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In Appreciation: Muhammad Hallaj, Vincent T. Larsen, Rachelle Marshall, Jack G. Shaheen
By Thomas Suárez
In the late 1800s, after centuries in which bigots strove to keep Jews as a race apart, a new movement sought to institutionalize this tribalism by corralling all Jews into a single vast ghetto on other people’s land. Its focus on racial nationalism was in itself unremarkable; other such ideologies were brewing that in a half century would lead humanity to unprecedented catastrophe. But in an extraordinary twist, this particular movement claimed to do so in the name of Jewry itself. Its devotees called it Zionism.
Not surprisingly, this was an easy sell to bigots, but not to most Jews. The solution to Jewry’s disinterest — and the importance of this can scarcely be overstated, as it is at the core of today’s so-called ‘conflict’ — was to make Judaism subservient to Zionism, to make Zionism the standard by which Jews are judged. “No true Jew can be an anti-Zionist,” the cult’s pioneer, Theodor Herzl decreed; “only Mauschel [Yid, or Kike] is one.” Traditional, religious Jews were anti-Zionist and considered to be barely human: “Merely to look at him,” Herzl decreed, “let alone approach or, heaven forbid, touch him was enough to make us feel sick.” Herzl looked forward to “getting rid of” this Jew, as he is “a hideous distortion of the human character, something unspeakably low and repulsive.”
“In short,” as the Frankfurther Zeitung’s correspondent at the First Zionist Congress put it in 1897, “the degeneration which calls itself Anti-Semitism has begotten the degeneration which adorns itself with the name of Zionism.”
Six years later, Jewish Chronicle journalist and historian Lucian Wolf summed up Zionism as “a comprehensive capitulation to the calumnies of the anti-Semites.” He could, he wrote in the London Times that year, conceive of no more serious setback to the Jewish struggle for equality than the Zionist scheme.
Zionism, of course, presented itself as an answer to European anti-Semitism, not a capitulation to it, and no doubt many of its early followers sincerely intended it as such. But the reality of the racial-nationalist movement has been unambiguous: the exploitation of Judaism and anti-Semitism in order to further a settler state couching racial supremacy in messianic pretenses.
This November, Britain is ‘celebrating’ the centennial of its complicity in this scheme, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 that gave the Zionists the military and pseudo-‘legal’ boosts it needed. The cynicism of this revelry could not be more obvious from the ongoing misery the Declaration has engendered; but British officials who have invented ways to rationalize the indefensible might be humbled by an excursion through their country’s own archives.
What the British Archives Reveal
Those archives leave scant fodder for apologists. They show that the Zionists’ plan always was, from the beginning, the destruction of Palestine’s indigenous civilization and the ethnic cleansing of its non-Jewish population.
The British knew this. They knew that the Declaration’s assurance that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” was a lie.¹ Sober voices, both within the British government and among observers, warned of the injustice and that it would lead to catastrophe within and beyond Palestine. The most thorough and prescient formal examination of the post-Ottoman situation, the United States’ King-Crane report of 1919, was buried. Britain bartered away Palestine to the Zionists, double-crossing the Palestinians, who believed they would gain liberation for opposing the Ottomans.
What Britain got in return for giving away a land it did not own remains unclear, but definitely had something to do with the U.S.’s role in the then-ongoing world war, and the hope that the Zionists would be surrogate Empire expanders. Anti-Semitism sweetened it further: the belief that a far-off ‘homeland’ for Jews would keep them from coming to Britain or America. Some records suggest, though improbably, that Palestine was pay-back to chemist Chaim Weizmann for having devised a new method for producing acetone.
Had history played out differently, another nation might have jump-started the Zionist project. It might have been France, or the U.S., or Russia, or Germany, or even the Ottomans. That was immaterial. But the geographic object of the scheme had to be Palestine, if it were to succeed. Other options were discussed — in Africa, South America, Cyprus, and the Sinai — but these were considered mere stepping stones if Palestine could not be secured at first.
There was a reason why it had to be Palestine, a reason why Palestine had to be given a Biblical name, and a reason why Hebrew, a language not spoken as a vernacular for nearly two millennia, had to be enforced as its ‘native’ tongue. The reason, in a word, was messianism: a singular device to remove the Zionist project from the world of mortals and place it in a twilight zone bound neither by evidence nor by the norms of civilized nations.
Zionists did not need to ‘explain’ their theft of other people’s land in an emerging post-colonial world, because it was never the Other’s land. It was the Hebrew Nation, as the terror gangs like to call it, a ‘nation’ inexorably and eternally connected to the Jews and whose origin blurs indistinctly back toward Genesis itself. Zionists were not shipping in settlers, but were returning the Israelites to their ancient, inalienable home. It was not the ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population, but the removal of two thousand years of ethnically-incorrect squatters from this realm that burst from the pages of an ancient religious text. It was a brilliant marketing feat.
Archaeological artifacts that were not inescapably ‘Other’ were therefore ‘Hebrew,’ and not the relics of a past civilization, but of the nation-state created by God that in 1949 took its seat at the General Assembly. Archaeological sites beyond the Armistice Line were proof that this Nation had been short-changed even as it seized more than half of the land that same Assembly had given the Palestinians. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and later the Palestinian Authority, were occupiers in Biblical land. Judea and Samaria were not dusty terms found in the Old Testament and on theologically-inspired European maps; they were parts of the ‘state’ that interlopers had seized two thousand years ago.
Thus UNESCO’s recent naming of Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque as a Palestinian world heritage site (“Palestinian” indicating only that the site is in Palestine) was met with outrage and cries of anti-Semitism. The Jerusalem Post’s byline expressed bewilderment that the U.N. organization could recognize “a significant Jewish religious site…as part of the State of Palestine.” Since it is a ‘Jewish site,’ it obviously must be in the ‘Jewish state.’
Zionists were building the ‘Third Temple,’ the final epoch, with all its apocalyptic innuendos. The Jewish kingdom had been newly reconstituted, and the ‘ingathering’ had begun. Constructed from mythical narrative and non-linear reasoning, there was nothing to contest.
This should have seemed altogether delusional, far too mad to be taken seriously; but it was, and is. The West’s inherited Judeo-Christian mindset enabled British and American officials, whatever their cynical, geo-political motivations, to support the Zionists as the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, as if to question it were to argue with God.
Lest this seem overstated, when in 1937 the Peel Commission suggested partition as a solution to the violent mess that two decades of this British-Zionist marriage had created, it unabashedly couched Zionist claims in precisely these messianic terms. Partition, the Commission apologized, would mean that Jews “must be content with less than the Land of Israel they once ruled” — the single word ‘they’ alone an extraordinary testament to the success of Zionist fundamentalism over the ‘enlightened’ West.
But there remained the problem of Jews who had no interest in this new ghetto. Chaim Weizmann explained away these Jews as having “lost touch with the real spirit animating the Jewish people,” even though they included the vast majority of Middle Eastern Jewry. Egypt’s Jews in particular riled Weizmann: writing to Balfour, he dismissed them with standard anti-Semitism, ridiculing them as “rich Jews” who are “shining examples of Jewish capitalism.”
Within seven years of the Declaration, Zionism’s need to eliminate Jewish opposition had become deadly. An early victim was Dr. Ya’acov Israel de Hahn, who after emigrating to Palestine turned against Zionism, and did so too vocally. Ha’aretz called him “antisemitic scum,” Ben-Gurion denounced him as a traitor, and in 1924, leaving the synagogue on Jaffo Street in Jerusalem, he was shot dead by the Hagana, the military wing of the newly-formed Jewish Agency, what in twenty four years would become the Israeli government.
Meanwhile, the messianic ‘they’ of which the Peel Commission spoke — Zionist settlers — had reduced Palestine, a land where Jews had not suffered European-style persecution, into an ethnic battleground as non-Jewish Palestinians fought back against ‘soft’ ethnic cleansing: their expulsion by racializing land, labor, and resources.
But posterity is blind to this ‘passive’ terrorism, and so the violent Palestinian rebellions of the late 1920s and late 1930s falsely appear to be in reaction to the mere presence of the settlers. Palestinian resistance — which included terrorism — stopped well before the outbreak of World War II, while Zionist terrorism, which in the late 1930s favored the bombings of Palestinian markets and buses, and the indiscriminate murder of random civilians, did not. Over the next decade, the Palestinians maintained stoic restraint as Zionist terror brought Palestine to its knees.
“The killing of Arabs by Jewish terrorists,” the Jerusalem District Commissioner’s Office reported in 1944, and their promises to chop off the hands of any Palestinian opposing Zionism, “is creating an atmosphere of tension and hatred comparable with that of [the uprising of] 1938-39.”
Yet reports consistently note that the Palestinians pursued non-violence despite the ever-increasing provocation. “It is noticeable,” as the Chief Secretary of Lydda District put it, “that the continuance of Jewish terrorist outrages has not so far provoked the Arabs to retaliation…”.
Of the three major Zionist militias, the Hagana and its offshoot, the Irgun, moderated their terror during the first years of World War II, while the Irgun’s offshoot, Lehi (‘Stern Gang”), was indifferent to the war’s outcome and thus saw no reason to tone down its violence. But the Irgun’s preference for an Allied victory was strictly pragmatic, the belief that it would more likely serve Zionist aims than would an Axis victory, and so when by late 1943 “it became obvious,” as Irgun Commander and future Prime Minister Menachem Begin put it, that an Allied victory would not guarantee a “Hebrew Nation” on both sides of the Jordan, the Irgun terror throttle pushed forward without regard for the Nazi threat.
Although the Jewish Agency and Hagana preferred an Allied victory, Zionism remained the guiding concern. Throughout the most terrible years of the war, the Agency, far from assisting the Allies, sought to deter Jews from enlisting — unless and until doing so served Zionism. To this end it insisted that Yishuv (Jewish settlers) enlistees form a segregated ‘Jewish’ army. Pride, the Allies were told, was the reason for this demand; but the true reasons were obvious to military officials. The Jewish Agency wanted a ‘Jews-only’ army to claim that a Jewish ‘nationality’ — and thus a ‘Jewish state’ — had implicitly been acknowledged, as well as to get the British to train a professional Zionist militia better prepared to take Palestine by force after the war. Despite the inefficiency of a segregated army, in the summer of 1944, after nearly five years of Jewish Agency non-cooperation, Churchill gave in to pressure and formed the so-called Jewish Brigade.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency’s military wing was engaged in a massive theft ring of Allied weapons and munitions, hurting the war effort “as if paid by Hitler himself,” as one military record complained. Finally, when the Allied struggle to defeat the worst enemy Jewry has ever known brought Britain to economic ruin, the Jewish Agency saw an opportunity for extortion: it pressured the U.S. to deny its post-war loan to Britain unless Britain acceded to Zionist demands.
Ben-Gurion had long planned to exploit the Allies’ post-war weakness to Zionism’s strategic advantage, and so by 1944 the Hagana, like the Irgun, began ratcheting up its terror. Desperate, the British mounted a public plea to the Yishuv, explaining that their terror was making the struggle against the Nazis all the more difficult. “Palestine … has enjoyed five years of virtual immunity from the horrors of war,” the British notices read, but has “been the scene of a series of outrageous crimes of violence by Jewish terrorists [to force their] political aims …. These events are proceeding side by side with the bitterest phase of the critical fighting between the United Nations [i.e., Allied Forces] and Nazi Germany.” This plea was ignored, and the terror increased.
The Zionist noose around recalcitrant Jews also continued to tighten. Already in 1943, U.S. intelligence reported that whereas Jews were normally known for their enlightened stances against racism and discrimination, Zionism had bred the opposite, “a spirit closely akin to Nazism, namely, an attempt to regiment the community, even by force, and to resort to force to get what they want.”
British reports as well warned that the Jewish settlers were becoming “more and more regimented on totalitarian lines,” and that “any Jew who openly opposes the ‘party line’ is in personal danger.” Teachers were threatened or removed if they tried to intervene in the indoctrination of their students, and the students themselves were blocked from advancement if they resisted. “The totalitarian organisation and regimentation of the Yishuv” are such that they “constitute the negation of free thought and speech.”
An informant code-named Circus stressed the point: Zionist leaders sought to stop any “differentiation made between the problem of the Jew and that of Political Zionism.” Zionists had always hated Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin because he favored Palestinian self-determination, but it was after he publicly distinguished between Jews and Zionists that he became a specific target of assassination. MI5 learned that the murder was to be carried out in England by operatives connected with a Revisionist (extreme Zionist) newspaper printed in Manchester, or during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Egypt. By 1947, letter bombs became the assassination method of choice, used to target even staunchly pro-Zionist figures like Churchill for his criticism of Zionist terrorism.
Under a code name, J. S. Bentwich, Senior Inspector of Jewish schools in Palestine, also compared the Zionist mentality to Nazism, and warned “that Government should act now before the [Zionist] movement grew too strong.” A settlement member named Newton described how “the Jewish educational system has produced youths and girls who were ready to use murder for their political ends,” and that any “declaration of a policy unfavorable to extreme Zionism” would be met with terror. His warnings about the Zionists’ abuse of Europe’s persecuted Jews corroborated British reports: they were “being used as a political weapon to gain control of Palestine.”
“From a tender age,” Britain’s M15 Defence Security Officer reported in 1943, “Jewish children in Palestine are brought up with a single focus: Zionism.” The system by which Zionism achieves this “is closely akin to that adopted by the Nazis,” and as history has shown, “in a comparatively short space of time, such teaching is very hard to eradicate.”
U.S. intelligence judged Zionism to be so reactionary as to be unsustainable: Now that the world “has seen the lengths to which the Nazi creed has carried the nations,” it predicted that the Zionists “are due to find themselves an anachronism.” Its authors failed to predict that this anachronism’s inevitable end would be delayed by several decades, and counting, by the U.S. itself.
Zionism’s dependence on ‘owning’ Jewry meant that Jews — not the British, not the Palestinians — were the principal targets of Zionist assassinations (i.e., targeted killings rather than indiscriminate murder). All police were targets, but Jewish police in particular, as they were by definition traitors to Zionism. As the end of the Mandate looked more and more inevitable, any Jewish civil servant was in danger. ‘Persuasion’ was used to enforce obedience among ordinary Jews; for example, when an American Jew in Nathanya named Cliansky refused a Jewish Agency demand, he was ostracized, both his sons were fired from their jobs, and he was evicted from his synagogue to shouts of “he is defiled.” Others found their cars blown up, while anyone suspected of ‘informing’ was not so lucky.
Zionist anti-Jewish fascism increased further in the weeks leading up to the mid-May 1948 end of the Mandate: High Commissioner Cunningham reported that persecution of Jews “who offend against national discipline [i.e. the Zionist leadership] has shown a marked increase and in some cases has reached mediaeval standards.” The Jewish Agency claimed jurisdiction over all Jews worldwide, and placed informants in travel agencies, theaters, and other public facilities to catch any Jew betraying thoughts of leaving Palestine. Extortion, and the destruction of U.S. passports, were among the methods used.
The hurdles that Jewish Agency leaders discussed in the mid 1940s say much about the reality of today’s quagmire. These included formidable problems: democracy, the fall in anti-Semitism, the Atlantic Charter, and Reconstruction. The problem with democracy was two-fold: self-determination in Palestine, should it ever be imposed, would not bring about a Zionist state; and Ben-Gurion blamed the “democratic attitude” of the United States for a (perceived) decline in Zionism’s essential drug, anti-Semitism. The Atlantic Charter — which became the basis for the United Nations — sought to prevent the very sort of scheme the Zionists were (and are today) pursuing. And post-war Reconstruction in Europe meant stability, security, and renewed infrastructure, greatly worrying future Israeli Prime Ministers like Ben-Gurion and Shertok (Sharett), because it would offer Jewish displaced persons (DPs) the realistic option of remaining in Europe if they so wished.
The Jewish Agency could not stop post-war Reconstruction in Europe, but it could sabotage safe haven elsewhere in order to force Jews to go to Palestine. For example, in early 1944, as the DP camps swelled, President Roosevelt pioneered a major resettlement program that would have provided homes for a half million survivors, most in the U.S. and Britain. American Zionist leaders were furious and sabotaged the program, and when Roosevelt’s aide, Morris Ernst, tried to intervene to save it, he was accused of ‘treason’ (because he was Jewish). Two years later, thousands of orphans of Jewish background were forcibly taken from their adoptive families for shipment to Palestine as ethnic fodder, and new Jewish adoptive homes in England for young survivors still in the camps were stopped by the Jewish Agency. By virtue of being Jewish, they were the Zionist leaders’ property.
Indeed, the single most deadly terror attack of the entire pre-state period was an attempt to force Jews to Palestine: the Jewish Agency’s 1940 bombing of the British ship Patria because it was bringing Jewish immigrants to Mauritius, where the British had facilities for them and where they would be safe. An estimated 267 people died, most of them Jews who had fled the war. The Agency then framed the dead for the crime: in a failed attempt to cover up its deed, it spread the lie that it was a mass suicide by Jews who preferred to die rather than not go directly to Palestine.²
This violence against Jews, simply because they were Jews, extended to their exploitation as sympathy victims. When in 1947 more than four thousand European Jewish survivors were crammed onto the Exodus bound for Palestine (the vessel so renamed for the messianic iconography), the Jewish Agency knew that the voyage was for naught — the British would turn the human cargo away, since the flooding of Palestine with settlers was a tactic to force the Agency’s political demands. The Exodus was, rather, a colossal media event to exploit public sympathy for its political goals, at the expense of Jewish survivors.
Zionist abuse of Jews was a major reason why so many were still languishing in the DP camps by 1947 — indeed, the entire Exodus cargo of immigrants totaled less than one percent of Roosevelt’s resettlement program that the U.S. Zionist leadership derailed in outrage three years earlier. During the Exodus saga, attempts were made to find new homes in safe countries for its DPs, but these were sabotaged by Jewish Agency leaders. Finally, the DPs had the right to disembark in southern France (Port de Bouc), but this too was blocked by the Zionist leadership whose propaganda required their ‘forced’ return to Germany. ³
The U.N., meanwhile, was deliberating Palestine’s future. Despite two cataclysmic world wars having been fought to end the days of right-by-might racial nationalism, despite attempts to introduce a more just, enlightened world through the League of Nations, the Atlantic Charter, and now the United Nations — despite all this, in the end, for Palestine, the world had learned nothing. It was not the lessons of fascism that the U.N. turned to, not its own Charter, not international law, not self determination or any sense of fairness or universal morality. It was, rather, the certainty of continuing Zionist terrorism — terrorism that by mid-1947 had spread to Britain, Italy, and Austria — that determined Palestine’s fate. Most cynically of all, it was assumed that this capitulation to terror would not end it, but simply leave the Palestinians as its sole victims. As recorded in British documents, any attempt to implement the compromise plan of a bi-national state would have resulted in “an intensification of Jewish terrorism.” And contrary to the pretenses of Resolution 181, it was already understood by Britain and the U.S. that the Zionists would not honor Partition anyway. That was the optimistic spin: barely a month passed before internal U.K. and U.S. correspondence acknowledges that the promised Palestinian state would never be at all.
Zionist — now Israeli — terrorism against the Palestinians did not end with the mass ethnic cleansing of 1948. Even as U.N. Resolution 194 reaffirmed Palestinians’ right to return to their homes, Israel murdered those who tried, dismissing them with the newspeak ‘infiltrators.’ This history is all but forgotten in the common understanding of the ‘conflict,’ yet it remains the reality today: when we are told that Israeli massacres in Gaza are in response to rockets fired over the Armistice Line, it is the same as blaming the thousands murdered in the 1950s for wanting to go home.
Like today, Israel’s most savage terror attacks during the 1950s were against Gaza. The best-known attack, however, was the massacre of the West Bank village of Qibya in 1953. The Eisenhower Administration described the attack as “shocking” and was so alarmed by Israel’s long trail of violence and defiance that it held up $26 million allocated for Israel for the first half of 1954, and “urgently” considered Security Council action in consideration of “the inefficiency of past representations to the Israeli government.”
But this was short-lived. Pressure groups and politicians like New York Mayor-elect Robert Wagner smeared as ‘anti-Semites’ anyone calling for an investigation into the massacre. Ben-Gurion publicly framed Holocaust survivors for having carried it out, claimed anti-Jewish persecution to the press, and pinned his troubles on “something that happened two thousand years ago in this very country.” Eisenhower caved.
Today’s massacres against Gaza in alleged response to rockets are the most visible example of a core military strategy that has never failed Zionism after a century of use: terrorize until there is blow-back, then broadcast the blow-back as an unprovoked terror attack against which Israel must ‘defend’ itself. This was observed during the Mandate period, and it was the means of producing the essential ‘civil war’ in late 1947 and early 1948. And it remains the ever-constant method today. The system is a marvel of efficiency: Israel’s very intransigence maintains the untenable suffering that supplies the never-ending ‘threat.’
In perusing British records of Israel’s early years, I was not surprised at how facilely the new state thwarted accountability, but was unprepared for how disinterested it was in catching the perpetrators of violent crime if there was a propaganda gain to be had from framing someone else. Two illustrations follow.
When in December of 1951 a young Israeli woman was raped and murdered, there were no suspects and no evidence. There were still neither suspects nor evidence when on Eastern Christmas Eve (January 6), Israeli squads invaded the Bethlehem area and blew up several houses while forcing their families to remain inside. Israel claimed it was in response to the murder of the woman in Israel — yet it still produced no reason to blame ‘infiltrators,’ much less specific suspects. Israel, indeed, was experiencing such an epidemic of domestic violent crime that even the Jerusalem Post warned against scapegoating the Palestinians. A meeting was held by the Mixed Armistice Commission (MAC, created by the United Nations to supervise the truce that ended the 1948 war), at which the Jordanian representative put on record a list of the Christmas Eve dead. The Israeli representative then took the paper, left for a few minutes and then returned, having copied a few of the names onto his own piece of paper. “We have the names of the people who carried out” the rape and murder, he announced, “but I did not want to pass them on before.” The media bought the ‘confirmation,’ unaware of the fraud. But by framing the people it had killed in order to rationalize its massacre and continue the imagery of a threat from ‘infiltrators,’ Israel could not even try to catch the actual murderer, because the attempt itself would contradict the official lie.
When saddled with a PR problem, it was Israeli practice to find a way to ‘balance’ its terror with an alleged Palestinian attack. And so, after the infamous Qibya massacre, an empty Israeli freight train blew up. Israel screamed terrorism and pointed its accusatory finger eastward over the Armistice Line. It demanded that the ‘attack’ be condemned as Qibya was, and the media expressed horror that it could have as easily been a packed morning passenger train that the ‘infiltrators’ blew up. But it was almost surely an Israeli ‘false flag’ attack, carried out as the far more ambitious and consequential ‘Lavon Affair’ was being planned. There was zero evidence to link the bombing to Jordan (i.e., the West Bank), and in the words of British Ambassador Furlonge, “we all here remain firmly of the opinion that the whole thing was a frame-up on the part of the Israelis, who staged it themselves.”
But then a magnificent opportunity fell into Israel’s lap: An Israeli bus on an unscheduled run from Eilat to Tel Aviv was savagely attacked in the Negev, what became known as the Scorpion’s Pass (Ma‘ale Akrabim) massacre. Eleven people were murdered; three survived. It happened that a U.S. Commander named Hutchison was at the center of the investigation and, as he put it, Israel could exploit the attack to “wipe the Qibya massacre from the Israeli slate” — if it could claim that the attackers were from the West Bank. But the circumstances and geography made that especially improbable. Bedouin in the southern Negev or northern Sinai angry at Israeli attacks were the likely culprits. Furious at this premise, Israel began a ruthless campaign of media manipulation, intimidation of U.N. officials, obstruction of the investigation, and evidence tampering in an attempt to get an official verdict in favor of a Jordanian (West Bank) killer. After it failed, Hutchison needed a bodyguard. Israel preferred to let the killers of the era’s most notorious crime against its citizens go free rather than lose its ‘balancing’ propaganda for Qibya. The crime remains unsolved.
The Surreal World of 2017
Now enter the surreal world of 2017, in which War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery, and Truth is … Anti-Semitism.
It is a world in which Zionism has, for the moment, won. It has won the fundamentalist support of earth’s most powerful nations, the most devoted of which happily self-harm rather than endure disapproval from the prophets in Tel Aviv. And Zionism has — if we are to take it at its word — closed the padlock on its yoke around Jewry. It has fulfilled the dreams of anti-Semites, reducing Jewry to a tribe, and made itself the tribal leader. If we are to accept it.
Which raises the question: At what point is the nature of a religion, or of a ‘people,’ determined by the actions of some of its members? Catholicism is enduring difficult times as so many of its priests are exposed as child abusers; but even as the Vatican is justly criticized for its obstructive handling of the scandal, it does not suggest that the crimes were committed for the sake of Catholics, or smear those criticizing the Vatican as being anti-Catholic bigots. Islam is cited as the motivation behind many terror attacks; but no Muslim nation lobbies other governments to ban criticism of the attacks on the grounds that it constitutes anti-Muslim hate speech.
Zionism does. By equating condemnation of Israeli terror with condemnation of Jewry, Zionism, if one accepts it, makes ‘Jews’ — pick your definition — complicit in whatever Israel does, simply by virtue of being Jews. Fire a critical word against Israel’s crimes, you will instead hit this human shield, embodying Jewry and Jewish culture, history, and historic persecution, that Israel hides behind.
A look at two catastrophic terror attacks, equally monstrous and with a similar tally of human carnage, is illustrative. The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, carried out by nineteen Muslims allegedly under the command of Osama bin Laden, killed 2,996 people and injured about 6,000. The ‘Protective Edge’ terror attacks of July, 2014, carried out by Israeli soldiers under the command of the Chief of the General Staff, killed about 2,300 people and wounded about 11,000, including about a thousand children left permanently disabled. Claims that either attack was justified by self-defense are equally obscene. Nor is any distinction of combatants vs civilians meaningful; we would not call the victims of 9-11 ‘combatants’ had they had the opportunity to resist.
The 9-11 attacks stand as the iconic act of terror of our time, evil itself. Protective Edge barely registered in the popular Western conscience. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution applauding it, and any reaction deviating too far from this is met with innuendoes of anti-Semitism. Israel cannot have it both ways: if criticism of this mass murder = anti-Semitism, then Zionism has condemned Jewry as mass-murderers.
Eager to exploit 9-11 to Israel’s advantage, the U.S. media played and replayed an old video clip of kids acting for the camera and called it Palestinian children ‘celebrating’ the terror attacks. There were of course those among the world’s Muslims who did celebrate the attacks as a victory in a holy war, but the overreaching response was condemnation, even if accompanied by feelings that the U.S. had reaped what it sowed. There was no entity that successfully positioned itself as the global voice of Muslims, defending the terror as carried out on their behalf, and smearing those criticizing it as anti-Muslim hate speakers. There was no Muslim Zionism.
Zionist lobbyists are currently pushing governments and institutions to endorse a definition of anti-Semitism promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Acceptance of this definition would mean that criticism of the Israeli state or Zionism would officially constitute anti-Semitism — that is, any attempt to stop Israeli crimes would equal hatred against Jews because they are Jews. With an official acceptance of this document, Israel will have achieved perfect impunity: Jewry=Zionism=Israel.
Holding Jewry hostage hands Israel a military boon no weapon of steel and explosives could equal: the implicit complicity of Jews, because they are Jews, in Israeli atrocities. Thus Zionism, taken on its own terms, has succeeded where all the bigots throughout the centuries were powerless: taken at its word, Zionism has compromised Jewry itself.
If in principle Zionism is little different than other ethno-nationalist movements that evolved in the late nineteenth century, its messianic pretense, the irresistible opportunities it offered certain Western interests, and the perks of genetic privilege that either seduced or repulsed, enabled it to continue to thrive seven decades after other such movements met their inevitable, inglorious demise. ‘Jewish self-determination’ is the latest spin being put on Zionism, but Zionism is precisely the opposite: it is the denial of individual Jewish self-determination.4
These arguments stand or fall on their own merits. Identifying oneself as Jewish does not in itself add any weight to one’s argument for or against, and religious arguments are irrelevant, whether from the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta or the God-gave-it-to-us fundamentalists. It is the growing resurgence of anti-Zionist Jewry that will liberate Jewry and Judaism from Zionism’s clutches, and as it does, many Jews (and, indeed, non-Jews) will respond that they do not wish to be ‘freed,’ that no one has the right to speak for them — but this is entirely to invert the issue. All people are perfectly free to embrace Zionism or any other -ism. What is being rescinded is their right to cite that -ism as a cover to empower injustice. It is everyone else that is being freed from them.
The rash of false-flag ‘anti-Semitic’ incidents committed by Jews is a logical manifestation of Zionism. One must be sympathetic to the Jewish students caught painting swastikas on their dorm room doors and synagogues, or composing Nazi desktops on school computers; one must be sympathetic to the techy Israeli-American teenager responsible for thousands of bomb threats, extortion, threats of violence against Jewish children, and claims of bombs aboard passenger aircraft. One must be forgiving for likely similar cases among the many unsolved anti-Semitic crimes.
These sprees are the logical, even inevitable, manifestation of a racial-nationalist ideology whose very existence depends upon the preservation of victimhood, isolation, and a never-ending existential threat. This psychosis is Zionism’s life support.
When a swastika appeared on a door at Exeter University (U.K.), a talk I was to give there was abruptly cancelled.6 It did not matter that the Palestine Society students were the last people on earth to have done such a thing; it mattered only that the swastika’s object of hate, Jewry, is the property of Zionism, and thus these students were tainted by the swastika’s shadow no matter their innocence. It is by this ‘logic’ that the so-called Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) thrives by smearing the slander onto anyone opposing the racist regime in Israel.
While the lie of anti-Semitism is needed to silence critics, true anti-Semitism gives Zionism meaning. The 2015 ‘Charlie Hebdo’ terror attack in Paris gave Israeli PM Netanyahu an ideal opportunity to drive home the message. “I call on all the Jews around the world” to come to Israel, he announced. Israel “is your birthright and the only place you can proudly proclaim ‘I am a Jew’,”⁷ echoing pre-state leaders such as Weizmann, who seven decades earlier told Isaiah Berlin that Jews were incapable of establishing roots anywhere but in Palestine.
After the election of Donald Trump in 2016 brought genuine fears of true anti-Semitism in the U.S. government, there was a palpable lack of concern from Israel and its defenders such as Alan Dershowitz. The popular Israeli journalist Yaron London was refreshingly honest: he welcomed a Trump administration’s anti-Semitism as a means of revitalizing Zionism. “In order to remove these malignant doubts” about Zionism among some Jews, he wrote, “it would be good to have some anti-Semitism in America.” We need anti-Semitism, Mr. London wrote, “so that we can restore our faith in Zionism.” Not too much anti-Semitism, however: he doesn’t want to “empty America from its Jews, as we [Israel] need them there,” a classic trope about ‘the Jews’ as a fifth-column with allegiance only to the tribe.8 Nothing has changed: during the height of the Nazi death camps, in October of 1942, Ben-Gurion told Jewish Agency leaders that although Hitler had made Jews suffer, he also “revive[d] in assimilated Jews the feeling of Jewish nationalism, [and] we have exploited this feeling in favor of Zionism.” But the threat of democracy remained: he lamented that Jewish nationalism is “slowly disappearing again because the democracies, in contrast to the dictator states, recognise the Jews as people having full rights of citizenship….”
“Experts on genetics and Jewish law,” Israeli media reported enthusiastically in May, 2017, “say they found a ‘Jewish gene’ that could prove one’s Jewish roots; researchers have been studying mitochondrial DNA that one receives only from his or her mother, which they say could help establish one’s connection to Judaism.”9
The historical absurdities implicit in this are staggering, but irrelevant to the issue at hand. To continue: If this “breakthrough [is] accepted by the Chief Rabbinate,” it would help settle the Jewish-racial status “for the hundreds of thousands who are considered ‘undefined’.”
This is important because it is illegal in Israel for a genetically ‘undefined’ person, meaning his or her ‘Jewish’ purity is not proven, to marry someone of the Jewish ‘race’ (‘race’, as Zionism would have it). Such a union would produce a racially impure child: “We began researching this because of the issue of egg donation and the ramifications that would have on the Jewishness of the newborn baby,” explained Rabbi Menachem Burstein, the head of the Puah Institute, an organization that helps with issues of Jewish infertility.
The arrogance of a state dictating a ‘Judaic’ DNA gold standard is scary enough; but the fact that this institutionalized mentality of genetic purity and privilege does not terrify us to the bone demonstrates how successfully Zionism has co-opted us into its alternate universe.
Many observers in the 1940s compared Zionism to Nazism. These included people who would not make the comparison lightly: Jews who fled the Nazis, Jewish settlers, and British and U.S. intelligence. Such parallels continued with the behavior of the Israeli state into the early 1950s, but have now become a great taboo. ¹⁰ The point, however, is not the parallel itself; it is the denial of what it signifies. We should not need to be jarred by the word ’Nazi’ to see that generations of people in Palestine, in the many refugee camps, and within Israel itself, have been robbed of normal lives so that a privileged ’race’ can usurp and rule, and that Gaza has been turned into a laboratory for sadism and weapons proving. It should not take the word ’Nazi’ to expose that in the cause of Zionism, human beings have been reduced to Untermenschen.
When my book “State of Terror” was published in October of 2016, I was keenly familiar with tactics to intimidate and silence anyone critical of Israel. Critics could — and certainly should — check my source material and examine my reasoning; but my book was, as I saw it, simply a survey of the relevant source material. All I did was connect the dots. As the review in the journal Tribune put it, the book is not a polemic. But I was not prepared for how the fallout can take forms that cannot easily be ignored, and how dealing with it becomes all-consuming.
My first publicized book talk took place in early November (2016) at SOAS, London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Although intended for students, outsiders were not stopped. A handful of saboteurs took advantage of this and brought my Q&A to a precipitous halt, having even intimidated security not to intervene.
Their next stop was the Daily Mail and MailOnline, the U.K.’s most notorious tabloid and the largest readership English-language news source in the world. “Anti-Semitic hate speaker gives talk at top London university,” the headline above my photo read. “The Israeli Embassy has reacted with fury after a ‘hate speaker’ delivered an hour-long rant on Jews and Zionism…” Tweets spread to the tune of “Violinist turned ‘hate speaker’.” The story was picked up by various media and was even repeated uncritically by the prolific music critic, Norman Lebrecht.
After I gave a talk at Britain’s House of Lords in mid-December, the venerable fourteenth-century institution received a formal complaint: my talk was anti-Semitic. The complainant was not present at the talk, but argued that since it contained material from my book, it must be so. The charge was taken seriously. Three months later, on the Ides of March, House of Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct published HL Paper 142, dismissing it.
When a separate complaint filed with the Charity Commission was dismissed, the complainant filed a F.O.I. request about me in the hope of discovering some skeleton, but to his evident frustration my closet was bare. He and his colleagues would have to keep tweaking the same material: I was “every bit as anti-Semitic as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” spreading “pretty much every antisemitic trope there was, plus several new ones,” a “hate speaker espousing racist conspiracy theories.” My very presence was a failure of the government’s responsibility for “cracking down on Jew-hatred.”
Indeed, I was responsible for harming the lives of Jewish students: “Suarez’s rhetoric will serve to intimidate Jewish students even further,” a CAA spokesman warned. When legitimate media like the Independent, Evening Standard, and MancUnion (the largest U.K. student paper) cited me as proof of anti-Semitism on campus, none honored my request for a response. An article in Haaretz grouped me with a supporter of female genital mutilation and a Salafi preacher, and a Jewish Press headline read “‘The Only Good Jew is a Dead Jew’ (the Suarez – Barkan threshold)”. [Ronnie Barkan is an active anti-Zionist Israeli.]
On the morning of the day I was to speak in Britain’s southern port city of Portsmouth, PREVENT — a British government agency formed to fight extremism and terrorism — sent word to the venue to cancel the event, “due to the nature of the speaker.” Undeterred, my hosts secured a new venue. But as I rode British Rail to Portsmouth that afternoon, that second venue was told to cancel. We learned that word had been sent throughout Portsmouth not to allow me to speak.
Still, we were unprepared for the new Daily Mail headline. It read: “Corbyn is urged to cut links with Palestine charity after it hosts anti-Semitic speaker who accuses Jews of exploiting the Holocaust.”¹¹ What? Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party? I have never met nor had any contact with Mr. Corbyn (and nor, to be sure, have I ever said that Jews exploited the Holocaust). No matter — my “message is one of hatred and he should be shunned for his repulsive views,” and so the Mail demanded Mr. Corbyn and his ilk “sever their links” with the organization that had arranged my ill-fated talk.
A Corbyn representative responded by stressing that they “have consistently spoken out against and condemned all forms of antisemitism,” and a local MP challenged other community leaders to join her in “zero tolerance for antisemitism.”
According to the Mail, another MP in Portsmouth “was concerned about this man [Suárez] talking in the city” and so she contacted the police. I contacted the MP and identified myself as ‘this man’ whom she was concerned about. She replied that although she is “in favor of free speech” she “was concerned that the Daily Mail might be stirring things up and we might end up with protests on the streets” — a rather telling admission from an elected official that a tabloid and secret evidence from an anonymous source can shut down open discussion, indeed discussion based on Britain’s own national archives — and that she did not seem to find this alarming.
A few days before I was to speak at the Friends Meeting House in Cambridge, the euphemistically-named Board of Deputies of British Jews informed the Quakers that my words are tantamount to “hatred against Jews.” The Board of Deputies forwarded a list of nine examples of my ‘anti-Semitism,’ which was then forwarded to me.
When I was alerted to the problem, I expected to be defending myself against misquotes, fabrications, or quotes so out of context as to be meaningless. But that was not the case; the list’s allegedly damning quotes were all accurate. All concerned a particular history of the persecution and exploitation of Jews, a history that has been largely covered up. So it was particularly odd that the Board of Deputies, proclaiming to represent British Jews, warned that to allow me to talk would be “very offensive to the Jewish community;” but the Quakers, who were put in a difficult position on short notice, and who operate by wide consensus, honored the Board’s request.
“This meeting would only have fuelled hatred of Jews,” the Jewish Chronicle reported about the Board of Deputies’ success in burying this history of anti-Jewish persecution. “I know that several students were very upset about it.” The JC’s headline identified me as a ‘hate author’ — without mitigating quotemarks.
The CAA also expressed relief. Its Chairman told the JC that “Tom Suarez … made comments which breached the International Definition of Antisemitism,” referring to the IHRA definition explained above. He was correct: I had most egregiously breached it. We have been drawn into a surreal world in which to expose violence against Jews is anti-Semitic if the perpetrators of that violence are Zionists, and it is laudable to exploit the memories of the Nazis’ victims in order to empower new ethnic-racial crimes — as the IHRA document is engineered to do. How can one describe the IHRA definition as anything other than grotesquely anti-Semitic?
The reign of Donald Trump as the leader of Israel’s Great Benefactor has brought a degree of unpredictability to a relationship that normally seems impervious to transient leadership. In one respect, Trump is a relief over the tortured acquiescence of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who stood in the way of nothing, praised Israel in glorious terms no matter what it did, and ultimately raised its already staggering spending money — yet gave the illusion of being adversarial simply because he clearly doesn’t love Israel. Trump has back-pedaled on his promise to move his Embassy to Jerusalem (as all presidents have to do), but nonetheless seemed to be just what Tel Aviv wanted — an AWOL president who will let Israel ‘get it over with’— finish 1948’s unfinished business without having to pace it for propriety.
But that has Israeli leaders facing their ultimate, unsolvable conundrum: Zionism’s inevitable self-destruction. Israeli leaders know that they have already solved the ‘conflict.’ They have annexed the entire region. It is one state. But it can only admit to having annexed East Jerusalem. It cannot admit to having annexed the West Bank and (in starkly different terms) Gaza, because it would then need to explain why non-Jews cannot vote, are under military rule, and can be murdered with impunity. East Jerusalem is small enough to cover that up.
Israel is safe as long as its adversaries are distracted complaining about The Occupation. But there is no occupation. Israel has already imposed the one-state solution, and carved that single state into various shades of apartheid. There are differences between Israel-Palestine and old South Africa, but the solution, with all its imperfections, will be parallel. No fig leaf is big enough to hide it: the ‘conflict’ is apartheid, it is racism, it is inequality. Equality, democracy, secularism, and the unqualified right of return, are its remedy. □
• state-of-terror.net contains information about the book around which much of this article is based.
* paldocs.net illustrates a selection of source documents cited in that book and relevant to this article.
1. Recent pro-Zionist spin argues that the wording specifically excluded Palestinian ‘political’ rights.
2. Less deadly than the Patria, but even more cynical, was the Jewish Agency’s bombing of the Empire Lifeguard seven years later. That British vessel was bringing Jewish DPs to Palestine for permanent settlement, precisely what the Zionists wanted. But simply as a sneer to the British, the Agency risked all aboard to the accuracy of a detonator timer, the fickleness of the sea, and unpredictable maritime delays. As it happened, the bomb exploded as the passengers were disembarking (casualty figures are uncertain).
3. The Wikipedia entry on the Exodus, quoting Dare, Cor- don and Search [Battery Press, 1984] tells a completely different story regarding the southern France option, that Hagana agents encouraged the DPs to disembark there. There is too much contradictory evidence for this to be credible beyond a public show.
4. For views on the individual, Zionism, and Judaism, see: *Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, In the absence of Self determination, 2013: https://ofrayeshualyth.info/in-the-absence- of-self determination/ *O. Yeshua-Lyth, Discrimination is legal, there are no Israelis: Reading the Supreme Court’s decisions on Israeli nationality, in MW, June 3, 2014: http://mondoweiss. . net/2014/06/discrimination-decisions-nationality/ *Jonathan Ofir, Zionism is not really secular, MW, April 6, 2016: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/ zionism-is-not-really-secular/
5. e.g., http://www.timesofisreal.com/jewish-suspects-arrested-over-swastika-graffiti-on-synagogues/ and https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/24/israel-kadar-jewish-centra-bomb-threats
8. Why Israel isn’t shocked by anti-Semites in White House, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4882021,00.html
9. Elisha Ben Kimon, Can ‘Jewishness’ be proven with a simple saliva test? 28 May, 2017. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4968443,00.html accessed 12 June, 2017
10. E.g., Israel’s forced death march of so-called ‘infiltra- tors’ into the Wadi Araba desert in June 1950 elicited comparisons of the Israeli state with the Nazis. Alec Kirkbride, British ambassador to Amman, described the camp at Katra where Israel collected them as “a concentration camp…run on Nazi lines;” and the journal- ist Philip Toynbee noted that the torture there in- cluded fingernails being torn out, a method used by the Nazis. Toynbee interviewed some of the survivors, and the Observer published his account in which he compared the Israeli regime to Nazi Germany. (See State of Terror, 291-294; the author’s collation of survi- vors’ testimony is available at paldocs.net)
11. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4457354/ Jeremy-Corbyn-charity-hosts-anti-Semitic- speaker.html