Cleveland Indy Media, OH
Jan 5 2009

by ANTI-ZIONIST PEACE MOVEMENT Sunday, Jan. 04, 2009 at 4:02 PM

WRITTEN BY JASON KUNIN first published on Znet

"Radical simply means `grasping things at the root.'" - Angela Davis

It's common practice among those of us outside Israel who have been
frustrated by the hostility and intimidation we encounter whenever we
voice criticism of Israel to point to the fact that there is greater
freedom to criticize Israel in Israel. "Look at the critical articles
published in Ha'aretz," we will say. "Look at the Israeli peace
movement. Look at Peace Now and Gush Shalom." Tactically, this is a
useful point to make in an argument. I know because I've used it

The truth is, unfortunately, that this much vaunted criticism within
Israel - by the liberal media, by the so-called Israeli Left - is
overwhelmingly inclined to blame the oppression of Palestinians merely
on specific leaders or policies. Uri Avnery, for example, the founder
of Gush Shalom and one of the most far-left public figures in Israel,
writes a regular syndicated column in which he blasts the brutality of
this or that general, the cruelty of this or that politician, the
unfairness of this or that law. He's often quite incisive and
witty. Avnery, like most of the Israeli left, is a Zionist - a
critical one, to be sure, but a Zionist nonetheless who believes that
a good movement has been corrupted by bad leaders and who periodically
scans the horizon for the leader who can finally set Israel on its
righteous path. [1]

Israeli violence and oppression, however, is rooted not simply in a
few laws or politicians, but in the ideological foundations of the
state itself. The problem, in short, is Zionism. Any opposition to
Israel rooted in Zionism can only seek to mitigate Israeli apartheid
and racism, not end it, because apartheid and racism are what Zionism
- and by extension, the Israeli state - are all about. Zionism is
rooted in the fundamental premise that the state be a Jewish state and
that it occupy the physical space of an ancient Arab Christian and
Muslim culture. Because it is impossible to achieve these two goals
simultaneously without violence and racist oppression, you cannot have
a genuine peace movement that is Zionist.

In mainstream Jewish circles, hardly anyone self-identifies as a
"Zionist" anymore, though almost everyone is. Today, it's probably
more common to hear words like "Zionist" and "Zionism" used by
Palestinian solidarity activists than it is by "supporters of Israel,"
a newer preferred term for a Zionist. "Supporting Israel," however
that gets understood, is simply for many a natural function of being
Jewish, whereas the term Zionism, even if it amounts to the same
thing, makes supporting Israel sound rather ideological. Which of
course it is.

One of the functions of ideology, as Marxists have long argued, is to
embed beliefs that support a particular set of power relations into
"common sense" so that they become invisible. Antonio Gramsci called
this "hegemony." When a theory or system of beliefs passes into a
reflexive pattern of thought, it has transformed into ideology, and
this is exactly what has happened to Zionism. To be called a Zionist
is somewhat like being called "white man" if you happen to be a white
man: you may acknowledge the accuracy of the description but resist
the "politicization" of a position you regard as neutral.

Support for Israel, of course, is not neutral, and in order to begin
to undo the damage that such support has caused over the past century,
the first order of business is not just to name it, but to expose its
ideological nature. Like whiteness, it is wrapped up in positions of
power and privilege that white Jews, like me, don't often acknowledge
we have. Yet for those of us who truly wish to see an end to the
destruction of Palestine and its people, it is not enough to protest
merely what Israel does, because what Israel does is an extension of
what Israel is - namely, a Zionist state.

Zionist ideology informed Israel's creation, guided the foundation of
its bureaucratic institutions, set the terms for its relations with
its neighbours, and established a sophisticated global network of
organizations, campus clubs, and schools to sustain and perpetuate
Zionist ideas in Jewish communities and beyond. It continues to guide
the state violence that has created one of the world's largest and
longest human rights catastrophes. True, many people on the Zionist
left try to identify a moment in Israel's past when this "Jewish
liberation movement" turned into something terrible. For some it was
the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. For others, such as those in the Peace
Now movement, it was the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza. For still others, those with a more radical analysis, the
problems go back to 1948, or even, as Hannah Arendt argued, to the
1942 Zionist Congress that shut down for good all discussion of a
bi-national Jewish-Arab state. Indeed, there are still a few purists
with a knowledge of Zionist history who idealize the "cultural" and
bi-national Zionism of Hebrew University founder Judah Magnes and the
philosopher Martin Buber. Yet the fact is, despite liberal fantasies
that try to locate some primal moment in Zionist history when the
movement was still pure and good, Zionism is and always has been a
fundamentally racist movement shaped by the most violent and
oppressive ideological forces of the nineteenth century. It is a
testament to the racism of even the most enlightened Zionists - the
ones who supposedly promoted Jewish-Arab cooperation - that Judah
Magnes referred to Arabs as "half savage" [2], and Martin Buber lived
after 1948 in the confiscated house of Edward Said's family, despite
their letters imploring its return.

To understand the basis of Zionism, it is important to start not in
the 1890s with Theodore Herzl and the Dreyfus trial - the point of
origin from which Zionist history usually begins - but about a century
earlier, to the flourishing of Romanticism in Germany and Europe in
general. Rejecting the supremacy of reason that had governed European
thought during the neo-classical age, the Romantics emphasized the
centrality of emotion, irrationality, and spirit. (Many were
borderline mystics, fascinated by the supernatural and Eastern
religions.) Against the backdrop of an emerging Industrial Revolution,
which precipitated the emptying of Europe's countrysides and the
swelling of its cities, poets, philosophers, and intellectuals began
to romanticize the vanishing peasantry and contemplate the "divinity"
of nature. Those who tilled the soil and worked the land were viewed
as closer to nature, and therefore closer to divinity and spirit. Blut
und Boden, or "Blood and Soil," was a term that emerged in Germany by
the late nineteenth century with the emergence of Romantic
Nationalism, which held that nation states derive their legitimacy as
a natural consequence of the organic unity of the people and the
land. Blut und Boden eventually became a slogan of the Nazi party,
popularized in the 1930s by race theorist Richard Walther
Darré. [3]

Meanwhile, as the nineteenth century progressed, European imperialism
and the colonization of "the darker nations" flourished. African
slavery was still widespread, and even where it was outlawed retained
enormous legitimacy among the ruling classes. Successive generations
of physical and sexual exploitation of African slaves, mind you, had
introduced the "problem" of miscegenation - a problem because light or
white-skinned slaves threatened to unravel the fiction of race. Jews,
newly emancipated from their medieval ghettos and "passing" for
gentiles, posed a similar challenge to the racialized social
order. Science, however, rose to the occasion, and soon the best
scientific minds of the day produced a highly elaborate and eminently
respectable science of race that persisted until the early twentieth
century. This racial science had some interesting things to say about
Jews, which in turn were absorbed into Zionism.

Racial science was predicated on comparative biology and depended upon
observable difference, which was not always evident among the pale
Ashkenazi Jews of Europe. Jewish physiognomy was scrutinized for signs
of "blackness" and darkened in representation. In art and literature
of the nineteenth century, the Jew's "exotic" features were
exaggerated or made more pronounced. The hair was black (or red, to
symbolize the devil), the eyes dark, the complexion swarthy. The
physiognomist Johann Caspar Lavatar wrote of the Jews' "short, black,
curly hair, their brown skin colour" [4]. In The Races of Men (1850),
Robert Knox described Jewish physignomy as having "an African look"
[5]. During the Middle Ages, Christian art had always emphasized the
metaphorical blackness of the Jew - the black synagogue would be
juxtaposed against the white church, for example - but racial science
tried to make this metaphorical blackness into a literal blackness
that was inscribed in the biology of the Jew. In both Jews and
Africans, blackness was further associated with diseases, such a
congenital syphilis, which would also be the marker of moral

The problem was that many European Jews simply didn't look black. Many
had fair hair, light eyes, and Slavic or Nordic features. Here's where
another nineteenth century science, sexology, came in to shore up
racial science. Sexology, a now antiquated discipline that was
established by people like Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Havelock
Ellis, established a "scientific" basis for normative sexuality in men
- aggressive, strong, heterosexual - and a "degenerate" sexuality -
passive, weak, homosexual - that was soon widely associated with the
Jew (who was usually configured as male). Jews were seen as prone to
"neurasthenia," a condition "discovered" by the physician George
M. Beard in which the finite "nerve force" of the body is depleted
resulting in weakness, lethargy, fatigue, paleness, and stunted sexual
development. Neurathenia, which mirrored Krafft-Ebing's masturbatory
illness, was believed by Beard to be brought on by
"over-civilization." It was a by-product of the increased pace and
technology of industrialized society, and was confined exclusively to
"highly evolved" races. It was frequently associated with "superior
intellect." Sandar Gilman, who has made a career writing about racial
science, notes that in medical literature of this period there was a
virtual "interchangeability of the image of the neurasthenic and the
Jew" [6].

Jewish accomplishment was thus made the marker of sexual dysfunction
and racial degeneracy. The Jew was unathletic, a bookworm, a sissy, a
degenerate (and probably a homosexual). A creature of the city, the
Jew had no connection to the soil - from which sprang life and energy
and health - and thus had no connection to or place in the gentile
national body. The Jew was deracinated and therefore diseased and
degenerate. In was in these terms that European anti-Semitism, which
would soon turn so deadly, was framed.

Zionism was nurtured in this intellectual climate, and it accepted
virtually all of these premises. Zionism concurred with the
anti-Semites and scientific racism (as it later became known) that
yes, the Jew was deracinated and weak and degenerate and
"over-civilized." To reverse this degeneracy, Jews needed to connect
with the soil from which they sprang, the Biblical heartland and
birthplace of the Jewish people. (Never mind that, as Paul Kriwaczek
notes in his recent book Yiddish Civilization: The Rise and Fall of a
Forgotten Nation, many of the Jewish people of Europe were descended
from gentile European converts [7].) "Blood and Soil" is as central a
concept in Zionism as it was in Nazi fascism. The confluence of racial
science, nineteenth-century sexology, and Zionism was embodied in the
physician Max Nordau, an early and prominent leader in the Zionist
movement who openly hoped that Zionism would create of a new race of
"muscle Jews" that would revive the degenerate Jewish race. Martin
Englander, another prominent early Zionist, wrote in The Evident Most
Frequent Appearances of Illness in the Jewish Race (1902) that Jews'
disposition to neurasthenia was cultural, the result of "over-exertion
of the brain" [8] caused by two thousand years of diasporic struggle.

So at root, Zionism is not just racist, but anti-Semitic as well, and
it was rightly perceived as offensive by the vast majority of European
Jews when it first emerged. Religious Jews, of course, rejected
Zionism on Talmudic grounds - there could be no Jewish state until the
Messiah - but Zionism was also heartily rejected by secular Jews, who
were still largely committed to the Enlightment project and were put
off by Zionism's assertion that they were eternal strangers in their
nations. Jews they may have been, but they were also Europeans who had
contributed to their societies, valued European culture, and had
little interest in relocating to a strange and "primitive" new land
where life would be hard. Opinion, of course, would change with the
rise of Nazism. By the end of the Second World War, the surviving Jews
of Europe had almost universally adopted the Zionist narrative.

In Philip Roth's short story "The Conversion of the Jews," the young
protagonist, Ozzie Freedman, complains about his mother's response to
a plane crash. Scouring through the published list of victims, she
finds eight Jewish names, and "because of the eight she said the plane
crash was a `tragedy'" [9]. Roth here pokes fun at a tendency among
Jews to focus only on Jewish suffering, though he also captures in a
nutshell Zionism's approach to Jewish history.

Naturally, Jewish history should focus on Jewish suffering, as well as
Jewish triumph and other matters concerning Jews. That is, after all,
the point of Jewish history, and there are valid reasons for why we
need it. In recent years, post-modern theories have challenged "grand
narratives" of history as partial and selective and traditionally
serving the interests of power, all of which is true. For several
decades, historians have attempted to correct the distortions of
"official" historical narratives by writing specialized histories of
marginalized peoples, such as women, workers, people of colour, and
LGBT people. The purpose of such histories is to reinsert a people or
social class back into a historical narrative that has excluded them
and to see their contributions to a history that, through the very
inclusion of their narratives, is changed and broadened. Jewish
history has done and should do the same thing.

The Zionist narrative, however, has opposite aims. Because it is
underwritten by a belief that Jews are eternal outsiders everywhere
but in the Biblical homeland, a Zionist framing of history minimizes
Jews' connection to their societies, thus removing them from
history. Jewish suffering during the Holocaust - which, it should be
emphasized, was immense and not to be minimized - takes on a different
meaning when it is divorced from its the larger context. There is no
disputing the murder of millions of European Jews during the Second
World War, just as there is no disputing the fact that they were
killed simply because they were Jews, even if they did not
self-identify as Jews. These are incontrovertible facts. But how
different the facts take on meaning when you say, "the Nazis killed
three million Polish Jews" than when you say, "six million Poles -
about 22% of the population - were killed by the Nazis, half of whom
were Jews." To frame facts in this way, however, is to risk being
accused of "minimizing" the Holocaust, though one could easily argue
the opposite, that it enlarges the tragedy. The Zionist narrative of
the Holocaust, unfortunately, discourages Jewish acknowledgement or
identification with the suffering of others (unless, as in the case of
the Kurds or Darfur, it happens to coincide with U.S. and Israeli
interests). Many Jews, for example, are unaware that the Israeli
government refuses to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Back in the
eighties, a cross erected near Auschwitz on the site of a Carmelite
convent to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of Christians who
died there was relentlessly opposed by Jewish groups, who insisted the
camp remain a symbol of Jewish suffering exclusively, for if Auschwitz
were anything but an exclusively tragedy, it would undermine the
argument for an exclusively Jewish state. (Auschwitz, we should
remember, is the first stop on the "March of the Living," a Zionist
program that follows the visit with a trip to Israel.) Even no less a
person than Elie Weisel, the famed Holocaust survivor and Nobel
laureate, has opposed the inclusion of a Romani memorial in the
U.S. Holocaust museum, though the Nazi campaign against them - the
Porajmos, as they call it - was equally devastating proportionally.
Indeed, unlike the Jews of Europe today, the Roma still face pre-Nazi
levels of oppression. In Italy they have even been reghettoized.

Zionists argue that the Holocaust proved correct Theodore Herzl's
thesis that no matter how well they assimilated into European society,
Jews would always be regarded with contempt and were always in danger
of being stripped of their recently won rights and killed. Yet a basic
fact that hardly seems to need mentioning yet which rarely does get
mentioned is that the Holocaust spread only to those countries under
Nazi occupation. The Holocaust did not happen in England, for
example. And while it is true that anti-Semitism was rampant
throughout Europe and that the Nazis found no shortage of eager
collaborators among the nations they occupied, Jews only lost their
rights and lives under the rule of one nation, Nazi Germany. The
Holocaust, in short, was a Nazi phenomenon, not a universally European
one. Though Daniel Goldhagen has tried his best to prove that almost
all Europeans were "willing executioners" to Hitler, few professional
historians regard either his thesis or his argument with much
credibility. As Hannah Arendt pointed out in both Eichmann in
Jerusalem and in her magisterial study of anti-Semitism in The Origins
of Totalitarianism, the Holocaust was an inconsistent affair that
varied from country to country, "taking almost as many shapes and
appearances as there existed countries in Europe" [10]. In Bulgaria,
for example, the population overwhelmingly defied Nazi-imposed
anti-Semitic laws so that by the time the Red Army liberated the
country in 1944, "not a single Bulgaria Jew had been deported or died
an unnatural death" [11]. In Denmark, 8,000 Danish Jews were
transported by sea to safety in Sweden in what is one of the most
remarkable rescue operations initiated by ordinary people. Even the
vicious Vichy regime in France, which had few qualms about turning
over to the Nazis Jewish refugees from other countries, made efforts
to give comparative protection to its own French Jews. So to say that
the Holocaust proves that a violent anti-Semitism lies like a sleeping
dog beneath the surface of all gentile nations is an
oversimplification and distortion of history. Zionism, however, only
retains its credibility if all gentiles are closet anti-Semites.

"If it is true that mankind has insisted on murdering Jews for more
than two thousand years," Hannah Arendt argued, "then Jew-killing is a
normal, and even human occupation and Jew-hatred is justified beyond
the need of argument" [12]. Arendt warned that this "thesis of eternal
antisemitism" was dangerous and would "absolve Jew-haters" of their
crimes [13]. And yet this belief in eternal anti-Semitism is what
informs the political program of Zionism and justifies the need for a
Jewish state to protect Jews from the next round of anti-Semitic
violence that will surely come. As Arendt noted about Israeli
attutides toward the Holocaust during the Eichmann trial, "In the eyes
of Jews¦the catastrophe that had befallen them under Hitler¦appeared
not as the most recent of crimes, the unprecedented crime of genocide,
but, on the contrary, as the oldest crime they knew and remembered"
[14]. Certainly, this is how history appears if, like the mother in
Philip Roth's "Conversion of the Jews," your focus is only on the
tragedies that befall the Jews. Jewish persecutions, however, have
always taken place in the context of other persecutions. The Jewish
expulsion from Spain in 1492, to take one example, was a catastrophe,
though so was the Muslim expulsion that followed in 1497. The violent
transfer and expulsion of populations, to say nothing of persecutions,
were, alas, among the terrible but not uncommon features of the rule
of kings during the period in which the Jews of Europe experienced
their worst treatment. Mahmood Mamdani offers an even broader
perspective on the Holocaust when he notes that the Nazi intent to
destroy the Jewish people as a whole was "unique - but only in Europe"
[15] and that, in fact, "the first genocide of the twentieth century
was the German annihilation of the Herero people in South West Africa
in 1904" [16]. Indeed, as Sven Lindquist points out in The History of
Bombing, one of the things that made Hitler so monstrous was that he
fought a "civilized war" as if it were a "colonial war," and European
powers had traditionally made distinctions between the
two. ("Civilized wars" follow the laws of war. "Colonial wars" do not
and often see the extermination of "lower races" as a biological
necessity.) This has implications for how we understand the
annihilation of European Jewry as well. Summarizing Lindquist, Mamdani

The Nazi plan¦was to weed out some 10 million Russians, with the
remainder kept alive as a slave labor force under German
occupation. When the mass murder of

European Jews began, the great Jewish populations were not in Germany
but in Poland and Russia, where they made up 10 percent of the total
population and up to 40 percent of the urban population `in just those
areas Hitler was after.' [17]

No people on earth who have survived as a people as long as the Jews
have enjoyed an absolute and uninterrupted protection from
persecution. Yet this is precisely what Zionism demands as the right
of all Jews. Moreover, it argues that this eternal safety can only be
safeguarded by an exclusively Jewish state and a regional monopoly on
nuclear weapons - ironically, conditions that guarantee a state of
perpetual war. One hears often how Israelis long to be considered just
a "normal" state. Yet the model of "normality" that Zionism looks to
is the nineteenth century imperial state, with all of its fascist
trappings, such as the belief in "Blood and Soil," the promotion of a
muscular national character, and the mythology of an exclusionary
national identify based on a common racial/ethnic background. As the
rise of Nazism resulted in the Jews of Europe being stripped of the
privileges of "whiteness," which anti-Semitism defined in contrast to
the Jew, emigration to Palestine under the Zionist project allowed
Jews to regain their whiteness, which in this new context was defined
against the indigenous Arab - but only if a colonial relationship were
maintained. A whiteness that is defined through its dominant position
vis-s-vis darker-skinned people is also part of the "normality" that
Israel craves because it is based on the "normality" of whiteness in
imperial Europe.

Zionists did not immigrate to Israel to be neighbours. They had no
interest or intention of learning the local language or contributing
to the local culture, as one normally would when moving to another
country. Zionism, rather, was predicated on taking over the land and
replacing the local culture, not fitting into it. And yet Zionist
history refuses to interpret Arab resistance to Jewish immigration
during the Holocaust as resistance to this colonial project, not
hostility to Jews per se. Nonetheless, pointing to Arab complicity in
the Holocaust serves the myth of eternal anti-Semitism and justifies
not only the need for a heavily militarized Jewish state but also the
on-going brutal treatment of the indigenous people of Palestine.

As for the actions of the Zionist leadership during the actual
Holocaust, much has been written about their efforts to prevent other
countries from taking in Jewish refugees of Europe, lest the
availability of potential immigrants to Palestine be depleted. The
World Zionist Organization, for example, boycotted a thirty-one nation
conference held in France in 1938 that was convened to discuss the
problem of Jewish refugees. As Ben- Gurion said, "If I knew that it
was possible to save all the children of Germany by Transporting them
to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I
would chose the second." More extreme Zionist factions, such as Irgun,
actually tried to form an alliance the Nazi government. The young
Zionist who wrote the letter making the proposal, the man who noted
the "common interests" that existed between the Zionists in Palestine
and the Nazis government, was the future Prime Minister of Israel
Yizhak Shamir. [18]

Liberal Zionists - and I would say that most Jews today are probably
liberal Zionists - believe that there exists a solution to the
conflicting national projects of Jews and Palestinians: a two-state
solution. Like the oft-cited "critics" one finds in Israel, liberal
Zionists may openly dislike one or another Israeli leader - maybe
Sharon, maybe Netanyahu - support the creation of a Palestinian state,
and occasionally even express sympathy for the plight of the
Palestinians. If you ask them why such a two-state solution has not
yet come into being, they may blame Palestinian leaders for "never
missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity," as Abba Eban once
obnoxiously remarked, or they may, if they're really liberal, blame
the Jewish settlers for holding the Israeli government
hostage. Regardless of why liberal Zionists believe a two-state
solution has not yet come into being, they will all share a belief
that Israel's leaders have consistently sought peace.

Where does such blind faith come from? Partly from the fact that it's
true. Israel's leaders, in fact, have consistently sought peace - on
their terms! Since 1948, they have sought peace with their
neighbouring Arab states - provided they accepted Israel's regional
supremacy and were willing to drop completely the subject of the
Palestinians (which would include any compensation or financial
assistance to countries that have taken in Palestinian refugees). They
have also sought peace with the Palestinians - but provided they
relinquish any claims to their land, forget their history, and,
preferably, disappear off the face of the earth. True, since the first
Intifada, Israel has taken a more moderate stand and has genuinely
sought peace through the creation of a Palestinian state - provided
that such as state be completely demilitarized, split into
reservations, confined to a minimal amount of the most worthless land,
governed by a puppet police state that will do its bidding, and
produces for the rest of its existence not a single individual who
will engage in any act of resistance. Any Palestinian leader unwilling
or unable to meet these expectations has been declared by Israeli
leaders as an unsuitable "partner for peace," and they have likely
believed it in all sincerity. This is because, if you buy into the
Zionist project and its thesis of eternal anti-Semitism - which
entails that another Holocaust could erupt at any moment - it is
impossible to conceive of any compromise that does not simultaneously
preserve a strong Jewish state and ensure the weakness of everyone
else, lest they become the next Nazi Germany. It is impossible as well
to conceive of any solution that does not allow Israel to retain its
status as a "white" nation - remember, this is the model of
"normality" that Israel seeks - and therefore any settlement that
would see Israel become part of the Middle East is precluded.
(Israel's soccer team, not surprisingly, plays in the European league.)

Liberal Zionists who insist that a two-state solution along the 1967
borders is a reasonable compromise are really only in disagreement
with hard-line Zionists over how much stolen Palestinian land should
be kept for Jews' exclusive use. And since few liberal Zionists,
because they are Zionists, are willing to concede the right of return
for Palestinian refugees, and there can be no true justice - and
therefore no guaranteed peace - without the right of return, two-state
Zionism will always be a dead end. Moreover, two-state Zionism is
ideologically unprepared to accept the reality that the settlements
and settler roads have made a genuine two-state solution possible,
leaving only the options of a one-state solution or eternal
apartheid. If all you buy into of Zionism is the thesis of eternal
anti-Semitism, you will always opt for the latter before the former,
for you will be unable to compromise the so-called "security"
guaranteed by a Jewish state.

For those who have grown up with Zionism programmed into them from
birth, there are simply certain places that the mind cannot go. For
this reason, Zionism is the greatest obstacle to peace. Challenging
it, unfortunately, is no easy feat since it has become an integral
part of all Jewish community life everywhere. The Jewish school, the
Jewish camp, the Jewish campus clubs, the Jewish day care, the local
Jewish community center, even the shul - in all of these places one
absorbs Zionist ideology through osmosis. Unless you belong to one of
the anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox sects such as Neturei Karta, to reject
Zionism is to tear yourself apart from the connection to friends,
family, and Jewish life. Increasingly, there are small anti-Zionist
Jewish spaces opening up, and though they are marginal and not always
accessible, their importance should be underestimated. Only if there
exists the ability to participate as an anti-Zionist and a Jew in some
sort of Jewish life will the risk associated with breaking from
Zionism diminish. And only by rejecting Zionism can we who are Jewish
break free from the trap we have created for ourselves, the trap of a
Jewish state.

Jason Kunin is a Toronto teacher. He can be reached at
[email protected]

[1] See, for example, Avnery's cautiously optimistic column on the
election of Amir Peretz as Labour
leader. ( 362). From
the vantage point of Perez's brief but brutal reign as defense
minister during the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, this is a good example
too of how misplaced Avnery's hopefulness was and always is.

[2] Letter to Felix Warburg, Sept. 7, 1929. Reprinted in Wrestling
With Zion: Progressive Jewish Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian
Conflict. Ed. Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon. (New York: Grove Press,

[3] The definitive scholarship on the continuity between German
Romanticism and German fascism has been done by George L. Mosse. See
in particular his landmark study The Crisis of German Ideology:
Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich. New York: Grosset & Dunlap,

[4] Quoted in Sander L. Gilman, The Visibility of Jews in the
Diaspora: Body Imagery and Its Cultural Context. (Syracuse: Syracuse
University, 1992): 7.

[5] Ibid., 7.

[6] Sander L. Gilman, Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of
Sexuality, Race, and Madness. (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985): 156.

[7] Paul Kriwaczek notes many historical instances of gentile
conversion to Judaism in European history. He writes, "It should come
as little surprise that the missionary efforts to bring lost Jews back
to the Torah should spill over into the Christian and pagan world, and
that Judaism should attract proselytes among the Slavs. Jewish-owned
slaves, while they were still legally allowed, had good reason to
convert, for they might thereby gain their freedom. But there were
also many who found that the spiritual wealth of the Jews, as well as
their worldly success, offered greater rewards than their own
Christian lifestyle." Yiddish Civilization: The Rise and Fall of a
Forgotten Nation. (London: Phoenix, 2005): 120-121.

[8] Quoted in Difference and Pathology, 156-57.

[9] Philip Roth. "The Conversion of the Jews." Goodbye,
Columbus. Toronto: Bantam, 1986): 102.

[10] Hannah Arendt. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of
Evil. (New York: Penguin, 1992): 154.

[11] Ibid., 188.

[12] Hannah Arendt. The Origins of Totalitarianism. ( A Harvest Book:
San Diego, 1976): 7.

[13] Ibid., 8.

[14] Eichmann in Jerusalem, 267.

[15] Mahmood Mamdani. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, The Cold War,
and the Roots of Terror. New York: Doubleday, 2005): 7.

[16] Ibid., 8.

[17] Quoted in Mamdani, 7.

[18] For a more complete account of Zionist collaboration with the
Nazis, see Lenni Brenner, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the
Nazis. (New Jersey: Barricade Books, 2002).

Implications for a two-state solution
Zionism's Use of the Holocaust
The Origins of Zionism
Zionism as Ideology
The problem is not Israel, it's Zionism 2.php