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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Why anti-Zionists against anti-Semitism?

Twenty years ago it was take for granted that the reason for the support that the State of Israel received was because it was in the interests of western imperialism and the United States in particular. Unfortunately, with a general drift to the right in society in general, those who focus on the ‘Jewishness’ of Israel rather than its colonialist practices are gaining favour.

The advocates of an anti-Semitic critique of Zionism and Israel are clustered around a group called Deir Yassin Remembered. http://www.deiryassin.org. People like an open holocaust denier, Israel Shamir, a more covert holocaust denier Gilad Atzmon, Paul Eisen the ‘theoretician’ of the new revisionists and a gaggle of bit players like Jeff Blankfort and Paul Rooij. The problem for them isn’t US imperialism, it’s the Jews. A good example is Atzmon’s ‘On Anti-Semitism’ article:

‘we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people (changed to Zionists) are trying to control the world very seriously…. The world’s number one super power is there to support the Jewish state’s wealth and security matters…. it is Zionist interests that America is serving. American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews (in fact Zionists) do control the world.’ http://www.gilad.co.uk/html%20files/onanti.html

It is irrelevant for him if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a forgery or not because they are 'true'. Whereas for Hitler it was the fact of their being true which proved they weren’t a forgery. A subtle difference!

Why does this matter? Because historically anti-Semitism has been the twin of Zionism. Virtually all the major non-Jewish figures historically who have declared themselves supportive of Zionism have also been anti-Semitic. Arthur Balfour, after whom the 1917 Balfour Declaration was named, when Prime Minister introduced the 1905 Aliens Act designed to keep Jews fleeing the pogroms out of Britain. William Evans-Gordon, founder of the British Brothers’ League, a forerunner of the British Union of Fascists, founded at the beginning of the century to lobby against Jewish immigration, was a devoted supporter of Zionism (see Chaim Weizmann’s Trial and Error). Even Adolf Eichmann declared his support for Zionism in the excerpts from his interview with a Dutch Nazi journalist printed in Life Magazine on 28th November and 5th December 1960.

As Isaac Deutscher, biographer of Leon Trotsky wrote:

‘It should be remembered that the great majority of East European Jews were, up to the outbreak of the second World War} opposed to Zionism… the most fanatical enemies of Zionism were precisely the workers, those who spoke Yiddish… they were the most determined opponents of the idea of an emigration from East Europe to Palestine… in the idea of an evacuation, of an exodus from the countries in which they, had their homes and in which their ancestors had lived for centuries, the anti-Zionists saw an abdication of their rights, a surrender to anti-Semitism. To them anti-Semitism seemed to triumph in Zionism, which recognised the legitimacy and the validity of the old cry ‘Jews get out!’ The Zionists were agreeing to get out.’ (Non-Jewish Jew and other Essays, pp. 66/7)

This is a truth that virtually all the early Zionists understood. Without anti-Semitism there was no Zionism. As Zionist novellist A B Yehoshua explained to the Union of Jewish Students:

Anti-Zionism is not the product of the non-Jews. On the contrary, the Gentiles have always encouraged Zionism, hoping that it would help to rid them of the Jews in their midst. Even today, in a perverse way, a real anti-Semite must be a Zionist. (Jewish Chronicle 22.1.82.)

When Atzmon and his friends engage in anti-Semitic banter and attack Jews as Jews, they are doing the work of the Zionists who can point out why it is that a refuge for Jews, Israel, is still required.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...
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owl of minerva said...

You seem to be a lot more angry with people like Atzmon and interested in undermining his reputation and having regarded as a Holocaust denier than with what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians at THIS VERY MOMENT. Maybe that's why so few people still take you serious. With people being rounded up in the middle of the night, Arab Israelis losing their citizenships, people losing their houses simply for not being Jewish,settlements anything but frozen, and no prospects for a fair solution for Palestinians, it is weird you are so concerned with Atzmon. At least the latter does seem to be actively working for something resembling justice for Palestinians.

Tony Greenstein said...

Clearly the owl is a very short-sighted creature. Yes if you looked at a post older than 18 months ago you would find that Atzmon gets very little mention these days compared to the Zionists.

His raving racism has become such that he's even been kicked out of the Palestine Think Tank by Ms Rizzo and co.

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