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Zionism: cycles of trauma and aggression in the service of settler colonialism

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Zionism is inherently reactionary

The origins of Zionism are profoundly misunderstood by many. This is not coincidental and can be seen largely as the result of propaganda, which opportunistically and erroneously asserts that Zionism is the natural expression of Judaism.

In fact, Zionism gained traction among some Jews only in the late 19th century in response to antisemitism and romantic European nationalist movements. Zionists syncretized many white supremacist, antisemitic, messianic and fascistic racialized dogmas and were thus overwhelmingly unpopular among most Jews, who viewed the ideals of the enlightenment–emancipation, equality and integration – as their target.

Zionism first increased its influence in the small Jewish towns in Eastern Europe–the shtetls–at a time when many of their inhabitants became secular but not emancipated. Thus, their view of antisemitism and its accompanying violence and trauma was a modern one, not the traditional Jewish notion that deemed oppression and hardship as divine punishment for sins (for review see here). Zionism offered a seemingly empowering vision of a “new Jew”, who shed obsolete beliefs, which were viewed as passive and weak. Instead, Zionists reacted with force against oppression and adopted the antisemitic notion whereby Jews were the cause of their own oppression and should thus segregate themselves.

In response to antisemitism, Zionists embraced their fear and contempt of their abusers to produce defensive aggression, reinventing identity in a reactionary attempt to ensure survival and restore pride. The reward of violence–power-quickly enticed Zionist leaders to morph what began as a defensive strategy into an offensive one that culminated with a settler colonialist vision of a homeland in Palestine at the expense of its Indigenous population, the existing Palestinian people.

Defense and oppression–a self-sustaining cycle

It is instrumental to view this dynamic through a behavioral neuroscientific perspective, which affords a means of understanding underlying motivations of both persons and class structures, as well as informs on potential resolutions.

Studies show that the emotions of fear and anxiety and their corresponding neural circuitries are highly conserved among all mammals, including humans. In response to threat, fear is expressed in the form of defensive behaviors. These include flight if an escape route is available, freezing and avoidance if not (both techniques of choice in response to antisemitism prior to Zionism), and defensive threat and attack when confrontation is imminent.

Defensive aggression and its corresponding violence can lead to the rewards of resource acquisition–whether it be the sparing of one’s own life or access to the many spoils of dominance: sexual partners, money, land, power etc. Hence, a process that begins with oppression leads to fear in the oppressed (expressed as defensive aggression) and morphs to offensive aggression directed towards resource acquisition, which ultimately results in the subjugation of others by those previously oppressed. The once powerless become “hooked” to the rewards of violence; an addiction which facilitates the transition from defense to offense.

Thus, the everlasting and self-perpetuating dynamic of persecution often shifts the balance of power, yet always maintains an equal or growing level of violence.

How do the hegemonic forces sustain subservience in their subject population while reaping the benefits of oppression? through fear mongering and ever-escalating violence.

Fear conditioning and population control

Fear memories are formed when otherwise neutral stimuli are paired with pain or danger and are extinguished when they are decoupled (see here). Chronic, prolonged, generalized or an otherwise abnormal fear reaction to an ambiguous stimulus is viewed as maladaptive and linked to a range of psychopathologies, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Fear conditioning is “reinstated” in a person or a populace (“collective PTSD”) upon re-exposure to-or the recall of-the fear-inducing stimulus. In such a manner, reinstatement is a technique by which the political, religious, military and economic ruling classes manipulate their populace to gain support for their aggressive and expansionist policies, distract from their own corruptions, privileges and suppression of dissent.

Fear is reinstated in traumatized collectives using several methods: (i) focusing on-and decontextualizing an act of violence or resistance (e.g. “terrorism”); (ii) reminding the public of some atrocity in the past (memorial days, sanctifying bereaved families); (iii) shifting attention to perceived threats (e.g. the Iranian nuclear program); (iv) appealing to past glory, nostalgia (romantic nationalism) and; (v) segregating communities (apartheid), which preserves a process of dehumanization of the “other” and renders re-exposure and reconciliation (i.e. extinction of fear) virtually impossible.

Thus, fear manifests in increasingly violent displays of aggression promoting the interests of those in power. It is precisely these aggressive actions which are rewarded by the hegemony and therefore become more prevalent in the general population. Privilege enables little risk of harm for the hegemonic forces and the reinstatement of perceived imminent threats constantly raises the bar for-and serves to justify permissible oppression.

From an early age the population, through participation in violence in the army or elsewhere, are encouraged to transition from the defensive to the offensive expressions of aggression. As such, the population is made an accomplice to ruling class corruptions and crimes, and thus perceives, together with its leaders, any forms of dissent as treasonous existential threats (see here).

Breaking the cycle of oppression

The cycle of violence and inequality has been the backbone of all white supremacist, settler colonialist societies, past and present which engage in ethnic cleansing and genocide of Indigenous populations; e.g. the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Israel and more.

Yet the question arises–how can the cycle be broken?

Victims of abuse can cope with trauma in two ways. They can either channel their rage toward weaker elements in their immediate society or outside of it and in so doing perpetuate the never ending cycle of abuse, or stand up to their abusers, who are stronger than them, resist the temptations of resource acquisition and break the cycle of violence and inequality.

The first option of picking on the weak is easy and can be a solitary endeavor; victims become abusers and in so doing feel empowered; e.g. the Zionist example. The second option of fighting oppressors poses a greater challenge and requires courage, resolve and social skills, i.e. collectivism, as bullies are usually stronger and more formidable than their victims.

For this purpose, it is advantageous for the oppressed to join forces and collaborate with fellow victims of white supremacy; women, immigrants, black and brown people, Indigenous, Muslim, Jews and others so that together they may form a winning strategy to overcome their oppressors.

Notably, Zionist propaganda works against this sort of alliance building and resistance by fragmenting and isolating Palestinian society within historical Palestine and outside of it.

BDS and defeating white supremacy

The non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Palestinian-led movement has demonstrated the utility of adopting an approach which implements the lessons learned by the many victims of settler colonialism and white supremacy.

These lessons include a series of steps which include: (i) promoting truth and dispelling propaganda; (ii) fostering accountability in the guilty (e.g. here); (iii) moving toward cessation of hostilities/injustices; (iv) breaking barriers, physical or otherwise; (v) adopting an intersectional, anti-racist leadership which recognizes interlocking systems of power and oppression that impact those who are most marginalized in society and (vi) creating empathy and forging bonds.

It is glaringly apparent that with every BDS victory the Israeli propaganda machine continues to lose credibility. The demonopolized nature of the internet provides accessibility to truth like never before and an opportunity for Palestinians and other victims of settler colonialism to connect and collaborate towards the breaking of the cycle of violence and inequality.

That said, the rise of global fascistic movements, stimulated by Donald Trump and his Zionist allies in the Israeli government, are hard at work toward their mutual interest of global apartheid, often using the internet to disperse false information (“fake news”). Thus, it is clear that the battle against Zionist expansionism and its oppression of the Palestinian people should incorporate a comprehensive dismantling of settler colonialism and white supremacy.

A version of this post was first published by Monthly Review on November 28, 2018.

About Yoav Litvin

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

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23 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    November 29, 2018, 3:18 pm

    What do straight white non-Jewish males who were born poor do and not do in this wonderful world of intersectionality?

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      November 29, 2018, 6:17 pm

      Are you, perchance, left-handed? If not, you might want to give it a try.

      P.S. This is meant to be in the nature of a joke.

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        December 2, 2018, 11:57 am

        Zionism: Cycles of Trauma and Aggression in the Service of Settler Colonialism

        Whatcom Peace & Justice
        Published on Nov 30, 2018
        Presented by Dr. Yoav Litvin on Nov. 7, 2018, in Bellingham, Wash. Co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chapter 111, the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, and Voices for Middle East Peace.

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        December 2, 2018, 11:59 am

        Zionism: Cycles of Trauma and Aggression in the Service of Settler Colonialism, Part II: Q&A

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      November 29, 2018, 6:34 pm

      I think we are supposed to just lie back and think of beer. No-one expects us to enjoy intersects.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      November 30, 2018, 5:25 am

      You could try spraying on some intersect repellent, if you can find one that works.

      • annie
        annie
        November 30, 2018, 5:48 am

        intersect repellent

        can’t.stop.laughing.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      November 30, 2018, 8:36 am

      You could convert to Judaism or Islam, but I do not recommend it as it probably entails undergoing genital mutilation. So I suggest that you leave the ‘wonderful world of intersectionality’ — dominated by a pseudo-radicalism that recognizes all forms of oppression except the most pervasive and fundamental of them all, i.e., class — and reconnect with the older socialist tradition that focuses on class oppression and exploitation while also recognizing other forms of oppression.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      November 30, 2018, 9:47 am

      @Citizen, et al

      Heads up!!
      Very important development in the U.S. (and at the U.N.)

      “CNN fires Marc Lamont Hill in wake of remarks criticizing Israel and calling for a ‘free Palestine’”

      Link to video of Marc Lamont Hill’s speech at the UN:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/29/cnn-fires-marc-lamont-hill-wake-remarks-criticizing-israel-calling-free-palestine/

      Washington Post November 29, 2018

      “The Fix: Analysis”

      *CNN fires Marc Lamont Hill in wake of remarks criticizing Israel and
      calling for a ‘free Palestine’*

      *A CNN spokeswoman said Marc Lamont Hill, a media studies professor at
      Temple University, was no longer under contract with the company.”

      By Eli Rosenberg

      “CNN fired Marc Lamont Hill on Thursday after the long time contributor made
      comments about Israel during a U.N. speech.

      “Hill, a media studies professor at Temple University, had drawn scrutiny
      for calling for a ‘free Palestine from the river to the sea.’ The words
      drew criticism from some conservatives and staunch Israel advocates, who
      said such remarks echoed language used by Hamas and other groups that seek to eliminate Israel.

      “’Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN,’ spokeswoman Barbara Levin told The Washington Post. The company did not answer questions about why he was dismissed. The firing was first reported by Mediaite.

      “Some mainstream Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League,
      expressed frustration with Hill’s remarks, which also included endorsing
      the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. Fox News
      also fanned the flames.

      “Hill has been pushing back against the criticism, arguing that the
      detractors were ascribing to his statements meaning that wasn’t there.

      “’At no point did I endorse, support, or even mention Hamas. This is
      dishonest,’ he said Wednesday on Twitter. ‘I was very clear in my comments
      about desiring freedom, justice, and self-determination for EVERYONE.’

      On Thursday, he issued a lengthier explanation for his statements. ‘I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice,’ Hill wrote. ‘I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things.’

      He said that the ‘river to the sea’ phrase dates to the early 20th century and ‘has never been the exclusive province of a particular ideological camp.’

      “’This means that all areas of historic Palestine — e.g., West Bank, Gaza, Israel — must be spaces of freedom, safety, and peace for Palestinians,’ he wrote. ‘The idea that this is a Hamas phrase is simply untrue.’

      “Some used the news of Lamont’s firing to attack CNN.”

      “’FINALLY FIRED,’ wrote Sebastian Gorka, a former aide to President Trump. ‘Now for the rest of the Anti-Semites @CNN and the rest of the Left
      embrace.'”

  2. JaapBo
    JaapBo
    November 30, 2018, 3:11 am

    Impressive and informative story!

    I myself have worked on this too and have some ideas (described in an article about the Nakba: https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/hls.2010.0105)

    One aspect that is not mentioned, but that I believe plays a role is the moral tension in Zionism, especially among the left wing. Zionism wanted to turn an Arab country into a Jewish one, which inevitably is gravely immoral or leads to gravely immoral acts. The need to see themselves as moral produced (and produces) a tension in Zionism that has to be resolved. This can be done in different ways, e.g. making up excuses like “self defense”, “intractible, very complicated, conflict”, “Arabs are terrorist, want to drive us into the sea” etcetera. This makes Zionists very hypocritical. Another way to decrease the moral tension is to cultivate a self-image as the eternal victim. This corresponds to the 5 methods of self-traumatisation indicated in this article.

    This moral tension occurs in the Zionist elite and among the general populace, and it drives both to cherish their hypocritical believes, and to cherish their victim-trauma’s, because otherwise their self-image would be one of immorality and selfishness, and all people intuitively avoid that and want to see themselves as moral. Hence the tenacity of Zionist hypocrisy and self-traumatisation.

    • annie
      annie
      November 30, 2018, 5:13 am

      The need to see themselves as moral produced (and produces) a tension in Zionism that has to be resolved…. Another way to decrease the moral tension is to cultivate a self-image as the eternal victim….moral tension occurs ….it drives..to cherish their hypocritical believes

      i believe you mean “their hypocritical beliefs”. that said, i don’t disagree with what you’ve written although i do notice the prioritization of “self-image” vs the concern of how others perceive them. in woman/mankind is it more or less inherent to prioritize ones self image or how one is perceived by others?

      ie: the criminal. is the criminal more prone to concern him/herself with their own personal moral dilemma over ones own self image or self worth, or(vs) constructing their own defense wrt how others perceive them? this fixation or obsession or whatever it is on “The need to see themselves as..”, might it be more accurate to state ‘The need for others to perceive them as..”?

      criminals lie, routinely. yes, they lie to themselves (sometimes). but more importantly they lie to others. when someone commits a war crime, even if they may not perceive it to be a war crime, it’s rather instinctual to want to cover their own ass, to make up excuses, to present ones self as innocent, moral, righteous and justified. they don’t just do that for their themselves, for own self image. they want others to witness and perceive them as moral/innocent/justified.

      this “tension in Zionism that has to be resolved” this “moral tension.. to cultivate a self-image”, imho, is over rated. they are no different than any other common criminal. hence, their priority is not self image, it’s covering their own ass. between them and their own conscience, they can work that out whenever: it’s highly over rated.

      • annie
        annie
        November 30, 2018, 5:43 am

        ok, that said, i am open and willing to entertain some notion zionists and/or jews in general are more prone to some deep inner thoughts and dilemmas wrt self reflection, self worth and self image than the average bloke (ie:me). i am open and willing to entertain a notion that zionists or jewish criminals have a mindframe due to some historical injustice that makes them more prone to concern about their self image vs how others perceive their crimes or guilt. bring it on.

      • JaapBo
        JaapBo
        November 30, 2018, 7:00 am

        Hi Annie,

        Your comments are very justified. I have a few answers:
        1) Psychologically, (moral) self-image and public image (the image held up for others) are very much connected and perhaps even inseparable. People try to justify their actions, both towards themselves, and towards others
        2) There is a difference between left-wing and right-wing zionists. L. I think the left wing is more concerned about (moral) self-image/public image (and more hypocrite)
        3) I’m certain Zionists have a conscience, just as much as all other people have a conscience; in this respect I don’t think we should compare zionists with criminals, but with normal people
        3b) I don’t think Zionists are more concerned with heir morality then other people (as you suggest in your second comment). Their behavior is normal human behavior.
        4) I studied “Plan Dalet”, the plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. This plan uses self-defense as a hypocritical excuse for ethnic cleansing. Note that the plan was a) for INTERNAL use and knowledge ONLY, i.e. to convince the military plotters, the military commanders and their subordinates of the justness of their cleansing acts, i.e. Zionists wanted to convince Zionists, i.e. themselves and b) the Zionists already justify their criminal acts BEFORE they commit them
        5) Zionists have many hypocritical believes (i.e. “not based on facts”), but very often believe that they are based on facts even though they can easily know better. I don’t believe most Zionists are cynics who knowingly decieve others, I believe most Zionists have convinced themselves of the morality of Zionism and really believe in it. This is what I notice in discussions with Zionists

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        November 30, 2018, 8:16 am

        Annie — The cycle of trauma and aggression feeding on historical victimization is by no means peculiar to Jews/Zionism. It can be found in many ethnopolitical movements. For instance, Armenian nationalists relived the genocide of 1915 as they ethnically cleansed conquered territory of Azerbaijanis (whom they do not distinguish from Turks). The Serb nationalists who massacred Croats and Bosniaks were reliving historical traumas suffered under the Croat Ustasa regime during WW2 and under the Ottomans, respectively.

        Regarding ‘criminals’ they are of many types, but most of them resemble ‘normal’ people in these respects. They have their self-justifications and confirm their self-image as decent people by attacking those who have committed worse crimes, in particular abusers of children.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 30, 2018, 11:33 am

        ” I believe most Zionists have convinced themselves of the morality of Zionism and really believe in it. This is what I notice in discussions with Zionists”

        And believe me, it doesn’t go unappreciated. We very carefully notice what you notice.

      • annie
        annie
        December 1, 2018, 11:48 pm

        I’m certain Zionists have a conscience, just as much as all other people have a conscience; in this respect I don’t think we should compare zionists with criminals, but with normal people……Regarding ‘criminals’ they are of many types, but most of them resemble ‘normal’ people

        jaapbo, stephen (and hi mooser), i must have left a wrong impression so let me try to reiterate. i addressed a particular notion, one about a tension in Zionism that has to be resolved, hence we are talking about zionists (“The need to see themselves as moral”).

        everything i addressed was wrt the common man. i started out “in woman/mankind is it more or less inherent to prioritize ones self image or how one is perceived by others?” and i used an example of “the criminal”. in my thinking, a criminal is someone who commits a crime, (and as i mentioned “when someone commits a crime, even if they may not perceive it to be a crime”, w/the caveat that in my original i wrote “war crime” and crossed out the word war, twice)

        hence, i was not comparing zionists with criminals, i was demonstrating how i thought a criminal might behave, and that would include a zionist who is committing a crime “even if they may not perceive it to be a crime”. i don’t think it takes a big leap to associate a “moral” tension in Zionism with the crimes committed to establish and maintain the state, as jaapbo mentions “inevitably is gravely immoral or leads to gravely immoral acts”).

        i used criminal as an example. but this could be applied to other infractions, any kind of thing a person might do and then try to justify to themselves or others. i associated all of these things with what i might do (yes i have committed crimes in my life).

        then, at the end, i added the addendum that i would be “open and willing to entertain some notion zionists and/or jews in general are more prone to some deep inner thoughts and dilemmas wrt self reflection, self worth and self image than the average bloke (ie:me)”, this statement reaffirms that my original statement pertains to my sense of human nature, for everyone. i did not expect anyone to perceive my comment as making zionists out to be anything other than normal people reacting in the same way any other normal person might act under the circumstances (in this case, in part as a reaction to extreme trauma and brainwashing, but that another story).

        that said, i agree that self-image and public image are connected but do not believe they are inseparable. my point, which i still believe, is that in the aftermath of a crime, a person prioritizes how others will see them over and above concerning themselves with their self image (how they see themselves).

        sure, an eternal victim convinces themselves they are one, but their priority is for others to see them as such.

      • JaapBo
        JaapBo
        December 5, 2018, 5:29 am

        Annie,

        Thanks for explaining your view, which I think hardly differs from mine.

        I’m sure a moral tension exists in Zionism and Zionists (especially on the left) and that it causes Zionists to become very hypocritical. It’s a secondary point whether this hypocrisy is mainly aimed at others or at themselves. Both explanations explain what we observe (the hypocrisy), but based on what we observe it is very difficult to distinguish between the two explanations. In my view they are both important.

      • annie
        annie
        December 8, 2018, 2:58 pm

        jaapbo, sorry for my late reply, just read your last comment.

        although we agree on the hypocrisy aspect, that you think our views hardly differs indicates to me you might be missing my point. because unlike you i don’t believe it’s a “secondary point whether this hypocrisy is mainly aimed at others or at themselves.”

        i pointed out in my first comment i think this ‘need’ to see themselves as moral is highly over rated. by that i do not mean its not constantly invoked, because it is. i mean it is over rated because how an oppressor see their self is over rated. the shoot and cry is constantly evoked. the most moral army is constantly evoked. the very idea that jews (in general) have this moral imperative (suggesting over and above the rest of us) is an underlying invocation used, by zionists, to literally get away with murder time and again. it doesn’t even matter to me decades down the road of this oppression whether “most Zionists have convinced themselves of the morality of Zionism and really believe in it.”

        that’s what i mean by highly over rated. and when i say “i am open and willing to entertain a notion that zionists or jewish criminals have a mindframe due to some historical injustice that makes them more prone to concern about their self image” i mean it. i do think that perhaps they do. i think it could be at the core of this “tension”. but i think what is drastically underrated is the common human instinct to cover ones own ass when they have committed a crime.

        so these 2 things “mainly aimed at others or at themselves” that you see as “very difficult to distinguish between the two”, i see a vast vast region between the two. let’s consider what yoav wrote:

        Defensive aggression and its corresponding violence can lead to the rewards of resource acquisition–whether it be the sparing of one’s own life or access to the many spoils of dominance: sexual partners, money, land, power etc. Hence, a process that begins with oppression leads to fear in the oppressed (expressed as defensive aggression) and morphs to offensive aggression directed towards resource acquisition, which ultimately results in the subjugation of others by those previously oppressed. The once powerless become “hooked” to the rewards of violence; an addiction which facilitates the transition from defense to offense.

        and while it may be natural transition for a person to become addicted to the rewards of violence what is not normal is society at large to continually accept and support this violence and theft. in the case of zionists, this requires the outside world to prioritize (heavily) this “how the criminal feels” or “is the criminal moral” over and above the feelings of the oppressed. this “how the criminal feels” or “is the criminal moral” is what’s over rated.

      • annie
        annie
        December 8, 2018, 3:17 pm

        taking this to the next level, let’s imagine this defense in a courtroom. guy kills someone and claims he’s a good moral man, had no intent to hurt, and was merely defending his family. prosecutor claims he had every intention to kill and maim and steal. jury weighs, can’t decide, guy gets off.

        next week the same guy does the same thing makes the same claim jury weighs, can’t decide, guy gets off.

        multiply that by 1000’s of weeks. how long before the jury puts this man in jail? even if they believe he has convinced himself of the morality of what he has done, “and really believe in it”?

        at what point does the jury figure out this man is a danger to society? at what point to they underrate this man’s self image? at what point does it occur to them the man might in fact be just covering his own ass and using his claims of being a moral person to get away with murder? this has been going on for decades, it’s like, so what if he thinks he’s moral or not. lock him up because he’s a danger to society. instead, we keep giving him guns! i don’t even care anymore about the man’s “moral tension”. but it’s not a secondary point whether the hypocrisy is mainly aimed at others or at themselves, not when it’s been used in the man’s defense over and over and over for decades. it becomes the primary point with regard to how others see the perpetrator of the crime.

  3. Keith
    Keith
    November 30, 2018, 7:53 pm

    YOAV LITVIN- “…which opportunistically and erroneously asserts that Zionism is the natural expression of Judaism.”

    Perhaps not a natural expression, but an expression nonetheless. The current strong support for Israel as a Jewish state among the majority of the leadership of organized Western Jewry, including the Rabbinate, indicates a psychological bond as a result of Zionist defined Jewishness. Israel Shahak sees Zionism as a throwback to Classical Judaism in secular form. Jacob Neusner sees Zionism as a reworking of Judaic mythology, American Judaism a wholly Zionist Judaism. Zionism and Judaism seem to have embraced one another in a form of mutual dependency, non-Zionist religious Jews in the minority. Judeo-Zionism the successor to modern splintered Judaism, and the ideological underpinning of modern Jewishness.

    • y_litvin
      y_litvin
      December 2, 2018, 3:07 pm

      I don’t see the utility or sense of the differentiation you make between “natural expression” or just “expression”.

      Zionism represents Judaism as ISIS or Saudi represent Islam. I.e. it’s a cooptation of religion by oppressive forces driven by resource acquisition.

      The fact that many Jews are Zionists only proves that Zionist propaganda has been extremely successful, not that Zionism is in any way, shape or form a natural expression of Judaism.

      Most Germans were once Nazis. Does that mean that German people naturally express (or just “express”) Nazism? Of course not, it only means that they succumbed to Nazi propaganda. I’m sure if you go back in history, you can find “evidence” for this sort of connection, just as Shahak et al. claim with their work.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Keith
        Keith
        December 2, 2018, 6:59 pm

        YOAV LITVIN- “I don’t see the utility or sense of the differentiation you make between “natural expression” or just “expression”.

        Zionism is an expression of Classical Judaism in secular form. Whether or not this constitutes what you consider a “natural expression” is unclear and irrelevant. Was Talmudic Judaism a natural expression of Temple Judaism? Modern splintered Judaism a natural expression of Classical (medieval) Judaism? Seriously, what is your point? Is the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations being held hostage to Zionism and Israel? Is this support somehow unnatural? Our entire society is shaped by incessant propaganda and myth-history, that is reality. Under these circumstances what constitutes a natural expression?

        YOAV LITVIN- “… it’s a cooptation of religion by oppressive forces….”

        Exactly! It is the successful co-option of modern, splintered Judaism by a secular version of Classical Judaism which has reunited the various groups of Jews into a modern, secular version of peoplehood. Jewish kinship is a soft form of tribalism.

        YOAV LITVIN- “… oppressive forces driven by resource acquisition.”

        Resource acquisition? All of that oil under the sacred soil? Are you serious? The redemption of the (mythical) land of Yisrael is a biblical concept, not capitalist resource exploitation.

        YOAV LITVIN- “… it only means that they succumbed to Nazi propaganda. I’m sure if you go back in history, you can find “evidence” for this sort of connection, just as Shahak et al. claim with their work.”

        Conflating Israel Shahak with Nazi propaganda tells me all I need to know about you. That the insights of this Israeli human rights champion should be smeared thusly indicates an unwholesome, overwhelming bias on your part. This is the type of smear that Zionists apply to Shahak. That Zionism has co-opted Judaism merely indicates that Judaism has been co-opted by Zionism. Actually, both have developed a synergistic relationship towards each other. Some quotes for you:

        “I am a Zionist because I am a Jew. Zionism is integral to Judaism as I understand it.” (p135, “Stranger at Home: “The Holocaust,” Zionism, and American Judaism, Jacob Neusener)

        “…in fact the redemptive valence imputed to the State of Israel in American Judaism constitutes a judgment of Zionism. American Judaism must be deemed a wholly Zionist Judaism.” (p8, Neusner)

        “Orthodox Judaism – of which Zionism is a somewhat heretical branch….” (Yossi Gurvitz) https://mondoweiss.net/2018/08/married-governing-happiness/

        “It became apparent to me, as drawing on knowledge acquired in my youth, I began to study the Talmudic laws governing the relations between Jews and non-Jews, that neither Zionism, including its seemingly secular part, nor Israeli politics since the inception of the State of Israel, nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora, could be understood unless the deeper influence of these laws, and the worldview which they both create and express is taken into account.” (p1, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Israel Shahak)

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        December 4, 2018, 7:36 am

        Thanks for your astute comment.

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