Monday, May 6, 2013

Anti-Zionism: A Racist Ideology

Ziontruth

{Editor's note - please welcome Ziontruth, our first Israeli contributor, to the front page of Israel Thrives.  This is a very well thought through and interesting and, even, challenging, piece of writing.  I would very much recommend that you folks take the time to give this a nice, close read.  There may be all sorts of material in here that you might disagree with or be offended by, but all of it deserves close consideration. - Mike L.}

If you have done any measure of reading of anti-Zionist websites and forums, you will know all too well that the anti-Zionists of the world, especially those on the Progressive Left, consider Zionism to be racism. The comparisons of Jewish nationalism—the Jewish nation’s dream of renewing their political sovereignty on their one and only land in the world after two millennia—to South African apartheid, if not to Nazism, are abundant and often obligatory in those circles.

There is a saying in Judaism, “Anyone who finds fault, does so in his own fault.” This is the phenomenon known by the name projection today, and it applies to anti-Zionism to a T. In this article the racist nature of anti-Zionism will be shown.

I do not use the term “racist” lightly. In an age when Progressives have perverted it to refer to the slightest criticism of their ideology, needing no racial reference for that accusation, I stick to the traditional definition: Racism is discrimination against a group on the basis of their inborn, immutable inherited traits. It is a subset, not a synonym, of bigotry.

Racism is an offshoot of racialism, the very view that the genetic traits of people are significant. In fact we are probably all racialists when it comes to purely bodily manifestations such as height and eye color. Where racialists differ from non-racialists is in believing that more spiritual, mental capabilities, and indeed the fate of entire nations, is determined by genetics. Although this view could be criticized for denying free will, it is still not the same as racism, because the latter entails discrimination against groups on the basis of genetic traits, while the former is merely the view that those traits are significant. It is possible to be racialist and anti-racist at the same time: One example is the Harry Potter series of books, which are racialist because genetics definitely demarcate the impassable border between wizard and non-wizard, but are anti-racist because of their message that those wizards who wish to maintain supremacist rule over non-wizards are evil.

Now that the terminology is clear, it is time to apply the discussion to nations and nationalism, the topic of this article. In the majority of cases, national thinking has neither had an elaborate racial theory to buttress it nor been for the free-for-all that characterizes a refuge state like the United States of America. Nationality was a matter of ancestry, and racial exclusion was just an inevitable consequence of that. To take a modern example, a British nationalist would reject the notion that a black man could be British, and a Ndebele nationalist would do the same regarding a white man, not so much because of a consciously held racial theory but because it is of the highest probability that a black man is not ancestrally British, and a white man is not of Ndebele ancestry. Additionally, this racial exclusion is by no means a sufficient requirement: A British nationalist would not consider Polish immigrants to be fellow nationals, despite being as white as he is, nor would a Ndebele tribesman think himself to be of the same group as a Shona tribesman, although both are black. This is how nationality has been for most people throughout most of history, while racial theories are a recent development, most probably spurred on by the attempt to give scientific-sounding justifications for an imperialist thrust.

Having in mind the rule for nationality, let us now turn to an exception to that rule: The Jewish nation. The criterion of ancestry is not absent from the account of how the Jewish people came to be, nor from the way Jewishness is determined today, but quite early on the Jewish nation has taken into its fold people of different ancestry, to be virtual descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. One interpretation has this happen as early as the third generation, with the twelve sons of Jacob taking Canaanites for wives, after making sure they had relinquished idolatry. And although Judaism does not proselytize, and in some periods the rabbis expressed misgivings about converts, the descent of the Davidic Line from Ruth the Moabite is testimony to a nationalism that can go outside of ancestry. (This is not to say, however, that Judaism is an anti-racist ideology; that would be an anachronism foisted upon a religion that exists on its own terms.)

Thus, despite the policy of dissuading converts (the process a prospective convert is subject to at the hands of an Orthodox conversion panel sounds so much like, “Are you sure?”, “Are you sure you’re sure?”, ”Sure you’re sure you’re sure?” ad infinitum), the reality today is of a racially diverse Jewish nation, composed of those either born to a Jewish mother or having undergone conversion. That is how the Jewish nation is defined; that is the basic truth that the anti-Zionist deny in their falsified narrative.

I hear someone ask, “So, if the Jews are not a race, then wouldn’t it be right to say that Jew-hatred isn’t racism?” My answer is that it would be right, but that does not let Jew-hatred off the hook, nor does it negate the fact that anti-Zionism is racism. An ideology of hate does not need to be race-based in order to be countered; the fact that I as a Jew am the target of Jew-hatred is enough for me. And anti-Zionism, like Nazism in its day, is racist because it bases its Jew-hatred around a racist narrative. Jews are not a race, but the Nazis considered them to be one, so Nazi Jew-hatred was also a racism. Jews are not a race, but the anti-Zionists consider Jewish nationalism to be a racial supremacy project, so anti-Zionist Jew-hatred is also racism.

The Jewish–Arab conflict is, in fact, either a purely nationalistic conflict or a religious one, but definitely not a racial one. This is because the other side in the conflict, the Arab nation, is yet another exception to the rule of determining nationality. Maybe in the far past the Arab nation had a single line of ancestry, but today, in the stretch of the Arab world from the Atlas to Zagros mountain ranges, we find a “racial mishmash” (that’s the disparaging term anti-Zionists often use when referring to the Israeli Jews. And there was me thinking those people considered diversity as a good thing…) exhibiting the entire range of skin colors, eye colors and hair colors. In fact, in the Jewish State alone we have white-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed Arabs who could pass for Scandinavians in appearance, red-haired, green-eyed Arabs who look like Scots Highlanders, black Bedouins descended from slaves from Zanzibar (courtesy of the Arab slave trade), as well as the brown-skinned Arabs who are the only ones the anti-Zionists pretend exist.


A blond-haired, blue-eyed Arab settler girl in Judea and Samaria

In view of this, what makes the Arab nation? The one commonality throughout all this diverse mix is language, whether the various spoken dialects descended from the language of the Arabian Red Sea coast, or the modern adaptation of that language used as a lingua franca. This does not mean learning the language well is all it takes to become an Arab; things are more complex than that, you probably need to be accepted by one of the tribes, which is not a simple matter unless you should happen to be a war captive. Yet, even if it were as simple as learning the language, it would still be less simplistic than the Progressive Left thinkers make it to be. Theirs is a Manichean reworking of the Mideast Conflict along racialist lines.

The truth of this conflict is highly inconvenient for anti-Zionists of all stripes: It is that one nation, the Jewish nation, is under attack for its possession of its tiny piece of ancestral land, by another nation, the Arab nation, that is already in possession of a huge mass of land well beyond its ancestral homeland of the Arabian Peninsula. Both Arab anti-Zionists and Marxist ones (Soviet in the past, Progressives now) know that to let the truth shine in such unvarnished form would be to expose themselves as perpetrators and supporters of imperialist aggression and injustice against a nation—the very accusation they level against Zionism. They have, therefore, concocted a fictitious rendering of the conflict to turn the reality of the Jewish David against the Arab/Islamic Goliath on its head. For the Arab anti-Zionist side, they had only to cook up a new nation from scratch—the non-Jewish “Palestinian nation” that has been on the land from time immemorial but for some reason nobody had heard of before the 1960s. That was enough to make it possible for them to talk of “Zionist imperialism.”

On the Far Left side of the anti-Zionist camp, working in synergy with the faux-Palestinian fiction, another fictitious yarn was spun: That of anti-Zionism as a European White Supremacist Settler Colonial Movement (any combination of those terms is obligatory in the anti-Zionist literature). Since no lie can stand without a grain of truth behind it, they have pointed the truth that the push for Jewish nationalism really gained steam among 19th-century European Jewry, but of course, they bury all the other facts that completely destroy their maliciously false narrative.

The part willingly played by the Jews of the Arab world in Zionism is denied; pace the anti-Zionists, those Jews had lived in bucolic harmony with the Arabs until “European” Zionism disturbed the peace. The fact is that the few Israeli Jews still believing in the peace process today are nearly all of European extraction, while the Sephardim are, and have always been, the core of the Israeli Jewish right; the former are so because they have their white guilt and naivete, while the latter not only lack those, but also have far-reaching family stories shattering the Edward Saidian narrative of “Everything was fine between Jews and Arabs until the Euro-Zionists arrived” to a zillion pieces.

Jewishness itself is denied; specifically, the irracial (race-agnostic) definition of the Jewish nation. The less image-conscious anti-Zionists ask how “the descendants of the Khazars” could have Palestine as their ancestral land, not caring that, even if the Khazar Hypothesis were true (it is not—it has been refuted on all possible grounds), Jews of European extraction and Khazar descent would still be virtual descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob per Judaism’s traditional view. But even where the Khazar Hypothesis is banned, there is little substantial difference in anti-Zionism without it: Even without the belief that Ashkenazi Jewry is descended from the mass-converted Khazar nation, all hard-Left anti-Zionists hold that “a European-style colony” should never have been “implanted in the midst of the Arab world.” This deeply racist narrative tramples on the Jewish view to dust.

The anti-white racist obsession of the anti-Zionists can border on mania in some websites. In one of them, there is a pastime of picking news articles on Israel for European family names, saying, “What are those Goldbergs, Wassermans, Breslaus, Rabinovitches (etc.) doing in Palestine?” Were this done with Arab family names on European lands, the same people would be the first to scream at such heinous racism, yet here they glory in it. Implied is that anyone with a family name of Telhami, Khalili, Qudsi, Nabulsi or Masarwa automatically has an unimpeachable claim to the land. But oops! Those last two names are already a fly in the ointment: Nabulsi is from Nablus, the Arabic name for Shechem, but Nablus itself is from Greek (Neapolis, “New Town”)—how is it that the nation that has been on this soil from time immemorial has forgotten the original Semitic name Shechem and replaced it with a Greek one? And Masarwa means “Egyptian,” a reminder of the emigration (yes, emigration!) of Arabs from Egypt and Syria to Palestine from the late 19th century up to the 1940s when suddenly the land began to bloom (under whose hands, I wonder?); among those newcomers to the Land of Israel were such authentic “Palestinian” icons as Edward Said and Yasser Arafat. But it is much better for anti-Zionism’s racist fiction to ignore those facts and dwell on the European family names of some Israeli Jews.

The racism underlying anti-Zionism is not optional. I have encountered someone on the forums who thinks the Mideast Conflict is like that of the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda, of two tribes not much different from each other. That person said he had little care for either of the sides. Were the anti-Zionists to accept the equality of the Jews and Arabs, rather than the superiority of the Arab (“Palestinian”) claim over the Jewish (“White Settler”) as they do now, anti-Zionism would lose most of its impetus. How many people are obsessed with the conflict in Sri Lanka? How many calls for BDS have been made with regard to the conflict in North Ireland? No, the anti-Zionists need to maintain the Manichean clarity of the South African analogy. Without their racism, the anti-Zionists would be viewed as howling at the wind, fighting for a far-flung hippie cause that most people have no concern with; not that “struggle for justice and morality against oppression and aggression” that they have made anti-Zionism to be. Take away the racist narrative of anti-Zionism and you have almost completely removed their sting.

Anti-Zionism would be illegitimate even if it were not racism; there is no right for anybody, anywhere to oppose the Jewish nation’s renewal of its self-determination on its one and only rightfully held piece of land in the world (a piece of land which, even at the most expansionist interpretation, does not exceed Algeria in size). However, the fact that anti-Zionism is racist at its core needs to be trumpeted far and wide; not only does it deflect the anti-Zionists’ charge against Jewish nationalism in the most perfect way, but it also forms an excellent basis for Zionists to start reversing anti-Zionism’s respectable image. The anti-Zionists say there is no room for racist ideologies in the 21st century; very well, that means there is no room for anti-Zionism.

17 comments:

  1. This is a very interesting piece and I want to take some time to process it.

    In the mean time, I love this:

    On the Far Left side of the anti-Zionist camp, working in synergy with the faux-Palestinian fiction, another fictitious yarn was spun: That of anti-Zionism as a European White Supremacist Settler Colonial Movement (any combination of those terms is obligatory in the anti-Zionist literature).

    That cracks me up and it is very reminiscent of my own characterization of progressive-left anti-Israel sentiment as a criticism that suggests that Israel is a "racist, imperialist, colonialist, militaristic, apartheid, racist state."

    They toss these terms around like confetti and the only purpose is to delegitimize the lone, sole, democratic, multicultural, Jewish state of Israel.

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    1. "...and I want to take some time to process it."

      Yeah, it's a bit long. The more important parts are toward the end, but I couldn't do without the introductory paragraphs for the terminology.

      Don't worry, the next piece I have in mind won't be so lengthy.

      "That cracks me up and it is very reminiscent of my own characterization of progressive-left anti-Israel sentiment..."

      I'm glad you find something to laugh about, because I've never considered this narrative funny, from the first time I encountered it up to now. In view of the fact that the Jewish nation's connection to this land is world-famous, thanks to the spread of the Bible, this recasting of Jewish nationalism as "Western colonialism" strikes me as a feat of denialism that makes Holocaust Denial look amateur in comparison.

      Thanks for inviting me to write here, Mike! :)

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    2. This is, at least, graduate level work, despite its brevity.

      I want to balance various sensibilities, including those out of academia with those of pro-Israel activism with those of just regular people who care.

      And, needless to say, the "narrative" ("European White Supremacist Settler Colonial Movement") is threatening because it is filled with hatred and lies and distortions and encourages violence against the Jewish people of the Middle East, if not Jews more generally.

      I want to leave this post above the fold for at least the next day, because I want to give people a chance to consider it.



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    3. I found this yesterday, hell if I remember where. I think it was from an intro to a piece published in a psychology journal I copied and sent it in an IM, which is where I retrieved it. Wish I could properly credit it, but it seems to fit.

      "People often hold extreme political attitudes about complex policies. We hypothesized that people typically know less about such policies than they think they do (the illusion of explanatory depth) and that polarized attitudes are enabled by simplistic causal models."

      Anti-Zionism has become hip within some circles of liberals. Much like anti-capitalism. The same phenomena occurs in most political ideologies I suspect. (Certainly applies to the anti-Obamacare crowd.) Many of those adopting these isms, don't know shit about what they're for or what they're against, can't begin to explain the nuances of conflicts between for and against.

      Nice piece.

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    4. "Many of those adopting these isms, don't know shit about what they're for or what they're against, can't begin to explain the nuances of conflicts between for and against."

      It's incredible how perfectly this sums up pretty much every single (I'm sure there's one or two who don't fit, but I honestly can't think of any offhand) 'anti-Zionist' I've ever come across online. Like a batch of scratch-off tickets that came back from the printers messed up, and there's nothing 'deeper' under the coating.

      Add one part fashion to equal parts ignorance, social pressure and more often than not a dash or three of latent antisemitism for flavoring, and you have a 'progressive' anti-Zionist. The outright Nazis, on the left and the right, are an entirely different matter of course, but I think the recipe above covers most types you come across on Daily Kos and other such places.

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    5. btw, you ladies and gents will notice that Jay and I often refer to Daily Kos.

      The reason that we do so, or at least the reason that I do so - aside from the fact that we were both long-time contributors - is not because dkos matters in and of itself, but because it more or less represents the progressive-movement in the United States and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party.

      From what I can tell dkos no longer has much influence, but it represents views that are consistent with much of the American left base.

      It represents an approximate gauge.

      If you want to understand the western progressive left base from a pro-Jewish / pro-Israel perspective you need to read us, Matt and Zach, and Adam Levick.

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    6. Agreed, I think we both point to it for the same reasons.

      And for those who would rightly claim that not everyone thinks the way the worst of them do, I would point out that the diary I linked to the other day (on phone, can't link) was not just a random 'I-P' diary that nobody ever saw, but was rather a prominent 'recommended' post visible to many, many people there beyond just the 'usual suspects.'

      Who amongst them stood up against the anti-Israel hate or even the one blatantly antisemitic comment I linked to?

      None. One or two people said neutral things about Israel (though usually in the same paragraph with a qualifier along the lines of 'I'm no fan of Israel but...'), the hate and incitement went completely unchallenged, and the blatant antisemitic comment eventually received one 'hide rating' from one of the last remaining pro-Israel folks there, although even that was immediately met with multiple off-setting uprates (approval and defense of the original antisemitic comment).

      Therein lies the problem. Even though anti-Israel fanaticism is hardly a requirement in the grassroots Left, it's certainly tolerated if not smiled upon by a clear majority.

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    7. "and the blatant antisemitic comment eventually received one 'hide rating' from one of the last remaining pro-Israel folks there, although even that was immediately met with multiple off-setting uprates (approval and defense of the original antisemitic comment)."

      Including, for the record, an uprate of the defense of the blatantly antisemitic comment, from the poster of that very diary.

      And from someone who I actually expected better from, as well, as they are someone who once tried to organize an interstate, Portland(, Oregon)-area 'Progressive Conference' of sorts a couple years ago. I know of this because I was invited, though I was too busy (and too poor) to spend a few days out of town on my own dime at such a thing.

      Never suspected such ugliness bubbled just underneath her surface, too.

      I rest my case.

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  2. Exhibit Infinity.

    The racist insanity of this comment is hard to imagine being topped, and yet I'm sure somebody will by the end of the week.

    "I'm sure after years of having Israel blow Arab shit up because the power base in America is finds the balance of power being changed will show Arabs how democracy is run."

    Even disregarding the first bit of stupidity ("years of blowing up," blah blah blah; at least this idiot capitalizes Israel, unlike most of his fellow bigots), check out the latter.

    Yeah, the Joooooz running America. Yawn.

    A few years ago, I would have replied with something along the lines of "Stormfront is that way..."

    But these days, I know better.

    That person actually is in their proper place, sadly.

    This is why we need to focus 'progressive' left blogs. Because that is where the hate is coming from these days.

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    1. Jesus, Jay.

      First the Phillies beat the holy crap out of the Giants and now you point me to that vile comment?

      What kind of a sadist are you, anyway?

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    2. Don't worry, I abuse myself as well.

      Like for example, how many people do you know would renounce the New Jersey Football Giants, who seem to win a Super Bowl every five years like clockwork, after a lifetime of following them, in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles, who are mainly generally known for always sucking and for turning fans' hair gray by high school?

      Me. That's pretty much it.

      Heh.

      But hey, they're Philadelphia, so they're me. And that's the way it's got to be. ;)

      ~~~

      But yeah, can you imagine any other such instance of open bigotry on display at an allegedly 'anti-racist' site, receiving no pushback at all?

      I can't.

      The 'progressive' Left at places like that seem to think it's open season on Jews. I would disagree, and say that it's time for us to fight back.

      (Hamels-Pettibone-Kendrick in 2015!)

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    3. We do need to fight back and perhaps the best way to do that is to do what Dan Bielak suggests, tell the truth. Of course, in order to do that we must be cognizant of the truth and allow our use of language to reflect it.

      Thus I never speak any longer about the "Israel-Palestine" conflict because that is simply not accurate. I wish it was a conflict between Israel and the local Arabs, but it is not. In fact it is conflict between the Jewish minority and the much, much larger Arab majority in that part of the world.

      Therefore we should discuss the conflict in such terms. Not only is it better for the Jewish people of the Middle East from a PR perspective, but it also happens to better reflect the reality on the ground.

      I tell ya, man, we are so infused with the "Palestinian narrative" that most of the time we do not even realize that we are discussing the conflict in the terms created by enemies of the Jewish people.

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    4. Jay,

      "Don't worry, I abuse myself as well."

      Nah, if you want to see real self-abuse, take a look at what I do: I read the real hardcore anti-Zionist Progressives, like CounterPuke, Common Screams and Mound o' Scheiss. The pastime of picking European-sounding Israeli Jewish family names and saying, "What are they doing in Palestine, the land of the indigenous brown Palestinians?!" is a specialty of Mound o' Scheiss. And they bill themselves as "anti-racist." Not overflowing in irony, those pieces of garbage are.

      I know very well that those websites, unlike DKos, are not yet the mainstream of anti-Zionist thinking on the Marxist Left. However, "yet" is the operative word: Over the years their opinions drift to the mainstream, like the way the "Right of Return" used to be frowned upon on DKos but is now perfectly acceptable.

      Mike,

      "I wish it was a conflict between Israel and the local Arabs, but it is not."

      So did I wish it, and so did most Israeli Jews. But those with open eyes have realized that, had the local Arabs been in it for a state of their own, they'd have gotten one long ago. Heck, as late as August 2005 they were given a significant beginning of a totally independent state in Gaza. What did they do with it? Use it as a base for launching rockets on pre-1967 Israeli Jewish towns like Sderot, of course. Not exactly a confidence-building move.

      This also ties to the reason why Dershowitz, a stalwart Zionist without dispute, was booed when he called for a renewal of the peace process. Dersh baby, we love ya, we really do, but please, let's not try the same thing we've tried over and over again with the same miserable results. All those who believe in a peace process on the basis of negotiations and concessions make the error of thinking the local Arabs want a state of their own; the truth that so many people (even well-meaning ones like Dershowitz) have difficulty accepting is that they want to take away from the Jews the one and only state they have. Like Geoffff said, the purpose is not a state, it's an antistate.

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  3. Changing the terms of discussion.

    One of the reasons that I offered Ziontruth access to the front page is because his discussion of the conflict reflects ways wherein we can change the terms of the discussion. So, for example, Zion writes this:

    The truth of this conflict is highly inconvenient for anti-Zionists of all stripes: It is that one nation, the Jewish nation, is under attack for its possession of its tiny piece of ancestral land, by another nation, the Arab nation, that is already in possession of a huge mass of land well beyond its ancestral homeland of the Arabian Peninsula. Both Arab anti-Zionists and Marxist ones (Soviet in the past, Progressives now) know that to let the truth shine in such unvarnished form would be to expose themselves as perpetrators and supporters of imperialist aggression and injustice against a nation—the very accusation they level against Zionism.

    That is absolutely correct, yet how many liberal pro-Israel diaspora Jews consider the conflict in the above manner?

    I would suggest that most do not but instead think of the conflict in the terms created by the Arabs, themselves.

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  4. If you're at Berkeley, and you're a Jew, you're of the dreaded White Master Race therefore are guilty of everything in general.

    http://www.dailycal.org/2013/05/06/checking-our-prejudices/

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  5. We all know a majority of kids on earth are not starving because of a group of jewish people

    It is clearly a group of rich people.

    So regardless about who's right about your zionism discussion, we all find it interesting that the the great proportion of any nationalities rich that will have capital or life imprisonment punishment is those whom claim to be jewish. Given that 48% of all U.S. Billionaires are Jewish (forbes), and who know's maybe they are all innocent. DHS and NSA surveilance data has the answer in waiting, and before we put the rich on trial we will hack into that data and find out who all of the crimnals and people with knowledge of criminal activities are.

    Whether is Albright saying its worth it to murder 500k iraqi kids or Begin/Ben Gurion saying that we should murder Muslim kids, these people are sociopaths and they and they're assentors, will have ample time to reflect on their lives in federal prision, with their bellies full of BT Corn and Fluoridated water =]

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    1. Shit. This guy has it all figured out...

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