To be or not to be a Zionist?

Article by Yoav Litvin

Art by Banksy

Jewish American progressives are falling for the oldest trick in the Zionist playbook: the conflation of Zionism with Judaism. The ultimate victims of this propaganda ploy are always Palestinians.

Sheldon’s Party

Last Sunday, Sheldon Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) welcomed President of the United States, serial sexual harasser and inspiration to murderous white supremacists worldwide – Donald Trump – as a god.

Members of the audience brandished “Trump”-embroidered Kippahs, enthusiastically clapped at the President’s overt incitement against Rep. Ilhan Omar and swallowed whole his anti-Semitic reference to Benjamin Netanyahu as “your Prime Minister” – a clear suggestion of dual loyalty.

In an act comparable to the ancient Israelites’ worshipping of the Golden Calf, Senator Norm Coleman, who once called Trump: “A bigot. A misogynist. A fraud. A bully,” led a Passover Dayenu chant in which he replaced “God” with “Trump”.

Moses, where art thou?

Still, a drama unfolded during Trump’s speech. Ten members of If Not Now, a nonviolent American Jewish organization aimed at ending US support for the 1967 Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, stood up and chanted in protest: “Jews are here to say, occupation is a plague.”

A press release soon followed:

10 young American Jews disrupted Trump’s speech at the National Jewish Republican Coalition (RJC) Pro-Israel Rally at the Venetian Ballroom in Las Vegas. As soon as Trump began to speak, they stood up and chanted, “Jews are here to say Occupation is a plague. Jews are here to say white nationalism is a plague,” a reference to the 10 plagues remembered in the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover. They then sang the Hebrew song Olam Chesed Yibaneh, “We Will Build This World With Love” as they were removed from the auditorium.

The Twitterati ask the wrong questions

Progressive American Jewish Twitter was abuzz about Sheldon’s party and If Not Now’s intervention. Several examples:

Yonah Lieberman (@YonahLieberman): Going after both #Birthright and Trump in 24 hours has got the Jewish right using Nazi rhetoric to try and intimidate the new Jewish Future.

Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev): there [sic] is nothing as contemptible to me as a jewish [sic] fascist. Nothing as myopic, as malleable, as cruel and shosrtsighted [sic]

Rafael Shimunov (@RafaelShimunov): Between Sheldon Adelson putting Trump’s name on his kippa [sic], and the @RJC replacing God with Trump in one our holiest prayers as Jews, Republican Jews have officially ______________?

The responses to Shimunov’s quiz included: sold out, Gone meshugganah and embraced extremism, among others.

However, these progressive American Jews do not implicate the real culprit.

In spite of its name and best efforts, the RJC is not a Jewish organization, but a Zionist one. Its members are not “the Jewish right” or “Jewish fascists”, but simply “Zionists”.

Only Zionists would worship an anti-Semite like Trump in return for unconditional support of Israeli apartheid, much like the vast majority of Zionist Israelis who adore Trump within the supposed “Jewish state” itself.

It is not Republican Jews who have “sold out” or have suddenly “embraced extremism”, but Zionists since the very inception of the movement, well before the establishment of the state of Israel and until today. In logical confluence, Neo-Nazis have been inspired by Israel’s policies and the term “white Zionism” has been used to describe the emerging “alt-right” neo-fascistic movement, the very one Trump spearheads.

Unsurprisingly, Ben Shapiro, a Zionist Republican who also happens to be Jewish, has inspired far-right Islamophobes, including the Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette.

Yet crucially, Zionist collaboration with anti-Semites and white supremacists crosses the aisle. For it was a Democrat, liberal Zionist Jew – Batya Ungar-Sargon of The Forward – who instigated the fallacious smear campaign against Rep. Ilhan Omar which she then used as a marketing tool to fundraise under the guise of a Jewish vanguard against anti-Semitism.

Ungar-Sargon’s smear was picked up by establishment Democrats, overtly racist Republican Zionists, the President’s son and Trump himself numerous times, including as a means to mock Rep. Ilhan Omar at the Sheldon Party.

The UK as a case study

The conflation of Zionism with Judaism serves to distract from the plight of Palestinians by focusing on a manufactured crisis within the “Jewish community”, downplaying the role of empire and other capitalist supporters of the Zionist project. The distinction between “Jewish” and “Zionist” here is crucial, and one only needs to glance across the pond at the United Kingdom to learn why.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has consistently shown solidarity with Palestinians and conveyed criticism toward Israeli apartheid in tune with socialist ideals, has been hypocritically vilified by Zionists for supposedly tolerating and even inspiring “anti-Semitism” within the Labour Party.

The campaign against Corbyn relies on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) highly controversial and flawed definition of anti-Semitism which in its examples, erroneously and opportunistically conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

What’s more, Jewish party members who support Corbyn and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, such as Jackie Walker, have been abused, suspended and even expelled. Meanwhile, Ella Rose, who was featured in the Al Jazeera documentary ‘The Lobby’ threatening Jackie Walker with physical violence is still a member and was recently elected by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) as its new “Network officer”.

Unsurprisingly, the Zionist smear campaigns in the UK against politicians and activists who convey support for Palestinians and BDS and resist Zionist settler colonialism, apartheid and genocide show a striking resemblance to the recent defamation of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and members of the women’s march and as part of a larger effort against Senator Bernie Sanders.

Much like Ungar-Sargon’s The Forward claim of progressive Judaism yet real loyalty to Zionism, the UK Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) is supposedly affiliated with the UK Labour party supporting “labour values”, yet it is truly a liberal Zionist organization.

It does not require its members to be either Jewish or from the Labour Party, yet has recently passed a no confidence motion of Jeremy Corbyn based on discredited charges of “anti-Semitism”.

The Question

The focus must remain on Zionist criminality. And the only relevant dilemma for progressive American Jews remains – are you a Zionist or an anti-Zionist? As veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy recently 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 progressive Jews and organizations such as If Not Now who in their broad umbrella avoid implicating Zionism or directly supporting BDS cannot continue to claim left wing universalist values while simultaneously serving as the “liberal” wing of the apartheid Zionist regime.

Only a consistent and unapologetic anti-Zionist framework is effective and congruent with leftist values.

Art by Sulaiman Mansour
Art by Sulaiman Mansour

Source

Cover art by Banksy, Bethlehem, Palestine

Related Links

Reminder that Gary Spedding whitewashes the zionist JLM.

Spedding whitewashes the zionist JLM

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

 

White Supremacy, Short Memories

Imperial doctrine

For a twenty four hour news cycle
After the killings black lives matter
The US is exposed for what it has always done
Hundreds of years of torture and slavery
Then white people go back to caring for kittens
and having Obama’s back.

Jinjirrie, December 2014

While US liberals and other chest-beating apologists for empire circle the wagons, wail and pontificate duplicitously about “blowback”, “context”, “fear after 9/11” and “torture tactics imported from Israel” when torture aimed at terrorising the innocent is what the settler colonial US has always done, more evidence from Udall indicates the empire is covering up the scale of its abominable torture practices.

As the top-down rhetoric shifts, the complicity of US administrations is downplayed – the CIA is being treated now as though it was an independent loose cannon, instead of overseen and applauded by US politicians, its torture practices long given the legal tick by the likes of Holder. Cheney would do it all over again. The impunity of the holey empire and its plutocrats must be sanctified. And so the criminal imperial juggernaut lumbers on, protecting its elite, sacrificing its knights. Shrouded by nationalist magical thinking, the empire’s white patriarchal capitalist culture of oppression remains intact.

Once again the bar for “permissible violence” by empire has been lifted, a triumphalist US public desensitized, and the likelihood of increased brutal oppression within the US of minorities and abroad against non-imperials more certain.

Related Links

Water Torture by the US of Phillippinos in 1902
Uruguay, 1964 to 1970: Torture—as American as apple pie
The US – safe haven for Nazi persecutors
US historical culture of torture – in the Phillippines 1901 – concentration camps, torture, atrocities
Operation Paperclip
Prosecute John Yoo, Says Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Dr. Nafeez Ahmed: “What we are seeing now is not the Obama administration putting an end to torture, but rather putting an end to the open acknowledgement of the use of torture as a routine intelligence practice.”

In Support of Reinstating Professor Steven Salaita & Restoration of Academic Freedom

My email to the Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Phyllis Wise, objecting to the firing of Professor Steven Salaita and demanding his reinstatement is below. You can send one too.

Professor Steven SalaitaI am shocked and dismayed that you would end the employment of the honourable Associate Professor of American Indian Studies, Steven Salaita, due to pressure from those who place the indefensible – the genocidal actions of settler colonial Israel toward Palestinians whom it occupies, oppresses and sieges in Gaza – before academic freedom and ethical educative values.

Would you have treated Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King similarly for their strenuous public advocacy for attainment of rights for the rightsless because racists objected to their appointments? It is not uncivil nor bigoted to challenge racism.

Should academics be gagged from expressing political analyses and opinions in public so that the tender sensibilities of racists, white supremacists and nationalists are not offended? Surely one of the roles of education is to civilise people through learning to shed their prejudices and ignorance. Further, no state or political ideology should be quarantined from critique. To punish people for critiquing the Israeli regime or any other state undermines the foundations of democracy.

What message are you sending to other academics who oppose injustice and oppression? Why side with and encourage today’s McCarthyite bullies and their witchhunt of dissenters?

Please act judiciously in the spirit of civilised values, academic freedom and democracy – restore your reputation by re-employing Steven Salaita.

Please add your support to the petition demanding Steven Salaita’s reinstatement.

Related Links

Shit and Curses, and Other Updates on the Steven Salaita Affair (Updated)
University of Illinois fires professor Steven Salaita after Gaza massacre tweets
Jewish group that sent email promising action denies role in Steven Salaita firing
USACBI Condemns UIUC Firing of Arab-American Scholar Steven Salaita
Return of the blacklist? Cowardice and censorship at the University of Illinois
AAUP Statement on Case of Steven Salaita

Poems of Discontent

Under Capitalism

I would be more worthy
if I am a wage earner
if I am male
if I am white
if I am not dis-abled
if I am least colonised
if I am from the mother country
if I am young and not too young
if I am seductively skinny
if I am gender normative
silent alliance and complicit silence
secret scythes to reproduce
and feed the dream
that steals from
all of us.

Jinjirrie, July 2013

Snowden

How we love Amerikkka, land of bugs and drones,
Where obscenely rich old men perch upon their thrones,
Spying on the world to keep their loot secure,
Destruction is their legacy, they will not endure.
The US gave us Hollywood to keep us occupied,
Sharing in the dream, we’d sleep, complicit in the lies.

Jinjirrie, July 2013

Independence What?

genocide
puffed pride
worlds collide
truth died
monoculture pesticide
unreconciled
desensitised
settler heart identified

Jinjirrie, July 2013

Related Links

The NSA Comes Recruiting

Postscript: The Present through a PRISM

To paraphrase a dead French guy badly, the surveillance state has to change people/populations into the kind of group that basically remains silent. That is what is needed first in order to make the unthinkable possible and finally, normal.

This is why, when they come for some of us, they actually come for all of us.

Postscript ||: Our Government has No Right to Hide Its Actions