We must break out of the paranoid survival myth

Middle East
on 76 Comments

As a Jew, I suffer to know the crimes we are causing Palestinians in Israel/Palestine. Some I have witnessed personally. Not in my name offers me no solace. I understand Zionism but it is a modern day catastrophe. It is not the Zionism started once by idealistic Communists and Atheists as a liberation movement. Instead Zionism has morphed into a racist, ethnic, nationalist ideology and we need to ask this question. Do Jews who have been victimized and brutalized have the moral right to occupy and disenfranchise another people?

I am a Jew and I love my people but we can no longer remain silent or we are complicit with the crimes of apartheid and human rights horrors. We must side with the oppressed and disenfranchised and it is not Jews in this time in history who are the victims. I believe Jewish identity continues to be threatened with a paranoid fear of annihilation. Victimhood and guilt is acted out of a perception that Palestinians wish to destroy Jews. I do not agree with this perception. Palestinians want their freedom and to return to their land. Yes as the occupation goes on, after 48 years, of course there is hatred. Who loves their oppressors? Still the perception of annihilation has been used to justify walls, occupation, and violence, collective punishment racism without end perpetrated on the Palestinian people. Perhaps Palestinians are the last victims of the Holocaust or the frightening reality that festered without self-reflection, without some soul searching. Generations of a lingering paranoid mental illness dismissed, unexamined while projected out onto the world as the myth of Jewish survival.

The myth that Jews must kill, imprison and victimize for their own survival needs to be openly discussed and challenged. New attempts to stomp out dissent and criminalize BDS, together with cries of anti-Semitism for those who break the silence have created a climate of fear both in the US and in Germany where I speak in an attempt to break the barriers of silence that prevent peace. This form of manufactured anti-Semitism has tended to obscure and take precedence over the re-emergence and deeply troubling forms of true anti-Semitism. Consider the rise of true anti-Semitism as harvested and fed (in part) by Israel’s human rights abuses and 48 years of a brutal occupation and collective punishment. Of course without the possibility of healthy dissent, forces such as anti-Semitism fester and continue to grow .

It is time to speak truth to power, to liberate Palestine so that Israel can also be free. This cannot happen until apartheid is ended.Reporting on the Ground

About Lillian Rosengarten

Lillian Rosengarten is author of the book “Survival and Conscience: From The Shadow Of Nazi Germany To The Jewish Boat To Gaza."(October 2015, Just World Books) It has been published in German as: “ Ein bewegtes Leben: Von den Schatten Nazi-Deutschlands zum judischen Boot nach Gaza” (Zambon 7/14). Her website is lillianrosengarten.com

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76 Responses

  1. just
    June 26, 2015, 1:18 pm

    “Yes as the occupation goes on, after 48 years, of course there is hatred. Who loves their oppressors?”

    Is it just me, or is it true that I see/hear evidence of “hatred” almost exclusively from the Israeli/Zionist ‘side’~ the “oppressors”? Overwhelmingly.

    On the other hand, or ‘side’~ the oppressed, I see amazing resilience, steadfastness, and nearly superhuman restraint.

    Thanks, Lillian.

  2. bintbiba
    June 26, 2015, 1:59 pm

    @ Lillian Rosengarten

    “…..the frightening reality that festered without self-reflection, without some soul searching. Generations of a lingering paranoid mental illness dismissed, unexamined while projected out onto the world as the myth of Jewish survival.”

    – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/break-paranoid-survival#sthash.GyuLxyFT.dpuf

    A heartfelt Thank you, Lillian Rosengarten ,for such a thoughtful , deep meditation on the tragedy that is Palestine/Israel.

  3. Annie Robbins
    June 26, 2015, 3:45 pm

    thank you Lillian. i never tire of your determination and clarity of mind. you’re a moral giant and i love you. It’s always an honor for us to publish your wisdom.

    • sherban
      June 27, 2015, 12:39 pm

      I don,t belive in moral giant i believe that Lilian standing is the normal one

  4. marc b.
    June 26, 2015, 4:10 pm

    a mild criticism: although there is a specific reference to the evolution of Zionism, there is a blurring of Jewish history and the special brand of the modern meme of Judaism equals Zionism, and vice versa. Zionism of the Glicks and Gellers seems to be more of a revenge cult than a sincere expression of fear. Revenge and entitlement.

  5. David Doppler
    June 26, 2015, 4:57 pm

    Excellent post, Lillian Rosengarten! “The paranoid survival myth.” What a phrase to capture a complex sociological phenomenon in a few words.

    What we also need is a contrasting phrase to describe an alternative vision: a Modern Israel, maybe, envisioning a prosperous country at peace with its neighbors, doing justice at long last for the Palestinians, leading the whole Middle East region in an economic boom, providing attractive economic and cultural incentives for peaceful, multi-cultural living in the ancient cross-roads region.

    Your phrase might also be modified to be “The paranoid tribal survival myth,” since at core, the racism and fear of annihilation is tied to tribal identity, tied to specific geography, tied to ethnic cleansing for safety sake. In a modern state based on American and European values, the racial, tribal identities that characterized much of the world when transportation and communication options were greatly limited, are replaced by the ability of the individual to be part of many different societies, local, regional, national, international and virtual, and for centers of industry and culture to attract the most talented from all over the world. Perhaps one reason Diaspora Jews hesitate over Israel is sacrificing the benefits of the modern western state to one consumed in ancient tribal traditions, developed for a different time (and none too successful in those times, either).

    Paranoid tribal survival myth vs a modern Israel at peace with the world. How’s that for a War of catch phrases in the Middle East?

  6. JLewisDickerson
    June 26, 2015, 9:40 pm

    RE: “I am a Jew and I love my people but we can no longer remain silent or we are complicit with the crimes of apartheid and human rights horrors… I believe Jewish identity continues to be threatened with a paranoid fear of annihilation… Generations of a lingering paranoid mental illness dismissed, unexamined while projected out onto the world as the myth of Jewish survival. The myth that Jews must kill, imprison and victimize for their own survival needs to be openly discussed and challenged.” ~ Lillian Rosengarten

    SEE: “Israel and the Palestinians ~ The Psychopathology of Revenge”, by Norman Pollack, CounterPunch.org, March 02, 2015

    [EXCERPT] In my earlier article I referred in passing to Israel’s having rendered Gaza “the Bergen-Belsen of the Arab world,” a very harsh statement, but one on further reflection I believe is justified. How explain not only the merciless killing but also the indifference to it on the part of Israelis? Initially, as I over time became more critical of Israel, I ascribed the behavior to the psychodynamics of introjection: the gut-wrenching, anguished, unspeakably cruel experience of the Holocaust, a process of dehumanization which left the individual in a state of extreme ego-loss powerless to resist both the degraded image of the self and the external penetration of the total context of repression into the psyche, notably, the value system of the oppressor, the jailer, the Nazi. This grounding down of the human personality cannot but leave its scars, as though in struggling for a return to wholeness some of the internal poisons remain. One should not blame the victims for the brutal crimes practiced on them. They are entitled to understanding, at the very least, and actually a good deal more. But the historical experience etched into the mindset of the survivors and passed on to future generations could, and I think did, take on a perverse course, at first, largely unconscious, but then hardened into place as the group-memory of genocide remained in force and the experience of renewed persecution either persisted or threatened.

    At this point, clearly not explainable by some form of psychological determinism, but nevertheless, by a natural drive for self-protection, victims find within themselves transformative powers, as in the resolve, “Never again,” to liberate themselves from societal- and self-captivity to become strong, if need be, by overcompensating from previous weakness, with the result of adopting for themselves the mindset that had been responsible for holding them down. The toughness of the Israeli is legendary, a toughness, however, drained of the humanistic, life-giving impulses that had heretofore characterized Judaism and its embrace of the stranger, its inceptive radicalism and call for transcendent brotherhood, its respect for the arts—all thought softness today and ill-fitted for present reality. Sartre once described the anti-Semite (which we can enlarge to include the authoritarian personality) as one attracted to the durability of stone.

    This is where, I’m afraid, we’re at: the prostitution of “Never again” into a solipsistic credo of what might best be called, defensive aggression, which turns out to be not defensive at all. Gaza is like a laboratory of cruelty, different from the gas chamber in quantity more than in quality, a possibility actualized only because of or through the debasement of religious teachings preceded by the breakdown of personality structure and value system under the weight of the Holocaust. Can the spell be broken, the historical- psychological continuity of suffering-transformed-into-revenge likewise broken? I fear that introjection has become a runaway process, that at this point revenge has eliminated an initially passive response to psychological impoverishment, so that the presumed emancipation from the past, the conversion from weakness into strength, takes the hideous form of recapitulating that past under Israel’s own auspices as reproducing the Nazi experience in the modern era: Bergen-Belsen qua Gaza, an assertion of might, a warning to all enemies, real and imagined, and proof-positive of the requisite hardness worthy to being taken as America’s staunchest ally. . .

    CONTINUED AT – http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/02/the-psychopathology-of-revenge/

  7. Citizen
    June 26, 2015, 9:50 pm

    Current young US adults, both Jewish (2%), and Gentile (98%) see Israel for what it is. It’s not a happy site. Ditto the Confederate flag.

    • ivri
      June 27, 2015, 5:50 am

      @citizen
      That`s clear – can a place be happy with continual warring? And also no doubt by now, after so many decades, all can see what`s goes on. But that`s not the point though. The key question is what people think should or can be done about it – and here comes the real twist. Seeing the general specter of the Mid-East region those every people understand the limited choices Israel faces if it wants to survive – and it is that which translates into the continual and unflinching political and security support for Israel. Is that likely to change? If at all it is bound to get even deeper as the Mid-East continues to slide into ever expanding chaos.

      • CigarGod
        June 27, 2015, 9:19 pm

        It is not “…sliding into ever expanding chaos.”
        It is a planned and financed campaign of destabilization…and you are an unknowing cog.

  8. RoHa
    June 27, 2015, 5:19 am

    “It is not the Zionism started once by idealistic Communists and Atheists as a liberation movement.”

    Was there such a thing? If so, it hasn’t left much of a mark.

    “Instead Zionism has morphed into a racist, ethnic, nationalist ideology ”

    Seems to me that the Zionism that actually delivered Israel was always like that.

    • ritzl
      June 27, 2015, 1:41 pm

      +1, RoHa.

      The article is a good soulful reflection, but unless one recognizes and contemplates the harsh colonial roots of the problem, there’s always the wistful tendency to opine for a kinder gentler Zionism. That can make the personal internal discussion one of hoping for the return of something that never existed in the first place. That is an irreconcilable and non-conclusive (i.e. interminable) process, imho.

      One can never quite get “there” from wherever one is in the process.

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        June 27, 2015, 9:56 pm

        There is no kinder gentler Zionism.

      • just
        June 27, 2015, 10:10 pm

        +1. I don’t think there is, either.

        Thank you, Lillian.

      • Sibiriak
        June 28, 2015, 1:54 am

        Lillian Rosengarten: There is no kinder gentler Zionism.

        —————————–

        A “kinder, gentler Zionism” would embrace an unjust two-state settlement along lines similar to the Geneva Initiative (aka “The International Consensus”:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Initiative_%282003%29#Key_concepts

        *A mutual Israeli–Palestinian declaration of an end to the conflict and future claims.

        *Mutual recognition of both nations and their right to an independent state.

        *Almost complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with a limited number of settlement blocs on the basis of a 1:1 land swap.

        *A comprehensive solution to the issue of the Palestinian refugees based on the Clinton Parameters (2000); of which the main component will be compensation and a return to an independent Palestinian State.

        *Jewish Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Arab Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital with Jewish areas under Israeli sovereignty and Arab areas under Palestinian sovereignty.

        *A non-militarized Palestinian state and detailed security arrangements.
        —————

        Needless to say, such a “kinder, gentler Zionism” is a extreme minority viewpoint within Zionism.

      • rosross
        June 28, 2015, 5:07 am

        Zionism by its nature is racist and that can never be kind. Judaism by its nature has been elitist but many religions are, although it has become dogma and theology in Judaism to a greater degree, but elitism while hardly constructive, does not have to be religiously racist.

        Many religious followers, understandably, believe they have the best religion and they are better than others because of that membership, but that does not mean they cannot co-exist alongside other religions amicably and, increasingly, co-operatively. We are barely 50 years away from a time when Catholics and Protestants would barely speak and were horrified at intermarriage.

        But the elitism of Judaism was contained in religious belief. The problem with Zionism is that it is not really religious even though it claims Judaism and Jews as its own. Zionism was founded by lapsed or non-practising Jews in the main, or what has come to be called secular, but of course there is no such thing as a secular Jew anymore than there is a secular Christian or Moslem. If you claim the religious label then you belong to the religion and you are definitely not secular. If you were secular, you would do what so many have done and simply drop the religion and never call yourself Jewish again.

        Zionism also invented the ‘atheist Jew,’ an oxymoron of immense proportions if not complete impossibility. One cannot be an atheist Jew anymore than one can be an atheist Christian or Moslem, it is patently ridiculous.

        But because Zionism is a ‘racist’ belief system it became important to establish a criteria of superiority and that was any link to Judaism, including a great-grandparent or more, even if the family had not practised the religion for generations. Such a ‘Jew’ had rights in UN mandated Israel which a non-Jew, whose family had lived there for thousands of years, did not have.

        Zionism is in essence a distortion of Judaism and without a religious soul, is soulless. It is hardly surprising that when the foundation of a State of Israel was mooted that orthodox Jewry rejected it entirely, saying that such a State was only ever meant as metaphor. I understand some orthodox groups retain that view.

        Zionism was never Judaism and the tragedy, both for Israel and Judaism, is that Zionism is a travesty of religion in general and Judaism in particular. It is a religious distortion which has created enormous misery and suffering for millions and which gives Judaism and Jews a bad name.

      • ritzl
        June 28, 2015, 6:55 pm

        Lillian- “There is no kinder gentler Zionism.

        Totally agree, but RoHa pointed out that using the words:

        “It is not the Zionism started once by idealistic Communists and Atheists as a liberation movement.”

        implicitly suggests there might be, or once have been, and can be returned to, if only… something, something, something, ad nauseam. I agree with that as well.

        That narrow opening is all that is needed (and is used constantly), imo, as an escape clause for some (not you) to avoid the problem and the reflection you rightfully say is needed.

        As you say, there is not, and I would add never has been a kinder, gentler Zionism. That provides a clarity that takes the endless loop out of the discussion.

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    June 27, 2015, 9:53 am

    For how many years now are we hearing that Palestinians/Arabs will be pushing Jews into the sea? I haven’t seen a single israeli swimming in the Mediterranean yet. Have you?

    • Kay24
      June 27, 2015, 11:16 am

      Good point Vera Gottlieb. How many indeed? Instead we see the Jews blocking the Palestinians from fishing in those seas, shooting them, killing them, and certainly not allowed to swim either.

      The Israelis are the culprits pushing the Palestinians out of their territories, including the sea.
      Nasty lot.

  10. RobertHenryEller
    June 27, 2015, 10:07 am

    “Do Jews who have been victimized and brutalized have the moral right to occupy and disenfranchise another people?”

    Wrong question. Most of the Jews who have been victimized and brutalized are either long dead. Few Holocaust survivors remain, and Israel treats them badly. But the Holocaust survivors, and the Holocaust dead, for that matter, serve the Israelis now as their human shield.

    Right questions:

    Do Zionists who for the most part have not been victimized and brutalized themselves have the right to blackmail the world with the suffering of dead Jews who were killed in Europe to victimize and brutalize the Palestinians, who had no part in the Holocaust? Do Zionists, who railed against the collective punishment of Jews by the Nazis for no crimes, have the right to collectively punish Palestinians for no crime?

    Do Zionists who do not obey the Commandments to not lie, not steal, not murder, have the right to call themselves Jews? Do Zionists who do not live by and practice Rabbi Hillel’s Golden Rule have the right to call themselves Jews? Do Zionists have the right to claim they are acting for all Jews, another lie?

    No.

    • Kay24
      June 27, 2015, 11:18 am

      The Zionists keep proving again and again, by their actions, they are not God’s chosen.
      They keep showing they do not obey any of the Commandments.

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        June 27, 2015, 9:59 pm

        Chosen people does not appear in the bible. It is a concept I reject. We are all chosen people

      • yonah fredman
        June 27, 2015, 10:22 pm

        Lillian is certainly welcome to reject the concept of chosen people and it is certainly a troublesome concept. But it is in the Bible. For example Deuteronomy 4:37 “And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt.”

      • RoHa
        June 28, 2015, 12:35 am

        I’m not.

      • Sibiriak
        June 28, 2015, 1:32 am

        Lillian Rosengarten: Chosen people does not appear in the bible.
        ————————

        On the contrary, the notion of a “chosen people” clearly and explicitly appears in Deuteronomy 7 (emphasis added):

        ——————————-
        6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

        7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people […]
        ———————

        As well as Deuteronomy 14:2

        For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

        —————-
        For additional Biblical references, see:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_as_the_chosen_people#In_the_Bible

        http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Jews-As-God~s-Chosen-People

      • rosross
        June 28, 2015, 4:39 am

        The concept of a ‘chosen people’ was, I suspect, like most of all religions, originally meant as metaphor and it has been literalised.

        Most of the damage done by all religions is done because what was once spiritual symbol and metaphor has been turned into a literal reality.

        No God who might possibly be at work, would ever select one religion as superior to others and see its followers as superior. Such beliefs are the work of men who make God in their small and petty image.

        The misogyny in all religions is sourced in the same reality of men re-interpreting metaphor, myth and symbol to serve their own fear and ignorance driven agendas.

        All religious books are collections of fantasy, myth, metaphor, symbol, fairy tales and the odd possibly historical fact. None of them have credence in any court of law. And since there are billions of human beings and many religions and plenty of atheists, the writings of no religion can be applied to humanity in general and nothing said in any religious book can have meaning to anyone but those who follow the religion.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2015, 11:13 am

        The Koreans are the chosun people. Everybody knows that.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2015, 11:18 am

        “And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt.”

        “He loved thy fathers, and therefore he chose their seed?” Uh, not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess. Not for me to say.

    • Kris
      June 27, 2015, 11:00 pm

      Outstanding questions, RobertHenryEller, thank you!

    • rosross
      June 28, 2015, 4:48 am

      Yes, while one may be aware of the suffering of ancestors and in fact have inherited cellular and cultural ‘experiences’ sourced in that suffering, the fact is that just as none of us are responsible for crimes committed by our parents, grandparents or ancestors however far back one wishes to go, so neither do we take on their mantle of suffering and victimhood.

      Most Jews do not live in UN mandated Israel or Occupied Palestine, never did and never will. There are few Jews alive today who suffered under the Nazis and there are many, many Jews whose ancestors were not even in Europe at the time of the Second World War so how can they claim any connection to that suffering?

      They cannot. The Romanies suffered terribly under the Nazis and on a per capita basis, their genocide was greater, but one does not hear them claiming victimhood because of what ancestors experienced.

      The Zionists began planning their colonisation of Palestine in the late 19th century, around 50 years before Hitler even appeared, and the experience of followers of Judaism at the hands of the Nazis, proved enormously useful in ‘furthering their case.’ But the plan had been fixed long, long before.

      Whatever suffering Jews had at the hands of the Germans, the fact remains it had nothing to do with the Palestinians and even if it had, gave them no right to invade and colonise their country. More to the point, no right to refuse them freedom and justice for nearly seventy years.

      Zionism is a particularly unpleasant offshoot of Judaism, as the KKK was from Christianity, but the fact remains many, perhaps most Jews have supported the Zionists and the terrible suffering inflicted on the Palestinians. At least until recent times.

    • Mooser
      June 28, 2015, 1:34 pm

      “Do Jews who have been victimized and brutalized have the moral right to occupy and disenfranchise another people?”

      Is it actually a question of that? Wasn’t Zionism mostly made possible by the efforts and resources of Jews in countries were they were already living securely and doing well? Or else from whence came the resources, the political pull, and the freedom to publish, disseminate and operate Zionism?

      So I might be tempted to say that realizing Zionism was more a sign of Jewish success in having the wherewithal to prosecute a colonial project, rather than being made possible by Jewish victimization and brutalization.

      • RoHa
        June 28, 2015, 7:44 pm

        That’s an important point that bears repeating, Mooser.
        Chain Weizmann was not a poor, oppressed, tailor in the East End when Lloyd George asked him to take charge of acetone production for WW1.
        Herbert Samuel was not an itinerant pedlar who was grabbed off the street and made Commissioner for Palestine.
        The Zionist project was pushed by rich and influential Jews, who could do a lot more than put three ha’pence into a little blue box.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 11:59 am

        “That’s an important point that bears repeating, Mooser.”

        Thanks, “RoHa”. I’ll make sure not to mention it again.

  11. mbraverman
    June 27, 2015, 11:12 am

    Lillian — reading your words is like looking in the mirror! Thank you for speaking so courageously and eloquently for all of us.
    Mark Braverman

  12. CigarGod
    June 27, 2015, 10:22 pm

    But wasn’t the idealistic liberation movement founded by communists and atheists, Herzl’s modern zionism…which incorporated components of the new fascist ideologies maturing in europe…and that zionism is what moved offshore…and into Palestine?

  13. rosross
    June 28, 2015, 4:31 am

    Judaism has provided fertile soil for elitism because it has brewed within religious dogma, over thousands of years, this belief that followers of the religion are superior to others and set apart, and that Jews have been victimised. The opposite of a victim is an egocentric victor and these are the two sides of the same coin of the religion.

    One can stand at the Wailing Wall and listen to Jews wailing about wrongs done to members of the religion thousands of years ago. Judaism is in many respects a long whinge and moan about how followers of Judaism have suffered and the role of Jews as being victimised, in essence, for their superiority, is entrenched religious dogma.

    Zionism has fed on this belief but the State of Israel was founded on this belief of Jewish superiority and the inferiority of all non-Jews which has morphed into the deranged belief that Palestinians are not only inferior, but sub-human. Either the Zionists got away with a few Nazi handbooks to study, or, Israel suffers from the same problems that the Nazis did – a belief in superiority. Whether race as defined by Nazis, or for that matter, Apartheid South Africa , or religious superiority as defined by Zionists and now, most Israelis and too many Jews, racism is racism.

    For too long Jews in general have remained silent in the face of constant atrocities and wrongs committed in the name of their religion, beginning in 1947 and with that silence they have made themselves complicit in all that has been done.

    In recent times more have begun to speak out and separate themselves from the actions of Israel and Zionism and that is all to the good but one wonders if it is happening because more Jews have found a sense of justice and moved away from the sense of themselves as superior, or because they are being hit by the ‘backwash’ of growing world outrage and horror at what the Israeli State is and does.

    Whatever the answer, the creature that is the State of Israel, is first and foremost the responsibility of Zionists, whether Jewish or Christian, and then the responsibility of Judaism.

    If enough Jews cared about justice, rule of law, human rights and common decency, particularly in the US, then Israel could be hauled into line tomorrow because it is Jewish pressure and influence in the United States which maintains the money-pit from which Israel drinks and which funds its continued occupation, colonisation and apartheid in Palestine.

    There is no doubt that within a few years BDS will cripple Israel’s economy as it did South Africa and end this horrendous injustice in a one-state solution, but there is also no doubt that pressure from Jews to stop the funding of Israel’s occupation, colonisation and apartheid will bring justice sooner and will serve to create greater sanity in Israel when the one-state solution is put in place.

    Israel is a pariah and rogue state because those who have called themselves friends, whether individuals, nations or religions, have allowed it to commit atrocities and human rights abuses , and even at times, supported it in the doing.

    Israel has become a debased and dangerous State because of what others have allowed it to do. On that count Israel cannot be completely blamed for the monster it has become, but, those who have played a part in its creation will be increasingly blamed if they do not act to stop it.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      June 28, 2015, 12:17 pm

      Be careful that your voice for justice is not tinged with a subtle form of anti-Semitism. Jews are my people and our story is not the story of the past generation but the crimes perpetrated against Palestinians. Our goal is freedom in Palestine and Israel , only possible with the end of apartheid. This must be brought about by outside pressure, BDS, Churches speaking out against apartheid and the EU and US insisting on the end to apartheid!

      • rosross
        June 29, 2015, 10:39 am

        Lillian, one of the enormous difficulties with this issue, for Judaism, Jews and anyone interested in justice for the Palestinians and a better life for that matter, for Israelis, is that the definition of anti-Semitism is so blurred and wrongly applied.

        What was the slightest bit anti-Semitic, subtle or not, about what I said? As a student of psychology I know that few things can ever be resolved or healed, unless they are brought out of the shadow.

        Zionism grew out of Judaism and claims to represent it. Understanding what it was and is in Judaism which could give birth to Zionism and all done since in its name to the Palestinians, is vital if change is to be wrought.

        When the term anti-Semitic is flung into the ring, and I know Americans have more of a kneejerk reaction in regard to such perceived prejudice than many other cultures, it really is a form of censorship.

        Unless you clearly articulate where you perceived a ‘tinge’ of what you call subtle anti-Semitism and can make a case for it, then the claim serves only to censor and edit and that does not serve anyone’s cause, neither Judaism’s or Israel’s.

        Your goal is freedom in Palestine and Israel but the best way to achieve that is to connect with Jewish Israelis responsible for what has happened and what is happening – and we all know things have gotten a lot worse – and that can only be done by tracing the origin of the beliefs and attitudes which had set them on this path.

        There will be freedom for the Palestinians, that is inevitable. But unless Israelis and their Jewish supporters are a part of that process, and that requires understanding, then world opinion through BDS will impose a one-state solution. Without high levels of understanding and healing, that outcome may cause huge suffering for many.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2015, 2:22 pm

        What was the slightest bit anti-Semitic, subtle or not, about what I said?

        well, since you asked, i thought this was weird:

        In recent times more have begun to speak out and separate themselves from the actions of Israel and Zionism and that is all to the good but one wonders if it is happening because more Jews have found a sense of justice and moved away from the sense of themselves as superior, or because they are being hit by the ‘backwash’ of growing world outrage and horror at what the Israeli State is and does.

        Whatever the answer…..

        the idea “more Jews have found a sense of justice and moved away from the sense of themselves as superior” implies the jews you’re wondering about/describing here, had, at one time, a sense of superiority.

        i’m not saying ‘a sense of superiority’ isn’t alive and well within the jewish community. but it’s not a universal. your alternative “or because they are being hit by the ‘backwash’ of growing world outrage and horror at what the Israeli State is and does” leaves no room for a person who does something simply because it’s right regardless of a “growing world outrage”.

        a person like myself, who speaks out and separates myself from the actions of Israel and Zionism does it because it’s the right thing to do. so your premise here tells me there are no jews who act for reasons just like me. it also tells me a person (who may happen to be jewish) would not act as i do just because i am a moral person, that they would be acting “as a jew” to do what’s right.

        there’s this sense in your writing of a pervasiveness of jewish superiority (either past or present) vs a zionist superiority which given the nature of zionism, of ethnic nationalism, demands a superior positioning within israeli society.

        again, i am not claiming superiority is not feature of judaism, but there are other interpretation within judaism of chosen. the way you’ve interpreted it is not inherent for all jews. i think your descriptions are confining and reveal limitations or impositions on interpretations of judaism. and i say that as a casual reader, because i don’t really know much about judaism. and it’s my belief most religions contain doctrine which can be interpreted as elevating that religion above others, depending on interpretation.

        i think it is very likely there are many jews who don’t feel superior, or have perhaps inferiority complexes just like other people. you’ve presented it as an inherent nature. it presupposes too much and implies someone, such as lillian for example, came from a mindframe of superiority at least at one time. do you believe that?

        so i’m not so sensitive to this stuff that i would accuse someone of racism for expressing this view, but when you asked about subtle or not, it strikes me as “superiority” stereotyping.

        also, just thought i’d mention, i know encountered plenty of non jews who have superiority complexes. including people in my family. it’s not just a jewish thing.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 5:06 pm

        “Be careful that your voice for justice is not tinged with a subtle form of anti-Semitism.”

        There’s a little problem there, I think. Since antisemites have, at one time and another, accused Jews of everything, anything, and then some, and in every possible context, (individually, as a religion, as organized groups of some kind within the Jewish people, whatever) any indictment of Israel or Zionism is bound to resemble an antisemitic indictment in some way. Not sure there’s a way around that. But I know it can’t confer any immunities.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2015, 5:13 pm

        good point mooser.

    • rosross
      June 30, 2015, 8:08 am

      Mooser,

      You said: There’s a little problem there, I think. Since antisemites have, at one time and another, accused Jews of everything, anything, and then some, and in every possible context, (individually, as a religion, as organized groups of some kind within the Jewish people, whatever) any indictment of Israel or Zionism is bound to resemble an antisemitic indictment in some way. Not sure there’s a way around that. But I know it can’t confer any immunities.

      This is a good point, although those who take an ‘anti’ position, whether it is religiously based as anti-Semitism is, or racially based, or politically based (more common in the US than elsewhere); or tribally based, do tend to accuse the ‘other’ of everything, anything and then some because that is how the ‘other’ can be retained as enemy.

      When this is taken too far you get beliefs that the ‘other’ is subhuman, as many believed of African Americans; Nazis believed of non-Aryans; many Israelis believe of Palestinians.

      But the problem with ‘anti-semitism’ as a form of racism, for racism is racism whether racial, religious, tribal etc., is that because of the Zionist/Israeli exploitation of the Jewish experience of holocaust at the hands of the Nazis, the term is even more inflammatory.

      Some countries will not allow open discussion of the Jewish experience of holocaust and those who try are called anti-Semitic as a given. Zionist Israel has taken it a step further, because it wants people to believe it represents Jews and Judaism – it doesn’t – by labelling those who criticise Israel as anti-Semitic. The inappropriate use of the term and its overuse has rather diluted its power or relevance.

      The use of the term is in the main, not sourced in any reality but is an attempt to censor comment and criticism of Israel. This is a particularly Zionist/Israeli approach.

      Many people criticise the US for its wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and its use of drones, but that is not interpreted as being anti-Christian because the nation claims to be Christian. It is not even interpreted as being anti-American, simply because it is a valid criticism and statement of fact.

      Many people criticise strongly the worst aspects of Christianity or Islam, or even Hinduism, but they are not then labelled ‘anti,’ that religion.

      Calling those who question the negative aspects of Judaism and/or Israel is not anti-Semitic and calling it so, will not make it so.

  14. rosross
    June 28, 2015, 6:22 am

    Is not one of the major problems the concept that followers of Judaism constitute a people?

    One can argue that all religions constitute ‘people’ a metaphor, but this has been literalised in Judaism and Zionism to create an environment where non-Jews can never be included because there is a singular discrimination in regard to Jews being a people.

    No other religion has done this and while one may theorise as to why Judaism has, the fact remains, that the concept of Jews as a people, and some even say nation, is what fuels the sense of elitism which refuses to allow non-Jews to be included in Israeli society in any equal way.

    Judaism, like Christianity and other religions, takes converts and always has and that is why Jews comprise, like most religions, all races and hundreds of nationalities. Beyond religious metaphor, Jews are neither a people nor a race although Zionism talks as if they are, and it is this belief which has prevented Israel from doing what all other colonisers have done and what is both just and sensible, creating one state with equal rights for all, indigenous and colonised.

    Israel demands Jews remain in control, in essence, a minority with superior rights to non-Jewish Israelis and this position is founded on the belief that Jews are a separate entity and must remain so.

    I have no doubt that American Jews would be horrified if that nation established a concept of itself as a Christian State, opting not for democracy but for theocracy, and rendering all non-Christians second-class citizens and yet this is what many Jews have supported in Zionist Israel.

    An enlightened, modern nation, embraces all religions and agnostics, atheists as one and as equal citizens and that is because while some religions may also be elitist, none separate themselves with the concept of being a ‘people’ or a ‘nation’ simply because they share a religious affiliation.

    Jews are no more a people than any other religion and as a religion have no rights to a homeland. This Zionist belief has created the misery and injustice that we see today and this belief, in all its forms, Judaic and Zionistic, must be discarded for the sake of the Palestinians, and one could argue, for Judaism and Jews.

    If one drops Judaism one does not change race or nationality and neither does one if conversion is embraced. Religion is simply religion and in an enlightened world has no place in State or in society in general. Religion is a set of spiritual beliefs for private expression and within a particular religious community and it should never be imposed across a society or a nation. At least not if one wishes to be democratic and civilized.

    The modern, democratic, developed world stands as an example and not theocratic Saudi Arabia one assumes, to Israelis as to most.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      June 28, 2015, 12:19 pm

      The problem is not Judaism but ending Zionism and apartheid. It is important to keep that separate.

      • rosross
        June 29, 2015, 10:44 am

        The problem is not Judaism as long as those who speak for Judaism and Jews around the world speak out against Zionism and Israeli apartheid.

        That has begun to happen and that is good, but Israel is where it is today and in the mess it is in because not enough spoke out sooner. Israel has become what it is because of silence and support from Jews around the world.

        I am not sure it can be kept completely separate, unless Jews in the main take a clear stand on the issue. And even then, all of those responsible for what Israel has done and has become must be accorded a share, whether Jews, Christians or nations which, through omission or commission, have allowed Israel to do things which would never have been tolerated in any other colonising nation.

        Israel has not created itself. Zionism alone has not created Israel. Many have played a part.

  15. peter hindrup
    June 28, 2015, 7:13 am

    This is one of the very few articles that I have seen that gets close to the truth, that recognises that it is the Jews who have the problem.

    After approximately 15 years of activism I have not heard ay of the Jews who decry Israelis treatment of the Palestinians come out and say/accept that they must return that that was stolen, pay reparations, compensation and continue paying until the damage done has been to some extent ameliorated. Rather I have heard that the Palestinians must make concessions — concessions when all they owned has been stolen from them?

    The Israeli experiment is against history, against the trend of the times, and surviving only because the US has intervened, propped it up, blocked diplomatic initiatives. But the US is no longer top dog, or the ‘super power’. Political reality will inevitably catch up, compels the US to abandon the Israeli cause. At that point Israel will cease to be, in its present form.

    • Mooser
      June 28, 2015, 1:46 pm

      “After approximately 15 years of activism I have not heard ay of the Jews who decry Israelis treatment of the Palestinians come out and say/accept that they must return that that was stolen, pay reparations, compensation and continue paying until the damage done has been to some extent ameliorated.”

      I agree and it is even more alarming when that assumption, that Israel will make no reparations or have any criminal responsibility, is obfuscated, ‘whistled past’ by the implication of a complete amnesty for Israel and Israelis inherent in the rosy vision of a future democratic or even “one-state” solution.

      • RoHa
        June 28, 2015, 8:01 pm

        Well, some of the totally uninfluential and unchosen (i.e., me) have suggested a SA-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I suspect, though, that, however much you and I would like to see the lampposts decorated with the guilty, the very best we can hope for is a Kevin Rudd style apology and a bit of compensation. But I’m not expecting even that.

        (Who would pay the compensation? Maybe that guy with all the casinos would be happy to shell out a few beans.)

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 12:08 pm

        ” that, however much you and I would like to see the lampposts decorated with the guilty,”

        I’d rather see them in court. After all, not every crime is a capital crime. Many, many crimes, (always supposing a fair trial and verdict) can be dealt with by imprisonment and/or fines and/or restitution. In many cases, close supervision and the threat of imprisonment may be enough to deter many Zionists from further depredations in Palestine.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 10:22 pm

        (Who would pay the compensation? Maybe that guy with all the casinos would be happy to shell out a few beans.)

        Sure! I mean, how much could it possibly amount to?

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 5:18 pm

        “Sure! I mean, how much could it possibly amount to?”

        “Talknic” thinks it might amount to quite a bit, as I recall.

    • ivri
      June 28, 2015, 6:02 pm

      @Peter Hindrup
      I don`t agree with the analysis here. Waiting for the US to get weakened so as Israel will too, perhaps undone (as tacitly suggested), is completely misguided. One can see it as a wish, which is common in Europe (where there is a never dying hope, especially in Germany, to reverse the outcome of WW2 and become again the top dog).
      The fundamental flaw in this wish is that it relies on the “all other things remaining the same” false assumption (which people often make when focusing solely on what mainly matters to them). But the weakening of the US, given other geo-strategic forces, will be not just about the US (or Israel). This is not the place to elaborate on what will happen with our world if or when that happens, but you can bet that at that moment the last thing that anyone will be concerned with is Israel. So, as they say, be careful (and this case very careful) with what you wish for.
      Another false assumption is that the US will be compelled to abandon Israel – who is that giant force that will do that or is interested in that? Europe is continually weakening – its ambition to turn the EU into a superpower is getting continually buried in front of our eyes and it is in fact likely that Europe will become even more dependent on the US. As for the eastern powers, as China, Japan or India, they could not care less about the Israel-Palestinian conflict – it`s not part of their agenda. Indeed, some of the bigger and more important Arab countries (as Egypt and the Gulf countries) are beginning to see utility in Israel (e.g. due to their rivalry with Iran and the general Sunny-Shia gulf) so that front can get transformed too.
      Finally, Israel, despite being geographically small, is a mini superpower on its own – let`s never forget that!. We live in an asymmetric-war era and being geographically and population-wise small matters far less now than in the past.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 12:10 pm

        “Finally, Israel, despite being geographically small, is a mini superpower on its own – let`s never forget that!”

        Hooray for Israel! Super Cows, and all the Bull you could possibly desire!

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 8:54 am

        Israel is not a mini-superpower by any stretch of the imagination. Israel is in many ways a satrapy of the US and it could not survive without having the superpower which is the US, popping it up. Neither could it survive without the billions of dollars the US provides to fund it as a colonial enterprise.

        Israel is a tiny country with very little in the way of natural resources and it has acted in ways to ensure the resentment if not hatred, of those it needs most – the indigenous people of the land it has colonised, and its neighbours in the region.

        South Africa was bigger, richer, stronger and more independent than Israel can ever be and yet BDS crippled its economies in 17 years. We are about 7 years into BDS for Israel and it will be unlikely to hold out for many more.

        South Africa could provide itself with food, fuel and water. Israel cannot.

        Israel has served a purpose as a US military ‘base’ in the Middle East but that has only been important because of oil. With the US now becoming able to provide all of its required energy, with some left over to sell, Middle Eastern oil is less important. That makes Israel less important. Nations do not have friends, they have interests.

        In addition, while being slow on the uptake, the US has finally realised that China has been busily going about its business in Africa and that the US focus needs to be, not on the Middle East but on China.

        Another factor is that many American Jews are growing tired of being caught in the putrid backwash of Israel’s behaviour and in fact some 70% of younger Jews are marrying out. The older generation who held dreams and fantasies of Israel and kept handing over money, are dying out. The younger generation do not want to know and most do not want to be Jewish.

        In addition, at some point it will dawn on the Americans that in fact their greatest threat is neither Russia nor China, but the potential for violent dissent within the nation itself.

        With 318million Americans armed with 300million guns, many of them military weapons and levels of poverty and semi-poverty the highest of any developed nation; working conditions and wages for many at Third World levels; a fear and hatred of Government unknown in any other developed nation; a crumbling infrastructure which will add more chaos and inconvenience to the pot, and an increasingly informed and angry population who want the Israeli billions spent at home, US policy will change and it might change quickly.

        Every nation needs to look first to itself for stability and anyone and everyone will be sacrificed to that cause if need be, including Israel.

        The ‘special relationship’ will end in a week at the point that Americans in general begin to resent the money and lives spent on Israel and the disproportionate power wielded over their Government by Jews, Zionists and Israelis.

      • peter hindrup
        July 1, 2015, 9:30 pm

        Rosross: There is nothing in your comment that I disagree with.

        Overall you have made an excellent contribution to this discussion.

        my respects: Peter

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 5:39 pm

        “The younger generation do not want to know and most do not want to be Jewish.”

        Well, there are some indications that they still want to be Jewish, but don’t see Zionism as a valid expression, or a worthy object for their Jewish identity, which is, after all, whatever they make it. And being Jewish without Zionism isn’t all that hard, people have done it for years, many , many more than Israel has been around.

  16. Mooser
    June 29, 2015, 12:12 pm

    “A mini-superpower”!

    Cows, bull, and ox-ymorons.

    I gotta go, “Irvi” is giving me a splitting hoof-ache.

    • Mooser
      July 1, 2015, 5:27 pm

      “Perhaps I should have clarified, but one would have thought that the ‘sense of being superior’ was a logical extension of the Judaic teaching that Jews are ‘chosen.’ I don’t know about you but my sense of anyone ‘being chosen by God’ in a religious sense gives a sense of superiority, conscious or unconscious.”

      There’s a wide variety of Jewish religious teaching and religious experience, there is also a wide variety in the way Jews experience these experiences and integrate them or not, into what they do. And identity is a two-way street.
      There is also a wide variety of conditions Jews live under, which has an effect. As an example it’s sorta hard to develop a traumatic identity if nobody is supplying any real trauma to you. However, I would never, ever discount the human ability to produce a pretext of any condition which accords with their perceived self-interest.

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 3:03 pm

        Nor would I ever doubt the ability of people to traumatize their own kids.

  17. rosross
    June 30, 2015, 1:57 am

    Annie Robbins,

    Perhaps I should have clarified, but one would have thought that the ‘sense of being superior’ was a logical extension of the Judaic teaching that Jews are ‘chosen.’ I don’t know about you but my sense of anyone ‘being chosen by God’ in a religious sense gives a sense of superiority, conscious or unconscious.

    It also creates a sense of being ‘other,’ and needing to remain ‘separate,’ and it is very clear that all of this is at work in Israel where the only reason why we are having this conversation is because Israel has refused to do what every other coloniser has done and create one State with equal rights for all.

    Why? Because Israeli Jews believe they must be a majority and in control? Why? Because non-Jews are inferior. Anyone who spends time in Israel or works with Israelis cannot help but be aware of this sense of superiority.

    Logic suggests, that those Jews, and most have done and many still do, also support this maintenance of control and for the same reasons.

    I could have qualified by saying that in times past Catholics and Protestants had similar senses of superiority but it was never entrenched in their religions in quite the same way it has been and is in Judaism.

    That is a statement of fact and stretching it to anti-Semitism, is, to my mind, the acts of those looking to find anti-Semitism where it does not exist.

    Anti-Semitism is being hostile toward Jews because of their religion. I do not believe my statements could be interpreted in that light since they were sourced in something the religion actually teaches.

    The definition is,

    superior

    1.higher in rank, status, or quality:

    I do not think anyone can deny this is how most Israelis see themselves in regard to non-Jews, and in this case, the Palestinians.

    And to me it is logic that if members of Judaism support Israel without voicing concerns that they see it in the same way.

    I did not mean it to apply to all Jews in the world but I thought that was a given since we are here discussing Israel. Of course not all Jews are like this and I count many as friends and family who do not.

    Neither was my alternative, universally applied. Yet again there is a situation where people have interpreted according to sensitivities of their own and not objectively, nor in context.

    What you call my premise is not my premise, it is your projection resulting in a misinterpretation of what I was saying.

    I did not present it as inherent nature – you interpreted, or misinterpreted what I said to reach that conclusion.

    And no, I was not at all suggesting that about Lilian. My comment was general, not personal, and not as you perceive it.

    But yes, I should have clarified given the capacity for such misunderstandings on the topic.

    And inferiority complexes are always the shadow of superiority and vice-versa. Any group, which, for any religion, believes it cannot marry ‘out’ of the group and is in fact traumatised when children do, will be in the grip of such shadows. This is something I have seen a work in Hindus in regard to caste and in many Jews in regard to their religious beliefs. It is not unique to Jews by any means and is part of the human condition where people come to believe that they must be exceptional, i.e. other, apart, separate, different – superior, for that is what it means at core, whether that is recognised or not.

    And of course, as I have already said, it is not particular to Judaism or Jews. And in truth, if Zionist had never existed and Palestine had never been colonised, I suspect Jews like Hindus would have worked through the ‘separation’ demands of their religion as many others have done and as everyone ultimately must do if we are to live in a civilized world.

    The problem for Judaism is that Zionism has turned this component of the religion into the core of their version of the religion and from that has come the worst of human nature and actions. And because Zionism and Israel claim to speak for Jews and Judaism, the religion and its followers have been caught in the backwash, particularly since many, if not most, have been silent for most of the past six and more decades as those wrongs have been inflicted on the Palestinians.

    • aiman
      June 30, 2015, 9:30 am

      Thank you for sharing your very insightful comments, roross, and firm commitment to universalism. Mondoweiss seems brighter with you in it.

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 8:41 am

        aiman, I appreciate and I am touched by your comment.

    • CigarGod
      June 30, 2015, 9:50 am

      Now, that’s a beautiful contribution!

      • just
        June 30, 2015, 9:58 am

        Agreed, CigarGod.

        Thanks again, rosross.

      • CigarGod
        June 30, 2015, 10:07 am

        So perfectly makes the argument that criticism of behavior…whether of Israeli or Jew…is not anti-semitism. But, the beautiful part, too me, is the superiority inherent in the religion, which invites critical discussion.

        I also appreciated the comment…that I’m sure the Z-Kids will be checking…paraphrasing: every other modern colonizer, except Israel, has formed a single, equal state; because the superiority in the religion won’t allow it.
        For those who continually like to point out that Muslims are about 300 years behind the rest of the 1st world, this gives pause for thought, to consider how we qualify those for 1st world inclusion.

      • CigarGod
        June 30, 2015, 11:38 am

        Probably important to mention, a few religions have adopted the “superiority” thing. The other day, I mentioned Mormons. They openly sell…by way of a worldwide missionary effort…that it is the one true religion, and the rituals are necessary to gain a favored passport into heaven.

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 8:40 am

        CigarGod, Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity. It is also, largely a religion of less developed, if not backward countries.

        If we looked at what Christianity was doing in 1415 we would have a better comparison. Ditto for Judaism, a religion with its own history of aggression and violence.

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 5:41 pm

        “Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity. It is also, largely a religion of less developed, if not backward countries.”

        Squelch!

      • just
        July 1, 2015, 6:33 pm

        +1, Mooser.

        A most unfortunate statement from rosross.

      • RoHa
        July 1, 2015, 7:27 pm

        And yet, for a reasonably long chunk of human history, the Muslim countries were more developed than the Christian countries. The Christian countries started overtaking the Muslim countries when they became less Christian and more secular.

    • Mooser
      June 30, 2015, 1:05 pm

      “Perhaps I should have clarified, but one would have thought that the ‘sense of being superior’ was a logical extension of the Judaic teaching that Jews are ‘chosen.’”

      Try and learn the difference between a “sense of being superior’ and a pretension of superiority. Two completely different things. I think the second is much more in play than the first.

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 8:38 am

        Mooser,

        A sense of or pretension to, superiority are the same thing.

        Of course the sense is a pretension because no-one is superior to anyone else, certainly not because of a religion. We can see some people are superior in terms of their behaviour and some cultural, religious, national, social practices are inferior to others but as human beings we are all equal, at least in terms of our value as human beings.

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 2:58 pm

        I think both are in play. After, it’s not hard to produce trauma in children through abuse, so real trauma can be produced as needed, and transference is pretty easily accomplished, and there you are! I would never say there isn’t terrible trauma there, it can be produced anywhere.

  18. genesto
    July 2, 2015, 11:59 am

    – “Zionism started once by idealistic Communists and Atheists as a liberation movement. ”

    Please tell me what was so ‘idealistic’ about an ideology that, from the beginning, has had at its core the ethnic cleansing of a native population??

  19. Avigail Abarbanel
    July 9, 2015, 4:20 am

    @Lillian Rosengarten, Lillian thank you for this article. However, I have to correct you that Zionism did not morph into anything. Zionism has always held the view that the people who lived in Palestine, the land the coveted for the future Jewish ‘national home’, would have to be removed. It’s always been about an exclusively Jewish state and there was never any intention of asking permission from the local indigenous people before colonising Palestine. Zionism was always a settler-colonial project, the same as in the US, Canada, Australia… It was always racist and exclusivist. Nothing new there. I commend you for coming to the position you have come to and in principle agree with you. But what you are saying about Zionism is misleading unfortunately. It’s never been OK to set up a ‘safe haven’ for us Jews at the cost of another people. 1948 didn’t happen in 1948. It all started in the late 19th Century.

    I am a former Israeli citizen, born and raised there and I have served in the Israeli army during Israel’s first invasion of Lebanon in 1982. I left Israel to Australia in 1991 and 10 years later, when I finally had a chance to learn and revise the history I thought I knew, I renounced my Israeli citizenship in protest. I am really pleased whenever another person from Jewish background begins to question Israel’s mythology. But please let’s get it right. (See: Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists that I edited and published in 2012, also, Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is worth your while.) Take care and all the best to you!

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