By Alan Hart
I was inspired (perhaps I should say provoked) to write this piece by something US Vice-President Joe Biden said in his speech to the recent J Street national conference in Washington DC. He recalled visiting Golda Meir when she was Israel’s prime minister and he was a junior senator. Her parting words to him were, he said, these: “We Jews have a secret weapon in our conflict with the Arabs. We have no place else to go.”
Taken a face value what Golda said was obviously not true because there were then, as there still are, many countries to which Israeli Jews can go to start a new life if they wish. For the one million who have taken their leave of the Zionist (not Jewish) state for a better life elsewhere, America was and remains the first choice, but today Germany is also becoming popular.
So what, really, was Golda’s message to Biden by implication?
Zionism’s raison d’être
In very low key “Mother Israel” was giving voice to Zionism’s raison d’etre (reason for being). The logic of it can be summarized as follows.
The world always has been anti-Semitic (meaning anti-Jew because Arabs are Semites, too) and always will be. So, Zionism takes it as a given that holocaust II – shorthand for another great turning against Jews – is inevitable. Israel therefore exists to be a safe haven, a refuge of last resort, an insurance policy for all the Jews of the world when that day comes. That’s why Israel has an unsatisfied hunger for more Palestinian land, an unquenchable thirst for more Palestinian water and a lust for the oil that has very recently been discovered in Palestine that became Israel.
And that in turn is why Zionism’s in-Israel leaders, assisted by their lobby and its associates and allies in America, will stop at nothing to advance their cause; a cause which requires, among other things, consolidating Zionism’s hold on the occupied West Bank and not ruling out a final ethnic cleansing of it, and the creation of a pretext to go to war with Lebanon again to take for keeps the south of that country up to the River Litani. (In a recent article Franklin Lamb made reference to an Israeli document which contains the text of a speech made in 1941 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and first prime minister. One particular sentence is circled by hand. “We have to remember that for the Jewish state’s ability to survive it must have within its borders the waters of the [rivers] Jordan and Litani.”)
In passing I have to say that one of the greatest promoters of the Jewish fear of a new upsurge of anti-Semitism is Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in America. (A more appropriate name for his organization would be DIC – Defame Israel’s Critics.) A decade ago, in his address to the ADL’s 90th annual meeting in New York, he said: “We currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as the one we faced in the 1930s – if not a greater one.”
In addition to its elected traitor agents in Congress, the Zionist lobby’s associates and allies include the non-Jewish neo-cons in various departments of state and the security services, a host of think tanks and the mainstream media, and the leaders of the tens of millions of deluded, mad, Christian fundamentalists. (This fundamentalism is historically anti-Semitic but supports Israel right or wrong because it sees the Zionist state as the instrument for bringing about Armageddon. For their part, Israel’s right wing leaders and their lobby courted and welcomed Christian fundamentalism because the alliance with it gave them maximum influence in Washington DC.)
The Jewish paradox
As I note in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the answer to the question of what Zionism would do in the event of mission failure was given to me by Golda Meir in one of my interviews with her for the BBC’s flagship “Panorama” programme. She said that in the event of a doomsday situation, Israel “would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it.”
Israel was created by Zionism to guarantee the wellbeing and existence of the Jews, but that wellbeing and perhaps even existence is most seriously threatened by Zionism’s policies and actions
The Jewish paradox comes down to this. Israel was created by Zionism to guarantee the wellbeing and existence of the Jews, but that wellbeing and perhaps even existence is most seriously threatened by Zionism’s policies and actions.
How can that possibly be true?
What we are witnessing today is a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism. It is not a manifestation of anti-Semitism, meaning that it’s not being driven by prejudice against or loathing and even hatred of Jews just because they are Jews. Anti-Israelism is being provoked by Israel’s arrogance of power, its sickening self-righteousness and its contempt for international law in general and the rights of the Palestinians in particular.
The danger for Jews everywhere is that anti-Israelism could be transformed into rampant and rabid anti-Semitism. The most explicit warning that this could happen was given voice by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving director of military intelligence. In his book, Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in English in 1988, he wrote this (my emphasis added):
Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.
Harkabi also noted that Israel’s biggest enemy was its own self-righteousness. If he was alive today I would suggest to him for comment that if “enemy” can be defined as a force with the ability and real intention to destroy Israel by military means, self-righteousness is the only enemy of the Zionist state.
The real enemy of the Jews
Harkabi was not the first Jew to warn of the danger of Israel becoming a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism, and he was in very good Jewish company. Prior to the Nazi holocaust most Jews everywhere were opposed to Zionism’s colonial-like enterprise. They believed it was morally wrong (which, of course, it was) and would lead to unending conflict with the Arab and wider Muslim world. But most of all they feared that if Zionism was allowed by the major powers to have its way, it would one day provoke anti-Semitism.
As I write I find myself wondering if honest future historians will conclude that one of the greatest ironies in all of human history, perhaps even the greatest, is in the fact that Zionism wanted and needed anti-Semitism in order to justify its criminal policies and actions to Jews everywhere and misinformed and therefore gullible gentiles in America and Europe.
At school I was given what I still believe to be the best definition of a paradox – “The truth standing on its head to attract attention.” One such truth is this. There is no such thing as a “Palestine problem”. There is only a Jewish problem in and over Palestine that became Israel.
The headline over an article by Bradley Burston in Ha’aretz on the first day of this year was “Will 2013 be the year American Jews secede from Israel?” One of his concluding paragraphs was this: “American Jews want to know what is being done in their name. In the name of Judaism. And if they think that it is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.“
The gentile me has a problem with that expression of hope.
If reason prevailed…
The evidence is that while a growing but still smallish number of American Jews are publicly critical of Israel’s policies and actions, very many, still the majority, are remaining silent and don’t want to know what Zionism is doing in their name; and while that remains the case there is no prospect of reason prevailing in enough Jewish minds to change the course of history.
…while it is perfectly possible that Zionism’s in-Israel’s leaders could tell an American president and the whole of the non-Jewish world to go to hell, they would not be stupid enough to say the same to the Jews of the world, Jewish Americans and Europeans especially.
How it could be changed if reason was assisted to prevail can be simply stated. If a majority of American and European Jews were prepared to openly acknowledge the wrong done to the Palestinians in Zionism’s name, and then insist that the wrong be righted on terms acceptable to the Palestinians, any Israeli government would have to change course and be serious about peace on terms the Palestinians could accept.
What I really mean is that while it is perfectly possible that Zionism’s in-Israel’s leaders could tell an American president and the whole of the non-Jewish world to go to hell, they would not be stupid enough to say the same to the Jews of the world, Jewish Americans and Europeans especially.
That stands to reason – doesn’t it?
On public speaking platforms (as in my book) I never tire of giving voice to my thoughts about the great prize available to the Jews of the world and Israeli Jews especially if they did allow justice-driven reason to prevail. Generally speaking, they are the intellectual elite of the Western world and the Palestinians are the intellectual elite of the Arab world. Together in peace and partnership, in one state with equal rights and security for all, they could change the region for the better and by so doing give new hope and inspiration to the whole world. Put another way, Jews and Palestinians in peace and partnership could become the light unto nations.
Dream on, Alan.
An indication that Netanyahu is alarmed by the possibility of a majority of Jewish Americans demanding or even requesting that Israel be serious about making peace on terms the Palestinians could accept is in the following.
The Israeli American Council recently commissioned the distribution of leaflets to thousands of Jewish Americans asking them where their allegiance would lie in the event of a real crisis between the US and Israel. The leaflet was originally endorsed by representatives of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. When Netanyahu learned of this endorsement he directed the ministry to disassociate itself from the questionnaire.
I think it’s reasonable to assume he was worried by the prospect of the survey indicating that in the event of a showdown between himself and President Obama, a majority of Jewish Americans would be Americans first and not Israel firsters.