Jews argue whether Zionism is racism — in the Forward!

US Politics
on 60 Comments

This is good news. Remember that monolith of Jewish opinion? The days when the leading Jewish organizations dictated the pro-Israel line and all other Jewish groups fell into line lest they undermine the security of the Jewish state, with Wolf Blitzer and Jeffrey Goldberg running shotgun? Well that orthodoxy is at last coming to an end.

Charlottesville has been a depth charge. The Israeli right was loath to condemn the white nationalists at the fringe of Trump’s base, and this has sent a shock through the American Jewish community. There is open argument about Israel; and it’s not going to end.

The best news is that the Forward, America’s leading liberal Jewish publication, published a piece by Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace last week equating Zionism with racism. That’s revolutionary. Time was when that argument was made by Arabs at the United Nations and then stifled as supposed anti-Semitism. Now it’s in the Forward, from the mouth of a Jew!

Dann says that white nationalist Richard Spencer was right when he expressed common cause with Israel, saying it’s an ethnocracy that discriminates in favor of a privileged group.

Richard Spencer, whose racist views are rightfully abhorred by the majority of the Jewish community, is holding a mirror up to Zionism and the reflection isn’t pretty.

Looking at Israel today, we can see a state premised on the privileging of one group, and all too often perpetuating the erasure and displacement of another. We also see an obsession with demographics and the maintenance of an ethnic majority.

Jane Eisner, from Jewish Boston

It’s a marvel that this piece even ran. Forward editor Jane Eisner then responded angrily to Naomi Dann, denouncing her as a member of “the radical group Jewish Voice for Peace” spreading untruths about Israel. Ouch! Hat’s off to Eisner for allowing the debate to happen. Even if she says it’s all lies.

We work hard to reflect a range of American Jewish opinion, which is why the piece and reaction to it was published. The free flow of ideas is to be cherished. But when a Jew even hints at comparing Israel to Nazis, it must be denounced.

The argument that Zionism is akin to Nazism is not new, and it’s never been correct. Its related equation – that Zionism is racism – was codified by the United Nations when it passed Resolution 3379 in 1975. Though hardly Israel’s best friend, the international body later came to its senses and overwhelmingly rescinded the resolution in 1991.

Eisner is an ardent Zionist. She believes that ideology is necessary to Jewish survival and that the current Israeli government is undoing Zionism (not expressing it) with its discriminatory policies and the occupation and “denial of Palestinian sovereignty.”

That such policies are done in the name of Zionism is painful, a perversion of the Zionist ideal. It is something that all Jews must reckon with. But the imperfections of reality do not negate the underlying fact that Zionism is not inherently racist and can — and, in fact, does — exist side-by-side with democracy.

It’s great that the Forward is hosting this conversation, because people can argue openly about whether Zionism is necessary. That’s all I’ve asked for; I believe the answer (No it’s an anachronism) will change US Jewry and crumble the Israel lobby. Norman Finkelstein once mocked the idea that Americans could or should argue about Zionism because Zionism might as well be “the name of a hairspray” to Americans. Good joke; but he was always wrong about this. People can argue about any idea that’s important, once it’s identified. And this toothpaste is not going back in the tube.

Eisner clearly believes that Jews are unsafe in America, and that’s why we need Zionism:

For Dann to write that Spencer is “holding a mirror up to Zionism and the reflection isn’t pretty” is especially perilous in the current political climate. The intimidating display of Nazi slogans and symbols in Charlottesville, Virginia, legitimized by the shocking statements of President Trump, are a chilling reminder that even in America, Jews are at risk simply because we are Jews.

We need to “recognize our shared vulnerability” and “strengthen our sense of solidarity,” Eisner says. Back to the monolith! Palestinian vulnerability just gets passing mention.

Also addressing the idea of Jewish vulnerability are writers Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon. Last week they published an “open letter to our fellow Jews, in the U.S., Israel, and around the world” declaring that Trump is an anti-Semite who is endangering Jews and it’s time for all Jews to denounce him.

Now he’s coming after you. The question is: what are you going to do about it? If you don’t feel, or can’t show, any concern, pain or understanding for the persecution and demonization of others, at least show a little self-interest. At least show a little sechel. At the very least, show a little self-respect.

To Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and our other fellow Jews currently serving under this odious regime: We call upon you to resign; and to the President’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen: Fire your client.

To Sheldon Adelson and our other fellow Jews still engaged in making the repugnant calculation that a hater of Arabs must be a lover of Jews, or that money trumps hate, or that a million dollars’ worth of access can protect you from one boot heel at the door: Wise up.

“Boot heel at the door” is a Gestapo reference. In another traditional phrasing, the writers warn Trump’s Jewish family members Ivanka and Jared Kushner that if they don’t act, You’re dead to us.

To Jared Kushner: You have one minute to do whatever it takes to keep the history of your people from looking back on you as among its greatest traitors, and greatest fools; that minute is nearly past. To Ivanka Trump: Allow us to teach you an ancient and venerable phrase, long employed by Jewish parents and children to one another at such moments of family crisis: I’ll sit shiva for you. Try it out on your father; see how it goes.

Among all the bleak and violent truths that found confirmation or came slouching into view amid the torchlight of Charlottesville is this: Any Jew, anywhere, who does not act to oppose President Donald Trump and his administration acts in favor of anti-Semitism; any Jew who does not condemn the President, directly and by name, for his racism, white supremacism, intolerance and Jew hatred, condones all of those things.

Waldman and Chabon deserve a lot of respect because of their anti-occupation book Kingdom of Olives and Ashes, which contains anti- and non-Zionist voices. I disagree with them about the vulnerability of Jews in the United States. I don’t think history repeats itself; I think that chapter in the west is over and the belief in its endurance is atavistic. But I’m glad to have the debate; especially because that question is at the heart of Zionism.

Finally, here is Chemi Shalev in Haaretz, who is more in the Jane Eisner camp, warning that the Israeli right has shattered American Jewish solidarity with Israel by siding with the enemies of American Jews.

“Rash Embrace of Trump Accelerates the Jewish Schism” is the headline. Shalev says Netanyahu’s animosity toward “liberal, cosmopolitan, universalist Jews” is reminiscent of “the kind of anti-Jewish bile spouted by Jew-haters around the world, from David Duke to Viktor Orban.”

The delineation between the two opposing Jewish camps has never seemed clearer. On one side we have Netanyahu, many of his colleagues, the pro-settler lobby, an unfortunate proportion of Orthodox Jews, supporters of Jewish settlements, Obama-and/or Muslim-hating Israelis along with hyper-hawks and ultranationalists such as Sheldon Adelson. On the other side there are Israeli doves along with American Jewish liberals, Reform and Conservative Jews and other Trump-haters. And increasingly it seems that never the twain shall meet.

Israel’s willingness to embrace Trump above and beyond the call of duty is alienating large chunks of the American Jewish community. Those that supported Israel wholeheartedly are beginning to question themselves, those who had been harboring doubts all along have reached a guilty verdict and those who are sitting on the wall certainly won’t come down in Israel’s favor now or anytime in the future.

Emotions run high in times of conflict. When people fear for their country or for their wellbeing or for the safety of their love ones, there is scant room for moderation and nuance. In the era of Trump, the main question on the minds of his critics is the one Joshua asked when he met God’s emissary: Are you with us or with our enemies? By standing so firmly and so recklessly with Trump, Israel is telling American Jews exactly where it stands: With their enemy.

Again, I’d insist on the existence of broader strains of belief here. Neither Eisner nor Shalev is a universalist. Universalist cosmopolitan Jews can include anti-Zionist Jews, anti-racist Jews, and those of us who do not see the haters of Charlottesville as a real threat to our place in the west.

Thanks to Annie Robbins. 

About Philip Weiss

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

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60 Responses

  1. eljay
    August 22, 2017, 10:59 am

    … That such policies are done in the name of Zionism is painful, a perversion of the Zionist ideal. It is something that all Jews must reckon with. But the imperfections of reality do not negate the underlying fact that Zionism is not inherently racist and can — and, in fact, does — exist side-by-side with democracy. …

    Zionism – Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine – is deliberately and unapologetically oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and supremacist. It cannot exist side by side with justice, accountability and equality.

    • Bont Eastlake
      August 22, 2017, 11:32 am

      Agreed except you keep misdirecting a globally backed structure of white supremacism as Jewish supremacism. This is a false framing of the situation in Palestine imo. Even if Israel was egalitarian and democratic, it still would be an illegal and unjust state because it exists on stolen land.

      Phil is Jewish, so are many ardent anti-Zionist activists. The biggest Jewish activist group in America, JVP is anti-Zionist. Your so called Jewish supremacism should accomodate their dissent and protests as part of the mainstream Israeli politics. After all Jewish supremacism seem to imply all Jews are superior and therefore will be given due privilege.

      But these fine folks cant even leave the Israeli airport to preach their message to fellow Jews.

      • eljay
        August 22, 2017, 12:13 pm

        || Bont Eastlake: … you keep misdirecting a globally backed structure of white supremacism as Jewish supremacism. This is a false framing of the situation in Palestine imo. Even if Israel was egalitarian and democratic … ||

        …it wouldn’t be a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

        || … Your so called Jewish supremacism should accomodate their dissent and protests as part of the mainstream Israeli politics. … ||

        Supremacist states accommodate dissent? Interesting.

        || … After all Jewish supremacism seem to imply all Jews are superior and therefore will be given due privilege. … ||

        “Jewish State” supremacism requires non-Jews to be treated differently from Jews. It does not require all Jews to be treated equally.

      • pabelmont
        August 23, 2017, 9:15 am

        Bont: Yes, Zionism is not Jewish supremacism , but it IS so regarded and also so claimed. I would (struggle to) call it ‘supremacism falsely in the name of “all Jews” ‘.

        A mouthful. It’s sort of I guess like ISIS’s present enterprise — an attempt (very much like Israel’s in 1945-50) at an armed action aimed at creating a state (falsely) in the name of all Muslims (or anyhow of all Shia). Sort of like white-supremacist Americans pretending — if any of them do — that their movement is in any way a Christian movement. (A bit off-point: See https://www.thoughtco.com/christian-identity-white-supremacy-249514).

      • RoHa
        August 23, 2017, 8:08 pm

        Pssst! ISIS is Sunni.

  2. Matt McLaughlin
    August 22, 2017, 11:35 am

    Zionists don’t represent all Jews, same as when Lord Sydenham said it, 1922. But without white supremacy you can recognize Israel from the rest of ME?

    • festus
      August 22, 2017, 12:45 pm

      A more accurate title to this thread would be “Jews argue whether Zionism is racism — in the Forward!…and conclude it isn’t and that any attempt to portray it as such is anti-Semitic”

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      September 2, 2017, 8:51 pm

      All of the intellectual attempt to explain away Zionism perhaps to make it more palatable.
      I do not understand any Jew who can call him/herself a Zionist. Have you all not understood the nationalism, the racism and the stolen land? Do you dismiss the introjected Nazi monstrosity being played out as the Zionist genocidal agenda has lied and pretended to once again to be victims of potential destruction. Nothing could be farther from the truth for Zionist Jews are now the perpetrators.

  3. Citizen
    August 22, 2017, 2:19 pm

    “But the imperfections of reality do not negate the underlying fact that Zionism is not inherently racist”

    Reality is fact-based. Santa and the Tooth Fairy, for example, are not. Zionists remind me of those eggs fried on the hot sidewalk. Does not do much for holding up a rational, humanistic light to the (goy) nations.

  4. Steve Macklevore
    August 22, 2017, 4:50 pm

    “Zionism is not inherently racist and can — and, in fact, does — exist side-by-side with democracy.”

    What a marvellous sense of humour Jane Eisner has!

  5. JWalters
    August 22, 2017, 5:33 pm

    Zionists are suffering from a classic case of “cognitive dissonance”.

    In a fully rational process of arriving at a conclusion, a person looks at ALL the facts, and looks at how those facts favoring a conclusion are balanced against those facts opposing that conclusion.

    But a person exhibiting cognitive dissonance does not do this. Specifically, they do not consider all the facts. Instead, they AVOID important facts that weigh against their preferred conclusion. This renders their analysis incomplete, and hence not fully rational. This readily leads to invalid conclusions.

    Over many hundreds of published works and discussions Zionists ALWAYS omit central facts about the non-Jewish people of Palestine. Thus, they exhibit the classic symptom of cognitive dissonance. That is why they reach invalid conclusions.

    Such people must be forced to confront their cognitive dissonance, and the facts they cannot bring themselves to face.

  6. Keith
    August 22, 2017, 6:07 pm

    PHIL- “he best news is that the Forward, America’s leading liberal Jewish publication, published a piece by Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace last week equating Zionism with racism.”

    No she didn’t. She said Israel was engaging in racist behavior, not that Zionism was inherently racist. Her apparent goal is to get Israel to change its more racist behavior so as to stop embarrassing Jews like her and you. She is little more than a cosmetic reformer and you are wildly exaggerating the significance of this article which does little more than allow Jane Eisner to sound the anti-Semitic alarms. And a lot of this is the Jewish Democratic faithful scaring Jews about Trump. Partisan politics. The one significant thing is the use of perceived anti-Semitism as a means of social control and how this is an essential feature of Zionism.

  7. Dan Walsh
    August 22, 2017, 8:52 pm

    re: “…Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace last week equating Zionism with racism. That’s revolutionary. Time was when that argument was made by Arabs at the United Nations and then stifled as supposed anti-Semitism. Now it’s in the Forward, from the mouth of a Jew!”

    To say that Dann’s article is revolutionary because it equates Zionism with racism is counterfactual. Beginning almost before the ink was dry on Herzl’s “Basel Program” many courageous, ethical Jewish voices have condemned Zionism, and Israel as racist, too many to list here but among them was Einstein and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, who said: “Everyone has their Jews. For the Israelis they are the Palestinians.”

    What would be revolutionary would be to see Dann’s article, and Phil’s response lead to a wider, deeper and more public discussion not only of whether it is true that Zionism is racism today (it is) but more importantly was it true when the Palestinians and the Arab nations said it was back in 1975? (it was).

    Such a discussion is long overdue and one can only hope that it occurs and soon.

    1978 poster published by Jewish-Americans debunking a core Zionist myth: the conflation of Zionism and Judaism

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/being-jewish-is-not-the-same-as-being-zionist

    • Jon66
      August 22, 2017, 9:12 pm

      American civil rights heroes who stood strong behind Israel.
      “Zionism is not racism, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s self determination…From our 400 year experience with slavery, segregation, and discrimination we know that Zionism is not racism.”
      (From a column by Bayard Rustin, Director of Black Americans to Support Israel Committee)
      http://www.ibsi-now.org/assets/basic-reproduction-copy.pdf

      • Mooser
        August 22, 2017, 10:13 pm

        Bayard Rustin passed away in 1987.

      • Donald Johnson
        August 22, 2017, 10:14 pm

        I read the link. The authors ignore the Nakba–chances are good they know nothing about it or didnt want to know about it. If you start off ignoring the crimes committed against Palestinians in order to create Israel, then obviously criticism of Israel will seem unfair and bigoted. Here is a sample–

        “We support the rights of the Palestinians to genuine self- determination, but not at the expense of the rights of Jews to independence and statehood, and not at the command of economic blackmailers or of terrorists who would force their own “solution” at the point of a gun.”

        Israel exists as a Jewish state because Palestinians were driven out at gunpoint.

      • CigarGod
        August 22, 2017, 10:36 pm

        Rustin in 1975: We just know.
        Wow, powerful reasoning you choose to quote.

      • Paranam Kid
        August 23, 2017, 12:37 am

        1. Jewish people globally
        Self-determination applies to people of a specific geographic region. “Jewish” denotes a religion/culture-based identity, not a geographic-based identity, it is not tied to a specific geographic region.

        Now let’s suppose the Jewish people globally have a right to self-determination. Australian Jews, for example, also have the right to self-determination as Australians, since they are residents of the territory. The non-Jewish Australians, on the other hand, only have the right to self-determination as an Australian. So Jews would have 2 rights of self-determination, while the rest of us have only 1. There is no justification for such inequity, it does not even exist, therefore the Jewish people globally do not have a right to self-determination.

        As for Bayard Rustin’s statement, it simply is a non-sequitur based on his ignorance of Zionism.

      • RoHa
        August 23, 2017, 1:29 am

        And the point of quoting this Rustin person?

      • eljay
        August 23, 2017, 7:28 am

        || Jon66: … “Zionism is not racism, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s self determination… ” … ||

        Jewish is a religion-based identity. People should be free to self-determine as Jewish, but the right to choose that identity does not comprise a right to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

        Zionism, the ideology of…
        – supremacism by and for people who have chosen to be Jewish;
        – in a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine,
        …is an unjust and immoral ideology.

      • eljay
        August 23, 2017, 8:56 am

        || Donald Johnson: … If you start off ignoring the crimes committed against Palestinians in order to create Israel, then obviously criticism of Israel will seem unfair and bigoted. … ||

        Since the dawn of time – and maybe even before that – geographic Palestine has belonged to every person in the world who has chosen to hold the religion-based identity of Jewish. It’s not their fault that the anti-Semitic and “Jew hating” indigenous population of geographic Palestine – its actual inhabitants – got in the way of all these Ancient Israelites “returning” to their “eternal homeland”.

      • Misterioso
        August 23, 2017, 11:00 am

        @Jon66

        Zionism is and has always been racism and theft, i.e., dispossession and expulsion of Palestine’s native Christian and Muslim inhabitants.

        Israel Zangwill, the influential Anglo-Jewish essayist and Zionist, 1901: [W]e must be prepared to either drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession…or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population….” 

        It was Zangwill who first voiced the lie that Palestine was a “land without a people, waiting for a people without a land.” However, In 1905, he contradicted himself during a talk in Manchester when he observed that Palestine was “already twice as thickly populated as the United States…. [W]e must be prepared to either drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population….” 

        In May 1911, Arthur Ruppin, one of early Zionism’s leading proponents proposed to the Executive of the Zionist Organization, a “population transfer” of the Arab peasants from Palestine.

        In the February 1919 issue of the League of Nations Journal, Zangwill proposed that the Palestinians “should be gradually transplanted” in Arab countries and at a public meeting in the same year he remarked that “many [Palestinians] are semi-nomad, they have given nothing to Palestine and are not entitled to the rules of democracy.” 

        In 1920, Zangwill proposed in The Voice of Jerusalem, that there should be an “‘Arab exodus’…based on ‘race redistribution’ or a ‘trek like that of the Boers from Cape Colony,’ which he advocated was ‘literally the only way out of the difficulty of creating a Jewish State in Palestine.'” He continued: “We cannot allow the Arabs to block so valuable a piece of historic reconstruction …. To fold their tents and silently steal away is their proverbial habit: let them exemplify it now.”

        In 1937, when the Jewish Agency’s Transfer Committee was established by Yosef Weitz and others. The committee’s purpose was to devise a plan that would lead to the “transfer” of the Arab population out of Palestine so that Jews would become a large majority. This would be accomplished by “promoting measures designed to encourage the Arab flight.” Weitz did not mince his words: “…there is no room for both people together in this country….The only solution is a Palestine…without Arabs. And there is no way than to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, to transfer all of them; not one village, not one tribe, should be left.” (Yosef Weitz, My Diary and Letters to the Children, 1965).

        During a meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive on 12 June 1938, Ben-Gurion again advocated expulsion of the Palestinians: “I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see in it anything immoral.” (Benny Morris, “Refabricating 1948”)

        In 1944 and 1947, the basis of Plan Dalet was formulated by Israeli staff officer Yigal Yadin. He described its top priorities as “the destruction of Arab villages near the Jewish settlements and the expulsion of the inhabitants [along with] the domination of the main arteries of transportation that are vital to the Jews and the destruction of Arab villages near them. [Plan D also called for the] siege of Arab towns that are located outside the [Jewish] state created by the UN resolution [e.g., Acre and Jaffa].”

        In December 1947, a Jewish official with the Palestine government was asked by Glubb Pasha, the British commander of Jordan’s Arab Legion if he was concerned about the fact that the Jewish state would have so many Arab inhabitants. The official replied: “Oh no! That will be fixed. A few calculated massacres will soon get rid of them.” 

        According to The Official History of the Haganah, Plan D instructed the Haganah that “[Palestinian villages that resist] should be destroyed…and their inhabitants expelled beyond the borders of the Jewish state. [As well,] Palestinian residents of urban quarters which dominate access to or egress from the towns should be expelled beyond the borders of the Jewish state in the event of their resistance.”

      • Paranam Kid
        August 23, 2017, 11:31 am

        @RoHa
        1. I did not quote him, I mentioned him
        2. My comment is in reply to Jon66, who quotes him.

      • MHughes976
        August 23, 2017, 1:20 pm

        That manifesto, organised by Rustin’s ‘Basic’ committee, published in the NYT on 23 Nov. 75, is a pretty shocking document. It was in the spirit of those days, of course, but its references to poverty in the midst of Arab wealth and especially to ‘Arab oil prices’ – what had that to do with Nakbas or Occupations? – don’t fall much short of racism. The list of signatories is impressive and most distressing. Perhaps my 1975 self would have fallen for it.
        It’s a very important document, I think, for illustrating the depth of the alliance between Civil Rights and Zionism and how much good they did to each other for how long. The standing of Z as fundamentally a good moral force, the standing it has in Western political discourse to this day, is much owed to that alliance.
        My understanding of ‘racism’ = ‘attribution or claim of distinctive rights based, at least to a great extent, on ancestry, or emotion in support of such claims’. That would include contempt for those whose ancestry is ‘wrong’. Irrelevant accusations – Arab oil prices – are an expression of contempt.

      • Jon66
        August 23, 2017, 2:01 pm

        Roha,
        My point is in response to the idea that the linking of Zionism and Racism in 1975 was refuted at the time by an impressive list of civil rights icons who were intimately familiar with racism and disputed the idea. Just because folks here think they are one in the same doesn’t make it so.

      • punterweger
        August 23, 2017, 3:38 pm

        Bayard Rustin, was a confidant of MLK and an organiser of the historic 1963 civil rights march in Washington. However, by 1975, when he signed the statement of this committee, history had passed him by. He wound up on the wrong side of the black liberation movement of the late 60’s (i.e. Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and the Black Liberation Army), and had become a captive of the ageing left-liberals (including pro-Zionists) that had supported the civil rights movement.

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2017, 3:54 pm

        ” impressive list of civil rights icons who were intimately familiar with racism”

        And who knew very little, if anything at all, about Zionism.

      • RoHa
        August 23, 2017, 8:23 pm

        Not a refutation, just denial by a bunch of guys who may have known a great deal about racism in America but who probably knew very little about Zionism. They may have been civil rights icons, but that does not impress me. Even if it were Eddie Mabo endorsing Zionism, I would still make up my own mind.

      • Donald Johnson
        August 23, 2017, 8:29 pm

        “My point is in response to the idea that the linking of Zionism and Racism in 1975 was refuted at the time by an impressive list of civil rights icons who were intimately familiar with racism and disputed the idea. ”

        Jon, if you were just making an historical point, then yes, that was an interesting link.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 23, 2017, 11:10 pm

        My point is in response to the idea that the linking of Zionism and Racism in 1975 was refuted at the time by an impressive list of civil rights icons who were intimately familiar with racism and disputed the idea.

        the ‘impressive list of civil rights icons’ wasn’t organized around the idea of “linking of Zionism and Racism in 1975”. it was organized, probably at the behest of israel lobbiests, in response to the arab boycott which escalated with the 1973 oil crisis. does this sound familiar: http://www.jta.org/1975/04/28/archive/randolph-initiates-committee-of-black-americans-to-support-israel

        April 28, 1975 Randolph Initiates Committee of Black Americans to Support Israel

        The formation of a newly organized group, the Committee of Black Americans Supporting Israel (BASI) was announced at the first meeting of the group here last Thursday night. At a reception at the house of Dr. Robert Gilmore, treasurer of the A. Philip Randolph Educational Fund, It was disclosed that more than 100 prominent Black leaders have already agreed to join the committee, which was initiated by 86-year-old A. Philip Randolph, who is the president of the Randolph Educational Fund (REF).

        “We are here to express our support for the State of Israel,” Bayard Rustin, executive director of REF, said, “Whenever minorities seek justice, they have to defend democracy. We seek to defend democracy in the Mideast and therefore we support Israel,” he stated, Rustin explained that “our support of Israel does not mean that we do not support self-determination for the Palestinians,” but, he added, “We are not for the self-determination of the Palestinians if they are dedicated to the destruction of another people…”

        Rustin was also critical of the “Arabs attempting to bring discrimination to the United States by their boycott” and promised that the American Black community was not going “to sit idly” in the face of “imported Arab discrimination.” He noted the Blacks in America have struggled for a long time against discrimination and that “we will continue our struggle and support of fundamental principles.”

        A CRIME NOT TO SUPPORT ISRAEL
        Randolph, who noted that American Jewry always supported the rights of Blacks here, said: “I would like to see the Blacks of America register their support for the State of Israel. It will be a crime for anyone, and especially for Blacks, not to support the just cause of Israel.

        According to Rustin, BASI activities will include organized tours of Blacks to Israel. The first will be a group of 20 disc jockeys who will leave for Israel in a few weeks. Rustin explained that the disc jockey is a tremendously influential person in the Black community “where our folks listen to him 24 hours a day.”

        Representing Israel at the reception which included reporters from both the Black and Jewish media, were Ambassador David Rivlin, Consul General of Israel in New York, Moshe Bitan, former Israeli Ambassador to Ghana and presently Director General of Paz, the Israeli Oil Corporation, and Consul Yakov Levi, of the Consulate in New York. Addressing the meeting on the issue of the Arab oil boycott. Bitan observed that “it is superficial to believe that if Israel gives in, the price of oil will go down.” He said that the Arab oil producers will reduce production to get higher prices. Bitan arrived here last Wednesday for a two-week lecture tour throughout the United States.

        recognize the talking points? and who’s paying for all those trips to israel? this is a lobby junket and there were likely cash rewards/donations to grease the wheels. the group was already formed months before the UN vote and just like congress critters who vote 100-0 for aipac written legislation i doubt this full page nyt ad was initiated, or even written, by the Committee of Black Americans Supporting Israel, and they didn’t just spring up in response to the UN zionism=racism vote.

    • Nathan
      August 22, 2017, 10:03 pm

      Dan Walsh – Einstein supported Zionism, and he considered himself to be a Zionist. He participated in the founding of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and he bequeathed all his writings to the Hebrew University. Whenever he spoke about Israel, he would always say “our Israel”. I couldn’t imagine why you would say that he “condemned Israel”. It’s simply not so. The “courageous, ethical Jewish voice” of Einstein expressed support of the Zionist idea.

      The issue of “conflation of Zionism and Judaism” is anti-Zionist propaganda. It is not a Zionist claim (“a core Zionist myth”, as you put it). You can hear the Neturei Karta claiming that “Zionism and Judaism are diametrically opposed”, and you can hear this idea also in the American Council for Judaism (Classical Reform). However, among Zionists, everyone understands that Zionism is a Jewish political movement, whereas Judaism is the religion of the Jews. No one conflates the two concepts.

      The Soviet Union was behind the 1975 UN resolution that defined “Zionism as a form of racism”. This resolution was passed by a majority of the General Assembly, so you shouldn’t claim that it was “stifled”. Always, in the anti-Israel world, everyone claims that they’re being stifled, even though scores of loud and clear resolutions against Israel have been passed throughout the years. Anyway, the 1975 resolution was repealed in 1991.

      • Dan Walsh
        August 23, 2017, 10:35 am

        @ Nathan:

        1) Yes, you are correct that Einstein did help raise funds for the building of Hebrew University and yes he did say he had strong emotional ties to the Jewish people and he did and said other things that indicate a support for Israel/Zionism. About this there is no doubt and much in the way of public records that you can reference to buttress this fact. However, he was also a vehement critic of Israel when he felt criticism was in order. See the 1948 open letter to the editors of the NYT that he signed, along with many other Jewish luminaries, condemning a planned visit to the US by Menachem Begin, the Herut Party’s “fascist” nature and (to his mind) complicit American Zionists. I stand by my comments.

        https://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948

        2) You said: “… among Zionists, everyone understands that Zionism is a Jewish political movement, whereas Judaism is the religion of the Jews. No one conflates the two concepts.”

        Forgive me, but I did laugh out loud when I read your last sentence. The conflation of Zionism with Judaism is not only A foundational plinth of political Zionism but perhaps THE most valuable ideological myth in the Zionist playbook. The conflation attempts to fuse something ancient, ethical, moral, dear and honorable – Judaism, as cover for something brutal, supremist, racist, dangerous and oppressive – Zionism/Israel.

        The poster I linked to was published in 1978 by the Jewish Alliance Against Zionism and was included in my post to demonstrate, empirically, that there are Jewish voices who comprehend Zionism’s efforts to conflate it with Judaism and who oppose it. Your sweeping claim that “no one conflates the two concepts” is risible. I stand by my comments.

        3) You said: “This resolution was passed by a majority of the General Assembly, so you shouldn’t claim that it was “stifled”.”

        We should all strive to be careful readers. You too. I never said any such thing and apparently you failed to note that I was quoting Phil. No biggee. The point however is that irrespective of what the UN voted Zionism is STILL racism and it continues to oppress the Palestinian people unabated. The repeal of Resolution 3379 was considered a monumental coup by political Zionism, one that demonstrated its power to influence and call to heel the world’s most powerful international agency. In the intervening years Israel/Zionism have gone on to prove to the world the accuracy of the 1975 resolution far more effectively than any mere political document ever could. I stand by Phil’s comments.

        Dan Walsh

      • eljay
        August 23, 2017, 11:11 am

        || Nathan: … among Zionists, everyone understands that Zionism is a Jewish political movement, whereas Judaism is the religion of the Jews. No one conflates the two concepts. … ||

        Here is a Zionist not conflating the two concepts:

        … [Judaism and Zionism] are two facets of the same thought and belief system, two sides of the same coin. … Judaism and Zionism are inseparable. … Together, Judaism and Zionism constitute the intertwined threads of the fabric of our national and spiritual essence …

      • Misterioso
        August 23, 2017, 11:42 am

        @Nathan

        Re: Einstein

        In 1929, Albert Einstein responded as follows to his friend Chaim Weizmann (then president of the British Zionist Federation) who had written to him about the Jewish Zionist question:  “’Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our 2,000 years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us,’” he wrote, adding, ‘Should the Jews not learn to live in peace with the Arabs, the struggle against them will follow them for decades in the future.’ ” (“When Albert Einstein was a Holy Land Ladies’ Man,” Haaretz, February 3, 2015, by Gili Izkovitch)  

        In 1939, he prophetically wrote: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people….we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.” (Einstein and Zionism by Banesh Hoffmann)

        To quote from Einstein’s testimony before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in January 1946 when he was asked whether refugee settlement in Palestine demanded a Jewish state, he replied: “The State idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed.  It is connected with narrow-mindedness and economic obstacles.  I believe it is bad. I have always been against it.”     

        Renowned historian and Jewish American, Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, related a personal conversation with Einstein: “Dr. Einstein told me that, strangely enough, he had never been a Zionist and had never favored the creation of the State of Israel. Also, he told me of a significant conversation with [Chaim] Weizmann [leader of the World Zionist Organization.] Einstein had asked him: ‘What about the Arabs if Palestine were given to the Jews?’ And Weizmann said: ‘What Arabs? They are hardly of any consequence.'” (What Price Israel? p. 131)

        In his Out of My Later Years, Einstein restated his views on partition, which was then reality:  “I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state.  Apart from the practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest.  I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state.” (Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1956; p. 263)

        “[Einstein] formulated his fascinating insights after he returned to his home in Berlin, and many years later, when he immigrated to the United States, and when he had to turn down Ben-Gurion’s offer to be the first president of Israel. 

        “In a letter to his friend Ezriel Carlebach, he wrote that he would not be able to perform the duties of the office according to his conscience, and that he would have to tell the Israeli people things they ‘would not like to hear.’ ”  (“When Albert Einstein was a Holy Land Ladies’ Man,” Haaretz, February 3, 2015, by Gili Izkovitch)

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2017, 11:54 am

        You guys will have to forgive “Nathan”. You see, he has only ever explained Zionism to other Zionists, or non-Jews who work for them.

      • Jon66
        August 23, 2017, 2:19 pm

        Dan,
        Einstein being critical of Begin is like being critical of Trump. But it doesn’t mean that I think the United States is inherently flawed.
        In 1947, at the time of partition, Einstein was supportive of the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state.
        In an appeal to Nehru,
        “May I appeal to you, as the leader of a movement of social and national enfranchisement, to recognize in Zionism a similar movement whose realization will add to the peace and progress of the Orient. Free Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the right of the Jews to continue the upholding of their ancient homeland without artificial restrictions, will increase the sum of well being in the world. It is time to make an end to the ghetto status of Jews in Palestine, and to the pariah status of Jews among peoples. I trust that you, who so badly have struggled for freedom and justice, will place your great influence on behalf of the claim for justice made by the people who for so long and so dreadfully have suffered from its denial.”https://www.google.com/amp/s/worldpeace365.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/letter-from-einstein-to-jawaharal-nehru/amp/

      • Nathan
        August 23, 2017, 7:40 pm

        Dan Walsh – Your intention was to present Einstein as opposed to Zionism. You didn’t say so in so many words, but that was the direction of your comment in which you said that “ethical Jewish voices have condemned Zionism and Israel as racist”. Einstein supported Zionism, period. You claim now that he has criticism of Israel. I hope you understand what criticism means. One criticizes Israel because one wants to better her. In the anti-Israel world, “criticism of Israel” is often understood as opposition to Israel’s existence. In the case of Einstein, he criticized Israel in the normal sense of criticism: He wished her the very best.

        Again, you should take note of the fact that “conflation of Zionism and Judaism” comes from the anti-Zionist activists. Similarly, one hears all the time anti-Zionist propaganda claiming that the slogan of Zionism is “a land for a people for a people without a land”. It’s not a slogan of Zionism (it comes from a 19th century Church of Scotland clergyman).

        You attribute the canceling of the UN resolution 3379 to the power of Zionism (calling the UN to heel in your phrasing). You are repeating the mantra of the anti-Israel world about the power of Zionism. You would imagine that if Zionism were so powerful, there wouldn’t have been the passing of the resolution in the first place. Anyway, if you think that the Palestinian people are being oppressed, perhaps it would be a helpful suggestion to end the conflict with a nice compromise. That surely would remedy the situation. It’s so strange that no one in the anti-Israel camp ever suggests the self-evident: Let’s end the conflict.

      • Misterioso
        August 23, 2017, 8:46 pm

        @Jon66

        “In 1947, at the time of partition, Einstein was supportive of the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state.”

        The letter you quote from Einstein to Nehru makes no reference to a “Jewish state.”

        Furthermore:

        To repeat a portion of what I have previously posted:

        To quote from Einstein’s testimony before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in January 1946 when he was asked whether refugee settlement in Palestine demanded a Jewish state, he replied: “The State idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed.  It is connected with narrow-mindedness and economic obstacles.  I believe it is bad. I have always been against it.”     

        In his Out of My Later Years, Einstein restated his views on partition, which was then reality:  “I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state.  Apart from the practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest.  I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state.” (Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1956; p. 263)

      • RoHa
        August 23, 2017, 8:50 pm

        “perhaps it would be a helpful suggestion to end the conflict with a nice compromise. ”

        Israel’s idea of a compromise is that the Palestinians all go away and stop bothering Israel. (But they should commute back on the Sabbath to do the work that nice Jews won’t do.)

        “That surely would remedy the situation. It’s so strange that no one in the anti-Israel camp ever suggests the self-evident: Let’s end the conflict.”

        I’m in the ant-Israel camp. Aside from proposing my breath-takingly brilliant and visionary three state solution, I have also offered the following modest proposal. It involves compromises, but unfortunately some of them have to be made by Israel, so it probably won’t recommend itself to you.

        1. Israeli government makes the following declaration.
        “O.K. The “Jewish State” idea was a crock. From now on, everything from the southern tip of Gaza to the border of Lebanon, and from the Jordan River to the sea (but not the Golan, because that is Syria) will be a single, unified, state, and everyone in it will be equal citizens with equal rights, regardless of sex, religion, ancestry, first language, or shoe size. We’ll figure out a name later*. But we would like to keep a version of the Law of Return just in case thing get a bit sticky for foreign Jews.”

        2. Israeli government makes the following declaration.
        ” The Zionist idea of taking over the land and driving out the natives was wrong. Sorry about that.”

        3. Israeli government makes the following declaration.
        “From now on, we’ll all work together to put the fanatics back in their boxes and work for a decent life for everyone here.”

        I’m pretty sure that these would meet with an enthusiastic response from the Palestinians.

        Actually, the Israeli government could do that right now. Any good reason why it shouldn’t?

        And way back in 1972 (I think) I had a letter published in The Times proposing a two state solution. The ideas in that letter are now mainstream proposal, though I do not claim that they were inspired by my letter. I do know that the letter was read by at least one MP, because he wrote me a congratulatory note.

        *I would like “The Socialist and Democratic People’s Republic of the Holy Land”.

      • eljay
        August 23, 2017, 9:19 pm

        || Nathan: … It’s so strange that no one in the anti-Israel camp ever suggests the self-evident: Let’s end the conflict. ||

        It’s not the least bit strange because it’s self-evident that simply “ending the conflict” would:
        – allow Israel to keep as much as possible of what it has stolen;
        – absolve Israel of its obligations under international law (including RoR);
        – absolve Israel and its leaders of responsibility and accountability for their past and on-going (war) crimes; and
        – secure Israel’s status as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

        It’s no wonder those in the pro-Zionism camp routinely suggest it.

      • Nathan
        August 23, 2017, 10:15 pm

        eljay – It’s rather common knowledge in this forum that Zionists are unreliable people. You really can’t believe a word they say. Everything is simply “hasbara”, right? So, I’m really disappointed to read your quote from a Zionist. Isn’t it much more logical to assume that if a Zionist claims that “Zionism and Judaism are intertwined”, then it probably is just propaganda?

        Misterioso – The late Alfred Lillienthal was a lawyer, not a “renown historian”. He had a long career in anti-Zionist / anti-Israel activism. It would be justified to cast a few doubts as to the credibility of his quotes (and I would surely be skeptical about his claim to have met Chayim Weitzman). He might have been trying to give his point of view an air of authenticity, similar to your promoting him to “renown historian” before quoting him.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 23, 2017, 11:33 pm

        It would be justified to cast a few doubts as to the credibility of his quotes

        why? he wrote a lot of books. was there ever an incident where anyone caught him fabricating quotes? (like the time you got outed for fabricating a quote from nasser) if you doubt his credibility that’s one thing, but you can’t simply declare it’s justifiable because, along with other things, he had a long career as an anti-zionist.

        I would surely be skeptical about his claim to have met Chayim Weitzman

        why? he certainly got around a lot. have you read his wiki page? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Lilienthal it said he was a “celebrity” in the arab world

        the Arabic edition soon gained Lilienthal access to the leaders of the Arab world; among other contacts, he was the first person of the Jewish faith allowed to travel in Saudi Arabia, and was invited to a private meeting with King Ibn Saud.

        sounds like perhaps the late Alfred Lillienthal was a renown historian in some circles anyway.

        It’s rather common knowledge in this forum that Zionists are unreliable people. You really can’t believe a word they say. Everything is simply “hasbara”, right?

        unlike you, not all zionists fabricate quotes and then get hung out to dry because they can’t back them up. not everything a zionist says is a lie. not all hasbara is a lie (ie, they have nice beaches in israel). but it’s not at all uncommon to plant a lie in otherwise truthful information so that people will believe it.

      • eljay
        August 24, 2017, 7:14 am

        || Nathan: eljay – It’s rather common knowledge in this forum that Zionists are unreliable people. You really can’t believe a word they say. … ||

        It was mighty nice of you to validate this “common knowledge” with your bold – but false – assertion.

        You Zionists sure can be amusing. :-)

      • rhkroell
        August 24, 2017, 6:45 pm

        That’s what I call a classic Zionist rebuttal: situating each and every one of Einstein’s quotes in their specific social, cultural and historic context. Stalwart Zionists consider Einstein to have been faithful to the Zionist project — in all of its historical manifestations — throughout his life. He simply chose his words carefully. He “qualified” his wholehearted support of Israel, at times — as we all do, surely — by choosing his words cautiously, words which always demonstrate that he was concerned as we all are with the safety, security and well-being of all humans, regardless of their (supposed) tribal affiliations.

        By employing the same logic and argumentative adroitness, Zionist zealots must indubitably regard Hannah Arendt as a righteous Zionist who “qualified” her wholehearted support of Israel — as we all do, surely — in her published work, at times.

  8. kma
    August 22, 2017, 10:43 pm

    Zionism has always been racism.

  9. RoHa
    August 23, 2017, 3:07 am

    “whether Zionism is necessary… the answer (No it’s an anachronism)”

    That suggests that Zionism might have been necessary in the past. It never was.

    Incidentally, how many people actually read the Forward?

  10. mcohen..
    August 23, 2017, 5:26 am

    This “zionism is racism” is a great idea.because it will require a little dusting and cleaning of the old skeletons in the cupboard.of every nation who accuses the zionists.
    Might be a good idea.could be a great idea if wiping zionism out is racist.
    Because
    Anti zionism is racist.no doubt about it.
    And whatever opposed zionism in the past was ugly bad nazism is anti zionist
    white supremacy is anti zionist
    european pogroms are anti zionist
    Fact is zionism opposes racism.

    • eljay
      August 23, 2017, 8:47 am

      || mcohen..: … Fact is zionism opposes racism. ||

      Fact is Zionism embraces and wallows in supremacism.

      • Paranam Kid
        August 23, 2017, 11:33 am

        @eljay
        Right on, so Zionism = racism.

    • Misterioso
      August 23, 2017, 11:12 am

      @mcohen

      You live in a fantasy world. Zionism is the very essence of racism.

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2017, 11:44 am

        “You live in a fantasy world”

        “mcohen” (with no dots) told us he lives in Chicago. I don’t know where “mcohen..” (with two dots) lives. Perhaps he will tell us.
        He appeared at Mondoweiss on 2017-07-29.

  11. Lewis Elbinger
    August 23, 2017, 9:17 am

    Thank you, Philip Weiss, for this excellent article. You are such a mensch. I especially liked the last paragraph in which you expressed opinions I have long felt: Jews are not under attack in America.

  12. Eva Smagacz
    August 23, 2017, 11:17 am

    My acquaintances in Poland seemed always conflicted when I spoke of similarities Polish and Palestinian and Kurdish suffering.

    One of the rarely spoken topics is that to give Palestinians their country may mean that Jewish people from Palestine, or German people may want to come back to Eastern Europe.

    And many in Eastern Europe are vehemently against multiculturalism. In a way that is scary to watch, nationalism and patriotism are transmutating into racism.18/18

    • Kaisa of Finland
      August 23, 2017, 6:41 pm

      Eva S.:

      “One of the rarely spoken topics is that to give Palestinians their country may mean that Jewish people from Palestine, or German people may want to come back to Eastern Europe..”

      An interesting point of view!!

      “And many in Eastern Europe are vehemently against multiculturalism. In a way that is scary to watch, nationalism and patriotism are transmutating into racism..”

      We have been worried, when seeing these changes lately.. In 80’s and 90’s Finland used to have all kinds of “friendship projects” (schools, choirs and so) with f.ex. Hungary. Now suddenly they seem to have taken a direction, which is not easy for us to understand.

      • RoHa
        August 24, 2017, 3:40 am

        “And many in Eastern Europe are vehemently against multiculturalism. In a way that is scary to watch, nationalism and patriotism are transmutating into racism..”

        When “multiculturalism” meant being tolerant of (e.g.) the way a very small minority of immigrants ate rather funny things, and perhaps even trying a few of them yourself, it seemed harmless enough*.

        But the current wave of immigrants is making multiculturalism seem like a takeover by people who do not share the idea of tolerance and have no intention of fitting in to the society.

        (*Here in Australia the large number of Asian immigrants have corrupted us with their cuisine. It is sapping our moral character. Could the Australians have held out so long at Gallipoli or driven back the Japanese in Papua if they had eaten food that had taste?)

  13. genesto
    August 23, 2017, 2:14 pm

    I particularly enjoyed watching Ms Eisner tie herself up in knots when I read this piece in the Forward a couple of days ago. All liberal Zionists try desperately to reconcile the dichotomy between so-called Jewish democracy and equal rights for all in Israel.

    I love to ask the libs, like the J Street gang, how they would feel living in the US if it memorialized all of its laws to privilege Christians to the detriment of all non Christians. Of course, none of them could stand for that. But, they have absolutely no problem treating non Jews in the same unjust way in Israel.

    Sometime I find the hypocrisy overwhelming!

    • Mooser
      August 23, 2017, 3:59 pm

      “how they would feel living in the US if it memorialized all of its laws to privilege Christians to the detriment of all non Christians”

      Bu…but, but, well, wasn’t that how it was in the US until we earned our equality, in fact, an elitehood?

  14. Misterioso
    August 23, 2017, 2:48 pm

    Well worth reading:

    https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/11/14/benny-morriss-untenable-denial-of-the-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestine/

    “Benny Morris’s Untenable Denial of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”

    By Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal – Nov. 14, 2016

    • Citizen
      August 24, 2017, 4:43 pm

      Hammond is a real investigative journalist, a rare find among the hasbara stenographers posing as US journalists.

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