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Anti-Semitism: Why Does It Exist? And Why Does it Persist?

By Mark Weber | December 2013

Over the centuries, rage and hostility against Jews has repeatedly erupted in terrible violence. Again and again, Jews have been driven out of countries where they’d been living. Why does anti-Semitism exist? And why has furious hostility toward Jews broken out, again and again, in the most varied nations, eras and cultures? Closely related to this is the broader issue of relations between Jews and non-Jews – a subject that many writers and scholars have called “the Jewish question.”

All too often, discussions of anti-Semitism and the “Jewish question” have been distorted by prejudice, bigotry and lack of candor. But this important subject deserves careful, informed and honest consideration.

Prominent Jewish leaders claim to be puzzled by the persistence of anti-Jewish sentiment and behavior. Insisting that anti-Semitism is a baseless and unreasonable prejudice, they often compare it to a mysterious virus or disease.

Elie Wiesel is one of the best-known Jewish authors and community figures of our age. His memoir of wartime experiences, entitled Night, has been obligatory reading in many classrooms. He’s a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and for years has been a professor at Boston University. Wiesel is considered to be an authority on anti-Semitism, but he says that he’s puzzled by it. The source and endurance of anti-Semitism in history remains a mystery, he told an audience in Germany in April 2004. /1 In another address he described anti-Semitism as an “irrational disease.” Speaking at a conference in October 2002, Wiesel went on to say: “The world has changed in the last 2,000 years, and only anti-Semitism has remained … The only disease that has not found its cure is anti-Semitism.” /2

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is one of the world’s largest and most influential Jewish-Zionist organizations. It considers itself the foremost center for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, and educating the public about this dangerous phenomenon. In his 2003 book, Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, ADL national director Abraham Foxman expressed grave concern about what he sees as rising hostility toward Jews: “I am convinced we currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as the one we faced in the 1930s – if not a greater one.” /3 Remarkably, he too claimed to be perplexed about the reasons for the origin and durability of discord between Jews and non-Jews. “I think of anti-Semitism as a disease,” Foxman writes. “Anti-Semitism also resembles a disease in being fundamentally irrational … It’s a spiritual and psychological illness.” /4

Wiesel and Foxman, along with other prominent Jewish-Zionist leaders, are unable — or unwilling — to provide an explanation for the persistence of anti-Semitism. They believe, or claim to believe, that because it’s an entirely irrational and baseless “disease,” there’s no relation between what Jews do, and what non-Jews think of Jews. In their view, the strife and tension between Jews and non-Jews that has persisted over the centuries is not caused by, or is even related to, Jewish behavior.

Fortunately, a reasonable explanation for this enduring phenomenon has been provided by one of the most prominent and influential Jewish figures of modern history: Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement. He laid out his views in a book, written in German, entitled The Jewish State (Der Judenstaat). Published in 1896, this work is the basic manifesto of the Zionist movement. A year and a half later he convened the first international Zionist conference.

In his book Herzl explained that regardless of where they live, or their citizenship, Jews constitute not merely a religious community, but a nationality, a people. He used the German word, Volk. Wherever large numbers of Jews live among non-Jews, he said, conflict is not only likely, it’s inevitable. “The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in noticeable numbers,” he wrote. “Where it does not exist, it is brought in by arriving Jews … I believe I understand anti-Semitism, which is a very complex phenomenon. I consider this development as a Jew, without hate or fear.” /5

In his public and private writings, Herzl explained that anti-Semitism is not an aberration, but rather a natural response by non-Jews to alien Jewish behavior and attitudes. Anti-Jewish sentiment, he said, is not due to ignorance or bigotry, as so many have claimed. Instead, he concluded, the ancient and seemingly intractable conflict between Jews and non-Jews is entirely understandable, because Jews are a distinct and separate people, with interests that are different from, and which often conflict with, the interests of the people among whom they live.

Anti-Jewish sentiment in the modern era, Herzl believed, arose from the “emancipation” of Jews in the 18th and 19th centuries, which freed them from the confined life of the ghetto and brought them into modern urban society and direct economic dealings with middle class non-Jews. Anti-Semitism, Herzl wrote, is “an understandable reaction to Jewish defects.” In his diary he wrote: “I find the anti-Semites are fully within their rights.” /6

Herzl maintained that Jews must stop pretending — both to themselves and to non-Jews — that they are like everyone else, and instead must frankly acknowledge that they are a distinct and separate people, with distinct and separate goals and interests. The only workable long-term solution, he said, is for Jews to recognize reality and live, finally, as a “normal” people in a separate state of their own. In a memo to the Tsar of Russia, Herzl wrote that Zionism is the “final solution of the Jewish question.” /7

Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, expressed a similar view. In his memoirs, he wrote: “Whenever the quantity of Jews in any country reaches the saturation point, that country reacts against them … [This] reaction … cannot be looked upon as anti-Semitism in the ordinary or vulgar sense of that word; it is a universal social and economic concomitant of Jewish immigration, and we cannot shake it off.” /8

Such candor is rare. Only occasionally do Jewish leaders today explain anti-Semitism as a reaction to the behavior of Jews. One of the wealthiest and most influential figures in today’s world is George Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire financier. Generally he avoids highlighting his ties to the Jewish community, and only rarely attends purely Jewish gatherings. But in November 2003 he addressed a meeting in New York City of the “Jewish Funders Network.” When he was asked about anti-Semitism in Europe, Soros did not respond by saying that it is an irrational “disease.” Instead, he said that it is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States. “There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that,” he said. “If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish,” he went on. “I can’t see how one could confront it directly.” /9

Jewish community leaders reacted angrily to Soros’ remarks. Elan Steinberg, senior adviser at the World Jewish Congress (and former executive director of that influential organization), said: “Let’s understand things clearly: Anti-Semitism is not caused by Jews; it’s caused by anti-Semites.” Abraham Foxman called Soros’ comments “absolutely obscene.” The ADL director went on to say: “He buys into the stereotype. It’s a simplistic, counterproductive, biased and bigoted perception of what’s out there. It’s blaming the victim for all of Israel’s and the Jewish people’s ills.” /10

Most people readily accept that positive feelings by non-Jews toward Jews have some basis in Jewish behavior. But Jewish leaders such as Foxman, Wiesel and Steinberg seem unwilling to accept that negative feelings toward Jews might similarly have a basis in Jewish behavior.

Along with all other social behavior over time, conflict between Jews and non-Jews has an evident and understandable basis in history and human nature. The historical record suggests that the persistence of anti-Semitism over the centuries is rooted in the unusual way that Jews relate to non-Jews.

Israeli and Jewish- Zionist leaders affirm that Jews constitute a “people” or a “nation” – that is, a distinct nationality group to which Jews everywhere are supposed to feel and express a primary loyalty. /11 Some American Jewish leaders have been explicit about this. Louis Brandeis, a US Supreme Court justice and a leading American Zionist, said: “Let us all recognize that we Jews are a distinctive nationality of which every Jew, whatever his country, his station or shade of belief, is necessarily a member.” /10 Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and of the World Jewish Congress, told a rally in New York in June 1938: “I am not an American citizen of the Jewish faith. I am a Jew … Hitler was right in one thing. He calls the Jewish people a race, and we are a race.” /13 In keeping with this outlook, Israeli leaders also say that the Zionist state represents not just its own Jewish citizens, but Jews everywhere. /14

While affirming — usually only among themselves – that Jews are members of a separate nationality to which they should feel and express a prime loyalty, Zionists simultaneously insist that Jews must be welcomed as full and equal citizens in whatever country they may wish to live. While Zionist Jews in the US such as Abraham Foxman speak of the “Jewish people” as a distinct nationality, they also claim that Jews are Americans like everyone else, and insist that Jews, including Zionist Jews, must be granted all the rights of US citizens, with no social, legal or institutional obstacles to Jewish power and influence in American life. In short, Jewish-Zionist leaders and organizations (such as the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee) demand full citizen rights for Zionist Jews not only in “their country,” Israel, but everywhere.

Major Jewish-Zionist organizations, and, more broadly, the organized Jewish community, also promote “pluralism,” “tolerance” and “diversity” in the United States and other countries. They believe this is useful for Jews. “America’s pluralistic society is at the heart of Jewish security,” wrote Abraham Foxmam. “In the long run,” the ADL director went to explain, “what has made American Jewish life a uniquely positive experience in Diaspora history and which has enabled us to be such important allies for the State of Israel, is the health of a pluralistic, tolerant and inclusive American society.” /15

For some time, the ADL has promoted the slogan “Diversity is Our Strength.” In keeping with this motto, which it claims to have invented, the ADL has devoted effort and resources to persuading Americans –especially younger Americans — to welcome and embrace ever more social, cultural and racial “diversity.” /16

This campaign has been very successful. American politicians and educators, and virtually the entire US mass media, promote “diversity,” “multiculturalism” and “pluralism,” and portray those who do not embrace these objectives as hateful and ignorant. At the same time, influential Jewish-Zionist organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) insist that the US must recognize and defend Israel as a specifically Jewish ethnic-religious state. /17 Pluralism and diversity, it seems, are only for non-Jews. What’s good for Jews in their own homeland, Jewish-Zionist leaders seem to say, is not pluralism and diversity, but a tribalistic nationalism.

What Jews think is important because the Jewish community has the power to realize its goals. In a remarkable address in May 2013, Vice President Joe Biden said that the “immense” and “outsized” Jewish role in the US mass media and cultural life has been the single most important factor in shaping American attitudes over the past century, and in driving major cultural- political changes. “I bet you 85 percent of those [social- political] changes, whether it’s in Hollywood or social media, are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry. The influence is immense,” he said. “Jewish heritage has shaped who we are – all of us, us, me – as much or more than any other factor in the last 223 years. And that’s a fact,” he added. /18

Biden is not alone in acknowledging this clout. “It makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture,” wrote Michael Medved, a well-known Jewish author and film critic in 1996. /19 Joel Stein, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in 2008: “As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood … I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.” /20

Even though Jews have more influence and power in US political and cultural life than any other ethnic or religious group, Jewish groups are uncomfortable when non- Jews point this out. In fact, says Foxman and the ADL, one sure sign that someone is an anti-Semite is if he agrees with the statement that “Jews have too much power in our country today.” /21 For Foxman, apparently, there can never be “too much” Jewish influence and power.

Anti-Semitism is not a mysterious “disease.” As Herzl and Weizmann suggested, and as history shows, what is often called anti-Semitism is the natural and understandable attitude of people toward a minority with particularist loyalties that wields greatly disproportionate power for its own interests, rather than for the common good.
Source Notes

1. “Wiesel Calls for ‘Manifesto’ on Anti-Semitism.” The Jewish Federations of North America. April 30, 2004.
( http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=64683 )
2. “A Call to Conscience: Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel Opens ADL Conference on Global Anti-Semitism.” Anti-Defamation League. October 31, 2002
( http://archive.adl.org/Anti_semitism/conference/as_conf.asp )
3. Abraham H. Foxman. Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism. (HarperCollins, 2003), p. 4.
4. Abraham H. Foxman. Never Again? (2003), pp. 42, 43.
5. Th. Herzl, Der Judenstaat. ( http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Der_Judenstaat ; http://www.zionismus.info/judenstaat/02.htm )
6. Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents (Praeger,1998), pp. 45, 48. Ref. cited: R. Kornberg, Theodore Herzl (1993), p. 183.
7. Memo of Nov. 22, 1899. R. Patai, ed., The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl (New York: 1960), Vol. 3, p. 888. Also cited in: M. Weber, “Zionism and the Third Reich,” The Journal of Historical Review, July-August 1993, p. 29. ( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n4p29_Weber.html )
8. Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error (1949), p. 90. Quoted in: Albert S. Lindemann, The Jew Accused (Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 277.
9. Uriel Heilman, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). “In Rare Jewish Appearance, George Soros Says Jews and Israel Cause Anti- Semitism.” Nov. 10, 2003
( http://www.jta.org/2003/11/10/archive/in-rare-jewish-appearance-george-soros-says-jews-and-israel-cause-anti-semitism )
10. U. Heilman, JTA. “In Rare Jewish Appearance, George Soros Says Jews and Israel Cause Anti-Semitism.” Nov. 10, 2003.
11. Abraham H. Foxman. Never Again? (2003), pp. 18, 4.
12. Louis D. Brandeis, “The Jewish Problem and How to Solve It.” Speech of April 25, 1915. ( http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/personality/sources_document11.html / http://www.law.louisville.edu/library/collections/brandeis/node/234 )
13. “Dr. Wise Urges Jews to Declare Selves as Such,” New York Herald Tribune, June 13, 1938, p. 12.
14. Israel even claims to speak on behalf of Jews who lived and died before the state was established. “Holocaust Victims Given Posthumous Citizenship by Israel,” The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, May 9, 1985.
( http://articles.latimes.com/1985-05-09/news/mn-6754_1_posthumous-citizenship )
See also: M. Weber , “West Germany’s Holocaust Payoff to Israel and World Jewry,” Summer 1988.
( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v08/v08p243_Weber.html )
15. Foxman letter of Nov. 11, 2005. Published in The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2005.
( http://archive.adl.org/media_watch/newspapers/20051111-JPost.htm )
16. ADL On the Frontline (New York), Summer 1997, p. 8. This issue of the ADL bulletin also noted with some pride that President Clinton, in his Feb. 1997 “State of the Union” address, had given an unexpected boost to what it called the “ADL tag line.” In that address, Clinton said: “My fellow Americans, we must never, ever believe that our diversity is a weakness. It is our greatest strength.”
17. Note the address by US ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro, Sept. 6, 2011. See also: M. Weber, “Behind the Campaign For War Against Iran.” April 2013.
( http://www.ihr.org/other/behindwarcampaign )
18. Jennifer Epstein, “Biden: ‘Jewish heritage is American heritage’,” Politico, May 21, 2013.
( http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/05/biden-jewish-heritage-is-american-heritage-164525.html ); Daniel Halper, “Biden Talks of ‘Outsized Influence’ of Jews: ‘The Influence Is Immense’,” The Weekly Standard, May 22, 2013.
( http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/biden-talks-outsized-influence-jews-influence-immense_728765.html )
19. M. Medved, “Is Hollywood Too Jewish?,” Moment, Vol. 21, No. 4 (1996), p. 37.
20. J. Stein, “How Jewish Is Hollywood?,” Los Angeles Times, Dec. 19, 2008.
( http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-stein19-2008dec19,0,4676183.column ).
21. Abraham H. Foxman. Never Again? (2003), p. 14.

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Political Ritual at Herzl’s Tomb

By NICOLA PERUGINI | CounterPunch | April 5, 2013

A visit to a grave is often part of the political rituals that presidents and other political representatives include in their schedules during their State visits. In spite of the apparent mechanicity and automatism behind these gestures, they still constitute valid spaces from which we can expose the crucial political intentions they embody.

What is the meaning of Obama paying tribute to the founder of modern political Zionism in his last visit to Israel/Palestine? Which questions does this gesture raise on the latest US “broker of deceit”, to borrow the title of Rashid Khalidi’s recent book on the history of the relationship between the US administrations and the Palestinian question?

Well, a visit to Thedor Herzl’s tomb in one of the most unbalanced trips of a US president to Israel/Palestine can hardly be interpreted as an act of routine diplomacy. While expressing his unilateral support for Israel’s “dispossession in security”, perhaps Obama showed his will to support the foundational constitution of Israel in its most problematic guise.

As we know, Herzl is author of “The Jewish State” (1896), in which the author develops the organizational and ideological manifesto of modern political Zionism. The pamphlet contains the coordinates for transferring the discriminated Jewish population of Europe to Palestine or to another “empty land”. And this is also one of the first texts in which for the first time the solution to the “Jewish question” is articulated as a project of colonization and a civilizing mission:

“Should the Powers declare themselves willing to admit our sovereignty over a neutral piece of land, then the Society will enter into negotiations for the possession of this land. Here two territories come under consideration, Palestine and Argentine. In both countries important experiments in colonization have been made, though on the mistaken principle of a gradual infiltration of Jews. An infiltration is bound to end badly. It continues till the inevitable moment when the native population feels itself threatened, and forces the Government to stop a further influx of Jews. Immigration is consequently futile unless we have the sovereign right to continue such immigration”[1].

Manifesting his preference for a “Palestinian solution”, Herzl continues:

”Palestine is our ever-memorable historic home. The very name of Palestine would attract our people with a force of marvelous potency. If His Majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could in return undertake to regulate the whole finances of Turkey. We should there form a portion of a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism”[2].

Like an Orientalist of his time, Herzl theorizes the necessity of a Jewish state in a non-empty land using a military vocabulary of aggression: a rampart against Asia and anoutpost of civilization. Those who inhabit the land of the Jewish state to come are described as a barbarous population, the uncivilized to be redeemed.

Herzl’s settler-colonial vision –a military-like immigration protected by European powers that would have and has unavoidably resulted in depopulation, expulsion and ethnic cleansing– was inspired by a kind of Orientalism that is even more manifest and explicit in his 1902 novel “Altneuland” (“The Old New Land”): a novel in which the pioneer of political Zionism is even more explicitly Orientalist than in “The Jewish State”. In what is misleadingly considered his “utopian” novel –misleadingly because those were the years in which Zionism was precisely looking for a non-utopian solution– Herzl describes Palestine after the first Jewish immigrations as a “new society”, by that meaning more civilized than the indigenous population. Palestinians are depicted as the recalcitrant remnants of a despicable rural backwardness, and their children as “grown up like dumb beasts”. The novel contains the classical array of Orientalist stereotypes about Arabs.

Thus, we may ponder the meaning of visiting Herzl’s tomb while stating the un-discussable right of Israel to remain the kind of Jewish state that it is. Is the kind of idea of Jewish state that Obama has in mind founded on Herzl’s premises? Does Obama recognize himself in an outpost-rampart-state to be protected as a colonial frontier against barbarism? If Israel has been created and has developed and reproduced itself in a colonial framework like the one imagined by Herzl –the continuation of an experiment in colonization– is this the kind of Israel that Obama wants to support with millions of dollars? The political ritual on Herzl’s grave seems to suggest that the answer to all these questions is yes.

Nicola Perugini is an anthropologist who teaches at the Al Quds Bard Honors College in Jerusalem. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Notes.
[1] Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, 1896
[2] Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, 1896

April 5, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Political Ritual at Herzl’s Tomb

Obama Israel visit about defending beleaguered “Holocaust” narrative: Report

Press TV – March 17, 2013

mbadakhsh20130317114541127In his upcoming Israel visit, US President Barack Obama will spend just a few hours in Palestinian Ramallah and the rest of the 3-day tour visiting grave of Zionism founder Theodor Herzl, a Holocaust memorial and an anti-missile system, among other Israeli sites.

During the visit that begins on Wednesday, Obama will spend “just a few hours” in the Palestinian Authority base of Ramallah, and the rest of his three-day stay in al-Quds (Jerusalem), where he plans to visit an “official” so-called Holocaust memorial, a partially US-built Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile site and Herzl’s grave, The Los Angele Times reports on Friday.

In visiting the grave site of the Zionism founder and the Holocaust spot, Obama intends to highlight the point he made during his widely publicized Cairo speech in 2009, when he urged his Egyptian audience to accept the Zionist regime’s right to exist while denouncing efforts to deny the increasingly suspicious Holocaust story, the report states, citing US and Israeli officials. … Full article

March 17, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 4 Comments

Origins of Israel’s Anti-Arab Racism

By Lawrence Davidson | Consortium News | November 28, 2012

By the middle of the 19th Century, the multi-ethnic empire was on its way out as the dominant political paradigm in Europe. Replacing it was the nation-state, a political form which allowed the concentration of ethnic groups within their own political borders.

This, in turn, formed cultural and “racial” incubators for an “us (superior) vs. them (inferior)” nationalism that would underpin most of the West’s future wars. Many of these nation states were also imperial powers expanding across the globe and, of course, their state-based chauvinistic outlook went with them.

Zionism was born in this milieu of nationalism and imperialism, both of which left an indelible mark on the character and ambitions of the Israeli state. The conviction of Theodor Herzl, modern Zionism’s founding father, was that the centuries of anti-Semitism were proof positive that Europe’s Jews could not be assimilated into mainstream Western society. They could only be safe if they possessed a nation state of their own.

This conviction also reflected the European imperial sentiments of the day. The founders of modern Zionism were both Jews and Europeans, and (as such) had acquired the West’s cultural sense of superiority in relation to non-Europeans.

This sense of superiority would play an important role when a deal (the Balfour Declaration) was struck in 1917 between the World Zionist Organization and the British Government. The deal stipulated that, in exchange for Zionist support for the British war effort (World War I was in progress), the British would (assuming victory) help create a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. It was no oversight that neither side in this bargain gave much thought to the Palestinian native population.

Years later, beginning in 1945 (at the end of World War II), the British were forced to officially give up the imperial point of view. They came out of the war with a population burdened by extraordinary high war taxes.

Retaining the empire would keep those taxes high and so the British voters elected politicians who would transform the empire into a commonwealth, granting independence to just about all of Britain’s overseas territories. One of those territories was Palestine.

It is interesting to note that in other European colonies, where large numbers of Europeans resided, the era following World War II saw their eventual evacuation as power shifted over to the natives. Kenya and Algeria are examples which show that this process was hard and bloody, but it happened.

And when it did happen, the official imperial mind set was defeated. That does not mean that all Europeans (or Westerners) saw the light and ceased to be racists, but that their governments eventually saw the necessity to stop acting that way.

Some Consequences

Unfortunately, in the case of Palestine, this process of de-colonization never occurred.  In this case the European colonists did not want the imperial mother country to stay and protect them. They wanted them out so they could set up shop on their own. They got their chance after the British evacuated in 1947.

Soon thereafter, the Zionists began executing a prepared plan to conquer the “Holy Land” and chase away or subjugate the native population. And what of that imperial point of view which saw the European as superior and the native as inferior? This became institutionalized in the practices of the new Israeli state.

That made Israel one of the very few (the other being apartheid South Africa) self-identified “Western” nation states to continue to implement old-style imperial policies:  they discriminated against the Palestinian population in every way imaginable, pushed them into enclosed areas of concentration and sought to control their lives in great detail.

If one wants to know what this meant for the evolving character of Israel’s citizenry who now would live out the colonial drama as an imperial power in their own right, one might take a look at a book by Sven Lindqvist entitled Exterminate All The Brutes (New Press 1996). This work convincingly shows that lording it over often resisting native peoples, debasing and humiliating them, regularly killing or otherwise punishing them when they protest, leads the colonials to develop genocidal yearnings.

There is evidence that the Zionists who created and now sustain Israel suffer from this process. For a long time Israeli government officials tried genocide via a thought experiment. They went about asserting that the Palestinians did not exist.

The most famous case of this was Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who on June 15, 1969, claimed that “there were no such thing as Palestinians. … They do not exist.”  One of the reasons she gave for this opinion was that the Arabs of Palestine never had their own nation state.

Others took a different approach by denying not so much the existence of Palestinians, but rather their humanity. At various times and in various contexts, usually in response to acts of  resistance against occupation, Israeli leaders have referred to the Palestinians as “beasts walking on two legs” (Menachem Begin); “grasshoppers” (Yitzhaq Shamir); “crocodiles” (Ehud Barak); and “cockroaches” (Rafael Eitan).

Of course, these sentiments were not confined to the Israeli leadership. They soon pervaded most of the Zionist population because the old imperial superiority-inferiority propaganda had become a core element of their basic education. The Israelis have taught their children the imperial point of view, augmented it with biased media reporting, labeled the inevitable resistance offered by the Palestinians as anti-Semitism and took it as proof of the need to suppress and control this population of “Others.”

And, from the Zionist standpoint, this entire process has worked remarkably well.  Today all but a handful of Israeli Jews dislike and fear the people they conquered and displaced. They wish they would go away. And, when their resistance gets just a bit too much to bear, they are now quite willing to see them put out of the way.

Thus, during the latest round of resistance rocket fire from Gaza and the vengeful killing that came from the Israeli side, we heard the following: “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water” (Eli Yishai, present Deputy Prime Minister); “There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. … We need to flatten entire neighborhoods … flatten all of Gaza” (journalist Gilad Sharon in the Jerusalem Post); “There are no innocents in Gaza. Mow them down … kill the Gazans without thought or mercy.”  (Michael Ben-Ari, member of the Knesset); Gaza should be “bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt” (Israel Katz, present Minister of Transportation); Gaza should be “wiped clean with bombs” (Avi Dichter, present Minister of Home Front Defense); Israeli soldiers must “learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy” (prominent Israeli Rabbi Yaakov Yosef).

Finally, there were the numerous, spontaneous demonstrations of ordinary Israeli citizens, both in the north and south of the country, where could be heard chants and shouts such as “They don’t deserve to live. They need to die. May your children die. Kick out all the Arabs.”

If it wasn’t for the fact that the outside world was watching, there can be little doubt that the famed Israeli armed forces would have been tempted to do all that these ministers, clerics and citizens wished. After Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a cease-fire, a group of Israeli soldiers showed their frustration by using their bodies to spell out (in Hebrew) the words “Bibi Loser” (Bibi is a nickname for Netanyahu).

It was a pre-arranged photo-op and the picture can now easily be found on the Web. What seems to really irk the Israeli citizenry is not that Bibi killed and maimed too many innocent Palestinian civilians, but rather that he did not kill and maim enough of them to grant Israelis “safety and security.”

Throughout history it has been standard operating procedure to demonize those you fight and demote to inferior status those you conquer. But as Lindqvist’s work shows, there was something different about the way Europeans went about this business. The deeply racist outlook that underlay modern imperialism made it particularly perverse.

Now that apartheid South Africa is no more, the Israelis are the last surviving heirs to that dreadful heritage. So much for a “light unto the nations.” That proposition has quite failed. Wherever the Israelis and their Zionist cohorts are leading us, it is not into the light, it is to someplace very very dark.

~

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

November 29, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 7 Comments