WRITTEN BY Francis Clark-Lowes 

‘How dare you place myself and other Jewish people in the same melting pot.’ This exclamation was one of the negative reactions to my article, ‘Gaza: The Tip of an Iceberg’ which appeared at Palestine Think Tank last month. The person who wrote it chose her words well, for it does indeed require courage to discuss such matters. In my article I had written: ‘until a majority [of Jews] turn against the supremacist culture which supports Israel’s actions I will continue to hold Jews collectively responsible for what is happening in the Middle East.’

 

But even those who are more sympathetic to my point of view question the wisdom of holding a whole people to account for the actions of some of them. This idea did not, however, simply arise out of some atavistic hatred of Jews. I had in mind two other societies which are often collectively held responsible for atrocities, the Germans and the British.

 

Like many young people in the seventies, I lived for a few months on a kibbutz in Israel. Some of my fellow volunteers were native German-speakers, all of them born since the war. Although many of the kibbutzniks shared their mother tongue, they would speak to my German colleagues in English to show their disapproval of the German culture which they associated with the Nazis. My colleagues would react by saying: ‘But I was born after the war. What has that to do with me?’ I sympathised with them, and I still think that the way they were treated was at times stupid. After all, they did not choose to be born German. But I also think there is a sense in which it is wrong to say that the Nazi period has nothing to do with post-war Germans. And the compensation paid from the taxes of post-war Germans to Jews and other dispossessed peoples indicates that I am not alone in thinking this way.

 

Nor do I think it is acceptable for British people (including Jews, by the way) to shrug off the slave trade because it happened a long time ago, and because we played no personal part in that dreadful history. Coming nearer to the present, when I lived in the Middle East I was constantly being reminded of our part in the plight of the Palestinians. I remember one such conversation with a family who put me up for the night in Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip, in 1977.

 

Why did these Palestinians feel the need to infringe their own rules of hospitality to draw my attention to Britain’s past misdeeds? I think the answer is something like this. If I failed to own up to these misdeeds by my compatriots then they would be bound to see me as part of the problem against which they were struggling. They assumed, reasonably I believe, that I was proud to be British and that this pride might very well preclude me from being objective. In other words, they wanted to know whether I was an ally or an enemy. I am not for a moment suggesting that if I had denied all wrongdoing by Britain they would have dispatched me on the spot. No, they would have continued to be the model of courtesy. But they would not have told me anything more about their feelings towards Israel and the Jews.

 

I always admitted British culpability, that is I acknowledged my collective responsibility, as a Briton, for what my country did vis-à-vis Palestine. This admission has two sides to it. On the one hand it makes me aware that identifying as a Briton (which I do much more than I would sometimes like to think) has a cost – a feeling of shame about aspects of my country’s history. The other side of that coin is that it implies the need for atonement – making good. Without acknowledgement there can be no atonement, and in the case of the Palestinians, without atonement by the West in general, Israel will continue to have a free hand to oppress the Palestinians. British atonement is not enough, but it would be a good beginning.

 

Now Britain, as a state and as a society, shows very little inclination to atone for its terrible mistreatment of the Palestinians. On the contrary, our leadership takes every opportunity to assure the Israelis of our support, despite the self-evident atrocities of their country. A sense that we need to atone for our previous mistreatment of Jews no doubt plays its part in this. More importantly, I think, is the belief which has been inculcated in us that we Gentiles are tainted with a visceral antisemitism and must prove our credentials by loving Jews. This is, of course, a quite irrational idea, and the sooner we see it for the manipulation that it is the better. We could then get on with recognising more pressing issues.

 

If enough Britons were to acknowledge their collective responsibility for what we, as a state, did to the Palestinians, the situation would start to change. As a society we would come to reject the Zionist doctrine, our politicians would no longer fall over themselves to support Israel, and the BBC would stop reporting from Israel as if that state were a noble enterprise. That is why Palestinians ask me to agree that we British are collectively responsible for Balfour.

 

It is for precisely the same reason that I call upon all those who identify themselves as Jews to recognize their own collective complicity in the oppression of the Palestinians. It is not sufficient (though it is good) to say: ‘Not in my name!’ There is a need to acknowledge that their very Jewish identity, which they either cannot dissociate from, or choose not to, comes with a high price tag.

 

Now if Britons are disinclined to acknowledge their collective responsibility, it is not a patch on Jewish reluctance in this respect. For Jews have, since the Second World War, developed a self-image which almost precludes the possibility of collective wrong-doing. I believe that it is Western non-Jewish acquiescence in this view which makes it extremely difficult for our politicians to say or do anything which reflects adversely on the Jewish state. How have we allowed ourselves to be maneuvered into this disastrous position?

 

A key element in this is the ‘Holocaust’ narrative. Have you heard this Jewish joke? A Gentile asks: ‘How many Holocaust Centres can you fit in one country.’ A Jew answers: ‘I don’t know. But we’ll try it and see.’(i) Without our noticing it, we have allowed the story of Nazi atrocities to be hi-jacked by Jews. Again leaving aside the question as to what precisely those atrocities were – I am confident we will have a quite different picture in twenty years time – a key element in the standard narrative is the idea that the Nazi persecution of the Jews occurred in a contextual vacuum. In other words, Jews were in no way responsible for what happened to them (and the Nazis were simply unimaginably evil). They were entirely ‘innocent’, and indeed had always been entirely ‘innocent’ in their previous history of persecution.

 

This was not the view of Jewish historians until the rise of Zionism. Bernard Lazare, for example, was quite clear that Jews were as much responsible for their own persecution as Christians. In his view, expressed in his book Antisemitism: Its History and Causes,(ii) Christian rejection of Jews worked hand-in-hand with Jewish exclusiveness to produce the evils about which he writes. It seems to me that it was only after Herzl published The Jewish State a year later, in 1895, that the idea of an inbuilt predisposition of Gentiles to ‘antisemitism’ began to gain currency. The conclusion drawn from this idea was not only that there need be no explanation for hatred of Jews, but that there is none. After the Second World War this became the predominant view.

 

I have written the word ‘innocent’ above in inverted commas because I do not want to be understood to be endorsing either the reasons that Jews were hated at certain times in history, or indeed the forms that that hatred took. What I am opposing is the idea that this hatred was uncaused. This seems a wholly implausible idea. But its entrenchment in Jewish thinking is so complete that any suggestion, as in my essay, that Jews are currently collectively responsible for what is happening in Gaza, is met with a howl of rage. And that expected howl deters most non-Jews from saying anything about Jewish culpability.

 

Somewhere at the root of all this is a debate about the relationship between the individual and society. The modern Western ethos tends to emphasise the primacy of the individual. But post-modernism has taught us that the individual can only properly be understood in his or her cultural context. It is a severe blow to our individual pride to acknowledge that our thoughts and feeling are to a very large extent moulded by the society (or more accurately ‘cultures’ in the plural) in which we live.

 

People who cry: ‘Don’t hold me collectively responsible for the misdeeds of my country’ – or some other group – are, I believe, in a state of denial about the extent to which they are their country – or society, or family, or even corporation. Why, otherwise, do they say ‘my country’. Such people benefit from the sense of security and belonging their membership of the group gives them. This is the feeling I have whenever I step out of the terminal building at Heathrow. That benefit, to repeat myself, comes with a cost, and it is one which most of us cannot avoid, for most of us cannot ‘unidentify’.

 

Let us use the generic term ‘group’ to describe any gathering of human beings which has a sense of its own identity for this will enable me to answer a fundamental objection to my argument. I write as if there were no categorical difference between ‘the Jews’ and, for example, ‘the British state’. The latter is a clearly delineated and incorporated organisation, ‘the Jews’ are nothing of the kind. It is arguable that they have no universally recognised authority and that Jews are in no way incorporated. It would follow from this line of thinking that it is wrong to make any generalisation about Jews. Worse, that such generalisations arise from racial prejudice, or are, to use the misleading term, ‘antisemitic’.(iii)

 

My approach to this subject arises from my reading of sociology, history and especially psychology. It seems to me that the human instinct to combine together in groups is a fundamental phenomenon of human nature. The role model for all groups is the family. Thus humans seek to recreate in all their groupings their first experience of a group; or at least their instinctive understanding of what a group should be like. Whatever we may believe about equality, groups always tend to endorse an authority structure. In other words they always have ‘parents’ and ‘children’. The development of group culture occurs as a complex interaction between (1) elements imposed by the elite from above, (2) history and (3) elements introduced by the ordinary membership. A further characteristic of groups is that they tend to view outsiders as unreliable, at best, and enemies at worst, while one’s own group is reliable and friendly and deserves our loyalty – in other words it is psychologically the bosom of the family.

 

Whether a group is incorporated or not, whether it has a clear authority structure or not, its existence is confirmed once someone can say: ‘I am a ….’ with the meaning that s/he is a member. And once a group exists it has power (that is its purpose) and becomes a player, however large or small, on the world stage. Thus the fact that people can say: ‘I am a Jew’ confirms that a group called ‘the Jews’ exists. It follows that it is quite legitimate to ask questions about ‘the Jews’ and to attempt to arrive at generalised conclusions about that group.

 

My generalized – but tentative – conclusion about ‘the Jews’ is that they are a group who identify much more strongly around the idea of Zionism than they do around their religion – which a majority do not practise. Indeed, this is what Herzl had intended. In this sense a majority of Jews are clearly complicit in the crimes of Gaza. But there is, of course, a small minority of Jews who reject Zionism. Should I then conclude that the anti-Zionist Jews are not complicit in the crimes of Gaza? Should I revise my ‘Jews collectively’ to ‘all Zionist Jews’ when speaking of complicity?

 

I have already tried to explain why I think this is a mistake when talking about my own collective complicity in slavery and the Balfour Declaration. I will not repeat the argument. But I do want to comment on the degree of anger aroused when I suggest this idea which is, after all, not seriously dissimilar from the widely accepted religious idea of original sin. If I started to doubt my own ideas on this subject, the reaction to what I say would stop me in my tracks. For there is no smoke without fire.

 

On the subject of slavery, by the way, it is interesting that while I am quite prepared to admit my collective complicity in slavery (from which, after all, my country benefited materially), Jews in America have reacted hysterically to the revelation of Jewish involvement in the organisation of the slave trade. Tony Martin, who is black, has described the onslaught against him when he started to teach on this subject.(iv) In other words, this determination to avoid all culpability is a phenomenon which does not limit itself to the Israel-Palestine conflict but which spills over into a much wider Jewish context. Under no circumstances may Jews be represented as sinful. Put like that, it seems absurd, and yet so I believe it has become.

 

And so, when I say that Jews are collectively responsible for Gaza, I am crossing a red line. ‘How dare you place myself and other Jews in the same melting pot?’ I am asked. My answer is: ‘Because you put yourself in the same melting pot by reacting the way you do. You mock the idea of boycotting Israel on the grounds that many of its products are useful. So were the rockets which the Nazis developed and the Americans took over, so that argument takes us to a strange place! But since you oppose even this soft non-violent option for putting pressure on Israel, we can surely conclude that you are indeed in the same melting pot as most Jews in supporting the Jewish state.’ The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

 

 

Francis Clark-Lowes is a freelance writer and adult educator. He has been campaigning for Palestine for many years and was for two years Chair of the British Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). He also revived, and was for some years the Chair of, the Brighton branch of PSC. His doctoral research was on the early psychoanalyst, Wihelm Stekel. Before that he did a master’s dissertation on the influence of Goethe on Freud. In his thirties and forties he lived for a period of ten years in the Middle East. He is 64 and has two adult children.

 

Footnotes:

 

(i)Actually, I invented that joke. Now how do you feel about it? It is interesting to me that we view jokes about Jews quite differently according to whether they are Jewish or not.

(ii)Published as L’Antisémitisme, son histoire et ses causes in 1894.

(iii)That subject needs another essay, but briefly I believe the unspoken concept of ‘semitism’ is a king-pin of Zionist thinking, and should therefore be avoided like the plague.
(iv)Martin, Tony, The Jewish Onslaught: Dispatches from the Wellesley Battlefront, Dover, Mass, The Majority Press, 1993.

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Comments
  1. AL KHANSA ( Sandra B) says:

    I like this article….
    It begs the question……
    What did the Jew do in the lead up to WW2..??
    No even before that….why were there progroms…???
    Is the behaviour of Israel today
    Reflectiveon what might have happend in the past…???
    Can this beahvour be differentiatedbetween those who
    Come from the pure judiac blood lines of the original jews..
    And those who come from converted blood lines???
    We have all seen hw good the Israelis are at making themselves appear like guiltless victims
    Is this a new behaviour or is this a learned behaviour…???

    Wonders if anyone understands what i am getting at here…sigh…

  2. sophie says:

    I read the article ‘Gaza: the tip of the Iceberg with interest. Today, I came upon ‘The Outrage of the Guilty’ by the same autor. How much I agree or disagree with an author’s viewpoint are my notations on the printed copy. I write comments on the printed copy or circle text and put question marks, and so on. There were hardly any disagreements when I read the first one but quite a few as I was reading this one. I will quote some of the statements that rubbed me the wrong way or made me feel uncomfortable and try to address them as best as I can.

    I will put the text that I am disputing in brackets followed by my remarks.

    1. [They assumed, reasonably I believe, that I was proud to be British and that this pride might very well preclude me from being objective. In other words, they wanted to know whether I was an ally or an enemy.]

    This statement does not make sense to me on many levels: (1) I think the writer may be the one ‘assuming’ and not his hosts the Palestinians. Arab people as a group do have one thing in common, and that is extreme hospitality. They could care less how proud one is to be this or that nationality or race. Was he suggesting that they would have been less accommodating towards a non-proud Englishman? I often have a hard time understanding people who claim to be proud because they happen to have a certain sort of biologic make up or because of the place or origin or ancestry. I just do not understand racial pride or national pride. Most of us had no control on the destiny of where we were born.

    2. [The other side of that coin is that it implies the need for atonement – making good.]

    How can we even speak of atonement regarding the Palestinian case while the crime is still ongoing? Can you imagine atoning for slavery during the era of slavery? The fact that slavery was being practiced was an act of refusal to admit that it was wrong. First and foremost, the criminal has to stop the crime before atonement. Palestine is being raped and she had been mercilessly raped nonstop since the stampede of European Jewry to Palestine begun.

    3. [how have we allowed ourselves to be maneuvered into this disastrous position?] I personally do not buy that the West bends backwards to please Jews because of the ‘holocaust’. Let’s not forget that Jews fleeing Europe did arrive on American soil but were refused admission. The most apparent reason is the power of the Jewish lobby. We have witnessed time and time again American candidates pledging their allegiance and total support for Jews but for no other group. The Jews in Palestine are now at about 2% of the entire Arab population. That also happens to be their percentage in the United States. Why would America alienate 98% of the people of the region and blindly support a murderous, evil, barbaric ‘state’? The answer is not because of the holocaust or sympathy. It is the power of the Jewish lobby.

    4. [What I am opposing is the idea that this hatred was uncaused.]

    I agree! A Jewish author by the name of Wistrich has written many books on ‘anti-Semitism’ and it is hard to keep reading his books due to the fact that he is so blinded by his emotional attachment to anything Jewish that he attributes bias towards Jews due to jealousy. He wrote that Jews had nice family values, that they don’t drink, excel in school, are determined to achieve and are driven which causes jealousy. He could have titled his book ‘Gentile joules of Jewry’.

    5. [… They (Jews) are a group who identify much more strongly around the idea of Zionism than they do around their religion – which a majority do not practice.]

    I beg to disagree. They may not be religious in that they do not perform all the religious rituals demanded by their religion, but on the other hand, they do practice it in their hearts and souls. Their feelings of supremacy comes form the Old Testament, their lust to kill gentiles comes from the Old Testament, their exclusive nature comes from the Old Testament. Sharon who was a non-believer but he would invoke the Old Testament to justify Jewry’s theft of Arab land.

    6. [On the subject of slavery, by the way, it is interesting that while I am quite prepared to admit my collective complicity in slavery (from which, after all, my country benefited materially),]

    Interesting that he seemed to remember a far away event -slavery- and not the most bestial colonization of people of color all over the globe by the British. Africa is in the state it is today because of British colonization. The Arab region was made to forever to remain a weakened people due to all the division the British created along tribal and religious lines. Most of the countries of the world today where the colonial masters used to control are still being controlled by the same colonial masters but this time around under facade of representative government. By placing a stooge in position they have managed to continue to sap the resources of people of color. The Arab regions’ ‘kings’ and ‘presidents’ are all courtesy of imperialism. The Prophet Mohammed did a miracle when he united the Arabs under a common language, custom and identity. But then came along the British and started all kinds of chaos.

    My final statement: Nobody arrives on this planet with their mind already configured to do evil to others. It is all leant starting from infancy to adulthood. The extremely few Jews that I admire for their total lack of prejudice towards others always mention their parents for having been responsible for raising them to respect other human beings. The same goes with those who hold contemptuous supremacist attitudes; it was all learnt on the lap of the parent.

  3. Carson says:

    AL KHANSA – The answer to your questions lie in the Talmud, that huge body of writing produced by rabbis down the ages. The teachings in the Talmud about goyim (Gentiles) in general and about Christianity in particular are so disgustingly abhorrent that whenever they became known to Gentiles it caused a furious response, which in some cases led to pogroms and sometimes to the total expulsion of Jewish communities from the countries in which they lived. There have been some famous instances of Jews that left Judaism and exposed the Talmudic teachings, engaged in Disputations with rabbis, and the rabbis lost.

    Unfortunately, these attitudes were not left behind in medieval times, they persist to this day. A good example can be found in a book published a few years ago (I think it was in 2004 or thereabouts) called “Romemut Yisrael Ufarashat Hagalut” or “Jewish Superiority and the Question of Exile” by Rabbi Saadya Grama, of the Beth Medrash Govoha (a yeshiva) in Lakewood, New Jersey. Some sample quotes from the book:

    “The difference between the people of Israel and the nations of the world is an essential one. The Jew by his source and in his very essence is entirely good. The goy, by his source and in his very essence is completely evil. This is not simply a matter of religious distinction, but rather of two completely different species.”

    “The differences between Jews and gentiles are not religious, historical, cultural or political. They are, rather, racial, genetic and scientifically unalterable. The one group is at its very root and by natural constitution ‘totally evil’ while the other is ‘totally good’.”

    “Jewish successes in the world are completely contingent upon the failure of all other peoples. Only when the gentiles face total catastrophe do the Jews experience good fortune.”

    And so it goes on, a litany of hate, bigotry, racism, religious supremacy and a desire to visit utter destruction on the Gentiles, which is instilled in the minds of youngsters at the yeshivas.

    Fortunately there are many Jews who are as appalled by this kind of thing as anyone else, but their voices are as stifled by the mainstream media as everybody else’s voices are. Unfortunately, these are the attitudes than underpin Zionism, so you can see why it’s so easy for them to treat Palestinians like subhumans with no twinges of conscience.

  4. @sophie – Hi Sophie, I’m sorry you didn’t like this one as much as the last. But thanks for taking so much trouble to list your problems with it. I’ll comment on what you’ve written using your method of brackets to mark the text I’m referring to.

    [I often have a hard time understanding people who claim to be proud because they happen to have a certain sort of biologic make up or because of the place or origin or ancestry. I just do not understand racial pride or national pride. Most of us had no control on the destiny of where we were born.]

    Don’t I say somewhere that people have not choice over their birth? If not, I should have done. I’m coming at this from a psycholgical point of view. I worked for many years as a counsellor, and am very aware of how much people feel the need to identify with groups. This is an extension of the feeing they had towards the first group they belonged to, their birth family. And when I look at myself, I cannot deny that I have these feelings myself, even if I feel a bit uncomfortable about them. When I come home (notice the expression) from abroad, I feel a sense of familiarity (again, notice the term), and warm sense of recognition etc. I don’t think we should leave such feelings out of account. My experience in the Middle East was that such feelings were equally strong there, though they expressed themselves in different ways because of the different culture.

    [How can we even speak of atonement regarding the Palestinian case while the crime is still ongoing?]

    Good point. My my thinking here was that if a majority of British people were to realise that what we did in Palestine was wrong, our national consciousness would shift to a position of thinking about putting it right. I think something of that sort happened in the 1930s and 40s over British imperialism. Writers like George Orwell began to convince an increasing number of thinking people that imperialism was morally indefensible, and though I don’t think this brought the empire down (near bankruptcy following the 2nd World War did), it helped to ease the abandonment of empire.

    [I personally do not buy that the West bends backwards to please Jews because of the ‘holocaust’. … It is the power of the Jewish lobby.]

    But where does the Jewish lobby draw that power from? No doubt partly from finance, and partly from intellectual dominance (the West is very much the product of Jewish thinking – Marx, Freud etc), but I don’t think the Jewish lobby would be anything like as powerful as it is without the weapon of saying: ‘You are an antisemite’. That is a career-busting accusation which, in its turn, draws its power from the distorted narrative of Nazi atrocities.

    4. [What I am opposing is the idea that this hatred was uncaused.]

    You agreed with this, and I agree with what you say about Wistrich. He, incidentally, wrote the introduction to my copy of that book by Bernard Lazare which I mentioned. You could feel what that was about. He was brought in to introduce the book because of an uneasy feeling among Jews today that Lazare, himself a Jew who hated prejudice against Jews, was also an ‘antisemite’. So Wistrich, in his urbane manner, provides us with a health warning, indicating that we should regard the earlier part of the book with care. I think Lazare is brilliant!

    [They [most Jews] may not be religious in that they do not perform all the religious rituals demanded by their religion, but on the other hand, they do practice it in their hearts and souls. Their feelings of supremacy comes form the Old Testament, their lust to kill gentiles comes from the Old Testament, their exclusive nature comes from the Old Testament. Sharon who was a non-believer but he would invoke the Old Testament to justify Jewry’s theft of Arab land.]

    You may well be right. I think Zionism, though originally a secular creed on the surface, does indeed incorporate a great deal that comes from Judaism, a Talmudic attitude to the world not least.

    [Interesting that he seemed to remember a far away event -slavery- and not the most bestial colonization of people of color all over the globe by the British.]

    You’re being a little unfair to me here. I did mention in my Iceberg article the genocides in Australia and New Zealand. Ok, I should have included Africa, but the list is long, and anyway slavery is to do with Africa! The attraction of the slavery example was the Tony Martin book, and the way this indicated the power Jewish organisations to control what people say and study.

    [those who hold contemptuous supremacist attitudes; it was all learnt on the lap of the parent]

    As an ex-counselor I’m inclined to agree. And yet, I think we must never say that people’s attitudes are entirely determined. I do believe in free-will, and therefore in responsibility. My whole thinking about the Palestine situation has to do with people taking responsibility for what they are doing rather than blaming what they do on events on history. Jews are constantly saying they have to do what they are doing in Israel because of what happened to them under the Nazis. But they are free to look at the world differently, and to acknowledge that if you behave as a thief and murderer, you are likely to arouse murderous feelings in those you have stolen from and whose relations you have killed. And that is not to speak about a resistance devoid of hatred, but fired by a desire for justice.

    Regards, Francis

  5. @Carson – Hi Carson, Thanks for that. I agree that what you say makes a lot of sense. I still feel a bit tentative about the degree to which ancient teachings affect modern Jewish thinking, but I’m moving that way. I’m glad you added the last paragraph. Jews who oppose the kind of supremacist culture we both comment on have helped me to understand much that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have done. But as you say, they are drowned out. Regards, Francis

  6. sophie says:

    Dear Dr. Francis Clark-Lowes:

    Thank you for addressing some of my issues that I addressed in my initial post. I was reading your article (“The outrage of the Guilty”) (btw a great title) late in the evening last night and my laptop was already turned off for the night. I had to get up and turn it on and started my message. There was nothing in what you wrote that was aggravating to me. But I had previously printed the majority of the articles posted at the Al-Ahram dot com website and I was reading them when I begun to feel the pain of despair. One article in particular dealt a mighty blow to my sense of security and justice and it was written by Hassan Nafaa titled “The Unity Imperative” [1]. I believe he is a professor of political science and I find myself always looking forward to his articles, because what he writes about resonates with me. On this article, he was sounding the alarm bells regarding the Arab predicament. He was describing how he traveled to Kuwait to interview Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary. There seems to be no hope or even a shred of hope for the Arab people.

    The kind of devastation that is being inflicted on the innocent Arabs by a very shrewd, calculating, merciless group of people who like to be referred as ‘Jews’ is horrific. European Jewry did not arrive on Arab soil like all ordinary colonizers in history. This one came to stay. This colonizer like the rest also found itself surrounded by an ocean of the indigenous people, but knowing that its existence was guaranteed by the major powers (past, present and future) had the means to erect weapons of mass destruction on Arab soil that they renamed with some biblical hocus-pocus of ‘Israel’. The Arabs are suffering, and so are we the people of the world who care about the well being of humanity and the earth itself. There is so much wanton mayhem, destruction that we are witnesses to and that causes headaches heartaches and stomachaches. It is such a bitter pill to swallow to watch the brazen assault on the people of Lebanon and Palestine, and to watch a little darling baby turned into a corpse in a matter of seconds.

    Your first article (The Tip of the Iceberg) reminded me of an article written by Justin Keaton, which appeared on The Dubliner in November 2005. [2] The response to that article from Jews was fast and furious. [3] One of the Jews who responded to that article wrote:

    “WE JEWS ARE THE ETERNAL PEOPLE,THE CHOSEN PEOPLE AND WE WILL STILL BE HERE WHEN YOU ARE LONG GONE…LARRY CRANE”

    This comment is not an isolated one. I used to compile all the hate email sent to Norman Finkelstein that he posts at his website and this is very typical.

    I do not believe that a new generation of people should be held accountable for the crimes of their ancestors but only as long as they are still beneficiaries of the crime and are still deriving benefits accrued from past crimes. The English lifestyle today would not be what it is without the stolen resources of people of color past and present (and future). But when we shift gear and we are dealing with the protestation by Jewry that they are unfairly being lumped together for the crimes of the few, that is easy to refute with so much statistical and other evidence. The ADL recently posted a survey where they concluded that American Jewry was solidly united with their own kind when their own kind was reducing Gaza to ruins, killing, wounding innocent children. As far as those Jews who go by “Israelis”, the study revealed that over 94% were glad to see the Arabs being shredded to pieces by bombs dropped from the sky. I have repeated this quote so many times that I have lost count. A Palestinian activist when asked what she thought of the ‘anti-Zionist’ Jews replied by saying that they were all wonderful and then she added ‘all fifteen of them’. Her observation was very accurate. The Jews that I know of to be genuinely and truly anti-Zionist are indeed great. But there are many famous Jews who falsely enjoy the title of ‘anti-Zionist’. Two come to mind: Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky. Neither is anti-Zionist.

    Lastly, I would like to thank you for writing both articles. I would also like to say that the more the vile that is sent in your direction because of what you wrote, the more irrefutable is what is contained in that article. Otherwise, they would simply use their well-practiced art of expression and convince the readers as to all the falsehoods contained in the article. But they can’t, and therefore they must resort to all kinds of insults and accusations. I recently posted a message about Jewry’s solidarity with one another and sited the ADL survey. The person who responded to my post was accusing me of lumping all Jews together. Hello! The study by Jews did confirm that Jews walk in unison. The person did not address the study; he attempted to disregard it, mainly because the study was done by one of his own, which denied him the opportunity to cry anti-Semitic motivations for such a study.

    I certainly wish you the best.

    [1] http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/933/op14.htm

    [2] http://www.honestreporting.com/a/dublinerarticle2.htm

    [3] http://www.thedubliner.ie/the_dubliner_magazine/2007/04/justin_keating.html

  7. Al khansa says:

    Thank you Carson,
    In my head i am trying to quantify the behaviours , between those who come from the pureblood line and those who later reverted to judaism , like the khanzars.Perhapsin the ned its all to difficult to work out,,,

  8. sophie says:

    I left out something that I had meant to address in the last post: Pride for one’s heritage and nation. I must admit that I may have been wrong on that one. Millions of people around the globe do express pride for their ancestry, race and heritage. I think that should be viewed as a positive sign, and your attachment to your own land is very palpable. As long as that pride in one’s heritage does not go to the next step of declaring it to be the best one above them all.

  9. ‘until a majority [of Jews] turn against the supremacist culture which supports Israel’s actions I will continue to hold Jews collectively responsible for what is happening in the Middle East.’

    This is exactly, word by word, the same crap blaming us muslims all over the world for Al Qaeda’s crimes and executions in Iran.

  10. amos zukerman says:

    grate article should be read by every jew
    Judaism, and Zionism are definitely suitable cases for treatment. as a jew you are constantly bombarded by cognitive dissonances, in high school, my best friend’s nick name was jimmy, he looked a spitting image of Hendrix, his grandparents were yamanit jews, brought to Palestine around the turn of the 20th cent. to be the under class of the new zionist colonies, now i am polish, and look the part. yet we were indoctrinated to believe that we were both of the seed of Abraham. Jews who lose their faith are left with a huge identity problem. Zionism is a confused attempt to deal with that problem, it would have faded away naturally if it wasn’t for the Holocaust and all that. now the neurosis is so deeply ingrained into the jewish / israeli / zionist identity that it is hard to imagine a successful treatment. jews / israelis / zionist should be confronted with the results of their neurosis . Jews do suffer from the “Thou have chosen us” syndrome, Jews do believe thy can do no wrong. it is time they start regarding themselves as ordinary human beings and prosecute the criminals among them. just one thing, the Holocaust was hijacked by the zionists and the american jewish community, motivated by guilt for not doing enough during the war to help their kin in Europe.

  11. sophie says:

    In response to #9 above:

    [quote]This is exactly, word by word, the same crap blaming us muslims all over the world for Al Qaeda’s crimes and executions in Iran. [unquote]

    You hit so many birds with one stone! Abe Foxman aught to be so proud of you!

    1. [us muslims]: Let’s not get carried away with ‘us muslims’. You cannot be that stupid to expect the rest of us to be that stupid. Here Abe did not do his job well in training you.

    2. [Al-Qaeda’s crimes]: You mean 9-11? The same 9-11 that demolished for the benefit of Jewry one of the most advanced Arab countries? Do you not believe what I am stating here? Then I will direct you to type in ‘the Zionist plan for the middle east’ on your search engine and read that document carefully. Therein you will find the blueprint for the war in Iraq.

    3. [executions in Iran]: I laughed! I read daily what your cousins at AIPAC have to say about Iran, and frankly they sound like you. It is insane that these people on American soil can get away with so much deliberate lies. But they can get away ONLY by first turning the American public into bleating sheep! It is horrifying to notice how gullible and ignorant the American public (to a large extent) is. How did the American public get to be so ignorant? Answer: TV.

    BTW: I agree with what the author had to say in regards to Al-Q in his other article [the tipe of the iceberg]. Here it is:

    [There is little evidence that Al-Qaeda really exists in a corporate sense. It is probably more the notion of resistance to Western imperialism in the Muslim world than an identifiable organisation. And yet it is constantly held responsible for ‘terrorist’ actions]

  12. @sophie – Thanks for this Sophie and for your previous nice reply. In so far as Al Qaeda is what I described – the notion of resistence to Western imperialism – then my guess would be that it represents a very large number, if not a majority of Muslims, regardless of whether they support particularly actions or not.

    Dresden comes to my mind. I think the British have to take responsiblity for that bombing which even Churchill disapproved of. I suppose one way to see 9/11 is as Muslims’ Dresden? This leaves open the question as to whether Dresden was justified, of course. My father though it was at the time.

    When it comes to Zionism and Jews, I don’t have any doubts that the vast majority of Jews support the idea of a Jewish state, and, moreover, that for a majority it is this which actually largely defines their identity. This is not at all the same with Muslims, whose identity is largely determined by their religion.

    There really is quite a big moral difference between a resistance movement against Western imperialism and a movement which by its very nature involves the oppression and genocide of another people. There is surely no moral eqivalence here.

    Hope this makes some sense. This is a difficult area, but I think we urgently need to think about it, even if we sometimes get it wrong.

    Francis

  13. @Small Blue Thing – See my reply to Sophie, comment number 12. I hope this helps to clarify my position. Cheers, Francis

  14. @amos zukerman – Thanks again Amos. We really seem to be on the same track. I very much appreciate you saying what you do. I imagine it could be uncomfortable for you. Best wishes, Francis

  15. anonanon says:
    The Chicago Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Seeking a Just Peace Between Israelis & Palestinians A Response to Paul Eisen’s “Jewish Power” (and Lowes who parrots) Joel R. Finkel This essay was written in response to an essay on “Jewish Power” by Paul Eisen. It represents the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of every member of NIMN. The article by Paul Esien can be read on the Righteous Jews web site, which labels it as a “seminal article.” Daniel McGowan, who runs the Righteous Jews website, refused to post this response due to the “ad hominem nature of your essay and its lack of relevance to the idea of one state …[which] make [it] unsuitable to be included in our list of related articles.” Of course, Eisen’s article has no relevance to the idea of one state, but no matter, he is a “Righteous Jews” and I am not. To be “righteous,” according to McGowan’s criteria, I would have to insist that Palestinians abandon their national aspirations and demand that they embrace a single state “between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, one country with equal citizenship for all.” A sad postscript follows the original essay. “Edward Said spent a lifetime picking his way through the Israel/Zionism/Judaism minefield and never once criticised Jews…” so writes Paul Eisen near the end of his essay, “Jewish Power.” Would that the same could be said of Eisen, who, it seems, did not learn from Said and intends in this work to correct his little oversight. Without presenting any facts, Eisen spends some fifteen pages simply asserting his argument, which amounts to something classic anti-Semites could embrace (and have[1]): Jews are very clever, successful people who have taken control of major sections of the U.S. ruling class and are formulating a U.S. foreign policy that is consistent with “Jewish interests.” Central to Eisen’s argument is his assertion that there is a Jewish essence—what he calls “Jewishness”—which can be attributed to all Jews and from which naturally emerges “Jewish interests.” The problem is that such a project can only lead in two directions: Jewish chauvinism and anti-Semitism. There are many ways to investigate Jews and the Jewish experience: historic, economic, cultural, etc. From none of them, however, can one divine a Jewish essence. Indeed, both Zionism and anti-Semitism are based on the proposition that there is such an essence. At the heart of the Zionist mythology is the claim that this Jewishness contains, and has always contained, a primal urge to return to Palestine. Central to anti-Semitism is the idea that this Jewishness contains a primal urge to conquer the world. Although neither is correct, Eisen adopts both and, in doing so, employs Zionist mythology to construct patently anti-Semitic conclusions. This is a trap into which Edward Said never ventured, and for good reason. The simple fact is that there is no such Jewish essence, and he knew it. Eisen, however, takes this essence as his starting point; and it leads to anti-Semitic conclusions. Paul Eisen is a commendable person[2], and the Deir Yassin Remembered organization, of which he is a director, is an eminently worthy and important group that keeps alive the truth about the massacre of Palestinians and the Catastrophe that was visited upon them in the creation of the Jewish State of Israel. It is not my goal to argue that Eisen is an anti-Semite. I believe that Eisen has fallen into a trap that entices many activists—particularly Jewish activists—who are enormously frustrated by their impotence to make things better. They lose political clarity and resort to mythmaking. I am responding because I believe that Eisen’s arguments are not only baseless, but dangerously wrong. This danger is manifest in the way Eisen chooses to close his essay, quoting the self-proclaimed anti-Jewish demagogue, Israel Shamir: Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews…..the world is. Now exactly what does this mean? Are we really supposed to be so passive as to not even suggest a resemblance to The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion? Then, to reinforce this dangerous hatred of Jews and Judaism, Eisen asks this intentionally ominous question: Will the Jews of Israel, supported by Jews outside of Israel, now obey the law, live peaceably behind their borders and enjoy the fruits of their victory, or will they want more? Who’s next? It is important to undertake the disagreeable task of responding because Eisen’s essay, and therefore the ideology it endorses, has begun to circulate within the activist community. It would be more useful to spend time organizing real opposition to Israeli policies than being forced to answer such appallingly bad politics. Would that one could simply ignore such stuff. However, it is important to address some fundamental errors in Eisen’s thinking. Eisen divides his essay into three sections: 1) examining the relationship between Zionism and Judaism, 2) examining the relationship between American Jews and American society, and 3) examining what he calls “Jewish Power.” In spite of the fact that one must wade through pages of undocumented and unsubstantiated assertions, an overriding ideology emerges from the unity of this trinity: Jews have taken over Palestine and the United States and, unless they are stopped (or stop themselves) they will take over the planet. What this actually means, however, is anybody’s guess, but the specter of global ethnic cleansing, modeled after Israel, is clearly implied. More dangerous than his lack of scholarship and mythmaking is that Eisen’s only prescription to remedy this “Jewish Power” is to oppose Jewry in order to rid the world its evil essence. 1) The relationship between Zionism and Judaism In the preface to this section, Eisen begins his argument: The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons with Jewish religious symbols all over them, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organised Jews worldwide. Having set the table, he immediately serves the main course: But Zionism is now at the heart of Jewish life with religious Jews amongst the most virulent of Zionists and Neturei Karta[3], despite their impeccable anti-Zionism, their beautiful words and the enthusiasm with which they are welcomed at solidarity rallies, etc., may well be just Jews in fancy dress, a million miles from the reality of Jewish life. Eisen then manifests his first major mistake, standing the question on its head: Has our refusal to look squarely at the very Jewishness of Zionism and its crimes caused us to fail to understand exactly what we are up against? [emphasis in the original] Eisen is suggesting that “what we are up against” is a Zionism that results from “Jewishness” and, what is more, that there is something uniquely Jewish about Zionism’s crimes. Rather than the standard arguments, which rest on a misreading of Israel Shahak’s analysis of how Talmudic law has been used to enhance Jewish racism[4], Eisen attempts to discern a “Jewish identity” that “comes from deep within Jewish history,” and then relate that to “Jewishness of Zionism.” There are two things wrong with this approach. Eisen first fails to undertake a serious examination of Jewish history, and then, more importantly, fails to address the Zionization, as it were, of Judaism.[5] In other words, Eisen is so intent on proving that Zionism is a result of a “Jewish identity,” which derives from “Jewish history,” that he ignores the more important question: How did it come to pass that Zionism, which was an unpopular, secular, and indeed, anti-religious movement, come to dominate mainstream Jewish theology and identity? In fact, Eisen has stood the entire relationship on its head; Zionism is not dominated by “Jewishness.” If anything, the exact opposite is the case: “Jewishness,” at least as Eisen understands it, has become dominated by Zionism.[6] Norman Finkelstein, who first examined this issue in 1988, described how it was not until 1967 that the American Jewish elite, having been relieved of the question of dual-loyalty (Israel had just become a U.S. strategic ally), took a vocal pro-Israel stance.[7] Before then, Israel was hardly on the agenda of the U.S. ruling elites or the leaders of the American Jewish communities. This is not to say that American Jews were neither interested in nor felt any affinity to Israel; many clearly did. But the Zionist ideology had not yet become a central theme in Jewish theology or identity. The shift came after Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem, proving itself to be a potential ally for the U.S. ruling class. As it then became patriotic and pro-American to be pro-Israel, American Jews quite naturally joined in. Furthermore, in the examination of this “Jewishness of Zionism,” Eisen ignores the history of Zionism, which itself promulgated the myth of a Jewish essence. This movement to transfer European Jewry out of Europe began in the early 1800s from an emerging strain of Christian Evangelical Protestantism.[8] The number of Christian Fundamentalist Zionists outnumber Jews in the United States today by over 4 to 1. Their numbers also increased dramatically after 1967, when Israel’s easy victory was viewed as the unfolding of biblical prophecy. In addition, Eisen fails to mention, let alone examine, the dialectical relationship among Zionism, British, U.S., and Soviet imperialism, Arab nationalism, and Palestinian nationalism: a complex and dynamic relationship through which these movements shaped each other. Because Eisen avoids any serious study of Zionism, his attempt to discern the “Jewishness of Zionism” is bound to inaccurately characterize its full spectrum.[9] His focus is necessarily narrow and shallow. Furthermore, as Eisen eschews any serious study of Jewish history, and cannot but fail to accurately characterize the non-existent “Jewishness,” he is left to simply assert a Jewish character to Zionism. For example, Eisen first gives us the totally unremarkable statement that: Jews are complex; Jewish identity is complex and the relationship between Judaism the religion, and a broader, often secular, Jewish identity or Jewishness is very complex indeed…Jewish identity, connecting Jews to other Jews, comes from deep within Jewish history. This is a shared history, both real and imagined, in that it is both literal and theological. He then asserts, without any evidence of any kind, that: Central to Jewish identity both religious and non-religious is the sense of mission centered on exile and return. How else to explain the extraordinary devotion of so many Jews, religious and secular, to the “return” to a land with which, in real terms, they have very little connection at all? But this is a myth: in fact, it is the Zionist myth. The fact that Eisen cannot otherwise explain this “extraordinary devotion” does not mean that this myth has any basis in material reality. To begin with, Eisen needs to explain why this “return” to the land is a central theme now when, throughout the 1900 years since the Roman expulsion, it was not a major theme. A study of Jewish history reveals no major movement to “return” to Jerusalem that was either broadly supported or accepted by the rabbinic authorities.[10] So why now? This idea of a Jewish essence is central to Zionist mythology—and the idea of “return” is central to it—for a very simple reason: it supports the Zionist colonial project. It is not because there actually is a Jewish essence nor because the urge to “return,” which has no historical precedents, is real.[11] This is Eisen’s primary mistake. He steps out of the real world and into the mythological world created for him by Zionism. He actually defeats himself by citing the Jewish theologian, Marc Ellis: Marc Ellis, a religious Jew, says that when you look at those Jews who are in solidarity with Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them are secular – but, from a religious point of view, the Covenant is with them. For Ellis, these secular Jews unknowingly and even unwillingly may be carrying with them the future of Jewish life. So, is not “solidarity with Palestinians” also an integral aspect of “Jewishness?” Could it be that there is no such thing as “Jewishness,” and that to speak of the “Jewishness of Zionism” is an absurdity? Claiming that “Jewish specialness” is a central component to “Jewishness,” Eisen compounds his mistake by asserting that “At the heart of this Jewish specialness is Jewish suffering and victimhood.” Again, he is wrong. While one may correctly place the idea of “Jewish suffering and victimhood” at the heart of the Zionist mythology, it is impossible to place it at the heart of a Jewish essence. This topic of Jewish specialness has been addressed by many and there clearly is an aspect of this, particularly within the modern Ashkenazi weltanschauung. It is derived, in part, from the special role that European Jews played in the expropriation of surplus value from both the peasantry and aristocracy, which placed them in a dual position of privilege and vulnerability.[12] Indeed, it may be the case that European anti-Semitism grew so virulent because the medium in which it thrived contained a social memory of the Jews’ special role. It is hardly surprising, then, that the Zionist ideology—and, following that, Jewish theology—would adopt and reinforce the idea of Jewish specialness. What is surprising, however, is that Eisen accepts the Zionist reduction of this specialness to suffering: At the heart of this Jewish specialness is Jewish suffering and victimhood. Like the shared history itself, this suffering may, but need not, correspond to reality. Jews have certainly suffered but their suffering remains unexamined and unexplained. The Holocaust, now the paradigm of Jewish suffering, has long ceased to be a piece of history, and is now treated by religious and secular alike, as a piece of theology – a sacred text almost – and therefore beyond scrutiny. What Eisen fails to examine is why this “paradigm of Jewish suffering” never really existed before 1967.[13] Instead, he claims that: Zionism is at the heart of this. Zionism is also complex and also comes from deep within Jewish history with the same sense of exile and return. Zionism also confirms that Jews are special in their suffering and is explicit that Jews should ‘return’ to a land given to them, and only them – by God if they are religious, or by history if they are not – because they simply are not safe anywhere else on earth. The problem here is that almost none of this is correct, save for the rather pedestrian idea that “Zionism is also complex.” First of all, Zionism is not “at the heart” of this “paradigm of Jewish suffering;” it is the other way around. Secondly, Zionism did not come “from deep within Jewish history with [any] sense of exile and return.” This is a simply Zionist mythology. Thirdly, Zionism does not “confirm” Jewish suffering, it posits, mythologizes, and profits from it. Zionism arose late in the period of European nationalism, when German and Italian nationalism, among others, were in formation. Its leaders wanted to create a modern nation-state in which Jews could be rescued both from their assimilation (in Western Europe) and from what they considered to be a backward, medieval, mysticism-laden religion (in Eastern Europe). Western Europe, in which Jews were highly assimilated and had attained full political rights, was seen as a trap: Jews, through the very process of their assimilation, would choose to cease being Jews. And with a bigotry not uncommon for Western European Jews, those in the Eastern European shtetls were viewed as needing to be dragged into modernity in order to save them from their own backward ideas (and language).[14] The “paradigm of Jewish suffering,” was invented to support the rather specious Zionist argument that the more Jews assimilated, the more anti-Semitism they would encounter. Of course, the actual experience was precisely the opposite: Jewish communities suffered pogroms in exactly those regions (in Eastern Europe) where they were the least assimilated. And this is where the Zionists found their early support; assimilated Jews (both religious and secular) in Central and Western Europe opposed them.[15] Eisen goes on to suggest that the “problem with Zionism” is that it: … expresses Jewish identity but also empowers it. It tells Jews (and many others too) that Jews can do what Jews have always dreamed of doing. It takes the perfectly acceptable religious feelings of Jews, or if you prefer, the perfectly harmless delusions of Jews, and tries to turn them into a terrible reality. Jewish notions of specialness, choseness and even supremacism, are fine for a small, wandering people, but, when empowered with a state, an army and F16s become a concern for us all. Let us ignore for the moment that Eisen does not explore “Jewish identity” any further than by adopting the Zionist myth of “Jewish suffering.” Let us ignore that he makes no distinction among the various Jewish ethnicities,[16] but merely reduces the broad Jewish Diaspora to “a small, wandering people.” Let us also ignore the fact that he once again fails to provide any evidence for his assertion. What is important is that Eisen states that Zionism allows Jews to “do what Jews have always dreamed of doing.” And what exactly have Jews “always dreamed” of doing? It seems that, at least according to Eisen, Jews have always dreamed of exercising their “notions of specialness, choseness and even supremacism.” Now it is possible that what Eisen actually means is that what Jews “have always dreamed of doing” is returning to Jerusalem. After all, as we have seen, Eisen adopts the Zionist idea that “Central to Jewish identity…is the sense of mission centered on exile and return.” But he does not state this clearly and makes no attempt to parrot the usual argument that Jews for centuries have proclaimed “Next year in Jerusalem.”[17] Therefore, we are left to conclude that Eisen actually means that Jews have always dreamed of exercising their “notions of specialness, choseness and even supremacism,” justified by the other central theme of “Jewishness,” viz., “Jewish suffering.” It is of little wonder that the Nazis who run Zundelsite consider this essay to be “extraordinary” and “brilliant.” And it is also of little wonder that Eisen presents no evidence for this assertion, as such a task would be impossible.[18] It is then easy for Eisen to declare that: This Jewish state is built on traditions and modes of thought that have evolved amongst Jews for centuries – amongst which are the notions that Jews are special and that their suffering is special. By their own reckoning, Jews are “a nation that dwells alone” it is “us and them” and, in many cases, “us or them”…Israel is a state that manifestly believes that the rules of both law and humanity, applicable to all other states, do not apply to it. This is not only simplistic, it is false. In fact, Israel specifically does not “manifestly” believe that “the rules of both law and humanity, applicable to all other states, do not apply to it.” On the contrary, Israel and its supporters are quick to claim that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, is “a light unto the nations,” and that its military is the most moral and humane in the world. The point here is not that they are delusional—states are neither moral, immoral, humane, or inhumane—but that Eisen ignores these claims and suggests that their beliefs are the exact opposite of what they actually state. Rather, as Shahak explains, the Jewish state is built on ideas of ethnic/religious exclusivity that are reinforced—to an ever-increasing degree—by classical rabbinic ideas based in Talmudic law. While rabbinic power over a closed Jewish society was destroyed (from the outside) by the political freedoms that emerged during the Enlightenment, Israel, as a Jewish state, represents a retreat to racism and exclusivity. This results in a decidedly undemocratic state. Eisen then compounds this mistake by asserting that: …this Jewish ideology [i.e. Zionism] , in its zealotry and irrationality, resembles more the National Socialism which condemned millions for the attainment of a nonsensical racial and ethnic supremacy. … National Socialism, like Zionism, another blend of mysticism and power, gained credibility as a means to right wrongs done to a victimized people. National Socialism, like Zionism, also sought to maintain the racial/ethnic purity of one group and to maintain the rights of that ethnic group over others, and National Socialism, like Zionism, also proposed an almost mystical attachment of that group to a land. Also, both National Socialism and Zionism shared a common interest – to separate Jews from non-Jews, in this case to remove Jews from Europe – and actively co-operated in the attainment of this aim. Zionism is not simply a “blend of mysticism and power” that “gained credibility as a means to right wrongs done to a victimized people” in the same sense as National Socialism, i.e., German Nazism, which was called into power by a capitalist class that was not competent to ensure its own profitability in the face of a world-wide economic depression and a revolutionary workers’ movement. However, it is instructive to examine, albeit very briefly, the actual connection between national socialism and Labor Zionism. Zeev Sternhell has identified the roots of Labor Zionism in what he terms “nationalist socialism,” which was a movement in opposition to the liberalism of the Enlightenment as well as to the universalism of Marx’s democratic socialism.[19] Whereas international socialism sought to organize human labor to bring about its own self-liberation (and, in the process, the liberation of all of humanity), nationalist socialism sought to harness human labor to create and glorify a nation-state. Like liberalism, nationalist socialism rejected the Marxist view of human society in terms of class, adopting a view that emphasized the particularities of ethnicity, religion, and nationality. So does Eisen. Labor Zionism was not dissimilar to other nationalist movements in Europe. It included a focus on ethnic particularity, emphasized a unified national language, and its ultimate goal, like others, was to establish Jewish autonomy. What made it unique was its intent to mobilize a disparate people to colonize and conquer a foreign land and its indigenous people, and its reliance on a powerful imperial power, Great Britain, to assist it. Zionism was also a response to existential burdens placed upon European Jewry by anti-Semitism and fascism. As Sternhell explains: Thus, even if Israeli society was largely an ideological creation, one should not forget that it sprang up to an equal extent as a result of the upheavals that took place and are still taking place in Europe.[20] Labor Zionism was not the only current within the broader political Zionist movement. But it became the dominant tendency within both Palestine and throughout the world. As Sternhell explains, the Marxist Zionists, such as Hashomer Hatzair, the Jewish Russian Marxist Party (Po’alei Tzion – Workers of Zion), etc., were doomed because of the: …tense atmosphere of building up the country, where the main preoccupation of Jewish workers was the “conquest of labor,” in other words, the dispossession of Arab workers in order to take their place—and thus the establishment of a solid infrastructure for an autonomous Jewish existence.[21] Having ignored an actual study of either Jewish or Zionist history, Eisen is left to adopt the destructive mythology that is embraced by both Zionists and anti-Semites: that there is an identifiable Jewish essence, which comprises characteristics that can be attributed to every Jew in the world, and in which, therefore, Israeli crimes against humanity are deeply rooted. 2) American Jews and Jewish America In his second section, Eisen attempts to address the relationship between American Jews and American society. This is important because, according to him, “At the heart of the conflict is the relationship between Israel and America,” and also because he feels that Jews control America. He begins by correctly arguing that “Israel is a client state of America, serving American interests or, more particularly, the interests of its power elites…if Israel did not further the interests of those who control America, then we can be sure America would not support Israel.” Eisen is now left to argue that American Jews dominate this “power elite” by first asking: But is this the whole story? Does Israel really serve America’s interests and is their relationship wholly based on the sharing of these interests? Consider how much in terms of goodwill from other nations America loses by its support for Israel, and consider the power and influence of the “Jewish”, “Zionist” or “pro-Israel” lobby, as when many an otherwise responsible lawmaker, faced with the prospect of an intervention in their re-election campaign from the Jewish lobby, seems happy to put his or her re-election prospects way in front of what is good for America. In other words, because one could argue that by supporting Israel the U.S. loses “goodwill,” the motivation behind this ultimately detrimental support must be accounted for in another way. Eisen suggests the solution by asking: That support for Israel must be in the interests of those who control America is certainly true, but who controls America? Eisen will answer that it is the Jews who control America. But before examining this, it is necessary to provide an accurate analysis of U.S. support for Israel. As mentioned above, substantial support did not appear before 1967. It was only then that Israel’s military prowess led the U.S. ruling class to appreciate Israel’s potential as a strategic ally. Israel’s military became a proxy for that of the U.S., and was a potent defense against Soviet expansion as well as any pan-Arab or pan-Islamic movement that would threaten U.S. interests. In addition, Israel became a conduit through which U.S. military equipment could be made available to counter-revolutionary paramilitary groups in Latin America. Over time, the military-industrial complexes of the two countries became highly integrated. Troops trained together and Israeli specialists taught at the School of the Americas. The needs of U.S. capital are served by this relationship with Israel. These needs have everything to do with maximizing the rate of profit and nothing whatsoever with serving what Eisen calls “Jewish interests.” It should be simple enough to understand that, beginning in 1967, the interests of U.S. capital coincided with the economic and expansionist needs of Israel, and that therefore the U.S. ruling class has, since then, supported Israel.[22] Indeed, the fact that Israel maintains a huge lobbying effort in Washington suggests that it understands all too well that this marriage of interests may be temporary. The needs of U.S. capital may shift, causing Israel to be viewed as more of a liability than an asset.[23] Because Israel’s elites, along with American Jewish elites, know full well that they do not control the U.S. ruling class, massive efforts to influence the American public and Congress have been organized. Steve Zunes has presented a strong case that the relationship between Israel and the U.S. has placed Jews back into a traditional and vulnerable role as intermediary operatives for the ruling class. Just as throughout European history, when Jewish communities suffered as local lords withdrew their protection and abandoned them, the U.S. ruling class could not only abandon Israel but, as typically happened, use the Jews as scapegoats. Zunes writes: One of the more unsettling aspects of U.S. policy is how closely it corresponds with historic anti-Semitism. Throughout Europe in past centuries, the ruling class of a given country would, in return for granting limited religious and cultural autonomy, set up certain individuals in the Jewish community to become the visible agents of the oppressive social order, such as tax collectors and money lenders. When the population would threaten to rise up against the ruling class, the rulers could then blame the Jews, sending the wrath of an exploited people against convenient scape-goats, resulting in the pogroms and other notorious waves of repression which have taken place throughout the Jewish Diaspora. The idea behind Zionism was to break this cycle through the creation of a Jewish nation-state, where Jews would no longer be dependent on the ruling class of a given country. The tragic irony is that, as a result of Israel’s inability or unwillingness to make peace with its Arab neighbors, the creation of Israel has perpetuated this cycle on a global scale, with Israel being used by Western imperialist powers — initially Great Britain and France and more recently the United States — to maintain their interests in the Middle East. Therefore, one finds autocratic Arab governments and other Third World regimes blaming “Zionism” for their problems rather than the broader exploitative global economic system and their own elites who benefit from and help perpetuate such a system.[24] Eisen is simply ahead of the curve in blaming American Jews. In spite of what he asserts, Jews neither control the U.S. ruling class nor compose a major segment of it. Eisen states: …if Jews have influence anywhere in America, it’s not over its muscle and sinew but over its blood and its brain. It is in finance and the media that we find a great many Jews in very influential positions. Lists abound (though you have to go to some pretty unpopular websites to find them) of Jews, prominent in financial and cultural life: Jews in banks; Jews in Forbes Magazine’s Richest Americans; Jews in Hollywood; Jews in TV; Jewish journalists, writers, critics, etc., etc. This is a classic anti-Semitic argument, and, indeed the “pretty unpopular websites” that publish these “lists” are virulently anti-Semitic.[25] Zunes writes: Jews in the United States are often believed to have an enormous degree of economic power. Yet among the individuals who could actually be considered among the most influential sectors of the American ruling class, Jews are not represented any more than their share of the general population.[26] Lenni Brenner estimates that 84 of 400 (21%) people listed by Forbes as the richest Americans are Jewish.[27] This means that 79% of them are not Jewish. This is, by any estimation, underwhelming evidence that Jews control the U.S. ruling class. Even if one contends that this 21% is ten times the percentage of Jews in the country (about 6 million, or 2%), and that, therefore, Jews are over-represented among the rich, there is every reason to suggest that this group shares its fundamental interests with the ruling class rather than the rest of the Jews. To suggest otherwise is to elevate the particularities of ethnicity/religion over class. This is a common mistake and, as Sternhell explains, it is central to Zionist ideology. This Jewish elite, which is primarily centered in the intellectual sphere[28], made a clear pro-Israel shift after 1967, as Finkelstein has documented. This certainly was projected into the American popular culture. But the tail does not wag the dog. The promulgation of ideas that support neither the dominant ideology nor the needs of capital is allowed only to the extent that they do not significantly challenge the needs of capital. It is these needs—that is, the needs of U.S. capital not the needs of American Jews—that are consistent with the support of Israel. In fact, Brenner estimates that only about 10% of American Jews consider themselves to be Zionist. “Yet,” suggests Brenner, “we have an overwhelmingly gentile Congress that is emphatically more pro-Zionist than the majority of Jews.”[29] Imagine, if you will, how difficult it would be for the American Jewish elite to become anti-Zionist; the question of loyalty to the U.S. would be raised in an instant. To add to his own mythmaking, Eisen refers to “Jewish interests” seven times within this section, yet he never bothers to define what this means. If he defines it as support of Israel, then he should at least point out that the overwhelming source of this support is not Jewish. As mentioned before, Don Wagner estimates that there are about 25 million Christian Fundamentalist Zionists in the U.S. and their ideological leaders, such as Pat Robertson, are anti-Jewish. In fact, the sub-section of the huge Evangelical movement that supports Israel[30] does so because of their unique reading of biblical prophecy, in which the return of Jews to Zion will result in the tribulation and rapture, during which their god will dispatch the Jews to hell. Their support of Israel is simply to fulfil this prophecy—and rid the world of Jews. Can this be considered to be a “Jewish interest”? Wagner cautions: Indeed, the largest bloc of pro-Israel sentiment is found within Christian fundamentalist circles, whose numbers dwarf the Jewish voting population in the US (approximately 25 million Christian fundamentalists to 4 million Jews). The pro-Israel lobby and influence, then, is Christian as well as Jewish, and that reality should always be reflected. Not only does this avoid the canard that criticism of Israel and Zionist political activity equals antisemitism, but it accurately describes the contemporary political reality.[31] Yet, in fifteen pages, Eisen mentions Christian Evangelicals exactly once, in passing. Is this because the power of the Christian Fundamentalist Zionists tends to disprove his thesis that Jews control America? He writes: Do not the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Gun lobby, the Christian Evangelicals also not work to further their group interests? The difference between Jews and other groups is that they probably do it better. Jews are, by pretty well any criteria, easily the most successful ethnic group in America and, for whatever reason, have been extraordinarily successful in promoting themselves both individually and collectively. And there would probably be nothing wrong with this were it not for the fact that these same people who exert so much control and influence over American life also seem to refuse to be held accountable. The fact that Jews are more successful than other immigrant groups may be explained by the fact that the Jewish experience was, for the most part, urban, and that immigrant Jews arrived with certain urban survival skills that other immigrants, who came from agricultural societies, lacked. Also, their skin color made them more easily accepted into white America. What upsets Eisen correctly is the Zionist influence, which he incorrectly views as emanating only from a uniform and overly-successful Jewish community. He is implying that Jewish interests are Zionist interests; this is a gross generalization that leads him to oppose Jewry rather than Zionism. Another example of this incorrect generalization appears when Eisen states: But there is another claim, subtler and more worrying [about “Jewish Power”]. This is that it doesn’t exist; that Jews do not wield power, that there is no Jewish lobby; that Jews in America do not exert power and influence to advance Jewish interests, even that there are no such things as Jewish interests! There are no Jewish interests in the war in Iraq, there are no Jewish interests in America; most amazing, there are no Jewish interests even in Israel and Palestine. There is no Jewish collective. Jews do not act together to advance their aims. Without a shred of evidence—or even an explanation—Eisen asserts that there are “Jewish interests in the war in Iraq.” This is convenient, even required, in order to prove that Jews control America, but it is entirely unsubstantiated. Of course, one would not be particularly surprised if American Jews, who undoubtedly exhibit an affinity for Israel, would be just as susceptible—or even more susceptible—to the argument that Saddam Hussein represented a real threat to Israelis. After all, Hussein did attack them with SCUD missiles.[32] Therefore, one would not be surprised if American Jews supported the war in greater numbers than others. However, exactly the opposite was found by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: American Jews express less support for the war on Iraq than does the general population (52% to 62%).[33] This disconnect between the American Jewish community and those Jewish elites who support the war is enough to disprove Eisen’s claim that there is a “Jewish collective” that “act[s] together to advance their aims.”[34] Eisen continues: This conflation of Jewish interests with American interests is nowhere more stark than in present American foreign policy. If ever an image was reminiscent of a Jewish world conspiracy, the spectacle of the Jewish neo-cons gathered around the current presidency and directing policy in the Middle East, this must be it. But we are told that the fact that the Jewish neo-cons, many with links with right wing political groups within Israel, are in the forefront of urging a pro-Israel policy, is but a coincidence, and any suggestion that these figures might be influenced by their Jewishness and their links with Israel is immediately marginalised as reviving old anti-Semitic myths about Jewish dual loyalty. It is Eisen who is conflating Zionist interest with Jewish interests. Keeping in mind that Eisen has nowhere explicitly defined “Jewish interests,” he speaks of the “the spectacle of the Jewish neo-cons” who are “influenced by their Jewishness” and who have “gathered around the current presidency and directing policy in the Middle East.” I suppose we must count among these Bush, Chaney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and Rice. Of course there are neo-conservative Jews who are also influential, and they have ideological loyalties to the Likud Party. But this right-wing Israeli political party no more represents “Jewish interests” than the man in the moon. Eisen joins such brilliant thinkers as Patrick Buchanan, Rep. James Moran, (D-Va.), Gary Hart, and a whole host of right-wing anti-Semites in asserting this nonsense. Even Ari Shavit, writing in Haaretz, states “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history.”[35] But why this indictment of Jews, and the suggestion of some hidden Jewish agenda, rather than indicting the neo-conservative ideology? Neo-conservatism is not a Jewish ideology. We should remember that this very dangerous argument was used to declare that Bolshevism was a grand Jewish plot. Indeed, many anti-Semitic web sites still make this a primary focus. In short, Eisen would have his readers believe that “cagey” Jews within the ruling class, absorbed by their “Jewishness” and exercising their “Jewish power,” are formulating foreign policy to advance “Jewish interests.” Throughout, Eisen conflates Jewish interests with Zionist interests. This is exactly what the Zionist ideologues want: everyone must agree that Zionist interests are Jewish interests.[36] Eisen does so not because he is a Zionist, of course, but because he lacks political clarity. Sadly, it leads him to oppose Jewry rather than Zionism. Eisen continues by observing that “the Jewish narrative is now at the centre of American life, certainly that of its cultural and political elites.” And what narrative is this? He cites the existence of the Holocaust memorial in Washington and asks, “How is it that a group of people who make up such a tiny percentage of the overall American population can command such respect and regard that a memorial to them is built in the symbolic heart of American national life?” Finkelstein has examined the development of that he calls the “Holocaust Industry,” of which this memorial is a part. This industry manipulates public opinion to make it more profitable to sell Jewish suffering, and it shakes down governments for reparations, which almost never go to those individuals who deserve it. This is despicable behaviour to be sure. And it is indubitably the case that these profits are directed into the Zionist project. But why indict Jews, as a group, rather than these profiteers as a group, as Finkelstein does? It is so much easier to ignore the details and advance an ideology based on ethnic/religious interests and power. Eisen makes a further, outrageous claim: that no one is allowed to question the Holocaust narrative that has been constructed while other genocides may be “freely discussed:” Whether those who question the Holocaust narrative are revisionist scholars striving to find the truth and shamelessly persecuted for opposing a powerful faction, or whether they are crazy Jew-haters denying a tragedy and defaming its victims, the fact is that one may question the Armenian genocide, one may freely discuss the Slave Trade, one can say that the murder of millions of Ibos, Kampucheans and Rwandans never took place and that the moon is but a piece of green cheese floating in space, but one may not question the Jewish Holocaust. Why? Because, like the rest of the Jewish history of suffering, the Holocaust underpins the narrative of Jewish innocence which is used to bewilder and befuddle any attempt to see and to comprehend Jewish power and responsibility in Israel/Palestine and elsewhere in the world. This is nonsense. First of all, I do not know of many “scholars” who “say that the murder of millions of Ibos, Kampucheans and Rwandans never took place.” Where is Eisen’s evidence? The simple fact is that Jews, particularly those who experienced the horror of the Holocaust, have every right to be upset if revisionist “scholars” attempt to deny their suffering. Just as we should expect Armenians and Palestinians to be enraged when their own horrific experience is trivialized or denied, we should expect Jews to do exactly the same. Such outrage, even if it is organized, as it is with Jews, is hardly convincing evidence of “Jewish power.” To be sure, the Jewish community exercises greater influence over the Democratic Party and U.S. foreign policy than its raw numbers would predict. It is also true that there are Jewish institutions, both secular and religious, that thrive on protecting and promulgating the Zionist mythology and ideology. It is true that prominent Jews and Jewish institutions are involved in the vilification of Islam[37]. And it is true that many wealthy Jews have, and continue to, underwrite the Israeli colonial project.[38] But none of this should be used to suggest that Jews represent a monolithic community that controls, either secretly or openly, the U.S. ruling class. Acting alone, the Jewish elites who espouse Zionist mythology and who support the Zionist project would be impotent. Their power, such as it is, derives from their coalition with powerful partners in the religious right and within the U.S. ruling class, which acts on its own behalf. 3) ”Jewish Power” In this section, Eisen presents a depressingly confused—and confusing—argument that at one and the same time 1) one cannot “draw a distinction between Jews, Israelis and Zionists,” yet 2) “It is true that ‘the Jews’ do not constitute a legally recognized body… It is also true that the Zionists do not represent all Jews but they do represent the views of very many Jews indeed, and certainly the most powerful and influential Jews,” and, what is more, 3) “ ‘the Jews’ are not a legally constituted body and they do not have an obvious and defined common policy.” [my emphasis] But he argues that, nonetheless, there is such a thing as “Jewish Power” simply because there is such a thing as “Jewish identity” and because many American Jews support Israel to one extent or another. The flaw, it seems, is inherent in “Jewishness,” that is, the Jews’ “common spirit,” which, he claims, is the “specialness” of Jewish suffering and victimhood. From this repetition of his early mistake, he therefore adopts the very principled position that one should oppose Jewry, not Jews! He begins by reviewing the ideology of the anti-Semitic Israel Shamir[39], who, he claims, has joined other “famous escapees [from Judaism] as Karl Marx, St. Paul, Leon Trotsky,”[40] and who, he writes, “has no trouble whatsoever in calling a Jew a Jew.” Eisen shares Shamir’s view that Jews are fundamentally different than other people. It is therefore perfectly easy to ascribe to Jews certain characteristics and claim that “Jews are responsible and should be held accountable” for the crimes of the Israeli government. It is also easy to claim that: For so long now Jews have told the world that black is white and not only that, but also if anyone should dare to deny that black is white they will be denounced as anti-Semites with all the attendant penalties. We are held in a moral and intellectual lock, the intention of which has been to silence all criticism of Israeli and Jewish power. Jews, it seems, are not only intent on exercising their “Jewish Power,” they lie about it, too. To add insult to injury—and it is no small insult—Eisen invokes the Jewish theologian, Marc Ellis, whose words are placed immediately before Eisen’s closing paragraphs: “To the Christian and to the entire non-Jewish world, Jews say this: ‘You will apologise for Jewish suffering again and again and again. And, when you have done apologising, you will then apologise some more. When you have apologised sufficiently we will forgive you … provided that you let us do what we want in Palestine.” [Marc Ellis][41] After which Eisen continues: Shamir took me to task, “Eisen is too optimistic”, he said, “Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews…..the world is.” Well, I don’t know about that, but, if as now seems likely, the conquest of Palestine is complete and the state of Israel stretches from Tel-Aviv to the Jordan River, what can we expect? Will the Jews of Israel, supported by Jews outside of Israel, now obey the law, live peaceably behind their borders and enjoy the fruits of their victory, or will they want more? Who’s next? Who is next, indeed. Perhaps the Dene Indians in the Northwest Territories of Canada? Conclusion “We shall,” to use Eisen’s own words, “speak our minds.” No one has yet been able to create a definition of Jewishness for the simple reason that there is no such thing. Religious Jews come in many varieties. Secular Jews display a wide range of political views. There is no single Jewish ethnicity and, even if there were, one would still be unable to discern its essence. Boaz Evron presents the argument that the only thing that all Jews have in common is a religious tradition, which began only with the return from the Babylonian Exile.[42] The most interesting definition I have heard is that Judaism is a “conversation across the generations.” Yet this lacks any specifics on which one could hang an argument of any weight. More importantly, to accept the idea that there is a Jewish essence is to accept the basic premise that underpins both Zionist mythology and anti-Semitic ideology. However, we are able to identify certain trends within both the religious and secular Jewish community. As with any other people, a certain tribalism dominates, which leads, not surprisingly, to an affinity for many things, including Israel as a place where many Jews live. There is nothing inherently criminal in this tribalism; it is merely an indication that mankind has not yet established the conditions for its abolition. The Jews’ affinity for Israel is no more criminal nor unnatural than Germans’ affinity for Germany or Puerto Ricans’ affinity with Puerto Rico. That this sense of Jewish nationality is widespread is as obvious as it is understandable. Many factors went into the creation of this nationalism, and while a sizeable proportion of world Jewry was being annihilated, a small proportion decided to act on this growing nationalism and immigrated to Palestine, particularly after 1929 when immigration to the U.S. was severely restricted.[43] It was only after 1967, when Israel proved its military prowess and became an important ally of U.S. capital, that there was set into motion a whole host of projects within both the American Jewish religious and secular community to actively, and uncritically, support Israel. Among these projects was the creation of a series of manifestly politically-motivated mythologies, including such frauds as Joan Peters’ pseudo-proof that Palestine was devoid of inhabitants before the arrival of Zionists.[44] It is also true that these myths, including Peters’, are still sold openly in the bookstores and from the bema of many Jewish synagogues. Of course, this mythmaking began before 1967. We should remember that the Zionist ideology, which began by embracing, rather than challenging, the anti-Semitic movement, adopted a wide range of mythologies, each of which served to reinforce its political project of colonizing Palestine. This mythology was used to conquer not only Palestine, but Judaism. The religious theology, which had taught that Jews were not to return to Jerusalem, was not only turned on its head, but infused to a large extent with Labor Zionist ideology. Marc Ellis has said that this ideology is now the central theme of the religion for many people, and that, therefore, the Torah should be removed from the Ark and replaced by models of Apache helicopters and the Wall.[45] This is not an indictment of Judaism, or of Jews, but of the Jewish religious establishment, which has turned a blind eye to human suffering (that is, the Palestinians’), and used the religion to sanctify egregious crimes against humanity. To a large extent this is because they, too, believe the myths and are intensely afraid to look at reality: the injustices are simply overwhelming and so are rationalized away.[46] To this end, the Israeli government’s policy of pursuing a permanent war—combined with the abysmal failure of the Palestinian leadership to create a democratic resistance to the Israeli Occupation—serves to instill a sense of “us versus them” among American Jews. This is hardly surprising given that this attitude supports the needs of the U.S. ruling class at the moment. Neither is it surprising that the dominant American culture has absorbed this attitude; how could it be otherwise when its dissemination is both so lucrative and consistent with the (current) needs of capital? At the same time, but for different reasons, the Christian Fundamentalist Zionist movement, which promulgates its own theology/ideology, has grown tremendously and wields enormous political power. Adherents to its apocalyptic vision, which requires that Jews return to Zion in order to be slaughtered by god, are in the White House and Congress, and their leaders own numerous broadcast facilities and publishing houses.[47] If their nonsense were not consistent with the needs of capital, one can be sure that an opposing ideology would rise to dominance. This is a real problem because if the needs of the ruling class do change, the opposing ideology that emerges may be forthrightly anti-Semitic. This is not to suggest that the current ideology should go unchallenged. But we should not replace it with one that “has no trouble whatsoever in calling a Jew a Jew.” We need to work to oppose the interests of U.S. capital without mythologizing them as “Jewish interests.” After all, the very real interests of the ruling class have nothing to do with Jews and everything to do with maximizing the rate of profit. Indeed, one could easily argue that these interests are fundamentally contrary to the actual material interests of the vast majority of Jews, both here and in Israel. We need to oppose ideologies and myths without condemning an entire religious/ethnic group or, in doing so, creating our own myth of “Jewish Power” based on the stupid and dangerous idea that Zionist interests are Jewish interests. Finally, we need to abandoned the entire concept of a Jewish essence, or “Jewishness.” Until we do, our politics will inevitably fail to advance beyond either Jewish chauvinism or anti-Semitism. And we will be incapable of engaging in the truly important work that awaits the Palestinian solidarity and global justice movements. ——————————————————————————– Joel R Finkel is a member of Not In My Name (NIMN), a predominantly Jewish organization based in Chicago that organizes opposition to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. The opinions expressed by him in this paper are not necessarily shared by every member of NIMN. ——————————————————————————– Notes: [1] The virulently anti-Semitic Zundelsite (www.zundelsite.org) has posted this essay, which it describes as “brilliant.” Of course, Eisen cannot control the use of his work by these scum, but that is hardly the point. The sad fact is that it represents a “brilliant” endorsement of their own ideology of Jew-hating. [2] Indeed, I spent a memorable day with him in Jerusalem in April. [3] This is a small Jewish sect that burns Israeli flags and solidarizes with Palestinians on the religious grounds that Jews were expelled from Jerusalem and are not to return to rebuild the Temple until the messiah arrives. If I drove a car with a bumper sticker that read “End Israel’s Occupation Now,” they would probably cheer me, unless, of course, I was driving on the Sabbath, in which case they would just as likely stone me. [4] Shahak, Israel; Jewish History, Jewish Religion : The Weight of Three Thousand Years; Pluto Press (1994). Shahak investigates how Talmudic law historically emphasized racism towards non-Jews and helped to enforce rabbinic control of a closed society. Many people mistake his analysis of classical Judaism—and its application to the ideology of a Jewish state—as a treatise on Jewish essence. [5] I will use the term Zionism as a short-hand for Labor Zionism, which is a distinct—and majority—tendency within the broader Zionist movement. [6] That this seemed inevitable created the basis for opposition to Zionism from the Jewish religious communities. [7] Finkelstein, Norman; “Palestine: The Truth About 1948,” Against the Current (#15; July/August 1988) [reprinted at http://www.nimn.org/Resources/history_landing_page/000028.php?section=History%20of%20the%20Conflict%5D [8] Wagner, Don, “The Alliance Between Fundamentalist Christians and the Pro-Israel Lobby: Christian Zionism in US Middle East Policy;” Holy Land Studies; Vol. 2 No. 2. (March 2004) [9] In fact, Labor Zionism, the dominant ideology that created the Jewish state, was only one of several strains of Zionism, some of which wanted to create a Jewish homeland but not a Jewish state. [10] I know of not a single major movement to “return” that accompanied even major expulsions, such as from England (1290), Italy (1491), or Spain (1492), which is when a primal urge to return, if it actually existed, would most likely appear. [11] It is extremely doubtful that anything but a small minority of modern world Jewry has any urge, primal or otherwise, to “return” to Palestine! [12] Leon, Abram; The Jewish Question—A Marxist Interpretation, 1946 (http://www.marxists.de/religion/leon). While criticisms of his concept of a people-class have advanced the scholarship on this topic, Leon was among the first to apply a class analysis to the study of Jewish history. It is also instructive to read The Memoirs of My Jewish Great-Grandfather (introduced by M.A. AbuKhalil) Belfast Historical and Educational Society (2002) to get a sense of how some Jews continued to play an critical role as capitalist production and distribution grew in the late 19th century and superseded production based on cottage industries. [13] Finkelstein, Norman; The Holocaust Industry (Verso, 2nd Edition: 2003). The first chapter, in particular, is a scholarly study of this. [14] Let me note that Britain’s early support of political Zionism was due to their own anti-Semitism and imperialist goals, and was influenced by the British Christian Fundamentalist Zionist movement. In the early 20th century, Zionism was seen as an antidote to Russian Bolshevism, in which Jews played a vital role. The timing of the Balfour Declaration, weeks before the Revolution, suggests that it was aimed at trying to convince Russian Jews to abandon their revolutionary activities. [15] Segev, Tom; One Palestine Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate; Owl Books, (2001). As detailed by Segev, it was assimilated Jews in the British Foreign Service who voiced great opposition to the Balfour Declaration and insisted on including language to protect the rights of Jews in Europe: “…it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” [my emphasis] [16] Ilan Halevi, in his A History of the Jews: Ancient and Modern; Zed Books (1987), identifies five major Jewish ethnic groups: Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Arab, Moroccan, and Italian. To this we should probably add the Lemba, a tribe of Black Jews who migrated out of Yemen some 2500 years ago and now live in South Africa, as well as others. [17] This argument is itself specious, as the longing to be “next year in Jerusalem” was not simply meant literally. It was, in part, an entreaty for God to send the messiah (a pre-requisite for being allowed to return to Jerusalem). Jerusalem, in this context, is also metaphor for a more perfect, more spiritual place, and, as such, the longing to be in Jerusalem represented a longing to be in better physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions. [18] After all, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was not based on any facts, but created by the Czar’s secret police. [19] Sternhell, Zeev; The Founding Myths of Israel; Princeton University Press (1999); translated by David Maisel. [20] Ibid. page 13. [21] Ibid. page 16. [22] For a full discussion, see: Chomsky, Noam; Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians; South End Press (1999). [23] For example, it may come to view Israel’s activities to be unnecessarily destabilizing. Or its very support for Israel may become a liability as it attempts to pacify Arab and Muslim resistance to its own imperialism. At any time, the U.S. ruling class could change sides. [24] Zunes, Stephen; “Anti-Semitism in U.S. Middle East Policy” in ZMagazine (March 1995) [25] If you have a strong stomach, examine JewWatch.com. [26] Op. cit. [27] Brenner, Lenni; “The Demographics of American Jews” in Counterpunch (October 24, 2003) http://www.counterpunch.org/brenner10242003.html [28] It is important to note the difference between the spheres of industrial production, on the one hand, and that of ideas, on the other. The needs of capital are derived from the former. The latter tends to create and reinforce the dominant culture, which necessarily supports the needs of the former. [29] Op. cit. [30] The proper term for this group, according to Wagner, is Christian Fundamentalist Zionists. One should note that many Evangelicals, such Wagner himself, are long-time activists in the Palestinian solidarity movement. [31] Op. cit. [32] Ironically, many of these missiles fell on Iraqi Jews living in a suburb of Tel-Aviv. [33] As reported on March 13, 2003 by Fox News: “Powell Scoffs at Conspiracy Theories on Iraq War” [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,81002,00.html] [34] I am not arguing here that there is no pro-Israel lobby or that it does not comprise, along with others, Jews who are organized as Jews. I am arguing that it represents Zionist interests, not Jewish interests. [35] “White Man’s Burden” by Avi Shavit; Haaretz (May 4, 2003). [36] Therefore, to criticize Israel is anti-Jewish. [37] Daniel Pipes, for example, who is among the most outspoken anti-Muslim bigots, has worked closely with Pat Robertson in advancing this bigotry. [38] The casino magnate, Irving Moscowitz, for example, is a major donor to the Jewish colonization of East Jerusalem and the surrounding region. [39] In 2001, Israel Shamir became the darling of guilt-ridden Jews. He espouses an ideology that is openly anti-Jewish; that is, he faults Jews for being Jews. Interestingly, it was two Arabs, Ali Abunimah (who started the Electronic Intifada web site) and Hussein Ibish (of the Arab-American Anti Discrimination Committee), who first spoke out against Shamir’s anti-Semitism; this while many Jews were eagerly awaiting Shamir’s next beautifully written, hate-filled message. Shamir responded with pure ad hominem attacks on these two committed activists. See http://www.abunimah.org/features/010416shamir.html [40] Marx had to “escape” a youthful bout of Christianity, the religion to which his father had converted. Trotsky could not possibly have “escaped” from Judaism, as it never meant anything to him. [41] It may come as no surprise to some that I have argued this attitude with my friend, Marc Ellis. Specifically, I do not agree with his accusation of communal guilt. However, I respect his thoughtful scholarship as well as his life-long commitment to the search for justice. I therefore declare a personal revulsion at the juxtaposition of his remarks with that of Shamir’s. [42] Evron, Boaz; Jewish State or Israeli Nation?; Indiana University Press (1995) [43] During the first two Aliyas (1881-1914), about 70,000 Jews, mainly from Russia, immigrated to Palestine. About 35,000 left within a few years. During the same period, about 2 million Jews immigrated to the U.S. Immigration to the U.S. was restricted betwee
  16. anonanon says:

    Interesting that when you are given an article to post that reveals how dangerously off track the likes of Lowes and Paul Eisen , (who Lowes parrots), suddenly it can’t come up on your site….

    Balanced?

    I don’t think so.

    A shame that you wish to promote anti-semitic, racist and ill informed literature. Not helpful to any form of peace, but then again I getb the feeling this site is simply about egos.

  17. Mary Rizzo says:

    “given an article”.. hey dude, if you look, i posted the long screed, which i had no time or interest to read. You could have left a link like normal people do!

    why do i need to be balanced anyway? where is it stated that it is a requirement? And as Sami remarked to the comments on his post, those who are the aggressors always ask for “balance”…

    I don’t care what you think the site’s about. Your material was there, so quit complaining.

  18. anonanon says:

    Mary

    I do not wish to get into an argument with you, I also do not wish to throw personal insults as I do not know you and you do not know me. I have noticed whilst reading your mails you are very keen in becoming personally offensive… My comments have been about your site and the comments displayed not about the people behind them.

    Three times I tried to place on your site the article by Joel Finkel on why Eisen’s theory which Lowes has parroted on your site is dangerously off track. Three times the article did not come up though you maintain it is there . .. What should I a visitor to your site conclude after reading all the articles that are up but am unable to see an article that challenges such ideas?

    Re being balanced, if you wish to remain unbalanced, as you yourself state, ‘Why do I need to be balanced anyway’ that is naturally your prerogative. However, sound conclusions can only ever be made when all facts have been discussed and reasoned. If your site is one that does not wish to uphold reason then fair enough, if that is the conclusion you wish the outside world to make. However, do not then think that the outside world should take your views and that of your site seriously, even though the topic your site is supposedly about, is very serious indeed.

    For those who would like to read the counter argument to Eisen’s Jewish power theory written by Joel R Finkel already in 2005, (so Lowes work isn’t exactly original) the link is: http://www.nimn.org/Perspectives/american_jews/000308.php

  19. Mary Rizzo says:

    anonanon, i saw the extremely long thing three times, and posted it up once. It is up on Tip of the Iceberg, and it need not be spammed across multiple posts, no matter how important you think it is. Or, just leave a link and do not expect people are willing to read a long post that is a reprint of some other article. This is a general internet practice and I haven’t introduced anything novel here.

    What do you mean by balanced, then? That both sides of every issue are supposed to be given equal time? I would like you to know that on many sites, I am attacked and then banned from participating. So, I would take more issue with that kind of thing than just not getting a long and not original article up three times.

    This is a site that is not interested in Israeli hasbara nor is the predominance of the focus on anti-semitism as the most important element in the campaigning, while at the same time there is little to no respect for Muslims and Christians, and labelling of others as such something that really matters to us. If you want to discuss an issue, come in with your own argument, not some gigantic article someone wrote and then claim we are not serious persons because we aren’t arguing it, then sorry.

    if that looks personally offensive, then take into account being accused of something that I have not done. do not waste my time, and that is not meant as offensive, but as a request.

  20. Mary Rizzo says:

    ps.. very keen on becoming personally offensive, come up with the examples, before just accusing.

  21. Mary Rizzo says:

    actually, i left it up twice anonanon, as you can see by the traces next to your name, and i see it on the management page. Evidently, the system will not allow the long post to appear as a post itself because the system might be reading it as spam given the enormous word count.

  22. anonanon says:

    Thank you for putting the article up

    Have a nice day

  23. al khansa says:

    So how much does the ministry of propaganda pay for you to work this scene anonanon or is it on a volunteer basis…???
    Dr francs you write “In so far as Al Qaeda is what I described – the notion of resistence to Western imperialism – then my guess would be that it represents a very large number, if not a majority of Muslims, regardless of whether they support particularly actions or not. ”
    Your better to quote hard facts guessing is not a good idea in this situation…..in my opinion….
    When one considers the western zionist hysterical propaganda that surrounds Al Queda…
    Dont you think that your statment would feed on this idea to the hysterical….????????????????

  24. anonanon says:

    there is no ministry of propaganda Alkhansa just simple historical facts that the likes of Lowes and Eisen distort .

    Peace

  25. bozhidar bob balkas says:

    i procede from a conclusion that all ‘jews’ are guilty of their separate existence as well as all wrongs they have done.

    and then ponder over the punishment for guilt. for many jews there shld not be any penalties save a verbal plaint against their crimes.
    dayan, sharon, meir, et al shld be postumously tried for war crimes. perhaps another mn or so shld also be tried for following orders.

    as to what pal’ns might do to ?all israelis once they become more powerful than ‘jews’, is another story.
    actually, ashk’m are not connected in any way to- save by sharing a cult- shemites; they are a khazaro-slavic peoples mostly.

    and most of all, ashk’m shld never ever be rewarded for their crimes which is what we do when we recognize israel. i recognize only palestine and ashk’m can go back to where they came from or accept palestine.
    tx

  26. bozhidar bob balkas says:

    sophie, yes
    i’ve been calling chomsky a minizionist for a long time now. a mini zionist, to me, is a person who is for a twostate ‘solution’ and favors some ‘minor’ adjustments of borders.

    i haven’t read that much of finkelstein to say that he too is a mini zionist. but both talk about socalled zionism with which as far as i know neither he nor noam nor any ashkenazi has any connection.
    only hebrews, now utterly vanished, may speak of zion which they selves have conquered and may have slain many people to obtain it.

    even judeans are no more; most of them fled to arab lands after ad 70. they may be mostly arabs.
    thus if my analyses are correct or correct to a degree, finkelstein, chomsky, et al are dissemblers. tx

  27. Joy says:

    This has been one of the most interesting articles I have read (including the comments). I completely agree with you– that groups should be held responsible for their crimes against other groups, and that there is a need for people to find some form of justice for these crimes. I also agree with Sophie– that although it does not seem fair to hold an entire group of people accountable for the actions of a only a few of its members, these groups of people should take responsibility for these types of actions when they are benefiting from them. In most cases, “white” groups of people have colonized and oppressed “colored” groups of people, and although the “white” groups of people are still benefiting from these actions, the “colored” groups of people are still suffering as a result of these actions.

    Although I was born in the United States, I am also appalled by the ignorance of the majority of American people (in reference to comment 11). I completely disagree with the way 9-11 is used as an excuse for the government to start foreign wars (with countries that have nothing to do with it) and to strip citizens (as well as immigrants and foreigners) of their human rights and civil liberties.

    At the beginning of Bush’s first term, I could see that the reason why the government was pushing for a war with Iraq had more to do with destabilizing and controlling the Middle East, protecting and strengthening Israel, and obtaining oil and resources, and when I tried to discuss this with others, all they would say is that they agree with Bush because he is a “Republican” or because he is “Christian” (which I think is a complete lie pushed by neoconservatives to gain Christian votes– it baffles me that Christians in this country support Israel and protect Jews so much despite the fact that Jews do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah).

    Perhaps the reason why I saw it differently was because my parents are immigrants from the Middle East. It is difficult for me to believe these sort of lies when I know what America wants to take from the Middle East for its own benefit. Americans occupying the Middle East is just an other method of imperialism.

    Also, I wanted to point out that I also think the slave trade is indeed important to mention. It has definitely had extremely negative repercussions in this country. Despite the new president, racism is still an enormous problem here (in my opinion).