Zionism is not really secular

Middle East
on 98 Comments

Whilst the State of Israel marks itself as the Jewish State, many Zionists and particularly liberal Zionists, often make a strong separation between Judaism and Zionism, noting that Zionism is essentially a secular ideology, and that its manifestation, Israel, is essentially a secular state. The separation between Judaism and Zionism is also common amongst anti-Zionists and amongst pro-Palestinian groups (including Jews and non-Jews) and the distinction serves to mark a critical separation between statehood and religion: that Zionism, as representing the idea of a Jewish “secular” state, manifested in the State of Israel, is not a religion, and that therefore opposition to Israel’s actions is not anti-Jewish, not anti-Semitic.

Mondoweiss recently published an interview with Zvia Thier, a former ‘liberal Zionist’, and she speaks very strongly about this separation.

But I am going to do something contentious. I am going to speak my mind about how this separation is artificial, clinical and untrue. I am going to make the point, that Zionism is a Jewish nationalism, and as such, a form of religion. Thus, making the point that Jewish Zionists are actually religious, even if they claim to be secular. 

Now Tzvia Thier in the interview stresses the point that Judaism and Zionism are not one and the same, and that therefore anti-Zionism cannot be considered anti-Semitism. So far, so good. They are not one and the same – but they can still be very, very closely (if not inextricably) related. She makes the point, that there are ultra-religious Jews who are against Zionism. This is one that I have heard many times, mostly from pro-Palestinian activists – and I just don’t buy the heart of the argument, for the following reasons: There are religious Jews who believe that the ‘return’ to the ‘holy land’ of Zion must await the return of the Messiah. This idea has been generally accepted in Jewish culture for many centuries. But with the rise of Zionism, the nationalist vein of Judaism was lured to accommodate a man-made return. Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook (died 1982), the spiritual leader of the religious settlement movement, together with his father Avraham Isaac Kook (died 1935) were the founding fathers of the national-religious movement and advocated that man-made ‘return’ was not anathema to the arrival of the Messiah, but would rather hasten it.

Judaism is a religion which is not carved in stone. Jewish orthodoxy does not really use the bible as its daily guide, but rather the subsequent religious interpretations of it (which have historically taken form in the Talmud). Thus the stream of rabbinical interpretation of the scriptures is a central one in Judaism, and this means that it is open to discussion.

One can therefore say, that whilst Zionism and Judaism are not the same, they have married in no uncertain ways. Those ultra-Orthodox Jews who oppose Zionism, do this because of a rabbinical interpretation – which is more to do with timing than it is to do with morals. Were they to believe that the Messiah indeed had arrived this day, they would have no problem with enacting what they would perceive as a God-sanctioned ‘return’ and takeover of Eretz-Israel.

So I perceive that separation to be semantic. The non-Zionist religious movement does not essentially oppose Zionism morally; for them it’s a timing question.

Now to the ‘secular’ Zionists:

The belief in ‘return’ is more deeply rooted in ‘secular’ Zionism than one might think.

In 1936, there was a mass revolt of the indigenous Palestinian population, known as ‘The Great Arab Revolt’. The British government, which at that time controlled Palestine with its Mandate, sent a committee to hear out representatives of both sides and try to resolve the ‘Arab-Jewish conflict’. The chairman of the committee was Lord Peel and one of the witnesses to testify before the Peel Commission was the chairman of the Jewish Agency: David Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion spoke of the right of the Jews to the land of Israel. When he finished, Lord Peel turned to him and asked, “Mr. Ben-Gurion: Where were you born?” “In Plonsk, Poland,” he answered. Lord Peel continued, “If a man lives in a house for many years and suddenly, someone else appears and claims ownership of the house, international law dictates that the burden of proof rests upon the claimant, not the current occupant. Mr. Ben-Gurion: Do you have a deed or contract of sale that gives you the right to take the place of the native Arabs who have lived here for generations?” On the witness stand was a copy of the Bible, upon which the witnesses had sworn. Ben-Gurion suddenly picked up the Bible in his hand and declared, “This is our deed!” 

With all its ostensibly ‘secular’ and ‘human’ wish to solve the ‘Jewish problem’, Zionism, despite a few aborted thoughts to colonize elsewhere, very quickly focused in on Palestine as its coveted target. It was ZION-ism after all, and the historical land where ancient Israelite and Jewish forefathers allegedly reigned and lived had been a strong element of longing in Jewish culture. But with Palestine, the claim to the land itself was to be more than incidental, for it was already inhabited. Such a ‘population replacement’ as the Zionists realized would have to take place to a considerable degree, could not be justified merely by claiming a wish to escape persecution, for the persecution of the indigenous population would counter the moral claim. Hence the accentuation of the ‘biblical’ and ‘Godly’ decree – even among secular Zionists, as the Ben-Gurion example shows.

The ‘return’ idea was a religious one, and it had to have its basis in the idea that the Jews are not merely people who share a faith, but also an ethnic heritage. One would essentially have to claim that they descended from the ancient Judeans. But such a claim is highly disputed scientifically, to put it mildly. Most Jews today are not even Semites (don’t originate from the Middle East), and the Zionists who colonized Palestine until 1948 were overwhelmingly European. As also Israeli researchers concede, there had not been a real exile in the time of the Romans (70 AD, when the Great Revolt of the Judeans was crushed). The Romans might have exiled some intelligentsia and leadership, but it was not their manner nor their interest to exile a proletariat which provided them with taxes and crops. In fact, as Ben-Gurion himself noted in a study he made in 1919 (together with Itzhak Ben-Zvi, future second President of Israel), the Palestinian proletariat seems likely to be descendants of the ancient Judeans themselves, who stayed and converted to other religions in the meantime.

So secular Zionists had to forge an unbreakable ideological nationalist tie with the land they coveted. Besides fostering the myths that they were coming to an ‘empty land’ (which would morally alleviate the notion of having to ethnically cleanse the indigenous population) and ‘making the desert bloom’ (which would serve the notion that they were actually helping the country and bringing progress – and never mind its people), the Zionists had to accentuate the religious myths concerning the relationship of the ‘nation’ with the ancient ‘forefathers’ and ‘Land of Israel’. 

These are all myths, which, even if they were true, could not possibly qualify as any sort of ‘deed to the land’, just as Ben-Gurion’s bible-stunt with the Peel commission could not.

The inherently powerful aspect of religion is, that it transcends reason. And Zionism had to have this mystical aspect, rooted in Judaism itself, to persuade its constituency that this is a ‘special case’; to persuade that this is not just about religion, it is about survival as a nation.

Secular Zionists would often refer to Jewish persecution as an indication that such a nation does indeed exist. But persecution of a group of people who share religious beliefs does not necessarily prove they are a nation. If Sunni or Shia Muslims persecute each other, that doesn’t mean that there is a Shia nation and a Sunni nation. These are problems that need working out, for sure – but not necessarily through the establishment of a ‘nation state’ for that religion. Jewish persecution doesn’t mean Jews are a nation, only that others perceived them to be so.

So Zionism created the ‘Jewish State’. One could rightfully ask the simple question, how on earth could a state be ‘secular’ when by its very definition it is religious?

This is the trick. Zionism took the myth of the ‘Jewish nation’ from Jewish culture. It extrapolated the nationalist stream inherent in Judaism, and made it into an ostensibly ‘secular’ national movement. But this nationalist element depends upon the religious ‘counterpart’ to exist.

Thus I reach my conclusion, that Zionism is a kind of religion, masked as mere secular nationalism.

Correction: Originally this article did not recognize Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook’s father, Avraham Isaac Kook.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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98 Responses

  1. Sally Parker
    April 8, 2016, 2:41 pm

    I have some questions. If a government, Israel, is a religion, doesn’t it become a cult? If Zionism is a religion, funding Israel promotes a religion and doesn’t this violate the First Amendment?
    In the religion of Judaism, just what was “Israel”? Was it a state or a state-of-mind? If it was a state, what were its boundaries? Was it three synagogues in Jerusalem, was it all the land extending to the Euphrates, did it include Paris, how about Madison, Wisconsin?
    I believe in the theory of evolution. This was once science, but there’s more bang for the buck in religion. The theory of evolution is essential to my identity and faith. My ancestors came from Olduvai Gorge, and I have a right of return. I cite the fossil record. How much African property do I now own? How many Africans can I shoot to acquire this promised land?

    • Boomer
      April 8, 2016, 8:30 pm

      re Sally Parker’s question: “Was it a state or a state-of-mind?”

      A memorable phrase, a profound question, a worthy koan indeed.

    • Pixel
      April 19, 2016, 12:24 am

      @SP

      GREAT comment!!

  2. pabelmont
    April 8, 2016, 6:10 pm

    I think that if if Zionism is a religion, that religion is a sort of “Golden Calf” religion — putting Israel as an idol, by Zionists, in place and “before” the God of the Jews.

    But if, as this article seems to suggest, Zionism is a mere rabbinic interpretation of something, (of what, one wonders), so that he can say — and invites others to say — that Jewish belief, including belief by secular Jews, in the religious importance of Israel to Jews is a religious belief and not (merely) a political swangdangle, then we come down — as we always do anyway — to the question of power: Israel today belongs to Jewish Israelis not because they hold a particular religious belief (or even a particular nationalist political belief) but because they had the power to acquire it and the power to displace the Palestinians.

    Now, as we also recall, Hitler had the power to displace the Jews (and many others) from his (also spreading outward) domain, and he did it with great vigor and, of course, with more killing, than the Zionists have used for their displacement of Palestinians. But it came down to power.

    So, with power the essential element of the story, the question of religion does not arise, I should think.

    And if Zionist Jews on American campuses want to say that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, or that anti-Zionism makes them fearful, I answer them thus: you may believe what you like and I and my anti-Zionist friends may believe what we like. These beliefs do not conflict, because they are held by different people. We do not care what you believe and do not seek to change your minds. (We may seek to change other minds however.) Go to your places of worship and do your thing. But we are Americans and have the freedom — until we lose it — to protest what we consider to be odious politics. and we intend to do so. And the Zionist practices (of making realities of the Zionist ideas) are political actions, not acts of religiousity.

    And if anyone now-a-days seeks to resurrect a cannibalistic or human-sacrifice religion, however ancient, however sincerely held, they must expect that any attempt they make to put it into practice will be met with political or legal resistance. Just as Zionism-in-practice is met with political or legal resistance.

    • Boomer
      April 8, 2016, 8:36 pm

      re: “we come down — as we always do anyway — to the question of power”

      including power to control America’s politicians.

    • HarryLaw
      April 11, 2016, 4:36 pm

      pabelmont…”And if anyone now-a-days seeks to resurrect a cannibalistic or human-sacrifice religion”, Wahhabism of the type practiced by Islamic State [IS] in Syria and Iraq comes very close to that definition, in my opinion military force as well as political and legal resistance is required to confront this abomination. Zionism on the other hand is an ideology which seeks to colonize and claim sovereignty over the whole of Palestine, [the land of Israel as they see it] Something neither the Balfour declaration or the United Nations [in its agreed with the GOI] declaration in 1948 on the borders and sovereign independence of Israel] wanted to happen. Since Israel was given its birth certificate, it has flagrantly ignored the UN and continues to expand its borders with impunity, and will continue to do so since no one [especially the US] is prepared to implement International law.

  3. echinococcus
    April 8, 2016, 7:46 pm

    One can therefore say, that whilst Zionism and Judaism are not the same, they have married in no uncertain ways.

    Zionism took the myth of the ‘Jewish nation’ from Jewish culture. It extrapolated the nationalist stream inherent in Judaism, and made it into an ostensibly ‘secular’ national movement. But this nationalist element depends upon the religious ‘counterpart’ to exist.

    Thank you, Ofir! Finally some sense –so rare these days. The dogma (secular and allegedly anti-Zionist) holding the religion totally non-accountable for the nationalism has been rather heavy on everybody.

    In fact, in addition to reading Zionism as a religion masked as nationalism, one could also take the whole as the natural trajectory of a strictly tribal religion, with (a) tribal god(s) opposing the Pantheon of the neighboring enemy tribes: given the peculiar character of this world view, it would naturally evolve into racial nationalism in the century of mainly German-inspired romantic nationalisms.

  4. Boomer
    April 8, 2016, 7:48 pm

    Thanks for the informative, thought-provoking essay, Jonathan. It’s a good reminder of the complexity of these matters. Defining “religion” is, of course, famously problematic. Many definitions include some element of the supernatural, but not all. The sociologist Emile Durkheim used various language in various definitions of religion, but the one I most recall (and find most apt in this context) was something to the effect of “a people worshiping itself.” That doesn’t need to include a supernatural element (though it may).

    It’s a commonplace observation that people in Europe gradually lost faith in the supernatural element: the elites in the 18th and 19th century, with the masses following at various points in the 20th. They responded to the loss in various ways. One scholar of religion (William Parsons) suggests that the academic study of religion is itself a form of “mourning religion.”

    It is likewise a commonplace observation that for many Jews, the Holocaust marked the death of God (announced long before by Nietzsche), and that for many of them Israel became His replacement.

    The practical implications of this, if any, I leave to others to say. It seems to me that most of us here would agree that–while it may complicate matters, while it may explain part of what makes a solution so difficult, and while it may be an additional motivation for compassion and understanding for everyone involved–it does not obviate the needs and rights of Palestinians.

  5. Citizen
    April 8, 2016, 8:03 pm

    In 1948, when Truman was handed a statement from his staff which said that the U.S. government recognized and endorsed the creation of “the Jewish State.” He crossed out the words “Jewish State” and wrote, “State of Israel.” Only then did he sign his name.

    Atzmon’s view in his book devoted to Jewish identity politics, the Wandering Who?, points to much in accord with Jonathan Ofir’s view here.

  6. JWalters
    April 8, 2016, 8:14 pm

    Great article! Great scene with Ben-Gurion on the witness stand! Clearly delusional.

    But why would big banks finance such a delusional war? Some historical evidence is online in “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror.”

  7. gamal
    April 8, 2016, 9:56 pm

    dear Mr ofir always read your things, never feel to comment but thought you might enjoy this lesser known Wahabism that of Wiam, of Tawheed, god help us everything is “religion”, its best not to think about it, but still i like this kind of restrained respectful spiritual interchange

    “who says god is happy when there is conflict or allows the killing of people?” in his general discussion of

    “Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti is a Retard (sic)” despite the offense you cant really argue with that

    https://youtu.be/v3K5uWjSQXs

  8. hophmi
    April 8, 2016, 10:05 pm

    Submitted an extended response to this. Why isn’t up here?

    Argument is silly for all sorts of reasons. By this logic, every nationalism is a religion.

    • Mooser
      April 8, 2016, 11:23 pm

      “Submitted an extended response to this. Why isn’t up here?”

      “Hophmi”, even Moderators get breaks, and get an hour for lunch.

      “Argument is silly for all sorts of reasons. By this logic, every nationalism is a religion.”

      Uh, that’s not the problem. Is every religion a nationalism? Does every religion come with the promise of free land? And heaven’s own command to take it from others?
      Gee, and I always thought of my religion as something which might cause me to give up or give away things. What a chump I’ve been.

      • gamal
        April 9, 2016, 2:36 pm

        “Does every religion come with the promise of free land?”

        yeah free land is like free lunch, it seems great at first, never accept a free gift of land that eats the blood of patriots. I laugh when i see Zionists whine about blood libels you dont see? Zionists are bleeding out of their eyes, out of every orifice leaking other peoples blood.

        why isnt this comment up there, bloody mordorators, Weiss has never liked me (bastard!)

        I saw Ron dissing Zionism, we’ll need to have a wee talkeen, every body tells you Angry Arab told you, you dont know our history we out last everyone, Hopmi you are the lawyer whose client is an idiot, either of the Jon’s could school you.

        I can feel my humanity intersecting with Hopmi’s tender parts, its sad to see but we must be clear he is inferior, i vote euthanize or at least euhemerize him as Hophmi trimestegos.

        he once inadverdently said something profound almost Garab Dorje style hitting the essence in three words, but as a Jew he’s not half the man Mooser is, now he is your authentic Seemite.

    • echinococcus
      April 8, 2016, 11:28 pm

      Submitted an extended response to this. Why isn’t up here?

      See what we mean about the f*&^% arrogance of the Zionists? Nossir, you are not entitled to some other people’s property. Nossir, you don’t get the right to publish whatever your insanity suggests any time you want, on other people’s blogs. Nossir, it doesn’t belong to you and no one owes you any explanations either.

      Follow Mooser’s advice and buy your own site.

      • Mooser
        April 9, 2016, 12:32 pm

        “…and buy your own site.”

        Buy? BLOGGER IS FREE!!!!!

      • echinococcus
        April 9, 2016, 1:38 pm

        I know. I would, however, ask “would the subject appreciate its value if he thinks it’s for free?”

      • hophmi
        April 11, 2016, 10:34 am

        Maybe Mooser should follow his own advice and get his own site. He posts far more than I do, with far less substance.

      • Mooser
        April 11, 2016, 12:41 pm

        “Maybe Mooser should follow his own advice and get his own site…”

        Ouch! Okay, “Hophmi” is right.
        I did promise to get my own site, call it “Palestine.com” and let “Hophmi” and the ilk take it away from me, until I hand over the administrator’s password to them.
        But I never followed through, so “Hophmi” is still at the mercy of the Mondo Mods, trashing his “extended response”. Of course, he never extended his finger to push the “Post” button, but the Mods still should’ve posted his reply! It had “substance”!

        Sorry “Hophmi”.

    • James Michie
      April 9, 2016, 8:55 am

      Well don’t feel left out, hophmi, Mondoweiss trashed one of my comments earlier this week–no reason given. So how about emailing to me your comment on Jonathan’s piece at [email protected] Thanks and thanks for correcting my comment yesterday on another piece.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 10, 2016, 4:13 am

        how about emailing to me your comment on Jonathan’s piece at [email protected] Thanks and thanks

        fyi, i checked both the spam and the trash. there was no comment by hophmi from this thread that didn’t get published. not.one.

      • hophmi
        April 11, 2016, 10:35 am

        My bad. I never hit the post button.

      • Mooser
        April 11, 2016, 12:43 pm

        “My bad. I never hit the post button.”

        Ah, what a “gentleman” you are, “Hophmi”, smoothing things over for the Mods. That’s one they owe you.

      • echinococcus
        April 11, 2016, 2:16 pm

        Hophmi:
        “My bad. I never hit the post button.”

        Your only mitsvah in all these years, and you had to go and undo it!

  9. yonah fredman
    April 8, 2016, 10:09 pm

    There are many useful facts interspersed with non facts in this article that might promote thought if offered humbly to thoughtful people. The chances of such thought under current circumstances when offered here are uncertain at best.

    The first discrepancy of fact and nonfact is the depiction of Zvi yehuda kook as the father of religious nationalism. He was the father of the settler movement, but it was his father Rabbi Abraham Isaac kook who was the founding father of modern Jewish religious nationalism.

    Other useful facts that might have been included had ofir wished to be more complete: the use of the word “am” and “goy” in reference to the Jewish people or nation. As has been pointed out, the definitions of people and nation in the 19th century would be insufficient tools to determine words used thousands of years earlier in the bible, Talmud and prayer books, but nonetheless skipping these words, but including comments regarding semitic gene pools (and shiites versus sunnis) indicates a careless nonmethodical almost haphazard method to this essay on this issue. I suppose since Ben Gurion emphasized the bible, both because of his philosophy which denigrated the diaspora and its texts and also since it was used as a tool for affirming the truth of testimony to a gentile commission it was readily available nearby, mr. Ofir emphasizes the same, but to emphasize the bible and cite zero references to the prayer book or the text of the passover hagada, is surely a sign of the sloppy scholarship that characterizes the essay.

    As long as the Jewish people revere their texts their sentiments towards the land will be a factor. That is why certain antizionists wish to wipe out the Jewish religion and ensure that the Jews stop assembling as jews and stop praying as jews and stop thinking and believing like jews so as to return the middle east to its pristine chaotic pre Zionist situation.

    I think the essence of the talmudic “three oaths” that neturei karta and pre Hitler Orthodox (ultra orthodox) cite as the source of their opposition to zionism was of passivity: acceptance of the fate imposed by history as the work and word of god, and to avoid politics and human agency in these affairs and let the nations of the world run things without interference from fatalistic passive jews. I think the rejection of such fatalism and such passivity was a sign of health. Obviously the health of the Palestinians was adversely affected by this activism.

    I think that resistance to such passivity today in the face of current status quo, requires thinking jews and nonjews to acccept the need to study history and the present situation and to take a stand for peace and justice, things which will not result through passivity and thus to recognize the nationalistic elements of the Jewish tradition and identity are useful to ensure that awareness and historical accuracy are brought to bear on the conversation and not the ignorance of blanket dogmatic statements regarding the difference between the religious impulse versus the nationalist impulse.

    Approximately half of the world’s jews today live in israel, where the language is a Jewish language and where the calendar reflects and celebrates Jewish holidays. While this fact may be minor to those who are trying to craft a modus operandi of cooperation between jew and nonjew or those who fantasize about a major war so that all post 1897 jews can be kicked out, to a jew conscious of the last century of history, the fate of this half of the world’s current Jewish population cannot be ignored without revealing some dead brain cells or other dead nerve endings. (Those who can ignore Palestinian suffering also suffer from some dead brain cells as well.)

    • Mooser
      April 8, 2016, 11:12 pm

      “As long as the Jewish people revere their texts their sentiments towards the land will be a factor.”

      Yeah! You tell ’em, “Yonah”! What other religion comes with a guarantee of property, and material gain, and the right to take it from others? Why, I can’t imagine why Judaism isn’t more popular than it is. And always remember, the more frum, the more dunams!

    • echinococcus
      April 9, 2016, 5:32 am

      Approximately half of the world’s jews today live in israel

      an extremely unfortunate extension of the mass murder situation intentionally created by yourselves, the Zionists.

      where the language is a Jewish language

      the electrons of the discussion on the subject are not yet dry and you already forget? Mr Feldman, people just proved to you, by elaborate reports, quotes and links from and to linguistic luminaries much more authorized than any of us, that the language spoken there, devised by the
      Perlmans &Co, is just like the Zionist entity: an artificial construct totally opposed to anything Jewish, expressly designed to kill anything “Jewish”

      and where the calendar reflects and celebrates Jewish holidays

      which it does anywhere you can buy a “Jewish” calendar to hang on the wall, to spare you the work of marking a goyish one with a red pencil.

      While this fact may be minor to those who are trying to craft a modus operandi of cooperation between jew and nonjew

      unlike your so likable selves, who deliberately engineered a longterm, murderous war against the rest of humanity, including all non-Zionist Jews and all non-Zionist biological-racially Jewish people

      or those who fantasize about a major war so that all post 1897 jews can be kicked out

      Wow… while you are the one who actively participates in an ongoing war of aggression and annihilation, could you be shamefaced enough to turn things around to pretend
      that those who call the Zionist invaders to conform to justice and voluntarily end the war of aggression started by themselves
      would be fantasizing about a “major war”, when that war has been started and continues to be fought by the Zionists?
      What or who, by the way, is a post-1897 Jew? We are clearly talking about post-1897 Zionist invaders.

      to a jew conscious of the last century of history, the fate of this half of the world’s current Jewish population cannot be ignored without revealing some dead brain cells or other dead nerve endings.

      to anyone conscious period, the fate of anyone cannot be ignored; in this case it’s up to a decision of the invading Zionists to stop their crime of aggression and genocide and, as some so beautifully say, desist.

  10. JLewisDickerson
    April 9, 2016, 4:02 am

    RE: “Zionism is not really secular”

    ■ HERZL’S “WHITE LIE” PER URI AVNERY | February 27, 2010:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli Interior Ministry recognizes 126 nations, but not the Israeli nation. An Israeli citizen can be registered as belonging to the Assyrian, the Tatar or the Circassian nation. But the Israeli nation? Sorry, no such thing.
    According to the official doctrine, the State of Israel cannot recognize an “Israeli” nation because it is the state of the “Jewish” nation. In other words, it belongs to the Jews of Brooklyn, Budapest and Buenos Aires, even though these consider themselves as belonging to the American, Hungarian or Argentine nations. Messy? Indeed.
    THIS MESS started 113 years ago, when the Viennese Journalist Theodor Herzl wrote his book “The State of the Jews”. (That’s the true translation. The generally used name “The Jewish State” is false and means something else.) For this purpose he had to perform an acrobatic exercise. One can say that he used a white lie.
    Modern Zionism was born as a direct response to modern anti-Semitism. Not by accident, the term “Zionismus” came into being some 20 years after the term “Antisemitismus” was invented in Germany. They are twins. . .
    . . . Herzl understood that the new reality was inherently dangerous for the Jews. In the beginning he cherished the idea of complete assimilation: all the Jews would be baptized and disappear in the new nations. As a professional writer for the theater, he even devised the scenario: all Viennese Jews would march together to St. Stephen’s cathedral and be baptized en masse.
    When he realized that this scenario was a bit far-fetched, Herzl passed from the idea of individual assimilation to what may be called collective assimilation: if there is no place for the Jews in the new nations, then they should define themselves as a nation like all the others, rooted in a homeland of their own and living in a state of their own. This idea was called Zionism.
    BUT THERE was a problem: a Jewish nation did not exist. The Jews were not a nation but a religious-ethnic community. . . Herzl had to ignore this difference. He pretended that the Jewish ethnic-religious community was also a Jewish nation. In other words: contrary to all other peoples, the Jews were both a nation and a religious community; as far as Jews were concerned, the two were the same. The nation was a religion, the religion was a nation.
    This was the white lie. There was no other way: without it, Zionism could not have come into being. The new movement took the Star of David from the synagogue, the candlestick from the Temple, the blue-and-white flag from the prayer shawl. The holy land became a homeland. Zionism filled the religious symbols with secular, national content. . . The first to detect the falsification were the Orthodox Rabbis. Almost all of them damned Herzl and his Zionism in no uncertain terms.
    When Herzl originated the Zionist idea, he did not intend to found the “State of the Jews” in Palestine, but in Argentina. Even when writing his book, he devoted to the country only a few lines, under the headline “Palestine or Argentina?” However, the movement he created compelled him to divert his endeavors to the Land of Israel, and so the state came into being here.
    When the State of Israel was founded and the Zionist dream realized, there was no further need for the white lie . . .

    . . . [W]hy do the words “Jewish state” appear in our [Israel’s] Declaration of Independence? There was a simple reason for that: the UN had adopted a resolution to partition the country between an “Arab state” and a “Jewish state.” That was the legal basis of the new state. The declaration, which was drafted in haste, said therefore that we were establishing “the Jewish state (according to the UN resolution), namely the State of Israel.”…
    . . . LIKE MOST of us at the time [of the founding of Israel in 1948], David Ben-Gurion believed that Zionism had supplanted religion and that religion had become redundant. He was quite sure that it would shrivel and disappear by itself in the new secular state. He decided that we could afford to dispense with the military service of Yeshiva bochers (Talmud school students), believing that their number would dwindle from a few hundred to almost none. The same thought caused him to allow religious schools to continue in existence. Like Herzl, who promised to “keep our Rabbis in the synagogues and our army officers in the barracks,” Ben-Gurion was certain that the state would be entirely secular. . .
    . . . BUT THE white lie of Herzl had results he did not dream of, as did the compromises of Ben-Gurion. Religion did not wither away in Israel, but on the contrary: it is gaining control of the state. The government of Israel does not speak of the nation-state of the Israelis who live here, but of the “nation-state of the Jews” – a state that belongs to the Jews all over the world, most of whom belong to other nations.
    The religious schools are eating up the general education system and are going to overpower it, if we don’t become aware of the danger and assert our Israeli essence. Voting rights are about to be accorded to Israelis residing abroad, and this is a step towards giving the vote to all Jews around the world. And, most important: the ugly weeds growing in the national-religious field – the fanatical settlers – are pushing the state in a direction that may lead to its destruction. . .

    SOURCE – http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1267293918

    • talknic
      April 9, 2016, 5:55 am

      @ JLewisDickerson

      The Zionist Movement, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish People’s Council went far far beyond the notion of self determination, where the legitimate citizens of a territory would determine their status and the fate of their territory.

      Israel was declared on behalf of Jews regardless of which country they held citizenship.

      • echinococcus
        April 9, 2016, 8:28 am

        Israel was declared on behalf of Jews regardless of which country they held citizenship

        by armed bands of invaders illegally immigrated 50 years earlier with declared hostile intent, who had already genocidally expelled a very significant proportion of the legitimate citizens, and had been totally illegally offered part of the stolen territory, in the very middle of their aggression and in the absence of any plebiscite, by the colonial powers (and to some extent by a very large number of subjects of said colonial and allied powers, including yourself.)
        In whose name that was done is of any importance only for tribal navel-gazers, while any approval of conquest, after even the end of the colonial era, under any name or pretext, is an essential problem: the damage to the good name of Jews is way, way secondary to the presence of ant invaders and the uninvited damage to the goods, the rights and the life of Palestinians.

  11. Ossinev
    April 9, 2016, 7:23 am

    @JLD
    “According to the official doctrine, the State of Israel cannot recognize an “Israeli” nation because it is the state of the “Jewish” nation”

    I have decided that the least confusing term to use to describe this little cult colony is JSIL = Jewish State in the Levant.

    1)The state is founded on the principles of religious exclusivity and aggressively pursues religious and ethnic cleansing
    2) It has subjugated , brutalized and slaughtered or driven out la large proportion of the native population
    3) It recruits and imports jihadis (Jewhadis ?) from overseas eg Brooklyn to participate in its campaigns

    There are of course many major differences between JSIL and ISIL not least the fact that JSIL owns and runs the world`s major superpower.

    • echinococcus
      April 9, 2016, 10:01 am

      Ossinev,

      The comparison to Daesh (=IS) is fitting enough. Even more exact would be a comparison to the Ottoman theocratic Imperial system that was taken over almost as is by the Zionist entity (also by Lebanon, as far as I am aware.)
      There is nothing more offensive to a modern, individual human-rights understanding. This is a vile system that assigns people to various “nations” under the Empire according to the religion of some forefathers. Not on the basis of any personal belief, ethnicity, culture or language.

      The different “nations” get assigned different classes in the pecking order and a theocratic “spiritual leader” with some earthly police powers by appointment of the government (a leader promptly hanged like the Greek Orthodox Patriarch when the revolt he so heatedly opposed happened.)

      Can you imagine such an abject, theocratic, shitty little state insisting on being part of the Enlightenment and a Villa in the Jungle and part of Europe and a beacon on the hill, etc.?

  12. Shmuel
    April 9, 2016, 8:43 am

    Ben-Gurion had a Bible fetish – not as a religious book, but as national epos and the founding work of Jewish national culture. He had little use for the Talmud and Rabbinic Judaism, created after the loss of Jewish independence and largely in the diaspora. Assuming the Peel story is correct (it feels rather apocryphal), he would have meant that the Bible expressed the ancient Jewish tie to the Land, and its central place in the creation and identity of the Jewish nation – not that he believed that the Jews’ right to the land was actually God-given (except as a metaphor and perhaps to impress Christians).

    This is accurately reflected in the opening sentence of Israel’s “Scroll of Independence”:

    ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) – the Land of Israel, Palestine] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

    Gods need not apply.

    • echinococcus
      April 9, 2016, 8:59 am

      he would have meant that the Bible expressed the ancient Jewish tie to the Land, and its central place in the creation and identity of the Jewish nation – not that he believed that the Jews’ right to the land was actually God-given

      The one being exactly as irrelevant, invalid and ridiculous as the other, your acute observation supports the general idea that the Zionist gallow bait were conscious, effective manipulators of the mob’s religious attachments rather than followers of any kind of Judaism.

      • MHughes976
        April 9, 2016, 1:11 pm

        My low-grade research on BG finds him opening Jewish Bible Study institute in Chicago in March 1967, proclaiming himself, in rather Protestant language – ‘a Bible missionary’. There is a website called TORCH, the H standing for Houston, run by a group of ‘dynamic rabbis’, one of whom attests that he talked to BG in 73 and verified the Peel story – mind you, BG may have been humouring him.
        I would understand BG’s argument to be that the Hebrew Bible implies both deism with minimal Jewish practice (he attended synagogues abroad, but not in Israel) and, presumably if read scientifically with plenty of reference to WF Albright, Zionism. Thus to declare Zionism false is to declare the HB false and to declare all religion false unless supported on non-HB grounds. The argument carefully avoids declaring Z a religion but makes anti-Z a threat to religion and tradition and moral decency.
        You actually break this argument by asserting that the Bible, however true, very much does not imply Z. That’s a really important point!

      • Shmuel
        April 9, 2016, 1:38 pm

        You actually break this argument by asserting that the Bible, however true, very much does not imply Z. That’s a really important point!

        Which is very much where Rabbinic Judaism comes in — all the more reason to pretend that nothing of importance happened between the fall of Beitar and the founding of Hovevei Zion (with the exception of a few posthumous conversions to “proto-Zionism”: Judah ha-Levi, Judah he-Hasid, the Perushim, etc. ). Better the prophetic visions of physical national redemption than the chimerical eschatology (and supranational ethos) of the Rabbis.

    • just
      April 9, 2016, 9:02 am

      Thank you, Shmuel, Jonathan and everyone for writing and participating here.

      “… So Zionism created the ‘Jewish State’. One could rightfully ask the simple question, how on earth could a state be ‘secular’ when by its very definition it is religious?

      This is the trick. Zionism took the myth of the ‘Jewish nation’ from Jewish culture. It extrapolated the nationalist stream inherent in Judaism, and made it into an ostensibly ‘secular’ national movement. But this nationalist element depends upon the religious ‘counterpart’ to exist.

      “Thus I reach my conclusion, that Zionism is a kind of religion, masked as mere secular nationalism.”

      Sunlight is good. Drought isn’t. This clever “trick” is finally being found out, indeed~ a “trick” that has justified mass murder, the Nakba, too numerous to count executions/assassinations of Palestinians and others, and way above the top claims to be a ‘democracy’ is finally being undone and unmasked with the help and the good grace of sentient humans everywhere on our planet. The US and the other weirdos that support this criminal gov’t will face everlasting shame…

  13. James Michie
    April 9, 2016, 9:26 am

    “Thus I reach my conclusion, that Zionism is a kind of religion, masked as mere secular nationalism.” Your point is well taken, Jonathan, which prompts me to offer this observation:

    If “Zionism is a kind of religion,” it follows that it obviously cannot be Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31:a. Hence Zionist Israel is anything but a “Jewish” state. Rather it cloaked itself in the “Star of David” as it went about for the past six decades imposing brutal, ruthless, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist military occupation and rule over its neighbors, the Palestinians, rightful owners of their land and property stolen at gunpoint by the Zionists. So much for Zionist Israel’s claim of being “Jewish” and of being a “democracy”!

  14. just
    April 9, 2016, 10:27 am

    Very interesting:

    “Israel Doesn’t Exist in Its Own Right. It’s a Bluff.

    The categorical imperative of Israeliness is always striving to export; hello ma’am, hello sir, we have an interesting story. A small country. Occupation. Jewishness. Holocaust. Care to buy?

    Israel does not exist in its own right. There is no such country as “Israel.” It’s a bluff. A scam. Somehow we’ve been made to believe in something that has no logic. A sovereign entity? Who are you kidding? Not at all. Israel is a dependent country. An aircraft carrier of the United States, as some people put it. That’s not a joke or folklore. It’s reality. Israel’s sovereignty depends on external aid. We get the money from the Americans, the submarines from Germany, the working hands from Palestine, Africa and Asia.

    The European states support us tacitly and accord us a façade, the right to assume the European aura as though it were ours. The Chinese have bought the iconic Tnuva food manufacturer and soon will buy all the rest. They are also putting up buildings and digging tunnels for us. A foreign energy conglomerate is removing the gas from the sea for us. From the Australians we buy livestock. We get high in India and try to forget our traumas from our army days. Hey, we even stole the hummus.

    So what’s left? Hashahar chocolate spread? The game of Taki? Israel’s car, the long-deceased Susita? The separation barrier? Remotely piloted aircraft? Targeted assassinations? We didn’t even invent violence, just upgraded it.

    To be here and not to be here, that is the national ethos. Nationalism is the primary reason for being here, but it’s not strong enough to create autonomy. Patriotism falls apart in the face of the big world out there. The country’s citizens are peering out all the time, and the peering has become the peek forward. Because there, far away, across the sea, is where the real opportunities await. So it’s odd that people get upset at an organization like Breaking the Silence for being active abroad. What’s all the fuss about? That’s what we taught them. We were all educated to look outward.

    The Israeli lust for expansion is insatiable, because it acknowledges the smallness and limitedness of the place. Even if no one listens to you here, people will surely listen elsewhere. Breaking the Silence is only upholding the categorical imperative of Israeliness: always strive to export what you do inside. The organization is doing nothing exceptional. Nor are the other human rights groups, when they travel across Europe and the United States within the framework of the thriving peace industry. That’s what we know how to do: take Israeliness and trade in it. Like wagoners on the Silk Road, or smarmy salesmen. Going door to door with our wares. Hello ma’am, hello sir, we have an interesting story. A small country. Occupation. Jewishness. Holocaust. Care to buy?

    An Israeli television series can’t be broadcast only on Channel 2 or Channel 10. There’s no money in that, and no prestige. It has to be sold as a format abroad. If a book isn’t translated into at least three languages, why bother to publish it here? … a few hundred people in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will read it? There’s no real value in that. Israeli chefs dream of opening branches in London and New York. They’re no patsies. Why make do with Rothschild Boulevard if you can sell shakshuka to the goyim?

    If you’ve directed a film and it hasn’t been accepted to at least four tiny film festivals in Eastern Europe, you have failed miserably. Where will your movie be screened? In the Sderot Cinematheque? Come on. You’ve formed a band and haven’t gone on a tour of 10 pubs in southern Germany? You’ve blown it, pal. And obviously you have to do a doctorate in Paris and a post-doctorate at Columbia and exit your app startup and relocate to Silicon Valley and do a residency in some hole in southern Italy. The politicians and senior business people in Israel smuggle their children out for a happy life elsewhere, even as they turn the country into heaps of ruins and fertile ground for exploitation. Local-ness is for losers.

    We live in a culture that is subletting itself to death. Everyone is looking for an exit – not to say escape – tactic. It’s not just the Ashkenazi obsession with foreign passports, or the over-ambition that characterizes migrant societies. It’s a quality that’s built into Israeliness; at the deepest level, no one wants to be here. Israelis understand that this place is limited and apparently temporary. That recognition generates incessant longing. Yearning for the diaspora we left. There is hardly any activity that is purely Israeli, that exists only in this place, at this time.

    It’s no longer a dialogue with other cultures. It’s a fatal attraction. A moral criterion in every respect. Everything that happens here is in the nature of a platform for realization elsewhere. As an Israeli, you are expected to “think big.” In other words, to go to the Western world, to transform yourself into Western mode, to show them that you have it in you. And if possible, not to come back. To stay there. Internationalism is a physical and spiritual last testament. And you shall tell your son: Go forth from your native land.

    There’s no choice but to admit that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is not a bad idea at all. It’s a blow to the soft underbelly. To the self-perception of Israel as belonging to the world and conducting relations of give-and-take with it. A boycott of Israel is also a boycott of the Israeli fantasy, of being here as though we are not here. Maybe BDS will force Israelis to grapple with reality. To stop thinking about export and import and simply to live what there is. That’s the moment we’re all afraid of. Understanding that Israel is all there is.”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.713318

    Give the stolen land, resources, freedom,respect, and justice back to the Palestinians~ NOW.

    That’s “all there is”. Be better humans, Israelis and Zionists.

  15. Tzvia Thier
    April 9, 2016, 1:10 pm

    Very good article with important facts.
    I want to add that the ultra orthodox Jews, with whom I had long conversations are opposed to the Zionists’ crimes. Their belief in the arrival of the messiah, means that the world will be perfect then, i.e. morally too.
    Yes, Zionism is a religion, a nationalist religion. That’s why Ben-Gurion used the bible, not the Talmud, so he could get a Godly deed.

    • hophmi
      April 10, 2016, 4:01 am

      So I guess that the talk of Providence and G-d by early Americans makes American nationalism a religion. Silly argument, Tzvia.

      • Sibiriak
        April 10, 2016, 9:51 am

        hophmi: So I guess that the talk of Providence and G-d by early Americans makes American nationalism a religion. Silly argument, Tzvia.
        ———————–

        Debatable, sure. But not at all silly. You might want to read the seminal book on the topic, “Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion“.

        David Gelernter argues that America is not secular at all, but a powerful religious idea—indeed, a religion in its own right. […] what we have come to call “Americanism” is in fact a secular version of Zionism. Not the Zionism of the ancient Hebrews, but that of the Puritan founders who saw themselves as the new children of Israel, creating a new Jerusalem in a new world.

        * * * *
        American Enterprise Institute fellow Gelernter argues that America is a biblical republic and Americanism a biblical religion encompassing an American Creed with three political ideals (liberty, equality, and democracy) and a doctrine, American Zionism, incorporating the biblically derived ideas of a chosen people in a promised land.

        http://www.amazon.com/Americanism-Fourth-Great-Western-Religion-ebook/dp/B000SCHB70/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460296840&sr=8-1&keywords=Americanism+religion
        ——————–

        It comes highly recommended by none other than the seminal Zionist ideologue, Norman Podhoretz:

        “David Gelernter always has something fresh to say about any subject he touches, but never has he been so original as in this brilliant analysis of what is truly distinctive about America and in the new idea he propounds of the role played by the Bible—and especially the Old Testament—in the evolution of our special national character.”

      • Citizen
        April 10, 2016, 10:09 am

        Yes it does. How do you make your logical leap to silly? International law has changed quite a bit since the days of the Puritans (& so too, US law), and with good reason, e.g., Two world wars followed by Nuremberg Trials, Tokyo Trials, and Geneva progeny. What’s your version of “Never Again”? Is it of universal application?

  16. YoniFalic
    April 11, 2016, 7:15 am

    In describing German Nazism in The Nazi Conscience, Claudia Koonz used the framework of ethnic fundamentalism, which has many similarities to religion.

    Eran Kaplan applies the same sort of analysis to the Zionist “right” in The Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and Its Ideological Legacy. Kaplan uses the term ethnic monism, which is meant to be anything more extreme than ethnic fundamentalism.

    I read both books, and certainly Koonz’s analysis also applies to Zionism, but I am not sure why Kaplan believes believes ethnic monism is specific to the Zionist “right”.

    It is also worthwhile to look at the “Jewish” involvement in radical revolutionary and Bolshevik politics in the Czarist and Soviet states. This involvement certainly has the appearance of an almost religious fanaticism and held much more appeal for the descendants of Yiddish speaking religious communities until the 50s than Zionism did.

  17. bryan
    April 11, 2016, 7:54 am

    “Thus I reach my conclusion, that Zionism is a kind of religion, masked as mere secular nationalism.”

    It would surely make more sense to say: “Zionism was a secular nationalism masked as a kind of religion”.

    By your definition German National Socialism was a kind of religion, because it emphasized mystical elements such as soil and blood. Even more appropriately environmentalism would be a religion because it proclaims the sanctity of species and their interconnectedness, and Darwinism would be a religion because it provides a fundamental explanation of the origins and purpose of complex life.

    But surely religion, as it generally understood, requires several elements (1) an explanation of the origins, purpose and nature of life and the universe; (2) a set of ritual practices or devotions; (3) a moral code governing human conduct. This is more than just a strongly held set of beliefs that drive human action.

    The deeply secular concensus amongst the founders of Israel is surely demonstrated by the refusal to allow any reference to God or the Almighty Creator in the Israeli Declaration of Independence (the reference to “Rock of Israel” assuaged the minority who were religious.) The necessity for the religious trappings (e.g. Ben-Gurion’s Bible Stunt and the institution of the status quo agreement authorising Sabbath Observance, Kashrut and rabbinical courts controlling family law) was surely two-fold:
    (1) Israel could not be created nor survive without imperial support, so appeals to philo-Semites and Christian Zionists, like Balfour and Peel were essential.
    (2) Israel could not be created nor survive without the camapaigning and constant support of diaspora Jews, who would only do so if a shroud of Jewish religiosity was maintained.

    Ben-Gurion fully understood these matters, though, in the words of Yeshayahu Leibowitz, “he hated Judaism more than any other man he had ever met”. Things have changed hugely in the intervening decades, especially with the immigration of “superstitious” Arab Jews, but the original goal of the Ashkenazi founders was to perfect a new breed of men shorn of ancient superstitions, heirs of David, Solomon and Joshua, rather than of Moses.

    • YoniFalic
      April 11, 2016, 10:50 am

      Both German Nazism and Zionism worship the Volk and the State. They just selected different Volks and different states.

      One should always keep in mind that Martin Buber was a blood-and-soil German nationalist before he was a blood-and-soil racist Zionist, who pretended to be sympathetic to native concerns.

  18. eljay
    April 11, 2016, 8:42 am

    Zionism is religion-based supremacism. Even the most liberal of “liberal Zionists” advocates and defends Israel:
    – NOT as a state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally; but rather,
    – as a state primarily of and for all people – Israeli and non-Israeli – who hold the religion-based identity of “Jewish”, having acquired it by either undergoing a religious conversion to Judaism or being descended from someone who underwent an religious conversion to Judaism.

    A “Jewish State” – whether it goes by Israel or some other name – is a religion-supremacist construct.

  19. hophmi
    April 11, 2016, 10:42 am

    “There are religious Jews who believe that the ‘return’ to the ‘holy land’ of Zion must await the return of the Messiah. This idea has been generally accepted in Jewish culture for many centuries. But with the rise of Zionism, the nationalist vein of Judaism was lured to accommodate a man-made return. Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the founding father of the national-religious movement and spiritual leader of the religious settlement movement, advocated that man-made ‘return’ was not anathema to the arrival of the Messiah, but would rather hasten it.”

    So what? The fact that there’s a ongoing debate (which is mostly dead at this point) within the religious community about whether Jews should live in exile and submission until the return of the Messiah (be honest about what the whole position is), doesn’t make Zionism a fundamentally secular idea any more than the ongoing (and much more relevant) debate within the United States over whether the United States should adhere to Christian values makes the Constitution a Christian document. That Israel is full of non-Zionist religious communities proves the point that other than with small, extremist sects like Neturei Karta, the argument is over what kind of government Israel should have, and not whether Jews should be living there.

    “So I perceive that separation to be semantic. The non-Zionist religious movement does not essentially oppose Zionism morally; for them it’s a timing question.”

    Actually, that’s inaccurate, and it undermines your entire case. Most non-Zionist religious Jews would say that they morally oppose Zionism precisely because it’s a secular movement and because Israel has a secular government.

    “The belief in ‘return’ is more deeply rooted in ‘secular’ Zionism than one might think.”

    Again, just because Ben-Gurion, who was a socialist and an atheist, used the Bible in this way, it does not mean that Zionism is a form of religion. Many Americans of the Revolutionary Era would have claimed the support of Providence. It doesn’t make American democracy a form of Christianity.

    “The ‘return’ idea was a religious one, and it had to have its basis in the idea that the Jews are not merely people who share a faith, but also an ethnic heritage.”

    And a cultural one, which is how secular Israelis think of the Jewish in Jewish state. The idea of return may have religious overtones. But in practice, it’s an idea based on the persecution of Jews in Europe. The Law of Return isn’t written to pattern the Bible. It’s written to pattern the category of people of Jewish ancestry who were subjected to Nazi persecution.

    “One would essentially have to claim that they descended from the ancient Judeans. But such a claim is highly disputed scientifically, to put it mildly. Most Jews today are not even Semites (don’t originate from the Middle East), and the Zionists who colonized Palestine until 1948 were overwhelmingly European.”

    It’s far more accurate to say that they hailed from Europe, than to suggest that they were Europeans. Jews were the “other” in Europe for a millenia and more. So don’t oversimplify the story. In any case, that’s not a case for Zionism as a religion. It’s also not a description of Israel today. In Israel today, Ashkenazim are a minority.

    “The inherently powerful aspect of religion is, that it transcends reason. And Zionism had to have this mystical aspect, rooted in Judaism itself, to persuade its constituency that this is a ‘special case’; to persuade that this is not just about religion, it is about survival as a nation.”

    I think that centuries of European persecution, culminating in the Shoah, was what convinced people that Zionism was about national survival, rather than mythology, which characterizes every form of nationalism on Earth. It is wholly logical to devise a strategy to escape centuries of endemic persecution.

    “Secular Zionists would often refer to Jewish persecution as an indication that such a nation does indeed exist. But persecution of a group of people who share religious beliefs does not necessarily prove they are a nation.”

    The argument that Jews are a national grouping is about much more than a history of persecution, and predates the 19th century, and I’m sure you know that.

    “So Zionism created the ‘Jewish State’. One could rightfully ask the simple question, how on earth could a state be ‘secular’ when by its very definition it is religious?”

    Because, Judaism is a civilization that encompasses a nation, a culture, and a religion. Is the concept really so hard to understand? Roman-Catholicism is largely the same. So is Islam. In the Roman-Catholic case, we have overwhelmingly Catholic societies in Europe today that are essentially secular states. If you’re argument is consistent, they remain religious states, despite the secularization. In the Middle East, Islam is the state religion of a number of states. It’s a more open question whether these states are Islamic; some are much closer to pure theocracies. But the term “Islamic state” also connotes a culture and in the thinking of many Muslims, a supranational idea.

    • Mooser
      April 11, 2016, 12:50 pm

      “So what? The fact that there’s a ongoing debate (which is mostly dead at this point) within the religious community about whether Jews should live in exile and submission until the return of the Messiah (be honest about what the whole position is)”

      Being confused between religious toleration and the prerogatives of unlimited power and population is no way to go through life, “Hophmi”.
      Neither is thinking the world owes you something for being Jewish.

    • John O
      April 11, 2016, 1:03 pm

      “In the Roman-Catholic case, we have overwhelmingly Catholic societies in Europe today that are essentially secular states. If you’re argument is consistent, they remain religious states, despite the secularization.”

      I presume you mean states such as Spain, Italy and Ireland. While it is true that their populations are – actively or nominally – Catholic, this is not central to their development as states. The modern nation state that emerged in Europe, from the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation onwards, was centred around the monarch or, later, the ethnic group. (For a detailed history of this, see Karen Armstrong “Fields of Blood”, which traces the relationship between religion, society and violence throughout history.)

      Secularism has grown for a variety of reasons: the advance of scientific knowledge, the failure of organised religions to keep out of people’s bedrooms, are just two.

      I was born and brought up Catholic, and one of its more benevolent aspects is that anyone, anywhere, can be one. As one witty Jesuit put is when the Latin Mass was dropped in favour of Mass in modern languages, “At least with Latin you could go to church anywhere in the world and wonder what on earth was going on.”

      • hophmi
        April 12, 2016, 11:43 am

        “I presume you mean states such as Spain, Italy and Ireland. While it is true that their populations are – actively or nominally – Catholic, this is not central to their development as states.”

        Spain is a place where Catholic rulers expelled its Jewish population or forced them to convert. So you can’t just wipe that away by talking about the modern nation-state. There’s a reason these states are so religiously homogeneous. They tried to tamp everything else down. Italy put its Jews in ghettos.

        “I was born and brought up Catholic, and one of its more benevolent aspects is that anyone, anywhere, can be one. ”

        You’ll pardon me for saying that in Jewish history, Catholic conversion was not benevolent. It was often forced upon my people. One wonders how many Jews there would be Europe if Jewish communities in places like Spain if Jews hadn’t been persecuted.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 12, 2016, 3:27 pm

        Secularism has grown for a variety of reasons: the advance of scientific knowledge, the failure of organised religions to keep out of people’s bedrooms, are just two.

        johnO, i don’t think secularism has grown in israel, evidence suggests it is in retreat. note in hops statement (the one you responded to) he says to ofir “If you’re argument is consistent, they remain religious states, despite the secularization.” but this requires some idea that israel’s development as an ethnic nationalist state will be somehow “consistent” — along the same lines as the development of a civil national democratic state such as spain or italy that developed during centuries in europe — and there is no requirement for “consistency” in that argument (civic state vs ethnic state), hence it is a diversion — just like the topic of the expulsion of jews from spain in the 15th century is a diversion from discussing the current rise zionism – as it pertains to the religious nationalist vein of Judaism “lured to accommodate a man-made return” and Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook) resulting in a present ethnic nationalist apartheid state — is a diversion unless one centers the constant victimhood vein of jewish history. but they are not the victims here, they are the oppressors.

        so to say — if you’re going to make that argument — to be consistent you must come up w/a conclusion that necessarily follows the path of catholicism in spain over the last 4-5 centuries, is sort of nuts. especially when spain’s efforts of colonization are, for the most part, last century and because catholicism encourages conversion whereas israel forbids it (based on ethnicity if one is palestinian) there’s zero chance it will follow that path — hence no consistency. unless one wishes to make the argument israel will encourage conversions of palestinians to judaism (fat chance of that).

        zionism is currently engaging in a colonization process. that process needs to end.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2016, 4:38 pm

        “Hophmi”, how many of the vicissitudes of life, and the various misfortunes of any religion are Jews supposed to be exempt from, and why?

      • John O
        April 13, 2016, 3:24 am

        @hophmi

        I specifically said in my post that the modern nation state arose after the Renaissance and the Reformation. You state two examples of injustice which occurred before then. Just read the book I recommended and you’ll be much better informed about the whole subject.

    • eljay
      April 11, 2016, 1:48 pm

      || hophmi: … The fact that there’s a ongoing debate (which is mostly dead at this point) within the religious community about whether Jews should live in exile and submission … ||

      Citizens of countries who hold the religion-based identity of “Jewish” are not in exile. And where they have equality there is no “submission”.

      Where they do not have equality, there is injustice and – as is the case with all other people who suffer inequality – the solution to injustice is justice and accountability, and not the creation of a (religion-)supremacist state.

      • hophmi
        April 12, 2016, 11:46 am

        “the solution to injustice is justice and accountability”

        Look, eljay, cut the sanctimonious act. No one would disagree that the solution to injustice is justice and accountability. It was also true in Poland in 1943. But there was no justice or accountability, and 91% of the Jewish population of Poland died. So I’m not in the business of asking persecuted people to continue to be persecuted because the solution to injustice is justice and accountability.

      • eljay
        April 12, 2016, 8:15 pm

        || hophmi: Look, eljay, cut the sanctimonious act. No one would disagree that the solution to injustice is justice and accountability. … ||

        You’re as full of shit as you are a hypocrite. “No one would disagree” except for when it comes to you Zio-supremacists being held accountable for your colonialist project and the accompanying decades worth of (war) crimes, in which case you disagree as often and as loudly as you can.

        || … It was also true in Poland in 1943. But there was no justice or accountability, and 91% of the Jewish population of Poland died. … ||

        So your argument is: Fuck international laws and human rights. Acts of injustice and immorality committed by others against a group of people justify acts of injustice and immorality committed by that group of people against others. That’s an incredibly stupid, immoral and dangerous precedent to set. What the hell is wrong with you Zio-supremacists?!

        || … So I’m not in the business of asking persecuted people to continue to be persecuted because the solution to injustice is justice and accountability. ||

        Yup, “no one would disagree”…except for when you disagree. Unreal.

      • oldgeezer
        April 13, 2016, 2:42 pm

        @hophmi

        So I’m not in the business of asking persecuted people to continue to be persecuted because the solution to injustice is justice and accountability. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/hophmi/#sthash.JncNYknY.dpuf

        Yeah such a principled person. Sounds great until you realize that’s exactly what you are asking of the Palestinian people.

    • Keith
      April 11, 2016, 2:12 pm

      HOPHMI- “…whether Jews should live in exile and submission….”

      The Eastern European converts to Judaism never lived in exile, and Jews never lived in submission. To the contrary, they have always been above the majority of the Gentile population. You continue to spread falsehoods and propaganda. A quote for you:

      “During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Jews came to play a major role in the fiscal affairs and administration of the Ottoman empire….Jews dominated the imperial revenue system, serving as tax collectors, tax farmers, tax intendants, and tax inspectors. Jews also created and operated the imperial customs service. Indeed, so complete was Jewish control over this segment of the Ottomon state that Ottomon customs receipts were typically written in Hebrew.” (p15, “The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State,” Benjamin Ginsberg)

      This is just one of many examples which clearly indicate that as a group Jews were relatively privileged and empowered. In fact, because of this, what you call pogroms were usually peasant rebellions against the nobility who employed the Jews to administer the peasants, hence, the title of the book I referenced.

      • yonah fredman
        April 11, 2016, 8:20 pm

        Keith- jews never lived in submission.

        From 1790 to 1917 the Jews under the czar lived in submission. Political if not economic submission.

      • Mooser
        April 11, 2016, 9:34 pm

        “From 1790 to 1917 the Jews under the czar lived in submission. Political if not economic submission.”

        While everybody else in Russia was enjoying untrammeled freedom, political liberty, and only we had to submit. It’s rough, I tell you.

        But in 1917, we got a little of our own back in Russia, eh, “Yonah”? Showed the Czar not to mess with the Judaeo-Bolshevik Commissariat!

      • Sibiriak
        April 11, 2016, 10:35 pm

        yonah fredman: From 1790 to 1917 the Jews under the czar lived in submission. Political if not economic submission.

        —————–
        Russian peasants (serfs), even after “emancipation”, suffered from political as well as economic “submission”. The small Russian proletariat faced a few problems as well. Many uprisings, revolution.

        We have to make an effort to imagine what serfdom was like; the enormous difference in literacy, let alone education, between village and town throughout this period; the incomparably greater freedom enjoyed by all the small minority who were not peasants – in order to realize that during the whole of the classical period the Jews, in spite of all the persecutions to which they were subjected, formed an integral part of the privileged classes.

        –Israel Shahak, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion”

        Perhaps “submission” is not the word you are looking for. Keith wrote, “they have always been above the majority of the Gentile population”, which is undoubtedly true. The real problem, perhaps, was that they were never part of the majority, always separate from the majority–a fact which created a special kind of vulnerability.

      • Keith
        April 12, 2016, 10:50 am

        YONAH FREDMAN- “From 1790 to 1917 the Jews under the czar lived in submission. Political if not economic submission.”

        What, no democracy under the Czar? Shocking! But was it political repression because they were Jews, or because they were frequently socialists or Marxists who refused to recognize Czarist Russia’s right to exist as a Czarist state?

        You were wise to exclude economic submission because the Jews were, on average, better off than the Gentiles, the majority of whom were serfs/peasants. A concluding quote regarding the status of the Gentile peasants.

        “The whole racist propaganda on the theme of the supposed superiority of Jewish morality and intellect (in which many Jewish socialists were prominent) is bound up with a lack of sensitivity for the suffering of that major part of humanity who were especially oppressed during the last thousand years – the peasants.” (p53, Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

      • hophmi
        April 12, 2016, 12:06 pm

        Keith reminds us that antisemitic tropes about Jews in finance, characterized by the usual comments about Jews were prominent in finance, usually because they were banned from other trades. Did you get that quote from Rense, Keith? I notice they have it there.

        “The Eastern European converts to Judaism never lived in exile, and Jews never lived in submission”

        Here we go again with the peasants-had-it-worse so shut-up-and-don’t-complain bullshit and the antisemitism-was-really-a-peasant-revolt bullshit, which is one step removed from Nazi-Holocaust-was-really-about-Jews-and-finance bullshit.

        As if Keith was trying to go for most garden-variety antisemite of the year, he manages to complain about Judeo-Bolshevism at the same time as he complains about Jews in finance. Sense the common thread yet? Maybe Keith could save himself some time by just posting a link to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in lieu of commenting, since his comments amount to the same thing.

        It’s complete with a selective quote from Benjamin Ginzburg’s book, which is not just a touchstone for antisemitic websites like Rense.com and the people who patronize them who wish to argue that Jews have too much power and that they were idenitified with 19th century excess, but an actual, in-depth history book about how Jewish communities were left with little choice but to become close to regimes, and how these often become the basis for antisemites like Keith to complain about Jewish power. But perhaps Keith should also pay attention to Jonathan Sarna’s criticism of Ginzburg for confusing 19th century perceptions of Jews with the reality, which is that Jews experienced antisemitism whether they were allied with the state or not. He should also pay attention to the book itself, which is an analysis of antisemitism, and not the get-out-of-bigotry-free card that Keith seems to think that it is.

        The same goes for people who use outliers like Israel Shahak to say the things that they themselves know are antisemitic. It’s amazing that with the thousands of books written by historians on Jewish history, that no one book seems to come up more here than the polemical one written by the atheist chemist.

      • yonah fredman
        April 12, 2016, 6:40 pm

        Keith- To compare the treatment of the Jews by the Czar and the Czarist system with the treatment of Russians by the Czar is just plain ignorance. There were laws limiting the mobility of Jews to the Pale of Settlement. Name one other group that was considered part of Russia that was so treated.

        in fact to compare the treatment the Czar and the Czarist system meted out to the jews and to other groups whose ethnic identity was not Russian, but Ukranian or Polish, then you might begin to compare the oppression that the Czar imposed on the Jews compared to oppression that the Czar imposed on other foreigners. The Czar was the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church on Earth and as such his opposition to the Catholics of Polish and Ukranian ancestry might be something to be considered, but when you just plain ignore any aspect other than the nonrepresentative nature of the Czarist system, and totally ignore the religious attitudes of the Czars, you are obviously not attempting to study or even discuss history, but merely playing games. If you’re interested in talking about history, let me know. Until then your biased ignorant statements stand as stupidity that needs some comedian to liven them up.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2016, 6:51 pm

        “Jews were prominent in finance, usually because they were banned from other trades.”

        You know, that makes no sense at all, “Hophmi”. Banned from every trade but the most lucrative? And if they were so “banned” where did their capital come from?
        And if Jews were so spurned and persecuted, why did anybody bother to pay them back?
        Banned from every trade but the one most able to affect the government.
        Always found that one difficult to buy. Sorry, try something else.

      • Keith
        April 12, 2016, 8:53 pm

        HOPHMI- “Did you get that quote from Rense, Keith? I notice they have it there.”

        Did you fail to notice the citation? The quote comes from Benjamin Ginsberg. You seem to spend an inordinate amount of time surfing the web in search of anything you can construe as anti-Semitism as befits your role as a Zionist propagandist.

        HOPHMI- “Keith reminds us that antisemitic tropes about Jews in finance….”

        Trope? You mean that Jews haven’t been prominent in finance? Trope is just a label you use to denigrate a true statement that otherwise you are unable to counter. Actually, your comment is one long series of insults, accusations, dishonest conflations, and propaganda.

        HOPHMI- “Maybe Keith could save himself some time by just posting a link to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in lieu of commenting, since his comments amount to the same thing.”

        More conflation from Mondoweiss’ most intellectually dishonest commenter.

        HOPHMI- “It’s complete with a selective quote from Benjamin Ginsburg’s book….”

        You have a problem with this Professor of Political Science at John Hopkins University? Speaking of quotes, your comments are typically quote free. Don’t want to cite the Israeli Ministry of Propaganda? No, better to simply call me an anti-Semite again and again and again, etc. Your comments clearly demonstrate that Zionism and Zionists are anti-Gentile to the core. You in particular literally seethe with hostility.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2016, 9:58 pm

        “There were laws limiting the mobility of Jews to the Pale of Settlement. Name one other group that was considered part of Russia that was so treated.”

        “Yonah” the serfs in Russia were bound to the land and became the property of the land’s owner, and they couldn’t move.

        That’s a very basic fact about Czarist Russia.

        .” If you’re interested in talking about history, let me know. Until then your biased ignorant statements stand as stupidity”

        Sure, “Yonah”. You really are something. Oh well, “Hophmi” told us what “internalized antisemitism” and “self-hatred” does to guys like you. Maybe he’s right.

      • Keith
        April 12, 2016, 10:16 pm

        YONAH FREDMAN- “Until then your biased ignorant statements stand as stupidity that needs some comedian to liven them up.”

        No need to be euphemistic, Yonah, just come out and say what you think. Are you referring to my biased, ignorant, stupid quotes from scholars?

        Your claim that the Jews in Czarist Russia “lived in submission” implies an overbearing control of their activities similar to serfdom, which is not the case. That they were restricted to the Pale of Settlement is not the same as victimization, something which you project onto all of Jewish history rendering it Zionist myth history. The actual history indicates that Jews in the Pale of Settlement had considerable autonomy over their lives, not that they lived in submission, your somewhat ambiguous phrase. Another biased, ignorant ,stupid quote for you. By the way, why don’t you turn the tables on me a provide some quotes of your own rather than simply mouthing off? You interpret everything as Jewish victimhood.

        “At the turn of the twentieth century, most of Europe’s Jews (5.2 out of about 8.7 million) lived in the Russian Empire, where they constituted about 4 percent of the total population. Most of Russia’s Jews (about 90 percent) resided in the Pale of Settlement, to which they were legally restricted. Most of the Jews in the Pale of Settlement (all but about 4 percent who were farmers or factory workers) continued to pursue traditional service occupations as middlemen between the overwhelmingly agricultural Christian population and various urban markets. Most of the Jewish middlemen bought, shipped, and resold local produce; provided credit on the security of standing crops and other items; leased and managed estates and various processing facilities (such as tanneries, distilleries, and sugar mills); kept taverns and inns, supplied manufactured goods (as peddlers, shopkeepers, or wholesale importers); provided professional services (most commonly as doctors and pharmacists); and served as artisans (from rural blacksmiths, tailors, and shoe makers to highly specialized jewelers and watchmakers). The proportion of the various pursuits could vary, but the association of Jews with the service sector (including small-scale craftsmanship) remained very strong” (p105, “The Jewish Century,” Yuri Slezkine)

      • Sibiriak
        April 13, 2016, 12:06 am

        hophmi: It’s complete with a selective quote from Benjamin Ginzburg’s [sic] book
        ————-

        All quotations of an author are selective. If you are familiar with Ginsberg’s book, as your remark implies, and you believe Keith’s quote was taken out of context and misleading, surely you can provide additional quotes that would support that charge. How about posting them?

        Don’t have your copy of the book at hand? I was able to find one online within 10 seconds:

        http://www.pdfarchive.info/pdf/G/Gi/Ginsberg_Benjamin_-_The_Fatal_embrace.pdf

      • yonah fredman
        April 13, 2016, 1:02 am

        Keith- your economic view of politics is blinding you to political and religious realities. Because jews as an a economic class were as a rule better off than peasants the fact that the big cities were off limits to them deserves to be categorized as a minor inconvenience that deserves to be swept under the rug? Okay I get it. You think mother Russia sucked and rural backwardness and slavery which lasted til 1861 and the class role of the peasant is the primary historical fact of pre modern Russia and the political fact of the sudden inclusion of a large Jewish population for the first time with the conquest of Poland really does not measure up as one of the historic horror stories of the last two centuries, whereas the backwardness of Russia as embodied by the peasantry eventually became the true headline. But in fact the collapse of Russia included its inability to deal with various ethnic national clashes and one of those clashes was the clash with the Jews and the assertion that jews had limited rights and were not accepted as full Russians and not allowed to live in moscow, st. Petersburg and Kiev and your “oh, they did okay economically” somehow is supposed to make us blind to the real problem that was created by the inability of Russia to offer assimilation to its jews. This problem led to the great migration of jews to the US beginning in 1881, it contributed to the eventual downfall of the czar and the chaos of the bolshies and to the birth of zionism. But your bottom line is- what were these jews whining about? Because they had to convert to enter Russian society? Because they were not allowed into the big cities? Because they were considered separate and unequal. They ate better than the peasants, why are those jews always complaining?

        Maybe the word submission is not essential, but history is history no matter that the whining of those jews bugs you, but in fact whine they did and came by the millions to America and weakened the czar and became the primary audience for herzl and zionism. This population felt suffocated and asserted itself in various fashions and your strict “here is what they earned and it’s better than the peasants” thus has to blame their rebellion against that suffocation as something artificial and in fact it was very real and if submission is too freighted a term, how about suffocation, or maybe it was just overdramatization.

      • YoniFalic
        April 13, 2016, 2:46 am

        No one in the Czarist Empire enjoyed freedom of movement.

        The Czarist Empire had an internal passport system, and the peoples of the Czarist Empire were more or less restricted to their historical homelands. For descendants of Yiddish-speaking Jewish communities that area was Czarist Poland + some provinces added to this region. Jews of other ethnicities were restricted to other areas.

        Beyond the Pale by Benjamin Nathans provides a reasonable assessment.

        Hophmi and Yonah Fredman are simply repeating ignorant nonsense and propaganda long ago discredited by competent historians.

      • hophmi
        April 13, 2016, 11:39 am

        “The Czarist Empire had an internal passport system, and the peoples of the Czarist Empire were more or less restricted to their historical homelands. For descendants of Yiddish-speaking Jewish communities that area was Czarist Poland + some provinces added to this region. Jews of other ethnicities were restricted to other areas.”

        Right, again, so Yoni’s ridiculous argument is that the selective integration of a few assimilated Jews in the 19th century, which resulted in restrictions on their admittance to universities and professions because, like American elites in the first half of the 20th century who used quota systems to restrict the number of the Jews in their schools, somehow negates the existence of antisemitism in Czarist Russia. You can’t make this garbage up.

      • Keith
        April 13, 2016, 12:50 pm

        HOPHMI- “Did you get that quote from Rense, Keith? I notice they have it there.”

        Ah, yes, rense.com. Isn’t rense.com that Zionist Black Ops website designed to taint inconvenient truths by association with an “anti-Semitic” website? I am sure that it is your go-to site when you are desperate to smear? In the past, even I had linked to rense.com because of a Google search. The information I sought was accurately quoted. I was unaware of any problem until recently Kay24 linked to rense.com and Jon S questioned her choice of the anti-Semitic rense.com. I asked him to show the anti-Semitism. He sent a link to an article on rense.com which was blatantly anti-Semitic. What is going on here? Since a lot of us naive folk are being directed to rense.com by Google, the connection snapped into place. Google has close ties to the US State Department and is a powerhouse at the anti-BDS Council on Foreign Relations. If you can’t hide it, taint it. And for someone like me who has figured this out and will not quote rense.com under any circumstances, you claim that just because the Zionist Black Ops website quotes something, it is tainted in any event. How convenient. How dishonest. How scurrilous. How Hophmi.

        As for Google, it is a very convenient search engine, however, never believe, even for a minute, that Google is your friend. Google is an extremely powerful corporation that is practically synonymous with global empire and neoliberalism. They are a dominating force on the Council of Foreign Relations. Their business model is based upon data mining and, I suspect, that the US government (NSA?) is a primary customer. We all have a government spy and agent provocateur in our homes. It is our computer. Use with caution. For some additional reading, I suggest “WikiLeaks: When Google Met WikiLeaks” by Julian Assange and “Revolution in the Age of Social Media: The Egyptian Popular Insurrection and the Internet” by Linda Herrera. The second book highlights the involvement of Google executives in the Arab Spring. The facts are good, the conclusions timid and conventional. Finally, all of this ties in with color revolutions and hybrid war.

      • Mooser
        April 13, 2016, 1:12 pm

        “Your comments clearly demonstrate that Zionism and Zionists are anti-Gentile to the core. You in particular literally seethe with hostility.”

        “Keith”, I protest!
        I think any search through “Hophmi’s” archive will show that his hostility to Jews (especially those whose “internalized antisemitism” and self-hatred” makes them disagree with “Hophmi” on, well, anything) is just as, or even more evident.

      • Mooser
        April 13, 2016, 1:17 pm

        “like American elites in the first half of the 20th century who used quota systems to restrict the number of the Jews in their schools,”

        “Hophmi” discrimination was legal at that time in the US. It was even considered laudable. “Continuity”, you know?
        And Jews could discriminate, and keep Christians, and/or say African-Americans, out of their private schools, too. Or not rent to them, or do business with them.

        Isn’t that an option you want for Jews in America?

      • hophmi
        April 13, 2016, 1:52 pm

        “Ah, yes, rense.com. Isn’t rense.com that Zionist Black Ops website designed to taint inconvenient truths by association with an “anti-Semitic” website? I am sure that it is your go-to site when you are desperate to smear? In the past, even I had linked to rense.com because of a Google search. The information I sought was accurately quoted. I was unaware of any problem until recently Kay24 linked to rense.com and Jon S questioned her choice of the anti-Semitic rense.com. I asked him to show the anti-Semitism. He sent a link to an article on rense.com which was blatantly anti-Semitic. What is going on here? Since a lot of us naive folk are being directed to rense.com by Google, the connection snapped into place. Google has close ties to the US State Department and is a powerhouse at the anti-BDS Council on Foreign Relations. If you can’t hide it, taint it. And for someone like me who has figured this out and will not quote rense.com under any circumstances, you claim that just because the Zionist Black Ops website quotes something, it is tainted in any event. How convenient. How dishonest. How scurrilous. How Hophmi.”

        How typical of you not to get the point, which is that your selective quoting of a text that doesn’t support the poison you’re pushing, is that antisemitic websites engage in exactly the same kind of selective quoting.

        “As for Google, it is a very convenient search engine, however, never believe, even for a minute, that Google is your friend.”

        Google was my #bestfriendforever until now.

        “Google is an extremely powerful corporation that is practically synonymous with global empire and neoliberalism.”

        The doodles contain secret Illuminati messages.

        “They are a dominating force on the Council of Foreign Relations.”

        Every time someone does a Google search for “Ukraine,” a small child descended from Cossacks dies in Kiev.

        “Their business model is based upon data mining”

        Data mining contains 50% of the same words as Coal mining. Coincidence? I think not.

        ” and, I suspect, that the US government (NSA?) is a primary customer.”

        I suspect that NSA members also may use Google.

        “We all have a government spy and agent provocateur in our homes. It is our computer. Use with caution.”

        Mine wears tennis shoes. I knew something was up when my webcam started looking left and right repeatedly.

      • Mooser
        April 13, 2016, 2:09 pm

        “Keith” your economic view of politics is blinding you to political and religious realities.”

        This from “Yonah Fredman” who believes that being (his words) “white/Jewish” subjects us to a double dose of racism and discrimination. Rotfl. A result of bad Poddy-training.

    • Mooser
      April 11, 2016, 2:20 pm

      Shorter “Hophmi”: ‘Being Jewish is such a drag! Why couldn’t I be Muslim, or Roman Catholic, instead of being stuck in the small-time has beens when it comes to mixing religion, war, and politics.’

    • Keith
      April 11, 2016, 10:55 pm

      Keith April 11, 2016, 2:50 pm
      HOPHMI- “I think that centuries of European persecution, culminating in the Shoah….”

      More myth history from Hophmi. First a quote relevant to persecution.

      “In the less heavily urbanized and commercialized European periphery, the savings of Jewish merchants and traders represented one of the few sources of liquid capital. Jewish financiers could mobilize this this capital and provide monarchs with loans to underwrite war making and state building. Thus, in Central Europe, so-called Court Jews served as administrators, financiers, and military provisioners.”
      ….
      Jews continued to serve absolutist states in these ways through the nineteenth century. The most prominent of these Jews, of course, was the Rothschild family whose name came to be synonymous with international finance….By mid-century, the entire European state system was dependent upon the international financial network dominated by the Rothschilds.”
      (p17,18, “The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State,” Benjamin Ginsberg)

      This doesn’t sound like a persecuted people to me, conflicts with non-Jews notwithstanding. Nothing even remotely comparable to how Black slaves were treated and how Blacks continue to be treated even as “persecuted” Jews accumulate power. Now let us deal with the bizarre notion that premodern anti-Semitism and modern anti-Semitism are, in fact, a seamless continuum “culminating” in the Shoah.

      “Two central dogmas underpin the Holocaust framework: (1) The Holocaust marks a categorically unique historical event; (2) The Holocaust marks the climax of an irrational, eternal Gentile hatred of Jews. Neither of these dogmas figured at all in public discourse before the June 1967 war; and, although they became the centerpieces of Holocaust literature, neither figures at all in genuine scholarship on the Nazi holocaust. On the other hand, both dogmas draw on important strands in Judaism and Zionism.

      In the aftermath of World War II, the Nazi holocaust was not cast as a uniquely Jewish – let alone historically unique – event. Organized American Jewry in particular was at pains to place it in a universalist context. After the June war, however, the Nazi Final Solution was radically transformed.” (p41, 42, “The Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein)

      • hophmi
        April 12, 2016, 12:24 pm

        And here we have that brand of anti-Zionism that denies Jews were actually ever persecuted in Europe because (?) Black slavery. Keith, you win the stupid straw man award.

        Also, ladies and gentlemen, it’s bizarre to note that antisemitism before the Shoah had any relationship to the antisemitism that resulted in the Shoah. Anti-zionism, you see. Norman Finkelstein’s book continues as the uncontested leader in cited worked on the Holocaust at Mondoweiss. Interesting.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2016, 6:57 pm

        “And here we have that brand of anti-Zionism…”

        Yes, I know, for any and every charge laid against Zionism and Israel, you can find a charge similar in some way, and very often spurious at the time, made by antisemites.
        We are a living double-jeopardy immunity community!

      • Keith
        April 12, 2016, 8:13 pm

        HOPHMI- “And here we have that brand of anti-Zionism that denies Jews were actually ever persecuted in Europe….”

        I never said that there was never any persecution, I said that relatively speaking they were not a persecuted people compared to other people, primarily the peasants whom they helped the nobility to subjugate and control. Pogroms notwithstanding, they had relatively more power and privilege than the average Gentile, and in some cases accumulated considerable wealth, something a group actually suffering the never ending victimhood of Jewish myth-history would be unable to do. And look at you, a privileged lawyer constantly complaining about negligible Jew hatred. Gilded victimhood, says I.

        HOPHMI- “Also, ladies and gentlemen, it’s bizarre to note that antisemitism before the Shoah had any relationship to the antisemitism that resulted in the Shoah.”

        Indeed, it is bizarre to talk about religiously based anti-Semtism and peasant uprisings of the pre-modern era, prior to the separation of church and state, with the racially based, organized modern anti-Semitism. The conditions were radically different. Don’t like Finkelstein? Let us look at Shahak and Slezkine.

        “We must, first, draw a sharp distinction between the persecution of Jews during the classical period on the one hand, and the Nazi extermination on the other. The former were popular movements coming from below; whereas the latter was was inspired, organised and carried out from above: indeed by state officials. Such acts as the Nazi state-organised extermination are relatively rare in human history….” (p64, Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

        “Most important, they were affected by Russia’s late-nineteenth-century modernization in ways that were more direct, profound, and fundamental than most other Russian communities because their very existence as a specialized caste was at stake. The emancipation of the serfs, the demise of the manorial economy, and the expansion of the economic role of the state rendered the role of the traditional Mercurian mediator between the countryside and the town economically irrelevant, legally precarious, and increasingly dangerous.” (p115, “The Jewish Century,” Yuri Slezkine)

      • Jon66
        April 12, 2016, 8:23 pm

        “Pogroms notwithstanding”

        Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

      • yonah fredman
        April 12, 2016, 8:57 pm

        Keith- Powerful financiers like the Rothschilds and court Jews does not change the political facts regarding the 99% of Jews who were not financiers. There was persecution, political persecution. Yes, the situation is different from the blacks in America and is not comparable. but to say, “Jews never lived in submission”, is just a blatant falsehood.

      • Keith
        April 13, 2016, 1:08 am

        YONAH FREDMAN- “Keith- Powerful financiers like the Rothschilds and court Jews does not change the political facts regarding the 99% of Jews who were not financiers. There was persecution, political persecution.”

        Are you in deep denial, or what? No, the actions of the 1% does not change the political facts of the 99%. That doesn’t alter anything I have said. Can you even conceive of a Black Rothschilds? The Jews have always been RELATIVELY privileged. Why do you deny this? Why do you continue to pretend that the relatively powerful and privileged Jews are victims? Are American Jews subject to persecution? Is AIPAC weak? Is the current reality unique? Or have Jews had political/economic power for centuries? And, are you invested in Jewish victimhood?

      • hophmi
        April 13, 2016, 11:34 am

        “I said that relatively speaking they were not a persecuted people compared to other people, primarily the peasants whom they helped the nobility to subjugate and control.”

        Right, the frequent massacres and expulsions of Jews throughout the Middle Ages, culminating in the murder of 6,000,000 of them at once was not persecution.

        ” Pogroms notwithstanding, they had relatively more power and privilege than the average Gentile”

        Thanks for the privilege of more than half of my people’s population on the European continent being murder in the span of six years. This is all irrelevant nonsense. I’m sorry if you’re resentful that a few Jews, restricted from most jobs, but focused on learning, took up lending, and as a result, became influential. Jealously of the financial success of this elite has always been a major motivating factor for antisemites. Get over it. Gentiles in Europe are not peasants anymore. They’re wealthy people from the world’s richest countries.

        “Can you even conceive of a Black Rothschilds?”

        Can you conceive of a relevant argument?

        “The Jews have always been RELATIVELY privileged.”

        Can someone get me the world’s tiniest violin?

        ” Why do you deny this?”

        Because it is the same nonsense that antisemites always talk about – Jews are financially successful and influential; let’s stop them.

        “Why do you continue to pretend that the relatively powerful and privileged Jews are victims?”

        Why do you continue to be unable to understand that power and privilege aren’t bulwarks against antisemitism, and that your obsessive jealous of successful Jews is exactly the kind of BS that antisemites have always used to motivate bigots to kill Jews?

        ” Are American Jews subject to persecution? Is AIPAC weak? Is the current reality unique? Or have Jews had political/economic power for centuries?”

        American Jews have thankfully been free from persecution for a couple of generations, and we no longer must worry that the elevation of this or that leader might threaten our community. That reality is indeed quite unique in history; in most countries, Jewish success depended on who was in power. Franz Joseph? Not bad. Ferdinand and Isabella? Big problem. Czar Alexander II? OK. Czar Alexander III? Hide your kids.

        But you are reminding my people again that when some Jews do achieve some measure of success in countries with a non-Jewish majority, there will always be jealous bigots like you who crawl out of the woodwork to complain that it’s too much, that Jews are acting as a group to destabilize your society, and so on.

      • Mooser
        April 13, 2016, 12:53 pm

        “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

        And “other than that” Ms. Habib, how was the Naqba?

      • Mooser
        April 13, 2016, 12:56 pm

        “I’m sorry if you’re resentful that a few Jews, restricted from most jobs, but focused on learning, took up lending, and as a result, became influential.”

        “Hophmi” for Judaism to get the things you imagine we deserve, we would have been much better off to focus on two things: schtupping, and conversion.
        And it would have been a lot more fun.

      • Mooser
        April 13, 2016, 2:18 pm

        “more than half of my people murdered” “Hophmi”

        “Hophmi”, who is stopping us from making those numbers up, in babies and converts?
        “Hophmi” the things you want for ‘your people’ will not be handed to us for the asking. They come as the result of numbers and power. A couple million people won’t cut it. Nor will whining about the middle ages.
        Get busy, “Hophmi”. And that whiny and plaintive tone you adopt doesn’t really give me a thrill of ethno-religious pride, in case you are interested.
        If you really thought we were all that, you’d act like it.

      • Mooser
        April 13, 2016, 2:27 pm

        “Jewish success depended on who was in power. Franz Joseph? Not bad. Ferdinand and Isabella? Big problem. Czar Alexander II? OK. Czar Alexander III? Hide your kids.”

        The American Constitution? No problem! After all that harshness, finally, something we can take advantage of! It provides for civil rights, freedom of action and association.

      • YoniFalic
        April 13, 2016, 3:08 pm

        Hophmi’s ignorance of the subjects about which he writes is tremendous.

        Czar Alexander III? Hide your kids.

        I assume Hophmi is making an indirect reference to the Czarist 25 year draft to which some Czarist estates were subject and which Yiddish speakers called Fonia (a mispronunciation of Vania, a Russian nickname for Ivan). Only a subset of Yiddish speakers belonged to draftable estates.

        After 1874 in theory all Russian estates had to provide an equal proportion of members for 6 year terms of service, but Horace Ginsburg and colleagues managed to obtain some special exemptions for Jews/Yiddish-speakers.

      • Keith
        April 13, 2016, 4:56 pm

        HOPHMI- “Right, the frequent massacres and expulsions of Jews throughout the Middle Ages, culminating in the murder of 6,000,000 of them at once was not persecution.”

        Do you have any data to support your propagandistic assertion that Jews were massacred more than other groups? In the 30 Years War, for example, about 1/3 of the population of Prussia was killed. How many Jews? Now, Jews were involved, Jewish bankers providing the funding for the slaughter, Jewish provisioners profiting from the bloody business. If need be, I can take the time and provide quotes to support this. How about you? Put up or shut up. All you do is regurgitate your repetitious Hasbara. You are your only expert. You are guided exclusively by the Zionist ideology, empirical reality your mortal enemy.

        And I have already indicated that it is ludicrous to maintain some sort of continuum between pre-modern anti-Semitism and modern anti-Semitism. The implication of your assertion is that Gentiles are eternal irrational Jew-haters. This is the belief of an anti-Gentile Zionist. And you are not even consistent. In one of your other comments you state that Jewish success was dependent upon who was in power. Israel Shahak says the same thing, so does Benjamin Ginsberg. If Jewish success (and anti-Semitism) had its ups and downs, then this suggests something involving the struggle for power and the prevailing power relations, not eternal and irrational anti-Semitism. If the latter were the case, there would be no ups and downs, and Jews would not have had periods of great success. All of these things imply intimate involvement in the struggle for power in Europe, an extremely violent and bloody place for most of its history. You are an unrepentant tribalist trying to squelch legitimate discussion of the political economy.

  20. Ossinev
    April 11, 2016, 1:29 pm

    @hophmi
    “But the term “Islamic state” also connotes a culture and in the thinking of many Muslims, a supranational idea.”

    But the term JSIL , Jewish State in the Levant , also connotes a culture and in the thinking of many Jews a supranational idea.

    KUTGW

    • Mooser
      April 11, 2016, 2:00 pm

      Well, call me timid, but if I was a religion thinking in ‘supranational’ terms, I’d like to have more than just enough people to fill a couple of fair-size cities, and declining steadily where it hurts.

    • hophmi
      April 12, 2016, 12:21 pm

      KUTGW, Ossinev. There are close to 5 dozen Muslim countries and about 100 times the number of Muslims in the world as there are Jews. Just about every one of those states are more religiously Muslim in orientation than Israel is Jewish in orientation. So your comparison is silly.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2016, 7:01 pm

        “There are close to 5 dozen Muslim countries and about 100 times the number of Muslims in the world as there are Jews.”

        Well, there you go, “Hophmi”. All you need is 59 more “Jewish countries” and “about 100 times more” Jews, and maybe you can get some of the same stuff.
        Start working on that, and the rest will fall into line for you.

        It’s not like the entire world can’t see what is happening to us, “Hophmi”.

  21. Mayhem
    April 13, 2016, 12:57 am

    Ofir misses out completely on the fact that political-secular Zionism was born from the need to deal with endemic antisemitism in society. Zionism as a primary offshoot from Judaism had to deal with the same societal dangers as did religious Judaism and has not had to co-opt religiosity to justify itself.
    Ofir misses the term ‘messianism’ in his analysis. Secular Zionism today has transcended the traditional bounds of messianism that was previously rooted just in religion.

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