Since the first accusations of antisemitism in the Labour party to this week’s party internecine wars British poiitics has been vituperative, vengeful and solipsistic. Dropping into this dangerous storm, Chakrabarti’s report is a halcyon of calm suggestion about mutual courtesy. Keith Kahn-Harris has some quibbles – he wishes she would have teased some clarity into the definitions of Zionism and antisemitsm. Can Labour party members follow her lead in listening and responding civilly to each other?
Ray Filar grew up in a Zionist household imbibing all the arguments about Jews’ need for security. Then he discovered the reality of life for those Palestinian threats and saw Zionism as an obsession with ethnic purity.
‘Zionist’ is short-hand for many things. Different groups use the same word, with different meanings and moral positions. This much in Prof. Herman’s article is uncontentious. Ironically, the same could be said of her use of the term ‘the Left’ and ‘left-wing’ scholars’.
Since the 2009 Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s violent treatment of Palestinians has been a major left-wing cause. But that left wing must act to help Palestinians. If instead that morphs into attacks on ‘Zionism’ then, says Robert Cohen, the left is on unstable ground. (We apologise for the belated posting of this clear and succinct article.)
Ramzy Baroud, syndicated Palestinian journalist, founder of Palestine Chronicle and vocal critic of Jew-hatred chooses the row over Corbyn and antisemitism as the subject of his latest column. He looks at the uses and abuses of antisemitism and, in particular how the secular idea of Zionism was kidnapped and incorporated into Jewish religiosity.
The NUS choice of a black, Muslim woman president has had the rightwing press scurrying to find bits in her past to discredit her. Saying that media is ‘Zionist-led’ is something she should have checked out – and not said. Hannah Weisfeld sticks the boot in in one of the 3 articles plus some notes on Zionism to help you decide.
A lot of people will give a sigh of irritation at another posting about Israeli Gilad Atzmon. He’s not interesting, he seems intellectually childish, (there is no generic Jew) and he has a fervour for attention. And it’s very sad. In his favour he’s an admired sax player. But his repudiation of [his and others’] Jewishness seems like his problem, not a useful political argument. Real News has a go.
Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz, unequivocally defines Israel as an apartheid society. Israelis accept this. But apartheid is a betrayal of the Zionist project which Schocken believes in. It would recognise Palestinian national rights as apartheid never can.
From the start, Israel has depended on foreign funding especially from the US. Then, the money was given to Zionist bodies who were active in denying knowledge of the native Palestinians. That is now changing as young American Jews do not want to fund anything which perpetuates the conflict. Two openDemocracy articles.
The Journal of Palestine Studies has made a special issue out of Zionist terrorism. Its main point is that terrorism has been engrained in the Jewish settling of Palestine/Israel from the start.
In an article that reads like a short story Liz Rose describes how an adolescent is delighted to discover meaning in the Israel and Zionism she learns about at summer camp along with its erotic companion, discovering one’s own and another’s body in teenage utopia.
This is the second batch of articles from Haaretz that are related to their peace conference this week. Several of them focus on the continued need, and possibility, of the 2-state solution, not least because the two peoples are not going anywhere else and Israel’s continued, costly subjection of Palestinians is corrupting its own ideals of a sovereign Jewish democracy.
oD. Hilary Aked investigates links between Islamophobia and the ‘war on terror’ against which Israel is the foremost fighter. Money flows into groups combatting ‘Islamic terror’ and into Israel. Muslims and Zionists may share an ideology of dominance, but in the West, Muslims are the barbarian outcasts.
In his usual iconoclastic fashion, Uri Avnery argues that from the 1950s Zionism “became a cynical slogan, to be used by anyone to push his or her agenda. Mainly it became an instrument of the Israeli leadership to subjugate world Jewry and mobilize it for their national, partisan or personal aims.” Instead, we must return to A. B. Yehoshua’s distinction between nationalism and Zionism, two different entities in constant conflict with each other. It is time, not for separation, but for recognition that, whatever their “natural bonds”, Israel’s future lies in peace with its citizens and neighbours and the future of Jews throughout the world within their own nations.
This is a response to Michael Walzer’s essay in Dissent by the Lebanese-American scholar As’ad AbuKhalil. In all the contributions to this debate there seems more heat than light, more fear and anger than curiosity about the other. But if they encourage thought about the replacement of secular politics by religion or by how religion or religious conflicts have shaped our civilisations, all to the good.
A history of Zionism in Britain has much useful information but this particular history, published by CounterPunch, seems to have come from the school of Zionist conspiracies. Evan Jones does not distinguish between how ‘Zionist’ is used today – one who believes Jews alone are destined to rule a greater Israel – and how it was used pre-Israel: one with an aspiration for a Jewish homeland. He also sees Zionists at work in the UK without any evidence, defined purpose or names (or footnotes). Read with discrimination.
Revisiting the Magnes Zionist’s 2007 contribution on the forced exile of the Jews after the failure of their revolts against the Romans in 70 and 135CE.
To this day, writes Jeremiah Haber, most lay people, Jews and non-Jews, accept the myth of the exile, whereas no historian, Jew or non-Jew, takes it seriously. Drawing on the work of Prof Yisrael Yuval, Haber looks at “the disconnect between popular and scholarly belief and tr[ies] to examine the origin of the myth several centuries after the event occurred”.
Happy holiday reading!
Henry Siegman, former executive director of the American Jewish Congress (one of the nation’s “big three” Jewish organizations) has become a scourge of Israel in recent years. Here is his interview with Amy Goodman of DEMOCRACY NOW, in which he advocates giving up on Netanyahu and going to the UN to enforce a peaceful solution.
In a relatively quiet week, it is worth revisitng some interesting analyses and interventions from the past. Here is Diane Mason’s entertaining piece from 2010, Tell Me Again, Who Made The Desert Bloom?. In December 1945 and January 1946, the British Mandate authorities carried out an extensive survey of Palestine. Mason draws on it extensively in her account of the productivity of Palestinian agriculture at the time. Yet another Zionist myth bites the dust…
IN the wake of the murder by fire of 18-month old Ali Dawabshe, and in reflective mode, Robert Cohen poses fundamental questions about Zionism. Was the murder simply a random act of Jewish terror, or the direct result of a nearly 50-year occupation –- or can its roots be found in the nature of Zionism itself? Explaining why he no longer calls himself a Zionist of any kind, he nonetheless refuses easy answers to the issues raised.