The benedictions of Benzion Netanyahu’s racism

Israel/Palestine
on 32 Comments

Israel’s most powerful person, IMHO, Benzion Netanyahu, is dead. Predictably, the NYT obituary elides the true nature of his philosophy. Here’s the misleading money quote:

Throughout, his views were relentlessly hawkish: he argued that Jews inevitably faced discrimination that was racial and not religious, and that efforts to compromise with Arabs were futile.

What distortion! The NYT makes it sound like Netanyahu wanted Zionist Jews to coexist as equals with the Arabs, but saw no way to do so because of the Arabs’ uncompromising racism. Where did he ever write such a thing? The NYT should have written this, a more accurate characterization:

Throughout, his views were relentlessly hawkish and racist: he, like his mentor Jabotinsky, argued that Zionist immigrants must use overwhelming military force to conquer Palestine and subdue the local Arab population until they lost all hope of resisting the expropriation of their lands. According to Netanyahu, who saw conflict as the “essence of the Arab,” all efforts to compromise with Arabs would be futile until they were powerless and subjugated.

See Larry Derfner’s +972 article for more on Benzion’s imperialist, racist views…

We should conquer any disputed territory in the Land of Israel. Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war…

The Bible finds no worse image than that of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency toward conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement.

What does it say about the U.S. government when our president makes a condolence call for the death of a man who held such inhumane views?

Why do I argue Benzion was the most powerful person in Israel? He said this about his son the prime minister:

Bibi might aim for the same goals as mine, but he keeps to himself the ways to achieve them, because if he gave expression to them, he would expose his goals.

On the origins of Benzion’s thinking, see his mentor Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s The Iron Wall:

Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel”…

Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs….

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.

There is no other morality.

About Matthew Taylor

Matthew A. Taylor is co-founder of PeacePower magazine, and author of "The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Palestine/Israel," a chapter in the book Nonviolent Coexistence.

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32 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    May 3, 2012, 10:14 am

    Condolence call was not “about” Benzion, but “to” his son Bibi. World leaders do that stuff in regard to each other, going to inaugurations and investments and funerals and the like. The way it is.

  2. eljay
    May 3, 2012, 10:42 am

    According to Wiki:
    >> Netanyahu became active in Revisionist Zionists circles …
    >> He traveled to New York and became the secretary to Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the father of the Revisionist Zionism movement.
    >> He was executive director New Zionist Organization of America in New York 1940–1948, the political rival of the mainstream Zionist Organization of America.
    >> During World War II, he was one of the Revisionist movement’s leaders in the U.S.
    >> Netanyahu believed in Greater Israel

    Bibi’s dad was a religion-supremacist, who worked to build and maintain an oppressive, expansionist, colonialist and religion-supremacist state. His academic and “intellectual” contributions do not erase the fact that he was a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist.

    • American
      May 3, 2012, 11:42 am

      I don’t see that he was a religious supremist…he was a plain supremist. If there’s anything religious about zionism, it’s that for zionist, they and Jews by extension, since they have to have some following or myth to fit the claim and belief, are their own literal God. ..they worship themselves. And of course by being Supreme beings they get to establish universal truth and demand worship and obedience from others and melt out punishments to those who don’t accept them as the Supreme beings.
      I am surprised the guy lived as long as he did carrying around that kind rot inside him.

  3. OlegR
    May 3, 2012, 11:25 am

    You should expand the quote a little.

    “Two brief remarks: In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true; either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.

    We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.

    There is no other morality.

    All this does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement is impossible. As long as there is a spark of hope that they can get rid of us, they will not sell these hopes, not for any kind of sweet words or tasty morsels, because they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left. Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups. Only then would these moderate groups come to us with proposals for mutual concessions. And only then will moderates offer suggestions for compromise on practical questions like a guarantee against expulsion, or equality and national autonomy.”

    That man would have hated the current PC rules, he was anything but.

    • American
      May 3, 2012, 12:25 pm

      ““Two brief remarks: In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true; either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.”

      sigh…..banging my head against wall. This again reflects the supremist attitude and hubris…..they absolutely cannot process the reality or fact that what ‘they decide’ is immaterial if the majority of the world ultimately disagrees with them.

      • OlegR
        May 4, 2012, 9:52 am

        /they decide’ is immaterial if the majority of the world ultimately disagrees with them./
        So justice and morality is a question of numbers then?
        What a novel idea.

      • American
        May 4, 2012, 11:18 am

        Yes Oleg, the majority establishes, for all practical purposes, what is moral/ acceptable by going along with something or refusing to go along with it.
        People thought giving the holocaust Jews a protected country was moral originally, when they no longer think it’s a moral good they will reject it.

      • Blake
        May 4, 2012, 12:05 pm

        Please don’t give up American. You are doing a fantastic job and have the patience of a saint. I love your comments (along with all the freedom and justice seekers on here).

    • Hostage
      May 3, 2012, 12:59 pm

      All this does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement is impossible.

      Well Oleg the world has moved-on. We no longer permit the use of the crime of aggression to force others into involuntary “agreements” under the duress of military occupation, forced eviction, colonization, and apartheid. Those are all considered to be decidedly immoral acts. They are also international crimes for which statutory limitations do not exist.

      This has never been a discussion about anything other than rule by brute force. The Allies of the Zionists have always spun lies about the need for endless peace talks to reach a negotiated agreement, but Israel chose instead to pursue the iron wall policy and colonization:

      All of us, without exception, are constantly demanding that this power strictly fulfill its obligations. In this sense, there are no meaningful differences between our “militarists” and our “vegetarians.” One prefers an iron wall of Jewish bayonets, the other proposes an iron wall of British bayonets, the third proposes an agreement with Baghdad, and appears to be satisfied with Baghdad’s bayonets – a strange and somewhat risky taste’ but we all applaud, day and night, the iron wall. We would destroy our cause if we proclaimed the necessity of an agreement, and fill the minds of the Mandatory with the belief that we do not need an iron wall, but rather endless talks. Such a proclamation can only harm us. Therefore it is our sacred duty to expose such talk and prove that it is a snare and a delusion.

      • American
        May 3, 2012, 2:21 pm

        “Well Oleg the world has moved-on. We no longer permit the use of the crime of aggression to force others into involuntary “agreements” under the duress of military occupation, forced eviction, colonization, and apartheid. Those are all considered to be decidedly immoral acts. They are also international crimes for which statutory limitations do not exist”..Hostage

        The world did move on …. but zionism and Israel have dragged it back.
        How else do we account for the fact that despite the laws nations created to prevent exactly what Israel has done….it continues to this day? It cannot be that any sane person actually sees these universally prohibited crimes by Israel as justified legally or morally under a past victim hood claim by the criminals.
        I can’t comprehend it. Some one explain it to me.

      • Hostage
        May 3, 2012, 4:08 pm

        Some one explain it to me.

        Okay, I don’t think that the US has the international clout to keep Israeli PMs and other officials out of jail if they keep rolling-out plans to build thousands and thousands of new units in illegal settlements. The US will be lucky if it can keep its own officials out of jail much longer while pursuing its own unpopular war on terror.

        It’s preposterous for the Quartet to regurgitate demands that Hamas accept previous agreements on outposts, when Israel is legalizing them in violation of the Road Map. Other countries can see that Israel is not waiting for a mutually agreed upon negotiated settlement to determine the status of the territory. That’s why they have been granting Palestine recognition as a state and have admitted it to international organizations over the objections of the US and Israel. That trend will continue and it will eventually bite Israel in the ass..

      • American
        May 3, 2012, 11:10 pm

        I pray you are right Hostage.

      • Hostage
        May 4, 2012, 12:36 am

        I pray you are right Hostage.

        Read the latest letter from the Palestinians to the Security Council and the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly and let me know if you think they sound like they are ready to accept the status quo from Israel, the US, and the UN? link to un.org

        The part about Netanyahu being duplicitous almost reds like a criminal indictment. I’m amazed that the PLO/PA have waited this long to join the ICC.

      • Hostage
        May 4, 2012, 1:41 am

        P.S. Abbas told the press last month that if Netanyahu wouldn’t agree to a freeze on settlement construction and a resumption of talks within 30 days, he would go back to the General Assembly for observer state status.
        link to telegraph.co.uk
        link to maannews.net

        Well he got Netanyahu’s answer Tuesday when the decision was announced to move forward with plans to build nine hotels near Beit Safafa in East Jerusalem. link to maannews.net

        If Palestine does obtain observer state status, that would render the latest ICC Prosecutor’s analysis of Palestine’s Article 12(3) declaration a moot question. The Prosecutor also noted that the ICC Assembly of State Parties could vote on the question. About 74 of the 121 members already recognize the State of Palestine and there is no doubt that the settlements are war crimes under the terms of the Rome Statute.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 4, 2012, 6:23 am

        the end of that 30 days is fast approaching. i’m ready!

        thanks hostage. and thanks for post letter to general assembly: ‘Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory’

      • American
        May 4, 2012, 11:04 am

        Thanks Hostage

        No it doesn’t sound like Abbas has given up.
        But can the US prevent them getting observer status.

      • Hostage
        May 4, 2012, 11:24 am

        thanks for post letter to general assembly: ‘Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory’

        You’re welcome. My favorite parts were the undiplomatic sections which shutdown the ability of their opponents to drone-on about a mutually agreed upon negotiated political solution. They told the Security Council and General Assembly that Israel’s actions were crimes under the Rome Statute and that continuing violations were destroying the credibility of the whole international system, and the Security Council in particular.

        The bottom line of the closing section explained where the catalog of Israel’s crimes had been recorded and that the Palestinians want the responsible Israelis brought to justice:

        It is incumbent upon the international community to uphold the law and salvage the prospects for achieving a just and sustainable peace on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap. The window of opportunity is rapidly closing, requiring resolute and urgent action.

        This letter is in follow-up to our previous 424 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 20 April 2012 (A/ES-10/552-S/2012/248), constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 4, 2012, 11:37 am

        they already have observer status american.

      • Hostage
        May 4, 2012, 1:02 pm

        But can the US prevent them getting observer status.

        It’s very doubtful. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced a United Nations funding reform bill that would cutoff UN funding if Palestine’s observer status is upgraded, but it has little or no chance of passage. She attempts to turn the UN’s compulsory assessments into voluntary contributions through US legislation, instead of trying to amend the UN Charter with the consent of all the member states. The ICJ has already ruled against that sort of thing in the “Certain Expenses” case on Charter grounds. States that fall into arrears in payment of their assessments lose the right to vote (and veto?).

        Abbas could simply deposit an instrument of accession to the Rome Statute, like the Cook Islands did when it joined the ICC. The islands are neither a UN member or observer state. The US and Israel would have to raise objections with the Assembly of State Parties where a majority have formally recognized the State of Palestine. They can’t threaten to cut-off funding ala UNESCO, since they don’t provide any funding to the ICC in the first place.

      • Hostage
        May 4, 2012, 1:10 pm

        they already have observer status american.

        The ICC Prosecutor recently claimed that he didn’t have the authority to determine whether or not Palestine is a State. He offered the lame excuse that the UN had not given it observer state status in 1998, only observer entity status. He didn’t mention that the same UN member states had recently voted to give it member state status in UNESCO or the fact that the Cook Islands had joined the ICC without being a UN member or observer state.

        If you read the European Journal of International Law analysis and the comments here, you’ll see that no one found the Prosecutor’s logic very convincing. link to ejiltalk.org

      • American
        May 4, 2012, 9:17 pm

        Thanks again Hostage for the very good update…..I thought I remembered there was some problem/holdup for Palestine with the ICC but lost track of the details or exactly what happened.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 4, 2012, 9:37 pm

        maybe he doesn’t recognize Ambassador Riyad Mansour as the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.

        some interesting comments on the last link

        The overwhelming majority of High Contracting Parties to the Montevideo Convention have recognized the State of Palestine and many of them are State Parties to the Rome Statute. Neither the Montevideo Convention nor the Rome Statute contain a compromissory clause that would permit the Prosecutor to dispute those determinations. The same can be said for the categories of States listed in article 81 and 83 of the Vienna Convention. The Secretary General, the General Assembly, and the international community of States have a customary and conventional obligation to treat members of those categories as States.

        and this:

        It is amazing that it took so long to produce a one and one-half page analysis. Clearly the Prosecutor waited so long in the hopes that the UN membership bid would settle the problem, but then the subsequent UNESCO membership admission muddied the waters. The decision by the Prosecutor is, quite obviously, intensely political and I am sorry to say, cowardly.

        However, the Prosecutor has actually improved the situation in a sense. As long as the declaration remained under consideration, it was easy for the Prosecutor to avoid commencing an investigation while his office spent time reading the many “mini-law review articles” submitted by scholars. Now he has declared himself incompetent and punted it to the UN. But in doing so, he also mentioned that the ASP could take action. By my quick and rough count, I would estimate that 74 states parties of the ICC already recognize Palestine as a state. Assuming that they vote in a politically consistent manner – and I don’t necessarily see an obligation to do so – it could be an easy case.

      • Hostage
        May 4, 2012, 10:29 pm

        maybe he doesn’t recognize Ambassador Riyad Mansour as the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.

        Strangely enough, it would have made more sense if he had simply said that he didn’t consider Palestine to be a state. The Court has its own inernational legal personality distinct from its members. The Prosecutor has the explicit authority to conclude agreements with non-member states, and that necessarily includes the implicit authority to extend recognition to a state, as such, in the first place. That’s one of the reasons why Luis Moreno Ocampo’s decision was cowardly.

        You can read more about that here: link to humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com

    • ToivoS
      May 3, 2012, 2:54 pm

      OlegR your expanded quote doesn’t really help your case one bit. If you think that repeating those words will win any debates inside the US, then let me gently point out that you are so wrong. I gather you are Israeli of former Soviet origins. It is interesting to have you around to allow us to get a better view of the Israeli soul.

      I can see why so many of your compatriots feel so isolated — you really are isolated from the humanism that has guided the better half of Western civilization over the past few centuries.

      • OlegR
        May 4, 2012, 9:55 am

        Such a typical american hubris :)

  4. lysias
    May 3, 2012, 12:04 pm

    We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.

    There is no other morality.

    With that logic, you could justify what the Nazis did. And in fact that just happens to be the logic with which the Nazis did justify what they did.

    And, with respect to American’s comment above, Hitler and the Nazis did worship the German Volk. I can hear in my mind’s ear Hitler appealing to der Gott, der unser Volk geschaffen hat [the God who created our people].

    • lysias
      May 3, 2012, 12:39 pm

      Now I know, after having done a bit of Google searching, how Hitler saying that phrase got into my mind’s ear. It’s in one of his speeches in Triumph of the Will, the one to the political leaders of the Nazi Party:

      Und den Befehl gab uns kein irdischer Vorgesetzter, den gab uns der Gott, der unser Volk geschaffen hat. [And this order (to form the Nazi movement) was given to us not by any earthly superior, but by the God who created our people.]

      • Hostage
        May 3, 2012, 1:38 pm

        With that logic, you could justify what the Nazis did.

        Of course, the Israelis and their allies have always used the same logic and propaganda tactics employed by the Nazis. The whole “Disputed Territories” nonsense was part and parcel of the Nazi strategy of conquest.

        First the Zionists cast doubt on the status of Palestine as a separate legal entity under the Ottoman Empire, while downplaying the fact that the Ottoman’s treated it as an integral part of the Arab homeland.

        The Ottoman’s had a military Empire that was organized into military provinces. Joseph Mary Nagle Jeffries, “Palestine: The Reality”, Longmans 1939, reprinted by Hyperion Press, 1975, explains that Palestine was part of the Arab homeland called “Bilad al Arab” or “Arabistan” (page 4). The ‘Arabistan Ordusu’, or the Provincial Ottoman Army for Arabia, was originally headquartered at Damascus, and was put in charge of Cilicia, Syria, Mount Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and the southern Arabian Peninsula. See for example Stanford J. Shaw, Ezel Kural Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Cambridge University Press, 1977, page 85; and Caesar E. Farah, The Politics of Interventionism in Ottoman Lebanon, 1830-1861, I.B.Tauris, 2000, page 417.

        Ironically, when the Arab majority explained that Palestine’s districts had always been an integral part of natural Syria, they were the ones who were accused of aggression. They were compared to the Nazis, not the Zionists. This description from the original UN debate sounds exactly like the plan of action outlined by Jabotinsky and his modern-day disciples, like Danny Ayalon in “Israel Palestinian Conflict: The Truth About the West Bank”:

        At the same time, it is impossible to disregard a strange theory advanced here by the representative of Syria and supported, if I am not mistaken, by the representative of France. The substance of that theory is that inasmuch as the territory and frontiers of the State of Israel and its right of existence are contested by some of its neighbor States, the State of Israel does not exist as a sovereign State and cannot be recognized as such. That theory is not only strange but also dangerous. It is reminiscent of the “theories” which, as we all know, were once upon a time preached by the fascist aggressors who claimed world mastery. According to those theories, it was enough for Hitlerite Germany to cast doubt on the existence of one of its neighbor States for that State to cease to exist, and for its territory to be seized and absorbed into the territory of Hitlerite Germany. Such claims were made by the fascist aggressors in respect of Austria, Czechoslovakia and a number of other European countries, including France. In that connection, all kinds of expansionist theories were advanced concerning the inferiority of the people of certain countries, and were used as justification for seizing those countries.

        — Mr. Yakov A. Malik, the 386th meeting of the UN Security Council, S/PV.386, 17 December 1948, pages 12-13 link to un.org

        FYI: The Security Council adopted Resolution 228, on 25 November 1966 in which the Council condemned the grave Israeli Military action that took place in the southern Hebron area of the West Bank on November 13, 1966. The Council said it “constituted a large scale and carefully planned military action on the territory of Jordan by the armed forces of Israel”.

  5. Krauss
    May 3, 2012, 12:45 pm

    The biggest upset in my mind is how gentle Obama treated him – although I bet he knows the man was a straight fascist.

    Do read Mr. Derfner’s rundown:

    link to 972mag.com

    It’s more than awful to read this and see the man being lionized – why? – because Zionism is the Golden Calf of our times.

    But the even bigger surprise is the praise that Jeff Goldberg – who insists on calling himself a ‘liberal’ – has showered on the man.

    I remember he did a post a few years ago where he admitted that Benzion had ‘a large impact’ on me via his books on anti-Semitism.

    And in Goldberg’s final words, he kept the praise up. And I think this is a key detail. If your cues about anti-Semitism is taken from a man who believes that ‘Arabs are inherently barbaric by nature’ and other outright racist statements, then what does that say about you? Yet I bet Goldberg won’t have to explain how he can be inspired by the writings of a genocidal racist – let alone still insist on calling himself a liberal.

    Why? Beacause of Zionism. It bends all the rules.

  6. Sin Nombre
    May 3, 2012, 12:53 pm

    I’m unsure of just how much this applies to Bibi’s Dad, but nevertheless one can smell the same sort of little … elision in stuff like this eulogizing certain folks.

    Sort of like … how would one feel about a Hitler obituary that merely said “he was an adamant and even hawkish life-long believer that Germans and German culture and therefore in essence Germany were under sustained attack by implacable foes who could never reconcile themselves to a unified Aryan state and who it was futile to try to negotiate with….”

  7. American
    May 3, 2012, 1:57 pm

    Don’t the neo nazis fetishize Hitler as some kind of great man?
    Seems like the same kind of thing to me.

  8. bigbill
    May 3, 2012, 3:10 pm

    Benny Netanyahu:”We should conquer any disputed territory in the Land of Israel. Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war…”

    Sounds like a real tough guy. Am I right in assuming he, like all the other neocon diaspora Jews, made a beeline to Israel and signed up to fight?

    Or did he encourage American Gentiles to fight for him? After all, Hashem did not pick the goyim as his favored people. Hate to have to waste a Jew fighting for Eretz Yisroel and Moshiach if there are some perfectly serviceable sheigetz that could be used instead.

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