Zionism: the importance of being Politically Correct

When it comes to foreign issues, I generally find that my political opinions aren’t exactly as informed as they could be. But with the Israel-Palestine conflict all over the news recently, my thoughts have been wavering in a state of limbo.

With a variety of issues, I find it pretty easy to lean to one side or another. With this issue though? Nobody has gotten it right. I’ll read opinions condemning the human rights violations of Israel, and I’ll agree only to find—two paragraphs in—that the essay has turned into a completely anti-Israel screed with antisemitic undertones.  I’ll watch Congress continue to conflate Israel’s aggressive actions with “defense” and mindlessly funnel tax dollars into bombs that will be used to kill innocent people. Then I’ll listen to conservatives affirm Israel’s right to exist, only to launch into a rant about killing terrorists and how Muslims want to kill them for their freedom.

And then I’m struck with this sense of how completely and utterly wrong everyone is. As you can see by the picture I grabbed from this story, protesters in Germany are comparing Israelis to Nazis. The article is titled, “European guilt about the Holocaust is receding in the face of Israeli aggression – and there’s nothing anti-semitic about it”. Excuse me? There’s nothing antisemitic about purposely exploiting one of the most heinous acts of history to make a political point to the descendants of the victims of that genocide when you are the descendants of their killers? Well color me surprised. I thought that was about as antisemitic as you can fucking get.

It’s because of shit like this that I really don’t trust many people to be at all tactful or progressive about this sort of issue. Every political commentary I’ve come across is seething with an undercurrent of war-mongering, racism, antisemitism or anti-Muslim sentiments. My city publishes a newspaper called the “Jewish News” which my mother is subscribed to. Even they have gotten it all wrong: the front page is filled with some of the most anti-Muslim sentiments I’ve ever seen, not to mention deliberate distortions of the truth.

Half the reason why this stupid issue is so polarizing is because the way I’ve continued to see people frame it. It’s always this “us verses them” nonsense. Neither the Israeli government or Hamas have clean hands, but it’s certainly clear who has the biggest guns. Do I agree with the actions of Israel? Heck no. Violating human rights agreements and several dozen international laws in the process of lobbing freaking warheads into civilian areas is not fucking cool.

But unlike all the shithead commentators on this issue, I don’t equate Israel with every single Jew in the world, nor do I insinuate that this is some global conspiracy to force the entire Middle East under Jewish rule. Obviously, the actions of most of Europe and this nation sing a different tune. Excuse me for finding it mighty funny how quietly people protest, Europeans included (remember when Europe and the US overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran?), when we violate every single human rights agreement every time we traipse around the Middle East but we pat ourselves on the fucking back for exposing the “Zionist conspiracy”.

There is no Zionist conspiracy. Israel, last time I checked, is fully backed and supported by most of Europe and this country. It has been for decades. Why? Because it’s a great strategic base for our own preemptive strikes in the Middle East! We aren’t supporting Israel’s crusade to wipe Muslims off the face of the planet, we are collaborating in their war-mongering because it neatly complements our own war-mongering in the same area. We like Israel not because of the Jews, but because it’s a lot easier to launch missiles into Iran from Israel than from the deck of an expensive navy ship staffed by thousands of seamen in the Persian Gulf.

The word “Zionism” is so incredibly misused to create antisemitic statements that it’s getting on my nerves. I fully expect conservative pundits to engage in othering, bigotry, and racism to get their point across. What I don’t tolerate, however is fucking “progressives” pretending that they’re at all progressive when they deliberately distort a word to make their point.

Zionism is the name for the original movement supporting the creation of a Jewish home state, and is now the political term for someone associated with the sentiment that the Jewish state ought to exist as it now does. Thus, the term “Zionist conspiracy” makes no sense unless you’re a pissant sham of a progressive hiding behind your latent antisemitism. People who support the existence of a Jewish state are not conspiring about its existence. Last time I checked, most people are of the opinion that it exists, and that’s the facts. The word “conspiracy” tend this air of cloak and dagger theatrics and a bunch of evil overlords conspiring to take over the world. I know some Israelis, a lot of Jews, and a shit-ton of people that don’t think Israel ought to be blown to smithereens. They aren’t conspiring to take over the world. Knock this dramatic crap off and make a real argument.

Furthermore, the context in which “Zionism” is used twists the old definition to deliberately turn it into some war-mongering world-wide movement of Jewish supremacy. Wait, what? Last time I checked, the sort of nationalism and distrust of other ethnic and religious groups that Israelis display now is nothing at all new. This kind of crap is old hat. Is Judiasm so threatening that we have to deny the historical roots of the idea of a Jewish home state, utilize Nazism for offensive protests, and coin an entirely new term for nationalism?

Because that’s what the Jews are doing right now: they’re being nationalists. They are othering the natives of their country (Americans take note: remember what we did to the Mexicans and Native Americans that inhabited this nation before us?), blowing threats out of proportion, and generally being the same kind of douchebags that every single postindustrial nation was before them. Or, as we well know, the kind of nationalist douchebags that Americans are right now in our own Iraqi and Afghani quagmires.

The only reason we call it “Zionism” and not nationalism is because they’re such scary Jews. Which is why as soon as people recoin such a bogus term, the antisemitic freaks come out of the woodwork and figure that since it’s now cool to condemn Israel for its actions—rightly, I may add—it’s now cool to implicate that all Jews are scary motherfuckers bent on ruling the world. If you’re giving people that impression—that it’s open season on Jews—you’re doing it wrong dipshit.

And that’s the difference. I don’t pretend that I think that Israel is being awesome, nor do I think that we ought to sit idly by and watch them slaughter another ethnic group. That shit isn’t cool. But let it be known: it’s entirely possible to dislike the actions of a nation without denying that nation’s right to exist, the occupants of that nation the right to have their own state, and the official religion of that nation.

Killing is just as forbidden in the Torah as it is in the Bible. Unlike what passes as witty commentators today though, I’m not stupid enough to think that there’s something wrong with Christians, Christianity, or a country occupied mostly by Christians because the ruling party of those Christians happens to be a war-mongering ultra-nationalist bigot.

I support the existence of a Jewish state, perhaps severely altered, but a Jewish state no less. Because 40% of the people who share my religion and cultural history live in such a nation, and have flourished in that nation under their own rule for the first time in millennium, I’m quite pissed at the idea that we ought to let Israelis get wiped off the map because of crimes no less than any other post-industrial nation, turmoil in the larger region that we deliberately fostered for oil, and in the process of killing others with weapons that we gave them. Israel is no different than any other Middle Eastern country in which Europeans or Americans have vested their interests knowing that the regime is pro-American and capitalist friendly. The difference is that the occupants of Israel are Jewish, which seems to inspire the most vehement hate and antisemitism—not even a hundred years out from one of the worst genocides the world will ever see.

Am I suggesting that Israel ought to kill the Palestinians and we should condone it? Absolutely not! But it is important to realize that just like the Americans that fought and won their independence from the British and displaced the Native Americans, they literally have no where else to go. There is only one Jewish state. And not every man woman and child in that state deserves to die any more than any American deserves to die for slaughtering Mexicans and American Indians that defended their lands from encroachers.

But unlike hundreds of years ago, the Israelis have to establish a state with the eye of the world upon them. This is a good thing, most of the time, because it means that this foundation must be equitable, just, and peaceful. When it’s not—as it is right now—the world can sit up and take notice of the atrocities for too many generations past we have condoned. But we cannot do this by fostering religious zealotry, deliberately exacerbating old wounds, and equating those who still wish to see a Jewish state—perhaps hyphenated or even halved—with conspiracy theorists. Such misrepresentations hide the role of other nations in this turmoil, and the shared past that allowed such inequities between the Israelis and Palestinians to fester and rot.

Israelis, Americans, Antisemitic Middle Easterners, Europeans—and yes, even a minority of equally nationalist Palestinians—are all responsible, to a certain degree to the current war that embroils the Middle East. To wash our hands of a fight that we deliberately profited off of for decades with various half-truths and bigotries is to take a high road that we have no right to take. We’re not freaking Sweden, for shit’s sake. America is not neutral. America is the very antonym of neutral. We did nothing to help the Palestinians for half a century, everything to help piss them off and make violence the side dish du jour of the region, supplied the Israelis with heavy weaponry and then we think we can just either foster anti-Muslim sentiments or spew crap about a Zionist conspiracy in the most transparently antisemitic manner possible?

Uh, no. That’s what I call bullshit. Until political “progressive” commentators have figured out how to condemn Israel’s actions without inciting antisemitism, implying that a conspiracy is afoot, completely ignoring the rest of the world’s participation in this quagmire, and referencing the fucking Holocaust in the the most disgusting display of idiocy passing as “liberal thought”, they need to shut the fuck up and sit down.

If you can’t write without being a bigot about someone—and that includes Jews jackass—put down the damn pen and reevaluate what logical fallacies that high horse you’re riding on is made of.

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Posted on January 13, 2009, in America, Legal Illegalities, Liberal Dudez, Politics, what the fuck and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more. I accept Israel’s right to exist, preferably within its agreed 1947 borders, but as a pragmatist, inside its 1967 borders. Anything other than this is a gross violation of international law.

    The problem with the Zionist / Israeli / Anti-Semitic debate stems directly from Israel itself. Zionism is not merely the title of the historic campaign launched by Hertzl. It is the name for the movement which believes that Jews are the chosen people, and the state of biblical Eretz Israel – or Zion – must exist again for the Messaih to come. Zionists today believe that the area of all Palestine, Israel and parts of Jordan are decreed to Israel by God. Ben Gurion said as much. Ben Gurion said that the borders of modern Israel must never be set because then they cannot expand.

    Modern Zionism is not the Zionism of Hertzl – regardless of how racist and genocidal he was. Zionists will openly admit they are superior to everyone else, and you can read this in the papers. It is no coincidence that Israel never broke off diplomatic relations with apartheid South Africa. To the contrary, they conducted joint nuclear tests. Laws within Israel exist that explicitly discriminate against non-Jews. That is racist, state racism, that stems directly from Zionism, and must be condemned unreservedly.

    Israel is a Jewish state. That is racist. It is no different from Iran or Zimbabwe. It is an exclusionist state based on religion. What makes Israel worse than Iran and Zimbabwe, is that they displaced the local population, and have and active movement to further displace the local Arabs from their land. This is what the settlements are about. This is modern Zionism, and it should be condemned unreservedly.

    It has nothing to do with the fact they are Jewish. It is not anti-semetic to condemn them. It is anti-Zionist. It is anti-Israeli. I couldn’t care less if someone can’t work on Friday or has long sideburns. But I fucking care a lot of a country takes someone else’s land and murders them in the street. This is what Israel does. That is anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist, but not anti-Semitic. It is a statement against politics, not religion – regardless of the fact Israel regards itself as Jewish,

    Criticism of Zionism is not racist. It is not anti-semetic. It is the logical response to a 130 year old campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’, of genocide.

    Not all Jews are Zionist, the likes of Uri Avnery and Gideon Levy prove this, and these Israelis criticise Israel in terms no one else can. Avnery even fought in the 48 war, but has never ceased his criticism of Israel’s expansion. Israel’s expansion is driven by Zionism – the creed that Israel is given to the Jews by God – and it is disgusting and racist.

  2. I am not attacking those that associate what is thought of “modern” Zionism with genocide and human rights violations. They are right, as I said above, because the actions of Israel’s government are disgusting and horrifying.

    My point is that I find it highly suspect that the word “Zionism” is used when all I see is good old fashioned racism, nationalism, and religious dogma—things that every post-industrial nation has used or continues to use to expand and protect borders. The only relevant difference here is that the nationalists in question are Jewish. Since the term “Zionism” never fails to inspire the heights of antisemitic statements (again, which are not condemnations of Israel’s actions, because I do not agree with what Israel is doing now either, but the wholesale suspicion of Jews, attack of the Jewish religion, and insinuations that Israelis are somehow conspiring to take over the world and have infiltrated American politics).

    That these sentiments invariably come up when the word “Zionism” is used, well, it leads me to the conclusion that the term in and of itself is unnecessary, and the way in which it is framed specifically inspires the very kind of racial and ethnic hatred that created this mess in the first place.

    I also highly object because the term hides the true extent to which Israel is propped up by other countries who have been content to ignore the horrible exploitation and poverty of the Palestinians for generations.

    Because of the way that most people frame the word “Zionism”, their commentary fails to be objective enough to condemn the Israelis without sweeping the contributions of the rest of the world under the map. The way the issue is framed implies that what is now wrong in the region is wholly and completely the fault and master-minded plot of Nazi-like Israeli evil geniuses. Which is why people reply to such stories with such vicious antisemitic garbage.

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