Samah Salaime delivers an eloquent plea to the Israeli Jewish Left – we must work together but first you must jettison your Zionism and you must acknowledge our Nakba. You must give up your privileges – it’s hard, but as a feminist I know it can be done.
As we move towards the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration Robert Cohen advises us to prepare. The air will be filled with inventions, the ground with unseen pits of oblivion. To begin – propaganda that Zionism is and always has been part of Jewish life is simply make-believe.
Perhaps the best thing about the Home Affairs Select Committee report on antisemitism is the debate it has provoked. Here Asa Winstanley puts forward his view of what Zionism is and argues it is the correct word for Israel’s raison d’etre.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent actions have brought to an end 50 years of Israeli deception about the temporariness of the settlement enterprise – Yitzhak Laor, Ha’aretz
And Ban Ki-moon wades in at the UN: “Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.”
“Is Israel on the verge of civil war, as a growing number of Israeli commentators suggest, with its Jewish population deeply riven over the future of the occupation?” Jonathan Cook investigates.
A cry of pain from Ha’aretz columnist Roger Alpher:
“I am not proud of my country, because I know the reality. It is an apartheid state, and the two-state solution is dead. Because Israel is a binational, apartheid state, everything is bad here. Most Israelis, including Shavit, don’t recognize this reality. I don’t want it either, but I recognize it.”
Larry Derfner weighs in against the liberal and left Zionist argument that Israel needs to end the occupation “for its own sake”. It’s doing very well thank you with it!
Call instead for ending the occupation for the Palestinians’ sake, for the sake of restoring Israel’s lost morality…
This consists of two articles from Open Democracy by two JfJfP signatories in sharp disagreement. The first by Labour History professor Mary Davis attacks what she thinks is the monolithic view of Zionism – she doesn’t name who she means. JfJfP website has consistently pointed out the lack of consensus on what Zionism and especially anti-Zionism mean. Then she suddenly launches into an attack on BDS as monolithic. Where has she been during all the arguments about boycotting only settlement products or companies which profit from the Occupation? Jonathan Rosenhead responds, equally surprised at Mary’s lack of homework before going into print.
Israeli politics are now ’50 shades of right wing’ says Gideon Levy. The Left’s attempt to wear Zionist clothes was doomed to fail. Today, only the radical Left speaks the truth about Israeli state power.
This is an argument taking place in, and about, Haaretz as well as the unresolvable question of what Zionism is. Rogel Alpher says Amos Schocken, Haaretz publisher, is deluded when he thinks international pressure will end the Occupation allowing the recovery of a Zionism which Schocken admires.
In another tour down memory lane, we revisit 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”.
In a relatively quiet week, we are revisiting 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…
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.