Zionist anti-Semitism in the 'Jewish' State
|Theodor Herzl - the original Jewish anti-Semite|
Yet this was the term that a former aide to Netanyahu, Aviv Bushinsky, used against the American Ambassador, Daniel Shapiro, who had issued a mild critique of Israel observing that there were two standards of justice on the West Bank and that maybe Israeli army investigations weren’t all that they were cracked up to be.
One might think that Shapiro was somewhat stating the obvious, since it is a fact that there are two different legal systems operating on the West Bank – one for Jews and another for Palestinians.
But Aviv Bushinsky wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Anti-Semitism and Zionism go together like Jonathan and David, Lennon and McCartney. They are twins of a kind. Zionism started from the belief that Jews do not belong in the diaspora. Strange as it seems, anti-Semites also hold the same belief, viz. that Jews do not belong other than in ‘their’ state.
Zionism however was more than a wacky belief. It was a movement intent on setting up a Jewish state and to do that it had to ally itself with one or more colonial powers. One of its main tasks was in persuading Jews to emigrate to Palestine. This was no easy task. Between the middle of the 19th Century and 1914 over 2 million Jews emigrated as refugees from Russia, because of the anti-Semitism and pogroms there, but only about 50,000 emigrated to Palestine. The rest of the Jews emigrated to the United States and Britain. In other words only 2% of Russia’s Jews wanted to go to the Promised Land.
Zionism began from the premise that the Jewish position in the diaspora was ‘unnatural’. That anti-Semites were entitled to their own anti-Jewish nationalism. That Jews were strangers in other peoples’ lands. They were guests, strangers who had outlived their welcome. Indeed they went further. Mapam/Hashomer Hatzair the ‘Marxist’ Zionists believed that the social structure of Jews in the diaspora resembled an ‘inverted pyramid’ i.e. there were too many rich Jews and not enough working-class Jews. In fact this was untrue. Jews in Russia (which then included Poland and Lithuania) were overwhelmingly poor workers and they formed the General Jewish Workers Union of Russia, Poland and Lithuania otherwise known as the Bund. The Zionists were a tiny minority.
The Zionists attitude was essentially that the anti-Semites were right about the Jews. The founder of Political Zionism Herzl made common cause with anti-Semites. Contrary to a popular myth, Herzl wasn’t at all disturbed by the Dreyfus Affair, quite the contrary. He wrote that:
‘In Paris..., I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, recognise the emptiness and futility of trying to 'combat' anti-Semitism. [Diaries of Theodore Herzl, Gollancz, London 1958 p.6].
It was but a short step from this to believing that ‘the anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies. We want to emigrate as respected people’ [Diaries pp. 83/4]
Herzl kept company with non-Jews like Daudet who were opponents of Jewish emancipation and anti-Dreyfussards. Herzl went out of his way to obtain a favourable review of his pamphlet, The Jewish State, from Eduord Drumont, the leader of the anti-Dreyfussards.
Nor was Herzl alone. Jacob Klatzkin, editor of the Zionist paper Die Welt and later the founder of Encyclopedia Judaica, wrote that
We are in a. word naturally foreigners. We are an alien nation in your midst and we want to remain one. An unbridgeable chasm yawns between you and us. A loyal Jew can never be other than a Jewish patriot... We recognise a national unity of Diaspora Jews no matter in which land they may reside... no boundaries can restrain us in... pursuing our own Jewish policy. J Klatzkin, 'Krisis und Entscheidung in Judentum', Berlin 1921, p118
The logic was impeccable. Klatzkin was convinced that it wasn’t the anti-Semites but the opponents of anti-Semitism who were the enemy:
The contribution of our enemies is in the continuance of Jewry in Eastern Europe. One ought- to appreciate the national service which the Pale of Settlement performed for us... we ought to be thankful to our oppressors that they closed the gates of assimilation to us and took care that our people were concentrated and not dispersed. ['Crisis' Decision! p.62 cited in Hermann op. cit. p. 205].
Often, if you didn’t know the person was Jewish you could be mistaken for believing that the statement had been issued by an out and out anti-Semite. For example Pinhas Rosenbluth, Israel’s first Justice Minister was of the opinion that Palestine was ‘an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin’ [Joachim Doron, p.169. Classic Zionism and modern anti-Semitism: parallels and influences’ (1883-1914), Studies in Zionism 8, Autumn 1983].
All this was encapsulated in the foundational Zionist axiom called ‘the Negation of the Diaspora’. The Jewish Diaspora was something that should be wound up. Jews belonged in their ‘homeland’, Israel not in the countries they’d lived in for generations.
All this meant that Zionists viewed Diaspora Jews with contempt if not hatred. Hence the description of a Jewish Ambassador using the most anti-Semitic word that one can conjure up. Nor was Bushinsky alone.
Attacks against Jewish anti-Zionists and supporters of the Palestinians in Israel is often anti-Semitic. To support the Palestinians means that you would have deserved the attentions of Adolph Hitler. Jews who care about others have a ‘diaspora mentality’. When Israeli Jews in Sheikh Jarrar in Jerusalem protested at yet more confiscation of Palestinian civilians’ homes, Jewish right-wingers demonstrated against them chanting ‘Hitler was right’
Zionism is and always has been a Jewish form of anti-Semitism and Bushinsky’s comments were therefore completely in line with what Zionists have previously said.
State Department backs Daniel Shapiro after he said Israel applies law in West Bank differently to Palestinians and Israelis
|The US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, was publicly lambasted on Israeli television. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP/Getty Images|
Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem
Wednesday 20 January 2016
The US State Department has moved to back America’s ambassador to Israel in a febrile and escalating row over his remarks on Monday that Israel applied law in the occupied West Bank differently to Palestinians and Israelis.
Ambassador Daniel Shapiro’s unusually critical comments drew harsh criticism from ministers in Israel’s rightwing government – including from the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.
Shapiro was also publicly lambasted on Israeli television on Tuesday by a former aide to Netanyahu who used the deeply offensive Hebrew word “yehudon” – which translates as “little Jew boy” – to disparage the ambassador. The term is used by rightwing Israelis against other Jews – particularly those in the diaspora – whom they regard as not being sufficiently Jewish or pro-Israel.
Netanyahu has described Shapiro’s comments as unacceptable and wrong, while the justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, has suggested that they were inappropriate and Shapiro should recant them.
“We are being subjected to a terrorist onslaught that is simply unfamiliar to the United States, and to pass judgment on us in such a one-sided manner is wrong,” Shaked told Army Radio. “It would be appropriate if he corrected himself, and I hope he does that.”
As the row continued into a third day, US State Department spokesman John Kirby insisted the ambassador was reiterating US policy on Israeli settlement construction. Kirby was speaking after a private meeting between Shapiro and Netanyahu to attempt to paper over the differences.
“Our long-standing position on settlements is clear. We view Israeli settlements activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace. We remain deeply concerned about Israel’s current policy on settlements including construction, planning and retroactive legalisations,” he said.
The latest row comes against a backdrop of escalating tensions between Israel and various countries and international political groupings.
Last year, Netanyahu’s government reduced diplomatic contacts with EU officials following a decision to recommend that member states label products produced in illegal Israeli settlements.
The Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, has effectively been declared persona no grata in Israel after calling for an investigation into whether recent shootings of Palestinians by Israeli security forces amounted to extrajudicial executions. Israeli officials said her comments were “delirious”, while Netanyahu called them “outrageous”.
Israel also strongly condemned the decision this week by the EU foreign council to take up a new resolution strongly critical of continued Israeli settlement.
Israel finds itself facing renewed criticism from the European Union for the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a complaint that Shapiro echoed.
In remarks at a security conference on Monday – regarded as a showcase event for Israeli politicians and senior security officials – Shapiro said: “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”
Kirby explicitly rejected Israeli claims that EU labelling of settlement products amounted to a boycott of Israel. “We do not view labelling the origin of products as being from the settlements a boycott of Israel. We also do not believe that labelling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott.”
Media pundit Aviv Bushinsky, who served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff when he was finance minister in Ariel Sharon’s government, made the remarks on an Israeli political show.
“Nobody was standing there with a hammer forcing him [Shapiro] to say it,” he said on the programme.
“I see a Jew, Dan Shapiro, saying this. I see it as a pattern – it was the same thing with [former US Middle East envoy] Dennis Ross and now with [former US ambassador to Israel] Martin Indyk saying his nonsense. It’s the behaviour of Jews who are trying to show that they are extra leftwing, more liberal and more balanced.”
Some Israeli commentators saw it as no coincidence that Shapiro’s remarks were made so soon after the lifting of sanctions against Iran and at such a high-profile forum.
Writing in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Shimon Shiffer said: “Shapiro’s comments … are significant in that they suggest the Obama administration will no longer tolerate human rights violations by our decision-makers against Palestinians in the West Bank. From the perspective of the White House, ‘enough is enough’.”