HERE'S HOW TO DEFEAT ZIONISM
September 26, 2021
by John Spritzler
[The URL of this article is https://www.pdrboston.org/zionism-s-achilles-heel, please share it widely.]
[My other articles about Israel/Palestine are here.]
Yes, we anti-Zionists around the world CAN defeat Zionism. The way to do it is to identify the source of its strength and, based on that knowledge, destroy its strength.
What Is the Source of Zionism's Strength?
At first glance it would seem that the source of Zionism's strength is the over-the-top support--economic, diplomatic and military--that Israel gets from the United States. This is indeed a big, even crucial, part of Zionism's strength; but it is not the source of that strength. Here's what I mean.
The reason the U.S. supports Israel virtually unconditionally is because the billionaire ruling classes of the United States and of Israel both need to use a bogeyman enemy to frighten their own working class populations into obedience to them*****, and Israel--by carrying out brutal violent ethnic cleansing against Palestinians--generates Palestinian anger that enables the upper classes to portray Palestinians (and Muslims generally) as the perfect bogeyman enemy--"antisemitic freedom-hating fanatical Muslim terrorists."
The Israeli and U.S. ruling classes both need such a bogeyman enemy and thus have a fundamental shared interest in the Zionist ethnic cleansing project that creates it. This is why not a single U.S. billionaire, Jewish or not, speaks out against Israel's notorious ethnic cleansing even though they're happy to have the U.S. government accuse other nations of ethnic cleansing when it suits them.
The key question, however, is this: How can the U.S. ruling class get away with its over-the-top support for Israel's notoriously violent and oppressive ethnic cleansing of Palestinians? The vast majority of Americans would never support, and in fact would be appalled by, such violent ethnic cleansing unless there were some overriding reason for them to support it.
There is, of course, such an overriding reason why a large majority of Americans do in fact continue to support Israel despite knowing that Israel openly declares that it wants to have as much land with as few Palestinians remaining in it as possible, and that Israel massacres civilians in Gaza periodically and treats Palestinians in the Occupied Territory like dirt and demolishes Palestinian homes inside Israel and has apartheid laws that discriminate against Palestinians inside Israel.
There is a reason why Americans continue to support Israel even though a former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, told them that Israel was apartheid by publishing his Palestine Peace Not Apartheid book, and the mass media reports the Gaza massacres and the New York Times on May 28, 2021 even printed above the fold on the front page individual photos of 64 Palestinian children the Israeli government killed in Gaza in merely eleven recent days, under the headline "They were just children." There is a reason why so many Americans still support Israel even though Netanyahu brags (though falsely***) that Israel is a "Nation-state of the Jewish people and of them alone"--an assertion that employs the same kind of racist language that the overtly racist KKK uses in the U.S. to argue for an exclusively white state, and which the vast majority of Americans find repugnant.
What explains this mysterious support for Israel by a majority (75%) of Americans as of March, 2021? Why do only 25% of Americans sympathize "more with the Palestinians" than "with the Israelis"? Why does only a small (growing, yes, but still small) minority of Americans condemn Israel for its violent racist ethnic cleansing? The vast majority of Americans opposed South African apartheid. Gallup polls showed U.S. public support for sanctions against South Africa rising from 42% in 1985 to 62% by 1990. By 1999 Nelson Mandela was #14 in Gallup's list of people Americans most widely admired in the 20th century. Instead of 75% of Americans supporting Israel with its visible and notorious apartheid and cruelty and violence and oppression of Palestinians one would expect 90% of them opposing Israel. What's going on?
Before answering this question, let's consider why the question is so extremely important. It's important because as evil as the U.S. ruling class is, it is not able to act openly in flagrant violation of the strongly felt will of the vast majority of Americans. For example, when the majority of Americans came to view the Vietnam war as wrongful (because it was cruelly killing Vietnamese peasants with napalm as the famous photo of the screaming and burning little girl made evident, and because it was killing tens of thousands of American GIs for no good reason) what happened? LBJ was unable to give a speech anywhere except on military bases, due to hostile demonstrations. GIs in Vietnam began fragging (killing) officers who ordered them to fight the Viet Cong and GI refusal to fight reached such proportions that Nixon was forced to withdraw the troops from Vietnam in ignominious defeat.
After the Vietnam war, when left wing movements took power or threatened to take power in Central American nations, Ronald Reagan did everything he could (using secret missions of the CIA and the secret "Iran-Contra" deal) to oppose them--but secretly. He didn't do what previous presidents had always done in Central America--openly send in the Marines. Instead he was forced to use less effective secret measures such as funding the Contras. Why? Because the American public would not have stood for sending the Marines to Central America and re-enacting another Vietnam war.
The U.S. government had, through the Reagan administration, been a staunch supporter of South African apartheid because South Africa was an ally against the Soviet Union. But the U.S. government was forced by public opposition to apartheid to reverse course and begin sanctions against South Africa. "In October 1984 the United States abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution condemning South Africa's apartheid policies....Yet less than two years later the anti-apartheid movement emerged as a leading force for mobilizing domestic opposition to U.S. policy toward South Africa. Growing grassroots activism convinced state and local governments, colleges and universities, and corporations to reassess their ties to the apartheid state. Congress, spurred by these actions and by renewed unrest in black townships, approved limited sanctions against South Africa in November 1986 over Reagan's veto. This accelerated the withdrawal of millions of dollars in U.S. investments." [Source: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2151931 ]
The U.S. ruling class has a great need to support Israel's violent ethnic cleansing but it can only do so as openly and as massively as it does today if it has support for this from a solid majority of the American public. So the question--the REAL question--is this: How does Zionism persuade so many people to support its violent ethnic cleansing? Why has the anti-Zionist movement in the U.S. failed to achieve the magnitude of support that the anti-apartheid South Africa movement gained and used to make the U.S. government stop supporting and even begin sanctioning that apartheid regime?
The answer, of course, is that Zionism asserts that the violent ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws are, sadly and unfortunately**** but nonetheless truly, necessary to make Jews--survivors of the despicable Nazi Holocaust who have, and rightly deserve, the sympathy of the world--safe in a world (supposedly) filled with people who are innately antisemitic. Modern Zionism was founded in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, who (falsely) proclaimed that because all non-Jews were innately antisemitic therefore in order for Jews to be safe they needed a state of their own, where only Jews lived. The first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, declared that Israel must have at least 80% of its population be Jewish*, and the Israel Supreme court has ruled** that no party can run for office in the Knesset (parliament) if it does not support the goal of keeping Israel's population a majority Jewish no matter what.
This assertion by Zionism--that Israeli ethnic cleansing violence against Palestinians is necessary to make Jews safe--is the only thing that enables Zionism to hold onto the support of a majority of the public, and hence continue to receive the open and over-the-top support of the U.S. government. This Zionist assertion is the fundamental SOURCE of the strength of Zionism. It is why anti-Zionists who only talk about how horrible and cruel Israeli violence against Palestinians is, but never challenge the Zionist Big Lie about its PURPOSE, fail to persuade the vast majority of the public to oppose Zionism.
The Zionist Big Lie
The source of Zionism's strength is, however, a Big Lie. It is flatly and demonstrably untrue, as I show with overwhelming facts in my article, "ISRAEL'S GOVERNMENT ATTACKS ORDINARY JEWS AS WELL AS PALESTINIANS." This article shows that the actual, but unstated, purpose of Israeli government violence against Palestinians is NOT to make working class Israeli Jews safe but, on the contrary, to control and oppress Israeli working class Jews to make Israeli billionaires richer.
The stated goal of Israeli violence--to grab as much land for Israel as possible and have as few Palestinians on it as possible in order to make Jews safe--is the official goal of Zionism, but this stated goal is half lie and half truth. The part about the removal of Palestinians being for the purpose of making Jews safe is a lie. The part about wanting to seize land owned by Palestinians is true but only because it enables the Jewish upper class to grab more wealth for itself. The stated goal of Zionism acts as a pretext (designed to get the support of Israeli Jews who are told it is necessary to make them safe). It is a pretext for attacking Palestinians for two real but unstated reasons: 1) to enrich the Zionist upper class by theft of Palestinian property and, by letting Jews own homes stolen from Palestinians, make ordinary Jews and Palestinians view each other as the enemy; and 2) to make Palestinians be so angry at Israel (supposedly the "state of the Jewish people") that they can be portrayed as the frightening bogeyman enemy of Jews that the Israeli billionaire ruling class needs and uses to control and economically oppress Israeli working class Jews to get even richer; the Israeli billionaire rulers pretend to protect ordinary Jews from “the real enemy” as long as they obey their Israeli rulers despite any other grievances they may have against them.
By refuting the Zionist Big Lie persuasively (with the truth!), by showing (as my article does) that Zionist leaders have had nothing but contempt for ordinary Jews and their welfare ever since the days of the Holocaust when they sabotaged rescue efforts of Jews from the Nazis that did not send Jews to Palestine and by showing that Israeli violence against Palestinians today likewise has nothing to do with making Jews safe but on the contrary is about making Israeli billionaires richer by enabling them to oppress and control working class Jews, anti-Zionists can DEMOLISH the Zionist Big Lie. Anti-Zionists can thereby win over not just a minority but the VAST MAJORITY of the public to not only oppose Zionism but to view it with revulsion.
By refuting the Zionist Big Lie, anti-Zionists will be absolutely immune to the absurd Zionist accusation that they are, as former Harvard President Larry Summers put it, "antisemitic in their effect if not their intent" because they oppose that which is necessary to make Jews safe. This accusation of antisemitism is based entirely on the false premise that Israeli violence against and oppression of Palestinians is for the purpose of making Jews safe: that Jewish safety requires Israel to have apartheid laws and to carry out ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and to use whatever violence it takes to enforce the ethnic cleansing. When the public learns that this is NOT the real purpose of Israeli oppression of Palestinians, and when the public learns what its REAL purpose is, the public will not only view the accusation of antisemitism as absurd but will see that is actually antisemitic NOT to oppose Zionism! When this happens we will have not merely a growing minority of the public opposed to Zionism but the VAST MAJORITY!
Note, however, that when anti-Zionists respond to the antisemitism accusation by merely pointing out that there are anti-Zionist Jews, this does no good at all. Why not? Because this response merely shows that anti-Zionists are not INTENTIONALLY antisemitic; it does absolutely nothing to show that they are not antisemitic IN EFFECT because they are opposing that which is necessary to make Jews safe. The only way to persuasively refute the accusation of antisemitism is to directly refute the Zionist Big Lie that claims Zionist violence against, and oppression of, Palestinians is for the purpose of making Jews safe. Otherwise, Zionists simply declare that Jewish anti-Zionists are "self-hating Jews"--Jews who hate what Israel does to (supposedly) make Jews safe.
What About the Fact of Working Class Israeli Racism Against Palestinians?
Yes, it is undeniably true that the Israeli ruling class has succeeded in making many working class Israelis view Palestinians with such great fear that they have adopted a racist attitude of contempt for Palestinians, viewing them as sub-human and deserving to be killed just for being Palestinians.
The question is, How does the fact of Israeli working class racism relate to the question of how we can defeat Zionism?
First, let us assume the worst-case scenario, that Israeli working class racism will remain for the long term. So what? This would not prevent anti-Zionists from telling the general public in nations like the United States the truth about the REAL aims of Zionist leaders. Americans and people in England and Europe and Australia and elsewhere whose governments support Israel will oppose Zionism when they know its true anti-working class purpose even if Israeli working class Jews don't know it. And when the general public in nations other than Israel opposes Zionism and makes it impossible for their governments to support it (the way governments were unable to continue to support South African apartheid once their populations turned against it) it will mean the defeat of Zionism is imminent.
Second, the more successful we are in telling the public in nations other than Israel the truth about Zionism's real aim, the easier it will be for people inside Israel to promote the spread of this truth among Israeli working class people, even further weakening and ultimately defeating Zionism.
To Defeat Zionism We Must Refute the Zionist Big Lie
The reason Zionism remains strong is because virtually nobody refutes the Zionist Big Lie, as I have written about here.
Yes, anti-Zionists have been telling the public many vitally important things that must be said to defeat Zionism, in particular that Zionism is cruelly oppressive of Palestinians, that it is a violent ethnic cleansing project, that it has and viciously uses against Palestinians enormously more violence at its disposal than the Palestinians have to defend themselves, that Israel's oppression of Palestinians is in violation of international law, that the Palestinians have a legal Right of Return that Israel refuses to honor and have a right to be justly compensated for property stolen from them by Zionists, and that Israel is an apartheid state with laws that overtly discriminate against Palestinians and that violate international law.
For defeating Zionism, however, telling the public these facts is necessary but not sufficient.
As long as the public believes the Zionist Big Lie that Israeli violence is for the purpose of making Jews safe, then all of the other facts about the oppressiveness and illegality of Zionism will fail to persuade a majority of the public to oppose Zionism.
As long as anti-Zionists fail to refute the Zionist Big Lie, their opposition to Zionist violence will be easily portrayed by the likes of Larry Summers as antisemitism in effect if not intent because it opposes that which is necessary to make Jews safe.
As long as anti-Zionists respond to the accusation that they are "antisemitic in their effect if not their intent" by merely proving that they are not intentionally antisemitic, while failing to show that the Israeli violence they oppose is NOT for the purpose of making Jews safe, then anti-Zionists still have not refuted, or even responded to, the accusation that they are antisemitic in effect. The Zionist accusation of antisemitism will thus remain persuasive to most Americans. Zionist leaders understand this full well, and they count upon it. Zionist leaders don't care that much if anti-Zionists denounce Zionism, as long as they don't persuasively refute the Zionist Big Lie!
Refuting the Zionist Big Lie is the Very Heart of Acting in Solidarity with Palestinians
We CAN defeat Zionism. But it requires lots and lots of anti-Zionists refuting the Zionist Big Lie. That should be the #1 priority of anti-Zionists today because it is what the Palestinian struggle against Zionism absolutely requires in order to win. Solidarity with Palestinians means doing what is necessary to defeat Zionism.
The Achilles Heel of Zionism
Zionism today, like the great Achilles of ancient times, seems all-powerful when really it is not. The supposedly invulnerable Achilles was killed by a mere wound to his heel, the part of his body nobody knew was his great weakness. The Achilles Heel of Zionism is the fact that its strength relies on a lie, a lie that can be exposed as a lie. Yes, Zionism has F-16 bombers and a heavily armed military force and these are indeed hard to defeat on the military field of battle with weapons possessed by Palestinians and other anti-Zionists.
But we have all the weapons we need to SMASH the Zionist Big Lie to smithereens, and thereby destroy Zionism's strength at the root, to wound the Achilles Heel of Zionism and thereby defeat it. My article refuting the Zionist Big Lie has been proven to change pro-Israel people who read it--even passionately pro-Israel Jews--into anti-Zionists.****** In this sense, the pen is truly mightier than the sword. But the pen is only mighty when LOTS of people use it and LOTS of people--millions of people--read what it writes. Lots of people writing and speaking out to refute the Zionist Big Lie can cripple and defeat Zionism. Let's do it!
WHY AREN'T THE ANTI-ZIONIST ORGANIZATIONS DOING WHAT IS REQUIRED TO DEFEAT ZIONISM?
I discuss the reason so many anti-Zionists are not doing what is required to defeat Zionism in my "ANTI-ZIONISTS: DO YOU WANT TO WIN A CLASS, OR LOSE A RACE, WAR?". Far too many anti-Zionists have accepted the false framework that says the conflict is between "the Palestinians versus the Jews," which is essentially a race-war framework. The ruling classes use this false frameworks to divide-and-rule the have-nots. Instead of exposing how false the race-war framework is, far too many anti-Zionists accept it uncritically and simply take one side in it, by waving the Palestinian flag and condemning all Israeli Jews. Instead of talking about WHY the Israeli ruling class works so hard to make ordinary Israeli Jews fear Palestinians and adopt racist attitudes against them, these anti-Zionists simply point to the fact and use it as an excuse to stay committed to their race-war framework in which all Jews are and always will be the enemy of all Palestinians. The ruling classes love it when anti-Zionists do this.
Why do these anti-Zionists love the race-war framework? Perhaps it is because it enables them to affirm, very easily by just waving the Palestinian flag and using the associated kind of rhetoric--their righteousness as being "on the side of the oppressed." Perhaps the race-war framework makes them feel good this way. Whatever the reason, their acceptance of the race-war framework guarantees that they will not be a serious threat to Zionism.
There's another thing about the race-war framework that, unfortunately, makes it appealing to many anti-Zionists. It's this. If one accepts the race-war framework then one's anger at Zionism is not framed as anger at the upper class(es) that use Zionism to oppress working class people. One's anger at Zionism, in this case, is not directed (neither explicitly nor even implicitly) at the upper class that rules the nation in which one lives (and decides whether or not to make life very hard for one) or at the upper class-controlled institution that is one's employer (and decides if one gets tenure or a promotion or job security) or at the upper class people who donate money to one's organization (and who decide if one's going to be able to pay the rent for one's organization's office). The race-war framework is thus much safer than the truthful framework for anti-Zionists personally, even if it is absolutely incapable of defeating Zionism.
* The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe, p.48
** Section 7A(1) of the Basic Law of Israel explicitly prevents Israeli citizens – Arab or Jewish – from using the "democratic" system of Israeli elections to challenge the inferior status of Arabs under the law; it restricts who can run for political office with this language: "A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if among its goals or deeds, either expressly or impliedly, are one of the following: (1) The negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the State of the Jewish People. …" In a 1989 Israeli Supreme Court ruling (reported in the 1991 Israel Law Review, Vol. 25, p. 219, published by the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Justice S. Levine, speaking for the majority, ruled that this law meant that a political party could not run candidates if it intended to achieve the cancellation of one of the fundamental tenets of the State – namely "the existence of a Jewish majority, the granting of preference to Jews in matters of immigration, and the existence of close and reciprocal relations between the State and the Jews of the Diaspora."
*** Israel is no more a state of (i.e., for) the Jewish people than the United States is a state of (i.e., for) ordinary Americans; both are states of a billionaire upper ruling class that uses the government to control and oppress the working class.
**** Here's how Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier expressed it:
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children." [Source is here.]
Golda Meier may have been better than most Zionists in expressing this Zionist view so pithily, but virtually every Zionist thinks about, and defends, Israeli violence this way, viewing it as, however unfortunately, necessary for self-defense of Jews.
***** The reason for this is that working class people want society to be equal and democratic, not based on the extreme class inequality and virtual dictatorship of the rich that prevails today in both the United States and (as I show here) in Israel. If simply left to themselves, ordinary people would make society be the way they want it to be--equal and democratic with no billionaire ruling class. This is why the billionaire ruling classes dare not leave people to themselves; they must constantly control people, and the time-proven best method of doing that is to frighten them with a bogeyman enemy and pretend to be protecting them from that enemy as long as they obey their rulers in spite of whatever grievances they may have against their rulers. Read more about this here and here and here and here.
****** Let me tell you about a man named Michael. Michael was a very pro-Israel Jewish colleague of mine when I worked at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 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. (I told him facts that my subsequently written article mentioned above includes.) 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.)
Please know that Michael is not the only formerly passionately pro-Israel Jew to respond this way to what my article says!
Refuting the Zionist Big Lie this way is how the 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.