Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to conflat

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Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to conflat

Postby admin » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:12 am

Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
by Philip Weiss
March 22, 2016

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As someone who has long urged the media to openly discuss the competing claims of Zionism and anti-Zionism, I am gratified that those words are breaking into the mainstream at last. Though right now the discussion chiefly centers on the assertion that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

Many officials have lately charged that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism; even Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have echoed that claim. In doing so, they have accepted the idea that Judaism now entails a commitment to the idea of a Jewish state in historical Palestine. Many of us disagree, and we are ready to make our own case here -– see Rachel Sandalow-Ash of Open Hillel, whose comments end this article. But let’s look at the official voices first.

Yesterday both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were critical of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign (BDS) against Israel, a campaign many anti-Zionists support.

At the AIPAC conference, Clinton said BDS is inherently anti-semitic because it seeks to “undermine ... the Jewish people.”
To wit:

Many of the young people here today are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS. Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. I’ve been sounding the alarm for a while now. As I wrote last year in a letter to the heads of major American Jewish organizations, we have to be united in fighting back against BDS. Many of its proponents have demonized Israeli scientists and intellectuals, even students. To all the college students who may have encountered this on campus, I hope you stay strong.


Here’s what Bernie Sanders said when Chris Hayes of MSNBC asked him last night if BDS is anti-semitic.

Not to see that there is some level of anti-Semitism involved in that [movement] would be a mistake.


The argument is raging on campuses of course. Last month the Vassar College administration all-but equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. And a new proposed regulation from the University of California equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and says it has no place at the university. From the California regents working group on intolerance:

[H]istoric manifestations of anti-Semitism have changed and… expressions of anti-Semitism are more coded and difficult to identify. Opposition to Zionism often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture. Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.


Teresa Watanabe in the LA Times summarizes the response:

The inclusion [of the intolerance provision] immediately drew sharply divergent reactions, with pro-Israel groups hailing it as a needed step to protect Jewish students from hostility and those supporting Palestinian rights criticizing it as a naked attempt to suppress criticism of the Jewish state.

Scholars were similarly divided over whether a statement meant to express the UC regents’ principles against intolerance should include Zionism — historically an international movement to establish a Jewish homeland and now viewed as the belief in Israel’s right to exist.

One letter signed by more than 130 UC faculty members supported naming anti-Zionism as an expression of anti-Semitism, saying students need guidance on “when healthy political debate crosses the line into anti-Jewish hatred, bigotry and discrimination, and when legitimate criticism of Israel devolves into denying Israel’s right to exist.”

But another letter from more than 250 UC professors expressed fear that the proposed statement would restrict free speech and academic freedom to teach, debate and research about the complex and tumultuous history of Israel and the Zionist movement.


Thankfully, the Los Angeles Times has run an editorial stating that UC’s “intolerance policy goes dangerously astray on anti-Semitism.” It urges the university to prune any statement conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism because it’s an effort to suppress support for Palestinian rights.

in one crucial respect the report goes dangerously astray: It conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and says both are forms of discrimination that “have no place at the University of California.” It’s difficult to read that as anything other than a warning to those students or faculty members who have fundamental disagreements with the state of Israel. It apparently rules out of bounds an assertion by, say, a Palestinian professor that Israel’s creation was unfair and unjustifiable, or by a Jewish student that Israel should be replaced by a nonsectarian state. Both are ideas that this page opposes but they are fully entitled to protection at a public university under the 1st Amendment.

The equation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism might also make it easier to stigmatize protests against Israeli policies — particularly the treatment of Palestinians — even if they don’t actually oppose the idea of a Jewish state. Pro-Palestinian activists on campus are right to fear that such a statement would target their advocacy…

the report’s linkage of “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Zionism” blurs an important distinction. It is no doubt true that there are anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites. But it is certainly possible to oppose Israel and not harbor or express prejudice against Jews. Some critics of Zionism are themselves Jewish. No doubt many Jewish students at UC strongly identify with Israel and are deeply offended by criticism of its policies or attacks on its legitimacy. But that doesn’t justify equating those opinions with bigotry or stifling their expression.


The Times then ran letters from Israel supporters saying that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. But there was this calm and eloquent statement from Sherna Berger Gluck, a feminist oral historian:

The UC regents must understand that Judaism does not equal Zionism, and anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism. Zionism is the belief in a Jewish state; in other words, a state that eschews the basic concept of a secular democracy, just as the Islamic State of Iran does.

Jewish Americans like me who are anti-Zionists support a secular, democratic state where all citizens have equal rights. We are neither anti-Semites nor “self-hating Jews,” but rather advocates of democracy and social justice.


Sherna Berger Gluck, Topanga


The AP story on California also quoted a Jew who isn’t bewitched by Zionism.

“As a student who considers my work advocating for Palestinian human rights as an expression of my Jewish values, I am surprised to see that criticism of a modern nation-state that regularly violates international law is so centered in a report against intolerance,” said Eitan Peled, a UCLA student and campus leader for Jewish Voice for Peace


Eugene Volokh at the Washington Post also faults the California regents. While he claims that “a good deal of anti-Zionism is indeed anti-Semitic,” he says people have a right to dispute whether Jews need a nation state.

Whether the Jewish people should have an independent state in Israel is a perfectly legitimate question to discuss — just as it’s perfectly legitimate to discuss whether Basques, Kurds, Taiwanese, Tibetans, Northern Cypriots, Flemish Belgians, Walloon Belgians, Faroese… should have a right to have independent states.

Sometimes the answer might be “yes.” Sometimes it might be “no.” Sometimes the answer might be “it depends.” But there’s no uncontroversial principle on which these questions can be decided. They have to be constantly up for inquiry and debate, especially in places that are set up for inquiry and debate: universities. Whether Israel is entitled to exist as an independent Jewish state is just as fitting a subject for discussion as whether Kosovo or Northern Cyprus or Kurdistan or Tawain or Tibet.


Notice that Volokh, a rightwinger, is ahead of President Obama in this discussion. Here is President Obama’s statement re anti-Zionism. Jeffrey Goldberg asked him last year to draw the line “between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.”

You know, I think a good baseline is: Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and are you aware of the particular circumstances of Jewish history that might prompt that need and desire? And if your answer is no, if your notion is somehow that that history doesn’t matter, then that’s a problem, in my mind. If, on the other hand, you acknowledge the justness of the Jewish homeland, you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism—that it’s not just something in the past, but it is current—if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology. If you acknowledge those things, then you should be able to align yourself with Israel where its security is at stake, you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.


Again, it’s great news that this conversation is breaking out, even if it is in a prejudicial form at the moment. It’s a discussion that will be continuing on our pages and hopefully too on op-ed pages throughout the country in months to come.

In that spirit, three other viewpoints. When I saw him in D.C. last weekend, Scott McConnell deprecated the word anti-Zionist, saying that it signaled to Israelis that you want to eliminate institutions built by Zionists, which is not a good signal when a peaceful future is likely to be a binational one.

Also in D.C. I saw Tzvia Thier, a former Hebrew school teacher who lost her brother in the 1982 war. Thier said that she has come to call Israel “the Zionist entity” because even the name Israel represents an effort by the country to exploit the Jewish religion so as to justify militarism and racial discrimination.

And last week, Rachel Sandalow-Ash of Open Hillel addressed the issue in a forum at Temple Israel in New Rochelle, N.Y. She said:

It’s sort of easy to call anything we don’t like anti-Semitism, but that’s sort of to diminish what real anti-Semitism is. And I think it’s very important to call that out when and where it exists but not to use anti-semitism, and the fear of it, as as a way of shutting down voices that challenge accepted viewpoints in our community.
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Re: Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to con

Postby admin » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:38 am

UC's Intolerance Policy Goes Dangerously Astray on Anti-Semitism
Editorial
by Los Angeles Times
March 16, 2016

For almost a year, the University of California has been struggling to address complaints that campus protests against Israel have crossed the line into harassment of Jewish students, but to respond in a way that wouldn't undermine the university's commitment to free speech. The latest effort, a report by a UC regents working group, says a lot of the right things and includes a proposed set of Principles Against Intolerance that, while imperfect, represents an earnest effort to balance condemnation of hateful conduct with support for robust debate.

In one crucial respect the report goes dangerously astray: It conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism.


But in one crucial respect the report goes dangerously astray: It conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and says both are forms of discrimination that “have no place at the University of California.” It's difficult to read that as anything other than a warning to those students or faculty members who have fundamental disagreements with the state of Israel. It apparently rules out of bounds an assertion by, say, a Palestinian professor that Israel's creation was unfair and unjustifiable, or by a Jewish student that Israel should be replaced by a nonsectarian state. Both are ideas that this page opposes but they are fully entitled to protection at a public university under the 1st Amendment.

The equation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism might also make it easier to stigmatize protests against Israeli policies — particularly the treatment of Palestinians — even if they don't actually oppose the idea of a Jewish state. Pro-Palestinian activists on campus are right to fear that such a statement would target their advocacy even when it doesn't involve anti-Semitic language or harassing behavior.

The UC regents will consider the working group's report at their March 23 meeting. The regents could approve the entire document, including the language that equates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, or they could decide to endorse only the Principles of Intolerance, which are more restrained in their language and refer simply to “anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination.” Or the regents could go back to the drawing board.

We aren't convinced that any new statement is necessary, given a plenitude of policies and disciplinary procedures already on the books. They include a Policy on Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct stating that UC “prohibits discrimination and harassment and provides equal opportunities for all community members and applicants regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran.”

But if the regents insist on adopting some further statement, it should be pruned of any suggestion that criticism of Israel — or Zionism — is anti-Semitism.

To be fair, neither the working group document nor an earlier statement presented to the regents last September adopted the principal demand of the activists who have driven this issue: that UC endorse the so-called State Department definition on anti-Semitism, a 2010 document that defined anti-Semitism to include “demonizing” the State of Israel, subjecting it to “double standards” or denying its right to exist.

But the report's linkage of “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Zionism” blurs an important distinction. It is no doubt true that there are anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites. But it is certainly possible to oppose Israel and not harbor or express prejudice against Jews. Some critics of Zionism are themselves Jewish. No doubt many Jewish students at UC strongly identify with Israel and are deeply offended by criticism of its policies or attacks on its legitimacy. But that doesn't justify equating those opinions with bigotry or stifling their expression.

Some at UC point to incidents in which they say Jewish students have been the victim of acts of harassment by tormentors who made no distinction between Judaism and Zionism. The working group cites similar complaints that “opposition to Zionism is often expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics or policy but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture.” When that happens, the university should act swiftly and strongly to protect victims of anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and physical threats. UC seems to have adequate existing procedures to address such conduct.

The working group's document makes many important points: that free speech principles should be paramount at a public university, that students should expect to be challenged intellectually and emotionally on campus, and that they may have to hear notions that are “abhorrent” to them or “shocking.”

All absolutely true. And all in utter conflict with the conflation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism.
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Re: Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to con

Postby admin » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:00 am

Anti-Semitism vs. Anti-Zionism: A Practical Manual
by Uri Avnery
CounterPunch.org
1-20-4

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A Hungarian Joke: During the June 1967 war, a Hungarian meets his friend. "Why do you look so happy?" he asks. "I heard that the Israelis shot down six Soviet-made MiGs today," his friend replies.

The next day, the friend looks even more jubilant. "The Israelis downed another eight MiGs," he announces.

On the third day, the friend is crestfallen. "What happened? Didn't the Israelis down any MiGs today?" the man asks. "They did," the friend answers, "But today someone told me that the Israelis are Jews!"

This is the whole story in a nutshell.

The Anti-Semite hates the Jews because they are Jews, irrespective of their actions. Jews may be hated because they are rich and ostentatious or because they are poor and live in squalor. Because they played a major role in the Bolshevik revolution or because some of them became incredibly rich after the collapse of the Communist regime. Because they crucified Jesus or because they infected Western culture with the "Christian morality of compassion". Because they have no fatherland or because they created the State of Israel.

That is in the nature of all kinds of racism and chauvinism: One hates someone for being a Jew, Arab, woman, black, Indian, Muslim, Hindu. His or her personal attributes, actions, achievements are unimportant. If he or she belongs to the abhorred race, religion or gender, they will be hated.

The answers to all questions relating to anti Semitism follow from this basic fact. For example:

Is everybody who criticizes Israel an anti-Semite?

Absolutely not. Somebody who criticizes Israel for certain of our actions cannot be accused of anti-Semitism for that. But somebody who hates Israel because it is a Jewish state, like the Hungarian in the joke, is an anti-Semite. It is not always easy to distinguish between the two kinds, because shrewd anti-Semites pose as bona fide critics of Israel's actions. But presenting all critics of Israel as anti- Semites is wrong and counter productive, it damages the fight against anti-Semitism.

Many deeply moral persons, the cream of humanity, criticize our behavior in the occupied territories. It is stupid to accuse them of anti-Semitism.

Can a person be an anti-Zionist without being an anti Semite?

Absolutely yes. Zionism is a political creed and must be treated like any other. One can be anti-Communist without being anti-Chinese, anti-Capitalist without being anti-American, anti-Globalist, anti-Anything. Yet, again, it is not always easy to draw the line, because real anti-Semites often pretend just to be "anti-Zionists". They should not be helped by erasing the distinction.

Can a person be an anti-Semite and a Zionist?

Indeed, yes. The founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, already tried to enlist the support of notorious Russian anti-Semites, promising them to take the Jews off their hands. Before World War II, the Zionist underground organization IZL established military training camps in Poland under the auspices of the anti-Semitic generals, who also wanted to get rid of the Jews. Nowadays, the Zionist extreme Right receives and welcomes massive support from the American fundamentalist evangelists, whom the majority of American Jews, according to a poll published this week, consider profoundly anti-Semitic. Their theology prophesies that on the eve of the second coming of Christ, all Jews must convert to Christianity or be exterminated.


Can a Jew be anti-Semitic?

That sounds like an oxymoron. But history has known some instances of Jews who became ferocious Jew-haters. The Spanish Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada, was of Jewish descent. Karl Marx wrote some very nasty things about the Jews, as did Otto Weininger, an important Jewish writer in fin-de-siecle Vienna. Herzl, his contemporary and fellow Viennese, wrote in his diaries some very uncomplimentary remarks about the Jews.


If a person criticizes Israel more than other countries which do the same, is he an anti-Semite?

Not necessarily. True, there should be one and the same moral standard for all countries and all human beings. Russian actions in Chechnya are not better than ours in Nablus, and may be worse. The trouble is that the Jews are pictured and picture themselves (and indeed were) a "nation of victims". Therefore, the world is shocked that yesterday's victims are today's victimizers. A higher moral standard is required from us than from other peoples. And rightly so.

Has Europe become anti-Semitic again?

Not really. The number of anti-Semites in Europe has not grown, perhaps it has even fallen. What has increased is the volume of criticism of Israel's behavior towards the Palestinians, who appear as "the victims of the victims".


The situation in some suburbs of Paris, which is often cited as an example of the rise of anti-Semitism, is a quite different affair. When North African Muslims clash with North African Jews, they are transferring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to European soil. It is also a continuation of the feud between Arabs and Jews that started in Algeria when the Jews supported the French regime and Muslims considered them collaborators of the hated colonialists.

Then why did most Europeans state in a recent poll that Israel endangers world peace more than any other country?

That has a simple explanation: Europeans see on television every day what our soldiers are doing in the occupied Palestinian territories. This confrontation is covered more than any other conflict on earth (with the possible exception of Iraq, for the time being), because Israel is more "interesting", considering the long history of the Jews in Europe and because Israel is closer to the Western media than Muslim or African countries. The Palestinian resistance, which Israelis call "terrorism", seems to many Europeans very much like the French resistance to the German occupation.

What about the anti-Semitic manifestations in the Arab world?

No doubt, typically anti-Semitic indications have crept lately into Arab discourse. Suffice it to mention that the infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" have been published in Arabic. That is a typically European import. The Protocols were invented by the secret police of Czarist Russia.

Whatever inanities may be voiced by certain "experts", there never was any widespread Muslim anti-Semitism, such as existed in Christian Europe. In the course of his fight for power, the prophet Muhammad fought against neighboring Jewish tribes, and therefore there are some negative passages about the Jews in the Kor'an. But they cannot be compared to the anti-Jewish passages in the New Testament story about the crucifixion of Christ that have poisoned the Christian world and caused endless suffering. Muslim Spain was a paradise for the Jews, and there has never been a Jewish Holocaust in the Muslim world. Even pogroms were extremely rare.

Muhammad decreed that the "Peoples of the Book" (Jews and Christians) be treated tolerantly, subject to conditions that were incomparably more liberal than those in contemporary Europe. The Muslims never imposed their religion by force on Jews and Christians, as shown by the fact that almost all the Jews expelled from Catholic Spain settled in the Muslim countries and flourished there. After centuries of Muslim rule, Greeks and Serbs remained thoroughly Christian.


When peace is established between Israel and the Arab world, the poisonous fruits of anti-Semitism will most probably disappear from the Arab world (as will the poisonous fruits of Arab-hating in our society.)

Aren't the utterances of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Muhammad, about the Jews controlling the world, anti-Semitic?

Yes and no. They certainly illustrate the difficulty of pinning anti-Semitism down. From a factual point of view, the man was right when he asserted that the Jews have a far bigger influence than their percentage of the world's population alone would warrant. It is true that the Jews have a large influence on the policy of the United States, the only super-power, as well as on the American and international media. One does not need the phony "Protocols" in order to face this fact and analyse its causes. But the sounds make the music, and Mahathir's music does indeed sound anti-Semitic.

So should we ignore anti-Semitism?

Definitely not. Racism is a kind of virus that exists in every nation and in every human being. Jean-Paul Sartre said that we are all racists, the difference being that some of us realize this and fight against it, while others succumb to the evil. In ordinary times, there is a small minority of blatant racists in every country, but in times of crisis their number can multiply rapidly. This is a perpetual danger, and every people must fight against the racists in their midst.

We Israelis are like all other peoples. Each of us can find a small racist within himself, if he searches hard enough. We have in our country fanatical Arab-haters, and the historic confrontation that dominates our lives increases their power and influence. It is our duty to fight them, and leave it to the Europeans and Arabs to deal with their own racists.

_____

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's hot new book The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at:avnery@counterpunch.org.
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Re: Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to con

Postby admin » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:06 am

Israel’s anti-Semitic friends
by Tony Greenstein
The Electronic Intifada
3 November 2009

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Image
Michal Kaminski, who opposes Poland apologizing for the massacre of hundreds of Jews in a Polish village in 1941, on a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. (ECR)

There can be few supporters of the Palestinians, still less anti-Zionists, who haven’t, at some time or another, been accused of “anti-Semitism.” Accusations that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism have become little more than a ritual exercise in defamation. The danger in making such accusations is, to quote the former Director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research, Antony Lerman, that it “drains the word antisemitism of any useful meaning.” Moreover, its purpose is to discourage criticism of Israel and support of the Palestinians or risk being labeled as anti-Semitic. As I wrote two years ago, “If you cry wolf long and loud enough, when anti-Semitism does raise its head no one will bat an eyelid.”

The European political establishment, like its American counterpart, has taken to the idea that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are indistinguishable. According to the European Union’s Working Definition, anti-Semitism includes: denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor), drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, and holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel. It is ironic that the EU’s definition of anti-Semitism is itself anti-Semitic!

But the idea that “Jewish people” wherever they live, form a nation separate from the people they live amongst, because that is the meaning of self-determination, is itself an anti-Semitic concept. What is really being stated is that Jews form a race, not a nation.

Moreover, if drawing comparisons between Israeli policies and the Nazis is anti-Semitic, then the late Marek Edelman, the Commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, must have been an anti-Semite. In 2002, Edelman stated publicly that Palestinian resistance fighters in the second intifada were the inheritors of the Jewish Fighting Organization of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Similarly, since holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the Israeli state is indeed anti-Semitic, what then is one to make of the actions of the Board of Deputies of British Jews? On 9 January 2009 the Board of Deputies held a rally under the title “Community to Show Support for Israel at Trafalgar Square Rally.”

Zionism held that Jews were strangers in other peoples’ lands and that anti-Semitism was the natural, if not justifiable, reaction to an alien presence among them. It was but a short step from this to an acceptance that anti-Semitic characteristics and caricatures of Jews were essentially correct. Indeed, the conflation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism is yet another irony, as historically, it was non-Jewish support of Zionism that was seen by Jews as anti-Semitic. What anti-Semites and leading Zionists said about Jews were almost indistinguishable. As A.B. Yehoshua, one of Israel’s foremost novelists, stated in a lecture to the Union of Jewish Students: “Even today, in a perverse way, a real anti-Semite must be a Zionist.” And from Pinhas Felix Rosenbluth, a leading German Zionist, to Arthur Ruppin, head of the Jewish Agency, Zionists have not hesitated to employ anti-Semitic rhetoric to further their cause.

It was perhaps his lack of friends that made Levy's acquaintance with George Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers all the more explicable. But there is no need for psychological guesswork. Both men clearly shared to a remarkable degree their understanding of the world around them. This understanding was to drive Pitt-Rivers into the arms of Nazism, while Levy remained committed to his aristocratic international; but it was the same understanding nevertheless.

The two men met at the offices of the New Age, and exchanged ideas over lunch. Not only did Pitt-Rivers believe that the chief causes of the 'contemporary disasters' were spiritual, but more importantly he believed that 'The spirit which led this world into disaster and will continue to do so, unless stopped in time, is the spirit of your own race ... the Semitic spirit'. When Pitt-Rivers went on to explain to Levy that 'only the Jews can deliver us from the Jews', by which he meant that the comparative racial purity of the Jews could yet be a source of strength in overcoming the problem which they themselves had spawned, Levy was convinced. He had himself earlier declared, in a classic expression of 'honest antisemitism', that

"The world still needs Israel, for the world has fallen a prey to democracy and needs the example of a people which has always acted contrary to democracy, which has always upheld the principle of race. The world still needs Israel, for terrible wars, of which the present one is only the beginning, are in store for it; and the world needs a race of good Europeans who stand above national bigotry and national hypocrisy, national mysticism and national blackguardism."

Undertaking the unlikely task of pre-emptively defending him from charges of antisemitism, Levy agreed to write a preface for Pitt-Rivers's pamphlet, The World Significance of the Russian Revolution (1920).

This remarkable piece of writing is easy to dismiss simply as Jewish self-hatred. Yet although Levy was certainly so deeply immersed in the current beliefs about Jews and Judaism that he accepted too readily many of the prevailing stereotypes, there was nevertheless a good reason for his approach. His Nietzschean critique of civilisation took as its starting point an attack on a value system supposedly introduced by the Jews, and continued by Christianity in both its religious and post-religious (modern, revolutionary) manifestations.

Beginning with a sweeping claim that chimes in exactly with what Pitt-Rivers had already said to him over lunch, Levy wrote:

"There is scarcely an event in modern Europe that cannot be traced back to the Jews ... all latter-day ideas and movements have originally sprung from a Jewish source, for the simple reason, that the Semitic idea has finally conquered and entirely subdued this only apparently irreligious universe of ours. It has conquered it through Christianity, which of course, as Disraeli pointed out long ago, is nothing but 'Judaism for the people'.

He then goes on, summarising Pitt-Rivers's argument, to assert that this history-of-ideas approach means that the author of the pamphlet can in no way be regarded as a vulgar antisemite. Since Levy believes that a certain type of antisemitism 'does the Jews more justice than any blind philo-semitism ... that merely sentimental "Let-them-all-come-Liberalism", which is nothing but the Semitic Ideology over again' (pp. viii-ix), he has no qualms about naming himself an antisemite: 'If you are an anti-Semite, I, the Semite, am an anti-Semite too, and a much more fervent one than even you are ... We have erred, my friend, we have most grievously erred' (p. x).

In what, then, have the Jews erred? Levy accepts all of Pitt-Rivers's allegations: the Jews, whether consciously or not, have been the principal agents of economic and political misery in the world, through their dealings in international finance and their actions in promoting democracy and revolution; Bolshevism, as the bearer of an originally Jewish ideal of equality for the masses, was successful because it was opposed only by democracy, itself a product of the same forces. This argument, however, leads Levy into the realms of conspiracy theory, where he sounds more like Nesta Webster -- the modern English originator of such theories -- or Lady Birdwood -- her latter-day successor -- than Nietzsche. Seeing nothing but the play of ideas in history, he asserts that 'There is a direct line from Savonarola to Luther, and from Luther to Robespierre, and from Robespierre to Lenin' (p. iii). Thus Bolshevism 'is a religion and a faith' (p. iv).

What is shocking in this piece is not merely Levy's summary of the effects of the Jewish morality in history:

"We who have posed as the saviours of the world, we, who have even boasted of having given it 'the' Saviour, we are to-day nothing else but the world's seducers, its destroyers, its incendiaries, its executioners ... We who have promised to lead you to a new Heaven, we have finally succeeded in landing you in to a new Hell."

-- Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain, by Dan Stone


This is not so strange, because what one is talking about are in reality two entirely different forms of political philosophy with the same name — anti-Semitism. Contrary to received opinion, there is nothing in common between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Certainly the Zionist movement has deliberately confused the two, but the former is a form of anti-racism whereas the latter is a form of racism. There can be no blurring at the edges or overlap. One is either an anti-Semite or an anti-Zionist. One cannot be both.

Therefore, it is not surprising that today, with the growth of far right and neo-fascist parties in Europe, that almost without exception they are pro-Israel. Thus, the very people who criticize anti-Zionists and Palestinian supporters as anti-Semitic are rushing to hold the hands of Zionism’s far-right supporters.


For example Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom Ron Prossor was more than happy to share a platform at the Conservative Friends of Israel with Michal Kaminski of the Polish Justice and Freedom Party. Kaminski is notorious in Poland for openly opposing the call for an official apology for the 1941 massacre of hundreds of Jews in the Polish village of Jedwabne.

Last month, Israel’s Ambassador to the European Union, Ran Curiel, paid the first visit by an ambassador to the Kaminski-chaired European Conservatives & Reform (ECR) Group in the European Parliament. As quoted in a 13 October news post on ECR’s website, Curiel told the assembled audience that “ ‘After years of “megaphone diplomacy” between Israel and Europe, an open dialogue is the best thing we can do now.’” Furthermore, “He highly appreciated the support of the ECR Group for the two-state solution to the ‘peace process’ which would fully ensure the security of the State of Israel and respect the border of national states.”

Curiel’s visit followed an earlier visit by Kaminski to Israel with the European Friends of Israel organization. It was Kaminski’s first visit to a non-EU country as Chairman of the ECR. According to a 25 September post on the Conservative Friends of Israel’s website, at a dinner held by the organization Kaminski explained that Israel was deliberately chosen as his first trip so that he could “ ‘deliver the message that there is a group in the European Parliament that will be a true friend of Israel.’”

Similarly in the UK, Kaminski’s Zionist allies rushed to his defense last month. As the Jewish Chronicle reported on 15 October, several members of the Jewish Leadership Council were outraged when Board of Deputies President Vivian Wineman wrote a letter to David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, questioning the Tory alliance with Kaminski and his far-right Justice and Freedom Party in the European Parliament. Andrew Gilbert, one of a number of deputies who believe the letter to Cameron ill-judged, stated that “ ‘Nobody in the Jewish or political community did enough research either to say that Michal Kaminski or Roberts Zile have suspect views, which means we should shun them, or to clear them.’”

Nor is the Conservative party alone in embracing Israel’s fascist allies. The British National Party is a growing party, with more than 50 local councilors and two members of the European Parliament. On 22 October 2009, its leader, Nick Griffin, appeared on the BBC’s premier program Question Time, to a wave of protests. How did he explain away his anti-Semitism and support for holocaust denial? By explaining that though he might not be too fond of Jews, he was a strong supporter of Israel, stating that “there are Nazis in Britain and they loathe me because I have brought the BNP from being frankly an anti-Semitic and racist organization into being the only political party which in the clashes between Israel and Gaza stood full-square behind Israel’s right to deal with Hamas terrorists.”

As the Guardian reported in April 2008, Board of Deputies spokesperson Ruth Smeed let readers know that “The BNP website is now one of the most Zionist on the web — it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its support of Israel.”

But Kaminski and Roberts Zile, of the Waffen-SS supporting Latvian Freedom and Fatherland Party, are not the exceptions. Dutch far-right anti-Islam politician and Member of Parliament Geert Wilders is another figure who combines virulent racism with Zionism. As reported in the Israeli daily Haaretz on 18 June, Wilders claimed that “Israel is only the first line of defense for the West. Now it’s Israel but we are next. That’s why beyond solidarity, it is in Europe’s interest to stand by Israel.”

Wilders is facing criminal charges for inciting hate by comparing the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. After winning five seats in June parliamentary elections, Wilders’s Party of Freedom is now the second largest political party in the country. Wilders has also found common cause with the right-wing openly racist political party of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, Wilders explained that “ ‘Our parties may not be identical, but there are certainly more similarities than dissimilarities, and I am proud of that,’” (Haaretz, 18 June 2009). He added that “ ‘Lieberman’s an intelligent, strong and clever politician and I understand why his party grew in popularity.’”

Indeed, the only far-right party that I could find whose anti-Semitism is disguised as anti-Zionism is Jobbik, the Movement for a Better Hungary, a descendant of the pro-Nazi Nyilas. During World War II, Nyilas was responsible for the deaths of some 50,000 mainly Budapest Jews. Leaders of the party were executed by the Hungarian state after liberation. This is the party that the BNP, which “opposes anti-Semitism,” is joined with in the European Parliament.

Therefore, when Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz claims that Judge Richard Goldstone is an “anti-Semite” and that it is possible for a Jew to be an anti-Semite, he is right: the history of Zionism is indeed full of such examples!

Tony Greenstein is a trade union activist, a member of UNISON, Brighton & Hove Trades Council and Secretary of Brighton & Hove Unemployed Workers Centre, where he works as an employment adviser. He runs a socialist, anti-Zionist blog, http://www.azvsas.blogspot.com.
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