I shall continue to be an impossible person as long as those who are now possible remain possible. Michael Bakunin 1814-1876
In response to Warren Kinsella who maintains the myth that criticism of the State of Israel is Anti-Semitism. And to other critics of my articles:
Bakunin’s denunciation of Nationalism and the State led him to denouncing Polish Nationalism in favour of Pan-Slavism. At the same time Bakunin denounced the Zionism of Herzl, who wanted Jews in
The Jewish State
"Anti-Semitic behavior is generated in situations where blinded men robbed of their subjectivity are set loose as subjects. For those involved, their actions are murderous and therefore senseless reflexes, as behaviorists note -- without providing an interpretation. Anti-Semitism is a deeply imprinted schema, a ritual of civilization; the pogroms are the true ritual murders. They demonstrate the impotence of sense, significance, and ultimately of truth -- which might hold them within bounds . . . Action becomes an autonomous end in itself and disguises its own purposelessness." Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment trans. John Cumming (New York, 1972), pgs. 171-2.
Edward C. Corrigan
Mr. Corrigan has a law degree from the
The Palestinian uprising or intifada and the Israeli campaign to suppress it have caused considerable anguish for many Jews around the world. A large number of Jews have even begun to reassess their support for
The advertisement called upon American Jews to "dissociate from
The statement also discussed past discrimination against the Jews and the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust adding:
How tragic that in our own time the very state established by Jews in the aftermath of this evil has become a place where racialism, religious discrimination, militarism and injustice prevail; and that
Those endorsing The Nation statement included Professor Yigal Arens, the son of Moshe Arens; Mark Bruzonsky, former Washington Associate, World Jewish Congress, who now serves as chairperson for the organization; Professor Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor MIT; Rabbi Susan Einbinder, Colgate University; Jane Hunter, publisher of Israeli Foreign Affairs; Jeremy Levin, former CNN Beirut Bureau Chief and former hostage in Lebanon; Professor Don Peretz, Department of Political Science, SUNY; and Henry Schwarzschild, of the American Civil Liberties Union. The subsequent organization they formed, the Jewish Committee on the Middle East (JCOME), has, in the short time that it has existed, attracted well over a thousand signatures endorsing their statement. These include academics at 125
JCOME has challenged pro-Israeli American Jewish leaders to conduct a joint poll to see what American Jews really think about
It is clear that the ideology of Zionism has had a profound impact on Jews. Today most Western Jews support its objective of establishing and securing a Jewish state in the territory formerly known as
Zionist leaders have put off indefinitely the attempt to resolve the resulting conflicts and even contradictions generated by different interpretations of Zionism. This explains why the "Jewish state" has no constitution and why many fundamental questions about the nature of
On the day when peace comes, the leftist movement will undoubtedly be very strong in
Prior to World War II the majority of Jews were non-Zionist, and a large number were openly hostile to Zionism. As Nahum Goldmann wrote, "When Zionism first appeared on the world scene most Jews opposed it and scoffed at it. Herzl was only supported by a small minority." It was not until the full horror of the Holocaust was realized that the great bulk of the Jewish community came to support Zionism.
Jewish history is rich in its diversity of ideas and ethical dissent. Many of the Hebrew prophets were "solitary voices" who criticized their people for betraying the great principles of their faith. The prophet Amos, for example, advanced a new interpretation of the "Chosen People" thesis. He wrote: "From all the families of the earth I have chosen you alone; for that very reason I will punish you for all your iniquities." Amos' concept of "chosen" did "not imply the assurance of victory or prosperity" but rather that of "the burden of more severe punishment for 'normal' unrighteousness."
Amos was even more revolutionary in reinterpreting the meaning of the "Promised Land." To quote Hans Kohn:
Through his mouth the Lord proclaimed that the children of
In Amos' view all peoples were entitled to the land they occupied in a spirit of equality and sharing. No one people had special God-given rights.
One of the most critical moments in ancient Jewish history was when Jochanan ben Zakkai, the leading representative of Judaism in his day and the disciple of Hillel, "abandoned the cause of the Jewish state." At the time, the city of
In the more recent period, Ahad Ha-am (Hebrew for "One of the People" and the pen name for Asher Ginzberg), one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of this century, was also highly critical of Zionism.10 He drew attention to the fundamental and neglected ethical dilemma of Zionism, namely the presence of the Arabs. In his 1891 report, The Truth from
Yet what do our brethren do in
Ahad Ha-am wrote this statement when Zionist settlers formed only a tiny portion of the population of
Ahad Ha-am worked tirelessly for an intellectual and spiritual revival of the Jewish people. His belief in
Apart from the political danger, I can't put up with the idea that our brethren are morally capable of behaving in such a way to men of another people; and unwittingly the thought comes to my mind: if it is so now, what will be our relation to the others if in truth we shall achieve "at the end of time" power in Eretz Israel? If this be the "Messiah," I do not wish to see his coming.
Israel Zangwill, one of Herzl's earliest and strongest supporters, eventually turned against the idea of establishing a Jewish state in
It was not until 1904 that Zangwill realized that there was a fundamental problem with the Zionist program. In a speech given in
There is. . . a difficulty from which the Zionist dares not avert his eyes, though he rarely likes to face it.
Zangwill and many other leading Zionists split from the movement in 1905 when the Zionist Organization turned down the British offer to settle Jews in
Sir Edwin Montagu, the only Jewish member of Lloyd George's cabinet when
NON-RELIGIOUS OPPOSITION TO ZIONISM
Not only Orthodox and Reform Jews were opposed to Zionism. In March 1919 United States Congressman Julius Kahn presented an anti-Zionist petition to President Woodrow Wilson as he was leaving for the Paris Peace Conference. The petition was signed by 31 prominent American Jews. These included Henry Morgenthau, Sr., ex-ambassador to
The petition read in part:
. . . we protest against the political segregation of the Jews and the re-establishment in
Whether the Jews be regarded as a "race" or as a "religion," it is contrary to the democratic principles for which the world war was waged to found a nation on either or both of these bases.
Albert Einstein was also anti-Zionist. He made a presentation to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, which was examining the
I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from the practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain -- especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight without a Jewish state.
Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook, Hannah Arendt and twenty-five other prominent Jews, in a letter to The New York Times (December 4, 1948), condemned Menachem Begin's and Yitzhak Shamir's Likud party as "fascist" and espousing "an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority." The same theme is echoed in William Zukerman's 1934 article in The Nation, "The Menace of Jewish Fascism. "58 This is also the premise of Michael Selzer's book, The Aryanization of the Jewish State.
For most Western Jews and many other people, the connection of Zionism to fascism and racism is odious and inappropriate. However, this theme is a recurrent motif in the debate on Zionism within the Jewish community. Even David Ben-Gurion,
Professor Richard Arens, the late brother of Moshe Arens, the Israeli defense minister and leading figure in the Likud party, has also equated Israeli policies towards the Palestinians with the Nazi persecution of the Jews.61 Hannah Arendt, when writing about the trial of Adolph Eichmann, pointed out the irony of attacking the Nazis' Nuremberg Laws of 1935 when certain laws in Israel regarding the personal status of Jews were identical to the infamous Nazi code. Morris Raphael Cohen, the distinguished philosopher, went so far as to argue that "Zionists fundamentally accept the racial ideology of anti-Semites, but draw different conclusions. Instead of the Teuton, it is the Jew that is the pure or superior race."
Other leading Jewish intellectuals who opposed Zionism include Louis D. Brandeis (see Menuhin, Jewish Critics of Zionism), Martin Buber (coauthor, with J.L. Magnes and E. Simon, of Towards Union in Palestine: Essay on Zionism and Jewish-Arab Cooperation, 1947), Isaac Deutscher ("The Non-Jewish Jew," in The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays, 1968), Simon Dubnow (Nationalism and History: Essays on Old and New Judaism, edited by Koppel S. Pinson, 1961), Morris Jastrow (Zionism and the Future of Palestine, the Fallacies and Dangers of Political Zionism, 1919), Emile Marmorstein ("A Bout of Agony," The Guardian, April 1974), Moshe Menuhin (father of Sir Yehudi Menuhin and author of The Decadence of Judaism in Our Time), Claude Montefiore ("Nation or Religious Community?" reprinted in Selzer, Zionism Reconsidered), Jakob I. Petuchowski (Zion Reconsidered, 1966), and Franz Rosenzweig. Hans Kohn, who was one of the world's leading authorities on nationalism, posed the following questions on the issue.
Might not perhaps the "abnormal" existence of the Jews represent a higher form of historical development than territorial nationalism? Has not the diaspora been an essential part of Jewish existence? Did it not secure Jewish survival better than the state could do?
Erich Fromm, the eminent scholar, also was critical of Zionism. He stated that the Arabs in
The claim of the Jews to the
"One Man, One Vote,
Israel Shamir, a leading Russian Israeli writer, is a champion of the "One Man, One Vote,
In the midst of the endless talk of a "Two State solution", Shamir, along with Edward Said, has become a leading champion of the "One Man, One Vote, One State" solution in all of Palestine/Israel. His most recent essays have been circulating widely on the Internet and are now posted on many prominent media sites. With every new article, Shamir is establishing himself as a journalist whose work speaks to the aspirations of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Zionism as Jewish National Socialism
Lasse Wilhelmson - 31.08.2004 11:55
The Jewish colonization of Palestine under the Zionist slogan "the land without people to the people without a land" started almost a hundred years ago and reached its first climax with the proclamation of The Jewish State of Israel in 1948. A second climax is now in the offing through the ongoing colonization of the West Bank and
Moses Hess converted Karl Marx to Communism, yet advocated National Socialism for Jews; Shlomo Avineri on the Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State- Selections by Peter Myers. Date November 14, 2000; update August 17, 2004.
After growing up in the antisemitic 1930's in
Socialism in all its forms was immensely popular in the 30's (as were the variants of Fascism). Its aim in those days was not just the economic betterment of the working class, but the creation of a new, more humane society and a new man to go with it. The kibbutzim were to serve as a model for this revolution. They were the proletarian vanguard, and much admired for it.
Even if quite a few of the founding members considered Stalin to be the epitome of human endeavour and mourned his (long overdue) passing on, they never adopted his policies of proletarian dictatureship. Decisions were made by a democratic show of hands, and there was quite a bit of pressure on those black sheep who wouldn't accept majority rule.
Eyal's Radical Corner
The Zionist Scourge
We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash
—David Ben-Gurion, prime-minister of the provisional government of
The Birth of Zionism
With the onset of industrial Capitalism in
So, basically, the Jews had two options: the first, to seek unity with the peasants and the workers, forsaking the landed nobility and the the bourgeoisie; the second, to look to the masters for solutions.
Many Jews opted for something which was a mix of these two - immigration to the more advanced Capitalistic countries: the western European countries and the
Of those who did not immigrate, the more progressive Jews (probably the poorer ones, the workers, the peasents, and some of the landless petit-bourgeois) came to adopt a Socialist perspective, understanding that racism and nationalism to be by-products of the Capitalistic class society, and must therefore be resisted by joining forces with the radical forces in combating the exploiters. Many of the influential agitators and organizers struggling for social change in
The Jews more closely tied to the ruling classes, those who were service-renderers to the rich and powerful and dependent upon their wealth for a living, saw things differently, of course. Theodore Herzl, the 'founding father' of political Zionism, an Austrian playwright, journalist and outspoken admirer of the policies of the Imperialist European governments, decided that what the Jews needed was a nationalistic movement of their own. The idea was not to remove the causes of ethnic strife, but rather find a place where Jews could be the ones holding the economic, military and political power, and therefore the on the attacking side of ethnic confrontations (which, claimed the Zionists, were completely unavoidable, since Jews and non-Jews are 'incompatible').
Zionism was a part of a wider current in European political thought, and it seems to have been inspired by Sorelianism (e.g. purification by violence and nationalist revision of Socialism), de-Man's Planism and other pre-Fascist thinkers. With it, world Imperialism acquired its foremost champion in its unfolding war against the toiling masses of this region.
The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the independent nation
—British Lord Arthur Balfur, two years after issuing the 'Balfur Declaration' (supportive a 'National Home' for Jews in
So imagine you're a prominent Jewish businessman or intellectual in the 1880's. Given the facts that:
- You're all buddy-buddies with the political leadership and the economic elite of
Europe, which is at the height of its colonialist period
- You want 'save the Jewish people' (the same ones you'd do everything to distance yourself from, and didley-squat for their protection from the almost-officially-mandated violence)
What's more natural than to offer up the Jews as harbingers of European rule to the countries of the 'uncivilized barbarians'?
So the Zionists came to the German Kaiser, and the Russian Tsar, the British and other governments (all of them anti-Semitic to some degree or another, obviously) and proposed the following deal: "we'll get all the Jews out of your sight and render you further economic and military services abroad, providing you find us a country in which to settle them all and to rule."
It took a few years of convincing, but the Imperialists couldn't resist an offer of erecting "a bastion of Europe against Asia" (to quote Herzl), not to mention a chance to drive out Millions of members of an ethnic group highly prone to Socialism and other 'destructive' and 'harmful' notions.
"Hmmm... let us think..." say the Zionists. "Naah, we want
Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because the geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kfar Yehoshua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single site built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.
—Moshe Dayan, addressing the Technion,
"But what about the Palestinian Arabs?" you would ask. And so did Max Nordau, another famous Zionist leader. This question brought about (not immediately, but soon enough) the great split in political Zionism - the split between the so-called-left (supposedly-Socialist, to some extent) Zionism - and the more overtly Fascist Zionism.
The 'left' surmised that "for now, we'll just concentrate on getting as many Jews as possible to settle in Palestine and we won't talk about what's to happen eventually - we'll tell everyone we're just trying to evade persecution, or to bring progress to an under-developed region, or to carry out a social experiment, or to create a Jewish worker's society or some other fibs" ; the right-wing, who were less ashamed of their racism and felt no need to identify themselves with the masses struggling for freedom and equality, said openly: "Fuck the Arabs. Not with words but with blood and iron shall a nation be molded - their blood, our Iron. We'll take control of the entire land and they'll either accept us as absolute masters, be driven out or die at our hands."
But such distinctions were hardly relevant when it came to practical action. Once the first world war was over and the British assumed control of the country, wave after wave of Jewish immigrants began flooding
A great backlash against this process took place between 1936 and 1939 in the form of a mass strike followed by an armed rebellion, but it was doomed to fail, both because the Palestinian working class was weak in number and the peasantry disorganized (or rather mis-organized), with its leadership fearing the rebellion and aiding its diffusion, and because the British were bringing in massive troop reinforcements (rumor equates the number of British soldiers in Palestine during the rebellion to their numbers in India, but I haven't confirmed that) and did not hesitate to resort to house demolitions, mass arrests, numerous executions and assassinations.
The Zionist leadership, tightly controlling the Jewish workers, teamed up with the colonial ruler to violently suppress the rebelling natives by force.
Anti-semitism, argued anarchists such as Voline, had evolved as a sort of safety valve that the wealthy and powerful could use to control working class anger – people who were conscious of being cheated and misused could be persuaded to attack the Jews rather than their rulers or their employers. As everyone from the Czars to Hitler discovered, Jews make excellent scapegoats. To really permanently destroy anti-semitism, anarchists argued, we have to attack the root of the problem: the conditions of exploitation and injustice that Jew-hating serves as a distraction from. Thus, Voline wrote that only
the complete destruction of present-day society and its reorganization on a completely different social basis which will lead to the definitive disappearance of the nationalist plague, and with it, of antisemitism. It will disappear when the vast human masses, at the end of their sufferings and misfortunes, and at the price of atrocious experiences, comprehend, finally, that humanity must, on pain of death, organize its life on the sane and natural basis of cooperation, material and moral, fraternal and just, that is to say, on a truly human basis. (“Antisemitisme,” Encyc. Anarchiste)
Jewish anarchists took this a step further by beginning the battle against anti-semitism in the present. Samuel Schwartzbard didn’t stop at his personal revenge for the pogroms; he founded an organization called the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism. In exile from the
At the same time, they didn’t always have an easy time getting along with other Jews. Religion was a particular sticking point. Proudhon and Bakunin had defined anarchism as the revolt against all forms of human enslavement, physical and mental – and religion they counted as a form of mental slavery, noting that the Church had always bolstered the State, and that poor people were always told to wait for their reward in heaven rather than seeking justice on earth. Jewish anarchists frequently took up this wholesale attack on religion; in her famous manifesto, Emma Goldman wrote of “religion” as “the dominion of the human mind” (AOE 53):
The primitive man, unable to understand his being . . . felt himself absolutely dependent on blind, hidden forces ever ready to mock and taunt him. Out of that attitude grew the religious concepts of man as a mere speck of dust dependent on superior powers on high, who can only be appeased by complete surrender. All the . . . biblical tales dealing with the relation of man to God, to the State, to society . . . [express] the same motif, man is nothing, the powers are everything. Thus Jehovah would only endure man on condition of complete surrender. Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become conscious of himself . . .
Religion! How it dominates man’s mind, how it humiliates and degrades his soul. God is everything, man is nothing, says religion. But out of that nothing God has created a kingdom so despotic, so tyrannical, so cruel, so terribly exacting that naught but gloom and tears and blood have ruled the world since gods began. Anarchism rouses man to rebellion against this black monster. Break your mental fetters, says Anarchism to man, for not until you think and judge for yourself will you get rid of the dominion of darkness, the greatest obstacle to all progress. (51, 53)
Now, in light of this kind of pronounced atheism emanating from the anarchist quarters, it’s no wonder rabbis in New York and London saw the Jewish anarchists as a threat to their traditions, their communities – and their own rabbinical authority. In 1888, the “clerical and lay leaders” of
Anarchists didn’t take all this lying down, needless to say – nor did they fail to provoke it. When the Arbeter Fraint started up again, it featured a full-bore attack on orthodox Judaism, including parodies of the Passover seder and the Lamentations (155). In the late 1880s, a group of Jewish anarchists on the Lower East Side organized as a club called “The Pioneers of Freedom,” which “distributed Yiddish parodies of penitential prayers, mocking the traditions of Yom Kippur,” and organized “Yom Kippur Balls held on Kol Nidre night” (Kolel) In 1889, they leafleted to “[invite] Jewish workers to spend Kol Nidre evening at the Clarendon Hall on Thirtieth Street” – causing a “near-riot” when the proprietor, “under political pressure,” tried to call it off. In 1890, in Brooklyn, they threw a “Grand Yom Kippur Ball with theater” on the Day of Atonement (“A Life Apart: The Treyfe Medina”), advertising their celebration as “Arranged with the consent of all new rabbis of Liberty . . . Kol Nidre, music, dancing, buffet; Marseillaise and other hymns.” This spectacle, which more than once provoked actual street fracases between believers and non-believers, was duplicated in London and in Philadelphia (Kolel) – although on at least one occasion, in 1890, the Russian-Jewish anarchists of Philadelphia actually called off their Yom Kippur Ball – which was to feature “pork-eating” – out of respect for the role played by the city’s orthodox rabbi, Sabato Morais, in mediating a crucial strike of cloakmakers that year (“Morais”). In
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