by John Spritzler
December 13, 2020
[I have written extensively about Zionism; click here to see these other articles of mine.]
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 anti-Semitic.
You, unfortunately, fight Zionism in a way that makes it EASY for the Zionists to persuade people you are anti-Semitic.
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 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?
A very pro-Israel Jewish colleague of mine, with his facial muscles twitching in anger, 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 ) He listened in dead silence, astonished to hear me defending Jews. Prior to this he had assumed that I was an anti-Semite 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 this colleague 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 anti-Semitic.
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 anti-Semitic. 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 as a Jewish state) 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 anti-Semitic.
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 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 anti-Semitic canard about the mysterious power that Jews have over non-Jews, you know--"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and all that anti-Semitic 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 anti-Semitism and gain the support of the people who--to their great credit--want nothing to do with any movement they perceive as anti-Semitic.
So, why does the wrong-headed anti-Zionist movement fail to fight Zionism in a winning way?
Here's one possible reason why.
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 lose the Big Money funding they rely on to "pay the rent" for their various organizations or political campaigns, etc. Sad but true.
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.
Here's another possible reason anti-Zionist leaders won't do what needs to be done.
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 and here) by many people as the main 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 border town of Sderot) 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 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 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.