Tuesday, July 2, 2013

General Choomin: Anti-Zionist

Mike L.

Every once in awhile it is not a bad idea to try to actually engage the enemies of the Jewish people in discussion so that others can see who they are.  I have decided to open Israel Thrives to such an engagement with the person who goes under the moniker "General Choomin."

The question that I have asked General Choomin is the following:
Given the fact that Jewish people are among the most persecuted people within recorded history - and given the fact that Jews suffered under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism as slaves and dhimmis for thirteen centuries - do you believe that we should be allowed a state on our historical homeland?
Oldschooltwentysix adds the following questions:
If you identify as anti-Zionist, what is the basis for such identification? In other words, how do you define Zionism? Do you believe that Zionism is racism?

If you deny Jewish external self-determination as established internationally by Israel, do you similarly deny it in any other case?

Do you dispute the legitimacy of the San Remo Convention and League of Nations concerning Palestine?
Now, I have called General Choomin an anti-Semitic anti-Zionist and he has objected to what he terms "scurrilous accusations."  The word "scurrilous," of course, means, "Making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation: 'a scurrilous attack'."

Having been the target of scurrilous accusations, myself, I can certainly understand why anyone would object, but the question is whether or not the accusations are true?  I have said that General Choomin is an "anti-Semitic anti-Zionist." I would suggest that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic on its face, as I wrote in this 2008 essay for My Left Wing entitled, Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitic?, because it denies to the Jewish people - and only the Jewish people - what it freely accepts for everyone else, i.e., self-determination and self-defense.

It is clearly bigoted against Jews to suggest that after 2,000 years of persecutions and pogroms and expulsions, all leading to that rockin' good time that we had in the middle of the twentieth century in Germany and Poland and the Middle East, that Jews have no rights to a secure homeland on Jewish soil.  That much should be entirely obvious to any fair-minded person, yet General Choomin says this in is his Daily Kos profile:
Zionism doesn't equal racism. It surpasses it since it is a fascist idealogy. It's a idea that promotes perpetual hatred towards the other from within and from without. Zionisms goal was to make the anti-semite it's best friend to create a state. Thus it continues to do so with terror against leftists or other Semites.
I will not expect General Choomin to answer my question, above, because he has already answered it and his answer is "no."   General Choomin claims that not only was the movement for Jewish self-determination and self-defense racist, but fascist, as well.  This makes pretty much the entirety of world Jewry "racist" and "fascist" for seeking to defend ourselves against both racism and fascism.

{How's that for a kick in the head?}

In other words, when the Jews of Germany and the Jews of the Pale of Settlement and the Jews throughout the Middle East, sought to end their own oppression through migration to the Land of Israel, they were "racist" and "fascist" for wanting to do so in the imagination of anti-Semitic anti-Zionists like General Choomin.

It's a hateful, perverse, and sick view, but it is the view that General Choomin holds and the reason that he holds it is because of decades of Arab and Soviet propaganda that told the world that "Zionism is racism."

One of the difficulties in running a highly contentious political blog such as this one is whether or not to ban people who hold outrageously toxic views.  In the United States someone who holds an outrageously toxic view might, for example, be opposed to fair and equal treatment of women in the workplace.  Such a view would be considered entirely unacceptable - left, right, and center - within the American polity.  But, at worst, such a view, if adopted, would mean discrimination against women in the workplace.

What we are talking about, on the other hand, is the outright genocide of the Jewish people and, apparently, the outright genocide of the Jewish people within living memory fazes General Choomin not at all.  As a "progressive" he simply doesn't care.  And what's worse is that he claims that the very movement to save the Jews from persecution is, in and of itself, racist and fascist.  This would be something akin to a liberal claiming that the movement for black liberation in the United States was racist and fascist.

In other words, the efforts of our families to save themselves from persecution and murder was, according to General Choomin, immoral.

Note, of course, that General Choomin conceives of himself as a man of the left, which explains his presence on Daily Kos.  The current movement against the Jewish people - anti-Semitic anti-Zionism / BDS - is primarily a movement on the left.  It is on the international left where, Islamism aside, the greatest enemies of the Jewish people are to be found in today's political landscape.

I will permit General Choomin to participate here despite the fact that it goes against my general policy of not providing a platform for anti-Semitic anti-Zionists because I do not believe for one second that he can mount a fair argument as to why it is that the Jews do not deserve self-determination and self-defense.  My assumption, if he cares to argue the point, is that he will suggest that the Jews in the Middle East, in 1948, ethnically cleansed the local Arabs from their lands and have oppressed them ever since.

That, in its most concise form, is the general argument against the movement for justice for the Jewish people.  The truth, of course, as General Choomin may or may not know, is that the Jewish people of the Middle East suffered under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism for thirteen centuries before we regained our freedom with the fall of the Ottoman Empire.  After we regained our freedom - with the help of a little something that I like to refer to as World War I - the Arab world immediately launched a war against us that continues to this very day.

The Jews of the Middle East remain a people under siege, but have done a remarkable job in building a thriving and democratic society under conditions of persecution and violence.

I am very sorry that Jewish success in the Middle East displeases the General Choomins of the world, but I think that we can learn to live with it.

We have no choice, now do we?


  1. Two good tools when dealing with this are two fairly short and easy to read books, both on Holocaust denial. Useful because they have taxonomies of how these deniers operate. One is Lipstadt's "Denying the Holocaust" and the other is Shermer and Grobman's "Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?". Shermer and Grobman is closer to textbook in format.

  2. He calls himself "anti-racist" yet this does not square with the statement about Zionism, a racist denial of external self-determination, or with the disparate treatment that holds no other people to a similar standard for promoting "perpetual hatred towards the other from within and from without" or the use of terror.

    1. Not to mention the statement being posted on a general American politics blog. It's as if I were to join a dog bo..ard and use my profile to post a long-winded screed about how much I despise Sea World and all that it stands for...

    2. Jay, I just spit my coffee all over the screen!

      Sea World and all it stands for.


    3. Your comment made no sense. Nor did you answer the several questions that were asked of you. Nor do you seem to know that Israel does follow international law.

      So should nation-states be cast away, as almost all are based on the ethnic nationalism you mentioned?

    4. I just gave you my answer that I have no problem with Israel as long as it governs all people under it equally. If it follows international law and the law that the majority of the people of the world follow, then who am I to complain?

      Yes I do hate ethnic nationalism. It is racist and only leads to oblivion.

    5. International law? Why don't you cite some.

      The fact is that Israel is one of the few states that endeavors to comply, and it has a far better record of civil rights than almost every other state.

      So there should be no states? Even though most human rights advocates acknowledge that the nation state is the best mechanism for delivering and promoting human rights to the inhabitants.

      Maybe if you lost some of the indoctrination that comes through from your words, it would bring you back to earth. What do you suggest to replace the nation state? The UN?

  3. I've been slowing reading Wistrich's book about antisemitism and the left and sadly am getting towards the end. It's an important book and I really recommend it. The reviews I've seen are glowing but none really does it justice. I might have a go.

    The chapters on the inversion of the Holocaust and how rabid and central the equation of Zionism and Nazism post 1967 was to Soviet and therefore western leftist ideology are particularly apt here.

    The Czech show trials of 1952 were astonishing. Seven years after and on Kremlin orders about 18 members of the central committee (14 of whom were Jews) were put on trial and charged as "Zionist Jews" or "non-Jewish Zionists" accused of among other things of collaborating with the Nazis as a Zionist conspiracy to participate in the Holocaust and sentenced to death.

    During the trial prosecutors taunted defendants with lines like you ["Zionists"] will be exterminated from the planet.

    Hence began the official Jew = Zionist = Nazi trope of the left that as we can see here survives to this day. Indeed it is more virulent than ever. It has its origins in sheer unadulterated undisguised antisemitism.

    1. And the Soviets merely adapted and updated an ancient hatred for the post-war era.

      None of this is new, and we all know where and what such beliefs lead to.

      I've gotta pick up Wistrich's (and Gerstenfeld's) book. Almost forgot about that one.

    2. What is interesting is how many of them were/are Jews.

      Bolshevism and all its offshoots (including of course the Trotskyites -- but strangely not necessarily Trotsky himself- something else I learnt form Wistrich) have been hostile to Zionism and at best indifferent to antisemitism since the very start in the mid 19th Century. Wistrich shows this goes back to the earliest strands of leftist and socialist thought.

      The obvious exception was the Labor Zionists.

      I suspect most of us have reds under our beds if we care to go looking for them. I know I do. Close relatives of my Dad were under surveillance by ASIO and named in the Australian Parliament during the Australian version of the McCarthy period in the fifties when the Government did everything it could to ban and dissolve the Australian Communist Party. Shirl's Dad was a Communist politician in East London and she grew up in the enormous excitement of leftist activist household. I remember Mike saying there is a family joke about his father's family arriving with a bomb in the suitcase.

      There is no question that Jews have been disproportionately active in all strands of left wing revolutionary or radical politics in Europe and Russia including as leaders, intellectuals, writers, organisers and party cannon fodder in the streets.

      They believed that Communism was the way of the world. We were going there ready or not. And the ideologues of the Party believed that "Judaism" and Jewishness, and with them antisemitism, would disappear as the medieval relic that believed it to be.

      Those who remained committed to Communism could be the most ruthlessly "anti-Zionist" elements in the Party. Their antisemitism was palpable.

  4. Then as now. See an antizionist Jew and you are looking at the direct political heir of a former Bundist and now Soviet Commissar whose job it was to ruthlessly persecute wrong thinking Jews.

    Didn't help them much. All the Czech defendants in the 1952 show trials were viciously antizionist and more hardline against Jewish thought criminals than Stalin.