Zionism and ‘Anti-Semitism’: A Chronicle of a Smear Foretold

With the 2020 Presidential elections fast approaching, the progressive campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is gaining traction. Several interest groups have grown increasingly
anxious of Sanders’ Democratic Socialist agenda, including ruling class Republicans, corporate Democrats and their joint ally – Zionists, both Christian and Jewish.

Sanders and BDS

The ongoing ‘anti-Semitism’ smear of Sanders and his grassroots following has been waged openly at least since last February, regardless of the Senator’s Jewishness and outspoken support for Israel.

The smear has included at its core an attack on his backers Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) as well as activist Linda Sarsour.

The fact these are all women of color, two of them Palestinian, is far from coincidental; Zionism is a white supremacist, settler colonialist project, which is threatened by intersectional alliances disrupting Israel’s divide and rule tactics.

In response to the escalating smear, Sanders penned an editorial outlining his stance on anti-Semitism, Israel and Judaism, which predictably failed to deter the smearers. However, his liberal Zionism and endorsement of the immoral and politically unfeasible apartheid two-state “solution” render him susceptible to ongoing assaults as he repeats Zionist propaganda talking points.

Yet these attacks on Sanders and his followers conceal a campaign in the making for some time; a Zionist strategy devoted to targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as explicitly stated more than 10 years ago at the ‘Global Forum for combating Antisemitism’ and subsequently by ‘The Reut Institute’.

Although not a BDS supporter himself, Sanders has defended the right to engage in the movement and is clearly the best candidate on Palestine in 2020.

Thus, Sanders is targeted relentlessly by Zionist propaganda.

Zionist propaganda fallacies

Also known as ‘hasbara’, Zionist propaganda relies on several fallacies.

First and foremost, a conflation of Zionism with Judaism serves to deflect criticism of Zionist expansionist apartheid policies by means of repeated cycles of aggression and trauma and the agency of imperial enablers, whilst obfuscating the Nakba and Palestinian demands for equality and justice for those living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, within Israel’s 1948 borders, and refugees in the diaspora, who are guaranteed full right of return under international law.

This anti-Semitic conflation is reactionary, promoting right wing politics within the left.

The deliberately concocted manifest destiny connection between Zionism and Judaism thwarts resistance by deeming critique of Zionism and Israeli policies towards Palestinians as an attack on all Jews, ie anti-Semitic. Further, it fragments anti-colonial resistance by reframing a political struggle over land and resources between an occupying force and an occupied people as a “conflict” between two relatively equal parties.

This conflation promotes further tactical, Zionist appropriation and exceptionalization of Jewish victimhood and suffering. Israeli hasbara frames the Nazi Holocaust as a particularly savage genocide in history, which entitles its primary targets – Jews – with a special status among victims. In line with this facade, as exceptional victims, Jews deserve privileges, discounts and allowances. As the constructed “Jewish state”, Israel has been and continues to be the beneficiary of these favors and special relationships, which regularly come at the expense of Indigenous Palestinians. Notably, Zionist revisionism often ignores and diminishes Nazi crimes against other oppressed groups, such as communists and socialists, Roma, disabled people, LGBTQI, and African-Germans.

Zionist hasbara attempts to tarnish anti-colonial anti-Zionism by duplicitously merging it with modern white supremacist anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish religious bigotry, recasting principled leftist resistance to Zionist criminality as part of an ancient and exceptional form of human racism, which supposedly afflicts both left and right political spheres. This essentially anti-Semitic maneuver serves to whitewash Israeli criminality and ongoing collaborations with far-right governments worldwide and attack those who call them out, such as Representative Ilhan Omar and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Moreover, Zionist historical revisionism facilitates an erroneous presentation of Israel as a ‘normal’ democracy facilitating a left-to-right political milieu, instead of accurately acknowledging the entirety of the Zionist movement, including its “liberal” variety, as inherently reactionary, settler colonialist and genocidal.

Settler colonial projects generally rely on presentation of the desired territory as ’empty land’, along with dehumanization of existing inhabitants as barbarians undeserving of their land, who can thus be dispossessed without qualms in favor of a ‘villa in the jungle’. There is nothing ‘exceptional’ about Israel’s posture which has been marketed by other western settler colonial endeavors to sanitize their own land grabs, slaughter and denial of rights to Indigenous peoples as well as rejection of non-white refugees.

The Liberal flank of Zionism functions to absolve the reactionary essence of the movement and obscure its motivations – expansionism and apartheid. Dishonestly, it presents Zionism as compatible with democratic and progressive values and human rights, fictitiously possessing a true desire for peace, justice and complete integration into the Middle East.

All roads lead to Trump

The manufactured ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign waged against Sanders’ progressive camp began with liberal Zionist instigators in American media and was enthusiastically picked up by corporate Democrats and far-right wingers in Israel and the US, including Donald Trump himself (see here from recent campaign rally).

Significantly, the smear of Rep. Omar and parts of the left as ‘anti-Semitic’ is facilitated by the approval of the flawed and controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which adopts Zionist talking points regarding Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ and which was presaged again as strategic ‘lawfare’ in the Global Policy Forum in 2009.

The scapegoating of Omar by some in the mainstream media and prominent members of her own party provided a convenient backdrop for Trump to sign an unconstitutional Executive Order following his vicious anti-Semitic tirade at the Israeli-American Council National Summit.

This ongoing campaign against Omar, involving a host of dubious sources and social media accounts, has been adopted by key representatives of the Israeli government, such as UN ambassador Danny Danon. Notably, the Zionist portrayal of Omar as an anti-Semite shields real anti-Semites from accountability.

Israel’s racist policies complement Trump’s own xenophobic ambitions, as expressed by his senior policy adviser arch-Zionist Islamophobe Stephen Miller. Consistently, Congresswoman Omar has vocally opposed Stephen Miller’s white supremacy, fomenting further duplicitous accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’.

Defeating the smear

The fallacious ‘anti-Semitism’ accusations lobbed at those criticizing Zionist policies can be attacked successfully by avoiding Zionist propaganda traps and embracing the Palestinian, anti-racist call for BDS, a call which melds co-resistance and anti-colonialism, rejecting political Zionism.

To achieve justice, the focus on Zionist criminality and Israel’s shared settler colonial values and racist behaviors with other western settler colonial projects must persist. And the only relevant choice remains – are you a Zionist or an anti-Zionist? As veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wrote: “If you remain a Zionist, you can no longer be of the left; if you’re of the left, you can no longer be a Zionist.”

All those who claim to care about Palestinians, including liberal Jews and associated media outlets and organizations who avoid implicating Zionism or directly supporting BDS cannot continue to claim left-wing universalist values while simultaneously serving as the “liberal propaganda wing of the apartheid Zionist regime.

Recognizing Zionism as inherently reactionary is not a “purity test” aimed at excluding activists as recently claimed by Ran Greenstein in a piece for the liberal Zionist 972 Magazine. Rather, it is a necessary first step in attacking duplicitous ‘anti-Semitism’ smears by identifying their tactical origins and impact, rejecting rightwing sabotage of a principled struggle for rights and justice.

The onus of change and accountability is on the oppressor, not for the oppressed to endure. On the road to liberation, only a consistent and unapologetic anti-Zionist framework is effective and congruent with leftist, anti-racist values.

Analysis by Yoav LitvinSource

The Antisemitic Hasbara of Zionism

Highlighting the new forum article in MERIP featuring Neve Gordon, Lynne Segal, Kristian Davis Bailey and Olivia Katbi Smith where Kristian Davis Bailey, co-founder of Black for Palestine, says:

‘It has often been sufficient for Israel’s defenders to merely allege antisemitism in order to marginalize advocates for justice in Palestine. This tactic has worked by representing anti-Jewish racism, and the Nazi Holocaust, as exceptional—hence non-comparable—phenomena. In this way, discussions of antisemitism have been largely separated from other forms of genocide, state-sanctioned violence and bigotry.

As a result, wide gaps have emerged between discussions of anti-Jewish racism, pogroms and genocide and discussions of the African slave trade, European colonial genocides in Africa, the Americas and Australia, as well as the Palestinian Nakba (when Zionist forces expelled the majority of indigenous Palestinians from historic Palestine in 1948) and the violence undertaken during the US-declared “war on terror” since 2001. The injustices inflicted upon Jews have become separated from these other histories, even though they often were intertwined. The exceptionalism of Jewish suffering in turn leads to the justification of Israel’s state violence against Palestinians. From this premise, Palestinians become subject to the particular terms and dynamics of Jewish history, rather than having the agency to narrate their own history in the context of anti-racism and anti-colonialism. The Palestinian struggle becomes annexed and subordinate to Jewish history.

Nonetheless, as the global interconnectedness of racism and colonialism has gained mainstream acceptance among academics and activists, these separations have become harder to maintain. When House Democrats attempted to censure Rep. Omar for her alleged use of antisemitic tropes, for example, activists forced the political establishment to concede that antisemitism is not wholly unique or separate from white supremacy or anti-Muslim bigotry and were compelled to pass a general condemnation of antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry rather than a resolution specific to antisemitism.’

Birds of a Feather

Sulphur-created Cockatoo

Do as I say but not as I do
Screeched the preening cock-a-too
Praised by chattering yes-birds
Who don’t walk the squawk
Yet parade in vain glory
From the Great Bird’s talk.

So the Song takes precedence
Over atonal dissent
Principles aren’t meant
to be set in cement!
Why risk abandonment
By precious Flock sycophants?

Together let all of us squawk
Drown out our contradictory walk
Keep our eyes on the prize
We can do no wrong
If we adore the Great Bird
Who leads us in song!

Jinjirrie
October 1, 2018

Invasion Day 2018

Settler Colonialism

False Muse

what is this verbose cotton wool
but suffocation of truth?
sentinel poet effuses verse
for privileged settlers
descant to daily injustices
chorused in white racist media
relentless revisions of theft and denial
endless rights and return betrayal
triumphalism of patriarchal curses
veiled advice to contaminate resistance
normalise collaboration
embrace post-colonial defeat
tender submission to ongoing genocide
for security of invaders
boot must sink in hard
negative peace sucks the bones
such brave generous poetry
healing to conqueror spirit
a noxious complicity with drones
rubbing noses of oppressed
in the misery of their predicament
with hubris of beauty and art
escaped red lines revealed
in anodyne alliterations
and poetic capitulations

January 26, 2018

Invasion Day

Invasion
Invasio
Invasi
Invas
Inva
Inv
In
I

January 26, 2018

Related Links

“The new campaign to deny the Aboriginal genocide, led by Quadrant, was taken up in the Australian mass media by a chorus of right wing columnists with records of antagonism to Aborigines and “leftist” supporters, and easy access to a wide public.”

In Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia by Ben Kiernan.

‘Even within the realm of literature, political writers and readers knew that their enemies were active. In 1956, Richard Krygier, head of the local arm of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, established Quadrant, explicitly intended, as he put it, as ‘a counterweight to the kind of leftism so evident in Meanjin.’ The founders of Quadrant liaised about their project with ASIO and Prime Minister Robert Menzies; their funding came primarily from the the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

Yes, that’s right – Quadrant, that scourge of tax-payer funded arts organisations, owes its existence to money secretly siphoned from American taxpayers courtesy of the CIA.’

https://overland.org.au/2014/06/overland-and-the-cia/

‘ After a series of exposes and repudiations of the CIA connection, in 1967 McAuley published a careful response in Quadrant admitting the funding from the CIA was ‘deplorable’, but no more than ‘a well-intentioned blunder’. His defence that he had been an unwitting recipient of CIA largesse has been restated by the new editor of Quadrant and by its previous editors. Yet how was McAuley so unaware when Clem Christesen knew the money came from the CIA as far back as 1956? How was it that the editor of Quadrant had shown so little curiosity as to the source of money being so liberally handed out? A quick perusal of McAuley’s editorials give the flavour of the invective he would employ should the editor of a left-wing magazine discover he had ‘unwittingly’ been receiving 40% of his income from the KGB.’

http://jacketmagazine.com/12/pybus-quad.html

‘THE conservative magazine Quadrant has accused the Australia Council of political bias after its annual grant for next year was cut by 30 per cent, from $50,000 to $35,000.

Quadrant’s editor, the historian Keith Windschuttle, a key protagonist in the history wars who denies that the removal of Aboriginal children from their families was racist or deliberate policy, has written to subscribers saying the decision by the council’s literature board was ”patently political”.’

http://www.smh.com.au/national/quadrant-cites-political-bias-for-15000-funding-cut-20091221-la2e.html

‘The troubles Quadders has with Ozco funding might suggest that they would have an easier time returning to the CIA as their main funding source. But wait – in Cassadnra Pybus’s The Devil and James McAuley, we learn that the Congress for Cultural Freedom (the irony-free CIA front set up to pay for magazines like Encounter and Quadrant) repeatedly warned the magazine’s early editors that it was too politically strident, and not publishing enough of genuine cultural worth.

Got that? Even the CIA thought Quadrant didn’t publish enough good poetry.’

https://www.crikey.com.au/2009/12/21/rundle-windschuttle-screams-blue-murder-over-quadrant-funding-cut/

In Trumpenland

When you are a CEO,
there’s no place higher to go,
collect your options and cash them in
let them hate, while you grin.

For the coffers are secure
and our system must stay pure,
make them hate on da Jews
while we create alt-news.

Ruling class left fridge door open,
planet’s boiling, gyre is broken,
money’s not mother of invention
all are victims of capitalism.

Jinjirrie, February 2017

Peacock Capitalism