Zionism totalled

Israel/Palestine
on 87 Comments

Hillel Ben Sasson at Peter Beinart’s new Zion Square blog at Daily Beast is done with trying to resuscitate the term Zionism. “Zionism’s been stolen.” I like this piece because it shows the growing awareness inside Jewish life, and inside Zionism, that Zionism just hasn’t worked out well, whatever the idealism of its founders. This is why Jewish Voice for Peace eschews the word entirely and says that it includes Zionists and former Zionists. And also shows why American liberals and anti-Zionists are necessary to this conversation: to lift the curtain on the Nakba and interrogate the racist component of the original movement. Excerpt of the Ben Sasson (emphasis mine, and thanks to Peter Belmont):

In contemporary Israel, you can’t express values of human rights, tolerance, ideological pluralism, or critique the occupation or the militarization of Israeli society. If you do, leading public figures, Knesset members, and government officials will denounce you as undermining the existence of Israel. The anti-Zionist trump card is waived whenever a public figure of any color or denomination questions the hegemonic economy of hatred and fear towards Arabs, Europeans, Democrats, or anyone that doesn’t recite the mantra that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. The fact that many founding Zionists would have strongly opposed such a narrow definition the term matters little to this loud and somewhat paranoid crowd of Jewish McCarthys.

As long as the word Zionism no longer refers simply to the right of a people to self definition, but rather to a means of determining who is on “our” side and who is a traitor, Zionism will not serve me as a useful component of identity. For me, the apologetic task of trying to defend (or re-conquer) the term is futile, because it necessitates endless ordeals; none of which could ever legitimize what could have been Zionism for me.

About Philip Weiss

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

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87 Responses

  1. American
    March 24, 2012, 11:34 am

    Good.
    One of our commenters here, Danaa, has better than anyone described what is so destructive to Jewish outlook about being raised in Zionism.
    One of the biggest mysteries to me is how American and other disapora Jews could support in Israel things that they would rail against in the democratic countries they live in.
    Zionism is done, they need to let it go.

    • justicewillprevail
      March 24, 2012, 1:56 pm

      Zionism is a 19th Century racist, hostile, separatist ideology and is not fit for the 20th, let alone the 21st Century. It is only because it has been so inculcated in Jewish populations around the world that they find it hard to face up to what it is. Never mind dual loyalty, this is equivalent to subscribing to dual antithetical moral codes at the same time – one separate and racist, the other democratic based on universal human rights. It is becoming clear that it is impossible to square two opposed moral codes with utterly different values, and it is this contradiction which the lobby is determined to suppress – once it is out in the open air, it can’t survive any reasonable examination. It will implode with its own internal contradictions.

      • Mooser
        March 27, 2012, 12:51 pm

        “Never mind dual loyalty, this is equivalent to subscribing to dual antithetical moral codes at the same time – one separate and racist, the other democratic based on universal human rights.”

        Oh, get off your high horse, pal. You can’t blame us. Look, a guy gets a little money, he’s doing all-right and Ho-kay, he wants the same privileges as his non-Jewish neighbors. As far as I know, hypocrisy is one of the supreme pleasures and privileges of American life. To be confirmed and cossetted in your hypocrisy shows that you have arrived.

      • Citizen
        March 27, 2012, 2:11 pm

        So, Mooser, you’re suggesting the double standard justicewillprevail refers to is institutionalized in USA, where you have, as far as I know, lived all your life? Or are you suggesting it’s at least American and Jewish Israeli nature to live and think via double standards “as soon as either “gets a little money, is doing all right?” Or both? Or are you being tongue-in-cheek and reminding us all that most humans are hypocrites, or at least most Americans and Jewish Israelis, or all Israelis? Why do you think justicewillprevail is riding on a high horse when merely pointing out the obvious as it pertains to the subject matter of this MW post? How does your ridicule aid the enlightenment of people who may alight on this blog for the first time, for example? Just asking.

      • RoHa
        March 27, 2012, 7:32 pm

        “Or are you being tongue-in-cheek”

        Mooser? Never!

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2012, 12:49 pm

        “Mooser? Never!”

        Thank you, RoHa, for validating my essential seriousness, my considered taciturnity, and economy and directness of expression. And I especially appreciate your recognition I would never use a slightly belittling phrase (“get off your high horse”) in an affectionate way, or just as an attention-getter. To do so would be very, very un-Jewish!
        However, I should state categorically at this time that I have no objections to high horses. What’s good for the ungulate is good for the equine. Pass that nosebag my way, Trigger!

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2012, 12:55 pm

        “How does your ridicule aid the enlightenment of people who may alight on this blog for the first time, for example?”

        “Alight”? You know how I feel about that fish-stealing, carrion-eating, toupee-needing raptor who inveigled me out of my rightful place as National Animal and America’s hippest hypocrite.
        I don’t exclude myself when it comes to hypocrisy, Citizen. I’ve been married for 22 years, you know.

    • Citizen
      March 24, 2012, 3:21 pm

      American, it’s not a mystery to me. Bibi explained it well a few weeks ago while he was here in USA, talking to Obama in back room and speaking in public at the Aipac conference. What happens in Israel is what jews like Bibi feel they need to survive as Jews who R chosen by God, which coincidentally means Jews empowered to live as they wish, in the material style they desire, on the backs of the Gentiles, all the while claiming anybody who resents this is out to kill the jews simply because they were born from Jewish parents, or for sure, a biological jewish mother. Whar’s not to love about this POV?

  2. CigarGod
    March 24, 2012, 11:36 am

    “…Jewish McCarthys.”

    Good description. First time I’ve heard it. Term might work as an effective tool.

    • Les
      March 24, 2012, 1:05 pm

      Until media mavens like the New Yorker’s David Remnick and the New York Review of Books’ Robert Silvers can identity Jewish McCarthys in our midst, both will first have to recognize that they exist.

    • Charon
      March 24, 2012, 4:50 pm

      Ironically, there has been a historical revisionist look back on McCarthy. It turns out that a lot of the folks suspected of communism, even though we were told it was based on unfounded non-evidence and paranoia, was based on actual evidence and in several cases they turned out to be communists years later.

      Considering the Republican party began to shift not long afterwards and considering all the Neocons who infest our government, I think he was on to something. So did the late former Congressman Larry McDonald. I don’t personally agree with all of McDonald’s personal views, but he was repeating this even in the 80s until his dead (ironically was in a commercial airliner shot down by Soviets)

      • CigarGod
        March 24, 2012, 9:36 pm

        Most people also don’t know that communists/communist party are perfectly legal in the USA…and so were demonized then as they are now…in spite of being the party from which a lot of our present social programs were based. Programs that were needed then as they are today.

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 25, 2012, 2:36 am

        The fact that “in several cases they turned out to be communists years later” does not necessarily establish that there was not anti-communist paranoia (or at least hysteria) back the 50s. Even a stopped clock paranoid is right twice a day.

        “They come from another world. Spawned in the light years of space. Unleashed to take over the bodies and souls of the people…”
        “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, Official Trailer [1956] (VIDEO, 02:20) – link to youtube.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 25, 2012, 2:53 am

        P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA:

        (excerpts) ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ is a 1956 science fiction film based on the novel ‘The Body Snatchers’ by Jack Finney…
        …In the fictional town of Santa Mira, California, Miles Bennell, a local doctor, has a number of patients accusing their loved ones of being impostors… Dr. Dan Kauffman, a psychiatrist in the town, assures Bennell that the cases are nothing but “epidemic mass hysteria”…
        …That same evening Bennell’s friend Jack Belicec finds a body with what appear to be his features, though it’s not yet fully developed. The next body found is a copy of Becky in the cellar of her house. When Bennell calls Kauffman to the scene, the bodies have mysteriously disappeared and Kauffman suspects Bennell of falling for the same hysteria. The following night Bennell, Becky, Jack and Jack’s wife Teddy again find duplicates of themselves, emerging from giant pods. They conclude that the townspeople are being replaced in their sleep by perfect physical copies…
        …Largely ignored by critics on its initial run[12], Invasion of the Body Snatchers received wide critical acclaim in retrospect and is considered one of the best films of 1956.[24][25][26]…
        . . . Some reviewers found a comment on the dangers faced of America turning a blind eye to McCarthyism,[15] or of bland conformity in postwar Dwight D. Eisenhower-era America. Others have viewed it as an allegory for the loss of personal autonomy in the Soviet Union or communist systems in general.[16] For the BBC, David Wood summarised the circulating popular interpretations of the film as follows: “The sense of post-war, anti-communist paranoia is acute, as is the temptation to view the film as a metaphor for the tyranny of the McCarthy era.”[17] . . .

        SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Without Walls
      March 25, 2012, 9:19 am

      I object to “Jewish McCarthy”

      It creates a comfort zone similar to “American committed genocide against Indians so it’s not so bad what we are doing.”

      In order to resolve zionism’s distortions zionists must take full accountability of their own ideology, behavior, and sins.
      Americans are called upon to deal with their sins, and have worked their way more-or-less thru McCarthyism. Zionists aren’t there yet; they should not be provided the comfort of thinking they’re at the same point USA is re McCarthyism.

      • pnkfloid
        March 25, 2012, 10:10 am

        I object to “Jewish McCarthy” -It creates a comfort zone similar to “American committed genocide against Indians so it’s not so bad what we are doing.”

        The analogy is meant to speak to those who find American McCarthyism objectionable. Those who would justify the crimes of Zionism by saying it is not as bad as American treatment of Native Americans, or as you propose, American McCarthyism, have no moral compass. So either way, it is a good analogy.

        The U.S. long ago (i.e., prior to Zionism) established itself as the biggest world-wide bully (think Philipines, for one), so Zionism using the U.S. as it’s yardstick is a losing moral proposition.

    • Mooser
      March 28, 2012, 12:57 pm

      ““…Jewish McCarthys.”

      That’s what I’ve been saying all along! You can’t really tell by the name. Don’t make a judgement until you know!

  3. yourstruly
    March 24, 2012, 12:00 pm

    what could have been zionism

    in palestine
    a land with a people
    palestinians
    together with a people without a land
    european jewry
    become as one

  4. Les
    March 24, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Thanks to Mondoweiss we came to be informed that the orginal Zionists from Austria and Germany rounded up the sickly settlers in Palestine and sent them back home. It is the task of historians to look at origins to let us appreciate our not so nice roots that led to what and where we are now.

    • Eva Smagacz
      March 24, 2012, 6:57 pm

      After a wave of Anti-Zionist sentiment in Soviet Block in 1968 (and accusations of lack of patriotism/loyalty to Poland against polish Jews) there was a significant emigration from Poland to Israel.

      Golda Meir, unfortunately, did not like the “quality of human stock” that was arriving to Israel. She tried to admonish Polish Government through the diplomatic channels so that they would not give exit permits to sick/disabled/elderly Jews.

      • Talkback
        March 24, 2012, 9:02 pm

        Isaak Greenbaum, head of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee put it this way: “One Cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Poland”. To them Jews were only usefull or useless human resource. Well, not only to them …

      • Shingo
        March 25, 2012, 7:15 am

        That’s consistent with what Ben Gurion stated in December 1938:

        “If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter—-because we are faced not only with the accounting of these [Jewish] children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish People.”
        (Righteous Victims, p. 162)

      • yourstruly
        March 25, 2012, 5:07 pm

        shingo, putting property ownership before the lives of children and then attributing this diabolic act of cruelty to an historical accounting of the jewish people represents what, an attempt to justify not going all out to prevent mass murder?

      • hophmi
        March 26, 2012, 10:59 am

        Eva, your story is a little mixed up according to what I’ve seen. Apparently, Meir raised the proposal of asking the Polish government to stop sending handicapped and aged Jews to Israel in a coordination committee on Aliyah that consisted of members of the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government. The letter she wrote was apparently either never sent, or never responded to. Part of the reason why was because Israel was absorbing a huge amount of immigrants at the time, and another part of the reason was because when the Poles first allowed people to leave, they were purposely sending the infirm to Israel and not allowing anyone with a profession to leave.

        link to haaretz.com

        Shingo’s quote is the same silly decontextualized half-truth as usual. In the context of 1938, it was not crazy to believe that saving Jews by shipping them to another part of Europe might end in disaster, like it did with Holland and France.

      • Eva Smagacz
        March 28, 2012, 3:05 pm

        Hopmi,

        This is the story in Haaretz:

        “In 1958, then-foreign minister Golda Meir raised the possibility of preventing handicapped and sick Polish Jews from immigrating to Israel, a recently discovered Foreign Ministry document has revealed.

        “A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we cannot continue accepting sick and handicapped people. Please give your opinion as to whether this can be explained to the Poles without hurting immigration,” read the document, written by Meir to Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Katriel Katz.

        The letter, marked “top secret” and written in April 1958, shortly after Meir became foreign minister, was uncovered by Prof. Szymon Rudnicki, a Polish historian at the University of Warsaw.”

        I understand that she wanted “strong, professional Jews” – she was building a Zionist dream. But why she did not wish to take care of old, infirm and handicapped and instead leave them to die in that Anti-Semitic nest of Vipers called Poland?

        Back to Haaretz:

        Rudnicki concedes that the content of the document surprised him as a scholar and a Jew.

        “This is a very cynical document,” he said. “It is known that Golda was a brutal politician who defended interests more than people.”

      • marc b.
        March 28, 2012, 3:43 pm

        hopmee, unless you have information from another source you haven’t linked, you’re misrepresenting the story. at the time the letter was written, ‘professional’ restrictions on immigration had been lifted for over two years, the start of the ‘gomulka aliya’ as it is called. israeli calls for lifting the restrictions were the cause of the huge amounts of immigrants at the time. and there is nothing in the quoted portion of the meir letter that is incriminating vis-a-vis a selection process by the poles, i.e. intentionally sending the sick and infirm to israel. and if so, what of it, many of the ‘infirm’, it is inferred in the article, being holocaust survivors. isn’t that the goal of eretz israel, to protect its people from the ravages of anti-semitism? the problem for zionists is that meir’s analysis is consistent with earlier, purportedly discredited, eugenics projects. and, no, i’m not referring to the nazis. unfortunately that plan got off the ground long before the corporal with the moustache came to power.

      • hophmi
        March 28, 2012, 3:49 pm

        “But why she did not wish to take care of old, infirm and handicapped and instead leave them to die in that Anti-Semitic nest of Vipers called Poland?”

        I have no idea, Eva. You’d have to ask her. As the article says, it was a time when Israel was absorbing a huge amount of immigrants and was economically a fairly poor country. As it also says, at one point, Poland was allowing only infirm people to emigrate. There were certainly plenty of older people who emigrated to Israel from around the world.

        Let’s be clear about what’s being asserted here. The assertion is that Meir wrote a letter to Israel’s ambassador to Poland asking him to explain to the Poles that Israel couldn’t accept any more sick and infirm people. It’s not clear that she ever sent it. It’s not asserted that the committee adopted her stance. The context is clear. Poland was going to enforce a quota here. It seems logical to assume that in a relatively poor 12-year-old state with an agriculture-based economy that was full of security risks, Meir would favor able-bodied people. It’s also clear that if the Polish government had no quota, and everyone could leave, Israel would have accepted the infirm under the Law of Return.

        This is another one of those instances where you hold Israel to a ridiculous standard. The fact of the matter is that many infirm people have emigrated to Israel. Many very poor people have as well. Refugees from Europe, the Arab Middle East, Iran, and Ethiopia have as well.

        The practical reality is that if an infirm Jew in Poland or anywhere else meets the standard of the Law of Return, he or she can emigrate.

      • hophmi
        March 28, 2012, 4:07 pm

        “at the time the letter was written, ‘professional’ restrictions on immigration had been lifted for over two years, the start of the ‘gomulka aliya’ as it is called. israeli calls for lifting the restrictions were the cause of the huge amounts of immigrants at the time. and there is nothing in the quoted portion of the meir letter that is incriminating vis-a-vis a selection process by the poles, i.e. intentionally sending the sick and infirm to israel. and if so, what of it, many of the ‘infirm’,”

        Then pray tell, what was the point of the letter in the first place? If immigration was unrestricted, anyone could emigrate under the Law of Return.

        “the problem for zionists is that meir’s analysis is consistent with earlier, purportedly discredited, eugenics projects. ”

        Oh please. This has nothing to do with eugenics. Eugenics is a system of improving the gene pool in a society. That has nothing to do with creating immigration policy (if you can even call this policy) that befits a small poor state that was absorbing hundreds of thousands of immigrants a year at that time. You write like no one ever had an immigration policy before. The Law of Return allowed anyone of any age to emigrate to Israel, including the many Holocaust survivors who today live in the country. How is any of this in any way consistent with eugenics?

      • marc b.
        March 28, 2012, 5:08 pm

        I have no idea, Eva. You’d have to ask her. As the article says, it was a time when Israel was absorbing a huge amount of immigrants and was economically a fairly poor country.

        and then this:

        The context is clear. Poland was going to enforce a quota here. It seems logical to assume that in a relatively poor 12-year-old state with an agriculture-based economy that was full of security risks, Meir would favor able-bodied people. It’s also clear that if the Polish government had no quota, and everyone could leave, Israel would have accepted the infirm under the Law of Return.

        the law of internal contradictions, otherwise known as ‘hopmi’s auto-theorem”. again, you’re wrong. let me repeat this slowly: at the time of the letter . . . there . . . were . . . no . . . quotas. geddit? and maybe you could clarify this point for us/me: the ‘Law of Return’ applies to ‘the infirm’ only under certain hot house conditions? say, for example, when they wouldn’t constitute a too much of a burden on the health of the state?

        This is another one of those instances where you hold Israel to a ridiculous standard.

        it is a riduculous standard to expect israel to care for jewish victims of the nazi genocide? i’m glad that’s cleared up.

      • marc b.
        March 29, 2012, 11:35 am

        Then pray tell, what was the point of the letter in the first place? If immigration was unrestricted, anyone could emigrate under the Law of Return.

        you need me to interpret the point of the letter? it’s written in clear, concise language: meir didn’t want to continue to ‘accept[] sick and handicapped people.’ and again you’re gumming up the chronology, intentionally i’ll presume. immigration in 1958 was unrestricted so far as the poles were concerned. there were no longer any restrictions on the basis of ‘essential’ professions, or any other basis. the only party suggesting restrictions at that time was meir.

        The Law of Return allowed anyone of any age to emigrate to Israel, including the many Holocaust survivors who today live in the country. How is any of this in any way consistent with eugenics?

        oy gevalt. regardless of what the ‘law of return’ provided for, meir was seeking a means of limiting the immigration of polish jews to israel who were ‘sick’ or ‘handicapped’, because the introduction of too many jews who were physically infirm would weaken the state of israel. that is precisely the argument of eugenicists.

      • hophmi
        March 29, 2012, 12:22 pm

        “immigration in 1958 was unrestricted so far as the poles were concerned.”

        You keep glossing over the fact that whether this letter was written or not (and again, we’re not even sure it was actually sent), Israel had no restriction on immigration; under the Law of Return, any Jew in Poland could have emigrated. Whatever Meir’s letter meant (it talks of a proposal in a committee to restrict Aliyah to able-bodied people), Israel’s Law of Return was not changed, and certainly plenty of older people and Holocaust survivors emigrated.

        “oy gevalt. regardless of what the ‘law of return’ provided for, meir was seeking a means of limiting the immigration of polish jews to israel who were ‘sick’ or ‘handicapped’, because the introduction of too many jews who were physically infirm would weaken the state of israel. that is precisely the argument of eugenicists.”

        No, it is not. Eugenicists argue for progressively eliminating undesirable physical traits and diseases through gene therapy (controversies arise from those who use such therapies to abort babies who will have mental and physical handicaps), and in more nefarious societies like Nazi Germany, through eliminating those with those traits from the gene pool by sterilization and outright murder.

        Even on your terms, your argument makes no sense. Golda Meir was not looking to eliminate elderly and infirm people from Israel’s society. She was doubtless looking to save the state, which was struggling economically both from the costs of being a new state and the cost of taking in hundreds of thousands of poor immigrants from all over the world, particularly refugees from the Arab Middle East and Holocaust survivors from Europe, additional expense. That has nothing to do with eugenics, and it is transparently disingenuous for you to suggest that it does.

        Restricting immigration (and again, this is not even a restriction on immigration) to the able-bodied does not eliminate any genetic traits. It’s simply common sense policy for a country with significant manual labor needs, as Israel had in the 1950s. It doesn’t eliminate anyone from the gene pool. It has nothing whatsoever to do with eugenics, and it is similar to immigration policies practiced all over the world, including the United States, where those who can earn a living and pay taxes are privileged in the visa process over those who cannot.

        And once again, whatever Meir sought to do, it never happened, because the Law of Return remained the same.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 29, 2012, 12:50 pm

        here’s a haaretz article titled `Do not have children if they won’t be healthy!’

        A shocking new study reveals how key figures in the pre-state Zionist establishment proposed …….

        link to haaretz.com

        These are some of the findings of a doctoral thesis written by Sachlav Stoler-Liss about the history of the health services in the 1950s, under the supervision of Prof. Shifra Shvarts, head of the department of health system management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. They were presented at the annual conference of the Israel Anthropological Association at Ben-Gurion College.

      • hophmi
        March 29, 2012, 1:32 pm

        This will be the next nonsense, I see. What’s your point, Annie? Is it particularly surprising that there were some prominent believers in eugenics among the Zionists at a time when eugenics was in vogue? According to the article, California sterilized about 20,000 mentally ill people through 1935.

        Moreover, your highlighting the words “history of the health services in the 1950s” ignores the subject matter of the article, most of which centers around the beliefs of Dr. Meir and the views of his colleagues during the Mandate period, not the 1950s.

        As offensive as this form of eugenics is today, it is a fact that it was prominent in theory and in practice in many Western countries up until WWII; as the wikipedia article says, in the United States, eugenicists played an extremely important role in drafting the Immigration Act of 1924.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Compulsory sterilization of mentally ill patients was regularly practiced in the US well after the war.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Let’s keep to the facts. The facts are whatever ideas were expressed in the 1930s, none of this reflects the reality in Israel today or in the past, and none of it makes the Yishuv abnormal given the time period.

      • marc b.
        March 29, 2012, 1:58 pm

        hopmi, this will be my last go round with you on this.

        1. the implementation of eugenic policies was/is not limited to the ‘elimination’ of the ‘infirm’ or any other category. there have been a variety of tactics used to maintain the health of ‘the state’, and immigration restrictions have been used to that purpose by a number of states. that is what was being attempted by meir, and you admit as much when continually referring to the economic burden of taking on the elderly and infirm at that point in israeli history.
        2. you’re confusing the ‘the law’, in this case the ‘right of return’, and the implementation of ‘the law’. there might be a law that prohibits such and such conduct, or mandates some affirmative conduct, but how the executive enforces that law, or in many cases, selectively enforces the law, is the rub. meir, as head of state, intended to restrict immigration, through back channel discussions with the poles, of ‘undesireable’ immigrants. yes, you’re right, that restriction would violate the ‘right of return’, which doesn’t mean she didn’t intend to do so.
        3. you continually gloss over in your contradictory arguments the implication of meir’s intent to restrict jewish immigration to israel, including of the elderly, many of whom were necessarily survivors of WWII, if not bona fide survivors of the camps.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 29, 2012, 2:00 pm

        the only reason i bolded that was because it highlighted the 50’s which pertained to the time period you both were were discussing.

        i am well aware eugentics was in vogue during that time period and lots of testing was going on in california. as i recall i wrote a post about a personal experience of mine at a young age, if you do a search on eugenics under my user profile it’s probably there.

        my point, and perhaps i misinterpreted your meaning, was when you wrote
        in more nefarious societies like Nazi Germany, through eliminating those with those traits from the gene pool by sterilization and outright murder. ” it sounded as if you were implying only societies as nefarious as nazi germany were participating in sterilization and outright murder. i’m not sure if that is the case, i know it’s not the case in california. i’d have to do some digging (not this morning as i am heading out) but i think there was even a congressional committee formed to review some of the gruesome stuff going on in napa/sonoma. it would not surprise me in the least if medical teams were in collaboration w/US on this stuff. as you pointed out it was in vogue.

      • marc b.
        March 29, 2012, 2:16 pm

        you got it right, annie. hence hophmi’s resort to zionist talking point number _, everyone was/is doing it.

        from the article, another meir weighs in on the health of the nation:

        One of the most prominent eugenicists of the Mandatory period was Dr. Joseph Meir, a well-known doctor who acquired his education in Vienna, served for about 30 years as the head of the Kupat Holim Clalit health maintenance organization, and after whom the Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava is named. “From his position at the very heart of the Zionist medical establishment in the land of Israel in the mid-1930s, he brought young mothers the gospel of eugenics, warned them about degeneracy and transmitted the message to them about their obligation and responsibility for bearing only healthy children,” says Stoler-Liss.

        Thus, for example, in 1934 Dr. Meir published the following text on the first page of “Mother and Child,” a guide for parents that he edited for publication by Kupat Holim: “Who is entitled to give birth to children? The correct answer is sought by eugenics, the science of improving the race and preserving it from degeneration. This science is still young, but its positive results are already great and important – These cases [referring to marriages of people with hereditary disorders - T.T.] are not at all rare in all nations and in particular in the Hebrew nation that has lived a life of exile for 1,800 years. And now our nation has returned to be reborn, to a natural life in the land of the Patriarchs. Is it not our obligation to see to it that we have whole and healthy children in body and soul? For us, eugenics as a whole, and the prevention of the transmission of hereditary disorders in particular, even greater value than for all other nations! … Doctors, people involved in sport and the national leaders must make broad propaganda for the idea: Do not have children if you are not certain that they will be healthy in body and soul!”

        but of course, meir changed his position after the horrors of nazi eugenics projects came to light. well, no.

        During the latter part of the 1930s, adds Stoler-Liss, when word came out about the horrors that eugenics in its extreme form is likely to cause, they stopped using this word, which was attributed to the Nazis. Overnight eugenics organizations and journals changed their names and tried to shake off any signs of this theory. Dr. Meir, however, during all the years he was active, continued to promote the ideas of eugenics. At the beginning of the 1950s he published an article in which he harshly criticized the reproduction prize of 100 lirot that David Ben-Gurion promised to every mother who gave birth to 10 children. “We have no interest in the 10th child or even in the seventh in poor families from the East … In today’s reality we should pray frequently for a second child in a family that is a part of the intelligentsia. The poor classes of the population must not be instructed to have many children, but rather restricted.”

      • hophmi
        March 29, 2012, 2:24 pm

        “there have been a variety of tactics used to maintain the health of ‘the state’, and immigration restrictions have been used to that purpose by a number of states. that is what was being attempted by meir,”

        Yes, there have been many tactics used to maintain the health of a state. Not every one of them is an example of eugenics. This one is an example of immigration policy that is very common. It is not eugenics, and fits no definition of eugenics that I know of.

        “meir, as head of state, intended to restrict immigration”

        Meir was not head of state in 1958. She was a member of a committee. Once again, all that has been proven here is that Meir drafted a letter to Israel’s ambassador to Poland. Nothing more. All we have here are the thoughts of Golda Meir in 1958.

        “3. you continually gloss over in your contradictory arguments the implication of meir’s intent to restrict jewish immigration to israel”

        I’m not sure what contradiction you mean, because there are none in my argument.

        And you continually ignore the fact that nothing actually came of this letter, that Israel certainly has not been very selective when it comes to emigrating Jews, and that the policy, or better, idea, would not have been in any way unusual for a first-world state, let alone a struggling one dealing with a massive influx of immigrants in general and with significant manual labor needs.

      • hophmi
        March 29, 2012, 2:27 pm

        “it sounded as if you were implying only societies as nefarious as nazi germany were participating in sterilization and outright murder.”

        Yes, you’re right, sterilization was practiced in many places outside of Nazi Germany (though perhaps not to the same extent). I should have just said murder. Sterilization was unfortunately quite popular, it seems.

      • hophmi
        March 29, 2012, 5:21 pm

        “you got it right, annie. hence hophmi’s resort to zionist talking point number _, everyone was/is doing it.”

        It’s not a talking point. It’s totally accurate and apropos here, and shows, once again, a double standard. It’s also a straw man, because no one ever claimed that there were no Zionist eugenicists. It also does nothing to prove your nonsensical argument that Golda Meir was engaging in eugenics because she tried to get the Polish government to stop sending over elderly and sick people.

        You’re not proving anything here other than there was a prominent Zionist eugenicist. We got that already.

  5. pabelmont
    March 24, 2012, 12:43 pm

    Israel was supposed to make a safe place for Jews to live as Jews. If the Israeli Jews must “circle the wagons” to the extent shown by recent events and described here, demanding (as some Americans do when PATRIOT ACT is criticized, for instance, with little flags on lapels and “American love it or Leave it” on bumper stickers), the new “Israeli expansionism and lawlessness, love it or leave it” described here is a proof — IMO — that (at a minimum) Israel is not a safe place (at least for democratically minded Jews) because the fascist tendency is a statement of fear of and attack against civil-rights-human-rights-style democratic tendencies in favor of strict-majority-rule-without-civil-rights-or-human-rights. Sad to see it happen anywhere.

    As it does appear to be happening in Israel, and on the basis of grabbing and holding all of Mandatory Palestine in a non-democratic apartheid-style 1SS, dooming 2SS to the extent the matter is left to purely Israeli determination, it is clear that there is a need for international intervention, and not for I/P negotiation.

    That clarity, and 5-cents will buy a 5-cent cigar.

  6. Nevada Ned
    March 24, 2012, 2:51 pm

    Look, Israel has done (and is doing) terrible things to the Palestinians. But I’m not sure that an all-out assault on Zionism is such a wonderful idea. After all, Palestinians some day (we hope) will strike a deal with the Israelis, and that means negotiation with Zionists.
    Suppose that some forces within Israeli society said, “OK, you’ve convinced us. Palestinians have been oppressed by Israel.” Right now, that’s a very small minority within Israeli Jews. I hope that their numbers can grow. If the Palestinians ever hope to get that kind of response from a significant fraction of Israeli Jews, they’ll have to have a message and a program that can be tolerated by some Israeli Jews. And I think total opposition to Zionism may be a very hard sell to Israeli Jews.

    • lysias
      March 25, 2012, 7:58 pm

      Total opposition to apartheid was a hard sell to white South Africans.

    • Mooser
      March 27, 2012, 12:57 pm

      “After all, Palestinians some day (we hope) will strike a deal with the Israelis”

      Lone Ranger: “Tonto, there are hostile Indians to the left, hostile Indians to the right, and above us on the hills! Looks like we’re surrounded!
      Tonto: “What you mean-um “we”, Paleface?”

      Why do you want the Palestinians to negotiate with the Zionists from a position of weakness? What’s in it for you?

  7. Les
    March 24, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Zionism considers itself to be the White Power branch of Judaism.

    • dahoit
      March 25, 2012, 12:21 pm

      About as accurate as Nubians considering themselves to be Chinese,and I’m not impugning your statement,just the wacky postulation that Semites are Caucasian.(wanna bes)

      • Les
        March 25, 2012, 3:02 pm

        Ashkenazis are white. No wonder that settlers from the US in the early days of Israel referred to the native born Jews as Schwarze Jews.

      • Mooser
        March 27, 2012, 12:59 pm

        “Ashkenazis are white.”

        Les, I don’t come to Mondoweiss to be insulted by the commenters. Take that back! I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but that’s way below the frozen limit.
        Wait a minute! Who am I calling “Ashkenazi”?

  8. W.Jones
    March 24, 2012, 4:48 pm

    Zionism by itself simply means a return to Zion, the people’s homeland. One can have this idea without ideas about a state system. And by itself, this return after centuries seems like a nice idea.

    One question you can ask is why this idea is important: Are the people safer in the homeland? More likely, it seems that the people care alot about their national identity and thus want to have a community in their homeland.

    So far OK.

    A big problem arises though when a big portion of those dedicated to this idea want a state dedicated to their own people and not to other native people who share the same homeland.

    Another big problem seems to be that the Zionist movement defines the people based on religous background rather than actual ethnic background, since alot of Palestinians are ethnically Jewish.

    And then the term Zionism becomes incorrectly equated in common discourse with dedication to a specific single-ethnic state system in Zion.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 24, 2012, 8:03 pm

      Zionism by itself simply means a return to Zion, the people’s homeland.

      hmmm, as i recall the original zionists weren’t stuck on the idea zionism required to manifest itself in the holy land per se. so, if zionism could have been in uganda, how would that have represented a ‘return’?

      • Hostage
        March 24, 2012, 10:35 pm

        hmmm, as i recall the original zionists weren’t stuck on the idea zionism required to manifest itself in the holy land per se.

        Nah, that was just a subterfuge. Herzl had no intention of abandoning the conquest of Palestine when he proposed accepting that territory in East Africa He wrote:

        “It is precisely the duty of the leader to set the people on the path which, by apparent detours, leads to the goal. You refuse the life which is offered you out of fear, cowardice. Miserable eunuchs that you are, you sacrifice the sources of your power. Look at Britain! It pours its excess popula­tion into the vast empire that it was able to acquire. Are we then so craven as to be frightened of the offer made to us? Starting from their national base, nations have built colonial empires that have made their fortunes. Let us accept the chance offered us to become a miniature England. Let us start by acquiring our colonies! From them, we shall launch the conquest of our Homeland. Let the lands between Kilimanjaro and Kenya become those of the first colony of Israel! They, rather than Edmond de Rothschild’s philanthropic supported refugees, will constitute the real Rishon le-Zion, the first- fruits of Zionism, of the New Israel. If we accept Chamberlain’s offer with gratitude, we strengthen our position, we oblige him to do something wise for us should our commission of enquiry reject the land proposed. In our transactions with this mighty nation we shall acquire the status of a national power. We will not stop there! Other States will follow Britain’s example, new “reserves of power” will be created in Mozambique with the Portuguese, in the Congo with the Belgians, in Tripolitania with the Italians.”

        Secular Zionism and Uganda have always been fairly irrelevant to the national religious crowd. A Jewish Messiah is supposed to be appointed to govern and to reign on Zion, God’s holy mount. The other nations will be given over to him as a possession, and he will rule over them with a rod of iron (e.g. Psalms 2:1-9).

      • Annie Robbins
        March 24, 2012, 11:24 pm

        goodness gracious hostage, i had no idea. you are an endless wealth of information.

      • Keith
        March 25, 2012, 12:30 am

        HOSTAGE- One of the more interesting things about the quote you provided is that this is not the language of a dispirited leader of a downtrodden people. He speaks of nationhood and empire. His call for a nation as a launching pad for future conquest was echoed by David Ben Gurion years later when he advocated for accepting the UN partition as the first step in acquiring the whole of Palestine.

      • Hostage
        March 25, 2012, 10:43 am

        He speaks of nationhood and empire. His call for a nation as a launching pad for future conquest was echoed by David Ben Gurion years later when he advocated for accepting the UN partition as the first step in acquiring the whole of Palestine.

        Of course. The land of promise was never strictly limited to Palestine, but included any subsequent conquests. Here is Joshua 1:3 and Rashi’s commentary:

        3. Every place on which the soles of your feet will tread I have given to you, as I have spoken to Moses.

        Rashi: Every place on which [the soles of your feet] will tread: A similar statement to this was said to Moses, concerning which we learned in Sifrei: If this verse is to teach about the boundaries of Eretz Israel, the Scripture already states: From this desert and Lebanon etc., [clearly defining the boundaries of the Holy Land.] If so, why is it stated, ‘Every place where your foot will tread?’ Even outside of Eretz Israel. [I.e.] After you have conquered the land, all that you will conquer outside the land, will be holy and will be yours.

      • Hostage
        March 25, 2012, 11:20 am

        P.S. Herzl and Ben Gurion weren’t observant Jews, but they used the history of the Jews and scriptures to motivate their secular followers and to recruit the national religious elements of the Diaspora to their cause. Gurvitz and others have noted that secular Zionism has become irrelevant in Israel today and that the national religious parties are driving the political discourse.

        These religious zealots are the ones who are most desperate to nullify the UN Charter, international law, and western moral values in order to revive their right of conquest. In his 1986 article on “The International Status of Jerusalem”, the late Judge Antonio Cassese wrote that Robert Jennings (author of “The Acquisition of Territory in International Law”, Manchester University Press, 1963 and editor of several volumes of Oppenheim’s International Law, London, Longman) was recognized as the great authority on the acquisition of territory in international law.

        In “The Acquisition of Territory in International Law (1963)” Jennings had explained (see pages 54-57) that as a result of developments in customary international law and the adoption of the UN Charter “conquest as a title to territorial sovereignty had ceased to be a part of the law.” Jennings cited the Jewish Agency’s former legal advisor, Judge Hersh Lauterpacht’s, work on the International Law Commission (ILC). Lauterpacht had explained that, even when force is used against an aggressor, the fact of aggression itself is irrelevant in deciding the legal remedies. They do not include acquisition of title to territory through a treaty settlement imposed by or as the result of force or the threat of force.

      • dahoit
        March 26, 2012, 9:26 am

        I bet the Ugandans had a sigh of relief on hearing Palestine was elected to be fed to the wolves instead of them.

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2012, 1:00 pm

        Annie, Zionism and Uganda are very closely related. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times Zionists have asked me: “Uganda Israel yet?”

    • Daniel Rich
      March 24, 2012, 10:24 pm

      @ W.Jones,

      ‘We’ already protected ‘zion’ in the first Matrix movie. link to en.wikipedia.org

    • bintbiba
      March 25, 2012, 8:22 am

      Simple! In a nutshell! Thank you!

      • bintbiba
        March 25, 2012, 8:24 am

        To W. Jones.
        Simple!! In a nutshell! Thank you

    • Without Walls
      March 25, 2012, 10:21 am

      the conundrum I could never figure out, and the confusion which Netanyahu heightened when he made such a big deal of the Esther story, is why, if returning to their ancient homeland was always so important to Jews, why didn’t Esther and Mordecai actually return to Jerusalem in 537 BCE rather than remain in Babylon? In fact, why didn’t all of those Jews to whom Cyrus– and Darius and Xerxes– provided opportunity and full political and financial support to return to Jerusalem, actually return to Jerusalem? Instead, a majority chose to remain in Babylon and did so until 1950 CE.

      The fact that at least a dozen years after Jews were liberated Esther and Mordecai –and about half of the original exiles –chose to remain in Babylon, where Mordecai spied on Persians and refused to grant the duties of a citizen to the Persian prime minister, just naturally causes one to speculate that there was another agenda going on.
      (That Persians threatened/plotted/schemed to annihilate Jews in Persia –ever– is contrary to the evidence in Jewish scriptures and all known extra-biblical sources, documents, and artifacts. It may well be that the Esther story is the origin of what Atzmon calls Jewish “Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder” — a non-existent fear is internalized, then utilized as justification for brutal aggression toward the Other. This script has been staged numerous times. )

      That Netanyahu put Esther in the center stage spotlight, and since her agenda was NOT to return to Jerusalem, it is reasonable to suspect that Netanyahu’s agenda is something far more ambitious than the zionist longing to return to Jerusalem.

  9. Keith
    March 24, 2012, 5:19 pm

    ZIONISM is the ideology which justified the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine and which now justifies maintaining Israel as a Jewish state. It is the ideology which underpins organized global Jewish support for Israel. That the ideology has undergone changes in response to changing circumstances is not unusual, nor has it changed the essence of the situation. Concocting a new label for this ideology strikes me as a form of subterfuge.

  10. Sherri Munnerlyn
    March 24, 2012, 6:53 pm

    Zionism has become evil, to join the other evil “isms” in the history of mankind, like Naziism. It cannot be salvaged, it is what it has become, an ideology forever associated, and intertwined, with a 45 year brutal Occupation and the horrible human rights abuses of that Occupation that daily robs a civilian Palestinian population of millions of basic freedoms, basic human rights , human dignity, and life.

    • Without Walls
      March 25, 2012, 2:58 pm

      zionism was an active “ism” before Nazism was a gleam in Germany’s eye.
      Nazism disappeared by 1945; zionism grew.

      • Citizen
        March 27, 2012, 2:15 pm

        Without Walls, I wrote a historical caveat response to your comment, which was registered, but never appeared here thereafter to my knowledge. I don’t know why.

    • Mooser
      March 28, 2012, 1:19 pm

      Zionism has become evil, to join the other evil “isms” in the history of mankind, like Naziism. It cannot be salvaged, it is what it has become, an ideology forever associated, and intertwined, with a 45 year brutal Occupation and the horrible human rights abuses of that Occupation that daily robs a civilian Palestinian population of millions of basic freedoms, basic human rights , human dignity, and life.”

      Ah, Sherri, it’s good to know you are an anti-Zionist.

      • Sherri Munnerlyn
        March 28, 2012, 6:26 pm

        Mooser,

        It does not naturally follow that a person who sees Zionism as evil is an anti- Zionist. I do not see myself as an anti-Zionist. I do not have to be Anti Zionist or Anti other human beings, simply because what I see Zionism as is what I see as evil. In the same way, I am not a Muslim, and I am also not anti-Muslim. I actually do not even see being a Muslim as evil, but however I viewed it, it would not naturally follow that I was Anti Muslim. I can see an Ideology as evil, and, at the same time, not self identify myself as Anti that ideology. I have been taught Communism was evil my entire life, as an American, but I never saw myself as an anti Communist. I am not even familiar with that phrase being widely used by Americans.

  11. ritzl
    March 24, 2012, 7:23 pm

    OT, but is anyone going to cover Andrew Bacevich’s interview on Moyers?

    Remarkable piece, and relevant to the site mission, imho.

    The conversation is broadening. Things that couldn’t be said in the recent past are now being said. Openly, if circumspectly.

    link to vimeo.com

  12. eljay
    March 24, 2012, 7:23 pm

    >> As long as the word Zionism no longer refers simply to the right of a people to self definition, but rather to a means of determining who is on “our” side and who is a traitor, Zionism will not serve me as a useful component of identity.

    But…Zionism never referred “simply to the right of a people to self definition”. It referred to the right of Jews to establish a Jewish state in all of former Mandate Palestine.

    From JewishVirtualLibrary.org:
    >> Zionism, the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, advocated, from its inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions, left and right, religious and secular, joined to form the Zionist movement and worked together toward these goals. Disagreements led to rifts, but ultimately, the common goal of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland was attained.

    So, what Mr. Ben Sasson appears to be saying is that he’s comfortable with Zionism – and all the injustice and immorality it comprises – as a “component of [his] identity” as long as Jews remain firmly united behind the “Jewish state” enterprise. I don’t see anything here worth applauding.

  13. Sin Nombre
    March 24, 2012, 7:25 pm

    In an earlier thread this huge issue sort of came up in a sideways way—under the broader guise of talking about ethno/racial/cultural separatism—and while I posted a comment in response to KEITH there it really didn’t belong in that anyway dead thread. It seems far more relevant here and so at any rate it’s why I think it’s wrong to condemn Zionism per se so I’ll reproduce it for what it’s worth:

    Keith said:

    “Under these circumstances, this selective memory [focusing on the Holocaust for instance] helps to replicate in general terms that which it opposes in specific terms, hence, no good has ever or will ever come of it.”

    Well I agreed with you up to here, Keith, but I wonder if some … lesser, non-fetishized selective memory *necessarily* leads to a group doing terrible things to others. I mean, to some degree *nobody’s* memory/consciousness is broad enough, right?

    I am well aware of the liberal/progressive universalist slant of many if not most people here, and certainly respect the idealism behind it. And I’m not dogmatically against it but do believe there’s reasons to believe it just isn’t possible and won’t work.

    And even perhaps believe that it can’t work, and think that attempts to make it so have led to terrible trouble if not misery already, and might be unavoidable.

    I guess maybe this isn’t the place to explore this, but look, culture not unsurprisingly tends to be shared on the same basis as race and ethnicity, and culture is about more than just what style of music one likes but is about values too.

    And values are what people fight over.

    Idea’s like “multi-culturalism” certainly sound nice, and certainly one can point to the U.S.’s experience in trying it so far and say see it can work. But maybe because of its nature the U.S. is a unique or semi-unique place. (A “creedal”or “propositional” nation rather than one rooted in soil or shared history.) And it’s awful early yet in this experiment here. Nuts, in general we don’t even pay any attention to movements or ideas that have lasted less than 100 years or so in terms of asking about their workability. Here, it’s only been what? … 20 years or so that the term “multi-cultural” has even been around? Maybe 30?

    It’s just awful awful early yet.

    And then I look at that careful study done not all that long ago that resulted in that academic or quasi-academic journal (Foreign Affairs or etc.?) that was widely praised for its carefulness and lack of ideology where the political science author noted that while in a splotch of the West sure, we all think that everything’s moving towards multi-culturalism. Except that across the entirety of the rest of the world basically it’s not, and indeed it’s moving mammothly and resolutely in the opposite direction. No ands, ifs or buts about it, and just as a simple, undeniable factual matter.

    This isn’t to deny for a second the great potential evils of ethno/racial/cultural nationalism, after all we have the Nazis fresh in our minds.

    But it’s funny: With much validity we indict a big slice of the Israelis and jews with seeing everything through the prism of the Holocaust and Nazism, but to a degree liberal, multicultural universalists do too: Sure of course it showed the great potential evils of separatism, but what about *them* looking beyond Germany and Hitler for a second? Indeed, looking just over the border from Hitler’s Germany?

    I.e., what about the great uber-liberal multi-culti universalist experiment that was Bolshevism in the USSR? And for the sake of argument let’s forget even its early crimes: Every new regime is gonna be guilty of some brutalities early on.

    But what did the Bolshies find as their time went on? *Totally* contrary to what they predicted? Ethnic/racial and cultural differences were far far stronger than they ever believed. And, predictably—and worrisomely—what this caused was the regime to become ever more savage trying to stamp it out. To the point of killing or incarcerating so many it changed the demographics of that huge country. A literal orgy of violence and blood, that went on and on, and was stopped only long enough for the USSR to go fight Hitler for little while.

    Not all that different than the experience of Bolshevik China, or Pot Pot’s Cambodia.

    Like I say, it’s early yet for the liberal, multi-cultural, internationalist dream. Indeed perhaps it’s not even fully out of the womb, and in only a very few places. And then there’s that Bolshevik experiment … perhaps suggesting that for that dream to work it’s inevitably going to have to use ever more force, and that even when using what amounts to a demonic degree of same it *still* won’t work….

    It’s early yet.

    • Citizen
      March 26, 2012, 9:05 pm

      Atzmon’s says The Holocaust Religion is the only thing that holds together the Jews around the contemporary world.

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2012, 1:18 pm

        “Atzmon’s says…”

        If I were you, I would listen to everything Atzmon says, if he says it through a yard of brass.

    • Mooser
      March 27, 2012, 1:06 pm

      “And values are what people fight over.”

      My brother, I salute you, as a fellow survivor of Filene’s basement sales! Let’s sing together:

      Gotta jump down spin around, pick a dress of cotton!
      Gonna jump down, spin around, pick a dress of wool!

      See how this one looks on me,
      Just like Jackie Kennedy!

      Gotta jump down spin around, pick a dress…..

  14. Annie Robbins
    March 24, 2012, 11:35 pm

    i like ben sasson, he seems like my kinda guy

    Zionism will not serve me as a useful component of identity

    i feel exactly the same way which is why i refuse to self identify as an anti zionist. i used to say i was a non zionist but i don’t like that anymore either. why should i use that word at all? why should i self identify as an anti when i am a pro person? why should i self identify as a non something when i am something! i am calling myself a civicist from now on. i am part of the pro equality movement. and ben can call himself that too, if he wants.

    • Sherri Munnerlyn
      March 25, 2012, 10:21 am

      We are speaking about an “ism,” and the problem seems to be these ideologies always come up with a consensus that seeks to define a group, a subset of all humans, defining one group with rights greater than others (and we see with the definition of Zionism that there is not even a universally agreed upon definition of the term, which certainly complicates the issue further). I find myself thinking about Nationalism, and all the evil done for the sake of nationalism by nations. Perhaps, the real evil is the hate that often underlies the Ideologies, that leads us to see ourselves as different and/or superior to others. These ideologies become Walls dividing us from one another, keeping us from empathizing with the suffering of others, keeping us from seeing, for example, all children hurting, as “our children.”

      Like some of the other posters, I also find the idea of self identifying myself as Anti Zionist to be repellant. There is a negativity, a hate, it seems to me, inherent in such identification. There is an organization I occasionally get emails from that identifies itself by its title as Anti Zionist, and every single time I hear their name, I cringe. I cannot tell you much of anything about that organization, I cannot seem to get past my reaction to their name to read what they are saying about anything.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 25, 2012, 2:03 pm

        defining one group with rights greater than others

        exactly sherri.

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2012, 1:10 pm

        “Like some of the other posters, I also find the idea of self identifying myself as Anti Zionist to be repellant.”

        Hey, Sherri, some people find religious supremacism and ethnic cleasing to be attractive and workable ideas. I concede they are more attractive if you are the one supreme doing the cleasing.
        I mean, how could any decent person be against that? And being anti-Zionist implies you believe “Arabs” are just as good as Jews. Who wants to be associated with that kind of idea? Only somebody who “hates” Jews, it’s obvious.

      • Sherri Munnerlyn
        March 28, 2012, 6:48 pm

        Mooser,

        I can find religious supremacism and ethnic cleansing to be bad and criticize them, without attaching any label to myself like Zionist or Anti Zionist. I do not need the labels. Labels, when they start permanently being used to demonize, to forever identify human beings as good or bad, have lost their purpose. They just need to be thrown in the trash.

        I want to share a story about these labels. I was taught Communism was bad, there was nothing good in it. Therefore, Communists must be evil people, it follows. Then, I read the stories about the lives of two Jewish Israeli Communists, Juliano Mer Khamis and his mother Arna, after they had died. And I realized all I had been taught my entire life about Communism and Communists was a lie. The lives of these two individuals, their concern for the welfare of others, their acts of self sacrifice, I do not know any Christians like them. When nonChristians look more like Jesus than Christians do, I am still trying to understand that one. And where does that take me, it raises very serious questions about our use of LABELS.

        Does anyone know what happened to Juliano Mer Khamis father? I have always wondered what happened to him.

      • Citizen
        March 28, 2012, 8:29 pm

        His father was originally a Christian Palestinian, I think, and he was expelled from Rakah in 1987.

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2012, 1:15 pm

        “I cannot tell you much of anything about that organization, I cannot seem to get past my reaction to their name to read what they are saying about anything.”

        Ah, don’t bother, obviously a bunch of “haters” It’s all in the name “Anti-Zionist”. Why didn’t they just call it “The Hate-Jews Report”?

      • MHughes976
        March 28, 2012, 6:12 pm

        By ‘Zionism’ I mean ‘the belief that Jewish people and they only have a share in sovereignty over the Holy Land (or some subset of the HL, determined by them) by right, birthright; that they may offer a share to others, but only by grace and generosity, not obligation’. This is the belief on which Israel has been built. I consider it certain that this belief is mistaken and I do not see anything approaching a defensible reason for it. That makes me an anti-Zionist, fair and square, according to the normal way the term ‘anti’ is used. If I disagreed with the theory of evolution I would be an anti-evolutionist and so on with a long string of words. No point beating about the bush. I think Zionism is a mistaken moral principle, I think it’s wrong. Thinking that something is wrong is not a matter of hating anyone. No one can with any reason say ‘Disagreement with me amounts to hatred, and hatred is wrong, so I must be right’ – anyone could say that in defence of anything and that would make all discussion absurd.
        Someone who is wrong on a matter of morality need not be a bad person, just a mistaken one. It is possible for someone who makes a moral mistake to be fundamentally a nicer person than someone else who gets the same question right. I’m sure that there are Zionists much nicer than me, but on the question of Zionism I am sure that they are wrong.
        People of conflicting moral views may make a working compromise, of course. The Palestinians have a right to give up some of their rights if they think an acceptable compromise is on offer, but they would be accepting the compromise not because they had come to accept that Zionism is right but for the sake of a better future.

  15. Justice Please
    March 25, 2012, 4:43 pm

    “The anti-Zionist trump card is waived whenever a public figure of any color or denomination [...] doesn’t recite the mantra that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.”

    ‘Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and we will put you into administrative detention if you say otherwise!’ – Mark Regev

  16. Proton Soup
    March 26, 2012, 2:01 pm

    it’s about time. zionism is racism. and liberal zionism is simply the kinder, gentler, segregationist version of same. and, i do understand liberal zionism to a certain point as a transition point (i had a relative who based a political career on segregation, only for it to come out years later he had a black mistress). but still, it is what it is. and at some point you have to come out of the closet and recognize it for what it is.

    • Citizen
      March 26, 2012, 9:14 pm

      Yes, PS, and racism itself is a social construct? Or are there races, scientifically speaking? And what distinguishes them? Some black pundits say “white” is a social construct in America, but so apparently is “black.” For example, re Obama or re Zimmerman who’s morphed in the news from “white” to “white Hispanic.” And then, there’s the accusation in the black community that somebody is “acting white.”

      • Proton Soup
        March 27, 2012, 7:57 pm

        you can call it ethnocentrism if you like, it’s all the same to me. i’ve been watching this for a while, and what i see is israel doing things like completely obliterating the culture and customs of ethiopian jews that it allows into israel. that is, they’re building a “judasim” based not only on theology, but also mundane things like the smashing of glasses at weddings. it’s a very eurocentric “judasim”, no african customs allowed. we did the same crap to the native americans and inuits in america. it’s all about destroying cultures, and therefore peoples. racism, ethnocentrism, whatever… i really don’t care. it’s about destroying peoples, and it’s a kind of genocide as defined by Raphael Lemkin himself. a man whose memory is nearly forgotten, nearly destroyed already, because of the condemnation it heaps down on the heads of those committing these atrocities.

        social construct?! sure, social constructs are being destroyed here, and it is a sin.

      • Citizen
        March 28, 2012, 11:34 am

        Lemkin invented the term “genocide,” as I’m sure you know, PS. And his definition of it seems clearly applicable to Israel’s actions against the Palestinians despite so many who’ve said over the years that calling the aggregate of Israel’s actions “genocide”
        is anti-semitic hyperbole.

        The US did not ratify the Genocide Convention of 1951 until 1988 as it was afraid of “frivolous” international law suits that might be filed against it, if memory serves.

        Anyway, US does not ever use that international law against genocide even when it appears to fit; here it’s agued US won’t do so as it’s afraid such official recognition may render US under legal obligation to enforce said law around the world: link to science.jrank.org

      • Hostage
        March 28, 2012, 9:19 pm

        it’s agued US won’t do so as it’s afraid such official recognition may render US under legal obligation to enforce said law around the world

        It’s also argued that the real reason that the US, Canada, the EU, et al boycott the UN Durban Conferences has nothing to do with Israel. They simply don’t wish to discuss reparations for past abuses like slavery, genocide, concentration camps/reservations at home or in their colonies.

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2012, 1:07 pm

        “And then, there’s the accusation in the black community that somebody is “acting white.”

        Yes, Citizen, and I’ve heard lots of caucasions use the expression “that’s mighty white of you” I wonder if they mean the same thing?
        At any rate, I’ll put the word out they ought to be more careful.
        And once again, Citizen, your incisive legal mind alights on an irrefutable truth; people have different color skin, ranging from very pale to almost completely black. There’s just no getting around it, is there? Science has proved it.

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