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From Glorious Millennia to Death and Destruction: Zionists Rewrite Palestine’s Story

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/09/2021 - 1:56am in

PALESTINE — As these words were being written, the final two Palestinian freedom prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison were caught by the Israeli authorities. Palestine is still reacting to this courageous escape and the consequent re-capture of the six political prisoners who escaped and defied the entire Israeli security apparatus. However, even though they managed to free themselves from this high-security prison, they found a world that doesn’t care. The rest of the world did not step up to save these brave men and did not provide them with sanctuary, and so they were caught.

Why Israel’s Gilboa Prison Break has Palestanians Celebrating

One of the great tragedies of Palestine is that almost every day there is a commemoration of one massacre or another, the death of a child or destruction of a home or village, leading one to think that the Palestinian narrative is one of death and destruction, which is what Israel wants people to think. But the truth is that this is not the case. The Palestinian narrative is one of a glorious history with periods of great sadness and tragedy. It is the Zionist story that is full of killing, stealing and destruction and not, as they try to sell it, one of creation and growth.

September 16, 2021, marked 39 years since the massacres at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. As people remember and mourn the thousands of unarmed civilians who were butchered and the countless who survived suffering terrible injuries and emotional scars, we must also remember the man that stood behind this bloodbath.

This was a man whose complicity even the Israeli authorities could not ignore, the former general and renowned war criminal Ariel Sharon. And although he was momentarily penalized and banished from politics, he very quickly returned, and for a quarter of a century, he was the most powerful and influential man in Israeli politics.

 

Narratives

At the end of the day, it is all about the narrative, and we know all too well that Israel has done an outstanding job of erasing the Palestinian narrative and injecting its own mythical, false narrative in its place. In the media, in movies, in literature, in public education, and in politics the false Zionist narrative rules supreme and we who oppose racism and violence are faced with an enormous task as we engage in the work of reversing the narrative – a task without which it is hard to imagine Palestine ever becoming free.

Over the last 100 years, the Zionist movement managed to take the truly incredible history of Palestine and turn it into a historical footnote, replacing it with a mythical story that relies heavily on a Protestant-Zionist, literal reading of the Old Testament, which allowed them to create what is known as “return history.” In other words, the Zionist version of the history of Palestine creates the impression that the Jews returned to their ancient homeland after 2,000 years, making it an unprecedented historical event that overshadows anything else that occurred in Palestine over that bimillennial span.

The Zionist narrative is designed to turn the ancient history of Palestine into a small, unimportant story that cannot be compared with the grandeur of the narrative that is presented by the Old Testament. This is highlighted when Israeli politicians like the current prime minister, Naftali Bennett, refer to the Bible as the source of legitimacy for Israel.

Why Opposing Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitic: The Christian Roots of Zionism

 

A four thousand-year history

Thanks to the historian Nur Masalha, we now know that the name Palestine goes back close to 4,000 years. We know that the name Palestine was used in Egyptian sources going back to the Bronze Age, more than 1,000 BCE. Later, the name was used by the Assyrians in inscriptions from that era. The Greek historian Herodotus, who lived in the 5th century BCE and who is considered to be the father of history as we know it, visited the country and referred to it as Palestine. The Greek scientist and philosopher Aristotle also refers to Palestine by name in his writings.

The cities of Lyd, Ramle, and Yaffa all had remarkable histories, as did the cities of Akka, Haifa, and, of course, Nablus, Gaza, and Al-Quds-Jerusalem. Throughout the Muslim rule of Palestine, cities grew, cultures flourished, economic conditions and trade with Europe allowed people to prosper. Dhaher Al-Umar, who ruled over large parts of Palestine during the 18th century, is seen as the founding father of Palestinian modernity and, according to Nur Maslaha, he was the most influential figure in the modern orientation of Palestine towards the Mediterranean. During his reign in Palestine, there were agricultural and technical innovations introduced that “benefited the majority of Palestinian peasantry.” Thanks to Dhaher Al-Umar, there was considerable growth in the export of cotton, olive oil, wheat and soap.

The Story of Daher Al-Umar Undermines Israel’s Own Origin Story

Other, lesser-known parts of Palestine also flourished throughout history, such as the Palestinian town of Khalasa, which was founded by the Nabatean Arabs in the fourth century and then depopulated by the Zionist militia in 1948. It was known to be on what is called the “Arab incense route” and, according to Nur Masalha, under Arab-Islamic rule, the town, which sits just southwest of the city of Bi’r Al-Saba, was a major urban center.

According to Mansur Nasasra, the Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab had a very profitable export of barley to England for the production of beer. Aerial photos from the early British occupation of Palestine also show large tracts of cultivated land in the Naqab. These lands are now mostly depopulated and the Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab are prohibited from cultivating their ancestral lands. All of this stands in the face of Zionist claims that they came to a barren land and made it bloom.

The Zionist narrative is arguably responsible for the welcoming and forgiving attitude the entire world has towards the horrendous, unforgivable crimes committed by Israel since its founding in 1948. In order to prevent the next massacre by Israel, a state that seems to have an insatiable thirst for Palestinian blood, we have to reverse the narrative and delegitimize Zionism.

Feature photo | Bilder aus Palästina, Nord-Arabien und dem Sinai, circa 1905. Bernhard Moritz | US Library of Congress

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post From Glorious Millennia to Death and Destruction: Zionists Rewrite Palestine’s Story appeared first on MintPress News.

Zionism’s Anthem: The Danger Lurking in “Jerusalem of Gold”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/09/2021 - 4:27am in

JERUSALEM — The risk of Israel destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and replacing them with a so-called Jewish temple is real and present. Building a temple in place of the mosque and golden dome that grace Jerusalem today has been a long-time Zionist aspiration, expressed in songs, tales, and, over the last decade, provocations that could lead to the spark Zionists need to raze the Haram Al-Sharif.

One example of Zionist propaganda that lays claim to the Haram Al-Sharf is the iconic Hebrew song “Jerusalem of Gold.” Written by the Israeli national poet Neomi Shemer, it is often presented as a simple song that expresses the yearning of the Jewish people for their lost, historical capital. However, it isn’t hard to see that the song, its writer, and the people who commissioned the song had a very clear political agenda.

The song begins with the following lines:

Mountain air as clear as wine

And the fragrance of pines

Is carried in the evening wind 

With the sound of ringing bells

And in the slumber of tree and stone

Trapped in its dream 

The city that sits alone

And in its heart a Wall

Jerusalem of gold

And bronze and light

To all your songs

I am a violin…

The image of Jerusalem as a lone city sitting alone and secluded, a haunted city with nothing but a past, reflects a romanticized idea that protestant evangelicals and dreamy Zionists share, but it is not a true reflection of the Jerusalem of 1967. The song goes on with the following lines:

How the water wells dried up

The city square is empty

And no one ascends to the Temple Mount

In The Old City

And not a soul goes down the Dead Sea

By way of Jericho.

The city of Jerusalem was divided in 1948 between the newly formed states of Jordan and Israel, and both sides were populated. The Western side was subjected to an ethnic cleansing campaign that emptied it of its indigenous Palestinian population and settled by Zionist immigrants making it an Israeli-Jewish-only city. The Eastern side of Jerusalem, including the Old City, remained in Arab hands and came under Jordanian rule.

The markets in the Old City were filled with people; worshipers on the Haram Al-Sharif (The Temple Mount) prayed; and the water wells were not dried up. Only for Neomi Shemer, who at the time was Israel’s national poet and songwriter, East Jerusalem — and especially the Old City — was empty because, as she put it, “a world without Jews is empty.”

Reading the lines of her song one could almost forget that the Old City of Jerusalem, to which Neomi Shemer was referring, was in fact an Arab and predominantly Muslim city for over 1,500 years. The city also included, among several other minorities, a small, impoverished community of Jews.


Naomi Shemer pictured in July, 2004. Photo | Flash90

 

A family connection

To add a disclaimer, I must confess that Neomi Shemer was a close friend of my family. Her mother, Rivka Sapir, and my grandmother Sarah both came to Palestine as young Zionist pioneers in the early part of the twentieth century. Even though they settled in different parts of the country — Rivka in the northern settlement of “Kvutzat Kinneret,” a settlement on the banks of Lake Tabariya, and my grandmother Sarah in Jerusalem — they remained the closest of friends for over fifty years. Neomi Shemer and my father were friends growing up, though my father was her senior in age, and the two families were close for decades.

Neomi Shemer admittedly had a deep admiration for the young Zionist men of that generation — men who, like my father, had dedicated their lives to the military arm of the Zionist colonial project, and in fact created the military machine known as the Israeli Army, or IDF.

 

Determined to “complete the job”

By the 1960s, my father and his generation of officers were all generals and had become the subject of enormous national admiration within the young Zionist state. Their intention — indeed their ambition to “complete” the conquests of 1948 by taking the West Bank and East Jerusalem — was not a secret. Neomi Shemer, like so many other Israelis, shared that ambition, which was an Israel that stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

It wasn’t until May of 1967 that the opportunity arrived to realize the ambition to take the rest of Palestine. Israeli intelligence made it clear that the Arab armies were no match for the Israeli Defense Forces and, with this knowledge, they began to campaign to get popular support to complete their ambition of conquest.

 

A brilliant campaign

The campaign had several parts. One had to do with perpetuating the lie that the Arab armies were poised to attack and that the “Jewish State” was under an existential threat. This argument was used to pressure the Israeli government, which was at that time hesitant about initiating yet another war, to give the green light to start a preemptive strike.

The other front was more visionary and included the song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav,” or “Jerusalem of Gold.” Only Neomi Shemer could have written this song. She knew how to play on the chords of national sentiments more than any other songwriter, and indeed she was tasked with the job. The mayor of Jerusalem at the time was the ambitious Teddy Kolek, who no doubt could already taste having the magnificent Old City of Jerusalem under his control. He had the song commissioned just weeks before the war.

With her background, her ability to romanticize Zionism and the achievements of Zionism, and her deep and personal connections to the generals of the IDF, who were chomping at the bit to start a war, Neomi Shemer was sure to deliver the goods. And indeed she did.

Israel’s nineteenth Independence Day was held on the 9th of May that year. The military parade customary on Independence Day was a more modest version, as the military was already preparing for war. The song “Jerusalem of Gold” was performed for the first time by Shuli Natan, a young female singer who was until that moment unknown and was personally chosen by Shemer. It was an astounding success and, overnight, the song was heard throughout the entire country.

 

The Temple Mount

On June 4, after two stormy meetings between the IDF top brass and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, the green light was given to conduct a preemptive strike against Egypt. The mandate from the government was to attack Egypt only. However, there is evidence indicating that the popularity of the song had given impetus to the popular demand for Israel to take the Old City of Jerusalem. This meant opening the war to an eastern front and taking the entire West Bank from Jordan. The generals were only too happy to do this, and indeed they did it without waiting for government approval.

The conquest of the Old City was made all the more dramatic as the song had become popular to the point that it was being constantly played on Israeli radio and in every home. I myself remember the song playing before and during the war, as my father spent days and nights at IDF headquarters and my older brother, a young officer at the time, on the Egyptian front. Then came the famous announcement by Colonel Mordechai Gur, commander of the IDF paratrooper Brigade who took the Old City:

I am not a religious man, but I am touching the stones of the Kotel (the Western Wall), I am touching the stones of the Kotel with my bare hands!”

Later on, Colonel Gur called out what became the most iconic statement of the war: “Har Habayit Beydeynu!” or “The Temple Mount is in our hands!”

Immediately after the war, and once the eastern part of Jerusalem including the Old City was conquered by the Israeli army, Neomi Shemer went on tour to perform in front of the victorious troops who were still at the front. At that point she added the following lines to the song:

We have returned to the Water Wells

To the Market and the City Square

A Shofar calls on the Temple Mount

In The Old City

And once again we will go down to the Dead Sea

By way of Jericho.

Neomi Shemer performing her most famous song, “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav.”

 

Criticism

After the war there was some criticism of the song for its implication that there were no people in the Old City before Israel had occupied it. However, just as the Zionists did not see the Palestinains as people in 1948, Nemoni Shemer did not see them in 1967. In an interview she gave in response to the criticism, she said, “People criticize me because I say that no one was there when it was full of Arabs,” and then she added, “This made me extremely angry. For me a place without Jews is empty.”

 

A national symbol

It is said that when a conflict is political it is solvable, but if it becomes religious then it is far more dangerous because each side believes that God is on their side. In the case of Jerusalem, and especially the Haram Al-Sharif, the opposite is true. Zionists have been able to create a yearning among non-religious Israelis to see a “Jewish” temple built in place of the glorious Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, as a national aspiration.

It is as though Israel will not be complete until such a temple — the temple of King David — once again sits there instead of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As I look back at my own childhood, I can recall countless folk songs in which the building of the temple is mentioned and repeated as a yearning, as a national aspiration of all Jews, religious and non-religious, including ones like myself who were raised completely secular.

 

Quiet can be a dangerous thing

In a video in Hebrew that came out in 2019, one of Israel’s beloved national public figures, Yehoram Ga’on, who made a career as a singer and actor, speaks to this yearning. He speaks about the “injustice” of denying Jewish people access to the Temple Mount, “the holiest place for the Jews.” In this video, he refers specifically to the fact that on “Jerusalem Day” that year the Temple Mount will be closed to Jewish people because it fell on the last day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Ga’on says that the government — or the “kingdom,” as he refers to it — prefers “quiet” over allowing Jewish people to access what is rightfully theirs. “This is a knockout victory [of] the Islamic calendar over the Jewish calendar,” he says, meaning that, because the dates of their holiday collided with ours, we capitulated for the sake of “quiet.” He explained:

The kingdom does not want to mobilize the army, police and border police to face off crowds who call out ‘With blood and spirit we will free Palestine,’ because the kingdom wants quiet.

All we asked is that we too are allowed to enter the Mount — is that too much to ask?”

Ga’on then went on to say that this desire for quiet means that the Jews have to give in and to forgo their own rights, their beliefs, their existence, and that this is a desecration of the memory of those who gave their lives in battle. The video is peppered with clips of Palestinian “violence,” which contradicts the presumption of “quiet,” and proposes that, even with this egregious injustice to the Jews, Israel does not have the quiet it desires because the Arabs are violently demanding more and more.

The innocence of his proposition could make one believe that indeed Jewish Israelis were the ones living under occupation; that Jewish Israelis are denied rights; that they are the ones who are struggling to survive in an oppressive, apartheid regime that wants to get rid of them. Listening to his reasoning — his quiet, reasonable voice — one could almost be convinced that a terrible wrong has been done to the Jews in Jerusalem.

The ability to exclude the context from every argument is a tactic that Zionist propagandists have used for many decades. They gloss over almost an entire century of ethnic cleansing, violence, racist policies, an apartheid regime, and a concerted effort to rid Palestine of its people and its landmarks.

Fifteen hundred years of history, fifteen hundred years of worship, and maintaining what is one of the most wonderful structures known to humanity are meaningless in the eyes of Zionists. As an example, Al-Aqsa and the structures that surround it are older and in many ways more beautiful and certainly more significant than the Taj Mahal. Now imagine someone coming to claim that the Taj Mahal is sitting on an ancient temple and must be destroyed.

Whether it is Neomi Shemer or Yehoram Ga’on, both of whom are Zionist cultural icons, the message is the same: Only Jews matter. As we look at the short history of Israel, we can see clearly that the role of Zionist zealots was always instrumental in achieving Zionist goals. If it weren’t for zealots, fanatic Zionist settlers, there would be no Zionist state, no settlements in the West Bank, and no State of Israel. The Zionist movement was always a step ahead, indoctrinating, supporting, and funding the zealot settlers who then took things into their own hands and created facts on the ground.

Should the Al-Aqsa Mosque be destroyed, the match will be lit by a fanatic settler, but it is decades of Zionist indoctrination and Israeli policies that will be responsible for the destruction. And all that will be left for the rest of the world to do is look at the ashes in shame.

Feature photo | Dome of the Rock at dawn. Photo | Joiseyshowaa | Flickr CC

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post Zionism’s Anthem: The Danger Lurking in “Jerusalem of Gold” appeared first on MintPress News.

Spinozism, Oppenheimer, and the Communism of Zionism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/08/2021 - 11:24pm in

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zionism

The third fundamental aim is that the land must irrevocably and for all time be the property of the community. "Mine is the land, saith the Lord, and ye shall work it for Me". In modern dress we must restore the primeval agricultural laws of Israel, which allocated the land for all time to the tribe or village community, which for its part only possessed it in fief from the nation as a whole.

The ancient world knew no other means of maintaining that equality of land tenure, which it fully recognized as the only possible foundation of a sound national life, than to return every piece of ground sold or pawned to the heirs after a certain period: at the year of jubilee. Only because the return could not be effected on account of the power of the big landowners being strong enough to prevent the application of the law, only because of this did Israel fall like Sparta and Rome; that in the last resort is the cause of all Ahasver's sufferings.

p.74 We must forfend this evil, and 2000 years of history have provided us with a better means than the year of jubilee. The individual colonies possess their land corporately under the overlordship of the whole nation; and every individual colonist is only hereditary lease-holder within his community, paying a fixed sum which may not be raised. He cannot be given notice to leave as long as he fulfils his civic obligations to the nation and his economic and communal obligations to his community.

This way of holding land, imperfectly carried into effect under all the old systems of Common Law, insures all the advantages of individual land property and is free from its worst shortcomings. It grants complete security of possession, it bestows the home feeling in the fullest sense and forges this indissoluble link with the soil which roots the soul of the peasant in the field he tills; but it precludes the mortgaging of the soil, which deprives the peasant of the fruits of his labour throughout all the countries under Roman Law and throws them into the lap of the landlord. Further, it precludes that breaking up of agricultural holdings here and their accumulation there which divides the village community into an unfriendly aristocracy and proletariat, and thereby destroys that community of interests which alone, as the history of the world testifies, can make it invulnerable.--Franz Oppenheimer (1903) "Extract from his address at the sixth Zionist Congress in Basle," "Translated by E. I. M. Boyd,

A sympathetic discussion of the sociologist Franz Oppenheimer by Raymond Aron in his (1936) German Sociology, got me interested in the relationship between Oppenheimer (who seems to have been a left-Liberal inspired by Georgism) and Ordoliberalism. Indeed, Oppenheimer seems to have been the doctoral supervisor of Ludwig Erhard (and perhaps Röpke).+

And indeed Oppenheimer was a social liberal (or liberal socialist) who believed, "in the evolution of a society without class dominion and class exploitation which shall guarantee to the individual, besides political, also economic liberty of movement, within of course the limitations of the economic means. That was the credo of the old social liberalism, of pre-Manchester days, enunciated by Quesnay and especially by Adam Smith, and again taken up in modern times by Henry George and Theodore Hertzka." (The State (1908), chapter 7, translated by John M. Gitterman) And while Röpke would not self-identify as a social liberal (let alone a liberal socialist) or a Georgist, the quoted sentence describes Röpke's program in the 1940s very well (and these form the basis of Foucault's interpretation of ordoliberalism).

Much to my surprise, I then learned that not Röpke, but Oppenheimer coined the term 'the third way' in 1933. And then I suddenly realized that this Franz Oppenheimer was the same Oppenheimer as the one time Zionist Oppenheimer who co-founded Altneuland (1864-1943).

This Oppenheimer was one of the guiding lights behind the cooperative (now Moshav) Merhavia (מֶרְחַבְיָה) not far from Afula, which even received publicity from the New York Times at the time. Unlike other settler-colonists, Oppenheimer did not assume that Palestine was empty, but rather he hoped for collaboration between Zionists and local Arabs. So plenty of reasons to take a look at Oppenheimer's writings.

Today's digression is focused on one of his Zionist texts. On Oppenheimer's view, the first two aims of Zionism are (i) self-help or independence; (ii) and that agrarian development should be prioritized. He then quotes Leviticus 25:23, and returns to the recently much discussed passage of the Jubilee in the same chapter of Leviticus in order to provide the third aim.

And Oppenheimer then claims that the fall of biblical Israel was due to the undermining of the institution of the Jubilee not from without, but from within: the ordinary functioning of the property arrangements allowed for temporary concentrations of wealth. But these riches became the source of the power of large landholders to resist the Jubilee and so prevent the rule of law. Oppenheimer implies that this either undermined national solidarity and/or fatally weakened the military capacity of biblical Israel which now could not rely on on independent citizenry. There are, thus, lurking in Oppenheimer republican and limitarian commitments.

Now, it is worth noticing that Oppenheimer's diagnosis of this material and its relationship to the biblical Israel's decline is not far removed from Spinoza's account of this fall in the Theological Political Treatise, 17.106, p. 320. This is also, as Beth Lord has argued, rooted in growing inequality and, in my view, the growing accompanying appetite for luxury of the wealthy (and so accompanying lack of focus on martial virtues, etc.)

In fact, I think Oppenheimer's solution to the diagnosed problem is probably inspired by a proposal in the Political Treatise by Spinoza. For in the context of describing the best monarchy, Spinoza writes, 

The fields, and all the land, and if possible, the houses too, should be public property [publici iuris sint], i.e. subject to the control of the one who has the Right of the Commonwealth [ius civitatis habet]. He should lease them for an annual rent [annuo pretio] to the citizens, or to the city residents and farmers. (TP 6.12)

Now out of context it may seem that Spinoza is advocating a dependence of citizens on the King, but, in broader context, it is clear that the whole point of Spinoza's set up is to create a community of interests among rulers and citizens. (It's pretty clear that for Spinoza the leases cannot be abolished at will.) Oppenheimer achieves the same end by substituting the whole nation (the one with Right of the commonwealth) for royalty. 

Now I am not claiming that Spinoza must be the source of Oppenheimer's approach. There are, after all, plenty of nineteenth century utopian projects that have similar schemes. But I do think it likely that Oppenheimer was aware the connection. Throughout his System of Sociology he cites and quotes Spinoza's Political Treatise (a work by no means widely read or fashionable).

 

 

*For the claim about Rüstow, see The Birth of Austerity, Edited by Thomas Biebricher and Frieder Vogelmann, p. 137.  

+Glossner, Christian Ludwig, and David Gregosz. The formation and implementation of the Social Market Economy by Alfred Müller-Armack and Ludwig Erhard: incipiency and actuality. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung eV, 2011.

 

The Quiet Rebellion: Why US Jews Turning against Israel is Good for Palestinians

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/08/2021 - 12:44am in

A unique but critical conversation on Israel and Palestine is taking place outside the traditional discourse of Israeli colonialism and the Palestinian quest for liberation. It is an awkward and difficult – but overdue – discussion concerning American Jews’ relation to Israel and their commitment to its Zionist ideology.

For many years, Israel has conveniently dubbed Jews who do not support Israel, or worse, advocate Palestinian freedom, as ‘self-hating Jews’. This term, designated to describe dissident anti-Zionist Jews, is similar to the accusation of ‘antisemitism’ made against non-Jews, which includes Semitic Arabs, for daring to criticize Israel. This approach, however, is no longer as effective as it once was.

Recent years have unequivocally demonstrated that there is a quiet anti-Israel rebellion within the American Jewish community. This rebellion has been brewing for long, but only fairly recently did numbers begin reflecting the rise of a new phenomenon where US Jews, especially younger generations, are openly dissenting from the typical Jewish conformity on Israel and supposedly undying love for Zionism.

In the last decade or so, this new reality has sounded the alarm within various Zionist institutions, whether in the US or in Israel itself.

Several opinion polls and surveys are all pointing to an inescapable conclusion that the emotional and political rapport between Israel and US Jews is rapidly weakening. A poll published by the Laszlo Strategies for Jerusalem U in August 2013, for example, concluded that 87 percent of American Jews over the age of 50 strongly agreed that “caring about Israel is a very important part of my being Jewish,” while only 66% of young Jews between the ages of 18 to 29 felt the same.

Other polls reached similar conclusions, where the number of young Jews strongly supportive of Israel continues to decline. A particularly telling and important survey was that of the American Jewish Committee in June 2018. That was the time when the US-Israeli alliance reached its zenith under the administrations of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. Though 77 percent of all Israelis approved of the US government’s handling of US-Israeli relations, only 34 percent of American Jews did. In fact, 57 percent of US Jews outright disapproved of Trump’s policies, which practically granted Israel all of its demands and wishes.

The downward trajectory continued unabated. A May 2021 Pew research indicated that one in five US Jews believes that the US is “too supportive of Israel”. Those who hold such a belief, 22 percent of the US Jewish population, have doubled in number since an earlier poll released in 2013.

Pew Jew poll

Data gathering for the above poll, though released during the deadly Israeli onslaught on Gaza (May 10-21), was, in fact, conducted in 2019 and 2020. The numbers of unsupportive US Jews must have risen since then, as if there is a clear correlation between Israeli wars resulting in massive civilian casualties, and the ongoing split between US Jews and Israel.

Libby Lenkinski, Vice President for public engagement at the New Israel Fund, told Rolling Stone magazine that she sees a “noticeable shift in American perception” on Palestine and Israel since the deadly Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, a war that killed over 2,200 Palestinians. For Lenkinski, US Jewish perception should follow an ethical paradigm. “It’s a moral issue. It’s right or wrong,” she said.

Similar sentiments emerged after the May 2021 war, where over 260 Palestinians were killed. In a recent article, American Jewish writer, Marisa Kabas, explains the dilemma felt by many in the US Jewish community regarding Israel. “Because the conflict has so often been boiled down to a binary – you either support Israel or you support its destruction – for many of us it felt like a betrayal to even consider the other side.”  Because of the likes of Kabas and Lenkinski and numerous others, the ‘other side’ is finally visible, resulting in the obvious shift in American Jewish perception of and relations to Israel.

While more space for dissenting US Jews is opening up, the discussion in Israel remains confined and is hardly concerned with ethics and morality.

Recently, the understanding that Israel is losing the support of US Jews has been accepted by the country’s main political parties, with disagreement largely focused on who is to blame for this seismic shift. Netanyahu was often held responsible for making Israel a partisan American political issue through his alliance with Trump and the Republican Party, at the expense of Israel’s relation with the Democrats.

From Judaism to Fascism: How Zionists Turned Their Backs on Their Own Culture

However, the Netanyahu-Trump love affair was not as uncomplicated as Netanyahu’s critics would like to believe. Indeed, the idea of Israel has changed in American society. The notion that Israel is a supposedly vulnerable little state, facing existential threats by Arab enemies, which flourished in the past, has become almost entirely irrelevant. The new concept of Israel, which is Tel Aviv’s main selling point in America, is that of a biblical Israel, a place of prophecies and spiritual salvation, which appeals mostly to right-wing Evangelical Christian groups. Young US Jews, many of whom support the Black Lives Matter and even the Palestinian boycott movements, have little in common with Israel’s zealot American backers.

Israel is now at a crossroads. It can only win back the support of US Jews if it behaves in such a way that is consistent with their moral frame of reference. Hence, it would have to end its military occupation, dismantle its apartheid regime and reverse its racist laws. Specifically, abandon Zionism altogether, or abandon US Jews in favor of complete reliance on the Evangelicals. In fact, some top Israeli officials are already advocating the latter.

On May 9, former Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, argued that, since Evangelical Christians are the “backbone of Israel’s support in the United States”, Israel should prioritize their “passionate and unequivocal” backing of Israel over American Jews who are “disproportionately among our critics.”

If Israel officially opts for this choice, perhaps with no other viable option, then a breakdown between Israel and US Jews becomes inevitable. As far as justice and freedom for the Palestinian people are concerned, that would be a good thing.

Feature photo | JVP activist Judith Butler a protest against Israel’s military incursion in Gaza. Photo | Jewish Voice for Peace

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The post The Quiet Rebellion: Why US Jews Turning against Israel is Good for Palestinians appeared first on MintPress News.

Why Opposing Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitic: The Christian Roots of Zionism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 22/07/2021 - 12:34am in

JERUSALEM — Naftali Bennett once stated in an interview with Mehdi Hassan that, according to the Bible, Palestine — or, as he calls it, Israel — belongs to the Jewish people. Palestine is referred to as “The Land of Israel” by some people and, in this interview from 2017, Bennett insists that if Hassan wants to claim that “the Land does not belong to us, I suggest you go change the Bible.”



Bennett has since become Israel’s prime minister (a post he is not likely to hold for very long) and, while this claim seems to resonate with many, a closer look at what the Jewish scriptures actually say shows very clearly that what he said is not true.

According to the Torah (Jewish scriptures) and the words of generations of Jewish sages, the Holy Land belongs to the Almighty who graces it with holiness. The Jewish people were given license to reside in the Holy Land and enjoy its grace as long as they conducted themselves with righteousness and observed the laws that the Almighty prescribed in the Torah. When the Jewish people strayed from the path of the Torah, they incurred the wrath of the Almighty and were expelled from the Holy Land, prohibited from returning until such time as the coming of the Messiah and the return of King David to the throne.

The Land of Israel has no value in and of itself, only as a vehicle by which to serve the Almighty and follow the Torah. Furthermore, the coming of the Messiah is not about Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel either; it is a vision that speaks of a great many things. Mostly though, it is about a transformation of the world into a peaceful place in which Jews will once again be permitted to reside peacefully in the Holy Land, the purpose of which is to follow the laws of the Almighty on that land that was graced by the presence of holiness. It is a religious idea that has nothing to do with notions of conquest, nationality or sovereignty.

One may think that what the Bible says regarding Palestine is not important, but we must recognize that many people do feel that the words of the Jewish scriptures matter, and that they are the true words of God. Therefore, it is worth taking a close look at what the Torah and the sages of old actually say.

We should also remember that Zionism is a secular, racist ideology and the founders of Zionism cared little for the Bible or for Judaism. Israel — the monstrous creation of that Zionist movement — is an apartheid regime that is committing horrendous crimes. Israel claims that it speaks and acts in the name of, and for the good of, the Jewish people. However, we would do well to demonstrate that Israel and Zionist claims to Palestine have nothing to do with Judaism; in fact, the claim that the legitimacy for Zionism can be found in the Bible is completely false.

From Judaism to Fascism: How Zionists Turned Their Backs on Their Own Culture

 

Zionism as idolatry

According to Jewish scripture, the Hebrews were transformed into a people, the Jewish people, when they were given the Torah at Mount Sinai, a mountain in the Sinai Desert that is far from the Holy Land. The Jews’ transformation into a nation had nothing to do with acquiring land or sovereignty, or any of the other symbols associated with the modern idea of nationality. It was done through a religious commitment to the Almighty.

In his epic work, “The Empty Wagon: Zionism’s journey from identity crisis to identity theft,” Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro discusses this issue at great length. He quotes the revered seventeenth-century Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz, who is known as the Kli Yakar (or Precious Vessel) for his commentary on the Torah. Rabbi Luntschitz wrote, in his commentary to the five books of the Torah, that the Jewish people are merely tenants of the Land of Israel and that the Almighty is the sole owner of the Holy Land. Rabbi Shapiro continues with a quote from the Book of Leviticus 25:23, where the Almighty says to the Jewish People, “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers” (emphasis added).

There is an even earlier story in the Book of Genesis, chapter 23, where it is made clear that even Abraham the patriarch saw himself as a foreigner in the Land of Israel. Abraham wants to bury his wife Sarah in the town of Hebron and he approaches a local man asking to purchase a plot of land to use as a burial ground. The man agrees and Abraham purchases the plot. Had the land been his by virtue of the divine promise there would be no need for him to purchase it. In this story, Abraham referred to himself as a “stranger” in the land.

Rabbi Shapiro goes on to explain that mere devotion to the land of Israel, without the observance of the laws of the Torah and devotion to the Almighty, is idolatry. There is no value to the Land per se, he says. “Love of Eretz Yisroel is supposed to be part of loving Hashem (the Almighty) and the Torah.”

As most people know, the Ten Commandments, which are part of the Torah, prohibit murder, theft, and the coveting someone else’s home. This means that Zionists — even ones like Naftali Bennett, who wears a yarmulke — are committing idolatry, since their desire for the Land comes from coveting it, and they use murder and theft as a means of obtaining that land. They are a far cry from an honest observance of the Torah.

Orthodox Jews protest Israel

Orthodox Jews demonstrate at the Israeli consulate in New York City in 1963 against the Israeli police. Photo | AP

 

Admonitions, warnings and prohibitions

In the daily prayers, there is a line that Jews repeat regularly that says “We were exiled because of our sins.” Throughout the twenty-four books of the Old Testament, there are countless warnings and admonitions given by the Almighty to the People of Israel. They are warned time and time again that if they stray from the path given to them by the laws of the Torah, they will be banished from the Land. There are numerous passages where the Almighty warns the Jews that if they turn their back on him, the Land itself will “vomit” them just as it had vomited other nations who had lived there before them. Perhaps the best-known passage is from the Book of Leviticus, chapter 18, verse 28: “Let not the land vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nations that came before you.”

Once the people of Israel were exiled for turning their back to the Torah and its laws, they were prohibited from returning. The Great Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum — known as the Rabbi of Satmar, who established an unprecedented following in the United States and around the world — touches on this prohibition in his book “Vayoel Moshe.” Rabbi Teitelbaum speaks of the three oaths that were taken by the Jewish People in front of the Almighty. These oaths include: never attempting to hasten the end of the exile (they must wait for the Messiah before they can return to the Holy Land); never to return by use of force; and not to rebel against the other nations, nations where the Jewish People live in exile.

 

A Christian interpretation

The notion that Jewish scripture promises the Land of Israel to the Jews as a “homeland” is a Christian notion that the Zionists have since adopted. According to Jewish scripture, the Land of Israel is not the homeland of the Jewish people. The Almighty made Jews into a nation at Mount Sinai when he imparted to them the Torah. This was not done in the Land of Israel but, as was already mentioned, far, far away from it. The notion of a people’s connection to a homeland is a modern idea, one that involves nationalism and is in no way a Jewish idea.

Rabbi Shapiro writes, “The Zionist concept of Eretz Yisroel does not come from the Torah.” This idea, according to the countless sources that he quotes in “The Empty Wagon,” is “a Christian idea.” He continues to point out that “[t]he perception of Eretz Yisroel as the ‘birthright’ or the ‘national homeland’ of the Jewish people first appears in Restorationist Protestant Christian sources.” This idea was born with the advent of the Protestant movement in the second half of the previous millennium; it spread throughout the Protestant world and it continues today with Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, which is one of the most significant supporters of Israel in the world.

Jimmy Swaggart Israel

Controversial evangelist Jimmy Swaggart delivers a sermon in 1988 to visting Americans in Jerusalem. Anat Givon | AP

The idea that the Almighty gave all of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people permanently and unconditionally, and that the Jews will ultimately return, is a Protestant idea, not a Jewish one. This is largely the reason behind the support that Zionists were able to secure from mostly Protestant countries like Great Britain and the United States, where Christian Zionism has been thriving for several centuries.

From the late sixteenth century to Napoleon, from The London Society for Promoting Protestant Christianity among Jews (a Christian Zionist mission that is part of the Church of England and known today as Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People), to John Quincy Adams and even Abraham Lincoln, the idea of the return of the Jews to their “homeland” has been a popular one among the Protestants of the world.

Even the slogan “a land without a people for a people without a land” is not an original Zionist one. Although usually assumed to have been a Zionist slogan, the phrase was used as early as 1843 by a Christian Restorationist clergyman, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Keith DD of the Church of Scotland. The phrase continued to be used for almost a century by Christian Restorationists before Zionists adopted it. Similarly, the idea to turn the Hebrew language into the “national” language of the Jewish people in their “homeland” was also a Protestant idea that was later adopted by Zionists.

So when the current Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is also the first yarmulke-wearing Israeli prime minister, refers to the Bible to justify his claim to the Land of Israel, he is not referring to Jewish scripture but to Protestant religious doctrine. When he — and other Israeli politicians like former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — makes these claims, they are not addressing Jewish people, but Christian Zionists. The most important allies the State of Israel and Zionists have are evangelical Christian Zionists.

Statements like Bennett’s are made in order to make assure that Christian Zionists continue to work for Israel and for the Zionist movement by lobbying governments and raising money. This Protestant doctrine, by the way, calls for the Jewish people to return to the Land of Israel, not for the purpose of serving the Jewish people. The purpose of this return is so that the Jews may convert to Christianity and hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ.

 

Anti-Zionism cannot be anti-Semitic

Since the ideas expressed by the Zionists are clearly not Jewish ideas, opposing Zionism cannot be anti-Semitic. Once it is made clear that the Zionist claims to the Land of Israel, or Palestine, are not only not Jewish, but come from Christian Protestant theology, we understand why opposing Zionism cannot possibly be anti-Semitic. Being an anti-Zionist is not at all anti-Semitic because the basic tenets of Zionism are actually not Jewish at all. They are Christian.

Feature photo | A Christian tourist dressed as Jesus walks the Old City of Jerusalem in 1988. Aris Saris | AP

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post Why Opposing Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitic: The Christian Roots of Zionism appeared first on MintPress News.

From Judaism to Fascism: How Zionists Turned Their Backs on Their Own Culture

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/07/2021 - 7:42am in

WASHINGTON — In late June of this year, New Scientist blandly reported that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had “used a swarm of small drones to locate, identify and attack Hamas militants,” the first documented case of a drone swarm being used in so-called combat.

In his book, “Exterminate All The Brutes,” Sven Lindqvist contextualizes Adolf Hitler’s atrocities in the imperialist violence of the nineteenth century, and in one chapter outlines how European artillery advancements gave colonizers both emotional and physical distance from the indigenous Africans they slaughtered. Europeans were an “invisible and unreachable opponent,” capable of being “victorious without even being present.” This can’t really be called combat, and indeed even Winston Churchill referred to it as “only a sporting element in a splendid game.” Combat was something gentlemen did and in the imperialist mindset, of course, the Africans were savages, barely even human.

There’s a thread that links this kind of “sport” from the atrocities in Africa to the Holocaust and now, so ironically, to the state of Israel.

 

Your Lebensraum, my Lebensraum

In the 1890s, a German zoologist named Friedrich Ratzel coined the term “Lebensraum,” which literally translates to living space. Those who have studied the Holocaust might be familiar with it as the Third Reich’s reasoning for invading Central and Eastern Europe. Well, this is where they got the idea. Besides the European Scramble for Africa, Ratzel had been inspired by his travels to North America, where he saw how white colonizers were taking land by force. Seeing this as a positive and indeed necessary transgression, Ratzel fashioned a brutal Darwinian ideology: in order to acquire sufficient Lebensraum, inferior races have to be displaced, which incidentally often means they will die and leave the space entirely. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The whole concept of Zionism is that Jews need specific and exclusive Lebensraum. Therefore, others must be displaced. This displacement, far from being a negative or even cruel endeavor, merely proves the supremacy of the displacer, thereby proving the necessity of exterminating the displaced. As Lindqvist writes “during Hitler’s childhood, a major element in the European view of mankind was the conviction that ‘inferior races’ were by nature condemned to extinction; the true compassion of the superior races consisted in helping them on the way.”

During the Holocaust, Jews were an ‘inferior race.’ Today in Israel, Palestinians are an ‘inferior race.’ As reporter and The Electronic Intifada Associate Editor Nora Barrows-Friedman told me when I asked her how Zionists respond to Jewish teachings of solidarity with the oppressed: “When you talk to Zionists about Jewish teachings and how that relates to the Palestinians, they say ‘well we’re not oppressing them, they’re not even people,’” a line that could have easily been taken from Hitler himself. And when Adolf was still just a young lad in Austria, that same sub-human paradigm fueled the celebratory reports of European barbarity in Africa, as well as the U.S. and Canadian genocide of indigenous peoples in North America.

Jude (jew)

The word Jude (Jew) is scrawled on a Jewish-rub shop in Berlin following Nazi-incited mass riots in 1938. Photo | AP

It’s important to place Israel’s atrocities in historical context, for we can only know where we are by understanding where we’ve been. Hitler did not exist in an ideological vacuum. He simply looked around at the world he was born into and pulled from already existing ideologies, tried and true tactics. He was inspired by people like imperialist sycophant Ratzel, who was inspired by the U.S. Hitler too was a big fan of U.S. domestic policy, not least of all the Jim Crow laws that he simply repackaged into yellow fabric Stars of David. Even the concentration camp predates Hitler’s rise to power. The concept was originally used by Spaniards in Cuba then moved north to the U.S., then across the pond to England during the Boer War, and finally a hop and a skip down to Germany. And today, the U.S. carries on that tradition via the PR-polished “detention centers” for migrants.

Zionists were likewise inspired by their socio-political surroundings and, as Barrows-Friedman notes, “were explicit about their colonialist aims. In the original documents that Zionists drew up, they specifically say ‘this is a colonial project,’” she explains. “Everyone was doing the colonialism thing, and they [Zionists] wanted in on it.” This wasn’t about ‘going home.’ Yes, some Jews have always lived in the area now known as Israel, and there were plenty living there quite peacefully as Palestinians up until 1948. Jews have also lived almost everywhere else. We are not a people without a home; we are a people with many homes.

 

Zionism and supremacy: paying oppression forward

Indeed, this concept of borderless solidarity is something that has inspired many Jews to be active in liberation and justice movements. And while Zionism is packaged as the need for a safe space for Jews, it’s clear that this wasn’t about safety. There is no safety in terrorism. Rather, it was about supremacy. Having been shunned from so many communities for so long warped the perspectives of some Jews into believing that what they really needed wasn’t basic human rights but the right to thwart others’ basic human rights. The drive to climb the blood-soaked ladder of imperialism, to no longer be on the bottom rungs, shrouded not only their humanity but their own cultural teachings.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Seder (you’re always welcome to my house for our anti-capitalist, anti-Zionist extravaganza!), the primary theme of the evening is “don’t be an oppressive asshole, for you know what it is to have assholes oppress you.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the basic gist. And Passover is just one example. Throughout Jewish traditions and teachings, the voices and experiences of the oppressed are uplifted in order to highlight the need for Jews to not just stand up for our own human rights, but for the human rights of all. We were exiled, we were driven out, we were genocided, we were persecuted just for being ourselves. Our place is therefore in the struggle for a world beyond those atrocities. None are free till all are free. To be Jewish is to be a fighter for liberation, for justice. As Barrows-Friedman explains, “the term ‘Never Again’ is not selective. It has to be universal.”

 

How Zionism is profoundly anti-Semitic

Zionism is therefore anti-Semitic — in both theory and practice. First and as noted above, it flies in the face of Jewish teachings and traditions. Second, it suggests that we only belong in one place — that we are not welcome in places that we have learned to call home, from New York to Shanghai. It pigeon-holes us into a homogeneous monolith, a singular stereotype. These points were the main drivers of the loud Jewish tradition of anti-Zionism. Again, inspired by teachings and experience, many Jews in early twentieth-century Europe were loud and proud leftists.

As John Merriman writes in his book “Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits,” a popular term for Jews in turn-of-the-20th-century Europe was “Cosmopolitan Anarchists.” Which I actually really love. These Jews were vehemently opposed to the ideas of imperialism, nationalism and colonialism — aspects they saw as intricately linked with any sort of Zionist endeavor. Furthermore, they didn’t like the idea of appeasing anti-Semites in Europe by just disappearing. As one early twentieth-century poster shared in a recent interview with scholar Benjamin Balthaser asserts, “Where we live, there is our country!” Yet, appeasing anti-Semites was a cornerstone of Zionism from the beginning. Theodore Herzl, known as the ‘father of modern political Zionism,’ wrote in his diaries that “[t]he anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.” To quote my Jewish grandmother, “What a schmuck.”


A Yiddish poster reads: “There, where we live, there is our country! ” Credit | Jewish Labor Movement’s Bund Archives

It’s no wonder that Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer calls himself a “white Zionist.” And while Zionist-friendly media was quick to jump on the 2017 Israeli TV comment as totally misguided and a twisting of Zionism, the sad fact of the matter is that the Neo-Nazi got it right (not least of all because Israel is a very racist state, placing light-skinned Jews in higher positions of power while black Jews are considered to be just above Palestinians). Zionism is colonialism, it is imperialism, it is terrorism and apartheid — all things that Neo-Nazis, and original Nazis, hold in very high regard. Where both Zionists and their anti-Semitic pals get it so wrong is the conflation of Judaism with Zionism.

Zionism didn’t get rolling until the end of the nineteenth century and from the outset clearly pulled from imperialist, white-supremacist ideologies, not from Jewish traditions and teachings. Jews, on the other hand, have been around for roughly 6,000 years or so (it’s currently Year 5781 in the Jewish calendar). To conflate Judaism with Zionism is like conflating humanity with iPhones. It’s ahistorical and it paints a picture of Jews that fits rather too comfortably with old caricatures of the conniving Israelite.

And of course, this works out really well for the anti-Semites. I’ve gone to more than one Neo-Nazi rally where I’ve overheard fascists complain about Israel’s control over our government, our economy. “They control everything,” one guy in a MAGA hat loudly proclaimed. I assume the guy standing next to him agreed, as he was wearing a “Hitler Missed a Few” t-shirt. Now, if you’re a Zionist, you can’t disagree with him — because you feel that Israel = Judaism. The only way you can push back against this fascist dumbshittery is to starkly and resolutely separate Israel from Judaism.

 

Why Fascists love Zionists (and hate Jews)

Israel does have a disturbing stranglehold on our government — be it demands of loyalty from U.S. citizens, truckloads of arms and weapons, or the cozy relationship our police have with Israeli forces. Judaism does not. Indeed, Jews have a long history of not being welcome in the U.S., much like other immigrants, while fascism — well, that’s as American as apple pie. Hitler got plenty of ideas from the U.S. and a lot of people in the U.S. returned the favor.

In 1939, Madison Square Garden in New York City was filled with 20,000 Nazis sieg heiling a massive portrait of George Washington flanked by giant swastikas. In October of that year, the same organization that was behind the MSG event, the German American Bund, held a massive parade through the streets of New York. Two years earlier, nearly 1,000 Jewish refugees were turned away from both Canada and the U.S. and were forced to return to Europe just as the Nazi’s Final Solution was unfolding. Three years before that, the Wall Street-backed American Liberty League plotted to overthrow the government and install a fascist dictatorship. IBM, Coca-Cola, Kodak and other corporations found in Nazi Germany ready customers — and why let a speedbump like genocide stand in the way of a bottom line? Indeed, IBM didn’t just sell to the Nazis, they facilitated mass murder by supplying Nazi Germany with punched-card technology, making it possible to track the Jews — if you ever wondered why Jews in the Holocaust were tattooed with numbers. Thanks, IBM.


20,000 Americans attend a Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden, February 20, 1939.

Again, this historical context matters. We need to understand this history in order to see how events like Charlottesville in 2017 are far from unique or surprising. Rather, they’re part of a long history of American fascism — or, as Mussolini suggested fascism be called, corporatism. This history also shows us the vast disparities between Zionism and Judaism.

 

Reclaiming what Judaism has always been

Both ideologically and in lived experiences, Zionism and Judaism are at odds. They exist on opposite ends of the power dynamic spectrum. “We have to dismantle Zionism — the way we work to dismantle imperialism and white supremacy, and racism and patriarchy,” Barrows-Friedman says. “It’s all part of the same project. Israel is a project of exploitation of Jewish suffering to further an imperialist Western role.” Therefore, one of the main ways we do this, she says, is to “reclaim what Judaism has always been, going toward Jewish tradition as open and proud anti-Zionists.”

This means taking back our history, and our present as Jewish people. It means highlighting the twisted use of Jewish suffering to claim an inalienable right to oppress. It means taking our place on the side of the oppressed, never the oppressor. Here, less than a century after the Holocaust, Israel has proven that it too can be fascist. To whose glory? What have we Jews gained by Israel’s appeal to fascist ideologies?

Furthermore, why desperately try to affirm your humanity by following a fascist’s description of your lack thereof? Because of course, it won’t ultimately matter. Inferiority is an always-moving target. It always has been — be they the Irish under British terror, the Congolese under Belgian terror, the Indigenous and African-Americans under U.S. terror, Jews in the Holocaust, or today’s War on Terror, any and every people, culture, tradition and belief can be marred and maligned in order to fit the needs of oppression. Jews will never gain peace and safety through terrorism. We will find no supremacy on the other side of brutality. We will always be inferior to the fascist. The question is why then is it so important for Zionists to appeal to fascists?

As Frantz Fanon wrote, “The oppressed will always believe the worst about themselves.” In the case of Zionists, this must be true. They must have believed that they were inferior because they were a “landless people,” just like the imperialists said of Africans; or indeed as Francis Bacon wrote of his perceived “monsters” in the 1600s, that they were mere “swarms of people” who were unavowed by God. They must have believed that they were inferior, weak. It is not uncommon to hear a Zionist talk of the “weak Jews” in the concentration camps who should’ve fought back against their captors. And if you accept that you are inferior based on the claims of the oppressor, the only way to rectify that is to become like the one who oppresses you. Of course, in the process, you will lose yourself. You will lose all that it is to be human. You will become the sick and grotesque creation of your new master — a hideous fascist Frankenstein — and still the inferior.

Fanon also wrote about the colonization that colonizers impose on themselves — the violence that they inflict that is also inflicted upon them. Joseph Conrad, the author of “Heart of Darkness,” wrote graphically of this concept in his first short story, “An Outpost of Progress,” a story of two Europeans who are stationed at an outpost in the jungles of Africa in the 1890s. They gradually lose their minds, and the story ends in a murder-suicide, with Kayerts, one of the European men, hanging from a cross above his predecessor’s grave:

Progress was calling to Kayerts from the river. Progress and civilization and all the virtues. Society was calling to its accomplished child to come, to be taken care of, to be instructed, to be judged, to be condemned; it called him to return to that rubbish heap from which he had wandered away, so that justice could be done. 

As Lindqvist writes, these characters represent a European identity, a “[p]rogress that presupposes genocide.”

There is no glory in the oppressed becoming the oppressor. We who are of European descent must grapple with our genocidal history, unpack what horrors have been passed down from colonizers, and confront that trauma. We must confront that history that has become our present, as children of this Empire, so that we may stop it from becoming the future. And as Jews, we must grapple with Israel’s present for the very same reasons.

Jewish Voice for Peace

A Jewish activist protests Israeli apartheid, in north Jersey. Screenshot | NorthJersery.com

As James Baldwin explained in a 1963 interview:

What white people have to do, is to try to find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it. Why?”

Zionists need it because they seek to emulate their own oppressors. Someone must replace the Jew in their shitty remake. For they do not wish to be the Jew any longer. As reporter and host, Jacquie Luqman said recently on By Any Means Necessary: “If anybody in the Black community is supporting anybody else in our community who preys on other people, then those people are not our people.” Zionists are not our people.

“I like being Jewish. I really hate the way it’s been co-opted,” Barrows-Friedman explains. “The beauty of Jewish culture is the tradition, the stories, the songs, the education about no one is free if anyone’s oppressed. Zionism cannot dictate how we are Jews. We can’t let them win.”

As Jews, we stand with the oppressed — that is what our own history and our teachings demand. We must bring forward the past because, to yet again quote Baldwin, “history is not the past, it is the present.” We should be proud of our heritage, proud of our culture and the thick bonds of solidarity that bolster our fight and inspire our build.

To be proud to be Jewish is a good thing, so long as we don’t lose sight of what that means. We have a lot of work to do, and the enemies we face will claim to want the same things that we do, to believe in the same teachings we believe in. The fight against Zionism is deeply personal for many Jews, but it is a part of the vital, all-embracing work of dismantling colonialism — in our own communities and likewise in the world. As Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “A freedom that is interested only in denying freedom must be denied.” For the sake of our liberation as Jews — as human beings — we must deny Zionism. In short: Be Jewish. Be proud. Be anti-Zionist.

Feature photo | Right-wing Israeli Jews confront Palestinians demonstrating for the release of a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel without trial and slipped into a coma after a nearly two-month hunger strike, in the city of Ashkelon. Photo | Activestills

The post From Judaism to Fascism: How Zionists Turned Their Backs on Their Own Culture appeared first on MintPress News.

“The Hamas” are Coming: A View of the Violence from Inside Israel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 21/05/2021 - 6:02am in

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — After less than 48 hours in Jerusalem, it’s clear to me that the slaughter in Gaza will not end anytime soon. There is broad popular support in Israel for the endless bloodshed and Benjamin Netanyahu is as strong as ever both domestically and internationally.

According to the Israeli press, Netanyahu and his cabinet all received calls from President Joe Biden and members of his cabinet demonstrating their undying, never-ending, and unconditional support for the bloodletting of Palestinians. As hard as this is to see — particularly from Jerusalem, where I am less than an hour drive from Gaza — there should be no surprise.

When Joe Biden says he is a Zionist, he means he supports apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide in Palestine. It means that he will give unlimited money and weapons to Israel to execute the cruelest, bloodiest, most racist policies against the Palestinians, no questions asked.

 

“The Hamas”

All morning long (and it’s only 9 a.m.) the Israeli TV (all channels) displays guests of expert panelists, former IDF generals, and colonels (who knew there were so many?) who spew lies to excuse, justify, and even glorify the IDF actions in Gaza.

“We all support the IDF and its commanders,” they say as reports of more death and destruction come out of the Gaza Strip. There was some memo no doubt that told everyone on TV to say “The Hamas” whenever they talk about Palestinians in Gaza.

There are never Palestinians, never people, only “The Hamas” — and “The Hamas” is, by the way, male and singular (in Hebrew). “The Hamas thinks;” “The Hamas believes;” “The Hamas should know;” “When the Hamas understands, he will stop;” and finally, “When The Hamas is hit hard he will never dare to attack Israel again.”

Needless to say, none of the panelists are Palestinians. Instead, Israeli news programs have their “Arab Affair” experts on, their “The Hamas” experts, and their experts on the “Arab community in Israel.”

Israeli Jews know enough to analyze, explain and mostly justify Israeli violence against Palestinians everywhere, yet nowhere does one hear that the indigenous people of Palestine — the people to whom this country belongs, and who have been wronged in so many ways — are speaking up.

 

Regular people — enormous suffering

This morning I received an email from a friend in East Jerusalem. In this email, she poses a question that is perhaps impossible to answer:

Yesterday my youngest grandson who turned 15 at the beginning of this month was walking in our neighborhood towards the barbershop to have a haircut when he was stopped by 10 soldiers who beat him up before letting him go. Why? Can anybody who has any common sense answer me? There were no demonstrations, and the people in our neighborhood were going about their own business. The soldiers were in their full gear and were not in any danger.”

How can one explain the actions of armed, racist gangs who wear an official uniform, who represent the State and use their power and status and weapons to beat and intimidate people who want to live a normal life? It is not unlike trying to understand the actions of former Minneapolis police officer and now inmate Derek Chauvin, who calmly and coldly murdered George Floyd in broad daylight, in front of people holding cameras and taking videos. Can a rational, healthy mind explain any of this?


The bodies of children killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza’s ash Shati refugee camp, May 15, 2021. Mohammed Zaanoun | Activestills

 

General strike

A general strike was declared in Palestine on May 18 and the subsequent rallies and protests that took place throughout Palestine left several Palestinians dead and wounded. In advance of the strike, some Israeli employers already said that any Palestinian not showing for work that day would be fired. About one-third of the Israeli economy relies heavily on the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In Israeli hospitals, large numbers of doctors, nurses, and maintenance staff are Palestinian citizens of Israel. They have the capacity to bring the hospitals and the Israeli economy to its knees.

It was reported that the supervisor for Palestinian schools within 1948 Palestine in the Northern District already requested the names of any teachers who did not show up for work in Qalasawe and Taibe, two large Palestinian cities. According to Israeli law, the firing of an employee must be done in person and the employee may have a representative and the various unions to provide legal representation free of charge. The big question mark remains: Will Palestinian citizens of Israel be able to avail themselves of this service and this law?

I was also warned by friends that when I come to visit people anywhere in the area of the “Small Triangle” — or the cities of Qalansawe, Taibe, and Tira — to come during the day. After dark, I was warned, the roads are closed because of protests and the police arrest, beat up, and shoot indiscriminately.

 

Jerusalem

Towards the end of the 1967 Israeli assault on Arab lands, the eastern part of the city of Jerusalem was occupied by Israel, including the Old City and the al-Aqsa Mosque. This assault had enormous consequences and in Israeli collective memory there is one sentence that is the most iconic of the entire war. When the Haram al-Sharif was taken by Israeli forces, the commander reported “Har Ha’bait Beyadeinu” — The Temple Mount is in our hands. The most iconic photo from that war is that of the conquering soldiers by the Western Wall.

The commander, Mordechai Gur, was not a religious man. His soldiers were not religious people and in those days one did not see the religious Zionists that one sees in Israel today. This comment was made because even secular Israelis look at the Haram al-Sharif — the al-Aqsa compound — and believe it should be used as a national symbol, a place that represents something that Israel lost and deserves to take back. And so, the desire to see al-Aqsa destroyed and a structure they call a temple built instead is not merely a religious sentiment but a neo-fascist and nationalistic one as well.

Violence, racism, neo-fascist attitudes, and a toxic mix of religion and nationality make Zionism very dangerous. From Gaza to al-Aqsa, from the Naqab in the south to the Wadi Ara in the north, we are seeing the dangerous elements of Zionism at work.

Feature photo | Israelis await sirens warning of a possible “Hams’ rocket attack in a home in Ashkelon, May 20, 2021. John Minchillo | AP

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

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