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

Natalie Imbruglia, Please Don’t Make a Big Mistake

Natalie Imbruglia, Playing Apartheid is a Big MistakeDear Natalie,

We are writing to you to ask you to please reconsider your performance in Israel, scheduled for the 1st March, 2017. We understand this will be your first appearance in Israel and would like to inform you that playing there will be in breach of the Palestinian call for artists to respect the cultural boycott of Israel until it adheres to international law and Palestinians have their civil and political rights which they are currently denied by the apartheid Israeli government. [1]

Like Aboriginal people in Australia before 1966, indigenous Palestinians who live in Israel are prevented from enjoying full citizenship in that state. Full citizenship is available only on theocratic grounds, to people who are defined as Jewish by the State. Furthermore, Palestinians in Israel are subject to more than 50 laws discriminating against them – de facto apartheid.  Palestinians who reside in the Occupied Territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza which Israel seized and occupied in 1967 cannot vote at all in Israeli elections. These Palestinian people subsist in segregated bantustans isolated from each other by apartheid walls and fences with their movement controlled by over 500 checkpoints, preventing them from attending universities and hospitals, and seeing friends and relatives – many families have been separated for years due to this system of apartheid. Indeed the International Court of Justice declared Israel’s apartheid wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory illegal in 2004 – further international law that it ignores.

Palestinians persecuted by military occupation naturally wish to live freely with rights in their own ancestral lands. However, illegal Israeli settlements continually expand and encroach upon those lands, despite several United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Most recently, on 23 December 2016, the UNSC passed another resolution unanimously against expansion of the illegal settlements, and again affirmed their illegality under international law, yet Israel refuses to recognise these resolutions.  Israel has now declared de facto war on the resolution’s sponsors, including New Zealand [2] and also intends to withhold UN dues [3]. Since the resolution Israel has accelerated its demolition of Palestinian homes to four times its 2016 weekly average, making hundreds of people homeless.

Nearly 800,000 Jewish people now reside illegally on Palestinian lands, enjoying full political rights while Palestinians languish, brutalised by military occupation and without rights. Palestinian refugees driven out in the 1948 Nakba from the areas which Israel claimed comprise the second largest refugee population in the world and again, despite the requirements of international law, Israel refuses to permit these Indigenous people to return to their homes. In many countries Palestinians are stateless, living in squalid refugee camps for decades, never giving up hope that their right of return will be realised and they can return to their Indigenous home and heritage which has been usurped and colonised.

Zionist colonisation of Palestine follows a similar trajectory to British colonisation of Australia, where Indigenous Australians were forced into isolating missions and reserves, slaughtered and dispossessed of their land and culture, while Palestinians too are subjected to extreme violence and forced into refugee camps and bantustans  We understand you have experienced the end results of these genocidal colonial crimes during your participation in the First Contact SBS programme and are sympathetic to the plight of Aboriginal people in Australia consequent to white colonisation. We ask you to consider also the distressing situation for Palestinian people and the importance of support for their struggle for liberation and justice. Because the international political community has refused to act to support their rights, Palestinians called in 2005 for cultural boycott and asked people of conscience like yourself for solidarity with their movement by refraining from performing in Israel.

By respecting their call, you will also be supporting the women of Gaza who suffer from breast cancer, another area where you have shown empathy. Israel prevents breast cancer sufferers, and indeed most cancer sufferers from obtaining appropriate treatment, due to its collective punishment of two million civilians which it has incarcerated in the largest prison in the world – Gaza – since 2006.

Dozens of female cancer patients in the Gaza Strip have launched a protest against Israel’s refusal to allow them to cross into Israel to seek medical treatments in hospitals in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The women say the ban or delay of their treatments is a “premeditated death sentence.” [4]

Due to Israel’s military attacks on Gaza and its illegal, immoral siege which prevents the import of fuel supply and parts, sickness is common there since the water supply is contaminated by dysfunctional sewerage treatment plants and electricity supply is currently down to a mere four hours per day [5]. Physicians for Human Rights comments on Israel’s deprivation of medical equipment:

There are no syringes, no bandages and no tubes. When one of our surgeons asks for a specific scalpel or bandage during surgery he’s told that there aren’t any available. When we train a local doctor and teach him techniques and procedures he has nothing to work with.” [Ibid.]

The UN has estimated that without major reconstruction, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. [Ibid.] Should you play your concert in Israel, be aware that this crime against humanity is being perpetrated just miles from you.

Certainly, Israel will continue to carry out its injustices against the Palestinian people if we are silent and do not act. We implore you to recognise your performance in Israel cannot create bridges over apartheid, oppression and suffering, merely obscure it so Israel can continue to pretend that its crimes are “normal” and blame Palestinians for their own plight. This is clearly not the case any more than the myth proliferated by white supremacists that Aboriginal people in Australia are responsible for their own immiseration.

The reality is that for Israel any show that isn’t cancelled because of boycott appeals is considered a political victory over the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with it. Performing in Tel Aviv means playing for a segregated audience, on ethnically cleansed land. We really hope you can’t see yourself doing this and you join Lauryn Hill, Cassandra Wilson, Sinead O’Connor, Cat Power, Massive Attack and thousands of other artists who have refused to play in Israel – in Ireland over 540 artists have pledged to boycott the state, as have over 1,190 in the UK, and many more all over the world.

Please respect the Palestinian call to boycott Israel – you can make a real difference here and help tip the moral scales toward justice.

DPAI

We are a group, of over 2000 members from many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

Palestine Support Network Australia (PSNA)
Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA)
Australian Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Campaign for Palestine (BDS)
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP)
Sydney Staff for BDS
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Samah Sabawi, Palestinian Australian playwright and Al Shabaka policy adviser
Kollaps, Melbourne band
Candy Royalle, Writer, Performer, Activist, Educator
Amy McQuire, Indigenous Writer
Penelope Swales, Musician
Sara Dowse, Writer
Trish Nacey, Videographer and Musician
Walbira Murray, Indigenous Research Officer
Ken Canning, Indigenous Playwright
Jeff Sparrow, Writer, Editor and Broadcaster
Marcelo Svirsky, Writer

Notes:

  1. https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi/cultural-boycott-guidelines
  2. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-israel-should-fear-new-zealand
  3. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/israel-halts-6m-protest-unsc-settlements-vote-170106205417524.html
  4. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763355
  5. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763280

Haidar Eid on BDS, White Liberal Ideology & Colonialism

In these videos, Professor Haidar Eid discusses BDS and addresses the hypocrisy of white liberal ideology and promises of supposedly left wing organisations in the setting of late capitalism “which does not take into consideration the perspective of the Other”.

“You do not wait for the coloniser to accept what you are saying, you force the coloniser to accept what you are saying – that is what resistance is all about.”

#JeSuisWanker

Why is it that the utter wanker
casts opprobrium like an anchor,
weighing on unwary minds,
what makes the wanker so unkind?

Are they bitter, untimely ripped
from cold mother’s sullen tit,
or revisiting rage they often felt
with vicious father’s lashing belt?

Around the net they prance and rant
and none can trump their pious cant
or measure up to righteous gall
the world’s an ass, they know it all.

Backstabbers, zionists, liberals, preachers,
dictators, imperialists, loathsome creatures,
racists, conservatives, merchant bankers,
a howling horde of complete wankers.

January 2015

The Three Rings of Hell Downunder

first,
i wrote because it felt like singing
without music, even if only
i heard the unsung tune
yet Quadrant had CIA instructions
to keep their sacred staid tomes
cleansed of profane experiments,
these rebellions of mine –
still i versed, a contrary Australian.

then,
i found no royalties were due to
the spoken word unless it had a tune
a musician I’d be to live by art alone
sneaking in poems like thieves
at the start of raucous sets
while composers of minimalist scrapings
would earn a decent crust –
still i versed, lest words rust.

finally,
the Grabbits cut through the ABC
and what do they dump first? it’s poetry
for Poetica has died upon the vine
what is left to placate my mind
all is accompaniment to this thirst
and all have forgotten what came first,
the subtle taste of language’s dream –
still i verse, and curse the regime.

January 2015