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February 6, 2005

Many people, despite knowing that Palestinians got the wrong end of the stick when the Jewish state of Israel was carved out of their country, support Israel for one reason: they oppose bigotry and especially anti-Semitism which led to the Holocaust and the deaths of more than five million European Jews. The dogma of Zionism has been established in the minds of many: If one hates bigotry and anti-Semitism then one must support the idea of a Jewish state and everything necessary to ensure its existence in the face of its enemies, no matter the consequences.

But this Zionist dogma is both morally and practically wrong. It is wrong for two fundamental reasons.

* The project of a Jewish state in Palestine -- by which the Zionist movement means a state in which Jews must always be a large majority, and in which only Jews constitute the ultimate sovereign authority -- is based on discrimination against Palestinians. This is why sincere Jewish leaders like Albert Einstein opposed a Jewish state.

* Jewish leaders of the Zionist movement, in their drive to establish and strengthen a Jewish state,  have systematically betrayed ordinary Jews, especially during the Holocaust, with crimes that deserve to be labeled anti-Semitic. The real reason these Zionist leaders want the Jewish state of Israel to exist is because it enables them to be a powerful and privileged elite, at the expense of everybody else, both Jews and non-Jews.


One Doesn't Win the Fight Against Bigotry With More Bigotry

Albert Einstein, on April 17, 1938, in a speech at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, said:

"I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain -- especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state." [1]

In January, 1946, in a reply to the question of whether refugee settlement in Palestine demanded a Jewish state, Einstein told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry,

"The State idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with narrow-minded and economic obstacles. I believe it is bad. I have always been against it." [2]

On December 4, 1948 Einstein, Hanna Arendt and a number of other eminent Jews co-signed a letter to the New York Times on the occasion of (future Israeli prime minister) Menachem Begin's visit to the United States. The letter began as follows:

"Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

"The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents." 

Alfred M. Lilienthal, in What Price Israel?, recounts that on April 1, 1952, in a message to the Children of Palestine, Inc., Einstein "spoke of  the necessity to curb 'a kind of nationalism' which has arisen in Israel 'if only to permit a friendly and fruitful co-existence with the Arabs.'" Lilienthal also relates a personal conversation with Einstein: "Dr Einstein told me that, strangely enough, he had never been a Zionist and had never favored the creation of the State of Israel. Also, he told me of a significant conversation with [Chaim] Weizmann [leader of the World Zionist Organization.] Einstein had asked him: 'What about the Arabs if Palestine were given to the Jews?' And Weizman said: 'What Arabs? They are hardly of any consequence.'" [3]

Judah Magnes, the first Chancellor of Israel's Hebrew University, opposed the "Jewish state" idea because, as he expressed it in his diary in 1942, "The slogan 'Jewish state' (or commonwealth) is equivalent, in effect, to a declaration of war by the Jews on the Arabs." [4]

For Zionist leaders, contempt for Arabs was at the core of their outlook, because they understood perfectly well that they were leading an unprovoked attack on Palestinians which could only be justified by demeaning Palestinians as less than fully human. Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, told the Political Committee of his party, Mapai, in 1938,

"When we say that the Arabs are the aggressors and we defend ourselves -- that is only half the truth. As regards our security and life we defend ourselves...But the fighting is only one aspect of the conflict, which is in its essence a political one. And politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves." [5]

Not only was the Zionist project an unprovoked attack on Palestinians, it was an attack which, contrary to popular belief, did not in any way represent a serious effort to save Jews from European anti-Semitism. This will become more clear when we look at the role of Zionist leaders in betraying Jews during and after the Holocaust. For now, suffice it to say that Jews at this time had no particular need to go to Palestine as opposed to seeking safety in other parts of the world, and many who did go there would rather have gone elsewhere but were prevented from doing so by Zionist leaders. Indeed, from the American-occupied Displaced Persons camps in Germany, Zionists forcibly drafted 7,800 Jews who did not want to immigrate to Palestine, and shipped them to Palestine against their will to fight in the Israeli military in 1948.[6]

Furthermore, what Jews during the years of Nazi rule did need, had absolutely nothing to do with their Zionist leaders' preoccupation with creating a Jewish state in Palestine. Underdeveloped Palestine, the size of New Jersey, was incapable of absorbing anything more than a tiny fraction of the European Jewish population threatened by Hitler. The Zionist leadership quite consciously had no plan to save European Jewry at all, and they admitted that Palestine was no solution. Thus, the World Zionist Organization's head, Chaim Weizmann, told the British Peel Commission in 1937 that he knew backward Palestine could not sustain all of  Europe's Jews and that he therefore only wanted Britain to admit two million young Jews into Palestine. Weizmann then told the Zionist Congress later that year,

"The old ones will pass; they will bear their fate, or they will not. They were dust, economic and moral dust, in a cruel world ... Two millions, and perhaps less; “Scheerith Hapleta” – only a branch will survive. They had to accept it. The rest they must leave to the future – to their youth. If they feel and suffer, they will find the way, “Beacharith Hajamin” [at the end of times]." [7]

A realistic attempt to save European Jewry from Hitler would have involved, among other things, opening the closed doors to Jewish immigration, especially in the United States, and rescue operations in Europe. But the Zionist leadership did not do, or even genuinely attempt to do, what was required to succeed in these crucial areas. Zionist ideological opposition to rescue efforts will be examined below. What about opening America up to Jewish immigration? America's most prominent Zionist leader, Rabbi Stephen Wise, did indeed publicly expose the crimes of the Nazis,  but he never publicly exposed President Roosevelt's crime of enforcing rather than changing America's restrictive immigration laws that consigned European Jews to their death (nor did he expose FDR's crime of failing to carry out rescue operations in Europe.)


One can speculate about Wise's motives, but the fact is that a serious campaign to educate Americans about the plight of the Jews and the need for allowing them to enter the United States would have mobilized the very people that constituted Roosevelt's electoral base -- Americans who viewed FDR as the man who would make the country more equal, democratic and just. Roosevelt would have been under tremendous pressure to yield on this issue had Zionist leaders boldly and publicly confronted him on it and exposed his role in denying European Jews a haven in the U.S. American Zionists had the money, the control or access to the mass media, and the organizational skills to do this. But Rabbi Wise in the United States and Chaim Weizmann in Europe gave top priority not to saving European Jewry, but to ensuring the future existence of a Jewish state in Palestine, a project that was never in fact, or even believed by Zionist leaders to be, a potential salvation of Europe's Jews.

Therefore, the claim by Zionists that the Holocaust required them to take over Palestine for the Jews to survive is just not true. Israeli leaders justify everything Israel does to Palestinians in the name of security, but it is only the security of a Jewish state based on discrimination against Palestinians, not the security of Jewish people who want to live as equals among non-Jews throughout the world, which motivates Israeli leaders. The pro-Zionist Israeli historian, Benny Morris, describes how "security" came to have this narrow meaning in Zionist discourse from the earliest years before the birth of the state of Israel, when the Zionist movement organized Jews to move to Palestine with the ultimate goal of making it a Jewish state.

"Zionist ideology and practice were necessarily and elementally expansionist. Realizing Zionism meant organizing and dispatching settlement groups to Palestine. As each settlement took root, it became acutely aware of its isolation and vulnerability, and quite naturally sought the establishment of new Jewish settlements around it. This would make the original settlement more 'secure' -- but the new settlements now became the 'front line' and themselves needed 'new' settlements to safeguard them...Last, Zionism was politically expansionist in the sense that from the start, its aim was to turn all of Palestine (and in the movement's pre-1921 maps, the East Bank of the Jordan and the area south of the Litani River as well) into a Jewish state." [25]

Morris doesn't write very much about how the early settlements bought land from wealthy absentee Arab landowners and then evicted the local farmers who had lived there for generations. Nor does he dwell on the fact that Zionism was in principle opposed to Jewish businesses hiring non-Jewish labor whenever it could be avoided. On some points, however, Morris is quite candid.

In a famous interview (online here) with Ha’aretz newspaper, Morris discusses how David Ben-Gurion deliberately "transferred" the Arab population out of Israel's new borders during the years from 1947 to 1949:

    BM: "Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist."

    Ha'aretz: "I don't hear you condemning him."

    BM: "Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here."

This uprooting of the Palestinians was a crime against humanity under international law. It was bigotry on a massive scale. The Zionist (after May of 1948, Israeli)  military forced at gunpoint or intimidated (especially as word spread of Israeli massacres of Palestinians in villages like Deir Yassin) approximately 750,000 Palestinians (nearly all of those who lived inside what became the new state of Israel)  into leaving their villages and towns of many generations. All of this was done in the name of "security," but for the security of a project in which, as David Ben-Gurion stated, the Zionists "are the aggressors and they [the Palestinians] defend themselves."  And Israel today persists in the bigotry, employing the same excuse of "security." Israel refuses to allow the approximately four million Palestinian refugees to return to Israel-proper (i.e., the land inside the 1948 borders of Israel) where they or their forebears lived and owned property (subsequently confiscated by Israel) before fleeing in fear for their lives in the 1947-9 years of violence and warfare which preceded and immediately followed the founding of the state of Israel.

Ordinarily, when people flee their place of residence for their safety, the government allows them to return and retain possession of their land and other property. Thus, in 1991 when 50% of the mainly Jewish population of the city of Tel Aviv fled that city in fear of Iraqi SCUD missiles, the Israeli government did not bar them from returning later, nor did it confiscate their land and other property. Both the Palestinian refugees who fled for their lives in 1947-9 and the Tel Aviv residents who fled for their lives in 1991 were accused by Israeli officials of being disloyal to the state of Israel. Still, the Jews were allowed to return after 1991 but the non-Jews are still barred from returning after their flight for safety in 1947-9. The reason is simple. The state of Israel is officially committed to keeping a majority Jewish population. The Israeli Supreme Court has even ruled that nobody can run for membership in the Knesset (parliament) who challenges the idea that Israel is a Jewish state or who challenges the principle of preserving a Jewish majority. [8]

Today there are about six million Jewish and one million non-Jewish Israeli citizens; of the non-Jewish citizens about  250,000 are classified as "present-absentees" (under the Absentees Property Law of 1950) in consequence of which they are denied -- forever -- all of their property rights which were valid until the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. A Jew, however, cannot be classified as a "present-absentee" in the Jewish state of Israel. Non-Jews inside the Jewish state of Israel are discriminated against in multiple ways, some de jure and many de facto. Non-Jews are excluded from Jews-only housing and are segregated in Arab villages and towns that receive far less  from the government than Jewish ones. The difference between the Jewish and non-Jewish living environments is like the difference between an inner city ghetto in the United States and an upscale suburban residential area.

Any state -- be it a Muslim, Christian, Mormon, Black or White state – which, like Israel, defines itself as the state of a particular religion, race, or ethnic group must, logically and inevitably, discriminate against people within its borders who are not of the favored race, religion or ethnicity and deny them their full human rights. This is why Israel makes Palestinians prisoners inside of refugee camps and inside areas surrounded by military checkpoints, why it subjects them to harsh curfews, excludes them from Jews-only roads, makes them homeless by destroying their homes with bulldozers, robs them of their land, deprives them of their livelihoods, orders soldiers to shoot them, keeps them unemployed and bars them from reaching medical care.  It is the same reason why apartheid South Africa treated non-whites so terribly. Doing it in the name of religion is no better than doing it in the name of race.

Israel deflects attention from these fundamental violations of human rights by pointing out that it does not implement "petty apartheid": non-Jewish Israeli citizens can use the same parks and busses and drinking fountains as Jewish citizens. Israel also makes the specious argument that, "The French have France and the Germans have Germany, so why shouldn’t the Jews have a Jewish state?" Pro-Israel advocates do not acknowledge the simple fact that when somebody becomes a citizen of Germany they are legally a German, but when somebody becomes a citizen of Israel they are not legally a Jew, and it makes all difference in the world. Nor do they acknowledge that four million people, presently in refugee camps, who would otherwise be citizens of Israel are denied such citizenship purely because they are non-Jews and because of Israeli ethnic cleansing.


The Root of the Conflict is the Existence of a Jewish State

World leaders and the western mass media have framed the Israel/Palestine conflict in a way that takes, as uncontroversial, the premise that there should be a Jewish state of Israel in Palestine, the only question being whether or not Israel should occupy the remaining parts of Palestine (Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem) that it seized in the 1967 war and, if so, how should it exercise its occupation. In this essentially Zionist framework, the goal that good people should strive for is "peace" based, presumably, upon some compromise which would secure the existence of the Jewish state of Israel and yet have the blessing of  Palestinian leaders. In this framework Palestinian leaders who are not amenable to such a compromise because they oppose the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine are, by definition, "extremists" or "militants" who, no matter how much support they may have from the Palestinian people, cannot be acknowledged as their genuine representatives.

This "peace is the goal" framework is morally bankrupt. Its premise is that a Jewish state, based entirely on bigotry and racial discrimination and violent ethnic cleansing, must be preserved at all costs. It treats the uprooting of Palestinians and the denial of their most basic human rights as the necessary price that must be paid (by, as Chaim Weizmann called them, Arabs "hardly of any consequence") so that Zionists can have their Jewish state. Compare this kind of thinking with the way Americans would react if Zionist leaders declared one of the states in the United States, say, New Jersey, to be the location of a new Jewish state. (The founder of the modern Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, was ready to accept Uganda as the location of the Jewish state, so it's not as if the Biblical claim to Palestine is central to the logic of the movement. And given the fact that the Holocaust was a not an Arab phenomenon, New Jersey is no less logical a choice than Palestine. )

Imagine the headlines if the Zionists militarily drove the native New Jerseyans out of Newark, Atlantic City, Asbury Park, Cherry Hill and most other towns and cities in the state and into refugee camps on the West Bank of the Delaware River, in other words the state of Pennsylvania. Would Americans object when the Zionists seized all of the New Jerseyans' "abandoned" property, including not only their land and homes but all moveable property, bank accounts, and even shares in businesses? What would the pundits say as the Zionists made the few Americans who remained in New Jersey second class citizens in the new Jewish state? Would they accuse Americans who resisted violently of being "terrorists" who opposed "even the existence" of a Jewish state? Would newspaper editorials justify the expulsion of the Americans by endorsing the arguments offered by the Zionists: "We are taking in an equivalent number of Jews from Pennsylvania and New York so why don't those Christian states take in the Christian American refugees from New Jersey and we'll just call it an even swap?"  Would there be bi-partisan agreement that the Zionists really did have a strong case  -- New Jersey, after all,  is only just a tiny sliver of the whole Christian North American continent, so what's the big deal?

How would good Americans, opposed to anti-Semitism and bigotry, respond to the Zionists' argument (and this is, indeed, their argument for what they are doing in Palestine!) that everything they were doing to the New Jersey natives was necessary because Jews cannot live safely as a minority in another country when they merely have equal rights? Would Americans familiar with the history of nearly six million Jews in the United States say, "Oh, sure, except for the Jewish state of New Jersey now, Jews elsewhere in the United States have never been truly safe."?

What would Americans think when they heard the Zionists insist that, "No, equal rights are not enough. We Jews need to be the sovereign power in our own state with a large Jewish majority, because all of you non-Jews are, deep down, anti-Semites."?

Would the mass media maintain that, in order to be deemed  a "moderate" and "responsible" American leader one must bless the violent expulsion of Americans from their homes in New Jersey, and bless the conversion of New Jersey into a virtually Jews-only state where only Jews are first class citizens? Would opinion leaders get tangled up in trying to explain why the Frenchmen who killed occupying Germans during World War II were heroes of the Resistance but Americans who kill Jews occupying their former homes in New Jersey  are evil terrorists?

After the Jewish state subsequently proceeds to occupy all of Pennsylvania and establish armed check points and Jews-only roads and military law against Americans, purely for security reasons of course, would the mass media declare that the only real question to be negotiated is whether the new Jewish state should occupy, besides New Jersey, Pennsylvania as well, or whether the Zionists should only rule in New Jersey? What would Americans think of a "Peace" movement among the Jews in New Jersey which advocated giving Pennsylvania back to the United States in exchange for a peace agreement that would recognize the new Jewish state in New Jersey and deny the human rights (articles 13 and 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to be specific) of the expelled Americans to return to their homes and regain their property?

How would Americans opposed to bigotry and anti-Semitism react to the warnings from the Zionists that, in response to their simple desire to have a Jewish state, "just as the French have France and the Chinese have China," rampant anti-Semitism was breaking out all over the East Coast and therefore all foes of anti-Semitism must rally to the defense of the new Jewish state? Would the public buy the canard that wanting one's basic human rights not to be violated is "anti-Semitism?"

Simply shifting the location, mentally, away from an Arab one reveals what is actually going on in Palestine. Precisely because the Zionist project of a Jewish state is so fundamentally based on bigotry against Palestinians, it produces the very anti-Jewish anger that it then points to as a justification for everything it does -- exactly as it has used the need for "security" since the earliest Zionist settlements. The result -- for anybody who wants to see a world based on equality and solidarity and democracy and not racial/ethnic fear, mistrust, bigotry and war -- is catastrophic.

By integrating all Jews in Israel into a society that is entirely based on racist principles -- that Jews should live on land taken away from non-Jews, that Arab villages should be plowed under and made to vanish without a trace, that the state should be for "the Jews" rather than for all of its people, and that people should be identified as a "problem" merely because they are not Jewish (especially if they might become a majority!) -- the Zionist project makes Jewish civilians seem to many Palestinians, quite understandably, just as culpable in the oppression of Palestinians as are Israeli soldiers who carry out the actual violence and terror.

This is so because Israel, like ancient Sparta, is a highly militarized society in which virtually all Jews serve in the military or serve it indirectly, and opposition by Jews in Israel to the Zionist project of a Jewish state (to whatever extent such opposition may or may not exist)  is not visible to Palestinians. (Certainly the Israeli "Peace Movement" does not constitute such opposition, since its aim is to preserve the Jewish state with a "land for peace" deal.)  Zionist leaders have succeeded in convincing many Israeli Jews that Palestinians are inherently their enemy. (In the next section we will explore why they would want to do this.) According to an article in the October 2002 issue of Outpost (published by Americans for a Safe Israel), "A recent public opinion poll found that more than one-third of Israelis favor the transfer of Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza [i.e. the occupied territories] to neighboring Arab countries. That figure may rise or fall in response to specific events in the months to come, but one thing is now undeniably clear: the transfer solution is a serious proposition that can no longer be ignored." Another source reports, "Polls conducted in February 2002 in Israel demonstrated that 46% of respondents supported the transfer of Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, while 60% were inclined towards the transfer of Arabs from Israel proper." [9]

In this context, some Palestinians inevitably draw the conclusion that the entire Jewish population of Israel is their enemy, that they need to defeat their enemy by any means necessary, and that even friendships between Palestinians and Israeli Jews are a form of collaboration with the enemy which must be stopped (just as many people in WWII France viewed friendships with Germans as collaboration.) A scientific poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, conducted  September 23-26, 2004, based on 1319 adults interviewed face to face in the West Bank (824) and the Gaza Strip (495) in 120 randomly selected locations, concluded that, "The growing perception of threat and insecurity is reflected on attitudes towards armed attacks against Israelis. The poll shows a large percentage supporting bombing attacks inside Israel, including the Beer Shiva attack of early September which received the support of 77%." [10] (See also this author's Right and Wrong Responses to Palestinian Suicide Bombers for further discussion of this topic.)

Israel's Zionist leaders do everything possible to make all Jews view themselves as, and seem to Palestinians as, the implacable enemy of non-Jews in Palestine. Is this Zionist project one that any sensible person opposed to bigotry and anti-Semitism would want to support? Albert Einstein certainly answered this question with a resounding "No." Was he stupid? Was he a "self-hating Jew?" Was he an anti-Semite? Or, on the other hand, is it not time for good people to reconsider their well-intentioned but misguided reasons for supporting the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine?


The Anti-Semitism of Zionism's Leaders

It is a common misconception that Zionism is about combating anti-Semitism. Yes, Zionists point to anti-Semitism all of the time, and even have organizations like the American Anti-Defamation League (ADL) whose main purpose is to expose anti-Semitism (which according to their twisted logic includes opposition to the existence of a Jewish state.) But pointing to anti-Semitism to legitimize the Zionist project of a Jewish state is one thing; aiming to defeat anti-Semitism (or at least to help Jews defend themselves against it) is another thing altogether.

The founder of the modern Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, had absolutely no intention of defeating anti-Semitism. He wrote in his diary in June, 1885, "In Paris, as I have said, I achieved a freer attitude toward anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to 'combat' anti-Semitism." In 1946 the American Zionist Emergency Council re-published Herzl's famous book, The Jewish State (originally published in1896) with a brief biography of Herzl stating that shortly before writing the famous book, "the realization flashed upon Herzl that anti-Semitism was deep-rooted in the heart of the people -- so deep, indeed, that it was impossible to hope for its disappearance within a measurable period of time." [11] In The Jewish State Herzl writes, "The nations in whose midst Jews live are all either covertly or openly Anti-Semitic" [12] and "Anti-Semitism increases day by day and hour by hour among the nations; indeed, it is bound to increase, because the causes of its growth continue to exist and cannot be removed." [13]

It is noteworthy that Herzl's generalization about all non-Jews (and its modern version focused especially on Arabs), regarding them without distinction as unalterably anti-Semitic, is one of the last surviving derogatory racial/ethnic stereotypes (along with the demeaning stereotype of poor southern whites as "Rednecks") tolerated by people in the United States who consider themselves to be "progressive." Unfortunately, not everybody who quickly condemns the KKK's anti-black racism is as quick to condemn the demeaning stereotype of Arabs by pro-Zionists or of poor southern whites by hip late night TV comedians.

A typical contemporary expression of this Zionist view of anti-Semitism as innate and eternal among non-Jews is the following statement by Raffi Bilek, head of the University College (London) campus group Friends of Israel, which appeared in The Brown Daily Herald on Tuesday, April 9, 2002:

"So while the Jew is an accepted member of American society today, history has shown us time and again (England, 1290; France, 1306; Spain, 1492; Germany, 1933-1945) that a previously benign government will turn around and try to expel or eradicate its Jewish population. In 1948, the State of Israel was created as a definitive answer to those who would try again."

Far from aiming to defeat anti-Semitism,  Zionist leaders aim, on the contrary, to use anti-Semitism (along with anti-Zionism which they lump together with it.) for their purposes. They use it to justify their project of a Jewish state. They claim that Jews all over the world can never be truly safe unless they have a homeland of their own, namely the Jewish state of Israel. Jews, they say, cannot live as a minority in other nations, as equals among equals, because non-Jews (Gentiles) are innately anti-Semitic, and while their anti-Semitism may not manifest itself today it might very well erupt tomorrow.

If anti-Semitism were to suddenly vanish from the world overnight, it would be a disaster for Zionist leaders. Their Jewish state would have no rationale for existing.

Thus, for Zionism's leaders, it is a terrible thing when Jews and non-Jews in Israel/Palestine want to marry each other. God forbid! Jewish Israelis and non-Jewish Palestinians do marry each other, not in large numbers, but in large enough numbers that the Israeli Knesset, on August 1, 2003,  felt obliged to enact a law to block Palestinians who marry Israelis from becoming Israeli citizens or residents. When an Israeli Jew and an Israeli non-Jew decide to get married, they are heading down a path made deliberately very difficult by Israel's rulers.  Israel, by virtue of the Jurisdiction of Rabbinical Courts (Marriage and Divorce) Law of 1953, only recognizes marriages performed by the official state religious courts:  the Jewish orthodox Rabbinical, the Islamic Shari'a and the Christian Ecclesiastic courts, which do not perform "mixed" marriages. A "mixed" couple's marriage, typically performed outside of Israel, is not recognized by Israel. Yet despite all of these obstacles, there are married couples, consisting of a  non-Jewish Arab Palestinian and a Jew, in Israel. Each one of these marriages puts the lie to the Zionist claim that Arabs are innately anti-Semitic.

Does this mean that, because Zionist leaders fear the end of anti-Semitism, they are  necessarily anti-Semitic? I will leave this abstract logical inference for the reader to ponder. But based on the actual historical deeds of Zionist leaders one can make a strong case that, indeed, they were in the past, and remain today, anti-Semites. Let us walk backwards in time, from recent years back to the years of the Holocaust, to see why this is so.

First, let's see what Zionist leaders did to help Russian Jews who feared anti-Semitism in the early 1990's. The Israeli reporter, Bo'az Evron, writing in the April 4, 1991 Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, actually described Israel's policy toward Soviet Jews as, in his own words, "anti-Semitic":

"The new Jewish immigrants are, in fact, refugees fleeing a country fast falling apart ... Israeli and Zionist emissaries have left no stone unturned in prodding the nations of the world to deny entry to Jewish refugees, so as to force them to settle in Israel...But this means that the nations of the world, at Israel's prodding, have consciously embarked upon a policy of discrimination against the Jewish refugees. Incontestably, it is an anti-Semitic policy which in a different context could not fail to provoke outrage. Only because the gates have been locked, and [the Soviet Jews] have nowhere else to go, can we celebrate the 'immigration miracle.'

"If they were guided by the best interests of these Jews, the [Israeli] government and the Jewish Agency would seek to open all the doors in the world to everyone wishing to leave the USSR... But who cares about the best interests of these Jews? They concern Shamir and Sharon only insofar as they can populate the settlements, or serve as a pretext for grabbing more land in the West Bank, or become soldiers in future wars ...

"Here the great secret of Zionism in the past few generations stands revealed. Long ago, Zionism ceased its concern for what is good for the Jews. Quite the contrary, Zionism is interested in seeing to it that the Jews suffer, so that they will leave their homes and come to Israel. This is why each glimmer of anti-Semitism fills the hearts of Zionists with relief. Zionism needs Jews in order to boost the Jewish population and military strength of Israel, not for their own sake ... As human beings, they are of no concern to either the State of Israel or the Zionist Movement." [14]

Now let's step back to the period just after World War II when many Jews were in Displaced Persons [DP] camps in Europe trying to make a new life for themselves somewhere where they could be safe. Conditions in the camps were so bad that survival itself was in question. Malnutrition and disease were severe, while shelter and heating in the winter were extremely inadequate. Making matters even worse for Jews was the fact that anti-Semitic German police raided the camps more and more frequently as local government was transferred by the Allies to Germans.

As late as 1948 there were "between 100,000 and 114,000 displaced Jews in the American Zone of Germany. From among that group, more than 55,000 applications for emigration to the United States had been filed by the fall of 1947; and a majority of these people specified a preference of going anywhere but Palestine." About this time, Rabbi Klausner, a U.S. Army rabbi, gave a report about the Jews in the DP camps to "the Zionist-controlled American Jewish Conference" in which he stated:

"I am convinced that the people must be forced to go to Palestine...By 'force' I suggest a program...The first step in such a the adoption of the principle that it is the conviction of the world Jewish community that these people must go to Palestine...Those who are not interested are no longer to be wards of the Jewish community to be maintained in camps, fed and clothed without their having to make any contribution to their own subsistence. To effect this program, it becomes necessary for the Jewish community at large to reverse its policy and instead of creating comforts for the Displaced Persons to make them as uncomfortable as possible." [15]

In 1948 the Zionist military force, the Haganah, tried to recruit Jewish DPs to go to Palestine and fight Arabs. At first they tried a voluntary recruitment drive, which was a failure, in part because "[T]he elevated tensions in the Arab-Jewish conflict increased doubts about 'aliyah [immigration to Palestine], and as a result, more camp dwellers distanced themselves from the Zionist movement, and became reluctant to be drafted or immigrate to Palestine." Yehuda Ben-David, the Haganah deputy commander in Germany, reported back to his superiors that "the Jews of the camps" were, themselves, the problem:  "Their acquaintance with Zionist values is limited and superficial." In Austria, the Zionist Gordonia-Young Maccabean youth movement was charged with recruiting  for the Haganah and they reported, "the mobilization operation among camp Jews is unsuccessful...There are some volunteers among the Romanian refugees...but for Polish Jews there is hardly any hope. The corruption of these Jews is so great that they are totally uninterested in the people's campaign [in Palestine]. Recently, the JDC [American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee] began registering people who would like to go to America, and hundreds of camp Jews have registered." [16]

Next, the Haganah switched to a compulsory draft, which they were able to do because they had the backing of the Americans running the camps. In an operation that was "approved by Ben-Gurion" each camp's governing body  (known by their Yiddish name as the Zentral Komitet ) "used all the power it had: Employees were fired, residents were evicted from their apartments, others were fined or denied the supplementary food rations that the JDC was distributing to all camp Jews; others were simply beaten up...Violent incidents were numerous. The archives are replete with hundreds of official documents describing brutal methods and actions carried out in an identical manner in a large number of camps in Germany and Austria, taking place mostly between March and August 1948...The archives also contain testimony about 'waves of Zionist harassment' in the camps..." The compulsory conscription was a success, because in the conflict between the Zionists and "thousands of Displaced Persons who make immigration plans to target countries other than Palestine" there "could only be one winner -- the side capable of using institutional violence."  [17]

The Yiddish Bulletin on May 19, 1950 wrote:

"By pressing for an exodus of Jews from Europe; by insisting that Jewish D.P.s do not wish to go to any country outside of Israel; by not participating in the negotiations on behalf of the D.P.'s; and by refraining from a campaign of their own -- by all this they [the Zionists] certainly did not help to open the gates of America for Jews. In fact, they sacrificed the interests of living people -- their brothers and sisters who went through a world of pain -- to the politics of their own movement." [18]

Lastly, let us see what the Zionist leadership did to rescue Jews during the actual years of the Holocaust.

On December 11, 1943, the Jewish Forward, largest Yiddish newspaper in the world, criticized the Zionist leaders, writing,

"The Jewish Conference [a Zionist organization] is alive only when there is something in the air which has to do with a Commonwealth in Palestine, and it is asleep when it concerns rescue work for the Jews in the Diaspora." [19]

Baruch Kimmerling, in his review of Yosef Grodzinsky's In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Struggle Between Jews and Zionists in the Aftermath of World War II, writes:

"Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders vetoed the immigration of 1,000 orphans, who were in physical and emotional danger as a result of the harsh winter of 1945, from the camps in Germany to England, where the Jewish community had managed to secure them permits. Another group of roughly 500 children of camp inhabitants was barred, after Zionist intervention, from reaching France, whose rabbinical institutions had offered them safe haven." [20]

The head of the World Zionist Organization's Zionist Rescue Committee in Budapest during the war, Rudolf Kastner, later a prominent member of Israel's government under Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, collaborated with the Nazis. In the years 1944-45, Kastner was made a V.I.P. by the Nazis and not required to wear a yellow Star of David because, in exchange for being allowed to hand pick 1600 prominent Jews, including his own relatives and friends, to emigrate to Palestine, he helped Adolf Eichmann lure a half million Hungarian and Transylvanian Jews to their death without a fight by arranging for phony postcards "from other Jews" to convince them that the trains to the death camps were merely taking them to be "resettled." The betrayal was especially horrible because Eichmann only had "150 men and only a few thousand Hungarian soldiers at his disposal" and the Jews, had they known the truth, could have easily carried out a mass escape to territory that the Nazis did not occupy. These facts came out in a famous 1954 Israeli libel trial in which Kastner initially thought he could silence his accuser but, as the trial developed and witness after witness came forward to confirm the accusations, he began to shift his defense to the claim that he had only done what all top Zionist leaders of the time advocated. At this point Kastner was "conveniently" assassinated by persons unknown. [21]

Zionist sabotage of rescue efforts was an established policy as early as 1942. In a letter to the Times (of London), June 6, 1961, Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld, Chairman of the wartime Rescue Committee established by the Chief Rabbi of Britain, describes how the Zionist leadership in Great Britain opposed efforts to rescue European Jews from the Holocaust. He writes that, contrary to the claims that the British government was "largely indifferent to and unwilling to take action in defense of the European Jews who were being massacred daily by the Nazis in spite of efforts by Zionist leaders to persuade the British Foreign Office to rouse itself into action on behalf of the victims...My experience in 1942-43 was wholly in favour of British readiness to help, openly, constructively and totally, and that this readiness met with opposition from Zionist leaders who insisted on rescue to Palestine as the only acceptable form of help." Rabbi Schonfeld goes on to describe how, in December, 1942, he and others formed a Council for Rescue from the Nazi Terror which initiated a Parliamentary Rescue Committee supported by leading members of both Houses, and how they submitted a motion to Parliament calling for the government "to declare its readiness to find temporary refuge in its own territories or in territories under its control for endangered persons who are able to leave those countries; to appeal to the governments of countries bordering on enemy and enemy-occupied countries to allow temporary asylum and transit facilities for such persons; to offer to those governments, so far as practicable, such help as may be needed to facilitate their cooperation; and to invite the other Allied governments to consider similar action." But this is what happened, according to the rabbi's letter:


"As a result of widespread concern and the persistence of a few, this motion achieved within two weeks a total of 277 Parliamentary signatures of all parties. This purely humanitarian proposal met with sympathy from government circles, and I should add that H.M.Government did, in fact, issue some hundreds of Mauritius and other immigration permits -- indeed, in favour of any threatened Jewish family whom we could name. Already while the Parliamentary motion was gathering momentum, voices of dissent were heard from Zionist quarters: 'Why not Palestine?' The obvious answers that the most urgent concern was humanitarian and not political, that the Mufti-Nazi alliance ruled out Palestine for the immediate saving of lives and that Britain could not then add to her Middle East problems, were of no avail.

"At the Parliamentary meeting held on January 27, 1943, when the next steps were being energetically pursued by over 100 M.P.s and Lords, a spokesman for the Zionists announced that the Jews would oppose the motion on the grounds of its omitting to refer to Palestine. Some voices were raised in support of the Zionist view, there was considerable debate, and thereafter the motion was dead. Even the promoters exclaimed in desperation: If the Jews cannot agree among themselves, how can we help? It was useless to argue with a then current Zionist argument: 'Every nation has had its dead in the fight for its homeland -- the sufferers under Hitler are our dead in our fight'."

Why did  Zionist leaders sabotage rescue efforts? The answer is spelled out very clearly in a dramatic letter. In the autumn of 1942 Nathan Schwalb (Dror) was representative of the Zionist He-Halutz (The Pioneer) organization in Geneva. At this time a Jewish rescue Working Group in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, was sending desperate appeals to He-Halutz for money to bribe senior Nazi officials to delay or prevent the transport of Czechoslovakian Jewry to Auschwitz and other death camps. Schwalb replied, in his letter to the rescue group, as follows:

"Since we have the opportunity of this courier, we are writing to the group that they must always remember that matter which is the most important, which is the main issue that must always be before our eyes. After all, the allies will be victorious. After the victory, they will once again divide up the world between the nations as they did at the end of first war. Then they opened the way for us for the first step [the British Balfour Declaration of 1917 supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine -- JS] and now, as the war ends, we must do everything so that Eretz Yisroel [the Land of Israel -- JS] should become a Jewish state. Important steps have already been taken in this matter. As to the cry that comes from your country, we must be aware that all the nations of the Allies are spilling much blood and if we do not bring sacrifices, with what will we achieve the right to sit at the table when they make the distribution of nations and territories after the war? And so it would be foolish and impertinent on our side to ask the nations whose blood is being spilled for permission to send money into the land of their enemies in order to protect our own blood. Because 'rak b'dam tihyu lanu haaretz' ('only through blood will the land be ours'). As to yourselves -- members of the group -- 'atem taylu' ('you will get out'), and for this purpose we are providing you with funds by this courier." [22]

One might dismiss this cruel letter from Nathan Schwalb as an aberration, unrepresentative of the Zionist leadership at higher levels. But it turns out that Schwalb was acting in accordance with the views of his superiors in the Zionist movement. In his book, In Days of Holocaust and Destruction, Yitzchak Greenbaum, Chairman of the (Zionist) Jewish Agency's Rescue Committee in Jerusalem, wrote, "when they asked me, couldn't you give money out of the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe, I said, 'NO!' and I say again, 'NO!' should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance." In February, 1943, Greenbaum gave a speech in Tel Aviv on the subject, "The Diaspora and the Redemption" in which he said:

"When they come to us with two plans -- the rescue of the masses of Jews in Europe or the redemption of the land [settling Jews in Palestine -- JS] -- I vote, without a second thought, for the redemption of the land...If there would be a possibility today of buying packages of food with the money of the Keren Hayesod (United Jewish Appeal) to send it through Lisbon, would we do such a thing? No! and once again No!" [23]

Zionism's hostility to Jews trying to survive anywhere other than Palestine goes back at least to 1938 when, at a meeting of Labor Zionists in Great Britain, David Ben-Gurion, argued: "If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Israel, then I opt for the second alternative. For we must take into account not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel." [26] These are the words of a fanatic, obsessed with the dream of becoming a ruler of a "state of his own" no matter how many innocent Jewish lives must be sacrificed for that end. One might dismiss Ben-Gurion's words about Jewish children as merely rhetoric unconnected to real-life decisions, but as we have seen, it turns out that Zionist leaders during the Holocaust did indeed act in accordance with Ben-Gurion's insistence that Jewish lives -- hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives -- are less important than achieving a Jewish state.  Zionist leaders sabotaged efforts to rescue Jews in Europe during the Holocaust because they felt that the rescue of Jews threatened their goal of becoming masters of a "state of their own."

Every ethnic/racial group contains individuals who aspire to be part of an elite ruling class, enjoying great privileges and power over "their own people." The Zionist movement enabled people like David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meier, Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, among others, to rise in the world and become elite rulers of a state which now possesses nuclear weapons and one of the most powerful armies in the world. To achieve this end, Zionist leaders have sacrificed the welfare of ordinary Jews at every opportunity. They point to anti-Semitism (or what they speciously label as anti-Semitism) in order to justify a Zionist project which has nothing to do with helping ordinary Jews achieve a safe and secure and happy life free from real anti-Semitic attacks.

For some people, the motives for backing the Zionist project are purely dishonorable and elitist ones.

Consider what happened in Israel in 1997. From December 3rd through 7th, 700,000 Israeli workers mounted a general strike against the government. The country was paralyzed, with airports, seaports, banks, government offices, state-owned industries and the national stock exchange effectively shut down. After the first day of the strike, the nation's teachers joined in the walk-out and the national journalists' association declared their support for the strike. The strike was a response to indications that the Treasury was attempting to violate wage and pension agreements signed in 1995 and 1996. Israeli workers were also protesting government privatization plans which would entail large-scale lay-offs. Opposed to the strike were not only the Manufacturers Association, the Israeli Merchants Association, the Banks Association and the national religious party, but also high-ranking Israeli government officials, like Finance Minister Yaakov Neeman, who called the workers "exploding bombs," alluding to Arab suicide bombers, and compared them to "enemies from outside." From the point of view of people like the Zionist Finance Minister, it is hard enough to control ordinary Jews when they look to the Israeli government to protect them from Arabs viewed as an anti-Semitic enemy; it would be nearly impossible to control them if they looked upon fellow working class Arabs as their equals and friends in a struggle against the likes of Finance Minister Yaakov Neeman! For the Israeli Zionist elite, the virtue of the Zionist framework is that it makes Israeli Jews easier to control. Whether or not it is, properly speaking, "anti-Semitism" to want to control and exploit Jews, the fact remains that it is a despicable motive no better than anti-Semitism.

By the same token, elite Arab rulers and want-to-be rulers -- be they dictators, kings, President's-for-Life or ayatollahs  -- can control "their own" people more easily if fear and hatred of Jews deflects anger away from the Arab elites directly responsible for harsh inequality and exploitation of working class Arabs. No doubt this tacit awareness, by Arab as well as Jewish leaders, of the benefits of Zionism and its "chief export, anti-Semitism" (as one Israeli critic of the government put it), goes a long way towards explaining why these leaders "fail" to negotiate a just resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict despite "trying" to do so for going on five decades now. Furthermore, the fact that only very anti-democratic Arab regimes can be relied upon by the United States to keep oil wealth out of the hands of the Arab masses, and the fact that these regimes can control their people more easily if Israel provokes Arab anger, goes a long way towards explaining why the U.S. government gives virtually unconditional support to Israel, no matter how outrageously Israel provokes Arab hatred.

To the extent that anti-Semitism and any other kind of bigotry is a reality in the world, the solution is to defeat its proponents by strengthening those forces in the world who are trying to shape society with the opposite values -- equality, commitment to one another regardless of race or ethnicity, and democracy. For real anti-Semites, a Jewish state based on denying non-Jews their human rights is nothing short of a gift.


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