Sunday, August 24, 2014
Israel’s bombardment of the prison called Gaza and the sight of Israelis pulling up lawn chairs and coolers to watch the slaughter is one of the more nauseating spectacles of human depravity in recent times.
As a result the deprivation and destruction inflicted on Gaza are argued over as tactics rather than being understood as the necessary and implicit consequences of the Zionist world-view.
In my opinion, Judaism is religion to which one can adhere or not. Otherwise, there is no such thing as a dispersed yet bonded “Jewish people” much less a “nation” entitled to reclaim its “ancestral” homeland. Zionism is a collective psychosis based on passive aggressive self-idolatrization.
The only true and lasting resolution of the ongoing conflict is a one state solution in which everyone can practice the religion he chooses but in which people otherwise relate to one another as human beings under the same sky.
In this eight part essay, Woodchip Gazette undertakes to examine the flaws in Zionist ideology and the hypocrisy involved in its ongoing and increasingly brutal colonization of Palestine.
In today’s world, to question Zionism is treated as akin to blasphemy and lets loose the attendant furies. Although this journalistic commentary is not designed to analyze all the phenomena in depth, it can outline the themes and flaws of an ideology which need to be examined more critically.
We take as our point of departure a quote from Viktor Klemperer, a German Jewish convert who survived the World War, who wrote an important book about the Nazi perversion of language and who had examined the matter critically. Klemperer had little use for Zionists,
"To me the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of A.D. 70 are just as offensive as the Nazis. With their nosing after blood, their ancient "cultural roots," their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world they are altogether a match for the National Socialists.”
Zionism's core political objective was to re-establish a "Jewish State" in Palestine. By describing this objective as a "winding back," Klemperer expressed the view that Zionism was historically regressive. Instead of Jews progressing with history, Zionism posits a need to take refuge from history and this need can arise only by re-casting history as a continuous persecution of Jews. This historical narrative is as essential to Zionism as it is false.
In 70 A.D., the Jewish State was abolished by the Emperor Vespasian. It hadn’t been much of a state for over 70 years in any case. In the 50 years before Christ, Judea was ruled by Herod the Great as a client king of Rome. On Herod’s death in 6 A.D., Judea was divided into a tetrarchy of four mini-kingdoms ruled in conjunction with Roman praetors and procurators.
As of 70 A.D. what was left of “Judea” was really a Temple Consortium — a priesthood deriving privilege and profit from an assortment of religious practices and obligations. The country itself was riven by internal discord; in chief by outward looking assimilationists, by zealous, xenophobic fundamentalists and by temporizers who were mostly merchants and the temple crowd.
In 69 AD, the Zealot party raised a revolt against Rome, which Rome (as was its wont) suppressed in no uncertain terms. The “state” of Israel — that is the State of Chaos — came to an end.
It is a myth that the Romans slaughtered and enslaved “millions”. Most of the slaughter at the time (the exact figures are in dispute) was carried out by the Zealots against their own opponents inside Jerusalem.
It is also a myth that the Jews were “dispersed” throughout the world. The Temple Crowd removed itself to Haifa where it continued to exert a claimed authority and gradually evolved into Rabbinical Judaism.
The Zealot Crowd laid low for a while and then continued revolts into the next century. Otherwise, Jews stayed or moved on to other places as best suited their own interests and needs. Jews had settled in parts of the Empire prior to 70 A.D. and continued to do so thereafter.
Despite the political denouement in Judea, Rome continued to be remarkably tolerant of Jews as people. It was the Christians whom Rome fed to lions.
The Zionist narrative paints over a tapestry of multicolored strands with a single monochrome brush based on a false dichotomy of “all of us” versus “all of them.” Like removing grime and varnish from a fresco, bringing back the truth is a painstaking business.
The first thing to note is that until the late 19th century, Judaism was considered by all and all alike to be a religion. No more; no less. The concepts of a “cultural” Jew or a “racial” Jew simply did not exist. Jews were refuseniks and adherents of the Torah. Punto y final.
|Passover Sacrifice (15th Cent. Dutch)|
For the most part, Jews negotiated rather favorable conditions for their estrangement. They were able to do so in part because the Church considered them a protected class and because their own upper class was comprised of merchants whose services — in banking and administration — were of use to the rulers in whose lands they lived.
|Jews receiving Charter of Privileges from Henry VII of Germany (1312)|
It is a judeophobic distortion to suggests that the Jews were the bankers at this time. There were other merchant/banking networks — (the Hanseatic League, the Genovese, the Venetians) — which were equally, if not more, extensive. The Jewish consortium was one of several.
|A Prosperous Jewish Family|
It might be said with some accuracy that, during the early Middle Ages, a greater percentage of Jews comprised a protean middle class than other groups. Theirs was a far better life than that endured by the bulk of Christian peasantry who were serfs, “entitled” to farm their land forever.
The second thing of note is that generalizations by definition are over-simplifications. Like any other group of people, the adherents of the Torah, divided into rich, poor and middling. The majority of Jews — like the majority of Christians and Muslims — were poor; at times wretchedly so. A minority of Jews — like a minority of anyone else — were rich and privileged. Thus, apart from a religious affiliation, it is inaccurate to speak of “the” Jews as if they were a monolithic or homogeneous bloc.
Playing off the unity of a religious label, the Zionist narrative ignores the variations in economic and social circumstances. Whether the label-game is aimed against "the Jews" or against "the Gentiles," the blaming is based on the same false premise. Generally, the rich remained where they were because they were doing well. The poor remained where they were because they were poor. And, as is the case the world over, the rich get envied because they are rich and the poor get disparaged because they are poor.
|An 18th Century Bettel Jude or "Beggar Jew"|
“Our men spared no one, irrespective of rank, sex or age, and put to the sword almost 20,000 people. After this great slaughter the whole city was despoiled and burnt, as divine vengeance raged marvelously.”Jews? No. Cathars. Far many more Albigensian heretics were put to the slaughter in the 13th century (an estimated 1 million) than Jews in 1492 (almost none).
"kill 'em all, God knows his own"
Such persecutions usually had financial and political motives. Serious historians understand the distinction and interplay between religious justification and politico-economic cause. The Albigensian Crusade was tied to centralizing efforts of the Capetian Monarchy just as the Edict of Expulsion was tied the centralizing efforts of Los Reyes Católicos.
|Phillip II, first King of "France"|
A typical example is the so-called “pogrom” in 1066 against Jews in Granada. Like Cordoba, Granada was entrusted by its Muslim conquerors to the Jews for their administration, which typically meant tax-farming. As stated in the Jewish Encyclopedia, “Jews lived in Granada in perfect freedom” and, since they “were rich and powerful, they interfered at times in the dynastic quarrels.” In 1066, a Muslim mob rose up and crucified the Jewish vizier before going on to slaughter an indeterminate number of other Jews.
It does not take a rocket scientist to fill in the picture. The starting fact is that the political administration of Granada was entrusted to a Jew. Does that sound like “exclusion” and “oppression”?
What gets called a “pogrom” against Jews in Muslim Granada was not a persecution but a revolt. Likewise, in 13th century Barcelona, the “pogroms” were actually labor revolts against factory owners. The rampages in the Rhineland or the Ukraine were triggered by Jews’ association with the oppressive creditor and landowner class.
The One Percent at Work(Anti-Jew or Anti-Banker?)
It is the defect of popular uprisings that, being born of desperation, they are usually indiscriminate. But the peasants’ revolts of the 14th (England) and 16th (Germany) centuries were aimed at the upper classes as such irrespective of whether they were Christian or Jewish.
This is not to argue that no persecution ever took place but rather to point out that the historical picture is not uniform or monochromatic one way or the other. Zionist “historians” focus on and exaggerate the “slaughter-of-Jews” part while ignoring the part that involved the “slaughter-of-tyrants and jerks”.
At the other end of the spectrum is the fact that much of the fear and disparagement of “Jews and Gypsies” arose from the fact that the lowest strata of Jews were nefariously associated with petty criminality, prostitution, vagrancy and sorcery. It is probably here that most of the true persecution — that is violence as catharsis — took place. That may not be of comfort to the victims but, at any given time, the victims of such atavistic rituals included witches, gypsies, heretics and anyone different and vulnerable.
Ignoring socio-economic distinctions and difficulties Zionist propagandists use their facile and unitary Jewish victim status as a fulcrum for scapegoating all of Christendom. Typical is the refrain that “Jews fared miserably under Christian rule and fared much better under under the Muslims.” Not true.
Toledo Synagogue (Church of Santa Maria la Blanca)
built by Joseph ben Meir ben Shoshan, finance minister of Alfonso VIII.
The Almoravid rulers, who succeeded the Cordovan Caliphate were not known for their religious tolerance and, in 1147, ordered the compulsory conversion of all Christians and Jews in their realms. In order to shake off the hard yoke and to overthrow the dominion of the fanatical Almohades the Jews formed a conspiracy with the Christians to throw off their yoke.
Contrary to facile dichotomies, throughout the 700 year history of “Muslim Spain” — Jew, Christian and Muslim were in constant kaleidoscopic combination and conflict. It is indisputable that Cordoban Caliphate was so tolerant as to be considered multi-cultural. But so too were the first stages of the Christian “Reconquista”. Alfonso VI “liberated” Toledo (1085) and initiated a policy of convivencia which embraced all three faiths and was continued by his successors. The tomb of Ferdinando III who reconquered Cordoba and Seville, is inscribed in Hebrew, Arabic, Latin and Spanish.
Alfonsine Escuela de Traductores de Toledo
(the academy for Muslim, Christian & Jewish scholars )
Needless to say, Zionist propagandists, masquerading as historians, do their utmost to disprove the existence of a convivencia which they assert never existed. But the overwhelming confluence of facts disproves them.
What typically gets trucked out in the persecutionist accounts are various restrictions “imposed” on Jews. What gets ignored is that in many cases these restrictions were demanded by Jewish community leaders themselves, who just as much as their Muslim and Christian counterparts were intent on maintaining religious homogeneity free from “adulteration”.
By and with whomsoever contrived, the fact that these legal restrictions get successively re-enacted indicates less the existence of “persecution” than the fact that ordinary people were ignoring the restrictions. People themselves lived the way people left to their own devices usually do: fighting and getting along at the same time.
Ukrainian Jews celebrating Pesach
Another aspect of Zionism's self-differentiating "Jewish" singularity is the equally false notion that because (we) Jews are different from all (them) Christians, all them Christians are one and the same. It is on the basis of this overworked dichotomy that Zionists are able to assert that “we Jews” were persecuted as if "those Christians" were not.
Expulsion of Cathars (13th cent.)
Certainly the expulsion of Jews from Spain and their persecution (if it was that) for fraudulent conversions may be considered an ethnic trauma, but no persecution in Europe equaled in devastation the eight million Christian casualties of the Reformation Wars. Central Europe was politically and economically destroyed. Germany alone lost 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and one-third of its towns. What word beginning with an "H" could describe such devastation and slaughter?
What the Albigensian Crusade, the Edict of Expulsion and the Reformation Wars all point to is persecutions by the emergent an emergent nation-state demanding religious conformity. The evidence is fairly clear that it was not “feudalism” so much as the rise of the nation-state which brought about impositions of sexual, cultural and religious conformity. Jews were not the only ones to suffer the impositions of an emergent nationalism.
In so far as the Middle Ages were concerned, the propaganda of the capitalist “Enlightenment” is as moronic as the Zionist. The Middle Ages presented a complex and fascinating tableau of multi-cultural diversity coupled with intolerance. As in any period, there were stupid wars and outbreaks of religious insanity. But it was also a bawdy and extremely creative time in which people of all stripes rubbed shoulders and other parts.
|Dawn of the Enlightenment|
In 1789 Europe underwent its great secularist transformation. In the wake of the Liberal revolutions, adherence to a dominant national religion might be socially advantageous but was not required de jure. The nation state which began by demanding religious "consolidation" now cast that conformity aside. By 1860, most nation states of Europe had removed religious disqualifications from civic life. Jews entered general economic, political and artistic life and, along with this civic assimilation, tended to cast off Jewish identity.
In fact, to the extent that civil disqualifications persisted they were more usually brought to bear against Roman Catholics who were the objects of German persecution during Bismark’s Kulturkampf and who were legally and socially frozen out from English public life for close to 300 years. Irish Catholics were prohibited from purchasing or leasing land, from voting, from holding political office, from living in or within 5 mi (8.0 km) of a corporate town, from obtaining education, or from entering a profession. England could have a Jewish prime minister (D’Israeli) but not a Catholic one. What is politely called the Potato Famine was in fact a policy of privation and starvation, the descriptions of which are as appalling as any in history.
"Katholische Unerwünscht" from Der Kladderadatsch (1874)
In Germany, the National Liberals, self-proclaimed acolytes of secularism, made it their explicit aim to extirpate Catholicism -- but not religion -- from German life. Clergy were arrested, humiliated, and marched through the streets by the police; the Catholic press was suppressed and Catholic marriage was not recognized. These persecutions were not solely aimed at the institutional church. The civil service was cleansed of Catholics and official support was given to popular harassment and intimidation of ordinary lay Catholics.
It is unquestionably true, that contemporaneous with Germany's Kulturkampf, reactionary forces in Tsarist Russia stirred up pogroms against Jews in Byelorussia. But the parallelism of those events points rather to an agenda of suppressing marginalized groups for the sake of national cultural homogeneity.
|Jewish Village in Novgorod|
It bears note, in this regard, that while the stetls and ghettos of Eastern Europe might look wretched to our eyes they were no worse and often better than coal mines and hovels of industrial Manchester where children survived on bread adulterated with alum.
|Irish Tenements in Dublin|
Jewish Viennese Playwright Arthur Schnitzler
In order to warrant looking a gift horse in the mouth, Zionists needed a raison de ne pas etre. It was thus that they conjured up the necessity of a contra-nationalism contrived out of a history of supposed “continuous” persecution.
The thesis is based on a shuffling of labels and play on words. It is true, as Edward Gibbon remarked, that, from a distance, history itself is a continuous chronicle of crimes, vices and follies. But from that same distance it might equally be said that history is continuous chronicle of achievement, virtues and kindness. Up close, everything is a mixed bag.
|Sephardic Synagogue in Prague|
At least twice, in recent memory, Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has taken to the podium of General Assembly to publicly bewail the eternal hounding and persecution of the Jewish People. This was not simply a question of Bibi’s personal style. It was axiomatic to Zionism itself.
Nosing After Blood
But what did Klemperer mean by “nosing after blood”? To grasp his reference one needs to understand that Zionism redefined Judaism in a way that paralleled the Nazis’ attempt to redefine Germanism.
What was involved in both cases was not simply nationalism but refitting the state such that it became the merely formal manifestation of an antecedent “flesh and blood” movement animated by an imperative for survival and asserting a right to exist at the expense of others.
Pan-Judaism and Pan-Germanism played off from the same pseudo-Darwinian nonsense. Despite their antagonism they agreed on the fundamentals. These fundamentals were an outgrowth of- and inherent in post-medieval nationalism which, at bottom, was simply tribalism on a grander scale.
As the 19th century progressed, nationalism replaced religion as the primary differentiation between people. In fact, the cause of religion itself tended to fade. One might say, cynically speaking, that tired of fighting over religion people looked for other reasons to slaughter one another.
But as Judaism fell into personal or civic irrelevance, what basis remained to distinguish a person “as a Jew”? None. Increasingly, Jews became indistinguishable from their co-nationalists.
To fill in the differential blank Zionists resorted to racialist notions. The pony might be laden with as many ad-hoc cultural “artifacts” as might be available, but the spine of the matter was assertedly “ethnic” — Jews were a “nation” in waiting. However, Zionists did not come up with this notion entirely on their own but rather cribbed it from others. The notion of a "nation-in-waiting" was also the mainspring of Pan-Germanism.
"Again I cry, my German brethren! But now! The remains of all genuine folk-thought is rolling into the abyss of oblivion with a last and accelerated impetus. For the last century we have been ashamed of everything that concerns the fatherland. ... Spit out the slime of the Seine! Speak German Oh ye Germans!”The cause of German nationalism was taken up by others from Count von Scharnhorst (citizen army as liberation) to Friedrich Jahn (gymnastics as emancipation) to Ricard Wagner (opera as psycho-political drama). Unity was achieved in 1872 under the aegis of Otto von Bismarck.
For the most part, the unification of the German states was a political consolidation of people who shared linguistic, cultural and geo-economic interests. It was not that different from the earlier consolidation of Spain and France or the contemporaneous Risorgimento in Italy.
But alongside this national-liberalism there arose another strain of Pan-Germanism which sought its roots in a pseudo-scientific racial Darwinism which conjured up a supposed Aryan identity out of “blood and soil”. The evident purpose of these “nosings” was less a search for unity than it was for a physical (and hence supposedly “certain”) differentiation. It was from this auto-imposed racio-national differentiation that Zionism took its cue, like a dance partner in a macabre tangle.
While the cause of nationalism presented a Circean allure for Germany, it posed an existential challenge to Jews. States and empires had always existed; but, as already noted, the rise of nationalism in Europe was also accompanied by a secularization of civil society.
Hitherto, religion was regarded as the core from which everything else - politics, culture and even up to a point economics - emanated. Now it was the inverse. The nation was the universe in which religion, culture, economics and politics were subordinate clusters. This inversion (which is the basis for what later emerged as “totalitarianism”) was the battle line in the dispute between traditionalists and the Encyclopedists or as it is called in France le "Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes.
|D'Alembert Visage de l' Eclaircissement|
The Kaiser looked at England and said, "Why can't I have boats?" The Zionists looked at the Kaiser and said, "Why can't we have a Reich?"
Thus, whereas the assimilationists sought to become linguistically and culturally part of the nation-state of which they were citizens, the Zionists cobbled together an ideological melange from 19th century nationalism, social Darwinism and ethnic exceptionalism. They concocted theories of “cultural jewishness” and “jewish roots” when — apart from religion — there was no cultural commonality between European Jews much less between Ashkenazi and Sephardic ones.
This is not to say that Jews don’t have a culture; such a statement would be absurd. It is to say rather that when its religious source is discounted what is left becomes indistinguishable from the culture of whichever civil society in which Jews may live. Apart from religion, Jews assimilated. When religious identity is taken out of the equation then another unifying denominator must be found or created.
As a result, for Zionists, the term “Jew” became a variable of differentiation - an “I am different because [fill in the blank]." Anything could be thrown into the pot, as needed for the argument, so long as the cause of self-differentiation was served.
Needless to say, this eclectic approach to self-definition gave rise to a confusion of thought. Hardcore Zionists like Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinksy cut to the chase and denounced assimilation as a physiological impossibility,
"The source of national feeling ...lies in a man's blood ...in his racio-physico type and in that alone. ...A man's spiritual outlook is primarily determined by his physical structure. For that reason we do not believe in spiritual assimilation. It is inconceivable, from the physical point of view, that a Jew born to a family of pure Jewish blood can become adapted to the spiritual outlook of a German or a Frenchman. He may be wholly imbued with that German fluid, but the nucleus of his spiritual structure will always remain Jewish."
If that statement sounds like that other ideology it is because both flowed from same pseudo Darwinian premise. Present day Zionists may deafen Heaven itself with shriek and howls of outrage; but the words speak for themselves.
Jabotinsky’s nonsense, as well as strikingly similar passages which can be found in Mein Kampf (op cit. ch. 11 [ "It is not by the tie of language but exclusive by the tie of blood that the members of a race are bound together"] ) did not spring from his head ex nihilo. Such notions were in the air and were a racialist expression of colonial, capitalism aspiring to be scientific and pretending to be objective.
Nationalism’s naughty child had an almost innocuous inception. In the 1840’s the French academic, Ernst Renan, published a book on the Life of Jesus. The book was a ground-breaker because it was the first study of Jesus as a purely historical figure. However, Renan’s study took a poisonous turn by arguing that Jesus had purified himself of Jewish traits and had become “Aryan”.
Renan’s thesis emanated from earlier socio-linguistic studies he had carried out regarding Semitic cultures. These he regarded as monotonous, monotheistic, repressive and absolutist. He contrasted these cultures with the positive, creative, virtues of Indo-European Hellenism, which he labelled “Aryan.” While Renan cannot be faulted for making a first attempt at social-anthropology, his efforts remained faulty science. In the end, it was simply the White Man’s Burden gussied up in scientific lingo.
Renan got it from both sides. The Catholic Church indexed his book for debasing Jesus into a mere historical figure and the Talmudic scholar Moritz Steinschneider lambasted his work as “anti-Semitic.” This appears to have been the first use of the term.
Working the other end of the field Steinschneider founded (1838) the Einheit (Unity) society whose protagonized objective was to promote the welfare of the Jewish people by settling Palestine with Austrian Jews.
Renan and Steinschneider were arguing over comparative valuations of broad social cultural clusters — IndoEuropeans and NearEast Semites (although the supposition that Austrian Jews were Semites from the Fertile Crescent was at least as fanciful as the the notion that Jesus was an Indo-European Aryan). Nevertheless, the issue soon got narrowed down to Germanic versus Jewish.
|Arthur de Gobineau|
Unlike Renan, however, Gobineau considered the “original” Jews to be Indo-Europeans. In a marvelous inversion of actuality, he regarded Sephardic Jews to be a later result of African miscegenation, which one supposes left Ashkenzi Jews to be kissing cousins of the Vikings.
Gobineau’s work is typically described as a prototypical example of “scientific racism”. But there was nothing scientific about it at all. Gobineau drew his hypotheses exclusively from the biblical and textual historical sources.
What was really occurring during this period was that fantasizers adopted scientific sounding rhetoric and labels to explicate their ideas. Truly scientific inquiry was at best at the level of first attempts.
Although Gobineau was not anti-semitic, others were and “semitism” became another one of Germany’s politico-cultural footballs. In 1879 German journalist Wilhelm Marr published a pamphlet, "The Victory of the Jewish Spirit over the Germanic Spirit” in which he argued that a Jewish spirit was infiltrating and undermining Germanic culture. Marr, a socialist, founded the Antisemiten-Liga or Antisemitic League.
Marx and Wagner got into the act with their notorious anti-Jewish pamphlets (Marx, “On the Jewish Question” and Wagner’s Das Judentum in der Musik)
In response, in 1882, Judah Leib Pinsker published the first true Zionist Manifesto (“Auto-Emancipation”). In the spirit of the times, the manifesto was salted with medico-scientific lingo. Although the manifesto might be thought to directed against Marr’s pamphlet, it actually was in accord with it. Pinkser’s argument was directed not so much against Marr as against assimilationist Jews, viz:
"The Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations under which they dwell, and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation."Zionism as an actual political and actively colonizing movement began that same year (1882) when Pinsker, Isaac Rülf and others, with the financial backing of Edmund Rothschild, started Hovevi Zion (Lovers of Zion) an association which that same year founded the first Zionist settlement in Palestine. The association also got a boost from the Russian Government which approved the establishment of a "Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria and Palestine."
Rosh Lezion (Palestine) 1885
What this brief summary of intellectual trends shows is that Zionism was not only an off-shoot of 19th century political-nationalism but also, and more fundamentally, of 19th century racial-nationalism.
Next to these 19th century pastiches of pseudo-scientific, mumbo-jumbo, medieval scholasticism seems sane and down to earth. It serves to recall that, in Latin, the word super-stitio means to carry something too far. The studious, learned, and fundamentally stupid mish-mashing of racial, cultural and medico-psychological elements was, at best, a superstition of science.
Each of us has genetic markers which can be traced and differentiated from those of some others. But all of us share far more than we don't. Zionism and Aryanism carried the search for differentiation too far and end up nosing after ghosts.
Following the disaster which befell European Jews during the World War, the Jabotinsky’s racialism and Pinsker’s medico-psycho-physiology fell into disfavor. Revisionist Zionists might secretly believe Jews were the carriers of a unique "gene" but were too embarrassed to say it. An adjustment was needed.
The hard edges of pseudo-Darwinian racialism were discarded in favor of a fuzzy half-ceremonial half physiological fact. It was accepted as a point of departure that anyone born of a Jew was presumptively a Jew. This, of course, had been a long-standing tenet; but, contrary to popular belief, Judaism never exclusively espoused matrilineal descent. It is more accurate to say that Jews had adopted the ius sanguinis — the principle that a child takes on the nationality of his parents. As the term itself implies, this is none other than a physiological fact cast in the hue of a religious “tradition.”
There is nothing particularly wrong about the ius sanguinis; it depends on what one does with it. Reasonably considered, the ius sanguinis and the ius soils are ways of stating that a child will most likely be brought up in the ways and customs of his parents and/or the society in which they live. In other words, the ius sanguinis is a physiological fact which only acquires significance in terms of its behavioral and cultural implications. This is not rocket science. It is when the matter is taken literally as if “cast in genetics” or as some "indelible attribute" that problems arise. Unfortunately, that is what virtually all Jews have usually done.
Circumcision (15th Cent. Venice)
To give an example, it was recently reported that Cardinal O’Connor was the offspring of a "Jewish mother." At the time of his birth she had already “converted out” of Judaism. She remade herself, cutting off all connection with anything “Jewish.” O’Connor never knew his mother was supposedly a Jew, he was never circumcised or raised as a Jew, he never wanted to be a Jew and had always conceived of himself as Catholic. Nevertheless, the New York Times reported, without any hint of questioning, that his own sister asserted that he (and she) were Jewish. Such a position is simply Pinsker and Jabotinsky without the foaming palaver about “types.”
The Catholic Church, it might be added, has never accepted such a premise. In fact, Baptism is an explicit rejection of blood types and racial identities. You are as what water has flowed over. But such religious “nonsense” was precisely what the 19th century rejected in its pursuit of supposedly hard-rock “materialist” truths.
In the end, the difference between the moderate and hardcore Zionists on the “racial issue” is more seeming than real. When some kind of indelible identity is presumed to “flow” with breaking water, the proposition is simply a watered down version of Jabotinsky’s genetic premise that “spiritual outlook is primarily determined by ... physical structure.” It was a claim as absurd as the alleged Germanic descent from a mythical Aryan tribe.
Klemperer knew whereof he spoke. Like two boxers sharing the same mat, the fact that two positions are antagonistic does not mean that they don't share the same premises. Although their political aims might oppose or overlap at any given juncture, Aryanism and Zionism both resorted to “racio-physico” premises, nosing after blood.
Blood and Cant
After the World War, genocide got trucked out as the ne plus ultra justification for Zionism. Instead of nosings, the argument advanced was one of necessity. But necessities and alternatives pose merely pragmatic issues; they focus on expediencies instead of principles. Zionism ante-dated the Nazis and, in order to ascertain its inherent nature it has been necessary to dissect its ideological roots and composition.
As outlined in the previous section, Zionism was an outgrowth of 19th century racial-nationalism. In so far as Zionism is concerned, what occurred is that a false persecutionist narrative got coupled to a pseudo-scientific racial identification. Concepts of race and persecution as a helix of identity comprised the essence of Zionism from the start.
When I was in Israel, years ago, I sat in on a class given at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on What is a Jew. I thought it might be interesting to get a perspective on that perennial question from the "centre of the world."
The professor went through — and demolished — all the usual alternatives: a religion, a culture, a language, a race, an ethnicity, an ideology. Nothing fit. None of these factors were common and unique to all those who called themselves “Jews” and therefore no one of these factors could be deemed an essential quality or determinant of a Jew. So then, what in the world was a Jew? This was his answer in his own words
“A Jew is a person who feels himself to be persecuted as a Jew.”
The statement was astonishing. I could not think of anything more negative and perverse. It was the inverse of the anti-semitic portrayal. Instead of the chameleon Jew huckster or exploiter, it was the mutli-masked victim.
The illogic of the professor’s definition is that, accepting that there is no definition of a Jew one ends up with the purely subjective conclusion: I am persecuted because of something that is otherwise not definable.
As previously noted, the term "Jew" becomes an empty variable into which one might insert any distinguishing “value” (whether cultural, ethnic or religious) so long as it served to draw a line between self and other. The one distinguishing value which always worked was persecution in the name of being a “Jew.”
At the time, I did not understand that this definition was not some fanciful academic thesis of an eccentric professor. It was Zionist orthodoxy explained in a government-sponsored course given mostly to non-Israeli Jews doing their aliya. The message was: if you feel yourself persecuted as a Jew then here, in Israel, is where you belong.
Of course, under this entirely subjective definition, a pure Teuton could consider himself a "Jew" if he felt himself to be so persecuted. The only way to avoid the absurdity of an entirely subjective definition is by tacit and implicit resort to the one other non-linguistic, non-cultural, non-religious factor; namely the unalterable physiological fact of birth from a Jewish parent. This fact is not racial in the strict sense because one parent can be anything from anywhere; but it is racialist in that one parent always traces a physiological descent from a supposed "original Jew."
The melding of racialism and persecution as a doctrine was made explicit in Judah Pinsker's Auto Emancipation in which he argued that,
"This is the kernel of the problem, as we see it: the Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations under which they dwell, and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation. ... Hence the solution lies in finding a means of so readjusting this exclusive element to the family of nations, that the basis of the Jewish question will be permanently removed."
But this a non-digestible "element" was also eternally despised and eternally persecuted,
"A fear of the Jewish ghost has passed down the generations and the centuries. First a breeder of prejudice, later in conjunction with other forces we are about to discuss, it culminated in Judeophobia. . . . Judeophobia is a psychic aberration. As a psychic aberration it is hereditary, and as a disease transmitted for two thousand years it is incurable."
Equally hereditary was Jewishness:
"Thanks to their ready adaptability, [Jews] have all the more easily acquired characteristics, not inborn, of the people among whom fate has thrown them. Often to please their protectors, they [suppressed] their traditional individuality entirely. They acquired or persuaded themselves into certain cosmopolitan tendencies which could no more appeal to others than bring satisfaction to themselves.
"The German proud of his Teutonism, the Slav, the Celt, not one of them admits that the Semitic Jew is his equal by birth; and ... will never quite forget that his fellow-citizen is a Jew.
"So long as the Jews themselves prefer not to speak in Aryan society of their Semitic descent and prefer not to be reminded of it ... the stigma attached to this people ... cannot be removed by any sort of legal emancipation.
"This degrading dependence of the ever alien Jew upon the non-Jew ... makes amalgamation of the Jews with the original inhabitants of a land absolutely impossible. ... [I]f he nevertheless prosper and succeed in plucking a flower here and there from its soil, woe to the ill-fated man! He must expect the fate of the Jews of Spain and Russia.
"The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America
"To sum up then, to the living the Jew is a corpse, to the native a foreigner, to the homesteader a vagrant, to the proprietary a beggar, to the poor an exploiter and a millionaire, to the patriot a man without a country, for all a hated rival."
A more degrading pile of tripe can hardly be imagined. Pinsker posited “the Jew” as a distinct, non-Aryan, non Slavic, non-Celtic race which was incapable of being racially assimilated; at once the the miserable, wretched, beggarly contemptible alien who carries the “seed” of his own affliction wherever flourishes by virtue of his superior abilities.
Virtually all leider motifs of the Zionist Melody are to be found in Pinsker: the wandering Jew, the nation without a homeland, the eternally persecuted Jew of “common unmixed descent” who has “rendered a greater service to humanity” then anyone else and yet is the self-humbling, self-negating parasite and “shuttle-cock” who prays “pray only for a little place somewhere to lay [his] weary head to rest.”
Klemperer was being charitable when he called this rot “obtuse” But the impact of the obtuseness cannot be understated. Particularly in the United States, Zionist agencies translated, distributed and polemicised Pinsker's pamphlet so that its nonsense came to percolate into the Jewish and, ultimately, the Gentile mind. Listen to anyone talking about Jews, Zionism or Israel and some phrase of Pinsker's will ultimately come bubbling back up.
Pinsker’s racialism was not as direct as Jabotinsky’s, it arose by reflection and implication. But the implications of Jews carrying the germs of a congenital disease of their own victimization by non-Jews was a conceptual pretzel twisted from the pseudo-science of the times and understood by all.
There was no scientific basis for Pinsker’s ipse dixit that all Jews were Semites or, supposing they were, that they were incapable of assimilation with the “Teuton,” Slav or Celt. There is no medical basis for describing “judeophobia” as hereditary or, conversely, for calling the Jew the bearer of his own “seed” of antisemitism. The entire construct of medical metaphors, racial fantasies and delusions of grandeur and persecution based on grotesque generalizations was indeed “altogether a match for the National Socialists.”
Pinkser wrote his proclamation in the midsts of a pogrom and, as an emotional cry of anguish, it is understandable enough. Equally understandable was Pinsker’s evident Auto Embarrassment at the degraded socio-economic condition of stetl Jews in Eastern Europe — a condition brought about in significant part by adult males who chose to do nothing but sit in sheds reading the Torah twelve hours a day. But anguish and exasperation are neither history nor science.
Logically speaking, Pinsker’s error consisted in the fallacy of accident — confusing a quality in something which is irrelevant to the causality at issue.
For example. If a Lutheran punches a man in the face and steals his wallet, he does so as a robber not as a Lutheran. If, on the other hand, he punches him in the face while yelling “Faith is by Grace, Not Works!” it is reasonable to conclude that he is doing so as a Lutheran and not as robber.
It may be accepted that, at times, adherents of the Tanakh (“Jews”) were persecuted strictly on account of their religion. It does not follow that every disparagement of a Jewish beggar or uprising against an Jewish exploiter was triggered by hatred of his religion.
Pinsker’s fallacy was the same as Hitler’s. It was true, as Hitler argued, that Jews were involved in the Communist movement and that Jews were also protagonists of capitalism. It does not follow that “the Jews” were behind both, that the opposites of communism and capitalism were cunning deceits of the unitary Jew and that in order to oppose either communism or capitalism one had to strike at “the Jew.”
Picking up rubble in devastated Dresden Victor Klemperer was of the view the Zionist had contributed to the awful denouement as much as the Nazis. In terms of practice, “as much” was too much. But conceptually, in terms of promoting bad ideas which bear poisoned fruit, Klemperer was right.
Both assimilationists and orthodox Jews vilified Zionism which they regarded as either threatening their efforts at integration or as rebellion against the will of God. If the assimilationists had had a manifesto it might well have been called Auto-Effacement. Assimilationists were true nationalists who worshipped at the Altar of the Enlightenment. Ultimately, their position was that “being Jewish” (whatever that meant) gave way to the imperative of being a co-nationalist with others of the same stripe.
The orthodox Jews drew the opposite conclusion. They worshipped before the Arc of the Covenant. For whatever reason, being distinguishably Jewish was the most important thing because God said so. In psychological terms, this premise was simply transference to an external locus of control. Orthodox Jews wanted to be different because that’s what they wanted, but they didn’t want to own up to responsibility for their self-differentiation so they “blamed” it on God -- a God who, willing the destruction of the Second Temple, had put nationhood on hold.
|Orchestrating World Dominion in Cracow|
This pastiche is the same no matter how one looks at the matter. The moderate argument that Zionism was necessary as a supposedly “practical” matter because there was no viable alternative was premised on the notion that Jews — even if they ceased to be Jews in any discernible way — would never be truly accepted and persecution would always raise its head. But the argument is circular. If a group is “totally assimilated” it ceases to be as what it was before. It is like a river that has flown into the sea. At that point, the only basis for discerning a difference which is no longer linguistic, cultural, civic or religious is the supposition of some sort of racio-physico “type.”
Whether Zionists came up with the idea of a Semitic racial type or whether they cribbed it from others or whether they accepted it as a sociological given, is immaterial because the false differentiation is still given currency. What ends up defining Zionism is an identity based on an assumedly "objective" physiological fact ("born of a Jew") coupled with a subjective psychological affirmation (persecuted as a Jew). Likewise, whether expressed in Jabotinsky’s hard-core racialism or in fuzzier terms accompanied by a shuffling between labels and theories, the central helix of Zionism remains an ethno-psychological determinism which asserts: you are a Jew and your birthright is to be persecuted.
The whole tedious conundrum of what is a Jew? does not exist if one simply accepts that Judaism is a religion, nothing more, nothing less. The need to come up with an alternative definition from somewhere does not arise until that definition is rejected. For the most part, Zionists had in fact ceased to be Jews in the classical sense. Certainly, there were observant Jews within the movement; but the impetus for Zionism was secular racio-nationalism. Jews were either assimilated or in "danger" of becoming so; Zionists had to conjure up a necessity.
Talmudic Judaism gave up on the zealotry; the Zionists picked it up.
An Article of Faith
Zealotry is a form of fancy and all fancy, whether literary or lunatic, has some connection to “objective reality.” What gets pulled out of thin air is the illogic. Zionism’s illogic lies not only in drawing the wrong conclusions but also in drawing inconsistent ones. It is a “mist of theories.”
The reason for this is that Zionism is not a true analysis but an argument - a polemic for a previously chosen objective. As an “ideology” Zionism is whatever works to get you to Palestine.
The religious, the historical, the cultural and the ethno-racial, elements get played up as suits the circumstances to win the argument. In Israel this is called Hasbarah and there are manuals which can be download instructing people how to “defend” Israel.
In the end, Zionism boils down to sophistry, counting on the uninformed gullibility of their listeners; acting the innocent simpleton when inconvenient facts are presented; feigning incomprehension and bolting to another field of discussion to avoid inconvenient facts or proofs; laying down truisms and platitudes which are then applied to other problems and matters of an essentially different nature from the original issue.
The inherent vice of all sophistry is that, because it consists in switching and shuffling and is always changing it's tone and hue, it destroys reasonable discourse. It is almost impossible (and certainly tedious) to argue against because the game gets reduced to unraveling endless circumlocutions. Sophistry may be effective, but it is vicious.
Nevertheless, as we have attempted to show in the preceding sections, whether Zionism is cast in the hard tones of a racial necessity (i.e. racio-political necessity) or in soft fuzzy woozy of a homeland for the culturally Jewish the root of the matter is really the same: the supposition of distinction which exists of itself. This absolute but empty point -- "not gentile" -- then gets filled with the vinegar and gall.
The ne plus ultra of the gall -- genocide -- is then presented as dispositive proof of the narrative and the self-definition. But rather than proving the validity of the Zionist thesis, the “Holocaust” actually obscures what Zionism is about.
The genocide of Jews was not the culminating act of perennial persecution; it was the immediate consequence of pseudo-scientific racialism — an entirely new and distinct phenomenon, which we have briefly described. What was unique, here, were the twin concepts of racial determinism and the racial-state as a physiological organism which needed to be cleansed of racial-infections. The uncomfortable fact is that the denouement flowed from a shared premise of an indelible “racio-psychological” identity.
Notions of “blood purity” have existed since time immemorial but they were mostly metaphorical and applied loosely. In the 19th century the metaphor aspired to science and, in the 20th, the superstition of science was applied ruthlessly to entire populations through a “surgery” consisting of confinement, deportation, forced labor, starvation, reprisals and executions
Whatever the details, it simply cannot be said that the Nazi persecution of Jews was class-war by another name. Nazi ideology was explicitly Aryanist and found its dialectical antithesis in the so-called racial Jew. But that ideology was also and just as much anti-Slav or anti-anything not supposedly Germanic. It was inclusively but not exclusively anti-Semitic.
Approximately an equal number of ethnic Poles were expunged by Nazi racial policies as were Polish Jews. Approximately 3.3 million Russian POWs were allowed to starve to death in corrals and of the 13.7 million, non-Jewish civilian casualties 7.4 million were victims of Nazi genocide and reprisals, 2.2 million were deaths of persons deported to Germany for forced labor; and 4.1 million died of famine and disease deaths in occupied territory.
These figures demonstrate that what gets called “the Holocaust” was not the culminating final act of historical anti-semitism; it was rather the first act of applied social Darwinism.
A macabre judiciousness accompanied the slaughter. Nosing after blood, Nazis were vexed by the dilemma of the mischlinge or half-breeds. Do we “save” the good and spare the Jewish part or do we shed German blood in order to expunge the bad?
The underlying vice, here, was not seeking to cultivate a certain type of person — all societies do that in one way or another. The sin was determinism — the great fundamental of the “scientific revolution” which denies the fantasy of free will.
The fantasy of free will is everything. God-drunk as the Middle Ages might have been, people were allowed to choose what they wanted to be and to convert from what they had been. Intent was necessary and sufficient. The Nazis denied a person the right to choose his beliefs and shape his own character.
But of the same coin is to mark a person as forever chosen; to deny a person to the right and capacity deny his born self. To assert, that "assimilation is impossible" or that “Marx was a Jew” despite his complete denial of religious or ethnic adherence, is to buy into the same racial determinism.
Zionists were not as race-obsessed as the Nazis. They did not particularly care if one-half or one-quarter of a person was not “racially Jewish,” and they certainly were not out to extirpate the fractal that wasn’t. Let it be clearly said that, in this respect, there was and is no “moral equivalency.”
The flaw in Zionism was that it bought into or tacitly accepted a pseudo-scientific "racio-physico" determinism. Notwithstanding the subjectivity of a sense of persecution, its hybrid definition of a "Jew" was still based on a coupling that sense to a supposedly objective and unalterable "racio-physiological" fact.
A man like Klemperer might insist that he had chosen to become and was German. Both Nazis and Zionists insisted that he was still Jewish. That "racio-physico" determinism, whether applied to Jews, to Slavs, to Negroes or Asiatics was the real root of Nazi genocide. In a word, there is a qualitative difference between forced conversions or forcible assimilation and homicidal ethnic "cleansing."
It is true that Nazi policy represented Judah Pinsker’s worst nightmare. But post hoc is not propter hoc. It simply does not follow that all antecedent conflict in history was merely “the holocaust” in germinal form. It is the methodological fallacy of anachronism to retroject causes in the present to times past and to suppose that people in times past know and think as we do in the present.
But all causes need a cause. Zionism's thesis of continuous and predetermined persecution was not gaining broad acceptance even among Jews. Nazi genocide provided a cause macabre which seemed to prove the already accepted thesis. This is why the pseudo religion of “The Holocaust” became so essential to Zionism and why the State of Israel has created a new Temple Consortium at Yad Vashem.
As we have outlined, Zionism draws questionable conclusions from dubious historical and racial premises. A mist of theories may be rich in complexity but it remains, in the end, a mere mist. To prevent examination of alternatives; to prevent analysis of the evidence; to preclude questioning of ends and even of means to the ends, The Holocaust is posited as an article of faith which it is blasphemous and, in some places, illegal to question in anyway.
It is necessary to be precise as to the point on which "faith" is brought to bear. The mass killing of Jews and Slavs did occur as an historical fact. But any historical fact is always subject to analysis and interpretation as to causes, manner and consequences. The point in question is the genesis of the genocide -- whether it was the ultimate train wreck of an allegedly uninterrupted course of previous persecution or whether it arose sui generis from 19th century pseudo-science. At this pointl, the spectacle of genocide is interposed to prevent critical analysis and by the same token to impose a chosen answer. "Faith" arises when the event is transfigured into something so awe-some and "beyond grasp" so that reason itself is muted.
Aristotle, in his treatise on tragedy — which he notes is a “species” of history — points out the purpose of “spectacle” in drama is to “suspend” critical thought or disbelief so as to “open” the audience to the intended catharsis of the tragedy. In the same manner, “The Holocaust” — recent, graphic and overwhelming, becomes the mind-numbing spectacle of the historical drama and the lynch pin of the historical dialectic.
|A "Holocaust Sculpture"|
The above photograph which was clearly staged, shows Jews arriving in the "promised land." One may rest assured that, impoverished as post war refugees were, they did not walk around in concentration camp jackets.
The word “holocaust” — which means “fully burnt sacrifice and, by extension, “conflagration” — did not become identified with Nazi genocide until the mid to late 1960’s. Since then the matter has been so indelibly propagandized through education and movies (which today are much the same thing), that the historical event has become an atavistic totem in people’s minds. The "memorialization" is accompanied by all the artifacts of a religion: reliquaries, places of pilgrimage, accounts of extraordinary events. That the artifacts are negative -- that the extraordinary is extraordinarily awful -- doesn't change the paradigm and purpose of the spectacle at work.
It might be argued, according to Plato, that all "republics" are based on a founding myth. That is true enough and if we put the two Greeks together we can say that all societies are founded on a suspension of belief. The Ancient Greeks were nothing if not subtle.
But to say as much does not mean that how we suspend credulity is unimportant. Zionism -- or for that matter Christianity -- may be deemed a mist of theories but thinking them they become a habitus which -- even if conjured out of thin air -- creates a disposition to engage in certain modes of activity when encountering particular people, objects or situations. We are mist-turned-flesh.
|Detail from Crucifixion by Mathias Gruenwald (1550)|
The fundamental perversion of Israel’s new national religion is that it is grounded in tribalization and cultivates a spirit of resentment. It is not forgiving and redemptory providing forgetfulness and freedom for all. It is used rather to exact a form of blood guilt for the benefit of some by demanding as a necessity land belonging to others.
A King Like Unto Other Nations.
At bottom, Zionism was not truly a “pragmatic alternative” but is an existential self-conception which is heretical both to Judaism and Christianity. The "New Israel" may be presented as a kind of political resurrection for Jews, the manifestations of which may indeed by alluring; but it is the wrong kind of faith. Faith in the nation is always an affront to God.
My first impression of Israel was broken glass. There was more than an occasional broken window on the train from Haifa to Tel Aviv and, at the station, what had been a large glass doorway was blown out. Somewhat stupidly, it dawned on me that I had walked into a war-zone.
Pulling into Tel Aviv Station
The second thing I came to realize that was that the Western portrayal of an Arab-Jewish conflict was only the half of it. This was a land of sects and subdivisions I had barely heard of and all whom were grumbling against one another about something.
Jews in the West (at least the Ashkenazi variety) have a reputation for kvetching but in Israel, at the time, the least of the grumblers were the Jews. Maybe a homeland was not such a bad idea. These two dollar shoes, they fit me fine, Lord, Lord...
Overall, Israelis impressed me as upbeat, pragmatic, straightforward and happy. Most of all they had what the Germans called gemeinschaft or solidarity.
|Those were the days, my friend....|
When asked what I thought of Israel, I replied that it was a fascinating, variegated land, with a complex history and complex realities but, though I had enjoyed my stay, Israel was a “proto-fascist” country and had to be careful lest it go full bore.
Needless to say, such an observation provoked high volume outrage and indignation. But the gasping and puffing whether contrived or congenital, could only fall back on the usual Zionist hobby horse: millennia of persecution — to which was added, as if it were some kind of Q.E.D., that Israel wasn’t “gassing millions” in “factories of death.”
Of course, if “gassing millions” were the benchmark, it is no benchmark at all. Such a mark, existing at the end-pole of a spectrum, can measure nothing since everything and anything will always fall short of it. The issue is never the end point but the point of departure. The premise always implicates the conclusion and if the premise is misbegotten the conclusion, whatever its shape or degree, will be misbegotten as well. Thus said the Lord to Samuel.
Years after my trip to Israel, I discovered, Mit Brennende Sorge (1937) the encyclical in which Pope Pius XII admonished Germany of the dangers implicit in ethnic-nationalism.
"No one would think of preventing young Germans from establishing a true ethnical community in a noble love of freedom and loyalty to their country. ...
"Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - howsoever necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God ..."
What was striking in the foregoing passage is that Pius was not drawing lines in the sand between fundamentals as black and white values. He was resorting to an argument based on degree.
But what is the “standard value” of patriotism and ethnic pride? Pius did not say. But he did say that “divinizing” ethnic pride and loyalty to the state was an idolatry offensive to god.
So when does a nation become a Golden Calf? When its existence is the ultimate good and when it becomes the irresponsible arbiter of all good — a nation “under” itself. When the matter thus stated, it can be seen that what is ordinarily spoken of as "nationalism" is at least the shadow of the calf.
In Liberal theory, ultimate sovereignty is reposed in the State which becomes (in the words of the English legal historian, Theodore Plucknett) "irresponsible." The precursor to so-called popular sovereignty was the so-called divine right of kings. That doctrine, however, was merely the hatching out of the fledgeling nation state. In truly Medieval concepts, the King was only a penultimate authority. The nation existed (as Americans like to say if not actually practice) under God.
The distinction is important, even if it exists only as a reminder that the State can never be an absolute or an end in itself; that it is, at bottom, always a mere expedient. When people are exhorted to put their faith in the nation; when people speak in terms of a nation's "resurrection," a warning gong has been sounded.
In Nazi ideology, the state was more than an expedient or contractual expression of popular sovereignty; it was rather the ultimate manifestation of a people’s blood and history through time. The “idea” of Germany, its ordained existence in time and place flowed a priori from “blood and soil.”
Paradoxically, so viewed, the State ceased to be an artificial person created by consent but got reduced to a kind of Spandex on the body of the Volk. The nation state got tribalized and entered into a "mystical" incarnation with the flesh, blood, and will of each and all Germans The state was all and nothing at the same time, which is what idols are.
Pius took this ideology head on. He warned against invoking “suggestions of race and blood” or concepts such as the “revelations” and “the ‘irradiations’ of a people's history.” Such canting, he said, was “mere equivocation.”
“False coins of this sort do not deserve Christian currency ... To substitute the one for the other, .. is a senseless play on words, if it does not conceal a confusion of concepts, or worse.”
"Whoever follows that so-called pre-Christian Germanic conception of substituting a dark and impersonal destiny for the personal God, denies thereby the Wisdom and Providence of God who "Reacheth from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly" (Wisdom viii. 1)."
In the 1930’s much of the world was taken with Hitler’s New Germany. This was not “appeasement” (a later contrived apology); it was affirmative support. People saw in National Socialism not only a bulwark against Bolshevism (which was, in fact, pressing upon the West) but a solution to the contradictions and conflicts inherent in the psychologically, politically and economically alienated mass industrial society.
There was much in National Socialism which was bright, healthy and hopeful and which, on balance, seemed worth the price of some harassment of the Church, some bothersome discriminations against Jews and a hard-line against illegal Jewish immigrants from Poland who numbered more than half of the legally existent German-Jewish community.
But Pius, who necessarily spoke with the perspective of millennia at his back, saw into the darker matter. Nazism was a species of exalted collective narcissism at the expense of others; a differentiation of self in derogation of God’s universal Fatherhood.
So Samuel warned the people of the ways of kings and how they would cry out on the latter day for having forsaken God, but how He would not hear them on that day.
Even so, the people refused to heed the voice of Samuel; and they said, “Nay; but we will have a king over us that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles”
The people’s demand in Samuel was the same as that of the Zionists whose cry, stripped of its rationales, was simply “We want to be a Nation like unto other Nations!”
The dispute in Samuel was over the source and purpose of tradition. All peoples have customs and usages which reflect their collective consciousness through time. These usages are not static formulae but “ways of speaking” about perennial issues.... habits.
In the Christian and Prophetic traditions, both the source and the focus of this collective consciousness was something presupposed to be greater than the people themselves — greater than the nation -- and therefore something that included people other than themselves. That is why Pius quoted the Book of Wisdom.
The Jewish god, like other divinities, most likely began as the tribal God of a Grotto. But the experience of the Jews over time revealed — exacted — a higher more universal conception.
When Isaiah (1:17) exhorted care for widows and orphans he was urging more than mere charity. Those without fathers and families were non-persons, political exiles. Widows and orphans were typically equated with foreigners and people without a homeland.
Thus, when Jeremiah (22:3) enjoined to “do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place;” and when Zechariah extolled (7:9-1) “thus says the Lord of hosts, ... do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart” they were reminding their hearers that God is “a father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows” (Psalm 68:5) a “helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14) who “executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.” (Deuteronomy 10:18).
Were the prophets thinking only of their own? Certainly Jews had been “turned over to strangers” and became as “orphans without a father, and mothers like widows.” (Lamentations 5:3) In some contexts, the “fatherless” referred to the Jews themselves. But restored to their prosperity were they to forget what it had been like to be foreign and fatherless? One can read these statements as speaking only about the “us” or one can understand the Prophetic tradition as saying “as for us so unto them.” It was this latter reading that Jesus espoused.
Renan was wrong. What occurred in the “Semitic” tradition, was a dawning awareness through the hard teacher of experience that God is more than the God of a tribe but rather the Father to all, who “reacheth from end to end mightily“ and therefore encompasses all.
In Nazi thought, “revelation” was not a collective experience which widened understanding, but a false mirror that reflected nothing more than a collective exaltation of self which, howsoever much it might expand itself, could never be greater than itself.
Across the millennia Pius and Samuel were speaking to the same issue. There is that God who speaks to each of us in our personal humanity and who "is" all of our faces; and there is that earthly creature called the State that speaks only to a designated collective.
But, in the end, our country is but an accidental lodging, a motel room on a transient journey to some other time and place. We must not make the accidental permanent or the temporary final.
A true Christian, a true Jew, is always wandering and is always without a Land. His kingdom is not of this world.
But it is the essence of nationalism to draw what are insisted to be irrevocable lines in the sand which, in the 19th century were drawn with exhortations about blood and oblivion. Thus, Herder,
Again I cry, my German brethren! But now! The remains of all genuine folk-thought is rolling into the abyss of oblivion with a last and accelerated impetus. For the last century we have been ashamed of everything that concerns the fatherland"
"What a pitiful figure we cut! We are not counted among the nations, neither have we a voice in their councils, even when the affairs concern us. Our fatherland -- the other man's country; our unity-dispersion; our solidarity -- the battle against us; our weapon -- humility; our defense -- flight; our individuality -- adaptability ; our future -- the next day. What a miserable role for a nation which descends from the Maccabees!"
But Pinsker (no less than the Nazis) forgot Herder’s Caveat
"National glory is a deceiving seducer. When it reaches a certain height, it clasps the head with an iron band. The enclosed sees nothing in the mist but his own picture; he is susceptible to no foreign impressions."Samuel was warning against the allure of nationalism. Pius warned against the superstition of nationalism. From either vantage point, the allure of Zion Now is a glittering shadow.
The New Homeland
Zionism's "anti-prophetic" tribalization of nationalism also shows how Zionism is fundamentally anti-historical. The history of the human race has been one of progressive assimilation as smaller units of differentiation give way to more encompassing concepts of commonality. The progression has not always been uniform but it has been consistent. Zionism, explicitly seeks to wind back. Not only to "pick up" where 70 A.D. left off, but to go back from there.
The Roman Empire represented a culminating unification and assimilation of the tribes and kingdoms of the ancient Mediterranean world. St. Augustine (450 A.D.) put it this way:
"Men’s common nature is no help to friendliness when they are prevented by diversity of language from conveying their sentiments to one another; so that a man would more easily hold intercourse with his dog than with a foreigner. But the Imperial City has endeavored to impose on subject nations not only her yoke, but her language, as a bond of peace, ... " (City of God XIX, ch. 7.)
It is typically said that with the collapse of the Empire in the West, the world re-fragmented and reverted to localism and tribalism. That is only partially correct. The overall point of Augustine’s City of God, was that Christianity was providing a newer, higher sense of unity on a “spiritual” level.
|A Higher Form of City|
Christianity was not a tool of empire but rather an extension of the cultural unity the Empire had achieved. The Augustan Peace (9 B.C.) had let loose a tremendous cultural cross-assimilation. Throughout the Empire, including Judea, people began “sharing their gods”. The Centurion mentioned in the Gospels, was a “God-fearing” gentile; a person who “shared” in synagogue meetings and sabbath meals. Jews traditionally recognized that such Gentiles had a place in their idea of the Family of God, (See Ps 115:9-13, Ps 118:2-4, and Ps 135:19-20)
Purists objected to this cross-pollution. Tacitus complained that Rome had become the “sink and sewer of the world.” Doubtless similar expressions were heard on the Temple Mount. But the ecumenical impulse was unstoppable. One way or another — with or without the form of Christianity — it was destined to prevail.
The Middle Ages, particularly in the beginning, was a time of chaos and violence — hardly the image of universal brotherhood. But, unlike classical attitudes which held that justice consisted in doing harm to your enemies, the warring Christians understood that, fall short as they might, justice consisted in befriending the enemy. That may seem like weak beer; but it seems to me that it is better to have a conscience, and fail, than not to have one at all, and triumph.
Both Christianity and Talmudic Judaism were offshoots of an antecedent theological/liturgical tradition. Neither was a continuation of Temple Judaism. Both decoupled themselves from a practice at a location. Both removed religion into the “ideological” sphere.
|15th Cent., Pentateuch (Rome)|
Although it actually arose later than Christianity Talmudic Judaism only made a half-way adjustment. While it decoupled itself from the Temple Mount and a political framework, it remained “purist” in the sense of self-differentiation from “gentiles.” One could say that Christianity proclaimed the present possibility of the Kingdom of God, at hand; Jews affirmed the future eventuality of a Messianic age, next year...
With the conversion of Constantine (312), Christianity gained entrée into the Forum, although the Empire remained officially non-sectarian. With the accession of of Theodosius (379) the Roman Empire became “Holy” and pagan cults were outlawed. But it was a brief moment. In 410 Alaric (a Christian) sacked Rome and the Empire began its descent into “Barbarism”.
From that point to the present, there has been no such thing as a Christian homeland. Christianity remained a set of aspirations and beliefs over-arching usually warring tribes and political entities. In terms of culture, Christendom became a vast exercise in cross-assimilation and miscegenation.
|Graphic Conceptualization of Fragmentation under Over-Arching Unity|
The original sin of nationalism is that, by definition, it differentiates and exalts. It represented a retreat from the concept of Christendom into a regenerated concept of distinct “peoples” — often called “races”. In fact, the word “nation” derives from natio, to be born of a root or place.
Of course, all the newly emergent nations were “Christian” states, but this unity was facile and merely semantic. In actuality secular and commercial values became defining factors. Except for episodes like the Kulturkampf, flavors of Christianity remained an increasingly optional ideology, much like taste in music.
The progressive nature of the nation state predominated until about the Franco Prussian War (1871). Despite the consolidation of national entities which began in 1237 and 1492, actual popular life was migratory and assimilative. After 1792, the assimilative option became official; that is, a person could choose his social-contract and declare allegiance to his choice of State.
However, as previously sketched, Pan-Germanism, which had begun in 1808 as a movement for political unification, became by the end of the century a movement for racial unity -- einheit. Whereas the trend before had been to nationalize the tribes, Pan Germanism now sought to tribalize the nation. It anachronistically transposed the 18th century concept of “state” onto a first century reality of German tribalism.
It worked this magic by creating a fictionalized racialism which no longer existed. It wound back the world into a fantasy of runes, sundials, forest elves and thunder gods. Glorifying an impersonal concept of pan-Germanism, and brightly idolatrizing the Volk Gemeinschaft, Germany committed the darkest crimes.
|Germanic Decorative Motif|
Zionism is a regressive winding the world back to idolizations of Arcs, foreskins and a jealous thunder god. Its paradigm is that of the Maccabees who (150 BC) raised a revolt against Seleucid assimilation, waging guerrilla war, rampaging through the land destroying pagan temples, forcibly circumcising boys and outlawing all signs of Hellenization.
History is what it is and the Maccabeans eventually established the Hasmonean Dynasty and rededicated the Second Temple (500 & 140 BC). But by all accounts the Maccabeans were rather like the Taliban or I.S.I.S. — politico-religious fundamentalists hacking against the tide of history.
The official propaganda of Israel (which adopts the Maccabean menorah as its state seal) casts those second century events into the mold of an independence revolt against oppression and cultural genocide. But the issue was far more nuanced. Modern scholarship is agreed that the revolt was actually a Jewish civil war between assimilationists and fundamentalists. The same war of attitudes persists today.
Zionism, as we have sought to explain, draws its waters from the spring of tribal self-differentiation. The Pan Judaism of Zionism is not the revelation of the Torah as read and understood through the teaching experience of history, as a moral metaphor. It is not the personal and mystical zionism of Halevi (11th cent.). Zionists invoke “Judaism” as a religious factor only when it is convenient to do so; but it does not deserve religious currency. It conceals a confusion of concepts.
At the end of the day, one has to ask the assimilationist question: what the hell is so important about being Jewish? Zionist react to this question with a kind of passive aggressive apoplexy which more than insinuates that to ask the question is “to reach for the gas.” But the question is historically and logically legitimate. Apart from whatever religious ideology & practice one wished to adopt, what is so important about preserving any “national” or “cultural” identity? These things have always been temporary abodes and malleable expediencies.
All these “nativist” movements, whether it is American (Anglo-Protestant) nativism or Nazi Germanism, or Slavic or Jewish are regressive and unnatural. The only real blut is the blood of the human race, which flows whither it will.
There is no point in try to fix a recipe. People and places evolve in their own manner and at their own rate. The United States, Ibero-America and Spain itself have been highly permeable and cross-assimilative. Nordic countries and Japan little. Everywhere else falls anywhere in between.
|Sephardic Synagogue (El Transito) in Spain|
|Ashkenzi Synagogue, Wolpa, Poland.|
|Maccabean Gifilte Fisch?|
I understood that this Joy in Nationhood was bought at the expense of an Other, but I admired it because Zionism seemed to present a solution. In the intervening years, I have watched Israel’s devious, bullying and increasingly brutal progress. I have become convinced that what I once saw as incidental danger was, in fact, an inherent flaw.
Hammering Back to the Future
If Zionism’s sense of history is perverse, it’s strategic implementation has been no better. Its teasing out of a false existential identity necessarily denies actual existence to anything which is incompatible with its theory of being. "Incompatibility" was the cornerstone of Pinsker's "Emancipation" and it cannot but be the cornerstone of Israel's "Unfolding." Just as Zionism ends up being a mere argument in favor of an objective, the twists and turns of Zionism in action were mere the strategies of its hidden theory.
The finale of the Great War brought the collapse of two great empires, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman, the lineal inheritors of the Roman and Byzantine Empires. What made them great was not only their pedigree and their wealth but the vast congeries of peoples they ruled. Neither empire was what one would call "homogeneous;" rather they were umbrellas for multi-cultural convivencia and conflict.
At the Versailles Peace Conference (1919), the Allied Powers, claiming victory, set about carving up the turkeys and ad hoc groupings of would be governments came petitioning the victors for their slice of a "national homeland." The carving up was unjust, arbitrary and disastrous. The only rhyme or reason as to who got (or did not get) a "homeland" was the economic or political interests of England, France and, through them, the United States.
While the War was still raging, the English, French and, tacitly, the Russians entered into a secret protocol with respect to Ottoman Turkey. Under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, (1916), Asia Minor was divided into French and English "administrative zones." In theory, these zones were temporary measures pending the establishment of various ethnic homelands in previously Ottoman territory. The same petitioning and politicking which took place in the Balkans agitated the Middle East with the ultimate result being the establishment of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, but not Kurdistan or Armenia, the latter of which was left to slaughter.
|Emir Faisal I, lobbying at Versailles|
More or less contemporaneously, Britain promised Zionist organizations that it "favoured" the establishment of "a national home" for the Jewish people "in Palestine." (Balfour Declaration (1917)
Britain was so duplicitous she could not even unravel her own intentions. The cabinet was split as to what McMahon had promised and whether it included or excluded "Palestine" (which had not been referred to by name, but by the names of various Ottoman political "districts"). It was also split as to whether Balfour had given anything more than "sympathy" to "Zionist aspirations." Much of the duplicity remained classified until 1964.
The Balfour Declaration had been issued in response to the efforts of Chaim Weizmann whose work in chemistry (acetone) had been on immense benefit to the British war effort. In 1919, Weizmann was elected president of the World Zionist Organizations and, as such represented "Jewish" [i.e. Zionist] interests at the Versailles Peace Conference where he declared that it was his aim to make Palestine "as Jewish as England is English."
This was apparently too much for the British, who thereupon issued a "clarification" of what they had not meant in the Balfour Letter,
"Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become 'as Jewish as England is English.' His Majesty's Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded "in Palestine." In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that ... the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization ... express[ed] as the official statement of Zionist aims "the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development"'. (Churchill White Paper (1922).)The reference in the Churchill White Paper related to an agreement between Chaim Weizmann and Emir Faisal I, leader of the Arab nationalists in Syria and Palestine, during which the two leaders declared that, on behalf of their respective parties, they would undertake all necessary measures "to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale," consistent with the Balfour Letter, and "to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil," while at the same time protecting the rights and assisting the economic development of "the Arab peasant and tenant farmers" in the area.
|Weizmann & Faisal doing "Semitic Solidarity"|
For what it was worth, the agreement between Faisal and Weizmann (each purporting to speak for their "peoples") only extended to emigration not to the creation of a Jewish state. The text of the letter made clear that Faisal regarded European Jewish immigration to be a form of development capital which, being pledged to cooperation with the Arabs, would accrue to the benefit of the Palestinians.
These equivocations are beside the point. Weizmann bought into the fundamentals of winding back history. When discussing where would be a good place for Jews to settle, Arthur Balfour suggested some place in Africa. Weizmann asked Balfour, "Would you give up London to live in Saskatchewan?" When Balfour replied that the British had always lived in London, Weizmann responded, "Yes, and we lived in Jerusalem when London was still a marsh."
Who "we"? In so saying, Weizmann, a Russian Jew, simply assumed as a given his and every other European Jew's lineal, physico-racial semitic descent from the "original" inhabitants of Judea. Weizmann's response seems a clever enough repost, but it implicitly espoused the mist of theories and presumptions which we have discussed and without knowledge of which the full implications would not be sniffed.
Who was living in the area at the time London was a marsh was an irrelevance. Just as much as Central Europe, Judea/Samaria/Palestine had been a Total Crossroads. It is simply lunatic to attempt to trace "roots," "geneologies" and conversions over millennia. The fact is that Palestinian Arabs were living there at the turn of the century and they aspired to an end of British rule and the formation of their own State. To this end they formed the Arab League (initially called the “Arab Higher Committee”) a multi-party agency representing Muslim and Christian Palestinians.
Zionists in Europe and the United States decided that Biblical Israel (Eretz Israel) should be their new homeland. They formed a government in waiting (the Jewish Agency) and, with financial and political backing from Jews in the West, encouraged as much emigration by Jews into Palestine as possible.
Jewish Owned Land as of March1945
(likely not much more than as of 1937)
|Peel Plan Partition|
In November 1947, the U.N. General Assembly resurrected the Peel Plan and passed Resolution 181 recommending the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states. This time the Jewish Agency accepted half a loaf. The Arab League did not.
The 1947 Partition did not include Jerusalem
the western half of which was seized in 1948
the western half of which was seized in 1948
It wasn’t much of a loaf, but the Zionists made most of the unleaven. Although Resolution 181 was only a recommendation, it gave the Jewish Agency a slice to stand on as the self-declared de facto government in the proposed Jewish Half of Palestine.
Of course de facto is as de facto does, and the British were still the accepted de jure authority in and over all of Palestine. The Jewish Agency continued to make life as miserable as it could for the British, engaging in acts of violence and terrorism against both the British and the Palestinian population.
While the international community continued to quibble and dicker over Resolution 181, His Majesty’s Government announced that on 14 May 1948 it was washing its hands and packing its bags, which it did.
Now there was a de jure void. That very day, the Jewish Agency declared itself the official government of Israel in more or less the Jewish portion recommended in Resolution 181. According to David Ben Gurion,
“[A]after seventy years of pioneer striving, have we reached the beginning of independence in a part of our small country. ... "
Ben Gurion may have been subtle but he was nonetheless clear: half a loaf was only the beginning. Menachem Begin, speaking for the hardline “Revisionist” Zionists — was more explicit,
"The partition of the Homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized. The signature by institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for ever."Nevertheless, despite the “illegality” of the gift, Begin did not look the horse in the mouth and the statement was later dropped into a memory hole. (See "The Revolt," by Menachem Begin (1977 edition, pre-revision. ) Like all differentiations between “moderate” and “hard-line” Zionists, these distinctions were merely semantical. Both made clear that they regarded partition as only a beginning.
Apologists for Israel have argued that they “agreed” to Partition and seek to blame Palestinians for violating the agreement. But the question is agreed with whom? There is no such thing as an “agreement” with one’s self.
In lieu of a true peace and partition agreement, the Jewish Agency (now calling itself the State of Israel) negotiated de facto recognition with other states as the governing authority in the Jewish Partition.
The biggest player at the time was no longer Britain but the United States and Jewish organizations were working in tandem behind the scenes to garner U.S. recognition. Within hours after Israel’s self-proclamation, President Harry Truman recognized the “provisional government” of the “Jewish State in Palestine” as the “de facto” authority therein.
A little less than a year later (January 31, 1949), after elections for a permanent government had been held in de-facto Israel, Truman extended de jure recognition to the new state. In the ensuing decades, other governments followed by the 1990’s approximately 80 percent of the world’s countries have accorded either de facto or de jure recognition to Israel within the partition borders.
But the Palestinians themselves, neither agreed to nor recognized anything. In 1948, their cause was taken up by the neighboring Arab states of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq in what has been characterized as the first Arab-Israeli war.
The result was a stalemate and an armistice was declared in 1949. A direct consequence of the war was that 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes within Israel and their places taken by 700,000 Jews from Europe.
In 1956, in the so-called Suez Crisis, Egypt blockaded Israeli shipping and Israel responded by occupying Gaza and the Sinai. Another armistice was negotiated and the parties returned to their respective corners.
In 1967 the Arab states reaffirmed their non-recognition of Israel and Israel responded by launching a preemptive attack in which it seized the Golan Heights (from Syria), the West Bank & East Jerusalem (from Jordan) and Gaza and the Sinai (from Egypt)
In 1973, after ongoing negotiations over the 1967 seizures had proved fruitless and after the U.S. persuaded Israel to take the expected first punch, Egypt and Syria launched their own expected attack on Israel. The attack was accompanied by an oil embargo on the West.
At this point, the Arab-Israeli conflict acquired global implications and the United States brought its influence to bear to force a peace with at least Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994).
These wars produced a beneficial consequence for Israel. By metamorphosing the conflict into an inter-state war, Israel was able to characterize Palestinian resistance as non-official “terrorism.” However, as with almost anything Zionist, this was simply Israel’s own ipse dixit.
In 1964, the Arab League, not wishing itself to be subsumed into other countries, met in Cairo and re constituted itself as the Palestine Liberation Organization. It declared its non-recognition of Israel and called for the return of the 700,000 exiled Palestinians to their homes and the for an independent state in (or in as much as possible of) the former territories of Mandate Palestine.
Since then, the P.L.O. has been recognized as sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by well over 100 states.
On 14 October/November 1974, the General Assembly, through resolution 3210 (XXIX) recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and invited it to participate in the deliberations of the General Assembly in observer status
By resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988, the General Assembly acknowledged the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988 and decided, inter alia , that the designation “Palestine” should be used in place
On 29 November 2012, the General Assembly accorded to Palestine non-Member observer State status in the United Nations, marking the first time that the General Assembly considered Palestine to be a State.
However, much like the 1948 split between moderate and hardline Zionists, in 1995 the Palestinians themselves split over how much or how little of Israel to recognize. Like Menachem Begin’s Irgun or "Stern Gang," Hamas, towed the hardline and undertook a strategy of terrorist bombings, while Fatah, led by Jassir Arafat, played the role of Ben-Gurion, and adopted a more conciliatory approach.
The Hamas-Fatah Government declared its aim as being "to reinforce Palestinian national unity for maintaining resolve and ending the Occupation, and for the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate rights, including the establishment of their independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."
Khaled Meshaal, Chairman, of Hamas Political Bureauonly declared that Hamas' "aim is to establish a free and completely sovereignPalestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any settlers and without giving up a single inch of land and without giving up on the right of return [of Palestinian refugees]."
Israel’s response was to refuse recognition of Hamas’ participation in the P.L.O., to blame Hamas for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenaged and to launch the currently ongoing massive, terror bombing of Gaza.
To Be And Not To Be
Israel has in fact given up on temporizing. The pale tactical excuses it offers up from time to time are uttered with the evident boredom of one who has recited a litany too many times. In actuality, Israel has conformed its words to its deeds and demands of the Palestinians total surrender as the price of peace.
As shown in the preceding historical sketch, over the long haul Israel has gained more than it has lost and that Palestine has lost more than it has gained. But through all the thickets of nuance, ambiguity and exact preciseness, the underlying fact remains that the legitimacy of both “entities” derives from declarations of the General Assembly (Resolutions 181 and 67/19) coupled with de facto and/or de jure recognition from other states or international organizations. In legal theory, both states are “on par” in the Comity of Nations.
The indisputable demographic fact is that, in whatsoever form they constituted their self-representation, Arabs lived, worked and owned land in the territory historically referred to as "Palestine" and had done so for hundreds if not thousands of years. The Zionist argument that there was no "Palestine" on Ottoman maps and therefore "no such thing as a Palestinian," is a sophistry as stupid and brutal as saying that there is no such thing "as an American Indian" because "America" did not exist until the Europeans arrived.
It is also an indisputable demographic fact, that until the Zionist project began, Jewish presences in Palestine was vestigial and incidental. Jews had existed in the Middle East from time immemorial but since 70 A.D., they remained there in a private capacity, as citizens or subjects of the ruling state and without political aspirations.
|Jews in Jerusalem (1895)|
The impetus for the creation of a Jewish nation-state (or "national homeland') came entirely from Russian and German Jews whose "connection" to the territory was a mere subjective mental act without any objective correlation. The fact that at some point in the first millenium tribal Kazars (ancestral Ashkenazi Jews) converted to Judaism did not mean that they came from Judea; nor, even if they had, did it magically produce any objective title to the land. Yet it is precisely an objective assent to this subjective mental act which Israel demands, with indignation and righteousness, as "acceptance of Israel's right to exist."
Israel's so-called "right to exist" is one of the nastier confusions concocted by Zionists. No state has a right to exist. It is even difficult to fathom how such a right could fit into the construct of international law.
In order to have a right, the subject must first exist. A non existent person can’t possible have a right. It is not possible to have a right to exist. How can something which does not exist have a right to exist? A person can have a right to continue living. A person can have a right to defend its life. But unless you exist in the first place you can’t have a right to “exist” — that is, to come into being.
Likewise, no state has rights until it comes into existence. States, when they come into being, are either recognized or not by other states. What is recognized is their achieved and de facto existence. But even in this sense, states do not have right to recognition. Recognition — like an invitation to a party — is matter of grace, not right.
Under international law, a state gains recognition from other states once the government aspiring to such recognition has gained substantial de facto control over some territory. The twin pillars of this approach are (1) de facto dominion and control and (2) acceptance by other states. There is much hypocrisy and inconsistency in applying the rule, but the rule itself is straightforward.
Israel’s “right to exist gambit” demands more than de facto recognition and demands of it a party whom Israel itself does not recognize as a state. The slogan is simply a crafty rhetorical demand that Palestinians agree to be conquered and that each one of them admit and accept Zionism as such.
Although the slogan is of recent origin, the idea and the gambit has inhered in Zionism from the beginning. In 1952, Ben Gurion stated,
“It must now be said that it has been established in only a portion of the Land of Israel. Even those who are dubious as to the restoration of the historical frontiers, as fixed and crystallised and given from the beginning of time, will hardly deny the anomaly of the boundaries of the new State."
In so saying, BenGurion was not only affirming a claim to all of Palestine but was also asserting that the right to exist in Palestine had been “given from the beginning of time.” This was none other than an astonishing theological declaration that title to the land of Israel was given to the Jews, as people, by God as matter of pre-destination and grace ante omnia saecula.
|Menachem Begin as Illegal Terrorist (1948)|
Nevertheless, the actual subject of the sequence is still "people" and term “Israel” was simply used as a synonym for the term “Jewish.” Begin did not mean that, being established in a partitioned portion of Palestine, all of the territory of Biblical Israel will (eventually) be restored the state of Israel, because he did not say that. He did not even say “to the citizens of Israel.” In no way was Begin asserting the claim of a nation state, but rather the claim of a “flesh and blood people" pre-existing the state.
Israel’s "right to exist," is a short-hand and intentionally confusing term which demands of the world that it accept, in its entirety, the premises and ideology of Zionism: that Jews everywhere are a unitary people who have a right to exist as a nation in all of Palestine or Eretz Israel.
What gets intoned is a political mantra that demands as an a priori principle, that Arabs agree to their own dispossession and destruction and that the rest of the world agree that this is just and right. And when Palestinians refuse to admit their own annihilation as a people in the lands they inherited, Zionist Jews get outraged, indignant and generally speaking hysterical.
Begin's Likud Party has governed Israel almost without interruption since 1977. As we have explained, it is not an "alternative" voice within Zionism or Israel's geo-political goals. From the days of Jabotinsky, "Revisionist" Zionism is simply the voice of candor, stating up front and without shilly-shallying the heart of the matter. From the outset Begin made clear that Israel laid claim to all of "Judea and Samaria." Netanyahu has not retreated one inch from that position. Instead he takes to podia across the world to bewail Israel’s existential plight and to complain that the Palestinians refuse to recognize their right not to exist.
|Mandate Palestinians harvesting Oranges|
The entire peace process which has vexed and annoyed the world for the past 30 years is simply a farce. It is nothing more than conquest by a thousand inches. Interspersed of course with the occasional mass murder and ongoing low-level state terror of the the occupied population. The peace process is an obscenity.
As an excuse for the farce Israel moans and wails that the Hamas Charter never "gave up" the right to all of Palestine. Has anyone noticed that neither has Israel? As tactical diplomatic and political gambits, Zionists may have ambiguously finessed the issue from time to time but decoding the double-talk and analyzing the implications of any seemingly inocuous statement it is clear that by word and deed Zionism lays claim to all of Eretz Israel.
It was clear that, as of June 2014, the re-unified P.L.O. had declared its willingness to settle for a quarter of a loaf — 22% of Mandate Palestine + East Jerusalem. Israel's response was to bomb the crap out of Gaza on a pretext in order to prevent elections for the unity government from taking place.
What is occurring in Gaza is not simply a "disproportionate" self-defense. It is a process of what Rafael Lemkin defined as "genocide" -- the reduction and obliteration of a people through progressive means of discrimination, dispossession and deprivation. (See, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (1944), Lemkin.) What is occurring in the West Bank is not simply excess real estate development but a relentless seizing of Palestinian territory that will not stop and will not be given back.
Bulldozing Palestinian Olive Groves
(courtesy Caterpillar Corp.)
All of it for All of Us
At the present, Zionist Orthodoxy reigns supreme in the West and any deviation from doctrine provokes a furious and irredentist reaction that ridicules, maligns and destroys. However, disabusing one’s self of the Zionist Narrative is the necessary precondition for a truly objective assessment of the current obscenity taking place in Gaza.
I have attempted to sketch in as brief a manner as possible the genesis of Zionism within an historical context that is as fascinating as it is complex. I have sought to offer less of a “history” than an orientation and a perspective on the inherent nature of Zionism. But because, at bottom, Zionism is simply argumentation in favor of an objective, chasing after sophistries has been a frustrating and, regrettably, a sometimes repetitive task. Nevertheless, Viktor Klemperer's trenchant distillation allows one to tease out the essence of the argument.
As I have perhaps shown, Zionism is an anti-historical regression grounded collective narcissism coupled with a persecution complex. As such, the State of Israel contains the seeds of its own ultimate destruction.
Perhaps Zionism is part of an “eternal” dialectic within Judaism itself between outward looking “assimilationists” and inward looking differentialists. Perhaps, as well, assimilation resolves the dialectic only by what could be called Auto-Effacement.
But paranoiac ethnic narcissism in quest of self differentiation for its own sake is not good mix and its poison is hatching out -- not only as a matter of state policy but, just as importantly, as a question of social attitudes. Especially among the youth, one can today hear an aggro-racism that has gone from being whispered to one that is shouted out in public and which is the same indistinguishable in spirit from the mouthings of right wing racists in Europe. The difference is that whereas European racists are against immigrants, Jews in Palestine are the immigrants. In either case, the proposition is one that calls for the exclusion of some "other."
In accepting Zionist premises as “unquestionable” the Western political and media establishment swallow the differentiating thesis whole. By getting the world to implicitly accept and adopt the Zionist Narrative, Israel essential wins the game before it begins. The issue concerning Gaza goes beyond proportionality, collaterality and war crimes. It goes to having ground to stand on. The barrage of justifications and counter-justifications always return back to the starting point: why is Israel there in the first place?
From the Palestinian perspective they are resisting a conquest. They may be loosing the war but that doesn’t alter the motivation or goal: self-preservation, as a people on their land. Israel can justify its conduct only by characterizing rockets and tunnels as arbitrary acts of “terrorism” against an existing state; in other words, by denying the premise of Palestinian self defense and by denying to Palestinians the same "right to exist" as claimed for themselves.
In the end, putting aside blood and cant, one might ask what is wrong with people associating with others on whatever basis they choose? The answer is, nothing. If the world’s golfers decided that they are a people without a land and that Arizona is a land without golfers, they have every right to proclaim their golfishness and settle in Arizona. But Arizona must also be a vacant lot. It simply will not do to kick out the inhabitants and take their land on the grounds that they don’t count as golfers.
The typical Zionist retort is: "Well you did" referring to the European colonization of the Americas. The analogy is not entirely correct; but, accepting the tu quoque for the sake of argument, it rises no higher than an appeal to might as right, as unto other nations. Suffice to say that that too was a social Darwinist excuse the price and consequences of which ought to be clear by now.
The only true solution is a one state solution with iron clad guarantees for the rights of the ethnic and religious groups within its confines. This was, in actuality, the actual basis of the Balfour Declaration. That declaration was always highly problematic in that it tried to appease two fundamentally irreconcilable positions, that of the assimilationist national-Jew and that of the zionist Jewish nationalist. Nevertheless, it clearly spoke to the encouragement of a multi-ethnic society under an ethnically neutral state. That does not equate with a "Jewish state" in which Arabs are "recognized" as a powerless minority.
Zionism may have been founded on false premises and “nosing after blood” but people calling themselves “Jews” are there now and that is a fact. The "Helen Thomas" solution of sending them “back to Poland” is both cruel and unnecessary. Three going on four generations of Sabras now feel as much a part of that land as the Palestinians who have been there for generations. What they need to do now is to feel part of one another.
|Tomb of King Ferdinand III|
©Woodchip Gazette, 2014
Posted by Chipster at 9:54 AM