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Joel Kovel’s Palesreal

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Joel Kovel, the author of Overcoming Zionism. (Photo: Phil Weiss)

This review of Joel Kovel’s book Overcoming Zionism was originally published by Michael Steven Smith in the journal Socialism and Democracy in 2007 and was republished recently by the Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism on its website. Smith granted permission to republish it.

Joel Kovel has given us an impressive and important book. Its first printing sold out without a single review, major or otherwise. Nevertheless word of this extraordinary work is spreading. The taboo in the United States (not Israel) against seriously discussing and criticizing Zionist Israel has been broken with the publication of Jimmy Carter’s bold book labeling the situation in the Occupied Territories “apartheid” and with the exposure by prestigious professors Mearsheimer and Walt – in the London Review of Books after rejection by the Atlantic Monthly – of the power of the Israeli lobby. Kovel, by focusing squarely on how to “overcome” Zionism, takes the discussion exactly where it needs to go from there. He writes beautifully, even poetically, not just on Zionism’s sordid history, but on its ideology, its ethics, and even on the terrible ecological devastation in Israel itself, where every river is polluted, some to lethal levels. And he writes with courage and hope.

Kovel believes that the creation of Israel in 1948, as a colony of settlers who established an exclusively Jewish and discriminatory state, has created a multi-faceted disaster – “a dreadful mistake” – that should be undone, with Israel de-Zionized and integrated into the Middle East. His solution is stated in the book’s subtitle and restated in the title of the last chapter: “Palesrael: A Secular and Universal Democracy for Israel/Palestine.” This is an elegant solution, and he lays out an action program to accomplish it.

How did Kovel, a Jew from Brooklyn, the oldest son of Ukrainian immigrants who did well – moving with Joel to “the purgatory of Baldwin, Long Island” – come to this radical critique and equally radical solution? Joel graduated from Yale and became a successful psychiatrist. He taught at medical school before switching careers and taking a social science professorship at Bard, where for a time he held the Alger Hiss chair. He is still there, the only Marxist on the faculty [Kovel has since left Bard]. This book is not going to further his career.

“What kind of Jew am I?” he asks, and answers “a very bad one.” More accurately, he defines himself as what Isaac Deutscher called “a non-Jewish Jew.” Not that he is not spiritual; he writes of reaching for the infinite. But he is not religious. Being part of a sect is too narrowing and confining. He identifies with the Jewish heretics who transcended Jewry, but who are nonetheless part of the Jewish tradition – he lists Spinoza, Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Kafka, Wittgenstein, and Luxemburg – and for whom “the true glory” of being Jewish is to live “on the margin and across boundaries.”

Kovel writes that the ethical reference point for Jews is the tribal unit. Since ancient times they set themselves off as “a people apart,” chosen by Jehovah, with whom they have a covenant. In Kovel’s view, “Zionism’s dynamic was drawn from the most tribal and particularistic stratum of Judaism, and its destiny became the restoration of tribalism in the guise of a modern, highly militarized and aggressive state,” which they implanted in the center if Islam. Herein lies the tragedy.

At the turn of the 20th century, a Zionist conference in Vienna delegated several rabbis to travel to Palestine on a fact-finding mission. The rabbis cabled back, “the bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.” Kovel writes incisively of what ensued. The “tremendous struggle” to dislodge Palestine’s inhabitants would involve three great difficulties: the resistance of those who stood in the way and would have to be displaced; the exigencies of geo-politics; and one’s own inner being, which would have to be retooled from the self-image of an ethical victim to that of a ruthless conqueror. All of these obstacles could be dealt with by signing onto Western imperialism and capitalism.

Jewish suffering and persecution became justification for aggression in asserting the “outlandish claim to a territory controlled 2500 years ago by one’s putative ancestors.”

The Israelis took 78% of the territory in 1948 and the remaining 22% in 1967. The logic of Zionism – to create an ethnically pure Jewish state – led to organized terrorism; “the essentials had been put in place by the mid-1930s” and the opportunity came in 1948. The leaders of Zionism, Chaim Arlosoroff, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and especially David Ben Gurion, quietly articulated the need to drive the Arabs out. South African Prime Minister Henrik Verwoerd said in 1961 something the liberals wouldn’t: that the Zionists “took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that, I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” When the smoke lifted in 1948, 531 Arab villages had been destroyed, some 750,000 Palestinians driven out. In l948 Menachem Begin (later Prime Minister of Israel) organized the dynamiting of the British headquarters in Jerusalem, killing 88 persons, including 15 Jews. That year also saw the terrorizing of the village of Deir Yassin. With Begin in command, Yitzhak Shamir – who was also to become a PM and whose frankly fascist organization the Stern Gang had actually made overtures to the Nazis to create a Jewish state along totalitarian lines – took part in the operation. The terror at Deir Yassin was a decisive factor in the Arab exodus. The ethnic cleansing had been clearly planned by the Zionist leadership, as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has documented. Thus the Zionists established Israel with a crime against humanity.

Ariel Sharon, the third Israeli terrorist PM, was actually found guilty by an Israeli court for permitting the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon in 1982, where as many as 3000 Palestinian refugees were killed. In 1953 Sharon led a cross-border raid on Qibya, Jordan, “in which the community was reduced to rubble, with 45 houses blown up and 69 people killed, the majority women and children.” He repeated his mass murder in Lebanon in 2006, using US-made cluster bombs. It is truly remarkable, as Kovel points out, that a terrorist could ascend to national leadership three times and “scarcely anybody has bothered to ponder its meaning.” Kovel notes the consequent bad conscience of the Israelis and remarks on how their resulting feelings “become projected and turned into the blaming of others” – whether these be expropriated Palestinians or critics of Israel, who are then labeled as antisemites and/or as that curious entity, the “self-hating Jew.”

Israel, as a racist state, discriminates in the critical areas of immigrants, settlements, and land development. Any Jew in the world who can show that his grandmother on his mother’s side was Jewish may obtain automatic citizenship, yet the Arabs expelled in 1948 and 1967, despite international law and United Nations resolution 194, are not permitted their right to return. 92% of the land in Israel is administered by The Jewish National Fund, which does not allow its use by non-Jews.

Racism is in the nature of a colonial settler state. What is remarkable is the degree to which Zionists deny this. Kovel gives examples of a top Israeli general calling Palestinians “drugged cockroaches in a bottle”; he cites a 2006 poll showing that more than two-thirds of Israelis would refuse to live in the same building as Arabs and that the idea of deporting Arab citizens is popular. Many Jewish soccer fans curse and attack Arab members of their national team.

Kovel writes, reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson, that no state has an absolute right to exist, hence all states are to some degree illegitimate; he adds that states may be relatively or absolutely illegitimate, and that a racist state is illegitimate. Israel, being an exclusively Jewish state, is a racist state. He concludes that “the problem then is with Zionism and the Jewish state as such, and not its illegal occupation of the West Bank.” The point is to change it, “to dissolve the Jewishness of the state. For this, one does not smash or trample Zionism; one overcomes it and frees people from its chains.”

He goes beyond the two-state solution, necessarily, because by steady aggression and aggrandizement the Zionists have whittled the Palestinian territory down to 8% of what it was in 1948, leaving the natives with a negligible fragment, without much water, polluted, economically unviable, denuded of its agriculture, isolated by Jewish-only roads, and partly encircled by an obscene wall.

What to do? Speak the truth about Israel. Expose the Zionist lobby. Force it to register as an agent of a foreign government. Bring lawsuits for violations of human rights, as the Center for Constitutional Rights did against an Israeli general for mass killing in a village, or against the US Caterpillar company for making gargantuan bulldozers sold wittingly to the Israeli army for the express purpose of house demolition (one of which, ran over and killed Rachel Corrie, to whom Kovel partly dedicates his book). Place Israel where it belongs, in the company of apartheid South Africa. Cut the threads of Israel’s support system; boycott it academically, economically, and culturally.

Palestinians are the largest and oldest refugee population in the world. Central to the campaign against Zionist Israel is to support their right of return. Zionism can thus be brought down in an entirely peaceful manner. The Right of Return is more basic than liquidating the occupation, which would leave the Zionist state unchanged. The Right of Return would require the end of the occupation as a pre-condition and can directly undo the Jewishness of the state with the returnees having full and equal rights. Even now, counting the occupied territories, the population is roughly 50/50, Jew and Arab.

The new state – “Palesrael” – could reshape itself according to the South African anti-apartheid precepts of recognition and responsibility, which point to a society organized along essentially non-capitalist lines. Kovel knows that this will not come easily and that the outcome will depend partly on unforeseeable convulsions in the outside world. He concludes: “Such is the reality facing dreamers for a better world: a slim chance, and a long haul. As ever, it is the journey that counts, the seeking of good conscience, good will, and good comrades.”

This is a rich, multi-layered book, reflecting the author’s wide reading and travel. Kovel’s background as a psychiatrist is evident in his wise understanding. Judaeophobia in Nazi Germany “draws from a time when Jews were, if not blameless, at least powerless and were made to pay the debts demanded by the anticommunism of the fascist state and by Christendom’s bad conscience.” He calls it “intellectual barbarism” to take current criticism of Israel as “antisemitism,” but he well understands that given a situation of invasion and occupation of another people’s land, it is not surprising to find “the whole spectrum of human responses … ranging from emancipatory and nonviolent expression to crude atavisms including racist belief.”

Israel has become, in Kovel’s view, the most dangerous place on earth for Jews. It now has the largest gap between rich and poor in the whole industrialized world. Forty percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Half of Israeli families cannot meet their monthly bills. Kovel reports that the immediate cause of this has been a fierce neoliberal assault on the poor and the public sector, which has left Israel with “the worst primary and lower secondary education in the Western world.” Socialist ideals lie in ruins. As a result, a serious amount of emigration is taking place, with some 760,000 Israelis living abroad in 2004. Jews leaving Russian prefer, ironically, to go to Germany.

I think that if persons concerned about the problems of Jews and Zionism could have but one book on the subject on their shelf, it should be this one.
 

Michael S. Smith
About Michael Smith

Michael S. Smith is a lawyer, author and radio host. He can be heard on "Law and Disorder." http://lawanddisorder.org/

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42 Responses

  1. OlegR
    OlegR
    August 17, 2013, 11:03 am

    /Kovel believes that the creation of Israel in 1948, as a colony of settlers who established an exclusively Jewish and discriminatory state, has created a multi-faceted disaster – “a dreadful mistake” – that should be undone, with Israel de-Zionized and integrated into the Middle East./

    I think mister Kovel should go and integrate himself with the nearest wall.
    At high speed if possible.

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride
      August 18, 2013, 9:14 am

      OlegR,

      I think mister Kovel should go and integrate himself with the nearest wall. At high speed if possible.

      So your reasoned response to Joel Kovel’s observation that Zionism has been “a dreadful mistake” is that he should suffer a violent death.

      Is this an example of effective pro-Israel public relations that is going to win the hearts and minds of the non-Jewish world? Or does it nicely support Kovel’s point?

      Nothing has done more to undermine the reputation of Zionism around the world than the angry and abusive rhetoric of so many pro-Israel activists.

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        August 20, 2013, 3:57 am

        Some texts such as this one don’t deserve a reasoned response.

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride
      August 18, 2013, 10:53 am

      OlegR,

      I think mister Kovel should go and integrate himself with the nearest wall. At high speed if possible.

      Your comment brought to mind the recent mishap of Michael Hastings.

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        August 20, 2013, 3:56 am

        That wasn’t me dude.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 18, 2013, 11:21 am

      Go back to your homeland, Russian.

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        August 20, 2013, 3:55 am

        You say the word Russian as if it were an insult…
        I am from Ukraine Rupublic in USSR btw not that you would know the difference.

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      August 18, 2013, 11:29 am

      Witness the standard zionist response: violence.

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        August 20, 2013, 3:59 am

        Said the representative of a people that think that cartoons are reason enough to burn embassies.

  2. Keith
    Keith
    August 17, 2013, 12:09 pm

    Excellent review of a wonderful book which I highly recommend.

  3. Obsidian
    Obsidian
    August 17, 2013, 12:17 pm

    Norm Finkelstein has recently mused that no one’s reading his books anymore because of the internet and people’s short attention spans.

    Mr. Kovel will very likely come to the same conclusion.

  4. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride
    August 17, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Joel Kovel on the organic ideological connections between Judaism and Zionism:

    Kovel writes that the ethical reference point for Jews is the tribal unit. Since ancient times they set themselves off as “a people apart,” chosen by Jehovah, with whom they have a covenant. In Kovel’s view, “Zionism’s dynamic was drawn from the most tribal and particularistic stratum of Judaism, and its destiny became the restoration of tribalism in the guise of a modern, highly militarized and aggressive state,” which they implanted in the center if Islam. Herein lies the tragedy.

    Until this issue is addressed squarely, little practical traction is going to be gained in the critique of Zionism.

    Contemporary Judaism has erected an impenetrable iron wall around Zionism — and the discussion of this problem has been defined as thoroughly off limits in mainstream public discourse — even on the progressive left. For many, the subject is anxiety-inducing in the extreme.

    • Ariram
      Ariram
      August 21, 2013, 3:45 pm

      All the founding fathers of the Zionist movement were secular Jews. They were motivated by nationalism, not by religion. In fact, they founded the movement of national liberation of the Jewish people. And, to the great disappointment of Kovel, they succeeded beyond any expectation. There is no precedent of a people, who lost its territorial base for more than 1900 years, was dispersed all over the world, and still being able to preserve its historical memory and reestablish its nation-state in the place of its birth. If one adds to that the revival of the Hebrew language, dead for many centuries and now a living and vibrant tongue, one can see how successful was the Zionist movement.
      And, Kovel should go back and read what Jabotinsky, one of In the most important Zionist leaders said about the Arabs in Palestine. He wrote that in the future state, all citizens, regardless of their religion, ethnic origin or gender will have equal rights. He also proposed that if the prime mister will be Jewish, the vice-premier will be Arab and vice versa. In one of his best known poems he wrote: “There (in the future state) will be prosperity and happiness for the son of the Arab, the son of the Christian and my son.”
      In 1947, when the Zionist movement accepted the UN partition plan, it accepted the fact that two peoples live in Mandatory Palestine and both have the right to self-determination and statehood.
      If the Arabs had not rejected the UN plan and had not started a war against the
      Palestinian Jews, today their state would have been 65 y old and there would have been no refugees.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        August 21, 2013, 5:07 pm

        “In fact, they founded the movement of national liberation of the Jewish people.”

        No, what they founded was a mafia, designed to steal the land of another people and subjugate them. That’s all zionism is: organized crime. Nothing more.

        “He wrote that in the future state, all citizens, regardless of their religion, ethnic origin or gender will have equal rights. ”

        And he was clearly wrong about that, because zionism is a Jewish-supremacist system. It is racist by its very nature.

        “If the Arabs had not rejected the UN plan and had not started a war against the Palestinian Jews”

        Nope. That’s a lie akin to Holocaust denial. It was the hordes of European Jews who conspired to wage aggressive war against the Palestinians in the Palestinians own land, dating from the 19th century that is the cause of all this trouble.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        August 22, 2013, 4:50 am

        @ Ariram

        “If the Arabs had not rejected the UN plan and had not started a war against the
        Palestinian Jews, today their state would have been 65 y old and there would have been no refugees.”

        The Arabs entered the Palestinian partition land immediately after the Jews declared their state in ’48, and the subsequent war was fought nearly entirely on that side–the Arabs trying to stem the Jewish takeover and dispossession of the Palestinians that began in late ’47 and continued until ’49.

  5. Citizen
    Citizen
    August 17, 2013, 2:04 pm

    “Kovel knows that this will not come easily and that the outcome will depend partly on unforeseeable convulsions in the outside world. ”

    I think the name of the first convulsion will be Iran, an Israel will be the instigator. Many convulsions to follow.

    convulsion:
    ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (originally in the sense ‘cramp, spasm’): from Latin convulsio(n-), from the verb convellere (see convulse) .

  6. tokyobk
    tokyobk
    August 17, 2013, 2:41 pm

    He may have been a ‘bad’ Jew but he converted, as noted here. So, hopefully now he is a good Christian (or whatever he wants to be).

    • tree
      tree
      August 17, 2013, 3:27 pm

      Which points out one of the oddities of the definition of “Jewish”. You can be an atheist and still be called a Jew, even though atheism goes against the primary tenet of Judaism, by defining “Jew” as an ethnicity. But if you become a “Christian” you are no longer considered a Jew, despite your ethnicity never changing, of course.

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      August 17, 2013, 4:30 pm

      What does Kovel’s personal religious identity (or not) have anything to do with the book he has written on the dire need for a people to overcome Zionism?

      Zionism is a late 19th century racist based nationalist ideology. The last of such Western colonial enterprises to justify horrific annihiation of another people in another land.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 18, 2013, 5:02 am

        It may or may not have anything to do with his attitudes towards Zionism.

        The article from 2007 mentions that he is not religious. In fact, he later converted.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        August 18, 2013, 5:16 am

        tokyobk, Soooooo? Your comment is an irrelevant diversion — intended to somehow discredit the man, amd thus his message. By doing that, you discredit yourself.

    • OlegR
      OlegR
      August 17, 2013, 4:59 pm

      Typical

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        August 18, 2013, 5:16 am

        Oleg, typical what???

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      August 17, 2013, 8:40 pm

      Is Christianity is his ethnicity? If not, what is his ethnicity?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 21, 2013, 10:37 pm

        “Is Christianity is his ethnicity? If not, what is his ethnicity?”

        Maybe he hasn’t got one.

  7. yrn
    yrn
    August 17, 2013, 3:31 pm

    This is typical to all Israeli/Jews that hates Israel and find out that they hate themself of been Jewish.
    Most just copy them self, you will read almost the same arguments from Israel Shamir (Also Converted), Uri Davis (Also Converted) Gilad Atzmon (Ex-Jew who despise the Jew inside him) , Ilan Pape and more.
    The Israelis of this type, first left Israel as they thought that this will give them comfort, but then they found out that there is something more then that and found Out that been Jewish is the part they must get rid of in order to stay alive and converted.
    This is a common scenario and a common Psychic mentality issue.

    Same as for some here…………..

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 18, 2013, 11:23 am

      What a load of vlel nonsense. People like you have redefined Jewishness to include the most brutal racism and you dare complain when better people than you’ll ever be reject the inclusion if fhis zionist poison?

      • yrn
        yrn
        August 21, 2013, 1:41 pm

        As Usual, you can’t debate with the truth.

  8. just
    just
    August 17, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Palesrael!!! 1S1P1V!!!

    I’ve been kind of tired of the habit of always putting Israel first anyway– I/P, Israel Palestine, etc.

    Thanks, Phil.

    A huge thank you to Dr. Joel Kovel!

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      August 18, 2013, 11:40 am

      While the concept is sound, Palesrael is an ugly concoction, as is Israstine – there would be ridiculous arguments about who “won” or didn’t win because “Isra…” or “Pal…” came first in the word.

      I’ve previously proposed with Taxi that a single state be renamed something entirely new such as the Republic of Jerusalem, which hebrew speakers would call [hebrew for: Republic of] Yerushaleym and arabic speakers [arabic for: Republic of] Al Quds.

      The old paradigm of Israel vs Palestine need to be discarded; for it to succeed a single state must convey the idea of unity and co-existence, and neither side can feel they have lost or won – which will definitely occur if the resulting single state is named either Israel or Palestine. There’s obviously a whole lot more that needs to occur for a single state to succeed, but getting the name right is important as all parties have to be able to invest in the idea, which they won’t do if they feel they are losers from the outset.

  9. American
    American
    August 17, 2013, 4:06 pm

    Sold, got to have this book.
    Been sold on Kovel since one of his essays appeared on MW.
    He is one of, if not the clearest mind on Israel and Zionism I’ve ever encountered.
    He just ‘sees it” for what it is….unclouded by whatever he personally is or was religiously or ethnically.

  10. Don
    Don
    August 17, 2013, 8:08 pm

    “and one”s own inner being, which would have to be retooled from the self-image of an ethical victim to that of a ruthless conqueror. All of these obstacles could be dealt with by signing onto Western imperialism and capitalism.”

    From “ethical victim” to “ruthless conqueror”. ..This, it seems to me, is the “almost” fundamental explanation for this conflict.

    When Jews, and non-Jews, seem confused by Jewish brutality…Roger Cohen of the NY Times comes to mind…”how could Jews do this”…it is because Jews did not replace one identity with another…they ADDED one…”ruthless conqueror”, while keeping the other “ethical victim”.

    This has allowed some Jews (Israelis) to engage in brutality, other Jews (non Israeli) to support that brutality wholeheartedly…and all Jews to still see themselves as the “ethical victim”.

  11. southernobserver
    southernobserver
    August 17, 2013, 8:52 pm

    Palesrael sounds much better than Isratine. May it succeed.

  12. Betsy
    Betsy
    August 18, 2013, 9:42 am

    yet another piece saying TRIBAL society = BAD. TRIBAL society = the underlying cause of the problem. E.g. this makes it sounds like the problem can be solved by cleansing so-called “modern” nation-state societies from the lingering nastiness of premodern, pre-State societies

    I disagree. I think the problem is EMPIRE (notably US military/industrial complex entanglements w/ military-driven authoritarian regimes elsewhere), RACISM & ETHNONATIONALISM (especially when ethnic identity is used by elites to fan enmity against opposition & solidarity w/ plutocrats & militarized authorities). This nasty complex emerges from the structures of nation-states It is very much a dysfunction of States. However, imperial states have consistently used the trope of ‘tribalism’ to smear the pre-state or non-state peoples that they are oppressing. I suspect this was an element of anti-Semitism in Europe in past. It’s very ironic that now in US, how this discredited metaphor of ‘tribalism’ is used re/ Jewish ethnonationalism, or to describe Arabs. Something’s wrong here.

    Elsewhere on Mondoweiss — I’ve talked about how unfair this smearing of tribal societies is to the contemporary justice movements among indigenous peoples.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/06/palestinians-interview-braverman.html/comment-page-1#comment-568209

    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/06/palestinians-interview-braverman.html/comment-page-1#comment-568002

  13. jon s
    jon s
    August 18, 2013, 12:05 pm

    “At the turn of the 20th century, a Zionist conference in Vienna delegated several rabbis to travel to Palestine on a fact-finding mission. The rabbis cabled back, “the bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.””

    That story, again? It’s a fabrication.

  14. American
    American
    August 18, 2013, 1:16 pm

    “Zionism’s dynamic was drawn from the most tribal and particularistic stratum of Judaism, “>>>>

    I think that is true in the sense that with the invention of the One God Judaism religion—some ‘tribal political tools’ came along with it for the Rabbi leaders, who in ancient times promoted that they were ‘royal line descendents/priest’ similar to what were considered other royal line rulers of nations at the time. They sought to empower themselves (and their tribe followers) not just as religious leaders but as nation leaders..hence the idea of the ‘religiously chosen’ could be extended to the idea of a special ‘people nation ‘ chosen.
    Without going into all the historical clues and evidence for why the tribal cohesiveness has persisted and what fostered and allowed for the eternal Jews vr Others belief and dynamic, I think it probably comes down to something very simple.
    Some where along the way of all the ancient tribal conflicts Jews and others were involved in their leadership told them the same thing bad leaders always try to tell their populations…’our enemies hate us just for who are are, not anything we’ve done”….just as George tried to tell Americans after 911.
    For whatever reason this rationalizing stuck with the Jews. It may have been because they were a minority tribe in numbers and a lesser power and so were often defeated in conflicts and the ‘no fault’ belief made them more righteous as innocent victims, not just ‘losers’ in these battles–and easier to keep the tribe clinging together and loyal to only each other and against those they were told hate them for no reason.
    And I think thats how it’s been ever since and in some ways this did create a self fulfilling prophecy of treatment of Jews as ‘outsiders’ in nations and other-ism in Jews toward non Jews that plagued them down the centuries.
    Now Zionism is the ultimate expression of this.
    And imo after WWII the Jews zigged when they should have zagged –they went for the zionism ‘world forever against us” and visa versa–instead of the home free
    protection against persecution by all nations that the nazi holocaust generated.
    Will it ever end? I dont know, half the world’s Jewish population lives secure in other nations outside of Israel and yet many of them are the most rabid supporters of the false premise of zionism.

  15. jon s
    jon s
    August 18, 2013, 5:07 pm

    This review, and Joel Kovel’s ideas, are truly worthy of each other:
    -Zionism never sought to create an “ethnically pure” Jewish state”.
    -The bombing of the British headquarters ( the King David hotel) took place in 1946, not 1948.
    -Yitzhak Shamir had no connection to what happened at Deir Yassin, he wasn’t in the country at the time.
    -Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006, so the PM during the Lebanese war of that year was Ehud Olmert.
    And, of course, the “bride is beautiful ” myth…

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride
      August 19, 2013, 9:37 am

      jon s,

      Are you failing to see the forest for the trees?

      The core question is: why should non-Jews support Jewish ethnic and/or religious nationalism when on principled grounds, and as a matter of pragmatic self-interest, they have rejected ethnic and religious nationalism as a political tool for themselves — especially in modern Western democracies?

      Why would Jews want to associate themselves with a 19th century racialist (and since discredited) ideology that damages their relations with non-Jews in societies that have been most friendly to Jews?

      Your thoughts?

      Are you a potential creative and big thinker on Zionism? Or just one of the dutiful and programmed foot soldiers who takes commands from a self-appointed priesthood? Can you think for yourself as an individual?

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 20, 2013, 6:59 am

        Seanmcbride,
        In answer:
        -I’m trying not lose sight of the forest, and I don’t think I’m nit-picking by pointing out factual errors. I think that the lack of factual accuracy reflects a lack of seriousness on the part of the writer.
        -I assume that fair-minded non-Jews will support concepts that they consider fair and in the interest of peace. So the question is whether ,say, the principle of partition and the two-state solution is consistent with those concepts. In my view the answer is yes.
        – I don’t think that nationalism -ethnic or religious – is a thing of the past (“rejected”, in your words). There is a huge number of nation- states in the world today. As a matter of fact, since the fall of Communism , the breakup of the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, the number of nation-states has even increased. And there may be more on the way: in the next few years we may see independence for Scotland and Catalonia, two more nation-states.
        – I certainly don’t want to see Jews associated with racism. Jews seeking to achieve the same rights accorded to other peoples are not expressing racism.
        -I’m not under the command of anyone. Are you?

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 21, 2013, 7:57 am

        >> Jews seeking to achieve the same rights accorded to other peoples are not expressing racism.

        In many (most?) countries in the world, citizens of the Jewish faith have the same rights as their fellow citizens. In the cases where they do not have the same rights, the just and moral thing to do is to advocate for equal rights.

        The unjust and immoral thing to do is to advocate for and support the existence of a supremacist state in which citizens not of the Jewish faith do not have the same rights as citizens of the Jewish faith.

        And that is what Zio-supremacists do: They advocate for the “right” of Jews to be supremacists.

  16. August 18, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Browsing through articles and comments on this site with their anti Israeli and anti Zionist hatred and venom I had a simple realization which somehow made all this suddenly useful to me. In my student years in Leningrad (nowdays St. Petersburg) Jews often heard the anti-semitic “Jews, go to your damn Israel” . “…To Your Israel!”. And so I did. So I did. And convinced others to do so and taught them Hebrew and Jewish history to make them want to. So that they and their children would not have to hear thoso words. – “Go to your Israel”.
    And the world was on our side. Overwhelmingly. Demonstration supporting our struggle in Europe, US, South America. Remember Jackson – Vanick amendment
    (link to link to en.wikipedia.org)
    USSR was conditioned on letting “my people go” if it wanted to get a prefered trade status with US, etc. That was in 1970′s.

    Nowdays Anti Zionists tell us “Go back to were you came from”. In fact in my short activity on this site I personally got this in one of the “friendly replies” (by one Tanaka) “Then go back to your damn homeland ….”.

    Thinking of this made me realize what is the OBJECTIVE relation between Anti Zionism and Aniti Semitism. They are not identical as some argue. Not necessarily. Rather they complement each other in a perfect way saying essentially that “there is no room for you, damn Jews on this earth”. Indeed the two statements
    “Go to you damn Israel” and “Go to your damn homeland” complement each other perfectly, meaning : “No place for you damn Jews”. That was by the way exactly the Nazi’s program. Only modern Anti Zionists do not mention the first part of the equation – the Anti Semitic “Go to Israel”.

    Historically, Zionism (in its modern political form) was invented by Hertzl in 90′s of XIX century in response to the growing European Anti Semitism. Hertzl solution was simple – Jews should do what the Anti Semites were demanding – go to your Israel. And Jews did. Too slowly – the 6 millions of them were not fast enough. Now what do Anti Zionists blame us for? Settlers, colonists, suprema… what’s the term? Bottom line – “go back to your damn homeland”. And face Anti Semitism. Or disappear (assimilate, convert, merge with 8 mln Palestinians, etc). That is what I have realized on this website.

    If this will be posted – no need to comment just read and Think. No anti Zio venom please. If really needed – only non zero info.

    • OlegR
      OlegR
      August 21, 2013, 4:53 am

      Well Philip here thinks that living in the Golah is all fine and dandy
      the US Jews are doing great (they are) so no need for the Jewish state.
      That basically is his argument even before we say a word about Palestinians.
      Of cause he once said that if the Jews wen’t the way of the dodo (culturally that is)
      he will just shrug and move on.

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