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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Jeremy Corbyn Must Follow Ted Heath's example - He sacked Enoch Powell and Sarah Champion must be sacked

You Can’t Have A Racist in the Shadow Cabinet

Update - Victory as Champion Goes

Within 12 hours of my posting this blog Sarah Champion had resigned as Shadow Womens and Equalities Spokesperson.  It just shows the power of this blog!



When Enoch Powell gave his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968, Ted Heath instantly sacked him from the  Tory Shadow Cabinet.  Powell spoke of ‘Black piccaninnies’ and, as a Classicist used a Roman metaphor:  "It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre" and "Like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood."

Heath was never forgiven for this by the Tory Right but by his swift action he made it clear that the kind of racist demonization we have seen in the last week is unacceptable.  It is equally intolerable that Sarah Champion, who has engaged in no less despicable racist stereotyping, remains as Labour's Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.
Enoch  Powell was sacked by Ted Heath - Corbyn needs to demonstrate his mettle by sacking Champion

Sarah Champion’s decision to write an article in the Scum, of all papers, a paper which has made the depiction of women’s bodies for gratification into an art form, is shocking.  No less shocking is the headline over her article ‘British Pakistanis ARE raping white girls’.  The extrapolation from what a particular gang of Muslim men did to all Pakistanis is overtly racist and belongs in the repertoire of the British National Party and Britain First, not the Labour Party.

Sarah Champion - Labour's Enoch Powell
Noone pretends that the  activities of this gang of rapists in Newcastle is anything other than horrifying.  There is no justification for what they did and they deserve long prison sentences.  What is not acceptable is the drawing of an equation between Muslim or Pakistani men and rape and child sex abuse.  It hardly needs to be said that all men, whatever their colour or ethnic origin are equally capable of rape and paedophilia.
Sarah Champion chose well for her racist diatribe - the Sun

When a group of white men did exactly the same just over a year ago there were no lurid headlines in the Scum about white men abusing and raping.  It was not considered newsworthy.

When Lord Greville Janner, the former President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews was widely acknowledged to have sexually abused and raped at least 20 young boys, no one except the most despicable fascist would have gone on to draw an equation between him and Jewish men per se.
Image result for jimmy savile
Jimmy Saville - protected by the Police and BBC - is not believed to have been Pakistani or Muslim

Nor did anyone try to suggest that Jimmy Saville, whose activities were covered up by at least 3 Police forces and BBC Executives, was typical of White British men.

There is no evidence that Muslim men are more inclined than any other men to rape or abuse.  As Richard Seymour describes in the article below, there are material reasons why abuse by Muslim men in certain Northern cities may take a particular form.   The fact that they are engaged in night time trades, kebab shops, taxis etc. lends itself to this kind of networking.
The Rev. Peter Ball, ex-Bishop of Lewes, was gaoled for 32 months for abusing at least 18 children, one of whom later committed suicide as a result.  Doesn't seem to have a Pakistani heritage
In the same way, rape and abuse by Catholic and Church of England priests takes another form, often over much longer periods of time and also subject to various forms of cover up by the authorities.  When the impeccably White ex-Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball was gaoled for just 32 months, of which he served only 16 months, for abusing 18 aspiring young priests no one campaigned against White Priests once again being caught raping and abusing.  Noone seemed bothered to ask why Prince Charles and other members of the Establishment covered up for him.  Charles even provided Ball with a grace and favour home on his estate.  [see Disgraced sex abuse Bishop, who was protected from prosecution for years by Establishment figures, walks free from jail]

The abuse in Ireland, not simply sexual abuse but what was tantamount to the murder of children and young women in Catholic homes, hardly bears repeating.  It was a veritable holocaust but it reflected on the misogyny of the Irish Catholic church not all Irish Catholics.   The same is true of the Protestant Kincora home in Belfast where, under the watchful eye of MI6 and Northern Ireland’s Special Branch, young boys were raped and abused by senior Loyalists.

The fact is that sexual abuse and rape takes many forms in many societies.  There is no doubt that all religions, Islam included, are misogynist.  It hardly bears repeating that the West, Britain and the USA in particular, have sponsored and supported the most reactionary strand of Islam, Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, a strand which encourages and legitimates sexual abuse.  It was Wahhabism which gave the inspiration to ISIS which made the enslavement and rape of Yazidi women a matter of policy. 
A poster that appeared in Streicher's Der Sturmer featuring the lecherous Jewish male predator - this is a common theme in racist narratives
In Nazi Germany Jewish men were also alleged to be predators.  It was the staple diet of Der Sturmer magazine run by Julius Streicher.  There is no doubt that the incidence of child sexual abuse within sections of Jewish ultra-orthodoxy is high.  People like senior Lubavitch Rabbi Manis Friedman have openly belittled and made light of such abuse.  [see Call for apology as Rabbi Manis Friedman likens child sex abuse to 'diarrhoea'

Lubavitch, which is a very active Hasidic sect in the Orthodox British Jewish community has consistently refused to condemn Friedman’s remarks.  Friedman who remains in a position of power is widely believed to be a child sex abuser himself, at least according to his son, who is also an abuser.

One could if one wanted to look at the way non-Jewish women are treated and considered in the Jewish religion since Islam is held up to the mirror.   The term ‘Shiksa’ for a non-Jewish woman is derived from Sheketz, ‘unclean’ and is used to refer to a prostitute.  The attitude of the Jewish Orthodoxy to non-Jewish women would not bear examination.

None of this excuses Sarah Champion’s decision to write in the Scum.  He decision has particular poignancy given that this was the paper that lied about Liverpool football fans at Hillsborough football stadium.  It should be a sacking offence for any Labour shadow cabinet minister to write in this paper.  To add political petrol to the flames of the Scum’s racism and sexism is unacceptable.


Sarah Champion Must Go – Corbyn Must Sack Her

Aug 10 at 4:49pm
Richard Seymour

Operation Sanctuary has uncovered, prosecuted and convicted members of another large child sex grooming ring, this time in Newcastle.

As is always the case when the majority of the perpetrators are not white, this has provoked a 'debate' about race, that vacillates between the hand-wringing and the downright sinister. Sarah Champion MP has managed both, attacking the Tories from the right on race, and berating the "floppy left" for finding anything problematic in this. In particular, Champion avers that these offenders are "predominantly Pakistani" and castigates the government for not investigating this. Such debates are not provoked when the perpetrators are white, and this tells us something about the role of "race and culture" as talking points.

Now, contrary to what Champion claims, she is not breaking new ground here. Back in 2012 when a string of major child sex abuse stories, inculpating politicians, celebrities, senior police and others, exploded onto the national news, there was also a national panic about Muslim men as a result of child sex rings in the north. Keith Vaz MP explained on BBC Radio that one in five of the perpetrators of child sex grooming are British Asians. He was drawing on data from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre.

Even he wasn't breaking new ground, merely reiterating what Jack Straw MP had said years before. This is an old and dishonourable tactic by a certain kind of politician. In particular, it is Labour politicians who think that they have to demonstrate their un-PC credentials by pandering to racism.

That this is in fact what Champion is doing, and knowingly, is disappointing given her record. She won her seat by defeating a toxic Ukip campaign orchestrated precisely on the axis of a panic about child abuse, implicating British Asians as a menace to white sexual innocence. Ukip claimed that Labour was more worried about political correctness and not being racist than in protecting white British kids.

Champion did not, at the time, concede ground to the racist fearmongering. She, as a professional with direct experience in dealing with child abuse, knows the literature and expertise well enough to refute race-baiting. And she increased Labour's majority. Now she is repeating the Ukip lines.

There are a few things to clarify before a sensible discussion can even be had. First of all, "race and culture" should not be spoken in the same breath, as if they are the same type of thing. Cultures exist, but they are raggedy in outline, porous, and changeable. Their outlines are more like weather fronts than borders. Races don't exist, except as a political and ideological construct. The idea that any one specific culture could be imputed to British Asian men is incoherent.

Second, as an elementary point of logic, correlation is not causation. Commenting on the CEOP figures, an investigator told The Guardian that the higher representation of British Asian men in the data is likely to reflect not 'race' or 'culture' in these cases, but occupation. In other words, these grooming rings were made possible by a night-time economy populated by young girls moving between taxis and fast food outlets. Which, given a racial segregation of the labour force, meant that there was a unique opportunity for a small number of men, mostly British Asian in the case of Operation Sanctuary, to generate a grooming circuit, based on attention, flattery, parties, booze and drugs. Relatedly, where biases toward the over-representation of a particular minority group have been found among child sex abusers, typically it is because race is indexed to other factors that make children vulnerable, such as class.

Third, proof of the stereotypical nature of this debate is Champion's claim that gang-related child sexual abuse is "predominantly Pakistani". This is often asserted, but there's no evidence for it, and the CEOP figures simply don't bear that out. "Just 35 of the 415 Asians are recorded as having Pakistani heritage and thus highly likely to be Muslim, and only five are recorded as being from a Bangladeshi background. The heritage of 366 of the Asian group is not stated in those figures." As a result, the CEOP is quite explicit about its inability to draw any nationwide conclusions based on the fragmentary and partial nature of its data. It depends entirely on data deriving from cases reported to a police unit investigating these crimes.

Fourth, the construction of child abuse along racial or national lines depends entirely on how you focus your search. The majority of sex offenders in the UK, according to statistics collected by Sheffield Hallam University, are white. In the figures collected in 2007, 5.6 per cent of the sex offender population was 'South Asian' by origin, and 81.9% white. Taking into account the fact that this was the prison population, and that there are racial biases in the criminal justice system from arrest to prosecution, it would be surprising if these figures didn't exaggerate the representation of British Asians among the sex offenders population.

Fifth, one reason for the extraordinarily high rate of estimated non-disclosure is that the majority of sexual assaults are inflicted on children. And abuse selects for vulnerability. This means that there is, even in the best official data, a huge zone of blindness. But with the data we have, it is possible to say that the majority of child sex abuse is not like the grooming cases. It usually involves one-to-one assaults, in a residence, either first thing in the morning, during after-school hours, or at midnight. So, attempting to draw wider conclusions about the nature of child sexual abuse from the high profile grooming cases is at best a mistake.

The problem with Sarah Champion's intervention is not that she wants to talk about culture. If we started to talk about the cultural biases and cognitive distortions that enable abusers, that would require a careful and nuanced discussion, which would take into account the specific ways in which different groups of offenders -- be they the abusers at Kincora Boys Home, the groomers of Rotherham and Newcastle, or the fathers who assault their children ongoingly -- are informed by their cultural self-understandings, their religion, their socioeconomic position, and so on. It would not try to simplify all this by forcing it through the morally charged and oppressive grid of race.

To reinforce race as the appropriate framework for analysis and police action is to, as Sarah Champion admits, raise the pitch of nationwide Islamophobia. It is also to add one more giant weapon to the arsenals of silence. Children don't speak out for many reasons. In part because they fear they will not be believed, in part because they fear punishment or revenge. But one of the best known reasons is their fear of the process of accountability and prosecution itself. Their fear, in a word, that the process will run out of their control, that it will have consequences well beyond their intentions. If you turn child sex abuse into a national morality tale about race relations in 21st century Britain, you haven't made it easier for people to speak -- especially children who are particularly vulnerable because of the way they are racialised.

Because contrary to Champion's claims, this sort of intervention is not about protecting children. Racism is not child protection.

Addendum: Since I wrote this, Sarah Champion has taken to the pages of The Sun to further incite racial hatred. The headline: "British Pakistanis ARE raping white girls ... and we must face up to it". Followed by the first sentence: "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls."

It is not trivial to point out that the majority of those arrested, prosecuted and convicted in this latest grooming circle in Newcastle are not Pakistani. To respond to this case by, as Champion has from the start, inciting against Pakistani men, is to conflate all the men with brown skin who were arrested, be they Iraqi, Bangladeshi, or Indian into a sort of racial amalgam, a Muslamic horde.

It also goes without saying that Champion styles herself as someone very brave and original, as though what she is saying has not been said over and over again by opportunistic Labour MPs, Tories, Ukippers, Sun columnists, and so on. "There. I said it. Does that make me a racist?" She asks. Yes.

Areeq Chowdhury Chief Executive of WebRoots Democracy

Sarah Champion MP, I think you’re racist. There. I said it. Does that make me politically correct? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?
If you think I am being over the top, have a quick read of the column in the Sun written by Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister, Sarah Champion. It’s entitled “British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls... and it’s time we faced up to it.” She inexplicably opens with the line “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?”
Well to answer what I’m sure was a rhetorical question Sarah, yes, it does make you a racist. Let me explain why.
In a country which has a history of abuse against South Asians by way of activities such as “Paki-bashings” and at a time of resurgent racism, to make such a sweeping and factually inaccurate statement is incendiary and achieves nothing other than establishing further stigma against minorities. Is it true that there is “a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls” or is it just some Pakistani men? A very small minority? Your statement is lazy and suggests the problem is with all British Pakistani men, which as your colleague Naz Shah MP points out includes other politicians such as Sajid Javid and Sadiq Khan, as well as her two sons.


Naz Shah’s rebuttal article makes me wonder whether you consulted with any of your British Pakistani colleagues before launching such a vocal tirade against Pakistani people. Did you?
You go on to say “for too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up...these people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.” Let’s overlook the questionable accuracy of your assumptions again, but look at the common denominator that you identify, their “ethnic heritage”.
The case which her comments come after is the horrendous sex gang case in Newcastle. Unusually for a sex abuse case, the ethnicity of the perpetrators has been the main focus, and the focus of choice for Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister. The convicted men were mostly British-born, from Iraqi, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, and Turkish communities. Whilst the majority were British Pakistani, not all were. Regardless of this, Ms Champion has labelled the problem as a “Pakistani” one. It’s a modern-day, non-violent version of “Paki-bashing” attacking those who are brown-skinned under the all-encompassing “Pakistani” label.
Like more contemporary racists, you have chosen to identify the common denominator, without proper evidence, as “ethnic-heritage” or as it appears you are unable to differentiate between different ethnic backgrounds, just the skin colour. But say it was the ethnic heritage. Is it British Pakistani culture and upbringing that you are pointing the finger at? Are you able to identify what that culture is? Because I can’t. Like every other “culture”, upbringing varies wildly based on multiple factors. Would you claim the culture and upbringing of an Eton-educated southerner is the same as a manual labourer from a working-class community in Wales, just because they are both White British? Give me a break. You could have pointed out that the common denominator is that they all have dark hair or that they are all men. But you chose race.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume the premise of your arguments are true. That child sexual exploitation is a problem unique to the British Pakistani community. The solution would therefore be to engage with British Pakistani communities and to enable them to tackle the problem head-on. But what do you hope to achieve by writing a column about it in the Sun? Have you been briefed that the Sun has a large Pakistani readership? Are Pakistani mothers and fathers buying copies of the Sun to catch a glimpse of Page 3? If there are huge numbers of Pakistani people reading it, why haven’t you addressed the article to them? When you refer to British Pakistani men as “these people” it sure doesn’t sound like you’re speaking to them directly.
There is a lot more that can said about this, but let me leave you with this thought. Had this article been written by an MP from any other political party or someone like Donald Trump or Nigel Farage, what would the reaction have been? The fact that the article has been penned by an MP from the proudly anti-racist Labour Party is reason enough to be shocked, nevermind the fact that the MP is the Shadow Minister for “Equalities.”

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Zionism as a master-race ideology

video
This is an important interview with Professor Yakov Rabkin that is well worth reading.  According to Wikipedia 

'Yakov M. Rabkin is a professor of history at the Université de Montréal, author and public intellectual. His book A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism was nominated for best French to English translation for "an important and timely work" at the 2006 Governor General's Awards.[1] It has also been listed as one of the three best books of the year by Japan’s leading daily Asahi Shimbun in 2010.[2] This book is currently available in fourteen languages.

Rabkin's analysis is from an Orthodox religious perspective.  Hence he sees the Torah as providing the focus of Jewish identity before the Land of Israel and colonisation took its place.  I disagree.  What united Jews was what they did and how they did it.  It was Jews specific socio-economic role as traders, money lenders, agents of money in a pre-capitalist society based on use values that distinguished them from non-Jews.  The religion, the Talmud, reflected their role.

Nonetheless Rabkin has many useful insights and it is a thought provoking essay.

Tony Greenstein

Holding placards stating “Judaism rejects Zionism and the State of Israel,” “Bibi’s on a world tour to fuel antisemitism,” and “The Jewish religion forbids the existence of the State of Israel,” dozens of radical haredim gathered in front of the US Consulate-General in Jerusalem on Tuesday to protest against Zionism and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress. Caption by JPost, photo by Marc Israel Sellem, March 2015.
 July 26, 2015

We have already talked about Iran in the last days, after the historical Iran Deal in Vienna, achieved after 12 years’ of work this 14th of July 2015. The only State opposing to this deal is Israel which talks about how dangerous Iran is for the Zionist State.

We have talked to Prof. Yakov Rabkin of the University of Montreal about this invention and culture of fear on which Zionism is based. We thank him a lot for his time.

We had already published his great article about Iran before the deal, when Netanyahu spoke in front of the US-Congress about the so called “Iranic threat”.´

Dr. Milena Rampoldi: How has Israel invented the Iranian threat and with which means does Israel try to keep it for ever?

Prof. Yakov Rabkin: In an earlier article I outlined the history of that invention. Israel used its allies and agents to promote it and make it into an international issue. Thus Israel was able to distract world attention from the Palestinians, and deal with them with impunity.
No less importantly, this fabrication offered Israeli society another “existential threat”. Apparently, the non-existent Iranian bomb has now been replaced by another “existential threat”  – BDS, international peaceful campaign to apply boycott, divestment and economic sanctions to make Israel change its policy toward the Palestinians. Some Israelis believe that their society would implode without these existential threats. Fear is what holds it together.

MR: How are the real relations between Jews and Iranian people in Iran which has a big Jewish community?

Prof. Yakov Rabkin:While I have no direct knowledge of the situation of Jews in Iran, it appears they are doing no worse than other Iranians. There have been no violence or specific repressive measures reported.

MR: How can a refusal of Zionist ideology help us today to promote the friendship between the Jews and the Muslim peoples in general and Iran in particular?

It is important to emphasize that Zionism has been a rupture and a rebellion against Judaism. Most Jews opposed it when it emerged in the late 19th century. One must reject antisemitic conspiracy theories and understand that Jews around the world, whatever their vocal support Israel, have no influence on Israeli policies. They should not be held responsible for what Israel is and does. Then one could see that Judaism and Islam are the two closest religions to each other, that Jews lived a lot better in Islamic than Christian realms and that many classical works of Judaism are written in Arabic. Moreover, Jews with their experience of antisemitism in Christian countries can help Muslim to cope with the growing Islamophobia.
MR: What would you say to the German Chief of the Zentralrat der Juden, Dr. Schuster, who said  the Iranian deal is dangerous for Israel and for the stability of the whole Middle East?

Israel fans around the world repeat whatever they are told to say by their Israeli masters. With all due respect to functionaries of Jewish organizations in Germany, they may be less well informed than their government that signed the Vienna agreement. This kind of support for Israel is not innocent. Recently it was revealed that Jewish organizations were covertly used by the Israeli army to spread its message during the attack on Gaza in 2014. Obviously, those Jewish functionaries who agreed to do this expose rank-and-file members of their organizations to reprisals, including violence. This is particularly grievous since most Jews, at least in the United States, support the Vienna agreement with Iran. Moreover, American Jews support it more than the average Americans.

This shows the growing estrangement of American Jews from Israel, which only strengthens the point I made in my answer to your previous question. In view of this, one wonders who exactly represent functionaries of Jewish organizations: Jews in their countries or the State of Israel.

MR: How long will people take to understand that Netanyahu’s position is wrong. What can we explain to these people to change their position?

Netanyahu relies on support from one of the main donors to the Republican Party. One can expect the Prime Minister’s credibility to remain sterling in those circles and their media. Elsewhere, he appears a lot less credible. But at issue is not his personality. Israel’s political mainstream is behind 
Netanyahu in denouncing the Vienna agreement. This is part of the inexorable shift of the Israeli public to the right. And this leads to Israel’s growing isolation in the world, including isolation from Jews in major countries.
Prof. Rabkin, photo from his publisher, Fernwood.


By Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss
June 27, 2017

Last year one of the most important books on Zionism, ever, was published in English by Pluto: What Is Modern Israel? by Yakov Rabkin, a professor of history at the University of Montreal. The central theme of the book is how Zionists have exploited Judaism and western traditions to offer Israel as a liberal democracy when it is actually a nationalist colonialists project hanging on by its paranoid fingernails.

Rabkin has expertise. He is a religious academic, and it is his Judaism that has brought him to embrace universalist cosmopolitanism when it comes to interpreting history in our century. Given his background, he has been able to defy what he calls the “climate of intellectual terror that surrounds the Question of Israel.”

Published on 20 May 2016, Pluto Press, pb, £16.99

In reading his book, it struck me that the greatest service I could provide to a reader is to roll out Rabkin’s deadly insights about the nature of the “Jewish state,” and the essential antagonism of Judaism and Zionism. What follows is a long sequence of Rabkin’s observations and findings, all of which aim to end that climate of terror and allow westerners to speak freely about the Zionist era. 
Let’s go.

Zionism has four essential goals, Rabkin says.

1, “to transform the transnational Jewish identity centred on the Torah into a national identity like that of other European nations.”
2, “To develop a new vernacular language.”
3, “To displace the Jews from their countries of origin to Palestine”.
4, “To establish political and economic control over Palestine.”

Thus, Zionism is a case of “imposed modernization typical of western colonialism,” a policy rejected by both Arab and traditional Jewish populations.

Israel’s self-ascribed identity as a ‘Jewish state’ brings  legitimacy to the renewal of ethnicity as the criterion for belonging

Politically, Israel has been able to rely on the solid support of the elites of Western nations, in part due to Zionism’s colonialist aims:

The essentially European character of this recently established settler colony, which resembles in many ways the United Kingdom’s former colonies throughout the world, also explains Western support of Israel. Its self-ascribed identity as a ‘Jewish state’ brings de facto legitimacy to the renewal of ethnicity as the criterion for belonging.”

Rabkin notes the popular trend we’ve been chronicling:

“Western partiality toward Israel suffers from a democratic deficit: contrary to their elites, the majority of the citizens of the Western nations consider the state of Israel as a threat to world peace.”

The distinction between left and right wings of Zionism is far less meaningful than is Zionism’s hostility to liberalism:

[I]t would surely be more useful to speak of a division between liberal cosmopolitanism and ethnic nationalism. Zionism, meanwhile, is fundamentally hostile to liberal cosmopolitanism, which explains why the Zionist “left,” in Israel and elsewhere, has gone largely over to the “right.” What unites the two camps—their conviction of the legitimacy of Zionism—is more substantial than the stylistic or tactical differences that divide them.

Rabkin links the rise of Zionism with the secularization of Jewish identity in modernity, and the Jewish aspiration to normal experience among the nations:

Jewish secular identity acquired a socio-cultural dimension: those who consciously rejected Judaism could preserve, at least for a while, a specific language (Yiddish), and a few cultural markers. This new identity was conjugated in a wide range of political options, often of socialist or nationalist inspiration. By consummating the break with tradition, the concept of the secular Jew, at variance with the traditional Jewish vision, made it possible to redefine the Jews as a “normal people” and thus became the cornerstone of Zionism.

But it was a special definition of peoplehood.

The concept of the Jewish people that Zionism relied on had little in common with traditional definitions of the term. Religious scholars know that: “the Torah, and only the Torah, makes of the Jews a collective identity.”

Jewish tradition has long put exile at the centre of Jewish existence. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch:

Torah… obliges us, until God shall call us back to the Holy Land, to live and to work as patriots wherever He has placed us, to collect all the physical, material and spiritual forces and all that is noble in Israel to further the wealth of nations which have given us shelter.

But the new secular Jewish identity gained popularity in Eastern Europe and especially Russia, and it “eliminated the religious—and thus normative—dimension of Jewish identity and retained only its biological and cultural dimensions.”
Prof. Yakov Rabkin, at the Cork conference on international law and the state of Israel, April 2017.
Photograph by Tom Suarez
At the same time as it countered Jewish religion, Zionism also countered liberalism: “Zionists consider a liberal, multicultural society as a major obstacle to the expansion of a Jewish national conscience.”

Zeev Sternhell:
“To accept the liberal concept of society would mean [for Jewish nationalist intelligentsia] the end of the Jewish people as an autonomous unit.”

Thus, Rabkin says: “The main threat to Zionism is European liberalism, which offers Jews an individual choice but, according to many Zionists, denies them the opportunity to live a true national life.”

Zionism is at root a response to challenges of liberalism: “far more Israelis take up residence in the world’s liberal democracies than citizens of those countries immigrate to Israel.” That goes for Russian Jews too:

“Out of the 1.2 million Jews who emigrated from Russia at the turn of the 20th century, a mere 30,000 made Palestine their destination, and of those, only a quarter remained there.”

The Jewish tradition of exile is so strong that when Soviet Jewry was allowed to emigrate, Israel was required to carry out “a full scale diplomatic campaign in an effort to prevail upon its allies (primarily the United States and Germany) to limit immigration to their countries of Soviet Jews.”

Rabkin says Zionism was pioneered by assimilated, secular Jews who felt that emancipation had freed them to penetrate the highest levels of European society, and found they were rejected, so they sought a nation like other nations out of this frustration. Torah had been the basis of Jewish unity till Zionism. But when they went back to the land of Israel, “they would no longer need to follow [Torah’s] precepts, for their national consciousness, as experienced in the land of Israel, would be sufficient to sustain that unity.”

Israel allowed these Jews to forgive themselves assimilation: because they were assimilating into “normal” history:

“Only the state of Israel offers the Jews the ultimate freedom to reject totally their spiritual heritage and become a ‘normal people.’ The new Israeli identity appears to facilitate collective assimilation while sparing those who adopt it the feeling of guilt often linked to assimilation on an individual basis.”

Rabkin quotes Rabbi Amram Blau saying that Zionism brought greater injury to the Jews than to the Arabs:

“The Arabs may have lost their land and their homes, but by accepting Zionism, the Jews lost their historic identity.”

And he quotes Meron Benvenisti, former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, characterizing the two-tier system of rights for Jews and occupied Palestinians as “Herrenvolk [master race] democracy.”

The elevation by Zionists of the volk [a superior people with a special destiny] as the exclusive subject of Jewish history led rabbis to denounce this “cardinal element” of Zionist ideology, Rabkin says. He quotes Robert Wistrich.

“There is no Jewish nation… [Jews] should cultivate the ancient Hebrew language, study their rich literature, know their history, cherish their faith, and make the greatest sacrifices for it; they should hope and trust in the wisdom of divine providence.”

Zionism depends on antisemitism, and it also fosters it.

Political Zionism intentionally stirs up anti-Semitism,” I. M. Rabinowitch wrote in 1974. “From the very beginning, it has been the policy to deliberately incite hatred of the Jew and, then, in feigned horror, point to it to justify a Jewish state.”

Rabinowitch said that Zionism contains the “most fertile seeds for proliferation of antisemitism” – an element of dual loyalty. Rabkin then quotes a former Israeli diplomat describing the role of Jews in the west as “an Israel-vassalized diaspora.”

Here Rabkin is unintimidated by the climate of intellectual terror. The vassalizing of the diaspora goes beyond double allegiance to “a form of exclusive allegiance to the state of Israel.” (Remember Dennis Ross calling on U.S. Jews to be “advocates” for Israel, not for Palestinians.) Rakin says:
The unconditional defence of Israel into which certain community leaders have dragooned the Jews tends to expose them to criticism, which in turn justifies Zionism and makes the state of Israel indispensable as an insurance policy. Even proudly secular Israelis find this policy suicidal for the future of the diaspora…

“The denigration of Jewish life outside of Israel has long been a feature of Zionist thought and practice. The mobilization of the diaspora to justify whatever political or military action Israel might undertake constitutes its critical element.”

Not that Zionists knew how to deal with Palestinians. The Zionist activists in Europe never knew the “tolerant variety of nationalism” that arose in the US and Canada that distinguishes between nation, religion, society and state. Rather, the two slogans adopted by the Zionist pioneers clearly illustrated their intentions: “conquest through labour” and hafrada (separation).

“In other words, the Zionist movement adopted a policy of separate development that remains in force up to the present, and explains in large measure the perpetuation of the conflict with the Palestinians and the isolation of the state of Israel in the region.”

These undertakings have led to great Israeli insecurity. Today the term “security” has replaced the concept of self-defence that was widely employed before the creation of the state.

“Israel, often held up as a place of refuge, and even as the ultimate refuge, may well have become the most precarious place of all for the Jews… Now, in contrast to the early years of Zionism, the sense of victimhood has become, over the last few decades, an integral part of Israeli Jewish identity.

“Some of those who have persisted in seeing themselves as victims have come to realize that they are actually victims of the Zionist enterprise, which has subjected them to interminable wars and, in the case of the Arab Jews, chronic social and economic inferiority.”

These conditions generate paranoia, which Rabkin traces to a biblical curse: “you shall flee though none pursues” (Leviticus).

Israeli Jews are aware at some level that their country is based on unstable foundations:

The sense of fragility is fed by awareness of Palestinian hostility, and of the hostility of the region’s population as a whole, a hostility often attributed to so-called “essentialist” causes—Islamic religion and irrational Jew-hatred—rather than to perfectly understandable social and political ones, such as the anger generated by discrimination, dispossession, and deportation of the indigenous population.
Israeli leaders’ demand that others recognize Israel as a Jewish state “testifies to the fragility of the Israeli state, for all its power and prosperity, as felt by many Zionists.” While Zionist fears of becoming a minority cause them to encourage discriminatory immigration policies that only exacerbate the problem.

“Jewish self-hatred” has been a hallmark of the Zionist ideology of national revival. And this too undermines any sense of Israeli permanence.

Jewish tradition teaches that the Jews must take into account the impression they may make on others, even those who have persecuted them in the past… But the Zionist education system from its inception has promoted the use of force, self-affirmation, and combativeness. The Zionists looked upon the requirement to behave as moral exemplars with scorn and ridicule, caring little for the impression they, and later their state, make upon the world, and above all upon its immediate neighbors. Ben-Gurion formulated the proposition thus: ‘What matters is what the Jews do, not what the goyim think.’”

Thus Zionism produced a state that rejected “Judaism and its humility.” The new Zionist/Israeli culture sees itself as resolutely European. “So it was that dozens of songs, nursery rhymes, and children’s stories were translated from Russian into Hebrew during the early years of Zionist settlement.” But not Arab songs!

Zionists used violence to strip Jews from their religious tradition:

“Many of the founders of Jewish armed groups, in both Russia and Palestine, also recognized that the use of force was a way of tearing the Jews from Jewish tradition.”

Rabkin is not afraid of the Nazi analogy. Israel and Nazi Germany are “powerful states that scorn individual morality, practice racial discrimination, and commit crimes against humanity.” Civic spaces in Israel have become associated above all with “death for the fatherland,” a linkage going back to the beginning of Zionist colonization.

Hannah Arendt’s warning about Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann’s not being guilty of “crimes against the Jewish people,” but of his being a normal response to an evil bureaucratic system carries “a universal meaning, which should stand as a warning to any state that adopts ethnic discrimination as state policy,” Rabkin says.

Israel’s behaviour, the incarnation of the principle ‘might makes right’ has undermined the very bases of international public law

“There can be little doubt that after the Nazi genocide, the use of force became an article of faith for a large number of Jews. To cast doubt upon the legitimacy and efficacy of force is, in Zionist circles, tantamount to treason.”

That article of faith has caused Israel to abrogate international law:

“Since the proclamation of the state, Israeli policy has remained constant. It reflects the imperative to perpetuate a state established against the will of the native Arab population and situated predominantly on lands that had once belonged to that population….Israel’s behaviour, the incarnation of the principle ‘might makes right’ has undermined the very bases of international public law conceived to reduce conflict and promote peace.”

Rabkin is clear about the racist character of such Israeli institutions as the Jewish National Fund:

This institution has played a crucial role in the development of the Zionist state. In response to an anti discrimination action brought against the JNF in 2004, the organization confirmed that ‘the loyalty of the JNF is given to the Jewish people and only to them is the JNF obligated. The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.’”

Among Haredi Jews, the criticism of Zionism is alive:

“While the respected Israeli intellectual Boaz Evron argues that ‘Zionism is indeed the negation of Judaism,’ the words that, for decades, have been inscribed on the walls of the Haredi quarter of Meah Shearim in Jerusalem echo this basic position: ‘Judaism and Zionism are diametrically opposed to each other.’”

And of course, Zionism’s international reputation has been transformed:

“Zionism as a symbol of the struggle against racism and for human rights has acquired the characteristics of an ideology that produces Jewish racism and an institutional system that has much in common with South African-style apartheid.

“The Zionist state, which was to have been an instrument of national liberation, has in reality become a skilled manipulator that has attempted to monopolize control of the land, the water, and the country’s other resources.”

Many Zionists have become disaffected:

“Emigration affects primarily the best-educated strata of the population. An estimated 25 percent of Israeli academics work in the United States.”

They understand that Zionism is out of step with history:

“[T]he post-modernist trend presages the collapse of Zionism, in which nationalism is perceived as a form of oppression that must give way to the affirmation of otherness and multiculturalism.”
Rabkin sees Israeli political culture as growing more and more authoritarian:

[T]he totalitarian current gives no sign of abating. If probing questions about certain Israeli policies are sometimes tolerated, not only are all fundamental critiques of Zionism delegitimized, but likewise any individual who might have dared to formulate such criticisms in the past. Such people are systematically excluded from community activities…

Let us recall that the leaders of socialist Zionism made the decision to assassinate Jacob de Haan [in 1924] above all because he “spoke ill of the movement to the outside world.”

This totalitarian culture has special implications for American Jews, those who uphold Zionist doctrine, and those who don’t:

[S]ensitivity to any criticism of Israel can easily be explained by the fact that for many people allegiance to Israel has long replaced Judaism as the anchoring principle of Jewish identity. But in the diaspora, this allegiance extends to an ideal, even imaginary, state rather than to the real and existing state of Israel, that economic and military power that dominates the region. Still, there also exists a Jewish identity whose sole content is to criticize and even to denounce the state of Israel…
The author shares in the hope for Israel to transform itself:

A former speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg, believes that converting Israel into a state of its citizens, and erasing its Jewish nature, is “our only hope for survival.” Prominent poet and intellectual Yitzhak Laor argues, “We don’t have to leave this place or give up our lives… we have to get rid of Zionism.”

Rabkin quotes other Jewish anti-Zionists on the urgency of this idea:

We must stop treating Israel as a romantic dream and learn to see her as a heterogeneous country

In accepting the idea that the structures of Zionism could simply be dismantled, Rabbi Moshe Sober emphasizes its psychological aspect—and expresses guarded optimism about its practicality: “A solution is not impossible; it is not even particularly costly. But it will never be achieved unless we can allow ourselves to forget for a moment our cherished beliefs for which we have sacrificed so many lives, and look instead at the actual realities of the situation. We must stop treating Israel as a romantic dream and learn to see her as a heterogeneous country in which two fiercely proud ethnic populations of similar size are struggling for control….”

Sober’s understanding leads to the acknowledgment of apartheid: “All discussion of the occupation simply conceals another reality, [Sober] concludes. Israel has in fact become a binational state that denies political rights to one of those nations.”

Rabkin is also critical of Israel’s need for geo-political supremacy in its region. Here too he sees racism:

Although both Israel and the United States possess nuclear weapons, they deny Iran the right to acquire similar weapons, arguing that its rulers are irrational religious fanatics. Clearly the principle of double standards is at work, reflecting the revival of the concept of so-called civilized countries that, against empirical evidence, are claimed to possess a monopoly on rationality in international politics.

The sense of superiority has nothing to do with Judaism or antisemitism. It is inherent to Zionism, which is opposed to liberalism.

References to Judaism and to Jewish tradition are of little help in understanding the contemporary Israel; quite the contrary, they are more likely to mislead, for Zionism and the state that incarnates it are revolutionary phenomena. It is easier, in fact, to understand that state’s politics, structure and laws without reference to either the Jews or their history…. It is thus imprecise to speak of a “Jewish state” or a “Jewish lobby”: “Zionist state” and “Zionist lobby” would be more appropriate.

Israel has… succeeded in making the Zionist outlook—by definition anti-liberal—acceptable to the general public as well as in the media and the academic world, even in countries with a long liberal tradition where the state, rather than confessional or “tribal” loyalty, theoretically ensures the rights of the citizen…. [T]he JNF, which for a century has been establishing segregated settlements that are out of bounds to Arabs, enjoys not only Canadian fiscal benefits, but the personal participation of top federal officials in the organization’s fundraising efforts.

The overt transformation of Jewish organizations around the world into Israeli vassals

We must criticize U.S. Jewish leaders for being such willing servants of this ideology, damaging both U.S. and Israeli notions of citizenship: