by Kim Petersen / November 22nd, 2010
Alan Hart has come out strongly against Zionism; his books on Zionism1make this case, but the subtleties of Hart’s most recent argumentation give some cause to wonder about the language formulation he uses in opposing Zionism. I am in solidarity with Hart in his humanism and opposition to Zionism and its crimes; I differ on some nuances in combating Zionism.
In his recent essay, Hart writes,
What we are witnessing in the world today is not anti-Semitism re-directed but a gathering, global manifestation of anti-Israelism.2
This was puzzling for me.
First, what Hart calls “anti-Israelism” is, I submit, importantly and more accurately identified as anti-the crimes of Zionism.
Second, Hart’s formulation seems to accept Israel as a legitimate entity. However, this would be a mistaken impression, as Hart replied, “I do NOTregard Israel as a legitimate state.” His body of writings is clear on this.
A state spawned by a Nakba which dispossessed the indigenous Palestinians cannot in any morality-based universe be considered a legitimate form of state-building. If genocide and dispossession are illegitimate means of forming a state, then Israel must be an illegitimate state, despite what the United Nations decreed in 1947.3
Therefore, if Israel is an illegitimate state, then anti-Israelism might be an expected outcome. Here it is important to distinguish that being anti-a statedoes not imply being anti-a people. Being anti-a people is racism and morally reprehensible. That is why, insofar as a state can be characterized as moral or not, the state of Israel is morally reprehensible — because it is set up to be anti-Palestinian, anti-Bedouin, and anti-Gentile.
Hart writes “… of the Zionist (not Jewish) state’s arrogance of power …”
Hart goes to lengths to distinguish between Zionism and Judaism; but how distinguishable are they? The Zionists refer to Israel as the Jewish State, and Israel receives staunch support from world Jewry.
A Huffington Post article states,
Israel was meant to be the homeland of the Jewish people, and the relationship of Israel to world Jewry has been of great importance ideologically, emotionally and pragmatically to both sides. I on purpose disregard how important the political influence of US Jewry has been for Israel throughout its history — and most politicians here are at least aware of this. But the bond between Israel and world Jewry is also one of shared values.4
Supporting the preceding contention is a 2010 poll by the American Jewish Committee which found that 76 percent of American Jews believe Arabs desire the destruction of Israel and 95 percent support a requirement that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state in any future peace settlement.5
Simply stated, the more the peoples of nations (if not their governments) become aware of Israel’s racist policies and criminal actions, and that its leaders are not interested in peace on terms the vast majority of Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims could just about accept, the more anti-Israelism will continue to grow.
This is bizarre reasoning and language formulation. In other words, awareness of Jewish racism makes people prejudiced against the Jewish state. Hart mislabels anti-racism (i.e., anti-Zionism) as anti-Israelism. It is only anti-the racism embodied in the state of Israel. It is anti-the racist policies and practices of the Zionist state. Such mislabeling only serves Zionist ends, as well as leaving room to presuppose Israel as a legitimate entity.
Discussing “anti-Israelism” draws the focus away from morally debilitatingZionism — which really should just be called Jewish racism and/or supremacism — and seemingly conjures up another -ism, but it is wrongheaded to formulate what is opposition to anti-Arabism (a term seldom come across in the media) as anti-Israelism. Thus, the term “anti-Israelism” serves to draw sympathy away from the oppressed Palestinians and deposit it with the Zionist oppressor.
Hart states, “The only way for American and European Jews to best protect their own interests is by distancing themselves from Zionism’s monster child.”
The formation of in-group and out-groups is a “monster child.” There must be no distinguishing when it comes to the human rights of any and all peoples. I submit that the only way for American and European Jews to best protect their own interests is by recognizing that it is not about protecting only their own interests; it is about recognizing that they and everyone else are all human beings and that protecting the interests of each other best serves the interests of the entirety of humanity.
- See Kim Petersen, “Zionism: The Dead End of the Oppressor,” Dissident Voice, 13 October 2009. [↩]
- Alan Hart, “No, Mr. Netanyahu, you and yours are responsible for the ‘demonization’ of Israel,” 20 November 2010. [↩]
- Of course this also applies to other states formed through colonialist/imperialist/genocidal dispossessions such as in the western hemisphere and Oceania. [↩]
- Carlos Strenger, “Is Israel Alienating Jews of the World?,” Huffington Post, 13 July 2010. [↩]
- Natasha Mozgovaya, “Poll: 76% of American Jews think Arabs want to destroy Israel,” Haaretz, 12 Oct 2010. [↩]