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Ethical Jews reject Zionism

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s extreme right-wing government has abandoned any façade of democracy and liberalism and is effectively exposing Zionism as a racist and nationalistic project rooted in white supremacy, settler colonialism and 19th century European fascism. This has led to a profound crisis for Israel, which seeks to conflate Zionist interests with Jewish interests and values and is dependent on its links to American Jews who are predominantly liberal.

Israel’s consistent drift to the right

The rise of reactionary forces in the United States and Europe has served to embolden Israeli aggression and to encourage its continued drift to the right. As a result, the past few months have been especially traumatic for Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Here are some key events:

  1. As a “gift” for Israel’s 70th anniversary, the Trump administration decided to transfer the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a highly controversial move that officially ended any hope for a two state solution in Israel/Palestine.
  2. To protest against the embassy relocation to Jerusalem and to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, Palestinians organized “The Great March of Return”, which attracted thousands of Gazans of all ages.
  3. In response, Israel brutally cracked down on protesters, killing over one hundred and forty and injuring more than sixteen thousand.
  4. On July 14th, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) began yet another bombing campaign of the impoverished Palestinian open air prison of the Gaza strip, adding further to the list of dead and injured.
  5. On July 19th, the Israeli government passed a law titled “Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People”, which effectively defines Israel as a Jewish ethno state and codifies a system of apartheid whereby Palestinian residents are second class citizens.
  6. To add insult to the list of injuries, the Israeli government has proudly coddled the Trump administration, in spite of its racist base. What’s more, Benjamin Netanyahu has openly embraced some of the worst anti-Semitic leaders in the world.

Zionism is white supremacy

Zionism has a long history of collusion with anti-Semitic, white supremacist forces, and champions a form of global apartheid that racists such as American President Donald Trump and “alt-right” fascist Richard Spencer fully endorse. Anti-Semites have been among the Zionist project’s staunchest supporters, including from its beginnings as a fringe, messianic movement that was shunned by most Jews. Zionists have always had an interest in fomenting anti-Semitism worldwide, with the goal of driving Jewish immigration (preferably white) to Palestine/Israel as a means of battling the Palestinian “demographic threat”.

Israeli society’s inherent white supremacist nature has been extensively studied and detailed. It involves discrimination on multiple layers, including against indigenous Palestinians, as well as within Jewish Israeli society.

In fact, recent events only highlight the underlying motivation of Zionism from its early beginnings; i.e. settler colonialism that has formed a parasitic relationship with Judaism.

Young Jews revolt

The linkage between Zionism and Judaism is maintained by consistent historical revisionism and manipulation of the trauma produced by European anti-Semitism, which culminated in the Jewish Holocaust. It sustains support for Israel and serves to stifle effective resistance by attributing “anti-Semitism” to any critique of Israeli policies. Notably, this abuse of the term “anti-Semitism” has watered down and trivialized the real phenomenon of bigotry against Jews and thus further demonstrates the ongoing collusion between Zionism and white supremacy.

However, in spite of Israeli propaganda, an ever-growing number of young Jews have recognized Israel’s consistent drift to the right (see here and here) and its glaring incongruence with liberal Jewish values. Today, these are mostly millennials who were raised on the ethical tradition of Judaism that is in stark contrast to the immoral behavior and exclusivist nature of the Israeli state (and its fundamentalist proponents), which claims to represent them. That said, outrage at the historical mantle of Judaism being claimed by Zionists has been vehemently opposed by sects of the most orthodox Jews for decades (e.g. Neturei Karta).

Israel is extremely threatened by this growing aversion among Jews and has gone as far as barring Jewish American anti-Zionist activists from entering the country. In addition, Israel recognizes only ultra-orthodox Jews as authoritative for determining religious matters and recently outraged many liberal Jews by detaining a conservative Rabbi for officiating non-Orthodox weddings.

Decoupling Zionism and Judaism

This growing awakening within the Jewish community paired with the Israeli state’s desperate counter measures may indicate a hopeful development for those oppressed by the state of Israel; an age of Jewish rejection of Zionism en masse.

To promote this trend, it is essential to further drive a wedge between Zionism and world Jewry by consistently challenging the talking point that equates Zionism with Judaism, and stressing the unethical, and in fact, un-Jewish nature of Zionism from its early beginnings.

Those who subscribe to the hasbara talking point that Zionism represents Judaism are in effect scapegoating all Jews and promoting white supremacy and global apartheid. Blaming Judaism for the crimes of the Israeli state is akin to indicting Islam for Saudi Arabia’s offences or Christianity for America’s.

In fact, decoupling Zionism from Judaism will have multiple positive effects. First, it will enable effective resistance to Zionist settler colonialism by viewing it as a rational, political (as opposed to religious), modern (as opposed to age-old) and therefore solvable issue that is the responsibility of the international community as a whole. Second, it will refocus and thus strengthen efforts to combat the global neo-fascistic surge that is promoting xenophobia and racism, including anti-Semitism, by linking these struggles. Finally, it will encourage solidarity and the formation of coalitions between forces opposed to white supremacy and settler colonialism, including Palestinians, black and brown people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, indigenous groups and white allies capable of confronting their privilege.

Liberal Zionism and Haaretz

Israeli hasbara is arguably the most advanced form of state propaganda in history. It is focused on selling Zionism both at home and abroad as an ideology that can be consistent with moral, liberal values. In fact, many Israelis and Jews still cling to the notion of liberal Zionism as a sustainable model/philosophy that can lead to justice in the land between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.

The news outlet Haaretz is considered the prominent voice of liberal Zionism. As such, in response to the ‘Nation State of the Jewish People’ law, Haaretz published a crafted editorial that condemns Netanyahu’s government, or in its words “the discrimination camp”, and urges members of the Zionist “opposition” (“the equality camp”) to fight back. Here, Haaretz craftily demonstrated its aversion from the grotesquely racist nature of Netanyahu’s camp and placed itself within the sleekly disguised version of the liberal Zionist camp. Thus, for Haaretz, it is a matter of style, not necessarily content.

A case study – when Gadi Taub met Steve Bannon

Steven Bannon and Gadi Taub. Photo: Raheem Kassam

In an approximately 9000-word, front page puff piece for Haaretz’s weekend edition, quaintly titled (in Hebrew) ‘Gadi Taub meets Steve Bannon’ and in English ‘Steve Bannon Tells Haaretz Why the Russians Aren’t the Bad Guys and Why He Can’t Be an anti-Semite’, Taub provides ample space for Steve Bannon, former White House strategist and former executive chairman of the far-right Breitbart News, to outline his political philosophy. Or in other words, a platform to make Bannon’s xenophobia, anti-Semitism and neo-fascism palpable for Haaretz’s liberal Zionist readership (for those unfamiliar with Bannon’s fascistic viewpoints and inspirations, see here, here, here and here).

Steve Bannon’s daughter on Saddam Hussein’s throne. Credit: Reproduction: Gadi Taub

Notably, Taub’s article was featured on the front page of Haaretz’s prestigious weekend edition, not in a short op-ed. Complemented by a photo of Taub himself chatting it up with Bannon around a coffee table, the article includes a disturbing photo of Bannon’s daughter lounging on Saddam Hussein’s couch smiling in her American military uniform. There’s also a one of Rebekah Mercer of the far-right billionaire Mercer family who aided in Trump’s election, and two more of the Clintons, who are Bannon’s useful dupes. 

Here, Taub refers to Bannon’s notions about his anti-Semitism:

With regard to anti-Semitism, Bannon rejected the criticism from the outset. Andrew Breitbart himself was a Jew, he said. The site employed Jewish journalists. Bannon himself recruited Milo Yiannopoulos, who sometimes identifies as Jewish (his maternal grandmother was Jewish), to Breitbart. Breitbart News’ support for Israel has always been consistent, loud and unapologetic. So is Trump’s support for Israel. And then there is also the fact that Trump’s daughter converted to Judaism. So, what anti-Semitism are we talking about? How can anyone even imagine such a thing? “Hey, I’m a Christian Zionist myself,” Bannon told me.

And there you have it. In spite of his well-documented anti-Jewish bigotry, Bannon claims that he cannot be an anti-Semite because he is a Zionist. This perfectly demonstrates the ongoing collusion between Zionism, in all its forms (including Haaretz’s liberal Zionism that only pays lip service when the “style” of oppression is too blatant), and white supremacy.

It is Past Time for Ethical Jews to Reject All Forms of Zionism

It is well past time for ethical Jews to accept the inherent racist and anti-Jewish nature of Zionism, which has manipulated the Jewish religion to morally justify seventy years of settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid of indigenous Palestinians.

With its new ‘The Nation State of the Jewish people law’, Israel seeks to completely merge Zionism with Judaism and to eliminate any anti-Zionist enclaves within- and outside of Israeli society. As such, the state’s security forces continue to criminalize and harass pro-Palestinian, human rights activists, including Jewish Israeli citizens.

Thus, if Jews as Jews are to maintain any moral legitimacy and participate in the fight against the global surge of neo-fascism, they must confront and categorically reject in large and increasing numbers all forms of Zionism.

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

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26 Responses

  1. Ossinev on August 1, 2018, 2:41 pm

    Hava Another Native Village
    Hava Another Native Village
    Hava Nagila Ve-Nismeha

  2. wondering jew on August 1, 2018, 3:48 pm

    Zionism did not appear out of thin air. It appeared as a result of the crisis of the end of the ancient regime in Europe culminating in extreme antisemitism. It also resulted from modernism’s (modern Jewishness) rejection of stoic passivism. It indeed utilized the prevailing zeitgeist of colonialism and the racism such colonialism always implies. It also resulted from the dissolution of the Jewish society of the shtetl desiring a change from religion to politics, but a maintenance of “identity” or tribe or some echo of tradition.

    The historic roots of Zionism are not dealt with by Litvin in this short post. Maybe he can comment on the development of Zionism’s many causes and how these needs will be fulfilled or merely tossed onto the ash heap of history. If so, what is his Judaism. Tikkun olam? That’s fine, but to pretend that this is the natural expression of Judaism or Jewishness is tendentious. Modernity challenges the Jew and Israel has not matched up to the challenge, flubbing it in the personage of Netanyahu and the tradition going back to Ben Gurion. But how to match up to the challenge, which might be impossible. Some words of explanation about this Judaism that is independent of Zionism and what it means might make this piece more meaningful.

    • Bumblebye on August 1, 2018, 4:11 pm

      So frickin’ what?
      Where zionism came from cannot be changed and is irrelevant now.
      It needs to end. Yesterday!

    • y_litvin on August 1, 2018, 4:27 pm

      Thanks for reading, Yonah.

      Yes, Zionism indeed did not appear out of thin air, and I never make that claim, quite the contrary.
      This piece is not meant to deal exclusively with the historic roots of Zionism, though there are links to articles that have more information on this issue where relevant. Info on this is available.

      There are many other expressions of Judaism, which are not necessarily wed to a nationalistic, fundamentalist, settler colonialist vision that oppresses and dispossesses. In fact, Zionism as a messianic movement was shunned by most Jews, as stated, before the Nazi regime implemented its genocidal policies.

      Moses Menuhin wrote about all this in his book “Not by might, nor by power”, which I reviewed for Mondoweiss:

    • Mooser on August 1, 2018, 4:44 pm

      “Maybe he can comment on the development of Zionism’s many causes and how these needs will be fulfilled or merely tossed onto the ash heap of history. If so, what is his Judaism. Tikkun olam? That’s fine, but to pretend that this is the natural expression of Judaism or Jewishness is tendentious.”

      Watch out world, we’re comin at you, all 160 million of us! The world is our ‘ocean vegetable’ which we will open with our yad!

    • Mooser on August 1, 2018, 4:49 pm

      “Some words of explanation about this Judaism that is independent of Zionism and what it means might make this piece more meaningful.”

      “This Judaism that is independent of Zionism”? It’s usually called a ‘religion’, “Yonah”.

    • eljay on August 1, 2018, 6:30 pm

      || Yonah Fredman: Zionism did not appear out of thin air. … ||

      You’re right: Zionism did not appear out of thin air – it was a carefully-crafted ideology which posited that people who choose to hold the religion-based identity of Jewish are entitled:
      – to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine; and
      – to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

      || … Some words of explanation about this Judaism that is independent of Zionism and what it means might make this piece more meaningful. ||

      Some explanation of why you insist on anti-Semitically conflating Jewish supremacism (Zionism) with Judaism might make your blather more meaningful. Or not.

    • Misterioso on August 2, 2018, 10:35 am

      For the record:

      When the Paris Peace Conference was convened on January 18, 1919, the majority of American Jews were non-Zionist. As a result, thirty-one prominent Jewish Americans presented a petition to President Wilson, which he brought to the Peace Conference. The signers included among others, Henry Morgenthau Sr., former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Simon Rosendale, ex-Attorney General of New York, E.M. Baker, President of the Stock Exchange, New York Times publisher, Adlolph S. Ochs and Congressman Julius Kahn. These learned Jews feared that Zionist influence at the peace conference might lay the foundation for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine which they utterly opposed. The petitioners warned against any commitment “now or in the future to Jewish territorial sovereignty in Palestine” and predicted that given the Arab presence in Palestine, Zionist objectives would inevitably lead to a violent struggle between the two groups. In conclusion, they asked the president to argue at the Peace Conference that “…Palestine be constituted as a free and independent state, to be governed under a democratic form of government, recognizing no distinctions of creed or race or ethnic descent….” (Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection, pp. 739-746)

      Ambassador Morgenthau left no doubt as to where he stood on Zionism: “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)

      On August 28, the King-Crane Commission presented its findings to the Allies. The commission’s report stated that while its members were initially in favour of Zionism, they had not choice but to change their minds when they learned of the situation in Palestine and the nature of commitments the Allies had already made to the Arabs. The Commission concluded that the Anglo-French Declaration of 9 November 1918 unequivocally provided for “the complete and definite freeing of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks and the establishment of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and the free choice of the native populations.” The report also asserted that the resolution of the Council of Four declared at the Paris Peace Conference on 30 January 1919, which provided that the principle “that the well-being and development [of the peoples involved formed] a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust shall be embodied in the constitution of the League of Nations” was to be applied. (Quoted by Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, pp. 16-17.)

      In their report the commissioners also pointed out that the Balfour Declaration did not call for a Jewish state in Palestine and it could not be achieved without denying the “civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities….” The commissioners also found “…that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants…by various forms of purchase…” and recommended that “Jewish immigration should be definitely limited”, that “the project for making Palestine a Jewish commonwealth should be given up” and Palestine should be “included in a united Syrian state, just as other portions of the country…” (Howard, Harry N., The King Crane Commission, Beirut: Khayats, 1963; quoted by Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, pp. 17-18.)

    • Mooser on August 2, 2018, 7:25 pm

      “It also resulted from modernism’s (modern Jewishness) rejection of stoic passivism. “

      “Stoic”? It was “Stoic” pacifism or passivity? God damn those Hellenists!

      • echinococcus on August 2, 2018, 10:56 pm

        The word you’re looking for is “Latinists”, both for pacifism and passivity. Not to mention “passivism”. Pax, passivus. The Hellenists are those hated by the stoic non-moderns, no?

    • Talkback on August 12, 2018, 3:43 am

      “Zionism did not appear out of thin air.”

      Neither did Nazism nor Apartheid and other racist ideologies. Everybody is trying to legitimize racism as the only means of survival.

  3. JLewisDickerson on August 1, 2018, 8:07 pm

    RE: “Ethical Jews reject Zionism”

    ■ “What My Escape From Hitler’s Germany Taught Me About Trump’s America”
    • And what Trump’s America teaches us about Netanyahu’s Israel.
    By Henry Siegman | | July 27, 2018
    LINK ~

  4. JohnSmith on August 1, 2018, 10:35 pm

    The use of the term “anti-semitic” here, like the use of the term everywhere, touches on something that I’ve been hoping can be analyzed and researched further: the use of the term “anti-semitic” itself. I think people should talk about things being “anti-Jewish” because the term anti-semitic makes a false claim that Jews are semitic and for the most part they are not.

    It seems that the term was invented in the 19th-century by European Jews making a false, Zionist claim that they are “really” a middle-eastern semitic people. It’s as fantastical a claim as the Hindustanis who claim to be one of the “lost tribes of Israel.” (I guess the term “semitic” applied to Europeans might have also been invented by the crazed, nutcase anthropological researchers of the 19th-century inventing racial categories and using the term to assist in labeling European Jews as “the other.”)

    Use of the term “anti-semitic” props up the racist victimization of Palestinian Jews and Palestinian muslims. The common use of the term “anti-semitic” is itself anti-semitic.

    Someday I hope that there will be a massive research study on Palestinian DNA and European Jewish DNA, because there is likely very little ancestral connection between the European Jewish victimizers of Palestinians and the middle east.

    In fact, this would be quite easy to establish because the Jewish faith is traditionally inherited through the mother: thus, you only need to look at mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is quite straightforward.

    I suspect that Israel has already done these kind of studies, but has never issued any findings because it does not feed into the Zionist mythology about the lost tribes of Israel and Exodus, etc. If the results did prop up their mythology, they would be screaming it from the rooftops. Instead, crickets….

    • SwedishMarkus on August 2, 2018, 5:31 am

      I’m sorry, but like it or not, the term “antisemitism” has been the official term used to describe racism, hostility, prejudice and/or discrimination against Jews (and *only* Jews) for some 140 years now. And no, the term was not invented by European Jews, but by a non-Jewish German agitator and publicist named Wilhelm Marr. He did not like Jews. Like, did you even make any research at all before smugly typing your ignorant comment?

      Using the term “antisemitism” does not prop up the “racist victimization” of *anyone*. Rather, it is used to *describe* the racist victimization of people.

    • Citizen on August 2, 2018, 5:32 am

      Wilhelm Marr

    • Misterioso on August 2, 2018, 10:56 am


      “Someday I hope that there will be a massive research study on Palestinian DNA and European Jewish DNA, because there is likely very little ancestral connection between the European Jewish victimizers of Palestinians and the middle east.”

      The “massive research study” was recently completed. Here’s a brief summation:
      Front. Genet., 21 June 2017 |

      “The Origins of Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic Jews, and Yiddish”

      “Recent genetic samples from bones found in Palestine dating to the Epipaleolithic (20000-10500 BCE) showed remarkable resemblance to modern day Palestinians.”

      “The non-Levantine origin of AJs [Ashkenazi Jews] is further supported by an ancient DNA analysis of six Natufians and a Levantine Neolithic (Lazaridis et al., 2016), some of the most likely Judaean progenitors (Finkelstein and Silberman, 2002; Frendo, 2004). In a principle component analysis (PCA), the ancient Levantines clustered predominantly with modern-day Palestinians and Bedouins and marginally overlapped with Arabian Jews, whereas AJs clustered away from Levantine individuals and adjacent to Neolithic Anatolians and Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Europeans.”

      “Overall, the combined results are in a strong agreement with the predictions of the Irano-Turko-Slavic hypothesis (Table 1) and rule out an ancient Levantine origin for AJs, which is predominant among modern-day Levantine populations (e.g., Bedouins and Palestinians). This is not surprising since Jews differed in cultural practices and norms (Sand, 2011) and tended to adopt local customs (Falk, 2006). Very little Palestinian Jewish culture survived outside of Palestine (Sand, 2009). For example, the folklore and folkways of the Jews in northern Europe is distinctly pre-Christian German (Patai, 1983) and Slavic in origin, which disappeared among the latter (Wexler, 1993, 2012).”

    • Mooser on August 2, 2018, 7:18 pm

      “I suspect that Israel has already done these kind of studies, but has never issued any findings because it does not feed into the Zionist mythology about the lost tribes of Israel and Exodus, etc”

      That could be one reason. This could be another.

    • echinococcus on August 2, 2018, 9:59 pm

      I suspect that Israel has already done these kind of studies, but has never issued any findings

      Oh no. Zionists, both in the Hellhole and in the West, have spent large amoounts to sponsor trash “studies” by the hundreds that spuriously “seemed to tend to confirm” their favorite racist theory. so they’ve published a lot.
      It’s only now that huge numbers of control populations become available and the statistical methods get properly criticized by honest editors that one can see the damage they did to this brand new branch of research.
      Besides, we’re far away yet from any reliable scientific foundation in population genetics, but there is no doubt that even at its present stage the Jewish peoplehood theories are dead in the water.

  5. JimMichie on August 2, 2018, 2:50 pm

    FINALLY! AT LAST! Thank you, Dr. Yoav Litvin for your piece on “Zionism” and its curse on Judaism! Hopefully, “ethical Jews” will read your work and realize how the accursed brutal, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, land stealing, fascist, terrorist Zionist regime in Israel is the veritable antithesis of any semblance of Judaism in having created and maintained a human rights crisis in Palestine.
    Also, kudos to Mondoweiss for having posted your piece, as well as its recent piece, “Hasbara Is Dead.” Zionism has no place whatsoever in humanity; and let’s make clear that accursed Zionism exacts the very same tactics on Palestinians as did the Nazis in Germany’s 1930s and 1940s!

    • Eva Smagacz on August 6, 2018, 5:59 pm

      James, I sympathise with your frustration with Mondoweiss moderation process, especially with moderation of any mention of moderation.


      • echinococcus on August 6, 2018, 11:39 pm


        It’s the poor suffering moderator we should sympathize with. Honest. Alone in hisher dark corner, fighting we know not what, unsung, unknown –or better said faceless. And not well-paid either, I’d guess. How about having a Moderator Appreciation Week?

  6. Mooser on August 7, 2018, 2:14 pm

    “How about having a Moderator Appreciation Week?”

    “Echin”, a Moderator is not a toy. No, my boy, not a toy. Not a toy to fondle and dandle and playfully handle in search of some puerile joy.
    The Moderator is a highly specialized key component of operational unity. A fine and sensitive mechanism
    To serve the Mondo community.

    • Eva Smagacz on August 11, 2018, 3:22 pm


      “Echin”, a Moderator is not a toy. No, my boy, not a toy […]”

      I want a book of Mooserisms!!!!!!! and want to be an Editor!!!!!

      Even better: A diary with work of Latuff and Katie Miranda and Mooserisms.

      Phil? Adam?


      • Mooser on August 11, 2018, 6:19 pm

        If secrataries can be appreciated, so can Moderators.

      • echinococcus on August 11, 2018, 10:44 pm

        Is she the Moderatrix? Appearance and mannerisms are unimportant, Mooser. All she needs is a good head on her shoulders.

  7. Mooser on August 12, 2018, 1:01 pm

    “All she needs is a good head on her shoulders.”

    As nice as that sounds, I don’t think cuddling with the Moderator is appropriate.

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