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Jews must ditch Zionism, now

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When Israeli soldiers shoot, maim and kill unarmed Palestinian protestors living under Israeli siege in Gaza – where has Zionism taken us?

When a nation descended from refugees turns it back on African asylum seekers because they will dilute the Jewish purity of the State – what moral integrity does Zionism have?

When the President of the Board of Deputies in Britain describes a left-wing religious Jewish group as “a source of virulent antisemitism” because they openly criticise Israel – what madness has Zionism created?

As Israel turns 70 later this month, Zionism, the political ideology that propelled the Jewish State into existence, is showing all of its failings and exposing the destructive force it’s always been for Palestinians and, indeed, for Jews.

For everyone’s sake, it’s high time we ditched it.

The ‘Jewish Question’ 

Zionism at the end of the 19th century set out to provide a distinctly Jewish response to what was described as ‘The Jewish Question’. How could Jews break free from centuries of oppression and discrimination? Where could Jews find safety and security and lead a normal life in a place that could be called ‘home’?

Zionism’s answer to ‘the Jewish Question’ was the revival of Jewish nationalism with the aim of ‘returning to’ and ‘recreating’ our ancient biblical kingdom. It was influenced as much by European ‘blood and soil’ nationalism as it was by socialism and the collective memory of ‘Eretz Yisrael’ carried with us through sacred texts and daily liturgy.

But whether nationalist, socialist or religious, Zionism has failed to address the Jewish Question. The State of Israel has neither normalised nor made safe the Jewish people.

If successive Israeli leaders are to believed, Israel is permanently under genocidal threat.

Right now we have the nuclear ambitions of Tehran; the would-be Palestinian murderers about to tear down the Gaza fence; and the campaigners in Europe and North America using boycotts, divestment and sanctions to throw the Jews into the sea. So what happened to the ‘safe haven’ in times of trouble? In 2018 Israel must be the least safe place for a Jew to live.

As for antisemitism, Zionism was meant to address this by taking Jews out of the continent of Europe which had given birth to it. But according to Israel’s advocates, antisemitism has not gone away but mutated into anti-Zionism. Not only does this call into question the point of Zionism in the first place, it’s also a convenient framing that makes opposition to Zionism look like hateful extremism.

Rather than address the causes of antisemitism, Zionism has confused and complicated matters, making it more difficult to agree what antisemitism is and how best to combat it.

Defending Israel, defending Zionism and castigating its critics takes up a disproportionate amount of the diaspora community leadership’s time. But it’s worse than that. The pro-active position on Israel and Zionism that’s been adopted by Jewish leaders around the world creates distorted and strained relationships between the Jewish community and other faiths groups.

New Jewish Questions

Since the late 1980s, the Zionist narrative of ‘Jewish Return’ as part of a righteous and moral endeavour of Jewish national self-determination has been challenged by Jewish Israeli historians gaining access to Israel’s own government archives.

There has been a growing understanding that the indigenous Arab population of Palestine paid a high price for the triumph of Jewish nationalism. The historical record shows that Zionism was never just an innocent endeavour which Arab hostility and irrational Jew hatred attempted to thwart.

Zionism and the creation of the State of Israel created a brand new set questions about Jewish security and Jewish identity just as urgent and just as fundamental as those of the 19th century.

What happens when the Jewish people become colonisers?

What happens when we create a State that constitutionally discriminates against its own non-Jewish citizens?

What happens when we become occupiers?

What happens when we besiege and annex another people’s land?

By holding dear to Zionism, Jewish communities around the world are trapped in a state of collective denial about the past and the present. Not only do we refuse to accept what’s taken place, we’ve made ourselves incapable of seeing it.

Zionism and Judaism

We pray for Israel and its armed forces in our synagogues; our communal leaders advocate on its behalf, chastise its critics, stay silent on its misdemeanours; and Israeli Independence Day itself has been made a minor Jewish festival celebrated not according to the secular Gregorian calendar but by the Hebrew lunar calendar.

But if Zionism is Judaism and Judaism is Zionism what’s left of the ethical Jewish tradition? Because now the Nakba is Judaism. The Occupation is Judaism. The siege of Gaza is Judaism. The question becomes not only what is Zionism but what is Judaism? Is Judaism no more than the defence of a colonial project of dispossession? And if our Rabbis find such a statement abhorrent, why don’t they speak out against the atrocities being committed and then excused in the name of our faith.

Liberal Zionism

Liberal Zionists insist that the ideology of Zionism is still fundamentally sound and can be redeemed from its current difficulties through a two-state solution. Such a position now looks not only naive but a deliberate attempt to obscure the truth.

Liberal Zionists still treasure the Israeli Declaration of Independence signed on 14th May 1948 with its promise of equality for all Israel’s citizens. But in truth that was a deceit from the beginning. There is no true democracy on either side of the ‘Green line’. Try asking Palestinian Israelis if, after 70 years, they think the Israeli Government treats them as equal citizens or a demographic threat to the Jewish State?

Dividing not unifying

For a younger generation of Jews living outside of Israel, the Jewish State is no longer an idea that creates communal unity or a satisfying secular or religious Jewish identity.

Younger Jews have learnt too much about the forced displacement and on-going discrimination against an indigenous people to accept that Zionism was, and still is, an innocent project of Jewish liberation.

They have questioned the myths and narratives accepted by their parents and grandparents, while their own understanding of what it should mean to ‘be Jewish’ in the 21st century feels offended by what they see happening in a country that claims to exist and act in their interests.

In America you see the growing inter generational divide at work with the rise of Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now. In Britain the latest twist in the ‘Get Corbyn’ saga has given a healthy profile to a young group of religious and leftist Jews called Jewdas disenchanted by a Jewish establishment which is attempting to police who is a ‘good Jew’ and who is a ‘bad Jew’ based on criteria set by Zionism.

How to mark Israel at 70?

As Israel turns 70 there’s nothing to celebrate but there are many lives to mourn.

The dead and wounded Palestinians shot by Israeli army snipers on the Gaza border over the last two weeks is what makes Zionism a crime rather than just a political failure for the Jewish people.

The latest atrocity, is just that, the latest atrocity in a long line of Israeli atrocities, which Zionism attempts to legitimise and justify. The news reporting rarely reminds the public why there are so many Palestinians crammed into the Gaza Strip, how they got there or where their grandparents came from. But without that knowledge you cannot understand this year’s Great March of Return 70 years on.

If you are Palestinian the idea of another people celebrating the moment of your national catastrophe is profoundly immoral. The growing number of Jews who have understood that Zionism has been a ‘wrong turning’ in Jewish history will not be celebrating either. Instead we’ll stand with Palestinians to mark the 70th anniversary of their Nakba on 15th May.

Only one thing is certain, Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.

After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.

As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.

This post first appeared on the Patheos site

Robert Cohen
About Robert Cohen

Cohen is a British writer. He blogs at Micah's Paradigm Shift. http://micahsparadigmshift.blogspot.co.uk/

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39 Responses

  1. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    April 8, 2018, 3:24 pm

    Yes, but not only that we ditch Zionism, that we return to the not so long ago when concern for social justice and equality defined us. Task number one on this new agenda, our helping Palestinians attain justice, whereupon it’s onward towards the long sought just and peaceful world of our dreams.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 8, 2018, 4:14 pm

      “As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.”

      Okay, but make sure to rent the room under a false name and leave no forwarding address!

      • April 8, 2018, 8:17 pm

        “Okay, but make sure to rent the room under a false name and leave no forwarding address!”

        But how then will Palestinians locate Zionist Jews for reparations? What’s good for the goose …

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 8, 2018, 5:32 pm

      Maybe the Jewish Establishment’s main motivation (as distinguished from the Jewish American youth’s idealism) for being big fans of the Civil Rights Movement and 1965 Immigration Act in US was because they wanted to fragment the white status quo by diluting its majority power-numerical white majority status so it could never turn Naziesque If so, the consistency would be the same motivation for Zionist intent to retain the status quo & ethnically erase the Palestinians so they’d never become the majority in the Holy Land? If so, in both cases, then, the main motive is the same: preemptive tribe survival strategy.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 9, 2018, 12:30 pm

        “big fans of the Civil Rights Movement and 1965 Immigration Act in US was because they wanted to fragment the white status quo by diluting its majority power-numerical white majority status”

        I think you’re sort of over-thinking that one. The Jews meant to mongrelise the white race with miscegenation in America so it couldn’t unite and turn against them? That’s a stretch.

      • gamal
        gamal
        April 9, 2018, 2:19 pm

        “The Jews meant to mongrelise the white race with miscegenation in America”

        How? …immigration? and then what…Mongrelise the Miscegenate….I found my superhero name,

        my power will be “having sex with white people” few know how and they rarely bother on their own, mostly they use robots now, mostly.

  2. rhkroell
    rhkroell
    April 8, 2018, 4:16 pm

    Thank you Robert Cohen. Forceful argumentative essays like “Jews must ditch Zionism, now” are why I love reading MW.

    “Liberal Zionists insist that the ideology of Zionism is still fundamentally sound and can be redeemed from its current difficulties through a two-state solution. Such a position now looks not only naive but a deliberate attempt to obscure the truth.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with the thrust of your argument, Robert, and appreciate that you have taken the time to craft a brief, cogent, logically-sound argument against “liberal Zionism” (however readers may choose to define that term).

    I love the way you employ salient historical facts throughout this essay to support your argument. My only quibbling reservation concerns language which might cause offense to the faint-hearted, statements like, “Is Judaism no more than the defense of a colonial project of dispossession?” — not that causing offense isn’t necessary, at times, to wake some people from their (seemingly) unconscious stupor(s).

    I would only suggest that Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt and many others represent, for some, a Zionist tradition (or counter-tradition, if you prefer) which was more interested in establishing in Palestine a “Jewish cultural center [which] reject[s] the crude slogans of Balkanized nationalism and [refuses] a vision of Palestine based on ‘ethnic homogeneity and national sovereignty,’” to borrow the language of Ronald Beiner in THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO HANNAH ARENDT (2000), p. 58.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the Herzlian tradition of ethnonational (or ethno-national) sovereignty has prevailed over all other Zionist traditions. But for some students and scholars, Zionism (as a term) may (possibly) be salvageable through the recognition of universal human rights, the right of self-determination and the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

    Some of Hannah Arendt’s arguments seem, to me, particularly prescient. For example, when she writes, “the only alternative to Balkanization [in the M.E.] is a regional federation” because nationalists’ “insistence on absolute sovereignty in such small countries as Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, TransJordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt can lead only to [transforming the whole region] into a battlefield for the conflicting interests of the great powers to the detriment of all authentic nationalist interests” (pp. 58-59).

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      April 8, 2018, 5:57 pm

      Kroell,

      But for some students and scholars, Zionism (as a term) may (possibly) be salvageable through the recognition of universal human rights, the right of self-determination and the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

      Could anyone explain seriously how the right of self-determination may be respected when any people undesirable to the Palestinians reside in Palestine?

      Sounds like the squaring of the circle.

      • rhkroell
        rhkroell
        April 8, 2018, 7:55 pm

        You could submit your first sentence to Merriam-Webster for use as an example of a rhetorical question, but . . . you scotched your “example” by supplying your own proleptic riposte to a question asked solely for dramatic effect.

      • April 8, 2018, 9:07 pm

        echi – Good question – i’ll treat it as a non-rhetorical question so I can avoid the scotching by proleptic riposte issue raised by rhkroell.

        If we believe historic Palestine was stolen by force by European Zionist criminals, the return of historic Palestine to the Palestinians for their determinations necessarily means the right to decide who resides in Palestine. So to answer your question, imo, there can be no sincere or serious argument or explanation for Palestinian self determination in historic Palestine without the right to decide citizenship. Otherwise it sounds like the squaring of a circle.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 9, 2018, 2:17 am

        Kroell,

        True. That was the intended type of question. Now, did your rhetotheatrical answer get you out of having to discuss the illegitimacy of the so-called “cultural” cultivar of Zionist invader colonists?

      • rhkroell
        rhkroell
        April 9, 2018, 1:00 pm

        Since I am unable to respond to your last reply to my earlier comment(s) in what I consider to be the appropriate MW reply slot, echi — due to MW’s highly-regulated reply/comment policy restrictions — I’ll reply “up here” to your last comment: I would suggest to you that I believe a young, radical-left, cosmopolitan vanguard will be exploding on the world scene before too long — given the fact that the mixture of neoliberalism, postmodernism, ethnonationalism and Machtpolitik has created a very volatile zeitgeist — which will no longer be willing to give Zionists a “free pass” on their rampant abuse of human rights.

        By which I mean: I believe Bibi and his team are holding a losing hand any way they play it. You can bluff/cheat/swindle the unwashed masses only so long and then Guerrilla Girls — and many other highly-organized radical insurgent groups — will start popping up like mushrooms all over the world and start making life miserable for the power elite.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 9, 2018, 5:10 pm

        Kroell,

        You again totally avoid to respond –perhaps you intended to send a message to someone else (someone trendy, by the sound of it), somewhere else. At any rate, it has jackspit to do with whatever was in discussion.

        Anyway, you still aren’t exonerated from the onus of having invited a discussion on the so-called cultural variety of Zionist criminals.

      • rhkroell
        rhkroell
        April 10, 2018, 12:18 am

        Echi: I did not realize you were so obsessed about not getting my opinion on the likelihood of the Palestinian people ever securing their legal right of self-determination. If you had posed this question in an explicit manner, you might have obtained my opinion without becoming emotionally bent.

        My opinion is that Israel’s defense of their apartheid system appears to be eroding among younger Jews around the world (but not in Israel), so the likelihood of the Palestinians ever obtaining their legal right of self-determination in the current international world system would appear to be improving. I don’t have any reliable polling data to support this claim, however, because it is not an area in which I have made an effort to gather reliable statistical evidence.

        I did not want to respond to LHunter’s conflation of the legal right of self-determination in political theory with the Palestinians “right to decide who resides in Palestine,” but since you seem so curious to get me to respond to this issue in an unambiguous manner, I will do so.

        The right of self-determination is a core principle of international law. For example, it is protected in the United Nations Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as a right of “all peoples.”

        “Contemporary notions of self-determination usually distinguish between ‘internal’ and ‘external’ self-determination, suggesting that ‘self-determination’ exists on a spectrum.  Internal self-determination may refer to various political and social rights; by contrast, external self-determination refers to full legal independence/secession for the given ‘people’ from the larger politico-legal state” (Legal Information Institute, accessible online at the Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY). 

        The right of self-determination has nothing whatsoever to do with the Palestinians ever securing a legal “right to decide who resides in Palestine.”

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        April 10, 2018, 12:19 am

        Echinococcus won’t exonerate rhkroell… oh my!

      • rhkroell
        rhkroell
        April 10, 2018, 3:52 am

        Echi: To further clarify my meaning I should have suggested in an unambiguous manner that Palestine is at present, technically, considered an occupied territory. Only if and when the Palestinian people are able to obtain a fully independent and legitimate nation-state recognized by the current international world system will the Palestinian people be able to secure their own legal right of self-determination. Further,

      • rhkroell
        rhkroell
        April 10, 2018, 11:08 am

        Further, echi, what has been promoted as self-determination in theory has proven in practice to be quite open to interpretation. It seems that in the current international world system different nation-states employ different interpretations of the term self-determination, interpretations which seem to best serve their specific political interests and aims. What is self-determination?

        As soon as international lawyers began examining the definition of self-determination in law the term proved to be a concept in which there is in fact no apparent means of general agreement. Is it an absolute right or subject to limitation by the competing claims of other rights.

        Perhaps you can understand why I was so hesitant to begin debating this issue with you and LHunter. It is no exaggeration to describe both the theory and practice of self-determination in state and international law as different things to different people. Self-determination in both theory and practice has turned out to be a tangled wood brimming with prickly nettles which are probably best determined on a case-by-case basis.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 10, 2018, 11:16 am

        Kroell,

        Right, you were answering some unrelated question about some mythical portion of a 2% fraction of population over here –not something ever discussed in that context.

        Yes, the question was one of simple logic and remains totally independent from the current occupation status –it refers to the situation before the Zionist invasion. As to the decision on citizenship and residency to be made exclusively by the rightful owners of a territory, it is a logically binding condition. All the rest is blah.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 10, 2018, 2:28 pm

        “Echinococcus won’t exonerate rhkroell… oh my!”

        Well, if it’s any comfort, “echin” hardly ever exonerates anybody. “rhkroell” can join the rest of us in the condemned cell.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 10, 2018, 3:39 pm

        Mooser,

        He still is trying to pass “cultural” Zionists as acceptable.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 10, 2018, 4:27 pm

        “He still is trying to pass “cultural” Zionists as acceptable.”

        The idiots who praise, with enthusiastic tone
        All centuries but this, and every country but his own;

        Those “cultural Zionists” — he’s got ’em on the list;
        And they’ll none of ’em be missed — they’ll none of ’em be missed.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      April 9, 2018, 10:37 am

      Prophetic comments by six eminent Jews:

      Then Secretary of State for India and the British cabinet’s only Jewish member, Lord Edwin Montagu’s response to Prime Minister Lloyd George following issuance of the illegal 1917 Balfour Declaration: “All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto. You want to force me back there.”

      Henry Morgenthau Sr., renowned Jewish American and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history….The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.” (Quoted by Frank Epp, Whose Land is Palestine?, p. 261)

      Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: “I cannot…I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state….It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

      “…the infinitely heroic [Victor] Klemperer, [a renowned Romance languages scholar and diarist] and a a cousin of the great conductor, showed great compassion for the Palestinian Arabs of the 1930s who feared that they would lose their homeland to a Jewish state. “‘I cannot help myself,’ Klemperer writes on 2 November 1933, nine months after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. ‘I sympathise with the Arabs who are in revolt (in Palestine)….’ Even more devastating is Klemperer’s critique of Zionism…. ‘To me,’ he writes in June of 1934, ‘the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of AD70 … are just as offensive as the Nazis. With their nosing after blood, their ancient ‘cultural roots’, their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world….'” (https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-a-lesson-from-the-holocaust-for-us-all-6104968.html) Robert Fisk, The Independent, March 31, 2006)

      Albert Einstein, 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.” (Einstein and Zionism by Banesh Hoffmann, in General Relativity and Gravitation, eds. G. Shaviv and J. Rosen, Wiley, 1975, p. 242)

      Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

  3. Blake
    Blake
    April 8, 2018, 4:36 pm

    From the many books I have read on the creation of zionism the roads always lead back to the British. Created for imperialist strategic/geopolitical reasons the zionist Jews are merely pawns in that game.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 8, 2018, 5:43 pm

      Well, yes, Balfour may have promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine for consensus by both british leaders & Zionists on both sides of the pond that they’d all work to drag the USA into the war–Britain was not winning the war and it owed American big business & bankers, including many Jewish ones a pile of dough. Britain was heavily in debt at the time. How to get it paid if Britain lost the war?

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        April 9, 2018, 10:30 am

        @Citizen

        To be precise, the illegal Balfour Declaration did not promise “a Jewish homeland” in Palestine.
        It viewed “…with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish peoples….” A “national home” in Palestine is neither a state nor a homeland.

    • April 8, 2018, 9:17 pm

      More like puppeteers than pawns. Zionists were and are conniving opportunists not pylons or pawns.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      April 9, 2018, 10:51 am

      @Blake

      “…the Zionist Jews” were much more than “merely pawns in that game.”

      To be brief:

      It is important to note that the Zionists were hatching a master plan to dispossess and expel the indigenous Palestinian Arabs as far back as the late 19th century – over 20 years before the beginning of the British Mandate.

      Early political Zionists did not reveal that their ultimate objective was a Jewish state in Palestine. They referred to a Jewish “home” to avoid alarming the Ottoman Turks or alienating fellow Jews within the emancipated communities of Western Europe and the United States. Herzl’s diary entry for September 3, 1898, however, revealed the truth: “Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly it would be this: at Basel I founded the Jewish state…. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years and certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.” (Quoted by David Hirst, in The Gun and the Olive Branch, p. 20)

      In classic colonialist fashion, Theodor Herzl contended that his “Jewish state” would protect Europe and its superior culture from the uncivilized East. “We should there [in Palestine] form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” (Theodor Herzl, Judenstaat, The Jewish State, 1896, p. 26)

      Herzl’s diaries not only confirm that his objective was the establishment of a “Jewish state” in Palestine, but that it would be an expansionist state. In the year of his death he described its borders as being “…in the north the mountains facing Cappadocia [Turkey], in the south, the Suez Canal [Egypt] in the east, the Euphrates [Iraq].” (Theodor Herzl, The Complete Diaries, 11 p. 711)

      Even more revealing as to how Herzl intended to deal with the Palestinians is the “Charter for Zionist Colonization of Palestine and Syria” which he drafted sometime between the summer of 1901 and early 1902. Much to his disappointment, however, he was denied the opportunity to present it to the Ottoman Sultanate. Article Vl of the charter called for Istanbul to grant the Zionists, in the form of the Jewish-Ottoman Land Company (JOLC), “complete autonomy, guaranteed by the Ottoman Empire” while Article III gave them in effect, the right to deport the native population to other areas of the empire. Article 111 “[pertained] to the Palestinian and other Arab owners and inhabitants of the three categories of land to be purchased/owned by the JOLC – the large and small private landholdings, the Sultan’s state domain, and the land for which there is no title.”

      Israel Zangwill, the influential Anglo-Jewish essayist and Zionist, first believed that the Palestinians would simply “fold their tents and slip away.” It was Zangwill who first voiced the lie that Palestine was a “land without a people, waiting for a people without a land.” (Zangwill, Israel, “The Return to Palestine,” New Liberal Review 11, Dec. 1901 p. 627, quoted by David Hirst, p. 19)

      In 1905, Zangwill contradicted himself during a talk in Manchester when he observed that Palestine was “already twice as thickly populated as the United States…. [W]e must be prepared to either drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population….” (Zangwill, Speeches, p. 210, quoted by Nur Masalah , Expulsion of the Palestinians…., 1992, p. 10)

      In 1918, Ben-Gurion described the future borders of the Jewish state as: “to the north, the Litani River; to the northeast, the Wadi’Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into the Sinai at least up to Wadi al-`Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan.” (Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs, pp. 34-34; cited by Masalah, Expulsion…, p. 87)

      In 1920, Zangwill proposed in The Voice of Jerusalem, that there should be an “‘Arab exodus’…based on ‘race redistribution’ or a ‘trek like that of the Boers from Cape Colony,’ which he advocated as ‘literally the only way out of the difficulty of creating a Jewish State in Palestine.’” He continued: “We cannot allow the Arabs to block so valuable a piece of historic reconstruction….To fold their tents and silently steal away is their proverbial habit: let them exemplify it now.” (Zangwill, The Voice of Jerusalem, p. 103, quoted by Masalha, EOTP pp. 13-14)

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 18, 2018, 6:33 pm

      Define “many” . Six? Pappe. Blumenthal. Massad and atzmon are probably the first four.

  4. Keith
    Keith
    April 8, 2018, 5:45 pm

    ROBERT COHEN- “What makes it so difficult for Jews to ditch Zionism is that it’s undergone a highly successful ‘merger’ with Judaism. Zionism long ago stopped being merely a political project. It’s now understood as the natural heir to three thousand years of Jewish religion, history and culture.”

    Bless you for that! One can only hope that those who illogically continue to see a stark separation between Zionism and Judaism will acknowledge that as Zionism has continued to Judaize itself, so too has Judaism become Zionized. My one quibble is that Zionism was never merely a political project. The early Zionists indicated that Zionism was an affirmation of Jewish peoplehood, Jews as separate from the non-Jewish society. The very concept of “blood and soil” is, in fact, a secular mythological concept where a sense of common peoplehood is created from a highly romanticized “history,” religious symbolism frequently employed even when not literally believed. Israel Shahak conceived of Zionism as a return to Classical Judaism in secular form. Jacob Neusner sees American Judaism as now centered on the Holocaust, with the state of Israel representing symbolic redemption. In his words, “American Judaism must be deemed a wholly Zionist Judaism.” (p8, “Stranger at Home: The Holocaust, Zionism, and American Judaism,” Jacob Neusner).

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 9, 2018, 5:29 am

      Atzmon & Blankfort have something to say about this, don’t they?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 10, 2018, 4:33 pm

      “The very concept of “blood and soil” is, in fact, a secular mythological concept where a sense of common peoplehood is created from a highly romanticized “history,” religious symbolism frequently employed even when not literally believed.”

      Shinto Judaism, with a side of Kosher Kokutai.

  5. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    April 8, 2018, 6:24 pm

    Ditching Zionism sounds lovely to me but will sound very unlovely to many others.

    I believe that some threads of Jewish belief and teaching hold that moral rules binding on Jews are of a universal character — Jews should not murder anyone, for example — and that other threads of Jewish belief and teaching hold that moral rules binding on Jews are non-universal — perhaps to the extent that no duties are owed to non-Jews, who are sometimes described as animals or insects.

    If this is so, then the moral distance between various Jews is as extreme (on this important point) as between anyone else, and one wonders why members of the first group would be supporting members of the second group — which seems to comprise Zionist Israeli-Jews and some Zionists who are not Israeli-Jews.

    This seems to me to be an agreeable argument (to some Jews) for ditching Zionism and support for Israel.

  6. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    April 8, 2018, 7:51 pm

    RE: “If successive Israeli leaders are to believed, Israel is permanently under genocidal threat.” ~ Robert Cohen

    Netanyahu (11/13/2006): “It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust”

  7. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    April 8, 2018, 8:35 pm

    RE: As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’. ~ Robert Cohen

    MY COMMENT: Yes indeed, put that glass curio cabinet right next to the Confederate Stars and Bars !

    Nikki Haley talks about the Confederate flag at a South Carolina debate

  8. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    April 9, 2018, 9:43 am

    How can the Jews ditch Zionism and betray their Christian Zionist friends? Definitely not on.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 9, 2018, 12:17 pm

      “How can the Jews ditch Zionism and betray their Christian Zionist friends?”

      Why, that makes it even easier to ditch Zionism. We’ll just leave, and send our “Christian Zionist friends” the bill!

  9. Keith
    Keith
    April 9, 2018, 10:24 am

    ROBERT COHEN- “But whether nationalist, socialist or religious, Zionism has failed to address the Jewish Question.”

    I beg to differ. Jewish Zionist solidarity and exploitation of the Holocaust has enabled Jewish Zionists to obtain wealth and power in spectacular fashion. Jewish Zionist kinship solidarity has been achieved WITHOUT physical separation from the surrounding society of non-Jews. Additionally, Jewish influence in the media and throughout the doctrinal system has resulted in the virtual elimination of traditional anti-Semitism in the US. By almost any measure, Zionism has been a phenomenal success for American Zionist Jews.

    ROBERT COHEN- “The State of Israel has neither normalised nor made safe the Jewish people.”

    Israeli Jews appear quite safe to me and American Jews as a whole are safer than the average American non-Jew. How many unarmed Jews have been gunned down by police in the last 10 years? How many non-Jews? What is the incidence of assault on Jews versus non-Jews? Anti-Semitism is a negligible problem which is overemphasized due to Zionist power.

  10. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    April 10, 2018, 9:03 am

    Howard Jacobson is a diaspora Jew.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/07/howard-jacobson-jews-know-what-antisemitism-is-and-what-it-isnt-to-invent-it-would-be-a-sacrilege

    “But then came Israel. Or rather, as Israel had been there throughout our childhoods, the systematic anathematising of Israel to the point where it became an abomination.

    The Israel-loathing that began to consume the left altered my sense of being Jewish in this country

    If I think back to moments of Jew-related tension I’ve experienced in the second half of my life, they have almost all been to do with Israel”

    Israel is a toxic brand. Shooting teenagers in the head is not Jewish. Dumping Israel will be excruciatingly hard . So is giving up on an alcoholic. Sometimes such acts are vitally important.

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