Tony Greenstein | 25 January 2020 | Post Views:

Without an anti-Zionist critique solidarity with the Palestinians is nothing more than charity

Solidarity with the Palestinians is primarily a Political not a Human Rights issue

Theodor Herzl appropriated the Star of David

I was reading through the papers for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM this Saturday. I did a word search on ‘Zionism’ and ‘Zionist’. In the entire Annual Report, the first 18 pages of the 32 pages of conference documents, the words do not appear. They only occur in resolutions from members.

This is not a pedantic point. Imagine the Anti-Apartheid Movement opposing the human rights violations of the White Supremacist state without once mentioning Apartheid! Or opposing the terrible conditions that existed amongst the slaves in the sugar islands in the 18th century without once mentioning the cause – slavery.

The refusal, because it is a refusal to mention the dread word ‘Zionism’ is fundamental to the political cowardice and timidity of the Socialist Action leadership of PSC. It is pro-Palestinian without being anti-Zionist. It’s like being a vegan whilst going hunting animals.

PSC has no analysis of the Israeli state. PSC calls Israel an apartheid state, which is correct, but how it got there is a mystery. Presumably it was, as the Zionists claim, an act of God. PSC literally has nothing to say about the Zionist movement and how and why Israel became a racist and apartheid state. That is why it avoids criticising the Zionist movement in Britain today.

Thus it is that when the Zionists of the Jewish Labour Movement wanted to make mere mention of the word ‘Zionism’ an example of the ‘abuse’ of Jews and therefore ‘anti-Semitism’ there was no resistance from PSC since they don’t even use the word themselves. Everything is on the level of human rights and discrimination.

Yes of course Israel systematically discriminates against Palestinians and tramples on their human rights but if you read the literature and output of PSC you would never know why that was so.

Thus it is that some of the worst Zionists in the Labour Party, Emily Thornberry and Lisa Nandy (who amazingly is Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine despite being an avowed supporter of the anti-Semitism campaign) have appeared on the platform of PSC.

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Thornberry is quite prepared to condemn individual Israeli actions, such as demolitions or shooting of unarmed protestors. However she also supports Israel as an ethnically Jewish and therefore racist state. She is a patron of Labour Friends of Israel and a hard line Zionist

Whilst most Jews boycotted Nazi Germany the Zionists struck up a trade agreement with it

In what Asa Winstanley called ‘a groveling address in front of the Israeli ambassador at the Labour Friends of Israel annual dinner’ in November 2017, Thornberry declared that

‘even today… modern Israel stands out as a beacon of freedom, equality and democracy, particularly in respect of women and LGBT communities.’

In an article for Labour List Thornberry stated that ‘People who believe Israel does not have the right to exist should be drummed out of the Labour Party.’ According to ThornberryWe need to get on our hands and knees and ask for forgiveness to the ‘Jewish community.’

Yet because this vile racist is prepared to condemn some Israeli human rights abuses she is considered a fit person to adorn PSC platforms. The same is equally true of Lisa Nandy who stated during the recent leadership election debates that:

‘“We gave the green light to anti-Semites,” said Nandy. “Never again do I want to be door knocking with members of the party and be called racist.”

According to Chakrabarti’s pathetic report, Auschwitz hero and escapee Rudolf Vrba was antisemitic for comparing Zionists to Nazis

Shami Chakrabarti in her Report stated that

‘But surely it is better to use the modern universal language of human rights, be it of dispossession, discrimination, segregation, occupation or persecution and to leave Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust out of it?

It is of course tempting and easy to promote Palestine as an issue of human rights. Only the hardest of hard line Zionists would defend Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children. But at its core Palestine solidarity is not a human rights issue but a political question of the Zionist attempt to make the Israeli state as Jewish as possible.

Israel is a state of a special kind. A self-proclaimed ethno-national state that represents only part of its population. It is a state that bases its claim to legitimacy on the Holocaust despite the fact that it treats the actual Holocaust survivors still alive today despicably

According to the Zionists Ze’ev Sternhell, a childhood survivor of the Polish Ghetto of Premzyl is an anti-Semite

According to the German Finance Ministry Germany has paid $78 billion pounds in reparations to the survivors of the Holocaust. Yet instead of giving it directly to the victims it went via the Israeli government and the Jewish Claims Conference, a byword in nepotism and corruption.

It is estimated that one-third of Holocaust survivors today in Israel live in poverty. Zuta needs a ventilator but could not afford the cost of $5,000 to purchase one. So she was trapped in her home for 3 years. $5,000, a fraction of the cost of bombing a house in Gaza but the latter is more important.

Dor Roth made headlines in 2013 when she memorably
shouted down members of a committee at a hearing in the Israeli parliament.

Ben-Gurion made a pact, promising we would receive money for the rest of our lives,”

Roth demanded, in reference to Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. “What have you done with the money?” she screamed, pointing her finger at the seemingly unfazed politicians.

“Seeing a Holocaust survivor who can’t afford to heat his home in the winter and can’t afford to buy food or medicine is your disgrace. I don’t care about your committees. They mean nothing to us. I came all the way here to ask you one thing: Let us die in dignity.”

In the name of the Holocaust Israel has aligned itself with virtually every tyrant and dictator across the globe

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That is why Chakrabarti is wrong. When Israel uses the Holocaust, the Nazis and Hitler to legitimate itself then it is reasonable to look into comparisons between Zionism and Nazism.

The reason that the Palestinians are not primarily a human rights issue is because in the world as it is today there are worse examples of human rights atrocities. The Rohinga in Burma, Kashmir, the Kurds of Turkey

Emily Thornberry’s opposition to BDS was not an obstacle to being a guest of PSC

It was the same with South Africa. It was one of the themes of apologists for Apartheid to point to the record of the Black African countries surrounding South Africa. Mugabe was hardly an example of a regime at peace with its population. Botswana and many other African countries had and still have despicable human rights records.

However Apartheid in South Africa was unique because it treated people in a particular way because of some unchangeable characteristic of theirs – colour in South Africa, race (religion) in Nazi Germany and religion (nationality/race) in Israel.

That is what makes Israel unique. The treatment of the Palestinians occurs because they are not Jews. Whereas Iran oppresses all Muslims just about equally Israel reserves its main force of oppression for the Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens.

It is because PSC is not anti-Zionist that they were unable to respond to the ‘anti-Semitism’ attacks of the Zionists. When the ‘anti-Semitism’ narrative became a predominant one in Britain PSC’s voice was missing because it had nothing to say.

It was unable, for example to argue that Zionism has always traded on anti-Semitism indeed been in alliance with it. Nor could it argue that Zionism and anti-Semitism both shared a common characteristic – that the Jews did not belong in the countries they lived in. Nor could they call out the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement for being primarily Zionist groups because for PSC even the word ‘Zionist’ is now a no go area.

However the word Zionist and an analysis of Zionism is more relevant than ever. You cannot understand Israel and its role in the world unless you understand how it came into being and you cannot do that unless you understand the role and history of the Zionist movement. That history include the history of Zionist collaboration with anti-Semitism, which includes the Nazis. When Ken Livingstone was leader of the GLC he gave enormous help to the fledgling PSC. He however was given no support when he came under attack by the Zionists.

In short if you aren’t an anti-Zionist you aren’t in the end a true friend of the Palestinians. You are really like one of those people, Thornberry and Nandy, who claim to be friends of both Zionism and the Palestinians. But as Jesus observed, you cannot serve two masters and in practice Thornberry and Nandy, being exponents and supporters of the relationship with the United States, are committed Zionists even whilst they proclaim their sympathies with the Palestinians.

PSC in its desperate search for respectability has abandoned any form of anti-Zionism because it doesn’t want to put off its erstwhile friends amongst the trade union bureaucracy.

There is also another reason to be an anti-Zionist. Israel calls itself a Jewish state and not surprisingly some people react to that and the cruel behaviour of Israel by attributing that to Jews as a whole. Having an anti-Zionist critique means that the blame is put where it belongs, on the western support that enables Israel to do what it does.

Tony Greenstein

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Tony Greenstein

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