Norman Finkelstein: “The Coming Breakup of American Zionism”

Finkelstein speaks to his forthcoming book “A Farewell to Israel : The Coming Breakup of American Zionism”

Nathan Glazer, 1957: “Israel has had remarkedly slight effects on the inner life of American jewry.”
Mr. Wiesel before 1967 war was asked by Haaretz what can we do to win over jews to their jewishness because there was a fear back then of rampant assimiliation: “The jewishness of jewish youth can still be reached but not through Israel. Perhaps through the problems of jews in Russia, perhaps through questions about the Holocaust, but not through Israel.”

Finkelstein: “Israel became a strategic asset of the US. If you were pro-Israel, you were actually super-loyal to the United States, because there was Israel on the frontline protecting American interests from Arab hordes… Israel was winning, while practising ‘purity of arms’. … Zionism as an idea arises from the idea that jews cannot assimilate. Zionism’s main product is the state of Israel. Paradoxically by swearing allegiance to Israel, Americans can thus assimilate fully into American life, defending Judaeo Christian culture against Arab hordes. The more pro-Israel one is, the more pro-American one becomes.”

“Israel is seen as a besieged beacon of enlightenment values in the Middle East, so for American jews Israel becomes a source of pride… Israel is the Alamo all over again.”

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Semites and anti-Semites, that is the question

The history of European Orientalism is one that is fully complicit with anti-Semitism from which it derives many of its representations of ancient and modern Arabs and of ancient Hebrews and modern Jews. As Edward Said demonstrated a quarter of a century ago in his classic Orientalism, “what has not been sufficiently stressed in histories of modern anti-Semitism has been the legitimation of such atavistic designations by Orientalism, and… the way this academic and intellectual legitimation has persisted right through the modern age in discussions of Islam, the Arabs, or the Near Orient.” Said added: “The transference of popular anti-Semitic animus from a Jewish to an Arab target was made smoothly, since the figure was essentially the same.” In the context of the 1973 War, Said commented that Arabs came to be represented in the West as having “clearly ‘Semitic’ features: sharply hooked noses, the evil moustachioed leer on their faces, were obvious reminders (to a largely non- Semitic population) that ‘Semites’ were at the bottom of all ‘our’ troubles.”

While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons. This point is even conceded by the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Orientalist Bernard Lewis. Their denial is based on the false Zionist claim that the holocaust justifies Zionist colonialism. The Zionist claim is as follows: Since Jews were the victims of the holocaust, then they have the right to colonise Palestine and establish a Jewish colonial-settler state there. Those Arabs who deny the holocaust accept the Zionist logic as correct. Since these deniers reject the right of Zionists to colonise Palestine, the only argument left to them is to deny that the holocaust ever took place, which, to their thinking, robs Zionism of its allegedly “moral” argument. But the fact that Jews were massacred does not give Zionists the right to steal someone else’s homeland and to massacre the Palestinian people. The oppression of a people does not endow it with rights to oppress others. If those Arab deniers refuse to accept the criminal Zionist logic that justifies the murder and oppression of the Palestinians by appealing to the holocaust, then these deniers would no longer need to make such spurious arguments. All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists.

Today we live in a world where anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred, derived from anti-Semitism, is everywhere in evidence. It is not Jews who are being murdered by the thousands by Arab anti- Semitism, but rather Arabs and Muslims who are being murdered by the tens of thousands by Euro- American Christian anti-Semitism and by Israeli Jewish anti-Semitism. If anti-Semites posited Jews as the purveyors of corruption, as financier bankers who control the world, as violent communist subversives, and as poisoners of Christian wells, the Arab and the Muslim today are seen as in control of the oil market and therefore of the global financial market, the purveyors of hatred and corruption of civilised Christian and Jewish societies, as violent terrorists, and as possible mass murderers, not with some Semitic Jewish poison but with Semitic Arab nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (which are nowhere to be found). Thus Michael Moore feels vindicated in telling us in his recent film, Fahrenheit 9/11, about the portion of the American economy controlled by Saudi money while neglecting to mention the much, much larger American share of the Saudi economy. Anti- Semitism is alive and well today worldwide and its major victims are Arabs and Muslims and no longer Jews. The fight should indeed be against all anti-Semitism no matter who the object of its oppression is, Arab or Jew.

Israel / Palestine Links

Donor to Ben Gurion University wants condemnation of leftist statements : Neve Gordon –

“I’m not sure it’s the role of academics to change society. People should speak out in support of democracy and criticize undemocratic elements, but not necessarily through academia. Civil society movements should lead… academics are not only academics, they are also something else, they are also members of civil society. And as members of civil society, academics need to struggle for social justice, locally and nationally.”

Perhaps the donor is worried about someone else on this haet lsit though?

The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) condemns the Histadrut and declares its continued commitment to the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel

Breaking the Silence database
PLO official says PA prefers negotiations to unilateral declaration of Palestinian state

The Palestinian Authority will defer its attempts to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state at the United Nations if “real and serious” negotiations with Israel begin, an official was quoted saying Monday.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Yasser Abed Rabbo told London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Monday that the basis of any negotiated agreement must be according to “the 1967 borders, very limited exchange of land and no exchanges of populations.”

BBC Trust clears Panorama documentary on Mavi Marmara over majority of complaints, but upholds three out of 51 points
Israel: UN recognition of a Palestinian state will turn us into ‘colonialists’ – zionists bleat about what already exists – their colonialism.
Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel’s Detention of Palestinian Children free download of ebook
“For as long as I can, I will continue”: Hajo Meyer interviewed

The Zionists in contrast are automatons. Wherever I speak they do always the same. They come to the audience without any arguments or just shout “lies!” … They are brainwashed to nothing.

It is a lesson I learned in Auschwitz. When a dominant group tries to dehumanize a certain distinguishable group, it is necessary that the members of the dominant group have been brainwashed beforehand. A normal human being cannot see another human being suffering, let alone inflict suffering. His or her inborn empathy needs to be reduced to be able to inflict suffering on a human being. My hope is that, eventually, a society composed of a majority that lost empathy by brainwashing right from the kindergarten until the army, like the Zionists, kills itself from within by too much aggression.

Other Links

A book to buy : The Face of Imperialism by Michael Parenti

Those who think BDS is the wrong way to go to achieve justice and rights for Palestinian people aren’t listening to Palestinian civil society, but to the colonial voice in their head. Jin, April 2011.