That was the headline over a splendid piece of reporting for IPS (Inter Press Service) published on 30 July by Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe. They concluded that “new political space is being created for the public airing of more moderate views on Middle East policy.” If they are right, and I think they are, there is reason, at last, to be less than totally pessimistic about the prospects of finding a cure for the cancer at the heart of international affairs, the Palestine problem, before it consumes us all.
In the quotation above “more moderate views” is a euphemism for views other than those of the Zionist (not Jewish!) lobby, of which AIPAC is the most prominent public face. It was described by Luban and Lobe as “the powerful lobbying group whose hawkish right-wing leadership has often defied both the views of the broader U.S. .Jewish community and the policies of Israeli governments.” (In my two-volume book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, I quote Shimon Peres telling me way back in 1980, when he was the leader of the opposition Labour Party, that the lobby in America “is notan Israel lobby. It’s a Likud lobby and that’s my problem.”)
The excellent IPS article by Luban and Lobe is primarily a review of the controversy sparked by TIMEcolumnist Joe Klein’s blogged statement that by pushing for war on Iraq and now for a “foolish assault on Iran”, Jewish neo-conservatives had caused the question of “divided loyalties” to be asked – because what Jewish neo-conservatives pushed and are pushing for is not in America’s own best interests. (As Mearsheimer and Walt argued in great detail).
Klein was accused by the usual cast of those who support Israel right or wrong of being anti-Semitic; but he refused to back down, accusing his accusers of using charges of anti-Semitism to silence his and other criticism of neo-conservative policies. Klein said those who called him anti-Semitic were wrong. What then was he? “I am anti neo-conversative,” he told Luban and Lobe.
In the same article they quote MJ. Rosenberg, a former AIPAC staffer now associated with the moderate Israel Policy Forum, as saying, “Although most neocons are Jews, few Jews are neocons.” That is undoubtedly so, which is a tribute to the effectiveness of the few who are. Luban and Lobe also quote Rosenburg as expressing the hope that commentators would “stop equating neo-conservatism with Judaism.”(My emphasis added).
Indeed they should, but there is a much bigger and related imperative. As I never tire of writing and saying, commentators should stop equating Zionism with Judaism. The difference between the two, why they are total opposites, is THEkey to understanding who must do what and why for justice and peace in the Middle East.
For those who are not familiar with the matter, I must add that I am, of course, aware that there are two kinds of Zionism – one purely spiritual, the other political. In the sense that religious Jews look to Jerusalem as their spiritual home, it can be said that all religious Jews are spiritual Zionists. The Zionism that should not be equated with Judaism is political Zionism. And why is not all that complicated.
Judaism is the religion of Jews, not “the” Jews because not all Jews are religious. Like Christianity and Islam, Judaism has at its core a set or moral values and ethical principles.
Political Zionism is a sectarian, colonial ideology which created in the Arab heartland, mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing, a state for some Jews. Simply put, political Zionism made a mockery of, and has contempt for, Judaism’s moral values and ethical principles.
Political Zionism’s own ethic was set down in writing by Vladimir Jabotsinky, the founding father of Israel’s army. He was a Russian Jew born in Odessain 1880. In 1923, years before Adolf Hitler came to power, he published The Iron Wall,which became the main inspirational text for all Jewish nationalists who committed themselves to Zionism’s colonial enterprise. Its purpose was to take for keeping the maximum amount of Arab land with the minimum number of Arabs on it. In The Iron Wall, Jabotinsky was brutally frank about what Zionism’s ethic had to be. He wrote this (my emphasis added):
“Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore itstands or falls by the question of armed force. There is no other ethic. It is important to speak Hebrew but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot- or else I am through with playing at colonization. To the hackneyed reproach that this point of view is unethical, I answer – absolutely untrue. As long as there is the faintest spark of hope for the Arabs to impede us, they will not sell these hopes – not for any tasty morsel because this is not a rabble but a people, a living people.And no people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions,except when there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall.”
In the light of subsequent events including the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, an honest, up-to-date statement of what political Zionism is really all about would be something like the following:
Jews can never again trust Gentiles. If the Gentile world cannot understand why the Zionist state of Israel must do what it’s doing to hold and keep what it has (most if not all of it), the Gentile world can go to hell.”
In private conversation I once asked Israel’s one-eyed warlord, General Moshe Dayan, the creator in 1967 of Greater Israel, why it had nuclear weapons when, I said, we both knew it didn’t need them vis-à-visthe Arabs. He replied to this effect: “Ben Gurion wasn’t stupid, I’m not stupid. We know how the real world works. We took it as read that a day will come when even our best friends will say to us, ‘You’ve become a liability and to protect our own best interests we want you to do this.’” The obvious implication, which Dayan knew he didn’t have to put into words for me, was that if ever a day came when America required Israel to do what it did not consider to be in its own best interests, an Israeli leader would say something very like, “Mr. President, don’t push as further than we are prapared to go because, if we must, we’ll use all the weapons at our disposal.” Simply stated, Israel went nuclear in order to possess the ultimate in blackmail cards. At about the time Dayan said that to me, Prime Minister Golda Meir also told me, on-the-record during the course of an interview I did with her for the BBC’s Panoramaprogramme, that in a doomsday situation Israel would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it. (Her full quote with its context is as set down on page xii of Waiting for the Apocalypse, the Prologue to Volume One ofZionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews).
Question: Why, really, is it so important for the citizens of the mainly Gentile nations of the Judeo-Christian or Western world to be made aware of the difference between Judaism and political Zionism?
The answer is in two related parts.
One is that knowledge of the difference is the key to understanding why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (opposed to Zionism’s still on-going colonial enterprise) without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic (meaning anti-Jew because Arabs are Semites, too).
The other is that knowledge of the difference explains why it is wrong to blame all Jews everywhere, or even all Israelis, for the crimes of the hardest core Zionist few in Palestine that became Israel. (It is a fact that prior to the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, many if not most Jews everywhere were opposed to Zionism’s colonial enterprise. They believed it to be morally wrong and they feared it would lead to unending conflict. Some also feared that there could come a day when Zionism, if it was allowed by the major powers to have its way, would provoke anti-Semitism).