Monday, May 27, 2013

Answers Number Four and Five to the Namavaran Network Corporation

Mike L.

For those of you who may not know, I have been tapped by an Iranian media outlet to answer a series of questions around the Arab-Israel conflict and have agreed to do so.
4- Who are the main leaders of Zionism?  
5- Are they really the main determiner of US policies or not?
I take question number four as a little odd because the fact of the matter is that the movement for Jewish nationalism, also known as "Zionism," fulfilled its mission in May of 1948 with the reestablishment of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

In truth, if "Zionism" has leaders these leaders seem to have virtually no followers.  I know of no single Jewish supporter of the State of Israel that follows any "Zionist" leader.  There are a number of pro-Israel organizations that have the name "Zionist" in their organizations' titles, such as the Zionist Organization of America, but such usage is a throwback to an earlier era when Jews were still endeavoring to establish Israel as the Jewish State.  Now that Israel has been established as a Jewish State, Zionism is basically over with.

There are some people who continue to use the word "Zionism" to indicate support for Israel, however, and there are many people who use it as an epithet and as a negative code word for Jews, in general.

As for whether or not these non-leaders are the main determiners of US policies, the answer is absolutely not, as I indicated in a previous answer to a previous question.  If AIPAC, for example, really had much influence over the United States government then the US would have recognized Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel long ago, but they have refused to do so.

And, again, this notion that Jews (or "Zionists") are behind the scenes, pulling the strings, is a very old and paranoid anti-Semitic trope that people should be exceedingly leery of promoting lest they intend to promote hatred and violence toward the tiny Jewish minority.  It is, needless to say, a staple of the anti-Jewish rhetoric that comes out of the small and largely irrelevant hard-right racist groups that we have in the United States, such as Neo-Nazis or "Skin heads."  It is also a prominent trope embedded in the much, much larger movement for political Islam that is rising throughout the Muslim Middle East.

This obsessive hatred for Jews, and this toxic anti-Zionism that we find among many Muslim leaders throughout the world, is little more than a means by which to deflect the failings of their own societies onto a Jewish scapegoat.


  1. One wonders at the propaganda these people have been exposed to who believe Zionists control the US; after all, that's the same old Jews control the world conspiracy theory that has been around since forever. I would also wonder at their education levels except it has been been proven time and time again that some of best educated people in the world still believe that nonsense.

    Sad state of affairs. Then again, their leaders probably push the meme to keep the people from thinking too much about their lousy leadership.

  2. Why shocked? Most of the UK believes this. Most far left pundits in the US say this openly. Chris Matthews said on-air "Someone tell Bibi he doesn't control American elections anymore!"

  3. Of course by "Zionist," they mean "Jews."

    "Who are the leading Jews in the US," is what they're asking.

    I love how Question #5 is phrased as if trying to be open-minded. "Do the Jews really control the US, or not?"

    See, they're open to alternative viewpoints! That does at least put them ahead of certain posters at Daily Kos, on that count, to be fair.

    If nothing else, it's yet another peek into a state of mind that I just can't fathom, yet which is clearly very widespread.

  4. btw, am I wrong to consider Zionism over as a movement?

    It just makes no sense to me, which is why I wrote a brief piece entitled, Why I am Not a Zionist, just about two years ago.

    As someone who is interested in the language that we use in discussing the Arab-Israel conflict, it seems to me that the word "Zionist" has outlived its helpfulness.

    It's become mainly an epithet now.

    But even more than that, it keeps alive the notion that maybe Israel can be defeated as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

    I mean, if the movement for Jewish nationalism is still ongoing this would suggest that the question of Israel remains an open question.

    What we need to do is close it.

    1. I agree with you, at least in theory, that Zionism, as a movement is history. A few years ago, I don't think I would have. Until "Zionism" became that epithet. I suspect we both saw that at about the same time. My reaction when I first saw the word used this way was one of confusion. WTF was this guy talking about. It was a complete redefinition of the word. Absent that redefinition, there was no reason to drop the word from the current lexicon.

      Question for you Mike, and I really don't have an answer, which is why I'm asking you. If we argue that Zionism, as a movement, is over, are we granting ownership and the rights to redefining the word, and effectively re-writing history, to those that use it as a hateful epithet?

    2. "granting ownership and the rights to redefining the word, and effectively re-writing history, to those that use it as a hateful epithet?"

      Ceding the word(s) for their subsequent use in such a manner would be my main objection. And granting free license to the 'anti-Zionists' to thereafter be able to use the word(s) in such a manner, would seem to make it much easier for them to continue to claim that when they say things like "Zionists control the US Congress," that they're not spreading ages-old Jew hatred, but are rather 'merely criticizing' a political movement.

      In my opinion.

    3. I agree with you Jay, which is exactly why I hesitate to cease identifying as a Zionist, despite Mike's very logical argument that Zionism has accomplished its goal, and did so before we were born.

    4. I think you and I are on the exact same page on this, then...

  5. Well said. Somewhere earlier here, a couple weeks ago maybe, or whenever it was the last time Mike brought this up, I briefly touched on the same thing...

    "Zionism a.k.a. Jewish nationalism is not over as a movement so long as the dispute of Jewish national rights is mainstream—which it is."

    ...but I don't think I really got it across as well as I could have. I'll sign on to what you say here, too.

  6. Just reading through this simple stooge's diary (promoted to the 'Recommended List' at mainstream progressive US blog Daily Kos, for the record), and the comments therein, would seem to be all the proof one needs to show that our job is nowhere near done yet.

    1. I also find it interesting to note that he and his buddies chose Memorial Day in the US to set out and splash about in that viciously disgusting pool, for the record.

      Looking at the timestamp of the post and its comments, at that time yesterday I just so happened to be at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial, taking in the scene, the gatherings, and occasionally speaking to a random lone gentlemen who dropped by to leave cans of beer, notes and / or VFW buddy poppies under their friends' names.

      Others chose to spend the day demonizing Israel and comparing the world's sole Jewish nation to Nazi Germany.

    2. Left a comment over at Tikkun about this.

    3. Just read through there. Did you notice that he finally found an antisemite to kindasorta 'stand up' to. First time I can ever recall such a thing from the guy, going back almost two years now?

      But even in that case, in his weak and odd (he seems to be replying that the poster's clear Jew-hatred is criticism of Israeli policy?) response, he still couldn't quite bring himself to clearly call the poster out on what they so obviously are. I mean, this...

      "For centuries, Jews’ isolation within countries, their rapaciousness, and obsession with financial control have made them disliked in every country in which they have lived" just literal, straight-up Nazi stuff. To him, it's merely 'on the line' of antisemitism. She didn't even bother to insert 'Zionists' in place of 'Jews.' How much further can she go?

      Then again, I suppose after mocking the existence of antisemitism in his own post, he can't exactly act too shocked when his posts draw Stormfront-types.

      Then again, perhaps that's the point. I mean, his anti-Israel fanaticism looks downright moderate next to theirs, after all...

    4. Wow, Jay, thanks for that link. Amazing, just amazing. Not in a good way, of course.

      Look at the frackin' tip jar, for HaShem's sake. As of this writing, 43 uprates and zero troll-rates. A year ago—what am I saying, just a few months ago, the tip jar would have been blasted with troll-rates, just for the idea that Germany's and Israel's past and present times should be compared. Look at this nugget: "while Germany as a country and a societal entity has largely ... moved beyond the historical atrocities committed by the Nazis, the same unfortunately cannot be said for Israel." That used to be troll-rate material in recent memory.

      Down in the comments, things get worse and worse. The idea that a Jewish state should never have been founded in the Middle East is casually, blithely voiced, again with uprates and no TRs to speak of. A past Saudi king is quoted saying the Jews should have been given their land to be on the soil of the defeated Germans after WWII—denial of the Jews' connection to Palestine and an expression of intent to do away with a nation's self-determination. Damn right Zionism's work isn't done. And where does it all stem from? The narrative that Zionism is a Euro-colonial movement displacing the indigenous rather than a restoration of the rights of the one and only true indigenous Palestinian nation.

      There's not a shadow of doubt about it: The low acceptability bar once seen only in Mound o' Scheiss has become the norm on Daily Kos. In fact, were it not for the lack of classical Jew-hatred such as the talk of "Jewish power over America and the world," one could never tell the difference between that diary and its comments, and the regular stuff you get on MondoweiSS.

    5. I know I would have blasted it before I got tossed out of there last year.

      Daily Kos kicked or forced out all but a tiny handful of pro-Israel Jews over the past couple of years, as I'm sure you know, and they really stepped up the purge around the time they kicked me out in late 2011. Now they have the site they deserve.

      I mean, that turd of a diary wasn't only just a brief flare in the A-I swamp. It was promoted to the Recommended List, by the remainder of the 'community' there. Look at the names of people who agree with him. Far from the usual anti-Israel clique.