(Please share this widely. The URL is
https://www.pdrboston.org/listen-anti-zionist and you can just copy and paste it to any social media message along with your own words of introduction.)
by John Spritzler
December 13, 2020
[I have written extensively about Zionism; click here to see these other articles of mine.]
[Also very important: ""ANTI-ZIONISTS: DO YOU WANT TO WIN A CLASS, OR LOSE A RACE, WAR?"]
Listen fellow anti-Zionist! The Zionists are playing you like a fiddle. And you're letting them get away with it.
I fight Zionism in a way that makes it IMPOSSIBLE for the Zionists to persuade anybody that I am antisemitic.
You, unfortunately, fight Zionism in a way that makes it EASY for the Zionists to persuade people you are antisemitic, despite your very true and sincere denials. The most persuasive (wrongly so, but unfortunately persuasive nonetheless) version of the Zionist accusation of antisemitism against anti-Zionists (read here how Larry Summers, former President of Harvard University, makes exactly this version of the accusation) goes like this:
"You may not be intentionally antisemitic, but Israel is defending Jews against antisemites who want to harm them and therefore your denial of the right of Israel to exist and protect itself aids antisemites and is thus antisemitic in effect if not intent."
You don't challenge the premise that Israel is protecting Jews from harm, and so your denial of being antisemitic in effect if not intent is only effective when you're "preaching to the choir," not when you're speaking to the many people who support Israel because they think it's antisemitic not to do so.
What do I do that you fail to do? This.
I aggressively attack the Zionist Israeli government (and the billionaire ruling class to which it is beholden) for not only oppressing Palestinians with ethnic cleansing but ALSO oppressing ordinary Jews in Israel by driving them down into economic poverty and using the bogeyman "enemy" of Palestinians (which the ethnic cleansing deliberately creates) to divert Jewish working class anger away from the Zionist billionaire ruling class and direct it instead against ordinary Palestinians oppressed by that same ruling class. Divide and rule 101.
I also harshly condemn the Zionist leaders for having betrayed ordinary European Jews during the Holocaust (sabotaging any rescue effort that did not send the Jews to Palestine), and for continuing to betray them after WWII in other ways before Israel existed.
How do ordinary people who are pro-Zionist respond?
Let me tell you about a man named Michael. Michael was a very pro-Israel Jewish colleague of mine. With his facial muscles twitching in anger, Michael put his finger a quarter inch from my face when I was collecting signatures at work in support of the Palestinian Right of Return, and screamed at me, "You're this close to being Hitler!"
A few days later I ran into him in the cafeteria and asked if he had a minute to talk and he said OK (because we were colleagues and had to work together.) I then spent 15 minutes relating to him how the Zionist leaders had betrayed European Jews during the Holocaust and continued to oppress ordinary Jews today. (Go here to read about this in great detail: https://www.pdrboston.org/israel-s-government-attacks-jews-to.) Michael listened in dead silence, astonished to hear me defending Jews. Prior to this he had assumed that I was an antisemite since I was anti-Zionist. Now he was learning he had been wrong.
The next week, after I had shown the anti-Zionist film Jenin Jenin during the lunch hour at work, I was returning to my office and passed Michael in the hall. Now he was very friendly! He told me that he wasn't able to attend the film because he had a conflicting work meeting but that he would attend the next film if I had one. (I didn't show another film before retiring, alas.)
This is how an anti-Zionist movement can make itself IMMUNE to any accusation of being antisemitic. This is how the anti-Zionist movement can win to its side the millions of currently pro-Zionist Jewish "Michaels." And even more importantly, it is how the anti-Zionist movement can win to its side the tens of millions (probably more!) of non-Jews around the world who, to their credit, don't want to do anything that might be antisemitic and who thus listen to what these Jewish "Michaels" say in order to decide whether or not to support Israel. This is how the anti-Zionist movement can WIN, and not just remain a passionate minority that can't actually defeat Zionism.
But the current wrong-headed anti-Zionist movement doesn't do this.
Instead, it does things that make it EASY for the Zionists to persuade people it is antisemitic. For example:
1. Wrong-headed anti-Zionists don't express any concern for the oppression of ordinary Jews by the Zionist ruling class and instead either say outright, or imply, that ordinary Jews are just as much the enemy as the Israeli ruling class that oppresses them. Anti-Zionists thereby accept as true the Zionist Big Lie that "Israel is a state of the Jewish people" when in fact it is no more a state of ordinary Jews than the United States is a state of ordinary Americans: both are states of billionaire ruling classes used to oppress the ordinary people who reside in them.
The BDS movement is enormously weakened because of this failure. To see how, watch this video of Norman Finkelstein (a person with a reputation--not entirely deserved in my opinion--for being an outspoken foe of Zionism) explain how BDS leaders are disingenuous in calling for the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees (which would obviously entail the end of Israel's robust majority Jewish population) on the one hand, while on the other hand denying that they want to abolish Israel as a Jewish state.* Finkelstein says BDS must clearly and explicitly affirm its "recognition of Israel or it's a non-starter; it won't reach the public." Finkelstein is half right and half very wrong.
Finkelstein is right in pointing out that BDS is disingenuous and he's right in pointing out that the reason for this disingenuousness is that BDS fears alienating the "general public"; this alienation, in turn, would stem from the persuasiveness of the Zionist accusation that any refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is an attack on ordinary Jews and hence antisemitic.
But Finkelstein is wrong in believing that BDS would alienate the general public if it clearly opposed the existence of the Jewish state of Israel on the grounds--the true grounds!--that it is used by the billionaire rulers of Israel not only to oppress Palestinians but also to oppress ordinary Israeli Jews. Finkelstein, like the BDS leaders, refuses to even consider this strategy.
2. Wrong-headed anti-Zionists don't explain that the reason the U.S. ruling class (both the Jewish and non-Jewish members) support Israel is because it has a vital, rational (though immoral) strategic reason OF ITS OWN for supporting Israel (which I explain at https://www.pdrboston.org/why-u-s-billionaires-support-israel.) Instead anti-Zionists foolishly claim that the reason the U.S. government supports Israel is because Israel (somehow, mysteriously) forces it to do so (the "tail wags dog" idiotic theory.) When people hear this absurd theory they naturally perceive it as that old antisemitic canard about the mysterious power that Jews have over non-Jews, you know--"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and all that antisemitic nonsense.
3. Wrong-headed anti-Zionists don't talk about how the land and houses that the Zionists stole from Palestinians can (and ought to) be returned to them IN A MANNER THAT WOULD BE SUPPORTED ENTHUSIASTICALLY BY MOST ORDINARY ISRAELI JEWS! Read here how this could be done: https://www.pdrboston.org/israel-palestine-a-just-solution. Instead anti-Zionists act as if a just solution for the Palestinians could only be carried out in spite of furious opposition by ordinary Jews whose concerns don't count at all.
By fighting Zionism the proper and sensible way, the anti-Zionist movement can WIN; it can be immune to the accusation of antisemitism and gain the support of the people who--to their great credit--want nothing to do with any movement they perceive as antisemitic.
So, why does the wrong-headed anti-Zionist movement fail to fight Zionism in a winning way? Here are some possible reasons:
Too many of the anti-Zionist leaders won't do what needs to be done because what needs to be done (all the points I make above) is based on an egalitarian revolutionary (as described at https://www.pdrboston.org/what-is-an-egalitarian-revolution ) anti-capitalist perspective and aim, and these anti-Zionist leaders don't want to be egalitarian revolutionary anti-capitalist leaders. Why not? Because if they did they would be, at least implicitly, challenging the power of the ruling upper class where they live and work, which is scary. It's one thing to "be for Palestine and against Israel"; it's altogether something else and more dangerous to be against the ruling class that is your own employer or that can tell the people you rely on to fund your organization or election campaign to stop doing so.
The reason the anti-Zionist movement will not have good Big Leaders (i.e., leaders with mass media access to very large numbers of people and well-funded organizations to mobilize large numbers of people) is because the ruling class uses coercion--sometimes financial and sometimes outright violence and assassination) to prevent such leaders from existing for very long (or even emerging at all.) I discuss this more generally in my article, "A GENUINELY REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT WILL NOT HAVE A 'BIG LEADER,' AND HERE'S WHY."
We need to build the anti-Zionist (and anti-class-inequality, i.e., egalitarian revolutionary) movement with SMALL LEADERS--ordinary people who can do the kind of movement-building things I discuss here.
The reason is still fear, but fear of something different from what I discuss above. This time it's fear of being accused of being anti-Palestinian, even "racist" against Palestinians. Here's what's going on.
Hamas, which is perceived (wrongly, as I discuss here [in my article titled "Israeli Leaders and Hamas Need Each Other"], and here and here [where I defend the use of violence against Zionist combatants, but not against noncombatants]) by many people as the leading Palestinian anti-Zionist organization, is famous for directing lethal violence (formerly suicide bombs at bus stops and restaurants and more recently explosive rockets aimed at the Israeli town of Sderot very near the Gaza Strip-Israel border and at Israeli towns even further from the border very recently) against non-combatant Israeli Jews just because they are Jews. Hamas also never even hints that Israeli working class Jews are also oppressed by Zionist leaders and hence are, at least potentially, allies in the fight against Zionism. Hamas, by its actions, proclaims that ordinary Jews--just because they are Jews--are the enemy. (This makes Zionist leaders very grateful to Hamas, of course.) This has a terrible effect on the thinking of anti-Zionists around the world.
Many anti-Zionists believe that it would be wrong to talk about how Zionism harms working class Israeli Jews because that would amount to proclaiming that Hamas is wrong (which it is!), and to do that, they wrongly believe, would be anti-Palestinian, even "racist" against Palestinians. And so, to dodge the accusation (from other anti-Zionists) of being "anti-Palestinian," anti-Zionist leaders refrain from speaking the truth about Zionism, even though speaking that truth is absolutely required in order to deprive the Zionists of their #1 weapon--claiming to be the defenders of Jews and asserting that any criticism of Zionism is objectively if not intentionally anti-Semitic. I discuss this further in my, "ANTI-ZIONISTS: DO YOU WANT TO WIN A CLASS, OR LOSE A RACE, WAR?"
Some anti-Zionists have said (to me, personally) that the strategy I advocate in this article "won't work because Jewish Israelis absolutely hate Palestinians and will never change." This is an illogical argument. Here's why.
First, even if it were true that Israeli Jews all hate Palestinians and will never change (and I don't think it is true), so what? If the anti-Zionist movement aggressively attacked Zionism for being an instrument of the Jewish ruling billionaire class to dominate and oppress working class Jews in Israel (and accordingly stopped identifying non-combatant Israeli Jews as the enemy just because they are Israeli Jews, and stopped endorsing Palestinians who try to kill them just because they are Israeli Jews) then guess what? The Zionist #1 strategy for getting the support of the general public (Jews and non-Jews alike) in nations around the world, i.e., its claim to be defending Israeli Jews against antisemites and its assertion that its critics are motivated by antisemitism, would COLLAPSE! It would lose all of its persuasiveness. And this is true regardless whether or not working class Jews in Israel continued to hate Palestinians.
Second, nobody knows how working class Jews in Israel would respond to a movement that championed their interests and identified Zionist leaders as their enemy. This strategy has not yet been attempted on a significant scale.
Third, the historical evidence is that people who seemed to be permanently hateful of (i.e., supportive of the oppression of) another group do sometimes in fact change. In South Africa during the apartheid years people said that the whites would always support the racist apartheid system. White South Africans before 1992 responded to criticism of apartheid by insisting that it was a “complicated” issue. Their government said it was “anti-Christian” to oppose it. Racial equality was a noble idea, said many whites, but there were special reasons why it wasn’t a good idea in South Africa. But then, in 1992, South Africa’s President deKlerk, no doubt in response to the growing world wide boycott against apartheid, decided that apartheid needed to be abolished. He made his views known, and he held a referendum on apartheid for whites. In 1992 the BBC reported that
“White South Africans have backed an overwhelming mandate for political reforms to end apartheid and create a power-sharing multi-racial government...In a landslide victory for change, the government swept the polls in all four provinces, and all but one of 15 referendum regions...It won 68.6% of the vote in a record turn-out, which, in some districts exceeded 96%.”
Doesn't this show that it is illogical--nonsensical!--to refuse to adopt a strategy that can make the anti-Zionist much stronger, on the specious grounds that some people (Israeli working class Jews) will never change, when a) there is no evidence that they won't change and b) the proposed new strategy would make the anti-Zionist movement much stronger EVEN IF THEY DID NOT CHANGE?
The reason some anti-Zionists fail to adopt the winning strategy is because they would rather lose a race war than win the class war, as I discuss in "ANTI-ZIONISTS: DO YOU WANT TO WIN A CLASS, OR LOSE A RACE, WAR?"
I believe that a big reason anti-Zionists are not refuting the false Zionist claim--the pillar of Zionist propaganda--that Israel is protecting ordinary Jews from harm is this. Anti-Zionists don't really think it is possible to ever build a movement that will have the great majority of the general public on its side and be able, therefore, to actually win. Since they don't think it is possible to win over the majority of the general public, they don't devote the mental energy required to figuring out how to do it. They don't bother to identify the chief Zionist false assertion that enables Zionism to maintain its critical support, and they don't do the work of investigating the relevant facts to learn how to persuasively refute it, and they don't explain to others in the movement how to refute it. They just ignore it. Instead, they engage in activity that makes them feel good, that reassures them that they are on the side of the angels. They "preach to the choir" and enjoy feeling righteous. But they don't do the serious strategic thinking that is required to actually build a movement that can defeat Zionism, because they don't think it is possible to do that. This is a huge problem not only in the anti-Zionist movement but also in the Black Lives Matter movement, as I discuss here.
* Zionists falsely equate Israel having a robust Jewish majority population (its first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion said it needed to be at least 80% Jewish) with Israel being a "Jewish state" in the sense of it being a state of, by and for ordinary Jewish people.