30 August 2023

Open Letter to Sharon Graham – How does support for the Palestinians square with working with the Israeli-state funded Campaign Against Anti-Semitism?

 Why have your officials lied and lied about the banning of ‘Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie’? 

Who has given you the right to decide what Unite members can or cannot see?

Dear Sharon Graham,

Correspondence with Unite officials reminds me of David Low’s cartoons which depicted the TUC as a carthorse. Slow-witted, disingenuous, impervious to reason and incapable of rational thought. As Low noted, ‘STUPIDITY has no frontiers.’

I refer to the ban on Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie and Asa Winstanley’s Weaponisation of Anti-Semitism. On 22 August Gail Cartmail wrote to David Plank of Cambridge Community Branch:

Unite has not “banned” the film mentioned nor the book, however we have declined to use our buildings for its showing and a related book launch.

That sounds like a ban. The film and talk were due to be held at Tony Benn House, Bristol on 24 July. They were cancelled. Organisers were told by a union official that the event was cancelled after “discussion with senior colleagues.” Unite’s leadership did not want to “be drawn into contentious political debate.”

The Ventriloquist & her Puppet

Skwawkbox editor Steve Walker attributed the decision to ‘the growing cosiness between Unite’s management and the current hard-right Labour regime.’

In an email Gail Cartmail claimed on your behalf that Winstanley’s book had “caused deep hurt among Jews in Britain.”. This evidence-free assertion is ironically an anti-Semitic lie, assuming as it does that British Jews are hurt by criticism of Zionism and Israel.

Since the buck stops with you as General Secretary I am replying directly to you rather than the ventriloquist’s puppet.

Cartmail’s ‘explanation’ came after Sarah Carpenter, Regional Secretary for SE Unite wrote on 8 June regarding the showing of the film by Portsmouth Community Branch:

I have asked for the screenings to be cancelled whilst I seek further guidance. I have not had any instructions to cancel.

Carpenter refused to clarify why she needed to take ‘further guidance’ about instructions that she hadn’t received. On 13 June Carpenter sent another email stating that

we will not be showing the film in the Portsmouth office, and I will alert the relevant branch of this.’

That also sounds like a ban.

In Carpenter’s email to me of 5 July Rule 17.3 was invoked to prevent Unite SE 6246 branch from donating to Platform Films, which produced the film. Over the years Platform Films has made a host of films for the trade union movement including Unite and history of the T&GWU. Given that the overwhelming majority of the media is anti-trade union what kind of mule headed idiocy is it that possesses a union official to ban donations to a pro-trade union film company?

As Tony Benn observed By making these brilliant films over the years, Platform has filled a gap that is so obvious in the media.’ Bob Crow, the legendary RMT leader wrote that:

RMT is proud to be associated with a film company that unashamedly knows which side it is on, and is carrying the tradition of gutsy, agitprop, socialist film-making to a new generation in the 21st century

If Platform Films knows which side it’s on the same cannot be said for you or your officials. In an email of 13 June Carpenter gave a variety of excuses for the ban:

The issues covered in the film are pertinent to internal Labour Party matters and that is not the focus of our union…  union resources are prioritised in these areas.

Although Unite has increased the amount of money it gives to the Labour Party, despite your assurances to the contrary, it isn’t able to afford the cost of security for a union building to show a film. As David Plank wrote

Frankly, this beggars belief. The unions founded the Labour Party to achieve the political voice that is essential to the best interests and welfare of our members. It is neither possible nor desirable to make such a flimsy, artificial distinction.

The suggestion that privatisation of the NHS and renationalisation of rail and the utilities are internal Labour Party matters is risible.

The real reason for these bans is to appease Starmer who has repeatedly refused to support striking workers. No sooner had he left Unite’s policy conference than he tore up his pledge to repeal the latest Tory anti-union legislation.

It is shameful that you are complicit in the efforts of Starmer to silence and expel those who disagree with his neo-liberal agenda.

In her email of 5 July Carpenter wrote:

I can be clear that Unite has not been contacted by any group in regards to the decision made…. the decision taken was grounded in our focus to prioritise resources ….

This was clearly a lie. On 23 July the far-right Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, boasted of its role in the banning of the film:

Following correspondence with CAA, the Unite union has cancelled the screening of a propaganda film about the antisemitic former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn that was due to be shown alongside a book signing and talk from Asa Winstanley.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has one purpose - to smear supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism as anti-Semitic. It openly boasted of its role in removing Jeremy Corbyn.

Lest you have any doubt that Israel is an apartheid state you should be aware that this is the unanimous view of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem.

Israel is a state whose official police is one of ‘Judaising’ the Galilee and Negev. The Koenig Memorandum of April 1976 by Yisrael Koenig, a senior member of the Israeli Labor Party, proposed to:

Expand and deepen Jewish settlement in areas where the contiguity of the Arab population is prominent, and where they number considerably more than the Jewish population; examine the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.

Imagine the outcry if there was a proposal to ‘dilute’ the Black population of London. Koenig spoke about the duty of ‘those dealing with the Arab sector… to familiarize themselves with the Arab mentality.’ I suggest you substitute ‘Jewish’ for ‘Arab’.

If anyone harboured any doubts that Palestinians live under an Apartheid regime then Israel’s neo-Nazi Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir laid these to rest when he told an Israeli Arab journalist:

“My right, the right of my wife, of my children to move around on the roads in the West Bank is more important than the right to freedom of movement of the Arabs – sorry, Mohammed, this is the reality, this is the truth,”

Moshe Yalon, the ex- Likud Defence Minister termed Gvir ‘Mein Kampf in Reverse.

The CAA has been at the forefront of attacks on pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist academics such as Bristol University’s Rachel Gould and David Miller, Warwick University’s Goldie Osurie, Shahd Abusalama of Sheffield Hallam and Exeter University’s Malaka Shwaik.

The CAA demanded that Gould, a Jewish professor, publicly retract an article Defining Anti-Semitism and if she refused then she should be dismissed “and her dismissal should be made public so as to clearly signal the University of Bristol’s values”.

The CAA has used the IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism as a political weapon. Even American academic Kenneth Stern, who drafted the IHRA, said, in testimony to the US Congress, that the CAA’s attack on Gould was ‘chilling and McCarthy-like’.

Gideon Falter, Chair of the CAA, has also supported Hindu racists in opposing protection against racial discrimination for Dalits (Untouchables), which is dressed up as racism against Hindus.

The CAA posted this story before quickly taking it down - Jackie Walker's 'holocaust' story was based on her quoting David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister

The CAA has deliberately tried to stir up fear of anti-Semitism amongst Jews. Anshel Pfeffer in Ha’aretz, commenting on the CAA’s 2015 Anti-Semitism Barometer wrote of the CAA’s:

eagerness to see anti-Semitism in Britain… as much more widespread than it really is….

If the majority of British Jews and the authors of the CAA report actually believe that [anti-Semitism in Britain today resembles that in the 30s], then it’s hard to take anything they say about contemporary anti-Semitism seriously…. To compare today’s Britain… with the Jews’ situation in 1930s exhibits a disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria.

This is the organisation that you take your advice from when deciding what Unite members can and cannot see.

The CAA is Islamophobic and also Anti-Semitic

The CAA was formed in 2014 during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge when 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children, died. Its purpose was to undermine solidarity with the Palestinians.

This is the racist CAA's new definition of anti-Semitism

The CAA is not interested in genuine anti-Semitism. In 2019 it redefined anti-Semitism with 6 questions, all about Israel. If you weren’t comfortable spending time with supporters of Israel that made you an anti-Semite. I was uncomfortable in the company of supporters of Apartheid in South Africa. Did that make me a racist? Amongst the other 5 questions was “Israel makes a positive contribution to the world.” If  you disagree that makes you an anti-Semite!

Anti-Semitism as defined in the OED, which most people understand anti-Semitism as ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jews as Jews’. By constructing these fraudulent questions, the CAA was able to pretend that anti-Semitism is a problem of the left not the right.

When it comes to genuine anti-Semitism the CAA is not interested - it's only Israel that concerns it

When Jacob Rees-Mogg attacked two fellow Jewish Tories, Oliver Letwin and John Bercow, as “Illuminati who are taking the powers to themselves.” the CAA said nothing. As Michael Berkowitz, Professor of Modern Jewish History at UCL wrote:

‘Rees-Mogg is knowingly trafficking in the portrayal of Jews as underhanded and sinister. … he has exhumed, embellished, and rebroadcast one of the most poisonous antisemitic canards in all of history.

Mogg also retweeted comments by Alice Wiedel, leader of the neo-Nazi AfD but all you will find is a neutral article Jacob Rees Mogg defends sharing German far-right leader’s speech on Twitter.

Why is this? Because Mogg is ardently pro-Israel and the AfD is the most pro-Zionist party in Germany. All the CAA said was that the ‘AfD has a long history of problematic language and policies’. The Nazi Party also had a history of 'problematic language and policies'.

The CAA’s 2016 Report British Muslims and antiSemitism had a picture of a Muslim man holding a ‘Hitler was right’ poster. The implication is clear. Muslims are Nazi supporters.

The Report included a full colour drawing of a ‘typical’ Muslim man. If this had been a ‘typical Jew’ the air would have been thick with accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’. The report accused Muslims of being

more likely by far than the general British population to hold deeply antisemitic views…. many British Muslims reserve a special hatred for British Jews …

Who Gives You the Right to Decide What Unite Members Can or Can’t See or Hear?

No one has alleged that The Big Lie is anti-Semitic. This would be surprising since Jews feature prominently in it. Yet Cartmail says that it will offend ’ and ‘rake up issues’ that you want to bury.

Zionists may be offended. So? what? Are you opposed to offending racists? As George Orwell said: ‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’ Freedom of speech is meaningless without the right to offend. Cartmail does not understand this but I would expect you to.

Lord Justice Sedley ruled in DPP v Redmond-Bate (1999) that

Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.

You have no grounds to ban this film or the book. This is censorship carried out on behalf of the same Israeli state that is currently waging a campaign of terror against the Palestinians. B ranches have the right to show films about what happened during Corbyn and make up their own mind without Big Sister interfering. Offending those who support pogroms and murder of children should be welcomed.

When Muslims attacked Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses the media proclaimed If we don’t defend free speech, we live in tyranny. When Charlie Hebdo mocked the Prophet Muhammad, it was a case of Je Suis Charlie. But when anti-Zionists criticise the tactics of supporters of Israeli Apartheid ‘preventing hurt’ to racists is your priority.

As Ken Loach noted:

Asa Winstanley’s book has been widely praised, including by noted Jewish commentators, for its rigorous and authoritative research.

By banning the author from discussing it in this way, Unite has shown the title to be accurate – anti-Semitism has indeed been weaponized. This is a critical political issue. Buy this important book and judge for yourself.

Cartmail, in her email of 22 August to David Plank, said

Unite is proudly anti-racist and stands with all minorities in our communities who face prejudice and discrimination.’

Prehistoric is Cartmail and Graham's View of Zionism - They Have Learnt Nothing and Forgotten Nothing

Does this apply to billionaires who are undoubtedly a minority? Have ordinary words lost their meaning for you too? All minorities? Are we not allowed to offend fascists? Cartmail’s ready resort to clich├ęs and hackneyed phrases is embarrassing, even for a union bureaucrat.

What possible connection does Cartmail’s statement have to the film? How was the film supporting prejudice and discrimination? 

The clear implication of Cartmail’s words, on your behalf, is that the Big Lie is racist. In essence you have chosen to take the word of a far-right Zionist, an officer of an organisation that spearheaded the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 over Jewish socialists.

The role of an Ambassador is to lie on behalf of their country. Is that Cartmail’s role? She has adopted the stratagem Orwell described in 1984 whereby the constant repetition of lies become the truth. In her email to Plank, Cartmail boasted that

Unite has a longstanding commitment to international solidarity and has for decades supported the Palestinian cause and will continue to do so.  No union has done more on Palestinian solidarity than Unite.

This too is a lie. The union which has done most for the Palestinians is the FBU. The late Ken Cameron, its General Secretary, worked tirelessly to win the trade union movement to the Palestinian cause. Cartmail’s boasts are designed to conceal the truth of your support for the Zionism and Israel’s apartheid state.

Cartmail quoted the EHRC Report into Labour ‘antisemitism’ in support of the ban. She assumes that the EHRC is an anti-racist body. Nothing could be further from the truth. In July 2020, two former EHRC commissioners — Simon Woolley, previously the only black person on the Commission, and Meral Hussein-Ece, the only Muslim — told Newsweek that they had not been reappointed to their posts in 2012 because they were “too loud and vocal” on questions of racism.

The EHRC Report was produced by Alisdair Henderson who was caught tweeting in support of Roger Scruton, the fascist founding editor of Salisbury Review. Henderson combined racism, homophobia and misogyny in one.  See The Labour Antisemitism Report Has Always Been a Politically Motivated Travesty]

The Report was legally flawed and is currently subject to judicial review proceedings. Yet Cartmail relies on this worthless report much like a drunk leans on a lamppost, for support not illumination.

The EHRC has an appalling record of discrimination against its own Black members of staff. Successive governments have stuffed its Board with Tory appointees such as David Goodhart who argued that the “hostile environment” should not be watered down in the wake of the Windrush scandal or Jessica Butcher who believes that modern feminism disempowers women.

The EHRC's first Chair, Trevor Philips is a bigot who was suspended from the Labour Party for comments such as Muslims are a ‘nation within a nation’. Starmer quietly reinstated him.

Cartmail mentioned that Labour List had published an article on the film but didn’t mention that it was by Paul Mason, a lapdog for the security services, who declared that he was waging war against anti-imperialist academics. That you should cite Mason’s attack shows the lengths to which you will go in order to appease Starmer.

What this shameful decision demonstrates is that your militant talk and support for strikes takes place in the context of your own right-wing, chauvinist pro-capitalist politics.

The Objection to A Big Lie Comes from Zionists not Jews

Between 2015 and 2019, a campaign was waged by the British Establishment to paint Corbyn as an anti-Semite and the Labour Party as anti-Semitic. Politicians like Tom Watson, who had spent their careers demonising refugees, overnight became anti-racists.

The dishonest nature of this campaign was exposed by the Labour Leaked Report which detailed how senior Labour staff had sabotaged Labour’s election chances in 2017.

Because of the British media’s complicity it was Al Jazeera’s “The Lobby” and the “Labour Files” which exposed the confected nature of the ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations. The Forde Report later confirmed that anti-Semitism had been weaponised by the Right.

Gideon Falter, Chair of the Jewish National Fund & Vice-Chair of JNF-UK which refuse to lease or rent land to non-Jews - this is Sharon Graham's comrade-in-arms

You Sharon Graham have banned an anti-racist film at the behest of an organisation whose Chair, Gideon Falter, is Vice-Chair of the Jewish National Fund, an organisation which refuses to rent or lease the 93% of land in Israel that it owns or controls. It makes Unite party to the JNF’s continuing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

In 2004 the Adalah Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel petitioned the Supreme Court demanding the cancellation of the allocation of JNF lands to Jews only. The JNF’s response was that

The JNF is not the trustee of the general public in Israel. Its loyalty is given to the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in the state of Israel... The JNF… is not a public body that works for the benefit of all citizens of the state. The loyalty of the JNF is given to the Jewish people and only to them is the JNF obligated. The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.

Electronic Intifada has just revealed that the CAA is directly funded by JNF-UK. In 2018 and 2019 it received $450,000 from an Israeli para-state organisation. Far from upholding ‘a longstanding commitment to international solidarity’ you Sharon Graham have been holding hands with the practitioners of Israeli apartheid.

Look Who's Just Dropped In To Support Israel

Cartmail states that Unite has for decades supported the Palestinian cause. So let us get this correct. On the one hand you are working with lobbyists for Israeli apartheid and on the other hand you support Palestinian liberation. Do you not see the contradiction?

It would have been like saying you support Black people under apartheid in South Africa whilst at the same time vetoing anything that was critical of apartheid on the grounds that it ‘might give offence’ to White South Africans. It is shameful.

‘Anti-Semitism’ has been the principal defence of the racist regime in Tel Aviv. Everytime someone calls out the murder of Palestinian children, the demolition of homes or theft of land up goes the cry of ‘anti-Semitism’. Have you learnt nothing in the past 7 years?

‘Anti-Semitism’ is the only defence the Zionists have left. Such cries are themselves anti-Semitic. To see you going along with this brands you an utter hypocrite and a collaborator with apartheid.

If these bans remain then Unite policy on Palestine will be worthless. Every time that we call out Israel’s crime of apartheid Israel’s supporters will cry ‘anti-Semitism’ and you will jump to attention.

See Unite’s ‘disgraceful’ response to branch about film and book ban and

The Banning of Corbyn - The Big Lie & Asa Winstanley’s ‘Weaponising Anti-Semitism’ because they ‘caused deep hurt among Jews in Britain” Renders Unite's Policy on Palestine Meaningless

Correspondence Between David Plank, Cambridge Community Branch & Gail Cartmail

25 August 2023

WHAT IS ZIONISM? Is it a National Liberation Movement or an Ideology & Movement of Jewish Supremacism & Settler Colonialism?

Is Zionism a Manifestation of Jewish Identity and if so What Does That Say About Being Jewish Today?

This is Zionism - Destroying Palestinian Water Wells with Concrete and making them Water Poor

Introduction

Everyone knew that Apartheid in South Africa was a system of racial domination by the White minority over the Black population. Likewise everyone knew that Unionism in Northern Ireland meant Protestant supremacy over the Catholic population, although in both cases apologists for Apartheid and Unionism suggested that it was not so much about racism as much as questions of identity and culture. [see for example Graham Walker’s Old History: Protestant Ulster in Lee's "Ireland", The Irish Review, No. 12 (Spring - Summer, 1992]

Supporters of Zionism, both the ideology and the movement, have long denied that there is any comparison between Israel and Apartheid South Africa. However the reality on the ground suggests otherwise. Every human rights group of note – Amnesty International, B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch - has produced detailed reports describing how the mechanisms of Jewish supremacy work in Israel.

The IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism, whose sole purpose was to conflate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism, says that to even call the establishment of a Jewish state racist is anti-Semitic. Since Israel is clearly a racist state, what the IHRA is really saying is that something can be true and still be anti-Semitic.

So what is Zionism? Is it a synonym for being Jewish? Is it a form of cultural or personal identity? And furthermore who should get to define it? Is it the Zionists or their victims?

The Chakrabarti Report

In her Report of 30 June 2016 into racism and ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party Shami Chakrabarti wrote that:

it is for all people to self-define their political beliefs and I cannot hope to do justice to the rich range of self-descriptions of both Jewishness or Zionism, even within the Labour Party, that I have heard. What I will say is that some words have been used and abused by accident and design so much as to blur, change or mutate their meaning. My advice to critics of the Israeli State and/or Government is to use the term "Zionist" advisedly, carefully and never euphemistically or as part of personal abuse.

This was a good example of the meaningless verbiage that advocates of the diversity agenda and identity politics indulge in. Should we accept without question people’s self-definition of their political beliefs? Do we accept neo-liberal assertions that they are believers in economic and political freedom rather than blood sucking vampires feeding off the NHS at the expense of health budgets?

If self definition is the end of the matter then there is no way of distinguishing between the bogus and fraudulent and the truthful. Evidence is irrelevant. Every exploiter becomes the exploited. Everything is subjective and metaphysical. As David Feldman pointed out this leads to “conceptual chaos”.

Should we accept that the Nazis were merely German patriots who were led astray? That is certainly the view of those ardent supporters of Zionism, Germany’s Alternative for Germany which is currently at 20% in the polls.

Members of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, including party leader and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir as well as Negev, Galilee and National Resilience Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf hold a party meeting at the illegal West Bank settlement outpost of Evyatar, February 27, 2023. (Courtesy: Otzma Yehudit)

According to Chakrabarti’s vacuous wittering every political charlatan can hide their corruption under the badge of cultural and personal self-identity. Chakrabarti is right that anyone can self-define, but no one has the right to expect someone else to accept that self-definition.

People defining themselves as Zionists in the belief that they are merely expressing their ethnic and cultural identity are no different from someone defining themselves as a Jeddi, which thousands do. Except that the latter are harmless whereas Zionists are anything but.

Horatio Bottomley

A good example of this method was Horatio Bottomley, who hid his frauds under the badge of patriotism. The Editor of John Bull, in 1922 he was gaoled for defrauding his electors and expelled from parliament.

Chakrabarti didn’t have a clue about Zionism and saw it as a form of personal identity, part of a ‘rich range of self-descriptions.’ One wonders whether other racist ideologies could be so described? And isn’t the definition of Zionism best left to the Palestinians who have experienced it at the sharp end? Unfortunately Chakrabarti did not possess the intellectual equipment to interrogate her Zionist witnesses as to what Zionism meant in practice.

Why should some dim-witted middle class kid from Golders Green or a Jewish American Princess, who believes she is suffering holocaust trauma, be endowed with an insight into Zionism that the villagers of Masafer Yatta are denied? Who has the greater experience of Zionism in practice? The spoilt Jewish brat or the bereaved relatives of the children murdered in Jenin?


Yet illusions in Zionism persist. Neil Caplan in an article Talking Zionism, Doing Zionism, Studying Zionism, wrote that

Zionism is also a multi-faceted ideology that evolved into the modern State of Israel and has also produced a voluminous historiography.

This is historic nonsense. Zionism did not ‘evolve’. The State of Israel came about as a result of the the planned ethnic cleansing of three-quarters of a million Palestinians. Nor was there anything multi-faceted about it. All wings of Zionism, ‘left’ and ‘right’, agreed that the goal was a Jewish State which inevitably meant the expulsion of the Palestinians. Yet thousands of people believed this nonsense.

Nor is it simply bourgeois ideologues who believe that Zionism is a movement with a left and a right. Many otherwise good socialists also do so. Gilbert Achcar, who leads what remains of the Fourth International in Britain, criticised the equation of Zionism and racism for its

totalizing nature. There is Zionism and there is “Zionism”... we can hardly treat all Zionists ... as birds of the same racist feather. [The Arabs and the Holocaust (p.274)].

According to Jonathan Shamir in Zionism: the history of a contested word:

Anti-Zionism is a negative ideology, and is therefore contingent on the definition of its positive counterpart. The word Zionism, however, is so ambiguous and varied in its meaning and so imbued with emotion, so firmly tied to identity, that invoking it stifles any productive conversation.

Could you expect a Holocaust survivor who found succour in Israel to disavow Zionism entirely? Could you expect a Palestinian expelled from their home and prevented from ever entering it again to be anything but an anti-Zionist?

To move forward, we need to abandon these terms when it comes to discussing Israel-Palestine.

What this verbal flatulence means is that Palestinians should abandon their opposition to Zionism in order to satisfy the tender consciences of liberal Zionists like Shamir.

So the question persists. What is Zionism? I hope that I can at least provide the outlines of an answer and explain why Zionism is irredeemably racist and colonist.

What is Zionism?

Zionism began as a reaction of Jewish intellectuals and the petit-bourgeoisie to anti-Semitism and in particular the Odessa pogroms of 1881 after the assassination of Czar Alexander II. A section of Jewish society despaired of ever achieving equality with non-Jews and yet they feared the working class. 

Zionism was a reaction which accepted the framework of debate that the anti-Semites set, namely that Jews did not belong in non-Jewish society. This led to the setting up of the first Zionist organisation, The Lovers of Zion in 1882.

Why did Zionism believe that Jews did not belong in non-Jewish society?

Firstly they held that anti-Semitism was inherent in the non-Jew. Anti-Semitism could not be fought and if it couldn’t be fought then the only option left was escape. Leon Pinsker of Hovvei Zion (Lovers of Zion) expressed this best:

Judeophobia is then a mental disease, and as a mental disease it is hereditary, and having been inherited for 2,000 years, it is incurable. 

 Theodor Herzl

Why fight something which was incurable? Fifteen years later, during the battle to exonerate Captain Dreyfus, Herzl expressed similar ideas:

In Paris... I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognise the emptiness and futility of trying to 'combat' anti-Semitism.

Secondly, because Jews were ‘exiled’ 2,000 years ago from their homeland, they lacked an attachment to the soil of the country they lived in. As a result they had developed anti-social qualities. It was only by re-establishing a Jewish state that Jews could take their proper place in the world.

Intrinsic to the Zionist idea was that Jews, wherever they lived, formed a single Jewish nation. In essence this was a belief in a Jewish race. How could Jews who lived across the globe and who spoke a variety of difference languages, be members of the same nation? As Moses Hess, an early Zionist, wrote:

The Germans hate the religion of the Jews less than their race…  The Jewish race is a primary race which… accommodates itself to all conditions and retains its integrity. The Jewish type has always remained indelibly the same throughout the centuries.


 

According to David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister and the pivotal figure in post-Herzlian Zionism, ‘exile’ (Galut) had been ‘a prolonged interlude in the history of Israel’. The diaspora represented a historical void.

Ben Gurion and the Zionist movement held that until Emancipation in the 19th century, Jews knew that the countries where they lived were only a temporary exile, and it did not even occur to them that they were a part of the peoples among whom they lived. That this is patent nonsense is borne out by the fact that it took a long fight by the Jewish bourgeoisie before they achieved emancipation in the UK and elsewhere.

The Zionist left, Poale Zion, which called itself Marxist, subscribed to the idea that Jewish diaspora society could never be ‘normal’ until a Jewish Palestine was created. Its founder Ber Borochov, had been expelled from the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1901 for his Zionism.

Borochov had a theory that the social structure of the Jews in the West resembled an inverted pyramid. There were too many rich Jews at the top and too few Jewish workers at the bottom.

The creation of a Jewish State, which was what marked out Zionism, would rectify this problem. In order to form such a state the Zionist movement sought an alliance with an imperialist power. Without an alliance with Britain or another power, Zionism would have been just one more harmless messianic movement.

Everything else is post-hoc justification. The myth has grown up that Zionism sought to create a Jewish state as a refuge for Jews living under persecution. That their goal was in essence humanitarian, even if their methods were not.

It needs emphasising that the original Labour Zionist pioneers saw themselves as an elite and held the diaspora in contempt. They were creating a new society and dispensing with the old.

Zionism realised from the start that without anti-Semitism there was no Zionism. The Zionism movement needed the ‘push’ of anti-Semitism. As Herzl wrote in his Diaries,

The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the antisemitic countries our allies.

David Ben-Gurion

Zionism was not simply an escape from an anti-Semitism that couldn’t be fought. The Zionist pioneers saw themselves as elitists, the ‘new Jew’. Arthur Ruppin, the most important figure in Palestinian Zionism after Ben Gurion, was an ardent believer in the racial sciences and eugenics. This is not surprising since the claims of Zionism to Palestine are at root a form of biological racism. Zionism believes that European Jews were descended from the Hebrews tribes.

Chaim Weizmann, the President of the Zionist Organisation, said in 1919 that ‘Alas, Zionism can’t provide a solution for catastrophes.’ The ZO ensured that Palestine was closed to thousands of survivors of the Ukrainian pogroms. Professor Gur Alroey described how

‘Weizmann preferred productive immigrants over needy refugees and thought the Land of Israel needed strong, healthy immigrants, not refugees weak in body and spirit.’ [Ha’aretz 3.12.21]

Ben Gurion, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, the pre-state government-in-waiting, explained that the purpose of Zionism was first and foremost to establish a state that would perpetuate the Jewish nation/race. Saving Jews as individuals was secondary.

The Kindertransport of children 1938-1940

When, after Kristallnacht, the British government agreed to allow 10,000 Jewish children into Britain, (Kindertransport) the Zionists were furious. Ben Gurion, in a speech to Mapai’s Central Committee on 9 December 1938 explained why:

If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel. Yoav Gelber, ‘Zionist policy and the Fate of European Jewry,’ Yad Vashem Studies (1939-42) p. 199.

People are horrified by the desire of Ben Gurion to save half the children as long as they went to Palestine, in preference to saving all of them in the diaspora. The final sentence, counterposing the life of the children to the history of the Jews, is often ignored. Ben Gurion’s reason for opposing the emigration of Jews to anywhere but Palestine was his view of the ‘history of the People’. Jewish history meant, above all, a Jewish state.

Redemption of the land

Zionism sought to ‘redeem’ the land of Palestine. Zionist propagandists argue that ‘redemption’ of the land simply meant bringing back land into productive use. Another Zionist myth. Most land in Palestine was already in use. In Zionist mythology they were ‘making the desert bloom.’ Ahad Ha'am, the principal figure in Cultural Zionism wrote in Truth from Eretz Yisrael in 1891, at the time of the First Aliyah (wave of emigration) that:

From abroad, we are accustomed to believe that Eretz Israel is presently almost totally desolate, an uncultivated desert and that anyone wishing to buy land there can come and buy all he wants. But in truth this is not so. In the entire land it is it is hard to find tillable land that is not already tilled. Only sandy fields or stony hills, suitable at best for planting trees or vines and even that after considerable work in clearing and preparing them – only these remain unworked, because the Arabs don’t like to exert themselves today for a distant future. [Alan Dowty, Much ado about Little – Ahad Ha’am’s “Truth from Eretz Yisrael,” Zionism and the Arabs, Israel Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Fall, 2000)

So what did Zionist redemption of the land really mean? Israeli historian Jacob Talmon referred to

‘extremely nationalistic and certain religious persons… who state that the Holocaust was a necessary stage in the Jewish historical drama, as a type of suffering prior to redemption. The price of  redemption’

The Zionist leaders conceived the destruction of European Jewry as a ‘final apocalyptic vindication of Zionism.[Yechiam Weitz, Jewish Refugees and Zionist Policy during the Holocaust, p. 351]

This messianism resembled the Evangelical belief that Jews must die in order to achieve salvation through Rapture. Zionism was a form of political Messianism, hence its description of its colonisatory project as one of ‘Jewish Redemption’. [Days of Redemption, Allan Arkush, Jewish Review of Books, Spring 2022],

Arkush quoted Nahum Sokolow, President of the Zionist Organisation as explaining that

“Zionism is the direct heir to the biblical promise and to Jewish messianic expectations.”

Ben Gurion wrote that one of the three principal tasks of Zionism was

Deepening the attachment to the Messianic vision of redemption that is the vision of Jewish and human redemption held by prophets of Israel.

Redemption was not merely a religious or messianic idea but a practical programme of colonisation. Ben Gurion, at a meeting of Yishuv’s Vad Leumi, 5 May 1936. argued that:

If we want Hebrew redemption 100%, then we must have a 100% Hebrew settlement, a 100% Hebrew farm, and a 100% Hebrew port.

David Hacohen, a leader of Mapai and a member of the Knesset from 1949 till 1969, with a break of two years, recalled in Ha’aretz, 15 November, 1962, what the doctrine of “Hebrew Labor” meant:

I remember being one of the first of our comrades [of Ahdut Ha’avodah] to go to London after the First World War…. There I became a socialist….[in Palestine] I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to housewives that they not buy at Arab stores; to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there. To pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash the Arab eggs they had bought; to praise to the skies the Kereen Kayemet [Jewish National Fund] that sent Hankin to Beirut to buy land from absentee effendi [landlords] and to throw the fellahin [peasants] off the land — to buy dozens of dunams — from an Arab is permitted, but to sell, God forbid, one Jewish dunam to an Arab is prohibited. (my emphasis)


The 1930 Hope-Simpson Report, set up in the wake of the 1929 riots found that:

Actually the result of the purchase of land in Palestine by the Jewish National Fund has been that land has been extraterritorialised. It ceases to be land from which the Arab can gain any advantage either now or at any time in the future. Not only can he never hope to lease or to cultivate it, but, by the stringent provisions of the lease of the Jewish National Fund, he is deprived for ever from employment on that land. Nor can anyone help him by purchasing the land and restoring it to common use. The land is in mortmain and inalienable. It is for this reason that Arabs discount the professions of friendship and good will on the part of the Zionists in view of the policy which the Zionist Organisation deliberately adopted.

Zionism today doesn’t refer to itself as a colonising movement. It purports to be a national movement of the Jews, even a national liberation movement but its founders were very clear that it was a colonizing movement. On January 11 1902 Herzl wrote to Cecil Rhodes after whom Rhodesia was named, asking:

“How, then, do I happen to turn to you since this is an out-of-the-way matter for you? How indeed? Because it is something colonial… I want you ... to put the stamp of your authority on the Zionist plan…’

Baron Maurice de Hirsch founded the Jewish Colonisation Authority [ICA] in 1891 to settle European Jews in Argentina. After his death in 1896 the ICA began funding colonisation in Palestine. In 1923 it changed its name to Palestine Jewish Colonisation Authority. [PICA] Because it didn’t subscribe to a policy of Jewish Labour, which meant a Boycott of Arab Labour, it came under continual attack from the Labour Zionists and Histadrut.

The Zionist idea of redemption of the land meant redeeming it from the Palestinian Arabs. The Jewish National Fund, founded, in 1901, had a policy laid down in its constitution that land once purchased could never be sold back or let to Arabs. Its leases stipulated that Arabs could not even be employed on the land.

There are those who believed that Zionism was a form of scaffolding that would be abandoned once a Jewish State was established. One such is Avraham Burg, a former Chair of the Jewish Agency and knesset member of the Israeli Labor Party, who saw Zionism as

a kind of scaffolding that was supposed to enable the Jewish people to move from [exile]to sovereignty." In the past 150 years, that mission was accomplished, he says. Now it's about time to remove the scaffolding. [The man who would tear down 'scaffolding' of Zionism, 9.12.08]

Zionism is not about to change its spots. The Israeli state was never going to be normalised after the ethnic cleansing of 1948. Once it set out down along that road it would continue, until we reach the present Israeli government, with their open desire to transfer all Palestinians in the West Bank into Jordan.

Jewish Settlement

Clause7 of the Jewish Nation State Law of 2018 stipulates that

The State views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value, and shall act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.

This is a basic, quasi-constitutional law. Clause 1(c) states that:

The realization of the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish People

Jewish Settlement means Jewish only settlement. So Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court accepted the Israel Land Authority’s claims requiring the residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Ras Jrabah to evacuate by March 2024. Why? In order that Israel could build a new Jewish neighbourhood for the city of Dimona. [Ha’aretz, July 28, 2023] There has never been an eviction of an illegal Jewish settlement for the reason that no Jewish settlement is illegal whereas half of the Arab villages in Israel are ‘unrecognised’.

When people think of Israeli settler-colonialism they think in terms of the West Bank but there has also been a continual process of internal colonisation within the borders of pre-1967 Israel. It goes by the name ‘Judaisation’, which is the ‘thinning out’ of the Arab populations of the Galilee, Negev and East Jerusalem. It is no different in principle to the Nazis’ Aryanisation of German towns. These plans went under the name of the Prawer Plan and the Koenig Memorandum.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's Jewish Nazi Police & Security Minister

Judaisation did not originate with the Judeo-Nazi Ben-Gvir. It was the brain child of Mapai and it came in the form of the Koenig Memorandum. The Koenig Memorandum first became public in September 1976 when it was printed in Al Hamishmar, paper of the then leftist Zionist party, Mapam.

Israel Koenig, the Report’s author was a senior member of Mapai and District Commissioner for Northern Israel in charge of Israel’s Arab citizens who, for the first 18 years lived under military rule.

A month ago the Knesset approved an amendment to the Admissions Committee Law 2011. The original law gave the right of Jewish communities of up to 400 families to set up admissions committees which could exclude people based on their perceived ‘social suitability’. In practice this meant that no Palestinian Israeli could be accepted. The amendment increases the number of families to 700.

The amendment passed the Knesset by 42-11 with a number of the ‘Opposition’ voting for it. Just 2 members of the Israeli Labor Party voted against it. The original law was passed in 2011 in order to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling in 2000 (Kadan) that prevented the Israeli Lands Authority from selling to Jews only.

The Medal the Nazis Struck to Commemorate the visit of the Head of the Gestapo Jewish Desk, Baron von Mildenstein, to the Kibbutzim of the Labour Zionists in 1933 

Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu and ‘Zionist Values’

Ben-Gvir and Netanyahu set the cat amongst the Zionist pigeons when they proposed a resolution in the Knesset advocating that ‘Zionist values’ must inform Government policy.

One indication of what these values are is Ben-Gvir’s statement that:

“We are losing the Negev and the Galilee. This resolution will enable [us] to prioritize values to Judaize the Galilee with settlement, and IDF soldiers and the security forces,”

What you might wonder is happening in the Negev and Galilee that they are in imminent danger of being lost? Are they about to float away in the Mediterranean? Not at all. I am reliably informed that they remain in the same position that they’ve always been in!

Yitzhak Wasserlauf - Israeli Government Minister

What Gvir means by lost is that they are ‘lost’ to the Jewish people. In other words there are too many Arabs living there. According to the Times of Israel Yitzhak Wasserlauf, the Negev, Galilee and National Resilience Minister, and Otzma Yehudit wants to Judaise the Negev and Galilee because of ‘the large Arab populations in those regions’.

Imagine that the British government decided, in the light of the fact that ethnic minorities make up the majority of Londoners, that they were going to adopt a British First policy increasing the number of White Britons in London. Racist? How could anyone doubt this yet in Israel ‘Judaisation’ is normal consensual Zionist politics.

The Times of Israel reported that in April ‘during a tour of illegal Bedouin villages in the Negev’ Ben-Gvir stated that one of his goals as minister was “activities to increase Jewish settlement and its foundations in the Negev and Galilee.

This state of affairs exists in no other western country. Because Israel is a state of the fictional ‘Jewish People’ this racial engineering is not commented on. In the words of Netanyahu

“Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it.”


This was in response to criticism by Israeli actor, Rotem Sela, who protested against the racist incitement of Culture Minister Miri Regev who, in the election campaign, had accused other Zionist parties of being willing to form a government with Arab parties. Sela wrote:

“When the hell will someone in this government convey to the public that Israel is a state of all its citizens and that all people were created equal? Even the Arabs – believe it or not – are human beings,”

Netanyahu was right. Israel is not a state of all of its citizens. It is a state of its Jewish citizens only. Within Israel only Jews have the right of self-determination. Arabs have no such rights because they aren’t nationals of the state they live in. They live in Israel on sufferance. I, who have never lived in Israel, have more rights as a diaspora Jew than a Palestinian born there even if they possess Israeli citizenship.

In February Wasserlauf, lamented that just 14 percent of the population of the Galilee was Jewish and even worse “an extra 135,000 Bedouin and Arabs” had been added to the region’s population over the last decade, compared to “just 1,200 Jews.” In a state based on race, it is important that the dominant or master race is in a majority everywhere. It is a racist counting of heads.

The explanatory text of Wasserlauf’s resolution states that considerations used by the government and its various branches sometimes “ignore basic Zionist values,” including “in [the field of] settlement, security, culture, and immigration.” The resolution states:

“We determine… that the values of Zionism, as they are expressed in the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, will be guiding and decisive values in the formulation of public administrative policy, internal and foreign policy, legislation and government activity and all its units and agencies… first and foremost in the fields of settlement and in giving benefits to those who served in the army and the security services, or civilian service, with priority for those who performed combat duty,” 

The Zionist ‘opposition’ rushed to oppose the latest proposals, even though they agree with them. War criminal Tzipi Livni declared:

 “This is not Zionism, this is the continuation of the nationalistic insanity and another spit [in the face] for the values of equality in the Declaration of Independence, which states that ‘The State of Israel will strive towards the development of the land for all its inhabitants,’”


Yair Lapid, the last Prime Minister, argued that the resolution was discriminatory against the Druze, who alone amongst Israeli Arabs, serve in the Israeli army. Lapid said that ‘rather than the decision representing Zionism, it represented racism.’ But Zionism is a form of racism. This is the same Lapid who said

“My principle says maximum Jews on maximum land with maximum security and with minimum Palestinians.”

The Israeli Labor Party has always declared that it wishes to see a separation between the Palestinians and Jews which was its reason for supporting a Palestinian ‘state’ (in reality a Bantustan) in the West Bank. It did not want a Palestinian majority in a ‘Jewish’ state. Apartheid too was defined by its authors as ‘separate development.’

When Netanyahu, Wasserlauf and Ben-Gvir talk about Zionist values they are talking about the values of the Labour Zionist movement and successive ILP governments. They are the values of ethnic cleansing, land confiscation, discriminatory treatment, wars of expansion and colonisation. It used to be called Jewish Labour, Land and Produce. What the ILP started Ben-Gvir is finishing.

Tony Greenstein