Jews are not in any danger.”

        So, by your logic, since most Jews lived outside of Israel in 1933, it meant that the Jews were not in any danger.

      • potsherd
        November 16, 2010, 7:16 pm

        The Palestinians are learning not to let gentiles take care of them, too. Particularly the US gentiles.

      • Donald
        November 16, 2010, 8:52 pm

        “Jews didn’t wake up one day and decide that they could not trust Christian society. They were massacred and expelled over and over again, and after the Enlightenment, were massacred with greater efficiency.”

        Before the Enlightenment there simply wasn’t much notion of religious equality as we understand it. Minority groups have been persecuted and mistreated and even slaughtered at every point, in Western society and in the rest of the world and Jews for most of those 2000 years are hardly unique in their suffering as a minority group. How many Cathars do you see today? And are we supposed to think that if Jews had been the majority group their record would have been better? Israel’s history doesn’t suggest so. I’m not saying Israel’s record is comparable to the worst episodes of anti-semitism, because it isn’t, but it looks rather like a typical example of a colonial conquest state, where the outsiders come in, take the land, and treat the native peoples as inferiors.

        The Holocaust is of course one of the greatest atrocities in history, but Hitler also had big plans for slaughtering tens of millions of Slavs if he had won–the lesson here is not to trust totalitarian leaders of any sort, communist and fascist alike. And the overall lesson is simple–work for a world where no group should fear persecution, where every nation treats all of its citizens equally no matter what their religion or ethnicity.

        Or we can live in a world where groups distrust each other for all time and where each religious or ethnic group sees itself as pure and the rest as inherently villainous. That’ll work out great.

        “No one said gentiles were evil. It is just that they have a really bad track record. The Gentiles have had plenty of chances.”

        No one said that white Americans were evil. It’s just that they have a really bad track record. White Americans have had plenty of chances.

        Black people who say such things are usually regarded as going over-the-top into reverse racism. One can discuss the long history of white racism in this country without somehow lumping all whites into a category of forever untrustworthy people. So maybe it’s possible to do the same with “Gentiles”? “Gentile” is one hell of a weird category anyway. You have one small group called “Jews” and the entire rest of the world called “Gentiles” and apparently all stand condemned as potential anti-semites.

      • hophmi
        November 17, 2010, 1:31 am

        I never said all Gentiles are trustworthy. I said they cannot be relied on to protect Jewish rights in countries where they are the majority. If you weren’t so eager to score points against me, you’d see what I’m saying is completely reasonable.

      • Shingo
        November 17, 2010, 1:36 am

        As it turns out, neither can Jews be be relied on to protect rights of non Jews in countries where they are the majority.

      • Sumud
        November 17, 2010, 2:57 am

        Oh irony.

        You tell Bumblebye above he/she doesn’t understand what racism is, then you start spouting racist crap about gentiles…

      • potsherd
        November 17, 2010, 5:45 am

        No, hophmi, what you’re saying is completely dishonest, because you mean by it that Jews have the right to attack and oppress others in “defending their rights.”

      • eljay
        November 17, 2010, 11:00 am

        >> I never said all Gentiles are trustworthy. I said they cannot be relied on to protect Jewish rights in countries where they are the majority. If you weren’t so eager to score points against me, you’d see what I’m saying is completely reasonable.

        Ah, the stupidity of religion, turning people into “Jews” or “Gentiles”, “Christians” or “Heathens”.

        All citizens of a nation – any nation – must enjoy the same rights and the same protection from harm. If Jewish citizens are mistreated, the solution is not to gather them up from around the world, run away to the Middle East, displace an indigenous population and, using mytho-religious justification, create a new “Jewish” nation which then practices the same kind of discrimination and mistreatment on its minorities as was practiced on Jews in some countries.

        The proper solution is to fight for justice and equality for all citizens in the nations of their birth, and for accountability from criminals who persecute minorities.

        Then again, some citizens prefer to be more equal than others, more special than others, more (self-)righteous than others. How dare they be citizens like everyone else.

      • Donald
        November 17, 2010, 11:23 pm

        hophmi, I’m trying to score points for the notions like

        1. All nations should respect the rights of all people equally, regardless of ethnicity or religion

        and

        2. No ethnic group is inherently virtuous or sinful.

        Your notion that Jews can’t trust some amorphous group called “Gentiles” is hard to square with that. What you’re doing (and Slater too) is taking the Holocaust and projecting it backward onto all of history. Yes, there was oppression of Jews before Hitler–2000 years of it, but with the exception of Hitler it really doesn’t look that much different from the record of oppression of other minority groups. In the US, for instance, I’d much rather have been a Jew at any point in our history than a black man.

        And now that Jews have their own state, well, what do you know? It seems like they’re capable of oppression too, just like the rest of humanity. Not a big surprise. So maybe the answer here is to fight prejudice, not portray one group as the eternal victim of the rest of humanity.

      • hophmi
        November 19, 2010, 2:17 pm

        Do you understand what “racist” means? Apparently not.

        Learn my history before you tell me what it is.

      • Chu
        November 19, 2010, 3:41 pm

        “I never said all Gentiles are trustworthy. I said they cannot be relied on to protect Jewish rights in countries where they are the majority. ”

        -light racism indeed…

        revised:
        “I never said all Jews are trustworthy. I said they cannot be relied on to protect minority rights in countries where they are the majority.”

        sound racist to you?

      • MRW
        November 17, 2010, 2:28 am

        Really? What about the 400 years the Jews spent in the Ottoman Empire from 1492 to 1923, helping to run the damn place at the Muslims’ request? Where were the massacres there?

        Massacres in the Netherlands and Amsterdam? When was that?

        Massacres of Jews in the Caribbean and the US, other than Spain coming over to kill them because they were taking Spain’s business away, not because they were Jews? When did the massacre of Jews take place in the US starting in the 1600s? And where?

        Or are you just talking about Eastern Europe?

      • hophmi
        November 19, 2010, 2:25 pm

        “Really? What about the 400 years the Jews spent in the Ottoman Empire from 1492 to 1923, helping to run the damn place at the Muslims’ request? Where were the massacres there?”

        Yes, Jews did well at times under the Ottomans. When I say that the Second World War made it impossible for Jews to be completely at the whim at Gentiles, I did not mean that every country had an extensive history of massacre or that Gentiles were bad. I merely mean that Jews did not control their own destiny, and it cost them many times in history. It takes the most blinkered myopia to not understand why that is. You can criticize Israel all you want, but it should not be at all hard to understand why Zionism came about and why it increased in important for most Jews after the war. This is what I mean when I say anti-Zionism has crossed into antisemitism. Your criticism of Israel and your obsession with killing Zionism has led into distorting and devaluing the Jewish history that led to it.

        The Holocaust came to the Netherlands too, in case you forgot. And no, it means little to me that the murderers were mostly German. The fact is that it happened, and the Dutch didn’t stop it.

      • Citizen
        November 17, 2010, 7:14 am

        The Gentiles have had a really bad track record. The test of virtue is power. By the same reasoning, the state of Israel has had a really bad track record. Why should anyone, especially the Palestinian people, ever trust it?

      • hophmi
        November 19, 2010, 2:27 pm

        “The Gentiles have had a really bad track record. The test of virtue is power. By the same reasoning, the state of Israel has had a really bad track record. Why should anyone, especially the Palestinian people, ever trust it? ”

        Comparing the Gentiles, whose record stretches over millenia, with Israel, which has been around for 63 years, is a little ridiculous.

        But mainly, the Palestinians don’t need to trust Israel. That’s why they want their own state.

      • Antidote
        November 17, 2010, 10:34 am

        “Jews didn’t wake up one day and decide that they could not trust Christian society. They were massacred and expelled over and over again, and after the Enlightenment, were massacred with greater efficiency.

        Therefore, we Jews have decided not to trust gentiles to take care of us. No one said gentiles were evil. It is just that they have a really bad track record. The Gentiles have had plenty of chances.”

        Tiresome rant, as usual, hophmi

        “Palestinians didn’t wake up one day and decide that they could not trust Jews/Zionists. They were massacred and expelled over and over again, and, during Cast Lead, were massacred with greater efficiency.

        Therefore, we Palestinians have decided not to trust Jewish Israelis to take care of us. No one said Jews were evil. It is just that they have a really bad track record. The Zionists have had plenty of chances.”

      • Mooser
        November 17, 2010, 4:22 pm

        Well, as a Jew, I can tell hophmi that I trust Gentiles just as much as I trust Jews.

      • hophmi
        November 19, 2010, 2:29 pm

        “Therefore, we Palestinians have decided not to trust Jewish Israelis to take care of us. No one said Jews were evil. It is just that they have a really bad track record. The Zionists have had plenty of chances.”

        Again, to compare millenia of history with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is beyond ridiculous.

      • Antidote
        November 19, 2010, 4:04 pm

        To say that Jews have been persecuted for millennia is beyond ridiculous. It’s like saying Jewish history contains no white pages, and that they miraculously survived what no other minority group would have survived. Divine protection, no doubt.

  7. Sin Nombre
    November 16, 2010, 6:01 pm

    MHUGHES976 wrote:

    “Slater’s basic premise, that Jewish people are – by way of an essential characteristic – vulnerable….”

    Not only this (MHughes’ finely perceived point that is), but particularly if Slater is jewish or even if he is just a philo-semite it strikes me that it’s way way past time that someone delicately point out that this constant calling for double standards in favor of Israel, or for “the jewish people,” is doing more to incite anti-semitism than 10,000 David Dukes ever could.

    Almost certainly the vast majority of jewish people—at least outside Israel—just want to be treated like everyone else, period. They are hardly being helped in this by having self-appointed spokespeople for them constantly saying that no, they and their interests and/or etc. must be treated or adjudged in some special fashion, or that they and their interests and/or etc. deserve some special exemptions. Indeed on can hardly think of anything better designed to play on historic anti-semitic tropes about jews considering themselves and treating themselves in some special fashion. No matter how much one even *knows* that these spokespeople are full of crap, after awhile it’s just insulting, period.

    Like one constantly being told that another has the right to spit in your face.

    • MRW
      November 17, 2010, 2:37 am

      is doing more to incite anti-semitism than 10,000 David Dukes ever could.

      Agreed. Tom Friedman, whom I rarely agree with, said it best in Israel recently: We’re all just getting fed up. It’s like a man have to put up with wife battering, and on top of it all, she’s a screeching drama queen who second guesses everything before she breaks the furniture out of spite.

  8. RoHa
    November 16, 2010, 6:55 pm

    “growing anti-Semitism ”
    “an inherently anti-Semitic world”

    I think something is going wrong with my hard disc. I keep hearing a continuous whine.

  9. RoHa
    November 16, 2010, 6:58 pm

    ” the term “racism” must include the belief that other races or peoples are inferior to one’s own.”

    Why must it? I would say that either
    (a) the belief that other races should be treated differently
    or
    (b) different treatment

    Would be sufficient to be racist.

    • RoHa
      November 16, 2010, 7:14 pm

      That is

      (b) different treatment in practice, regardless of the beliefs

      would be sufficient to count as racism.

      We need an edit button!

  10. RoHa
    November 16, 2010, 7:02 pm

    “the argument for a Jewish state is not racist by its very nature”

    When that argument takes the form that possibility of a future injustice against Jews justifies the actual past and present injustice to Arabs, it is clearly racist. It is a blatant demonstration of the belief that Jews are much more important than the rest of us.

    (As Selima put it, “We matter and you don’t.”)

  11. RoHa
    November 16, 2010, 7:05 pm

    “what is believed to be an inherently anti-Semitic world.”

    “however paranoid and mindless, genuine beliefs have real consequences, including consequences that the Palestinians have to take into account. ”

    So the Jews are insane in their belief that everyone else is genetically programmed to hate them, but the Palestinians have to pander to this insanity. No-one need suggest that any part of this belief is insane and should be changed.

  12. RoHa
    November 16, 2010, 7:17 pm

    “The majority of the world’s Jews have not claimed a right to self-determination as Jews. ”

    And very sensible of them not to, since there is no more basis for such a right than there is for the stamp-collectors’ right to self-determination as stamp-collectors.

  13. lobewyper
    November 16, 2010, 7:25 pm

    As a regular reader of Jerry Slater for the past couple of years, let me say that I have almost always found his posts to be extremely reasoned and fair. The present piece to my mind reflects Slater’s increasing sense of desperation at the breakdown of negotiations and impending loss of the two-state solution.
    To me, it doesn’t make political sense for Abbas to voluntarily cede the right of return at this stage because he would be abandoned by his own people in droves. And for what, the pressure of world opinion? Since when has world opinion mattered more than the colonization of as much of the west bank as possible?
    Slater’s argument seems to boil down to, “Yes, I agree the Israelis are behaving badly, but they are acting according to their own distorted emotional maps and we have to face that reality–the Palestinians have to deal with reality-as-it-is, so make them an offer they would find difficult to refuse.”
    I would argue that the Israelis have behaved rationally throughout this conflict. Aided and abetted in a major way by the US government via AIPAC, they have steadily expanded their seizure of Palestinian territory (and hence, their own ultimate borders), lost very few of their people in the process, justified their behavior with very successful (until recently)hasbara, and suffered little more than harsh language in consequence.

    • MRW
      November 17, 2010, 2:59 am

      As a regular reader of Jerry Slater for the past couple of years, let me say that I have almost always found his posts to be extremely reasoned and fair.

      Me too.

      To me, it doesn’t make political sense for Abbas to voluntarily cede the right of return at this stage because he would be abandoned by his own people in droves.

      Further, he has no legal right to be making these decisions for Palestinians. His term of office was up, what, 18 months ago?

      No, we don’t have to face the reality of “their own distorted emotional maps.” We’ve done that for six decades. Enough. And if we’d kept the $140 billion, or whatever its is, that we’ve shelled out and banked it at 6% compounded interest, we’d have $6 trillion in the kitty right now.

      What the Israeli power elite has squandered and is now squandering at an incredible rate in collusion with the power-mad Israel Firsters here is the tremendous good will it once had. This showdown shit while we need the Prez 1000% concentrated on the horrific economic problems here, and the purposeful disaffection this bi-national group stirs up monkeying with congressional races when we need this Congress’s full attention on US problems is unacceptable. [I think they’re blackmailing Obama with something.]

      • Citizen
        November 17, 2010, 7:33 am

        Each year we give more free to Israel directly and indirectly [via the matrix of the “special relationship,” and to buy Egypt’s boot licking Israel] than we do to Head Start and Public Housing combined, or to NASA, or to Pell Grants for low-income college students, or to maintain our IRS service, for example; we give as much in direct free aid to Israel than we do to maintain our combination funding for the arts, salaries and benefits for our Congressmen, the Smithsonian Museum, our Drug Enforcement agency, and our national parks. I wish the Tea Party would get on that aspect of spending when they hack away at big government–something the new Republican congressional leader is already trying to prevent.

  14. yourstruly
    November 16, 2010, 8:01 pm

    So many distortions in the author’s post that it’s difficult to know where to begin. First of all, other than an, alas, low basal level that’s long been present, any recent’ increases in antisemitism are a reaction to Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians. Secondly, the immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel (as to America and other western nations) was driven mostly by economic considerations along with a Zionist orchestrated propaganda campaign whose purpose was to augment the settler-state’s Jewish population so as to stave off the inevitable “demographic crisis”. As for the thesis that, who knows, never can tell, but just in case there’s an outbreak of virulent antisemitism anywhere, a Jewish state has to be available for an emergency influx of beleaguered Jews? Except wouldn’t this be like putting all one’s eggs in a single basket and assuming that they wouldn’t be crushed? Yeah, and Hitler’s Wehrmacht, had it conquered all of the North Africa and the Mideast wouldn’t have slaughtered every Jew in Palestine? What the author fails to say is that you (me, anyone) can’t, willy-nilly, point to this or that part of the world* and say, “Hey, indigenous ones, your homeland is hereby declared to be a designated sanctuary for a certain oppressed people, so get ready for it to be occupied by said people and for you yourselves to become an unwanted and mistreated minority.” As for the author’s distinguishing between anti-Zionist and post-Zionism, no matter the label, so long as there’s justice** for Palestine.

    *and that includes Palestine, with or without invoking the right of ownership based on allowing dubious claims from antiquity to trump actual deeds and titles to their homeland.

    **including (1) the Palestinian’s right of return and (2) trials before a court of criminal justice for those who committed crimes against humanity.

  15. Jeffrey Blankfort
    November 16, 2010, 8:39 pm

    I confess I could not get through the entire Slater article since I have been hearing the same specious arguments from “progressive” Zionists for years. Political zionism which is what we are dealing with ,or more accurateky, the Palestinian Arabs have been dealing with for decades preceding WW 2 was inherently racist since it was based on the belief that Jews, as Jews, had more of a right to live in what the world considered to be Palestine than the people who were born there who didn’t happen to be Jews.

    Forget what we are told about those early Jewish settlers who proposed to share the land with the Palestinian Arabs. Quite apart from the fact that they were not proposing that the Arabs would have any say in this matter, it should be recognized that those carrying the Zionist banner in Palestine and in the US, Britain, and Western Europe from the very beginning, were seeking an exclusivist Jewish state. To argue that they and the ideology to which they subscribed, Zionism, was and is not racist, is not only racist itself, but should be clear to anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the notion of Jewish superiority. Obviously, Slater is not in that group.

    • hophmi
      November 17, 2010, 1:34 am

      “it should be recognized that those carrying the Zionist banner in Palestine and in the US, Britain, and Western Europe from the very beginning, were seeking an exclusivist Jewish state. To argue that they and the ideology to which they subscribed, Zionism, was and is not racist, is not only racist itself, but should be clear to anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the notion of Jewish superiority.”

      It should be recognized that you’re wrong as usual, Jeffrey. Zionism was never about race or exclusivity. It was about escape from persecution and exercising self-determination. Anyone who does not understand that is … well, you fill in the insult, since you’re so good at it.

      • potsherd
        November 17, 2010, 5:48 am

        Zionism was always about escape into persecution of others and preventing others from exercising their self-determination. Which makes it not only racist, but worse.

      • Antidote
        November 17, 2010, 11:17 am

        Zionism was not simply about escape from persecution and oppression in Europe. It was and still is also about Jewish emancipation, empowerment and revenge. Mentally and psychologically joint at the hip to the oppressor they sought to leave behind: the Christian/European anti-Semite. Zionism has been about becoming, rather than rejecting the chauvinist concept of the ‘master race’ and ‘chosen people’ , and about projecting the image of the ‘eternal Jew’ onto their Semite cousins: homeless, without equal rights, tolerated at best as parasites (with a few exceptional ‘good Arabs’ being revered and accepted), or, at worst, expelled, massacred, driven away. And accused of (and punished for) conspiring against their Jewish host, of scheming to destroy their country, out of envy and innate malice.

      • straightline
        November 17, 2010, 6:57 am

        “We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his
        question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!'” Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

      • Citizen
        November 17, 2010, 7:39 am

        And Christianity was always about following in the steps of Jesus. If you don’t understand this, here, let me turn my other cheek. When Saul (St Paul) saw the light on the way to Damascus (to nullify Christians), did he then subsequently become more like Jesus?

  16. RoHa
    November 16, 2010, 9:28 pm

    “on what basis can one be confident that anti-Semitism will never again make life difficult—or impossible—for Jews anywhere in the world? ”

    Perhaps one cannot be confident that there will never be any more anti-Semitism, but it seems to me there at least two strategies which could reduce the likelyhood.

    One is simply for Jews to stop being Jews and assimilate with the rest of us. Perhaps there is a reason why that would be bad, but I’m blowed if I can think of it.

    The other is for Jews of the paranoid variety to stop saying “everybody hates us just because we are Jews” and start finding out what it is that Jews do that annoys the neighbours so much. Then stop doing it.

    Australian and British Jews seem to have managed it.
    (Either that, or knowing the correct name for the letter “Z” keeps the hate=Jews gene inactive.)

    • jonah
      November 17, 2010, 9:34 am

      RoHa expresses very well why Jews (especially Diaspora Jews) should always support a Jewish state of Israel (emphasis on Jewish).

      His two strategies to “reduce” anti-Semitism are:

      1) ” … to stop being Jews …”, that means he suggest that the Jews abolish themselves as Jews and “assimilate”, that means be tolerated as long as they are self-repressed (and even self-hating) as in Australia or Britain.

      2) “…start finding out what it is that Jews [notabene: the JEWS, not Israelis] do that annoys the neighbours so much” …… Because of course the Jews themselves are guilty of persecution that they’ve suffered.

      3) Not to mention the amusing admission of the existence of the “hate=Jews gene” ….

      We can only wonder how such not even so veiled anti-Semitic insinuations can pass through without being noticed. But course very instructive and revealing. RoHa shows once again the anti-Semitic core of the anti-Zionist hypocrisy.

      • potsherd
        November 17, 2010, 10:11 am

        I’m sure Jonah is very happy to discover evidence that makes him think there is antisemitism. In the minds of the world’s Jonah’s, this excuses all crimes in the names of Jews and no one has to do anything differently.

        Here’s a clue for the Jonahs – people want other people to change all the time. Not just Jews. People want other people to stop selling their young daughters for sex, to stop burning crosses on their lawns, to stop throwing sewage into the waterways. Jews want nonJews to change, to stop defaming Jews. But Jews, according to Jonah, have no obligation to change any of their behaviors to accomodate others.

        We call this exceptionalism.

      • jonah
        November 17, 2010, 1:48 pm

        “I’m sure Jonah is very happy to discover evidence that makes him think there is antisemitism.”

        I don’t discover, your double standards provide daily evidence.

        “But Jews, according to Jonah, have no obligation to change any of their behaviors to accomodate others.”

        Bullshit. It’s quite the contrary. The Jews are today not willing or so naive anymore to give the hypocritical anti-Semites free pass to decide their fate.

      • RoHa
        November 17, 2010, 7:37 pm

        “that means be tolerated as long as they are self-repressed (and even self-hating”

        This is incoherent. If Jews abandon Jewishness, then they are not hating anything. They are not supressing anything. There is nothing supress. We just have people.

        “Because of course the Jews themselves are guilty of persecution that they’ve suffered.”

        You are probably too young to remember the “Someone isn’t using Amplex” ads, so think about this.

        You get a job in Belgium. Every time you get into an elevator, everyone else edges away from you. So you move to Finland. Same thing in the elevator. And the same when you work in Spain and Russia and Canada and Argentina.

        Does everyone in the world have an inherent dislike of you?

        Or should you think a little more about your personal freshness?

    • occupyresist
      November 17, 2010, 10:22 am

      “Perhaps one cannot be confident that there will never be any more anti-Semitism, but it seems to me there at least two strategies which could reduce the likelyhood.”

      Perhaps one cannot be confident that there will never be any more racism , RoHa.

      What’s entirely perplexing to me is that I don’t understand why it is that many who share Slater’s views don’t understand that anti-Semitism is simply racism (if one were talking about Jews as a race). Racism has been around for centuries, and is still around. This is not an exclusively Jewish grievance.

      So, why haven’t the Roma demanded their own country? They certainly are a people?

      • RoHa
        November 17, 2010, 7:45 pm

        No, no, no, no, no!

        occupyresist, anti-Semitism isn’t just ordinary racism.

        Ordinary racism is usually something people learn, and it can be forgotten, and overcome. And the victims are just ordinary people. Usually they are tinted types, but I encountered a bit of anti-gaijin racism in Japan.

        Anti-Semitism is inherent, and all non-Jews have a genetic predisposition to it. Even if they pretend to be friendly to Jews, they could, at any minute, succumb to their primaeval anti-Semitic urges. And, of course, the victims are special.

  17. bindup
    November 16, 2010, 10:39 pm

    “As a regular reader of Jerry Slater for the past couple of years, let me say that I have almost always found his posts to be extremely reasoned and fair. The present piece to my mind reflects Slater’s increasing sense of desperation at the breakdown of negotiations and impending loss of the two-state solution.”

    I agree with lobewyper. The Jewish community’s historic suffering and their present plight (which is the realization that a nation state that sacrifices justice to security is never secure) can only be understood in terms of universal human experience in which no one group has a monopoly on either innocence or evil. As Donald said above: “The Holocaust is of course one of the greatest atrocities in history, but … the overall lesson is simple–work for a world where no group should fear persecution, where every nation treats all of its citizens equally no matter what their religion or ethnicity.”

    • bindup
      November 16, 2010, 11:00 pm

      and after more than sixty years, a younger generation is coming along that gets it. That’s what JVP represents, it seems to me, along with their Israeli counterparts, the Shministim, Breaking the Silence, Rabbis for Human Rights, etc –all brave people whose commitment to justice may guide them to a political solution whose contours we have yet to clearly see. (Despite what the pundits say about it all being so obvious.)

    • occupyresist
      November 17, 2010, 10:24 am

      “The Jewish community’s historic suffering and their present plight (which is the realization that a nation state that sacrifices justice to security is never secure) can only be understood in terms of universal human experience in which no one group has a monopoly on either innocence or evil.”

      Exactly.

  18. talknic
    November 17, 2010, 12:21 am

    There is no legal basis for Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel. No one is obliged to recognize ANY state. There are no obligations in the UN Charter or in any International Law. Nil, nought, zip!!

    Easily shown by the fact that there are numerous UN Member States who do not recognize each other.

    What IS required is shown in UNSC Res 242… ( UNSC Res 242 itself only applies to UN Member ‘states’ BTW)

    “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”

    The US says this of recognition “..in the view of the United States, International Law does not require a state to recognize another state; it is a matter for the judgment of each state whether an entity merits recognition as a state. In reaching this judgment, the United States has traditionally looked for the establishment of certain facts. The United States has also taken into account whether the entity in question has attracted the recognition of the International community of states.”

  19. lyn117
    November 17, 2010, 3:24 am

    Fallacious to the core:
    First equating the “Demand for a Jewish state” with Zionism. Then saying as there’s nothing particularly racist about wanting a Jewish state there’s nothing racist about Zionism.

    In fact, almost all Zionists explicitly opposed equal rights and democracy for Arabs, unless as Slater says they’re a sufficiently small minority not to pose a threat to the Jewish nature of Israel. And Zionists have always used force, terror, and discriminatory laws to ensure the Arabs are of such a sufficiently small minority, as well as depriving them of equal access to economic wealth which might be used to acquire political power.

    Wonderful, a Zionist advocating emigration for Palestinian Israelis in order to maintain the firm Jewish majority, originally achieved by terror against the indigenous Palestinians, at the same time claiming Zionism is not racism.

  20. LeaNder
    November 17, 2010, 10:01 am

    (1)Even so, the argument for a Jewish state is not racist by its very nature, and even in Israel today the predominant driving force behind the demand for formal Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is not so much racism as it is a consequence of a continuing and probably growing sense of Jewish vulnerability in what is believed to be an inherently anti-Semitic world. (2) Of course, this belief blindly equates opposition to the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians with hatred of Jews as such; nonetheless, however paranoid and mindless, genuine beliefs have real consequences, including consequences that the Palestinians have to take into account.

    Concerning One: I’d like to read more about the growing sense of Jewish vulnerability. That genuine beliefs have real consequences is one of the basic arguments e.g. of Witty, I do in fact accept. What I miss though is Slater not speaking for the collective but his personal assessment of the situation. Even if that would need a new article, a series of articles and accompanying polls in Israel and worldwide ideally slightly more detailed and strategic than the ADL polls measuring “gentile” antisemitism.

    (2) I would add that it not only equates blind opposition to the Israeli occupation with antisemitism but in fact paints the whole Arab / Muslim world as antisemites were one Hitler after the other raises his head.

    There are several real problems with this scenario and they are severe.

    (3) why doesn’t he address the core issue as far as Palestine and the Muslim world is concerned via the Israeli/Orientalist prism:

    The hall of mirrors.

    How can you trust someone that possibly couldn’t and shouldn’t have trusted you in this little piece of land earlier? And shouldn’t they be expected to never stop wishing to do to others what was done to them? Will Israel’s insistence that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state make this fear disappear. How exactly is this fear related to antisemitism?

    • Citizen
      November 17, 2010, 11:06 am

      Isn’t the Jewish version of the Golden Rule: Do not do onto others what you would not want done to you? This appears to be ignored by the state of Israel and its enablers in the USA. Refrain from doing? Doesn’t look like it to any Palestinian. How about the Christian version of the Golden Rule: Do onto others what you would have them do onto you? Since the US is 98% Christian, are they all blind? Now, is there a Muslim Golden Rule?

  21. annie
    November 17, 2010, 12:37 pm

    oh my god, there are so many problems w/this article it’s hard to decide what to tackle first

    Whether or not the Jewish state concept is inherently racist

    a jewish state where other people already live is inherently racist, of course. you want a jewish state that isn’t? go to a land w/no people for a people w/no land. seriously, you should know this. obviously the founders did or they wouldn’t have created that lie/meme mr slater.

    Of course, this belief blindly equates opposition to the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians with hatred of Jews as such; nonetheless, however paranoid and mindless, genuine beliefs have real consequences, including consequences that the Palestinians have to take into account.

    excuse me, that sounds like ‘even if you didn’t kill you mother your sister thinks you did and therefore you have to pander to her fears, forever’. who are you or anyone to tell palestinians they have to take the consequence of their oppressors racism into account? they are forced to take it into account every moment of the day for decades now. how about they have one opportunity to NOT take it into account, ever. perhaps zionists are the ones who should start taking their own paranoia and mindlessness into account because their oppression of others will have consequences. the paranoia and mindlessness needs to be rectified, not accommodated.

    and that’s just the beginning of my argument.

    • annie
      November 17, 2010, 12:39 pm

      amend> “who are you or anyone to tell palestinians they have to take the consequence of their oppressors fear into account? “

  22. annie
    November 17, 2010, 1:04 pm

    Still, it is important to distinguish between Zionism in principle and its increasing corruption in practice, and to consider whether Zionism and the demand for a Jewish state is inherently racist.

    no, it is not. it isn’t important at all wrt solving this problem. once zionism landed in palestine (instead of some uninhabited place) any aspirations depended on corrupt racist policies. asking us to look at ‘zionism in principle’ as anything but racist is a moot point because of it’s location. it is a distraction because there is no zionism ‘in principle’ that can express itself without dependence on the oppression of palestinians, at least there hasn’t been so far. the least zionist could do if they want to express their principles sans worrying about the corruption and oppression is get the f out of the way and accommodate a palestinian state, the opposite has ALWAYS occurred.

    so please do not asked up to examine zionism ‘in principle’. you lost that positioning once you decided to express your principle in a place other people have been living for centuries.

    any ‘moderate’ zionist (oxymoron?), with any sense in his/her head would KNOW the people they should be debating and arguing against and reasoning with are not us, but those will DO NOT get the f out of the way and accommodate a palestinian state. instead, you’re arguing w/non zionists trying to get recognition for some nice zionism that doesn’t exist anywhere IN PRACTICE because they place zionism has decided to express itself is a place already inhabited.

    so no, you can’t practice zionism ‘in principle’ in palestine without it being racist while denying palestinians the same accommodation. show me a deal for a state israel would accept for itself, then offer it to palestine. until then it is unequal and racist.

    oh, one more thing mr slater, don’t think i don’t notice the ‘inherently’ slapped in front of racist time and again. as long as no other options exist, yes, it’s inherently racist. zionism in palestine is inherently racist, go to some mountaintop in uruguay or some other place w/no inhabitants to express your zionist priniciples, then you can talk to me about it not being inherently racist…

    • annie
      November 17, 2010, 1:09 pm

      lol, i got so carried away i realized i argued the same point over an over! it’s hard moving past that segment without screaming.

  23. annie
    November 17, 2010, 1:25 pm

    the driving force behind the Zionist quest for a Jewish state was not the belief that it was imperative because the Jews were superior but the belief that it was imperative because the Jews were vulnerable.

    so what? let me ask you this mr slater. what if i hated jews because i thought they all wanted to rule the world. what if because of this paranoia i decided to bomb synagogues? would that not be considered racist? hey,where’s the imperative i think i’m superior to jews? it’s not there yet it’s still anti semitism right? (btw i’m using the term ‘racism’ in the legal definition: there is no distinction between the term racial discrimination and ethnicity discrimination wrt racism and yes i know jews are not a race).

    and let me ask you this, what if one ethnicity coveted the land of another people, not because they thought they were superior, but because they wanted the land. what is they killed or cleansed all those people because they wanted their land. now let me ask you this, what if YOU were the one who they wanted out and YOUR FAMILY were the ones killed. would it make one iota of difference to you if these people didn’t do it because they felt superior, if they only felt entitled? would it not be anti semitism if it was happening to jews?

    and let me ask you this, what if hitler didn’t kill all the jews because he thought he was superior? what if he did it just to get rid of them because he thought they were controlling germany? would it make it any better?

    this conversation about zionism being racist or not is a distraction. it’s just another ‘look over there moment’ designed to not blame zionism for what’s going on. zionism is to blame, no doubt about it. do you want to be down on principle w/being liberal? you want zionism to have a nicer face? fix it in practice, don’t dazzle me w/principle.

  24. annie
    November 17, 2010, 1:45 pm

    South African apartheid was inherently racist, based as it was on the belief that whites were superior to blacks

    while SA apartheid was inherently racist based as it was on the belief that whites were superior to blacks the crime of apartheid doesn’t make that distinction. for your review:

    The crime of apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.

    see? nothing about the belief in superiority or white or black.. AND, as i mentioned earlier that same body for all intents and purposes follows the legal description of racism that carries no distinction wrt race or ethnicity for purposes of distinguishing the CRIME of apartheid. iow, the only thing you can argue here is possibly wrt “with the intention of maintaining that regime”, and frankly after decades i think it’s fairly clear the only alternate theory there is no intention of continual maintanence would be the people who’d rather transfer everyone which would be another crime against humanity or the great efforts to make the PA appear as independent which no one buys.

    so, naming all the differences between israel and SA unless it addresses the crime of apartheid as it is recognized by the body who wrote the law is rather a moot point. you could also cite the different eating habits for all i care.

  25. annie
    November 17, 2010, 2:04 pm

    It is my view that in light of the long history of anti-Semitism, often murderous anti-Semitism, few if any other nationalist movements have had a more convincing claim to an imperative need for a state of their own than Jewish nationalism, or Zionism. Thus, the anti-Zionist argument, as applied to the founding of Israel, is quite unpersuasive.

    hmmm, gee mr slater, i might take this claim a little more seriously if israel had not been expanding ever since. obviously the long history of anti semitsm (murderous or otherwise) is not a compelling reason to gamble away their homeland by continual oppression and expansion. it’s rather hard to take this claim of yours seriously as a reason for the state since once jews got their state it didn’t quench their thirst. this leads me to believe there was another reason for the state, like colonialism.

    either way reason smeason, move on. jews got their state and they are playing russian roulette w/it. if they want to keep their little zionionst state they better get off their asses and stat=rt getting the heck out of the WB you know why? because the world doesn’t take kindly to transfering millions and millions of people to make way for bullies. if anything like that occurs it will undoubtably lead to a massive resentment basically adding to the same conditions you allege that drove jews to demand self determination to begin with. it’s circular and expanding, a racist expanding state w/no borders. look in the mirror and quit blaming everyone else for israel’s problems. this isn’t about anti zionists or post zionist or anybody else, it’s about israel.

    fix it, quit putting lipstick on it. israel doesn’t need a face lift it needs new diet, one that doesn’t include gobbling up more and more of palestine like a carnivorous beast. a diet of bds sounds about right to me.

    touche!

  26. Richard Witty
    November 17, 2010, 2:25 pm

    As Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, now Jerome Slater have stated in recent interviews, the settlement of Israel was by refugees largely, NOT by colonists.

    And, certainly not by genocidalists.

    The formation of the state of Israel was needed and earned and ratified.

    A viable Palestine is literally delayed by the extent that radical approaches that describe Zionism as racism are prevalent.

    You contribute to the problem by the conclusion of single state and of BDS. You don’t solve the problem.

    South Africa is not a model. Israel/Palestine is a different situation, as Jerome Slater described.

    • Shingo
      November 17, 2010, 4:09 pm

      “As Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, now Jerome Slater have stated in recent interviews, the settlement of Israel was by refugees largely, NOT by colonists.”‘

      None of them have said that Witty, and you won’t produce a link to support this, so I won’t even ask for it.

      “A viable Palestine is literally delayed by the extent that radical approaches that describe Zionism as racism are prevalent.”

      Rubbish Witty. The blockign of the Palestinian state are not a result fo Zionists being called racists, as though they give a crap what anyone thiks of them.

      You;re seriously out of your mind.

      “You contribute to the problem by the conclusion of single state and of BDS. You don’t solve the problem.”

      And your approach has been such a catastrophic success hasn’t it Witty?

      “South Africa is not a model. ”

      agreed, but Israel isnsits on stickign to it.

      • Richard Witty
        November 17, 2010, 4:20 pm

        Again, ask Phil to request my recording of the Amira Hass lecture at Hampshire College last week.

      • occupyresist
        November 17, 2010, 4:31 pm

        Shingo,

        you don’t have to go very far to see how Amira Hass views those who have settled in Israel. It is a very conflicted and personal view, IMHO. Though it doesn’t reflect on how she saw the majority of those who settling there, it makes sense for her to refrain from calling them ‘colonists’, although, by definition, the fact that her parents weren’t Zionists but ‘chose to come to Israel’ is in fact an admission of their (unwitting, if one could call it that) participation in a colonial enterprise:

        link to democracynow.org

        AMIRA HASS: My mother was a survivor of Bergen-Belsen. In Bergen-Belsen, she wrote a diary, which was, of course, very dangerous. She would put—she would be killed on the spot if the Germans discovered her writing the diary. She also ran a clandestine school for the little children, Yugoslav children, in her barrack. This needed, of course, a lot of cooperation with the other inmates. While she was writing in her diary, other inmates were watching around and making sure that no cop or no collaborator, no other—no German approaches or gets closer to the barrack. And teaching the children was without books, of course, without anything, just to keep them busy and maybe to let them—to let their curiosity go across this terrible reality where they were all of them. I don’t know how many of them were left alive afterwards. My father was in a ghetto in Romania for three, four years, in the Ukraine. And I lived in this—I grew up in this environment where one never shied about what happened to the Jews as victims. One always—I learned to ask from my parents how the Germans could kill like that, not how the Jews could have died like that. And I think it was a very important message for me. Later on, I knew that my parents came as refugees to Israel. They were not Zionists, and they chose to come to Israel, even not really understanding why they chose to come to Israel, but later on with the years, I realized, and I might have even given this answer myself, there was such a vacuum—such a vacuum was created in Europe after the Holocaust, not only because of the 6 million, not only because of the murder of the 6 million, and all of the graves and unknown graves that were there, but the fact is that Europe did not know how to accept back the Jews who remained alive. In so many countries, in the east—in east Europe and west Europe alike, the people who returned from concentration camps were seen almost as strangers, as if it wasn’t their place. This was one of the reasons why my parents as refugees chose to go and maybe to try to live a better world in Israel. Then they are on—then they were so very frustrated with the knowledge that while coming and becoming refugees—seeking for refuge in Israel, and the establishment of the state of Israel was involved with the terrible dispossession with another people, of the Palestinians. And this life in this contradiction, I think, has determined our lives all of these years long and until their death a few years ago.

      • Richard Witty
        November 17, 2010, 9:23 pm

        Amira Hass opposes injustice, a laudable approach, in word and in deed.

        She speaks of the necessity for Palestinian resistance to oppression, and at the same time speaks with pathos about the need following WW2 for Jews to have a home to come to.

        Gideon Levy similarly.

        Live with it. It is a truth. Zionism itself is not racism, but only nationalism.

        And again, democracy is in the present.

      • Shingo
        November 17, 2010, 10:06 pm

        “Zionism itself is not racism, but only nationalism.”

        There is no Zionism in itself. Zionism resides entirely on the seizure of land whether it is empty of belong to someone else.

        Racism goes hand in hand with nationalism and Zionism is racism pure and simple.

      • Shingo
        November 17, 2010, 10:06 pm

        “And again, democracy is in the present.”

        So is racism incidentally, especially among Zionists.

      • Donald
        November 17, 2010, 11:32 pm

        Personally, I have no problem living with facts, one of them being that many who went to Israel did not go with the intent of being a colonizer. They went as refugees. It doesn’t change the fact that the Zionist movement itself was a colonialist one to the extent that the Zionists planned to establish a Jewish majority state in a land where the majority were Arab Muslims and Christians. You’re the one who can’t seem to live with facts.

      • Richard Witty
        November 18, 2010, 9:16 am

        Again, I and a couple hundred hippies moved to Southern Vermont and proceeded to “take over”.

        We fundamentally changed Vermont by our population. Were we colonists, or refugees?

      • occupyresist
        November 18, 2010, 9:59 am

        Donald,

        exactly. However this entity RW chooses to misrepresent Amira Hass’s views, it still doesn’t change the fact that these refugees were participating in a colonialist movement.

    • annie
      November 17, 2010, 5:38 pm

      the settlement of Israel was by refugees largely, NOT by colonists.

      The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, commonly known by its Hebrew acronym PICA (Hebrew: פיק”א‎), was established in 1924 and played a major role in supporting the Yishuv in Palestine until its disbandment in 1957.

      The Jewish Colonization Association (ICA) was founded by Bavarian philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch in 1891 to help Jews from Russia and Romania to settle in Argentina.[1][2] The Baron died in 1896 and thereafter the ICA began to assist the Palestinian colonies.[2] In 1899 Edmond James de Rothschild transferred title to his colonies in Palestine plus fifteen million francs to the ICA, which was reorganised as the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association in 1924,[1][3] under the direction of Edmond’s son James Armand de Rothschild.[4]

      After the 1929 Palestine riots PICA helped to rehabilitate agricultural colonies that had been damaged.[4]

      James de Rothschild’s will instructed PICA to transfer most of its land in Israel to the Jewish National Fund.[5] On December 31, 1958 PICA agreed to vest its right to land holdings in Syria and Lebanon in the State of Israel.[6]

      ok, probably the refugees did not consider themselves colonists but i think examining this colonization (because that’s what it was) is helpful. obviously some people considered it a colonial enterprise which is why they called themselves The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association. denial won’t change that.

      • Richard Witty
        November 17, 2010, 9:25 pm

        You mean that some people used the term “colony”. And you call that persuasive scholarship?

        Are you joking? There is an apartment complex in my town “Pioneer Colony”, with restrictions to residence for only those over 55. (I’m now eligible.) Is that an example of “old people taking over, colonizing this formerly youthful town”?

      • Shingo
        November 17, 2010, 10:03 pm

        “You mean that some people used the term “colony”. And you call that persuasive scholarship?”

        Please don;t use words you don;t knwo the meaning of Witty. Scholarship is for those who read entire books and do research, not someone who peruses headlines and is incapable of citing sources to back up his ludicrous and stale arguments.

        “There is an apartment complex in my town “Pioneer Colony”, with restrictions to residence for only those over 55.”

        Which means that everyone can live there when they get to 55. No one becomes a Jew at a certain age Witty.

      • annie
        November 19, 2010, 12:34 pm

        You mean that some people used the term “colony”.

        no, in fact i didn’t even use the word colony even once so i don’t know why you put it in quotes. i mean the people who funded the colonization of palestine called themselves colonialists. probably because they self identified as such. if you want to know what i mean just listen.

        obviously some people considered it a colonial enterprise which is why they called themselves The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association.

        now if you care to theorize those people were meaningless to the founding of the state and the colonization of palestine and the JNF have at it. while you’re at it you can also say building settlements in the west bank is not colonizaton i don’t care. obviously the settlers don’t consider it such because they think they own the land because god gave it to them. but out here int eh real world, taking over someones land and moving your people in is called colonization.

      • andrew r
        November 19, 2010, 2:49 pm

        Witty, although I normally don’t respond to you, I think the usage of “colony” to describe a particular dwelling in the USA is sanitizing the term. Colonization means exploitation and subjugation. The mother country becomes richer off the backs of the indigenous labor and the resources looted from the colony. Of course Palestine was meant to be an outpost between Iraq and Egypt as I’m sure you’ll ask what the British were looting there.

        Given that the USA is a colonial-settler state with the subjugation of the natives still ongoing, but largely invisible to the settler population — did I mention subjugating the natives is still ongoing — colony has become a warm, fuzzy domesticated terminology.

      • yourstruly
        November 17, 2010, 9:44 pm

        Does it matter whether or not European Jews who went to Palestine considered themselves colonists? It’s not what they considered themselves to be, it’s what they did and are still doing – migrating to, settling in and occupying another people’s homeland, the very definition of the colonizer.

    • RoHa
      November 17, 2010, 7:52 pm

      “the settlement of Israel was by refugees largely, NOT by colonists.”

      The later immigrants might have gone to Palestine as refugees, but the moment they failed to oppose the Zionist programme of taking over the land they became colonists.

      Rank ingratitude, and worse, bad manners on their part.

  27. Colin Murray
    November 17, 2010, 6:13 pm

    Is there another source of fuel for a possible resurgence of antisemitism more flammable than Israeli state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and colonization and Israel Lobby warmongering by American Zionists on their behalf? Fruition of the Zionist dream of war with Iran will cause epochal global economic hardship and will truly ‘globalize’ antisemitism. Those who like to apply the old litmus test “Is it good for the Jews?” should ask again.

    • yourstruly
      November 17, 2010, 10:39 pm

      Here we run into the Jewish Israeli’s Masada complex, highlighted in the settler-state with its swearing in ceremony for IDF recruits after they have completed their basic training. Taking place on top of Masada the ceremony ends with the declaration “Masada shall not fall again”, preparing soldiers for the doomsday scenario that awaits them (and all humankind), should Israel make war on Iran.

  28. rod such
    November 18, 2010, 3:29 am

    Ali Abunimah effectively addresses this issue of Israel as a safe haven for Jews in his advocacy for the one-state solution in One Country. First of all, he notes that a secular, democratic state of Israel/Palestine would be open to any Jew fleeing racist persecution. A one-state solution would continue to provide asylum and be a safe haven and that would be codified in law. Secondly, he notes that Israel today is not, in fact, a safe haven for Jews. As he puts it, “but one could argue that the most dangerous place in the world to be a Jew is in Israel-Palestine, and that this is the direct result of the conflict that arose from establishing a state that benefits and privileges Jews in a country already populated by a non-Jewish majority. The point is not to deny Jews a safe haven in Israel-Palestine, but to make the necessary changes that can at last allow it to become one for the first time since Israel was founded.” To which I say, Amen. (And as long as we’re on the subject of safe haven, why don’t all of Israel’s allies, particularly ones like our own government that maintained a quota system and refused entry to many thousands of Jews fleeing Nazism, or those that collaborated with the Nazis and helped ship thousands of Jews to the death camps, why don’t they all guarantee in law the right of any Jew or anyone facing racist persecution to seek asylum in their country.)
    But the core of Slater’s argument, of course, is that only ethnocentric nationalism can guarantee safety for a persecuted ethnic group. That argument fails, I think, and the history of Jews in this country sheds some light on why. There is no doubt that Jews in this country historically faced discrimination and persecution, including as recently as the 1960s when restrictive covenants in housing prevented Jews from owning homes in certain neighborhoods, and then of course, there were the no-Jews allowed in country clubs (probably still goes on), and the quota system in admitting Jews to private colleges and universities and hiring Jewish faculty (anyone remember William Buckley’s racist undertone in God and Man at Yale?)
    Today, however, Jews have successfully integrated into all of the elite groupings of society, and Jewish culture, reflected in motion pictures, literature, mass media, is almost universally respected and admired. Even the most right-wing Southern conservative is duty bound to extol the Judeo-Christian tradition, and Sarah Palin wears an Israeli flag lapel pin. So, what happened to change the place of Jews in American society so substantially. I would argue that it’s due to the civil rights movement, which set into motion the idea that racism would no longer be tolerated, that diversity would be valued and respected, and that the true history of minority persecution would be brought to light. The civil rights movement spawned the feminist movement, the gay liberation movement, and helped bring attention to the ongoing struggles of Hispanics and Native Americans, and it also isolated and helped cripple discrimination against Jews. Militant anti-racism is the answer to anti-Semitism, not an ethnocentric state; respect and tolerance for diversity, guarantees of equality before the law, respect for minority rights, and the separation of church and state is what guarantees a safe haven, not the pursuit of an ethnically dominant
    theocratic state.
    How many Americans can’t recognize the oxymoron in Jewish democratic state? What political or media figure would dare to describe this country as a white Christian state? (okay, quite a few would, but maybe not publicly). The idea that a state and a particular ethnic group are one is at the very least inherently undemocratic, particularly when 20 percent of your citizens belong to another ethnic group. There’s a famous quote from the Israeli Zionist founder Jabotinsky about how he envisioned an Israel as Jewish as France was French, as Britain was English, and as America was American, apparently without any understanding of how diverse those societies actually were. Slater’s statements, particularly his failure to acknowledge the Nakba and its racist underpinnings, raise the question for me: Can you advocate the two-state solution and not be a racist?

  29. irishmoses
    November 19, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Jerome Slater opened up an important box having to do with the question of the underlying morality of Zionism. There are now at least three separate ongoing threads on this: at his blog, at Magnes Zionist and here (the largest of course). I have commented on the other two so will chime in here as well by cutting and pasting and editing my prior comments.

    I disagree with Jerome to the following extent:

    A Zionism motivated by the need to find a safe place for Jews suffering the horrors of the pogroms of Eastern Europe in the 1880s was and is understandable and valid. Unfortunately, Zionism had a second motivation, the desire to create a place or homeland, exclusively for Jews. The need for a safe place does not require exclusivity. Unfortunately, the goal of creating a homeland exclusively for Jews started with Herzl who felt the Arabs needed to be removed from Palestine but thought they would be willing to resettle if modestly compensated.

    It was the Zionist drive for exclusivity, which really started after Balfour in 1918, that created the later Arab anger and riots. The Zionist drive for exclusivity, for an Israel as a homeland exclusively for Jews, led directly to the discrimination, ethnic cleansing, and modern day oppression by Israelis of Palestinian Arabs, and to all the subsequent violence.

    Richard Witty (at Jerome’s blog) and Jerry Haber at his Magnes blog, have both responded to me with the thought that the exclusivity portion of Zionism was unintentional and driven by other motives. I think Ilan Pappe’s book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” provides overwhelming evidence to the contrary. From Herzl to Balfour to the present day, the goal was and remains exclusivity.

    It is that demon or original sin of Zionist Jewish exclusivity that motivates Israeli politics today, and drives the demand for recognition of Israel as a “Jewish State”. It is also clearly what drives Israeli intransigence in the peace process and and the continuation/escalation of the settlement enterprise.

    So, the question is not whether Israel should be recognized as a Jewish state; it has been since UNGA 181 which created a Jewish State out of a portion of mandate Palestine in 1947. The question is whether it has the right to be an exclusively Jewish state, or a Jewish state in which its Arab citizens can be denied many, if not most of the civil and economic rights possessed by its Jewish citizens, as is the case today. The critical question is what do Israelis mean by “Jewish State”. Palestinian reluctance to provide this recognition without legal clarification of its limits is understandable, particularly in view of the oppressive nature of their current circumstances in the “territories” as well as in Israel itself.

    In summary, while Jews had a valid need for a safe place, that need did not justify ethnic cleansing or enslavement or oppression of another people who had no responsibility for the pogroms or the holocaust, and who were the indiginous inhabitants of the safe place the Zionists chose. So, yes, Israelis have a right to a Jewish state so long as they treat their minorities equally in terms of basic human rights, civil, economic, voting, etc.

    Gil Maguire
    http://www.irishmoses.com

  30. andrew r
    November 19, 2010, 1:35 pm

    If it is to have any objective meaning, as distinct from being merely an instrument of denunciation, the term “racism” must include the belief that other races or peoples are inferior to one’s own.

    When I was relatively ignorant about the issue, I did believe Zionism was an unclassifiable movement that began with liberation and degraded into racism. However, the more you read about the theory and praxis of the early settlement in Palestine, the more you realize it could not but be racist.

    Now, it is the case that not every Zionist ideologue spouted intricate racial theories against the negro man or the Arab man. However, I challenge Slater to find me one ideologue who said, “if transferring the indigenous population is what it takes, we’re not doing this thing.” What makes Zionism inherently racist is that all its intellectuals and rank and file accepted the dispossession of the peasants and later any and all Palestinians with nary a second thought, if not the occasional lie to cover it up. What Zionist at the turn of the century abandoned the idea on the grounds the natives would have to be dispossessed or subjugated?

    What really annoys me about Slater is that we’re supposed to accept Zionism’s own rationale on the face of it while apartheid was just racist. If you spend ten minutes reading about what the leaders of apartheid were thinking, they usually avoided stating the belief that Africans were inferior. It’s obvious to us that they thought so, but they didn’t make this part of the rhetoric. Instead they emphasized mutual and cooperative development among the African nations in their own national space. DeKlerk likened ZA to the EU.

    In some cases, early apartheid leaders would not even mention Africans at all and emphasize the need for an independent Afrikaner state free from the British. The fact that blacks went unmentioned did not mitigate the racism. Similarly, Zionism is racist even if you evade the cost of creating a Jewish state in a land where other people live. It doesn’t matter if Herzl or Slater is the one evading it.

    • andrew r
      November 19, 2010, 2:34 pm

      P.S. Someone like Buber would’ve been a better example. Obviously Herzl did not evade the idea of transfer.

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