The term “Zionism” is not an epithet. Nor is anti-Zionism a mask for social hatred of Jews. The Exodus mythology justifying Israel’s foundation is unraveling & the dystopic vision of Zionism stands exposed by the barbarous excesses of Israeli ethnic cleansing in Gaza. There is no Biblical or historic claim to Palestine.
The Pentagon can arm Israel to the teeth with the latest high-power armaments, drone bombers, F-35 stealth fighters, & Iron Domes but it cannot give Israel justification for colonialism, for the expropriation & ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Israeli apartheid has no real theoretical defense. That’s why their only defense is to demonize Hamas & try to identify anti-Zionism with social hatred of Jews. But Zionism’s demise is written in its mission.
Zionism is a right-wing ideology originating in the late 19th century in response to persecution & pogroms against Jews in Europe. It emerged in an era when European colonialism in Asia, Africa, the Americas, & Pacific was starting to be addressed by progressive political forces. Dividing up the world & competing for plunder was a fundamental conflict between nations which led to the first World War. The socialists of the day believed racism & colonialism should be challenged & historically vanquished or it could destroy humanity.
Zionist ideologues, based on their privileged class, were hobbled in their vision of freedom from persecution by a belief in the superiority of Jews & a rejection of any kind of assimilation like modern nation-states entail. Thus Zionism in the historic contest between colonialism & social freedom for all, chose to side with colonialism, adopted its methods & perspectives to set up a Jewish-only state, & rejected the struggle against racism & colonialism.
The Jewish holocaust of WWII was part of European colonialism. What distinguished it was not the extreme barbarism against Jews. Europe & the US were long-involved in unimaginable crimes against Indigenes & black & brown-skinned peoples. Even the massive Atlantic slave trade is only a part of that horrific history. What distinguished the holocaust was that barbaric practices honed against colonized peoples were now being turned on European peoples in the metropolitan center.
There has always been strong objection by progressive Jews to the right-wing proposals of Zionists. Some of the most powerful writings & critiques are by Jews who detested the stinking elitism, wanted to ally the struggle against antisemitism to the struggle against racism & colonialism, & considered it treachery to ally with the forces of reaction. Many of them died in the holocaust while Zionists exploited it to peddle their nefarious scheme. What had been an ideology without a hope now became a social movement.
After 67 years of Zionist terrorism & colonial expropriation, of watching the US & European powers abet Zionists in setting up a country on their lands, Palestinians are finally marshaling the forces of justice & human rights around the world to stand with them. As Palestinian solidarity & the cultural & economic boycott (BDS) of Israel grows, Zionists will become more rabid. An Israeli law firm just won damages in a US federal court against the PLO & Palestinian Authority for fomenting terrorism. They have already begun to go after BDS groups as hate groups. Palestinians are up against the most powerful & reactionary forces in the world. They have not been daunted for 67 years by the odds against them. Nor should we be.
Build the economic & cultural boycott of Israel! Demand “No aid of any kind to Israel!”
The photo is street art in Gaza by the graffiti artist named Banksy who is doing a series to highlight the Palestinian struggle. This one of children swinging from an Israeli army watch tower is in the same town where Israel bombed the school used as a UN refugee center.
(Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)