Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Their Goal: The Undoing of Zionism

In a review article of a book of collected essays on leftist anti-Zionism, Rebels against Zion edited by August Grabski, David Hirsh of Goldsmiths, University of London, makes some reflective points worth repeating:

...all the strategies adopted against antisemitism failed...But Israel became a reality, a nation state, not because Zionism ‘won’ the debates outlined in this book, but because the material basis of Jewish life in Europe was utterly transformed by the ‘Final Solution’ and by Israel’s victory in the war of 1948 against the Palestinians and against the Arab Nationalist states which tried to eradicate it at birth...

I think Hirsh is contradicting himself there but the point needs be repeated: Zionism was victorious. It won out not only against its external enemies, the enemies of Jewish peoplehood as an idea and against Jews as persons, but it bested the competing ideologies from within the Jewish people who sought out other 'escapes' from their Jewishness.

And with Isaac Deutscher admitting in 1954 that

...he had ‘of course’ abandoned his life-long anti-Zionism...the key questions changed. It was no longer relevant to ask whether Zionism was a winning strategy against antisemitism; the question was how would the Jewish state reach a peace with its neighbours and how it would negotiate the contradiction between its Jewishness and its democracy?

a new characterization of antagonism to and opposition of Zionism was established which was: it does not matter what the non-Jewish reality is, the Jews must somehow be different and quite unrealistic.  Their morality must always be 10 degrees higher, their willingness to submit greater, their necessity for accommodating much more.  All of this, of course, will lead Jews and the Jewish state, as it did since then, into more difficult situations where survival is at stake rather than just a set of values and ethics that the Left promotes.

Back in 1917, Lord Montague opposed the Balfour Declaration.  Then Jacob De Hass opposed Zionism.  The ACJ's Elmer Berger opposed Zionism.  Stephen Wise weakened Zionism and Jewry during the Holocaust years.  Judah Leib Magnes weakened Zionism all throughout the Mandate years and almost succeeded in having the Jewish state left totally defenseless in his May 1948 meetings with George Marshall and Harry Truman. They failed but nevertheless, reduced Zionism's comprehensiveness.  There always has to be a Jew to distance himself from Judaism as a religion, as a culture, as a nationalism, as a model for ethical existence within the real world, not the fictitious or purposely blown out of proportion criticism they create.

One of the first books I purchased on the subject of dissent from Zionism was "Zionism Reconsidered: The Rejection of Jewish Normalcy", edited by Michael Selzer, in 1970.  All the "greats" were represented.  Selzer had already published "The Aryanization of the Jewish State", a really evil work that Shlomo Avineri describes so:

An impressive mass of data and facts has been assembled; historical perspectives have been traced; all the right quotations have been adduced; a good deal of the argument even manages to make sense; yet the outcome corresponds to a reality that exists solely in the mind of the author.
...During his student days Selzer was president of the Zionist Society at Oxford University; now he works for the violently anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. Not unexpectedly, his book has the unmistakable air of having been written by a disillusioned renegade, turning now with venom against the ideals he once so dearly—and naively—cherished. It seems safe to assume that Selzer’s erstwhile Zionism was as uncritical as his present virulent rejection of it.

And there's this:

Selzer argues that Zionism rejected entirely the uniqueness of Judaism and its mission in the world: “The most startling innovation of this new Zionist doctrine lay precisely in the fact that it rejected belief in the unique constitution of the Jewish people...the Zionists would attempt to mold their new society in a manner which would invalidate the accusations of their oppressors … for nothing would more definitely ensure the approval of anti-Semitism for ‘the new Jewish society’ than its success in recreating the Jew in the image of his oppressor … what we might call the ‘Aryanization’ of the Jews.”  

Does all that not sound very familiar to us today?

The detractors of today, just as the forefathers, have not halted Zionism but seek constantly to derail it, to roll back its vindication in the face of irrational anti-Semitism, implaccable hatred and, seemingly, a psychological need to blame Zionsim - and the Jews - for all they see as interfering with their lives, their personal advancement or the promotion of ideologies and policies that may parallel Jewish civilization but are not fully Jewish.

And over the past four decades, following the glorious victory in 1967, those of the Left, radical, progressive and universalist, who follow in their footsteps, employ every method used and new ones to oppose Zionism.  Their goal, I suggest is the undoing of Zionism whether out of jealousy or a need to stand apart.

As Hirsh in the review I quote from at the beginning puts it:

Jewish anti-Zionism which, through a relentless succession of slippages, omissions and unacknowledged assumptions, will make the lasting impression...If ‘the Zionists’ are characterised as essentially ‘racist’ or ‘apartheid’ or ‘Nazi’, then Israeli Jews can be treated, once again, as exceptional to the human community...Jewish anti-Zionists also tend to have a particular Jewish focus on Israel. They often feel particularly concerned by Israeli human rights abuses, by the injustice of the Israeli occupation and by what they feel is the unthinking support offered by Jewish communal bodies around the world to Israeli governments.

As noted elsewhere in discussing the "Rebels Against Zion" book,

[a] most striking post-Holocaust expression of anti-Semitism is the adoption of an “anti-Zionist” standpoint, which is then combined with many of the traditional themes of anti-Semitism (in particular, the notion of behind-the-scenes Jewish rule, which today finds expression in the theme of the power of the Jewish lobby in the USA). 

And he provides for us an analysis of Canadian researcher Todd M. Endelman who lists the circumstances when anti-Zionist criticism slides too easily into expressions of anti-Semitism:

1. When it questions the legitimacy of the Jewish state, but no other state, and the legitimacy of Jewish nationalism, but no other nationalism, either in the Middle East or elsewhere.
2. When it denies to the Jewish state, but no other state, the right to express the character of the majority of its citizens (that is, to be as Jewish as France is French).
3. When it demonizes the Jewish state, turning the Arab-Israeli conflict into a morality play, a problem that Jews, and Jews alone, created and for which Jews, and Jews alone, are responsible.
4. When it expresses an obsessive, exclusive, and disproportionate concern with the shortcomings of the Israelis and the sufferings of the Palestinians – to the point that a conflict between two small peoples is transformed into a cosmic, Manichean struggle between the forces of Good and Evil.

His conclusion:

When criticism of Israel crosses any of these lines and becomes an obsessive narrative of fantasies and fears – that is when we are dealing solely with anti-Semitic notions.

Some post-Zionists, such as the peace activist Uri Avnery, Gideon Levy and Amira Haas, Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Papp√©, Abraham Burg, are utopians in their world-view.  They ignore everything and concentrate on Israel and in doing so, they pervert not on what is real but the values to would have us believe they foster.

The Left always seeks to fix the parameters of discussion on "values" which become solely theirs. Rightists cannot be democrats is a mantra they push.  They have no appreciation for human rights. They wish, ipso facto, to harm civil liberties goes the claim.  But what the enemies of the Jews do has nothing to do with this at all for them.  That they downplay becuase what they are concerned with is not the totality but what Jews do (or supposedly do) and what the state of Israel does (or supposedly does).  The Left, not only are they hypocrites, but they are the ultimate double-standard crowd, allowing Israel and the Jews to be opened for attacks, verbal and physical.

And having lost the ideological battle with Israel proving them wrong and more importangtly, Israel's and Jewry's enemies and haters proving the Leftists wrong in their optimism, good will wishing and hopes, they do not accept defeat but seek to undo Zionism's victory.

They are rebels against themselves.


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