A Jewish atonement for Zionism

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“Not by Might, nor by Power”: The Zionist Betrayal of Judaism

By Moshe Menuhin. With a new introduction by Adi Ophir.

Originally published as The Decadence of Judaism in Our Time, Exposition Press, 1965; Forbidden Bookshelf, 2017, ebook $9.99.

Dissent

Dissidents include individuals who have been victimized and those who have a developed sense of empathy for others’ oppression and trauma.

Acts of dissent range from the minuscule to the enormous and assume countless forms. One can sign a petition, kneel during a national anthem, block a highway, sit in the front of a bus, participate in a strike, march or sit-in, lead an armed revolt, or as in the case of Moshe Menuhin – perhaps Zionism’s first dissident – write a book.

Moshe Menuhin (1893-1983) was born in the city of Gomel (as Moshe Mnuchin), Belarus to a notable orthodox Jewish family. As a young boy of eleven he moved to Palestine where he studied at a Yeshiva in Jerusalem and subsequently was a student in the inaugural class of the first Zionist high school in Tel Aviv – Gymnasia Herzliya. Several of his classmates would become leaders of the Zionist Yeshuv (settlement) and of the new state of Israel, such as Moshe Shertok (aka Moshe Sharett, Israel’s second Prime Minister) and Eliyahu Golomb (leader of the Zionist militia- Haganah). Menuhin moved to the United States in 1913 to pursue higher education at New York University. He was the father of legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin and a committed anti-Zionist throughout his entire life, authoring several books on the topic.

Cover of Moshe Menuhin’s book in 2017 reissue.

Moshe Menuhin’s “Not by Might, nor by Power”: The Zionist betrayal of Judaism is a riveting, thorough, courageous and ruthless indictment of the Zionist project written from an alternative Jewish perspective. In fact, much of this book is rooted in the experiences and observations garnered by Menuhin during his own Aliyah (i.e. immigration) and time in Palestine from 1904-1913.

Now reintroduced to the public in an eBook format by Forbidden Bookshelf, a series of publications aimed at bringing attention to groundbreaking yet underrated and vanished books (edited by Mark Crispin Miller) it contains an introduction by scholar Adi Ophir and a postscript added by Menuhin in 1969.

Not by Might, nor by Power is a methodical and chronological (and to a significant extent autobiographical) survey of Jewish nationalism, beginning with its various manifestations throughout biblical and post-biblical history, and including its modern incarnation – Zionism –  an offshoot of 19th century European political nationalism.

Menuhin devotes the majority of the book to the presentation of historical information peppered with pertinent quotes from Zionist and other world leaders, which reveal a premeditated and systematic plan for the Jewish colonization of the land known then as Palestine – now Israel – alongside a brutal ethnic cleansing of its indigenous people – the Palestinians.

Not by Might, nor by Power is an act of dissent born of pain, love, outrage, shame and a fundamentally Jewish desire for atonement.

Atonement

Then he said to me, this is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts (Zechariah 4:6)

Moving to Palestine at the age of eleven, Menuhin was deeply inspired by his beloved Jerusalemite grandfather whom he described as an:

…extremely kind, humane and genuine, honest orthodox Jew … (who) believed in the Shulchan Aruch as much as he believed in ethical and universal peace and love for your fellow man… (he) used to always dwell on the point of repentance…   

And in fact, central to Not by Might, nor by Power is a theme of repentance, which paints Menuhin’s disillusioned presentation of the hard facts in a shade of religious virtue.

Menuhin’s account of the birth and rise of Zionism offers much information about its successes, trials and tribulations. It is conveyed via a thinly disguised anger at Zionists and “the military junta of Israel” (most notably Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion) for coopting and manipulating the ethical tenets of Judaism for the purposes of justifying a redemption of a contrived Jewish “nation” at the expense of other peoples. Accordingly, his presentation is unabashedly sympathetic to the Arab natives who are cast as victims of the megalomaniacal ambitions of a people driven by an exclusivist and exploitive settler-colonialist ideology.

Remarkably though, Menuhin lays bare the many crimes committed by Zionists not only towards non-Jews, but also Jews. He carefully chronicles the cynical schemes of Zionist leaders who targeted Jewish critique of the Zionist project.

Theodor Herzl told the Second World Zionist Congress in Basel in 1898: “Campaigning against Zion in the Jewish communities cannot be tolerated any longer. It is an abnormal and untenable situation. We must put an end to it … The authority of the community, its means and the persons it has at its command must never be used against the concept of peoplehood. Therefore, I believe, I speak for you too, distinguished Congress members, when I propose capturing the Jewish communities as one of our next targets.” (Page 90)

Actually, Dr. Herzl thought very little of his followers. “I have only an army of schnorrers. I stand at the head of a mass of youths, beggars, and jackasses”, he entered in his diary. (Page 92)

What’s more, Menuhin portrays Zionist leaders as obsessed with their goal – Jewish colonization of Palestine – while committing acts of aggression that resulted in tragic consequences for Jewish communities outside Palestine. In turn, these tragedies served the Zionist nationalistic narrative of the importance of Palestine as a Jewish national refuge against persecution. For example, his remarks on the effects of Israeli aggression toward Egypt in 1956 (aka Suez Crisis, Sinai War, Tripartite Aggression) on the Egyptian Jewish community:

From time immemorial, the Jewish community in Egypt, one of the oldest in Jewish history, had prospered and lived in brotherly peace with their Arab fellow citizens.  This happy lot of Jews was irresponsibly sacrificed as a burnt offering on the altar of aggressive “Jewish” political nationalism. Fifty thousand innocent Jews who lived an independent, ideal, happy and respectable life as equal citizens in Egypt, whether under Farouk or Nasser, became beggars overnight, exiled from their homeland, the first casualty in a war that was not of their making or interest. (Page 306)

By demonstrating that Zionist crimes target Jewish communities as well as Arab ones, Menuhin avoids the trap of critique for the purpose of reform, i.e. transforming Zionism into a friendlier system of oppression, and indicts it as an un-Jewish aberration that should be wholly opposed. As such, Menuhin cleverly attacks the Zionist project from within.

Prophecy and propaganda

… Prophetic Judaism is my religion. The essence of Prophetic Judaism – universal and ethical Judaism – is: Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not covet … Love thy fellow-man as thyself … What thou dost not like to be done to thee, do not do to thy fellow-man … Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit … In the place where the repentant stands, even the completely righteous man cannot stand.

A Jew who practices, or at least tries hard to practice the above noble teachings, is my fellow Jew. (Page 770)

Traces of Menuhin’s love for the teachings of his grandfather are interspersed throughout the book as romantic notions of a “real” Judaism – a righteous, universalist one that stands in opposition to Zionism’s nationalistic version and is presented as an alternative to it.

Following his grandfather’s death, however, Menuhin was encouraged to attend Gymnasia Herzliya, the first Zionist high school in the newly-established Hebrew city of Tel Aviv. There, he experienced and rejoiced in a liberal curriculum and a mixed-sex environment, which he saw as unfortunately intermingled with unremitting Zionist propaganda aimed at ingraining a hatred of Arabs and the necessity to drive them out from the promised “Jewish homeland”.

All through the years of our studies at the Gymnasia, we daily imbibed an endless harangue about our sacred obligations towards Amaynooh, Artzaynooh, Moladtaynooh (our nation, our country, our fatherland). (Pages 104-105)

But the propaganda apparatus did not manage to indoctrinate him with its mantras and prejudices, a failure which made him uniquely privy to- and capable of- questioning, assessing, documenting and publishing its mechanisms and crimes.

We must particularly and thoroughly understand how a small but militant group from among the persecuted and bedeviled East European Jews cleverly managed to captivate the unsophisticated West European and American Jews, who were on the road to becoming fully integrated nationals of their adopted or native countries… behind a cloak of simulated philanthropy and innocuous-sounding “togetherness”.” (Pages 61-62)

Self-loving Jew

In Not by Might, nor by Power, Menuhin dissects the crimes and fallacies inherent within Zionism and obliterates its propagandized selling points, while maintaining his love for his version of Jewish identity.

Moshe Menuhin

Though Not by Might, nor by Power was published in the mid-sixties, its important insights are as relevant today as they were the day they were printed. Predating the Israeli “new historians” of the 1980s, it is a mystery why Menuhin’s scholarship is not prominently celebrated as a pioneering work in the canons of Jewish and Zionist history.

Menuhin represents a number of prominent Jews, such as Ahad Ha’am and Judah L. Magnes, who favored spiritual as opposed to nationalistic Zionism and were outspoken critics of Zionism’s exclusivist and oppressive practices.  

Unfortunately, instead of constructively embracing the critique Menuhin offered as an opportunity to self-reflect and grow, he was vilified as a “self-hating Jew”, a common pejorative used to this day to describe anti-Zionist Jews. In fact, as a result of his scapegoating, the original publisher of Not by Might, nor by Power refused to promote the first edition or print a second one, in spite of high demand post the six-day war in 1967.

But as Moshe Menuhin proves time and again throughout the book, his motivations are precisely the opposite of those attributed to him by his denouncers, i.e. love – not hate, empathy and inclusion – not antipathy and exclusion. His vision of Judaism is one that opposes xenophobic nationalism of dispensationalist entitlement, superiority and dominance.

Israeli society, and by extension the bulk of Jews, are still in deep denial of Zionism’s bloody history, its fallacies, hypocrisies and manipulations, which unless confronted will never be resolved. “Not by Might, nor by Power”: The Zionist betrayal of Judaism can serve as a vehicle to promote understanding, growth and atonement through accountability – essential ingredients in the quest for both justice and healing, and fundamental aspects of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

About Yoav Litvin

Yoav Litvin is a doctor of psychology/behavioral neuroscience, a documentary photographer and writer living in New York City. You can find him at yoavlitvin.com.

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55 Responses

  1. Paranam Kid
    September 29, 2017, 12:23 pm

    Yoav, an interesting review that makes one want to read the book. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yoav Litvin
      September 29, 2017, 11:39 pm

      Thanks. You should! It’s a definite eye opener about a lot of things from someone who was right there

  2. CitizenC
    September 29, 2017, 12:38 pm

    Menuhin was a comrade of Elmer Berger, and wanted to fight to the death when Berger was kicked out of the American Council for Judaism, which he helped found in 1943, after 1967. Berger preferred to move on, and with the support of his closest German Jewish Reform friends, started a new organization, American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism. This episode is described in Berger’s Memoir of an Anti-Zionist Jew.

    I have not read Menuhin’s book, but he is wrong about binationalism. Buber, Magnes, Hashomer Hatzair, all wanted Jewish immigration leading to demographic parity and majority. They categorically rejected Jewish minority status.

    Magnes and Buber opposed statehood. Magnes feared Zionist attempts on his life, and Lessing Rosenwald paid for his evacuation from Palestine in 1947 or 48. Magnes sought immigration of healthy Jewish “pioneering” stock and proposed fanciful “federal” arrangments with Transjordan and elsewhere that would in his mind induce the Palestinian Arabs to leave without coercion. Unsurprisingly, there were no Arab takers for binationalism.

    Magnes may have been so blinded by voelkisch idealism that he failed to grasp his epic hypocrisy. Buber was smarter, and simply asserted Hebrew manifest destiny. At the Zionist Congress in 1921, when Hitler was a beer hall agitator, he stated:

    A strong nucleus of the Jewish people is determined to return to its ancient homeland, there to renew its life, an independent life founded on labor which shall grow and endure as an organic element of a new humanity. No earthly power can shatter this determination, whose strength is found in the lives and deaths of generations of our pioneers. Any act of violence against us because of it sets the seal of blood on our national will.

    Buber was a Blut and Boden Jewish racialist and racist. See his On Zion, On Judaism, and Paul Mendes-Flohr’s “Between Mysticism and Dialogue”. Some of this is summarized in on p 4-7 in my article on the 1940s, “When Palestine Was at Stake”

    https://questionofpalestine.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/palatstake.pdf

    • CitizenC
      September 29, 2017, 1:24 pm

      Actually the Mendes-Flohr book cited in my article is “A Land of Two Peoples”, M-F’s edited and annotated collection of Buber excerpts. The other book is also important, for a deeper view of Buber, like his great enthusiasm for WWI and the near-break with his closet friend, Gustav Landauer, who denounced him as “Kriegs-Buber”. For Buber the war was a great voelkisch awakening which would summon the primordial feelings of the Jew and remind him of his nation and homeland. Unbelievable nonsense. Buber was 36 in 1914, no stripling.

    • echinococcus
      September 29, 2017, 2:10 pm

      There is no good reason to lump Menuhin with the “cultural Zionist” nationalist crazies like Magnes & Co. , other than Litvin’s quote, “Menuhin represents a number of prominent Jews, such as Ahad Ha’am and Judah L. Magnes, who favored spiritual as opposed to nationalistic Zionism and were outspoken critics of Zionism’s exclusivist and oppressive practices”.

      These so-called spirituals were partisans of filling Palestine with uninvited foreign interlopers, forcing themselves on the unhappy local population as a nationalist Ashkenazi community under the aegis of the Ottoman, then the British Empire. And expecting to be adopted as brothers by the inhabitants.

      Menuhin’s description of the Zionist crime “…cleverly managed to captivate the unsophisticated West European and American Jews, who were on the road to becoming fully integrated nationals of their adopted or native countries… behind a cloak of simulated philanthropy and innocuous-sounding “togetherness”.” describes not only the “political” invaders but the Magnes-Ginsberg nationalist invasion, too.

      It looks as this review of Menuhin’s book is an opportunity by Litvin to forget Menuhin and defend one variety of Zionists against another. as if the persecution of “spiritual” Zionists by the “political” Zionist murderers did excuse any of Zionism.

      • JeffB
        September 29, 2017, 4:40 pm

        @echinococcus

        I don’t know that Magnes was crazy. He is in Palestine at two different time periods. One can imagine an alternative history where after the early battles in World War I the major powers realize this war is simply going to be too expensive and too destructive for the issues under consideration and negotiate. The Russian Revolution if it happens is less bloody, more like a coup and a series of reforms. There is no World War 2. Colonialism survives and thrives. In a world where nationalism doesn’t play as much of a role and we have all sorts of ethnicities living in mixed countries all over the planet, is Magnes really crazy?

        Now let’s assume WW1 plays out the same. But 1936 doesn’t happen. The Palestinian national consciousness never develops to the degree it has. The “Palestinians” in this alternative world decided their economy is more important than their anti-colonial rebellion, they don’t take the advice of Syria. Jewish immigration continues at a moderate pace in an environment where there had been some violence but nothing 1936-9. Jews having not fought a nasty colonial war don’t have the experience for the terrorism or to fight a colonial war. Palestine is something like 30% Jewish with strong economic diaspora support and integration in the 1940s, and thereafter. Palestinians are benefitting from the Jewish economy and have one of the highest living standards in the middle east. Certainly they are experiencing a gradual change in their at this point unique culture but at this point this change is happening in a world where they has been a generation of peace. The Sabra in this world are rather Arabic in their attitudes and culture. The Hebrew movement might have died and Arabic becomes the majority language. There is no vicious race war in ’47-9, though there is some tension like there was in many middle eastern countries. In that world is Magnes crazy?

        Things didn’t have to turn out the way they did. People aren’t born hating each other. There are ethnically mixed neighborhoods all over the planet that are peaceful.

      • echinococcus
        September 29, 2017, 5:34 pm

        And now the usual Jeff yet again. Why would anyone in his right mind have any interest in a propagandabot’s logorrhea?

        But no, a glance was very instructive.

        This

        let’s assume … The “Palestinians” in this alternative world decided their economy is more important than their anti-colonial rebellion

        Priceless.

      • Talkback
        September 29, 2017, 6:14 pm

        JeffB: “There are ethnically mixed neighborhoods all over the planet that are peaceful.”

        Yes, because one doesn’t want to colonize the other neighbourhood and expell its population.

      • Mooser
        September 29, 2017, 6:44 pm

        “The “Palestinians” in this alternative world decided their economy is more important than their anti-colonial rebellion”

        So they followed up on all those want ads in the Zionist newspaper tagged: “All Palestinians encouraged to apply” and succeeded in business without really trying.

      • JeffB
        September 30, 2017, 6:11 am

        @Talkback
        JeffB: “There are ethnically mixed neighborhoods all over the planet that are peaceful.”

        Yes, because one doesn’t want to colonize the other neighbourhood and expell its population.

        The way you define colonization which is simply migrating freely and living in whatever house you can, yes they do. You start with the basic idea that people of different ethnicities have no right to move into new neighborhoods. Yet all over the planet new ethnicities arrive in neighborhoods they never lived in and get along peacefully with their neighbors.

        Heck my old neighborhood in New Jersey is becoming South Asian. 50 years ago it wouldn’t have shocked me if there were 0 South Asians. There hasn’t been a single violent incident. There isn’t even anything I’d call tension. The Dutch descendents and Italians eat at Indian restaurants and the South Asians eat at Italian restaurants. Their kids go to school together.
        The apartment I have in Boston, I doubt there is a single unit in this apartment complex where at least one of the direct neighbors is a different ethnicity from the inhabitant of that unit. No violence or hatred at all. No one cares. And even in Israel, where unfortunately very little of the housing is mixed there is some mixed housing.

        The Palestinians choose the path of extreme ethnic bigotry. It wasn’t obvious that was going to be their choice. It didn’t have to be their choice. They started and then lost badly a race war. I don’t think someone is crazy to believe that race war was a choice and could have been avoided. It was not the inevitable consequence of living together.

        We just disagree here.

      • JeffB
        September 30, 2017, 6:16 am

        @Mooser

        JeffB: “The “Palestinians” in this alternative world decided their economy is more important than their anti-colonial rebellion”

        So they followed up on all those want ads in the Zionist newspaper tagged: “All Palestinians encouraged to apply” and succeeded in business without really trying.

        During Magnes’ life in Palestine Jewish employment of Palestinians was quite high. The Jewish community broadly embracing the philosophy of Labor Zionism in practice happens after Magnes. Certainly during his 2nd period in Palestine the Jewish society is rapidly expanding employment opportunity.

      • Misterioso
        September 30, 2017, 10:53 am

        https://www.wrmea.org/2017-may/viewing-israel-palestine-through-the-lens-of-settler-colonialism.html

        Ilan Pappé: The Value of Viewing Israel-Palestine Through the Lens of Settler-Colonialism

        EXCERPT:

        “Dale Sprusansky: Our final keynote is a man who is well known to all of you, Ilan Pappé.  As Hanan Ashrawi mentioned earlier today, in an age of alternative facts, I think we can all agree on the importance of being able to discern truth from fiction.  While alternative facts may be a new term in American politics, the idea behind it is far from original.  As we all know, for decades colonial powers have developed and propagated false narratives to legitimize the subjugation of indigenous peoples.

        “Like colonists before them, Israel has relied on alt history, a false or distorted account of history, to justify its policy toward the Palestinians.  If the so-called conflict is ever going to be resolved, the events that led to the creation of Israel—namely the Nakba—must be reckoned with.  This reality, that an honest understanding of the past is necessary to pave a better tomorrow, is the reason we invited historian Ilan Pappé to today’s conference.

        “Ilan Pappé has written prolifically and with honesty and courage on the history of Israel and the events that facilitated its creation.  His 2006 book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, with its painfully honest title, created controversy, but it’s nonetheless a seminal book on this issue.  Professor Pappé chose the title knowing that it would be provocative, but that it was also true to the research presented in his book.  As I told him at dinner last night, one can say that, in choosing the title, Professor Pappé was being more timeless than timely.

        “I’m sure as the West slowly comes to better grips with the reckoning of the history of Israel, future generations will find the title of his book progressively less controversial—at least I hope.  Ethnic Cleaning, of course, is just one of many books Professor Pappé has written.  He has an upcoming book entitled Ten Myths about Israel, which will be released shortly and will surely be a valuable resource to those looking for a critical and honest assessment of pro-Israel narratives.

        “Professor Pappé is currently a professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK.  He was born in Haifa.  Prior to coming to the UK, he was a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa.  His keynote today will focus on how an honest assessment of history is necessary in order to resolve the seemingly intractable conflict.  Professor Pappé.”

      • Talkback
        September 30, 2017, 1:55 pm

        JeffB: “The way you define colonization which is simply migrating freely and living in whatever house you can, yes they do.”

        Stop lying JeffB. “simply migrating freely and living in whatever house you can” is not my definition of colonization, which happens without consent of the native population. But if you just wanted to describe what crimes the Zionist committed under the protection of a criminal mandatory you are spot on.

        JeffB: “You start with the basic idea that people of different ethnicities have no right to move into new neighborhoods. Yet all over the planet new ethnicities arrive in neighborhoods they never lived in and get along peacefully with their neighbors.”

        Ok, stop confusing countrys with “neighborhoods”. And no, people have no right to move into other countries without the consent of the country’s population. And within Israel Nonjews don’t even have a RIGHT to move into Jewish “neighborhoods”.

        JeffB: “The Palestinians choose the path of extreme ethnic bigotry.”

        ROFL. Another of your upside down perversions. Palestinians have been a constitutive people since 1925, including Jews and Nonjews. It is the Zionist Jews who choose the path of extreme ethnic bigotry and created an extreme and obsecene ethnocracy called “Jewish” state through extreme ethnic means like war and expulsion of Nonjews and establishing a nazi-like differentiation between nationals (only Jews) and citizens.

        JeffB: “I don’t think someone is crazy to believe that race war was a choice and could have been avoided.”

        No, the Zionist intentions were clear from the get go.

      • Marnie
        October 1, 2017, 3:14 am

        “We just disagree here”.

        Shorter JeffB – “You’re wrong”.

      • JeffB
        October 1, 2017, 6:05 pm

        @talkback

        JeffB: “You start with the basic idea that people of different ethnicities have no right to move into new neighborhoods. Yet all over the planet new ethnicities arrive in neighborhoods they never lived in and get along peacefully with their neighbors.”

        Ok, stop confusing countrys with “neighborhoods”. And no, people have no right to move into other countries without the consent of the country’s population.

        First off before a state forms they are both territories. The difference is just size and the existence of a sovereign. But fundamentally we disagree as I’ve said before. I do believe that ethnic Mexicans born in the United States to illegals are just as American as I am. I don’t approve of racial criteria here I see no reason to apply it to Palestine.

        And within Israel Nonjews don’t even have a RIGHT to move into Jewish “neighborhoods”.

        Israeli housing discrimination is bad. That needs to be fixed. I’m not going to destroy the country over it. But that’s exactly the kinds of reasonable reform I would support.

        JeffB: “The Palestinians choose the path of extreme ethnic bigotry.”

        ROFL. Another of your upside down perversions. Palestinians have been a constitutive people since 1925, including Jews and Nonjews.

        They were slaughtering Jews both before and after 1925 and not just Zionists. Consider Hebron 1929.

        JeffB: “I don’t think someone is crazy to believe that race war was a choice and could have been avoided.”

        No, the Zionist intentions were clear from the get go.

        You are now making stuff up. As the example of Magnes proves.

      • Eva Smagacz
        October 1, 2017, 7:45 pm

        JeffB:

        “The Palestinians choose the path of extreme ethnic bigotry”

        Palestinians showed their bigotry especially by following the concept of infamous “Iron Wall” of Jabotinsky.

        Read it. http://en.jabotinsky.org/media/9747/the-iron-wall.pdf

        It is only 7 pages. Very illuminating about bigotry. 35/41

      • Nathan
        October 2, 2017, 4:52 am

        JeffB – There really is no point trying to present an alternative history. There is no way of knowing what would have happened in another scenario. However, in your presentation of alternative history, it seems to be self-evident that the conflict from the Palestinian perspective is about colonialism (“anti-colonial rebellion”). Indeed, in the anti-Israel outlook of outsiders, it is self-evident that the issue is colonialism. Moreover, the Palestinians present to outsiders the conflict as one of colonialists vs. indigenous (because the outsider is likely to accept the presentation in his terms as convincing).

        However, the conflict from the point of view of insiders (i.e. from the point of view of the Palestinians in a conversation among themselves), the conflict is religious. Zionism is regarded to be an “affront to Islam”. It’s hard for outsiders who couldn’t read a poem or a book in Arabic to see the world from an insider’s point of view. But, indeed, one cannot understand the conflict without a sound knowledge of Islam and the crisis of Islamic identity facing modernity.

      • JeffB
        October 2, 2017, 8:07 am

        @Eva

        I’d love to be talking in the more naturalistic terms of Jabotinsky, In Jabotinsky’s political theory we have a simple world of about 400 nations with new ones forming out of successful nations and weaker ones just becoming ethnic subgroups of more successful nations or dying. Each is trying to carve out national homes and there about 150 to go around. The nations are in a constant state of low intensity conflict with each other, with subgroups nationalizing within their own territory and with potential invaders. You get to keep your country if you win these conflicts, you don’t if you lose. Much more like rankings in golf, tennis or chess than some sort of right/wrong based paradigm. A number 86 tennis player who broke into the top 100 this year is not considered immoral because his breaking in caused the current 101 player to be displaced.

        Yes, absolutely, Jabotinsky is a far better frame to discuss things. We are in a frame of the natural lifecycle of nations, a circle of political life. International law simply becomes a means by which powerful incumbent nations retard the growth of potential competitors. The only thing that’s special about Palestine / Israel is that it is a recent successful example of that failing but so is Taiwan.

        No problem changing frames.

      • Talkback
        October 2, 2017, 8:35 am

        JeffB: “First off before a state forms they are both territories.”

        Despite the fact that Palestine was allready a state under mandate people still don’t have a right to move into other countries without the consent of the country’s population.

        JeffB: “I do believe that ethnic Mexicans born in the United States to illegals are just as American as I am. I don’t approve of racial criteria here I see no reason to apply it to Palestine.”

        This is not the same situation. These Mexicans didn’t illegaly enter the United states to take over the country and create a state with a national character that discriminates against Non-Mexicans. It is not a case of large scale colonization. And it’s not the case of illegaly settling under occupation. The reason why you support this your minority opinion is that you want Jews to be naturalized and Palestinians to be denaturalized in historic Palesine. This is your racial critiria which you apply to historic Palestine. And it’s pathetic that you try do play being humane and nonracial. Especially with all the Nazi crimes you support when Jews commit them against Palestinians.

        JeffB: “Israeli housing discrimination is bad. That needs to be fixed. I’m not going to destroy the country over it. But that’s exactly the kinds of reasonable reform I would support.”

        You can’t reform Zionism. And South Africa wasn’t “destroyed” either. But you identify the sate with its Zionist regime in such a totalitarian way that you are not even able to differentitate between the two.

        JeffB: “They were slaughtering Jews both before and after 1925 and not just Zionists. Consider Hebron 1929.”

        Not the “Palestinians” who included Jews and Nonjews.

        I’m considering Hebron, but you are not considering that Arab families rescued more than 400 Jews. And you are not considering that before this massacre hundreds of Jews marched to the Western Wall shouting slogans such as “The Wall is Ours” and raised the Zionist flag. Now I don’t want to defend this injustifiable action, but the two communities in Hebron peacyfully co-existend before the atrocity called Zionism which was a crime against any Nonjewish citizen and even the native Jewish citizens of Palestine.

        And how dishonest from you to quote me out of context and ommit the rest where I was talking about your accusation of “ethnic bigotry” and wrote:

        “It is the Zionist Jews who choose the path of extreme ethnic bigotry and created an extreme and obsecene ethnocracy called “Jewish” state through extreme ethnic means like war and expulsion of Nonjews and establishing a nazi-like differentiation between nationals (only Jews) and citizens.”

        I guess you don’t have anything to say against this.

        JeffB: “You are now making stuff up. As the example of Magnes proves.”

        LMAO. When it comes to Zionism and its intentions your best example to prove that it had others is a reforn Rabbi who strongly disapproved of nationalistic aspects within Judaism and was against a Jewish state and partitioning Palestine. That’s like mentioning Neturei Karta to prove that Zionism is actually antizionist.

      • eljay
        October 2, 2017, 9:58 am

        || JeffB: … A number 86 tennis player who broke into the top 100 this year is not considered immoral because his breaking in caused the current 101 player to be displaced. … ||

        Player 86 (Zio Nist) broke into the Top 100 by kneecapping Player 101 (Pal Estine), raping his wife and burning down his house. Yeah, Player 86 is immoral.

        But of course Zio Nist and his friends don’t see it that way because he and they believe that Zio Nist is entitled:
        – to be in the Top 100; and
        – to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality he would not have others do unto him.

  3. CitizenC
    September 29, 2017, 2:31 pm

    Thank you. A closer reading suggests that Yoav Litvin, not Menuhin, has made the association, as you suggest. I haven’t read Menuhin’s book. Berger did say that there was no distinction betw “cultural” and “political” Zionism.

    • echinococcus
      September 29, 2017, 4:50 pm

      In fact, this propaganda piece using Menuhin’s book to whitewash his very enemies looks like a pre-emptive intervention to reduce the impact of the reprint.

      The glorification of “cultural” Zionists by Litvin and the likes of him is increasing in these last days, as part of the desperate attempt by so-called liberal Zionists to justify the invaders keeping a toehold on Palestine and the recognition of some “legitimacy” to at least the initial statehood, or remaining implanted “on equal terms”, etc.

      • Yoav Litvin
        September 30, 2017, 11:37 am

        In no way do I attempt to suggest that Menuhin was a Zionist in any way, he was an anti-Zionist, period. And certainly I do not “glorify” anyone, other than Menuhin himself for his moral stance.

        Thank you for reading and commenting.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 30, 2017, 12:41 pm

        thank you Yoav, i thoroughly appreciated your review, especially the excerpts. i was struck by Menuhin’s phrasing in his remarks on the effects of zionist aggression toward Egypt in 1956, “From time immemorial,…. This happy lot of Jews was irresponsibly sacrificed as a burnt offering on the altar of aggressive “Jewish” political nationalism.” (written decades before joan peter’s used the initial phrase in the title to her lying book of myths).

      • Yoav Litvin
        September 30, 2017, 1:42 pm

        @Annie Robbins – thanks. did you know he was also the great grandson of Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the ultra-orthodox, yet messianic Chabad movement? Ie the guy who wrote the “Shulchan Aruch HaRav”, the rule book that Moshe Menuhin explicitly rebels against (taking after his grandfather before him). Quite the family. There’s a Menuhin family autobiography titled “The Menuhin Saga”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shneur_Zalman_of_Liadi

      • Annie Robbins
        October 20, 2017, 2:38 am

        Yoav, i had no idea. i will check out your link now. sorry it took me so long to respond, i just noticed your comment. thanks again for the great review. i had never even heard of Moshe Menuhin before.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      October 1, 2017, 7:42 am

      CitizenC: I read Menuhin’s book long ago. I accidentally came across it in a private library and it had a huge impact on me, especially his personal testimony. As far as I recall, your interpretation is correct. The book, by the way, was published by the Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut.

  4. CitizenC
    September 29, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Norton Mezvinsky, Israel Shahak’s friend and co-author, was a close friend of Berger, served in American Council forJudaism, and joined him in AJAZ. Berger, Shahak, Mezvinsky, Marxists like Matzpen, Maxime Rodinson and Isaac Deutscher, constituted the tiny universalist current, from the Jewish side, after 1967. This current remained tiny because the US Jewish left, led by Chomsky, did not uphold universalist standards.

  5. Yoav Litvin
    September 29, 2017, 5:37 pm

    I appreciate these comments.

    Re my supposed “conflation” of Menuhin with “cultural Zionists” – that’s a conclusion from the text. Have you read the book? Now even within “cultural Zionism” there were different shades before ’48, and certainly while Menuhin was in Palestine as a young man. But- no doubt Menuhin was an anti-Zionist once political Zionism became dominant.

    The comments re “glorification”, “whitewashing” and “this propaganda piece” (propaganda for what?) are completely out of line and based on zilch.

    Thanks for reading.

    • echinococcus
      September 29, 2017, 8:14 pm

      Litvin,

      Yes, it’s a conclusion from the text. I had read the book, as a youngish guy in 1968 but haven’t reread it since and I have to thank you for announcing its reprint.

      But no thanks for this: after underlining, in the introductory paragraphs, that Menuhin was an anti-Zionist, you suggest anyway that he was part of the Zionist mafia, with

      Menuhin represents a number of prominent Jews, such as Ahad Ha’am and Judah L. Magnes, who favored spiritual as opposed to nationalistic Zionism and were outspoken critics of Zionism’s exclusivist and oppressive practices

      So not only you lump this antizionist with Zionists, no matter if they sport a lighter shade, you declare him to be their representative. Sure those Zionists were “critics of Zionism’s exclusivist and oppressive practices”; a universalist like Menuhin, however, opposed way more than Zionism’s “practices”: the Zionist abomination itself and its adherents like the ones you are mentioning. Add to this the totally irrelevant martyrology of said “cultural” Zionists and we have left both Menuhin and the destruction of Zionism far behind.

      As to

      indicts it [Zionism] as an un-Jewish aberration that should be wholly opposed. As such, Menuhin cleverly attacks the Zionist project from within.

      “Within” Zionism? “Within” what? Menuhin is not a Zionist and does not, as far as I know, recognize a “Nation” outside a religious community. So I really can’t see anything out of line in suspecting propaganda.

      • Yoav Litvin
        September 29, 2017, 10:04 pm

        “Favored” has a definition. It means “preferred (or recommended)”. I’m very careful with my words. It doesn’t mean he was a part of it in any way.

        Did I write “within Zionism”? No. I wrote from within- from within Gymnasia Herzliya – the hot bed of Zionist propaganda. Again, words.

      • echinococcus
        September 30, 2017, 12:13 pm

        I’m very careful with my words

        That’s more than obvious.

  6. mcohen..
    September 29, 2017, 7:44 pm

     “this propaganda piece” (propaganda for what?)”

    well whats good for the goose is proper for the gander

    zionism is a direct response to the rise of nationalism in europe and the middle east.it is no coincidence that israel is situated between the borders of islam and christianity.unfortunately some are blind to the role israel plays in keeping these 2 powerful forces from attacking each other.the past battles for jerusalem are a good example of what can happen.
    rolling out the 3 blind mice who ran to come up with ……atoning for zionism is not proper gander.it is just plain ignorance

    who shall put a rock upon a sapling.
    a blind man searching for a blessing

    • Talkback
      September 30, 2017, 7:09 am

      mccohen.”unfortunately some are blind to the role israel plays in keeping these 2 powerful forces from attacking each other.the past battles for jerusalem are a good example of what can happen.”

      ROFL. Unfortunately nobody is stupid enough to believe in the stupidity that this is Israel’s role and it was necessary after 1948.

      • mcohen..
        October 1, 2017, 4:45 am

        talkback says…..nobody

        you be surprised in this day and age anything is possible….no matter how hard you try you cannot rationally explain the founding of israel after the bar kokhba nabka

        Date132–136 CE
        (Fall of Betar falls traditionally on Tisha B’Av of 135)LocationJudea ProvinceResult

        Decisive Roman victory:

        An all-out defeat of Judean rebels
        Large-scale destruction of Judean population by Roman troops
        Suppression of Jewish religious and political autonomy by Hadrian
        Jews banned from Jerusalem

        no one in there right mind could have believed that israel would be founded in 1948 after 1000 years.and here we a certain yoav wanting atonement for zionism.

        unbelievable

      • John O
        October 1, 2017, 4:22 pm

        @mcohen

        If you are still dissatisfied with the result of the Judean revolt of 132–136 CE, please address your complaint to the current Roman Emperor, not to us.

      • JeffB
        October 2, 2017, 8:10 am

        @John O

        The Roman empire became the civilizations to the west of India. That’s who the Zionist did address their complaint to.

      • John O
        October 2, 2017, 12:42 pm

        @JeffB

        “The Roman empire became the civilizations to the west of India. That’s who the Zionist did address their complaint to.”

        The Zionists addressed their complaint to the nations that were situated in the geographical area of an empire that had vanished 1,500 years previously, as though these nations were somehow responsible for what had happened 1,800 years previously?

        I can play that game, too. I demand a full pardon for Boudicca and her tribe, the Iceni. I further demand that the city of London (which she and her army sacked in 61 CE) be turned over to the Iceni’s descendants, some of whom still live in Norfolk, a few probably in Wales and lots in the USA. I won’t demand a return of the Druidic religion, though. I don’t want to end up in a crouching position under the altar at Stonehenge.

    • Mooser
      September 30, 2017, 11:40 am

      “unfortunately some are blind to the role israel plays in keeping these 2 powerful forces from attacking each other”

      (and I thought I was funny. I’m not even in it with “mcohen”)

      Isn’t that the way it goes in this anti-Semitic world? Nobody appreciates the sacrifice us Jews are making, putting ourselves in between those “two powerful forces”.

    • John O
      September 30, 2017, 2:16 pm

      @mcohen

      “zionism is a direct response to the rise of nationalism in europe …”

      Zionism is part of the rise of nationalism in Europe.

      PS – If you used correct English punctuation and capitalisation, whatever you are trying to say might just be a lot clearer for your readers (you are presumably trying to communicate with us).

      • mcohen..
        September 30, 2017, 5:39 pm

        one finger typing on a mobile phone screen calls for special farces operations.there is no time for things like punctuation.to make it easy for you all to understand i did include a link.this selective critique of zionism that does nt consider the big picture of European nationalism and imperial mints in the middle east forgets that the nazis and arabs joined forces to oppose britain and france at a particular point in zionisms history.
        it is only after watching the film “von ryans express” did i fully grasp this pertinent petticoat point

        balanced against this was the film “midnight express” which underlined western forces opposing turkish ottaman empire nationalism and the lifting of the yoke of the sykes apricot agreement.one only need to look at the proper gander of the day to see where the rotten egg lay.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Ryan%27s_Express

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Express_(film)

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_nationalism

        “During the war, Britain had been a major sponsor of Arab nationalist thought and ideology, primarily as a weapon to use against the power of the Ottoman Empire. Although the Arab forces were promised a state that included much of the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France provided for the territorial division of much of that region between the two imperial powers. During the inter-war years and the British Mandate period, when Arab lands were under French and British control, Arab nationalism became an important anti-imperial opposition movement against European rule.”

      • John O
        October 1, 2017, 8:18 am

        @mcohen

        “Von Ryan’s Express” as a history lesson. I was already bewildered by JeffB’s posts about the myth of the Roman people being descended from the Trojans. Now, I seem to be being sucked into some gateway to a parallel universe. Maybe I should just try believing six impossible things before breakfast.

      • Mooser
        October 1, 2017, 1:08 pm

        “Von Ryan’s Express” as a history lesson.”

        Haven’t you noticed the depth of learning among our Zionist commenters?

        But since Zionism confers instant omniscience, the film must be true history.

      • Mooser
        October 1, 2017, 2:59 pm

        .“one finger typing on a mobile phone screen calls for special farces operationsthere is no time for things like punctuation”

        Right! I’ll send your comments over to the Bletchley Park boys and let them put MAGIC on it. They’ll send over a report when they crack the code. I haven’t got time.

  7. CitizenC
    September 30, 2017, 8:17 am

    I will read the new edition of Menuhin. Berger called him an “old firebrand” and referred to his “incendiary” missives in the ACJ battle, so I am highly skeptical that anything Menuhin said redounded with credit to Zionism

    In any case the notion of a humanist “cultural Zionism” has long been debunked. See Steven Zipperstein’s bio of Ahad Ha’am, now 25 yrs old. Zip began his study with an vague idea of finding ideas useful in ameliorating the current Zionism, but found in AH a parochial Jewish 19th c conservative, afraid of the liberal world then opening to Jews.

    AH’s rep rests largely on an 1891 article “Truth From Eretz Israel”, which supposedly showed great concern for the Palestinian Arabs. The first full translation was done in 2000 by Alan Dowty, who found “much ado about little”, a purely pragmatic, instrumental concern, and not AH’s highest, about Palestine Zionism. The extant xlations of AH are by Leon Simon, of Buber’s generation, from before 1914, and were sanitized for the goyim, which I think is a general problem with Zionist literature.

    In the wake of the Balfour Decl, Ahad Ha’am called for immigration as the only thing the Zionists could realistically ask of the British. According to buber he wanted a Jewish majority, a state, which Buber defended as a means to attaining “Zion”, Buber’s national-religious mystification of Jewish control of Palestine. Buber described settlement as a Jewish right, since the Jews could develop the country more fully, a standard colonial rationale.

    Zionism arose, not in western Europe, via Herzl, but in the Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, in the ghetto, in response to pogroms in the early 1880s. The Jewish masses voted with their feet, and fled to western Europe and the US. The radical Jews energized socialism and communism.

    Zionism was the product of the thin bourgeois stratum in the Pale, of those few who did well in traditional Jewish society. They responded, not only to anti-Semitism, but to liberalism, and its “threat to the Jewish people”, with a plan of Jewish separatism and segregation, led by themselves, a new version of their customary social role, which would preserve their status.

    Their premises were those of racialist anti-Semitism, with which they allied, from belle epoque salons, to czarist ministries, to anti-semitic nationalists and reactionaries after WW1, to Nazism.

    As Shlomo Sand (and others) have shown, the Zionist notions of “the Jewish people” attached to the “land of Israel”, of the “secular Jew” are racialist nonsense. Zionism is Jewish race doctrine, as the radical labor activist turned historian Noel Ignatiev argued. That doctrine is now coming to Judeo-Nazi fruition, which was inherent from the start, though it has required many contingencies to realize.

    The fundamental “solution” to the problem of Zionism is not simply one of maps and borders and documents in Palestine, or even of overthrowing US support. Those outcomes begin with unambiguous acceptance by people of jewish background of the modern world, abandoning their medieval quasi-national collectivity, and embracing their status as secular citizens, or a religious minority, period.

    That outlook seems as novel and distant today as it did in early modern times, when rabbinical reactionaries expelled Spinoza and burned Moses Mendelssohn’s German bible translation. As shown by the left, from Chomsky on down.

    Alan Dowty, “Much Ado About Little”

    https://muse.jhu.edu/article/14451

  8. Ronald Johnson
    September 30, 2017, 10:24 am

    I am grateful that “The Decadence of Judaism in Our Time” is available (in kindle) for less than $100. Obviously a forbidden book, blocked from reprinting.

    For an update on “Judaism in our Time”, we have, since 2016, a book by Gerard Menuhin: “Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil”, now in its third printing. Gerard is the grandson of Moshe. Gerard is very much like the grandfather as a universal ethicist – updated to 2016. For that, he was removed from the management of the institute that memorializes Yehudi Menuhin .

    https://www.amazon.com/Tell-Truth-Shame-Devil-Recognize/dp/1591481724/ref=pd_sbs_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1591481724&pd_rd_r=7JCT9GGWA8G4WKRBGB10&pd_rd_w=YzfuO&pd_rd_wg=K71q8&psc=1&refRID=7JCT9GGWA8G4WKRBGB10&dpID=517yfVeZNmL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

  9. RoHa
    September 30, 2017, 8:11 pm

    I’m delighted to see this book is available again. I know it from a copy that was in the Barr-Smith Library at the University of Adelaide in the 1960s. I have never seen another copy anywhere. Time for me to reread it.

  10. Nathan
    October 1, 2017, 10:02 pm

    “A Jewish Atonement for Zionism” (the title chosen for this article) seems to be an ideological slip-up. Generally, when reading this website, the clear message is that “Jews” and “Zionists” are two different groups. So, why should the atonement for Zionism be Jewish? One might get the idea (heaven help us) that the “Jews” are responsible for Zionism – not the “Zionists”. In the last paragraph, it is said in so many words that “Israeli society, and by extension the bulk of Jews, are still in deep denial…” Why would anyone point a finger at the “bulk of Jews”? I’ve always heard from the anti-Israel people that it’s all about the Zionists – not the Jews – but now Mondoweiss has me all confused. It is about the Jews, isn’t it (or at least the bulk of them)?

    Anyway, since this is an article in the spirit of Yom Kippur, I understand that after atonement comes forgiveness. It’s nice to get a little hint that the end-game at Mondoweiss is signing Israel into the “book of life”.

    • echinococcus
      October 2, 2017, 12:46 am

      One might get the idea (heaven help us) that the “Jews” are responsible for Zionism

      What a strange idea! Everybody knows, of course, that it is the work of Seventh Day Adventists.

    • eljay
      October 2, 2017, 7:40 am

      || Nathan: … One might get the idea (heaven help us) that the “Jews” are responsible for Zionism … Why would anyone point a finger at the “bulk of Jews”? … ||

      Maybe because your fellow Zionists here at MW repeatedly stress the fact that most (the “bulk of”) Jews support Zionism.

      Or maybe because of the stirring words of Chief Zionist spokesperson JeffB:

      There is nothing anti-Semitic with blaming Jews for stuff that Jews institutionally support. … Not holding the Jews responsible for Jewish policy on the excuse that “well some Jews didn’t agree” is denying them agency. …

      Also:

      Jews in America have chosen to identify with and institutionally support Israel. While not Israeli, they are cousins. As such they get some degree of collective credit for Israelis achievements and some degree of blame for Israel’s failings.

    • Mooser
      October 2, 2017, 1:09 pm

      “It’s nice to get a little hint that the end-game at Mondoweiss is signing Israel into the “book of life”.

      Amazing what one little website can do.

  11. Tom Suarez
    October 2, 2017, 4:43 am

    Very happy to see Moshe Menuhin’s important work made easily available like this.

    • Alfred Gluecksmann
      October 19, 2017, 8:50 pm

      What a coincidence, Mr. Suárez !

      I was just thinking about you and your book State of Terror : How Terrorism Created Modern Israel.

      What an excellent book ! Congratulations and thank you !

      BTW, I write the Argentum Post which also focuses on Israel/Palestine issues. it is my form of literary peace via justice activism going where the corporatized mainstream media generally does not, and I elaborate on this in my infra comment which I just posted on the article by Yoav Litvin.

  12. Alfred Gluecksmann
    October 19, 2017, 8:37 pm

    Thank you, Yoav, for this fascinating and – for me – touching introduction to Moshe Menuhin and his book !

    I am the writer of the Argentum Post which is my form of literary peace through justice activism and relate enormously to what Menuhin expresses, and in addition I also have been influenced by my grandfather who left Berlin in 1935 for the USSR due to the approaching Nazi threat, and after the war he left the USSR for Haifa, Palestine in 1945 where he acclimatized and became a Palestinian citizen, only to then feel compelled to leave again in 1948 and for analogous reasons he left Berlin, namely the violent, supremacist, racist, nationalist Zionist take over, which where also the same reasons that led my parents to be forced to leave Berlin in 1938, after being declared stateless and to travel to the only country which would issue them a visa, namely Bolivia where I was born.

    To add insult to injury, my parents had to leave separately from Berlin, and when my father arrived in Callao, Peru for the rail trip to La Paz, Bolivia, since Bolivia is landlocked, the Peruvian immigration officer told him that he could not disembark and that he had to leave on the same freighter he arrived (with only $ 10.00 in his wallet) to go back to Marseilles let, because the Zionist Organization of the World had the undue influence over the corrupt politicians in Lima to not allow poor Jews to disembark as they were needed for the Palestine colonization project…

    Given that it was 1938, if he had been returned to said freighter destined for Marseilles, he would have been taken to an extermination camp once he arrived back there.

    Adrenaline and luck however, led my father to be given an escape path to a nearby freight train rail yard whereto he ran and then jumped on a hay freight wagon which was destined for La Paz, Bolivia.

    Leon Spitzer, whose Austrian parents had a somewhat similar experience, wrote a book on it titled “Hotel Bolivia”.

    Thank you very much ! I will acquire Moshe Menuhin’s book.

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