‘Birthright’ founder Michael Steinhardt giving anti-Birthright demonstrators the finger in New York, April 16, 2018. Posted by If Not Now on twitter.
Central to Zionist ideology, the idea of Jewish ‘homelessness’ and the
concept of a ‘right of return’ is the myth of a Jewish nation. Below is an article from Jonathan Offir
explaining why this myth is central to Zionist ideology and the Zionist project.
This Zionist idea that Jews do not belong in the lands of their birth is really
just a reflection of the anti-Semitic idea that Jews do not belong. Zionism is not original. Its most important ideas are borrowed, not
from the Bible but from the enemies of the Jews. Zionism is, above all, not the product of a 2,000
year yearning for a Jewish state, as the Zionists would have you believe but
the desire of anti-Semites that Jews pack up and go. It is because Zionism does not accept that Jews
have any right to live anywhere outside Palestine that the fight against anti-Semitism
is not a priority for it. Historically Zionism never fought anti-Semitism because it was deemed ‘futile’ in the words of Political Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl. When individual Zionists
have fought fascism or antisemitism they have done so despite not because of their Zionism. Integral to Zionism is the idea that anti-Semitism cannot be cured
or even fought because it is inherent in the non-Jew, the Gentile.
Jonathan Offir – the author of the article below
When Zionism today purports to oppose anti-Semitism in reality it is redefining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism. Because Zionism
calls its opponents, including Jewish opponents, ‘anti-Semitic’ people often
forget that Zionism is not only indifferent to anti-Semitism but on occasion positively welcomes it.
We can see, with the effusive welcome
given to Donald Trump and the alt-Right in the USA by not only Netanyahu and
the American Zionists but by the whole of the Zionist movement, including the Israeli
Labour Party. We can see this in the friendly relations between the anti-Semitic
far-Right governments of Poland and Hungary and Israel. Even today Zionism
and anti-Semitism are like Siamese twins.
Sir Edwin Montagu – was not only the only member of Lloyd George’s war cabinet to oppose the Balfour Declaration but he was also its only Jewish member
The quote from Sir Edwin Montagu below is from a much longer memorandum
by him to his colleagues in the Lloyd George War Cabinet in August 1917. Its title was ‘Memorandum of Edwin Montagu on the Anti-Semitism of the Present
(British) Government’ and its opening paragraph stated:
I have chosen the above title for this memorandum, not in any hostile
sense, not by any means as quarrelling with an anti-Semitic view which may be
held by my colleagues, not with a desire to deny that anti-Semitism can
be held by rational men, not even with a view to suggesting that the Government
is deliberately anti-Semitic; but I wish to place on record my view that the
policy of His Majesty’s Government is anti-Semitic in result will prove a
rallying ground for Anti-Semites in every country in the world.
How prescient this was.
When the Zionist Organisation of America held its last Annual Gala Dinner it invited Steve Bannon, formerly Donald Trump’s Strategic Advisor and someone who is on record for antisemitic comments [Steve Bannon Didn’t Want Children Going to School With ‘Whiny’ Jews] according to his former wife, but also Sebastian Gorka, a member of a neo-Nazi Hungarian order , Vitezi Rend.
Some people are
probably wondering how it could be possible, if Israel declared its
independence on the even of May 14th that this year it is
celebrating its independence on the eve of the 18th April. The
answer is, that Israel celebrates the event as if it was a Jewish holiday,
according to the moon calendar, which most often does not coincide with the
Latin, sun-based calendar.
This is only
one aspect in how Israel seeks to apply itself as a “Jewish State”. But I am
going to speak about an even more essential ideological aspect that sits at the
heart of Zionism. It is not the notion of the Jewish state as such, but the
notion of the Jewish nation.
Sir Edwin Montagu
jump back 100 years and look once again at the words of the British (and
notably Jewish) Secretary of State for India Edwin Montagu, in his critique of His Majesty’s Government’s
intentions to endorse a ‘Jewish national home” in Palestine in 1917:
“I assert that there is not a
Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this
country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire
with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess
to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a
Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say
that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation:
of the same race, perhaps, traced back through the centuries – through
centuries of the history of a peculiarly adaptable race”.
Montagu’s logic did not win the day. Zionism did. And nowadays, many Jews
around the world are relating to Israel’s Independence Day as if it was a
religious holiday. Last Friday I had a conversation in Copenhagen with a man I
hardly knew, we both merely knew we were Jewish:
“Will you be celebrating Yom Haatzmaut [Israeli
Independence Day]?”, he asked.
“You betcha I won’t!” I answered.
responded with a predictable expression of bewilderment.
“I’d rather be commemorating the Nakba”, I said.
“Nakba? What’s that?” He
“It’s Arabic for ‘catastrophe’”, I
explained, “when the vast majority of
Palestinians was expelled”.
“Oh”, he said.
short pause, he went:
“But I love holidays like for example Pesach
[Passover]”, he said.
“Alright, but that’s a religious holiday.
Independence Day is not a religious holiday, unless you consider nationalism to
be religious”, I said.
that conversation. Yesterday I was invited by another Jew to celebrate Israeli
Independence Day – at the Copenhagen synagogue (as the very issue of
Independence Day as a Jewish holiday was discussed):
really are in any doubt about it being a Jewish holiday you can go to the
Synagogue in Copenhagen tomorrow night as well as most other synagogues where
there are special services and there are prayers on Thursday that you only say
on Holidays (Hallel) and of course it is a day off and therefore a holiday in
the Jewish state”, he wrote.
So you see,
this notion of an extra-territorial, Jewish ‘nation’ has been subscribed to by
very many Jews around the world – and makes the Israel case a mixture of
religion and nationalism – but not nationalism in the sense that we normally
attribute to the term.
‘nationalism’, as embodied by the State of Israel, literally means that there
are no Israeli nationals, and that there cannot be. It may sound surreal (and
should) to those who are not yet familiar with this bizarre concept – but even
more bluntly put, Israelis don’t exist in the
national sense – only as citizens. “Jewish” is defined as a “nationality”
(alongside some 130 other recognized ‘nationalities’), and the purpose of this
construct is simple: Since Israel defines itself as The Jewish State, and
wishes to cement that concept fully as the Nation State of the Jewish People, the only
ones who actually enjoy national rights, as opposed to merely
citizenship rights, are the Jews. And yes when I say ‘the Jews’, I’m not
accidentally generalizing – this is a generalization that Israel itself makes,
an extra-territorial generalization, which entails that any Jew from anywhere
can ‘return’, ‘ascend’ and receive automatic citizenship and a subsidy welcome
package from the Jewish State. This even includes people who are not Jewish by
Israeli orthodox law, merely by third generation paternal affiliation.
fantastic terms for Jews all over the world – I mean, why wouldn’t you want
such an ‘insurance policy’?
It is this
‘insurance policy’ that makes it possible for Prime Minister Netanyahu to call on Jews to immigrate to Israel
in the wake of terror, like he did in the wake of the Paris 2015 attacks:
“To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe,
Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel
is your home”, he tweeted.
were concerned about what such proclamations and ‘insurance policies’ can mean.
The Director of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, said
at the time:
“Israel must cease this Pavlovian reaction every
time Jews in Europe are attacked. Every such Israeli campaign severely weakens
and damages the Jewish communities that have the right to live securely
wherever they are.”
essentially the point that the mentioned Edwin Montagu was also making, back in
Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will
immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a
population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants”.
insightful. Montagu elucidates not only the Judeo-centric concern – but the
Palestinian one. And with all the Jewish concerns, it is the Palestinians who
have had to pay most dearly for this Jewish ‘insurance policy’. The “Jewish
nation” has for them meant dispossession, and it is a continuing matter. Jews
around the world insist on their “birthright” to Israel, while those who were
actually born there and have ancestry from time immemorial, are dispossessed.
And when some Jews protest this, they even get the finger (see above how
‘Birthright’ founder Michael Steinhart reacted to Jewish protesters calling for
boycott of the free trip to Israel for young Jews). But giving the finger to Jews
is the least of it. That finger has been given to Palestinians all the way
through, that’s what it’s all about. The Jewish ‘nation’ idea is about them
being dispossessed and stripped of any national affiliation with their
homeland, for Jews to ‘return’.
Israel’s ‘independence’ is about. It means ‘we don’t need Palestinians’.
Because we already have a ‘nation’ – the Jewish one.
This is the
central myth that needs to be dismantled – that of the ‘Jewish nation’. It is
the absolute core of Zionism. Everything that Israel does stems from this
notion, of the “Jewish nation”.
to actually survive this horror and become a mere religion or societal
tradition within modern constructs of ‘nations’, the myth of the ‘Jewish
nation’ must be deconstructed. The archaic concept of a religious-conditioned
‘nation’ must give way to the modern, enlightened version, wherein the term
basically defines those who happen live in a given territory in a given time,
providing them with justice, freedom and equality. Dispossessing the vast
majority of those under the pretext that there’s a ‘nation’ waiting to take
their place cannot be the solution.