By Alan Hart
In a very interesting piece on his web site (Mondoweiss) Philip Weiss has speculated that the day is coming when American Jews will divorce Israel.
If it really happens the president of the day will be free to use the leverage America has to cause or try to cause Israel to end its defiance of international law and denial of justice for Palestinians. And if an American president gave that lead European governments would follow him or her.
According to Weiss an important “sociological trend” is underway.
“American Jews, even mainstream ones indoctrinated to love Israel, are breaking more and more publicly with the Jewish state. The Netanyahu government is proving to be embarrassing to American Jews; they do not want to be associated with rightwing apartheid policies… The divorce that we have long predicted on this site is now on the horizon; and in years to come this separation will yield an even bigger reward: mainstream American Jews will declare themselves anti-Zionist.”
In support of his speculation Weiss quoted Gary Rosenblat. He’s a hard-core supporter of Israel and the editor and publisher of The Jewish Week. In an article for it and as summed up by Weiss he revealed that Jewish leaders are saying that it’s getting impossible to sell Israel to young Jews.
“American Jewish leaders confide that generating support for the Jewish state is becoming increasingly difficult these days – even within the Jewish community, and especially among younger people.
“The hard fact is that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans, including many Jews, who want to see greater efforts to resolve the Palestinian conflict and who put the onus for the impasse on Jerusalem. It is not only President Obama who feels that way… Whether or not it is fair, the strong perception today is that the Israeli government is moving further right, and intransigent, at a time when the rest of the world is fed up with the Israel-Palestinian impasse.”
A related point made in Weiss’s article was that when the present generation of major Jewish funders passes raising substantial dollars for Israel will be much harder.
Weiss concluded with this prediction.
“This crisis will not end until American Jews declare Zionism is racism. And one day they will.”
Serious consideration of whether Weiss is guilty of wishful thinking and being naively optimistic or could be proved right by events to come requires the asking and answering of this question.
Why, really, have the overwhelming majority of the Jews of the world, American Jews especially, supported Israel (the Zionist not Jewish state) right or wrong and/or remained silent even when they were deeply troubled by its policies and actions?
It’s worth recalling for starters that prior to the Nazi holocaust, and as I document in detail in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, most Jews of the world did not support Zionism and many were opposed to it. Those who voiced their opposition believed the Zionist enterprise was morally wrong. They also believed it would lead to unending conflict. But most of all they feared that if Zionism was allowed by the major powers to have its way it would one day provoke anti-Semitism.
Though it was Britain that gave Zionism a spurious degree of legitimacy with the Balfour Declaration in 1917, if there had been no Nazi holocaust it is most likely that there would have been no Israel because without Adolf Hitler as its best recruiting sergeant Zionism would probably have failed to command enough financial and political support to impose its will on the Palestinians.
Also to be recalled is that from the creation of Israel mainly by Zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing in 1948 until the Six days War of 1967 most Jews of the world were not much interested in Israel. At an early point in its life Prime Minister Ben-Gurion was very concerned that not enough Jews were coming in to start a new life there and give Israel the manpower needed for territorial expansion. One consequence of Ben-Gurion’s concern was that Mossad agents posed as Arab terrorists and bombed Jews out of Iraq and into Israel.
It was the 1967 war that dramatically changed how most Jews of the world thought about Israel and that was because they believed without question the big, fat lie Zionism told in the countdown to the war.
The lie was that the Arabs were intending to attack and that Israel was in real danger of being annihilated.
The truth was that despite some stupid Arab rhetoric to the contrary which played into Zionism’s hands, the Arabs were NOT intending to attack. It was a war of Israeli aggression not self-defense.
For those readers who still believe that Israel’s Jews were in danger of being driven into the sea I recommend Chapter 1 of Volume Three of my book which is titled America Takes Sides, War With Nasser Act II and the Creation of Greater Israel.
In this chapter I quote a number of Israeli leaders who years after the events in most cases said on the record that they knew that Arabs were not intending to start a war. Here are just five examples.
In an interview with Le Monde on 28 February 1968, Yitzhak Rabin, who was Chief of Staff in the 1967 war, said:
“I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”
On 14 April 1971, a report in the Israeli newspaper Al-Hamishmar contained the following statement by Mordecai Bentov, a member of Israel’s wartime national government.
“The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”
On 4 April 1972, General Bar-Lev, Rabin’s predecessor as Chief of Staff, was quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv as follows.
“We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the Six Days War and we never thought of such a possibility.”
In the same newspaper on the same day, General Ezer Weizman, who was Chief of Operations during the Six Days War, was quoted as saying:
“There was never any danger of annihilation. This hypothesis has never been considered in any serious meeting.”
In an unguarded public moment in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin said this:
“The Egyptian army concentrations did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We decided to attack him.”
But the vast majority of the Jews of the world (probably 99 percent of them) believed Zionism’s pre-war propaganda. They were absolutely convinced that the Arabs were about to attack and that Israel’s existence was in real danger. In the absence of the truth, which was not on the mainstream media’s agenda, they were brainwashed by Zionist propaganda.
One result of Israel’s stunning military victory was that most Jews of the world were not only greatly relieved, they were proud like never before to be Jewish and campaigners for Israel. Some took Israel’s victory as indication of Divine Intervention, proof that the Jews were indeed the Chosen People and evidence that God would be with Israel whatever it did.
And that was the beginning of the real love affair between most Jews everywhere and Israel.
Now to my answer to the question of why, really, the overwhelming majority of the Jews of the world, American Jews especially, have supported Israel right or wrong and/or remained silent even when they were deeply troubled by its policies and actions.
For starters it has to be said that criticism of Israel can and does tear Jewish families apart. And that alone seems to be reason enough for some (many?) American and European Jews to remain silent.
But there’s much more to it.
The root cause of American and European Jewish support for Israel right or wrong and/or silence on the matter of its defiance of international law and denial of justice for the Palestinians is the unspeakable fear that Holocaust II may at some point be inevitable.
This fear is the product of persecution on and off down the centuries which climaxed with the Nazi holocaust and Zionism’s propaganda to the effect that the world has always hated Jews and always will. Zionism’s message to the Jews of the world is in effect, “You will need Israel one day so don’t question whatever it does to keep itself secure.”.
It is therefore not surprising that very many Jews of the world believe that in the event of another great turning against them Israel will be their refuge of last resort, so, they tell themselves, say nothing and do nothing that could assist Israel’s enemies and put this insurance policy at risk.
Despite all of that I think it’s not impossible that Weiss could be right and that time and events will see American (and European) Jews breaking with Zionism and all its represents. But in my view it won’t happen as a consequence of more and more Jews becoming “embarrassed” by Israel’s policies and actions. Embarrassment is not a strong enough motivation to cause the Jews of the world (American and European Jews especially) to do what they must if they are to best protect their own interests.
What is it that they must do?
Short answer – they must open their closed minds to the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel.
If they did they would discover that Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab military force and that it could have had peace with the Palestinians many years ago on terms which any rational government in Israel would have accepted with relief.
In other words, exposure to the truth of history would prove to them that Zionism’s version of it – a version to which most Western politicians and the mainstream media are still attached – is, generally speaking, a pack of propaganda lies.
Perhaps even more to the point is that exposure to the complete truth of history would make American and European Jews of today aware of the warnings that were voiced by Jewish leaders who opposed Zionism before the Nazi Holocaust. As I indicated above, their main fear was that if Zionism was allowed by the major powers to have its way it would one day provoke anti-Semitism.
What it has been provoking for many years is a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism, but the danger for American and European Jews is that this could be transformed into anti-Semitism if American and European Jewish support for Israel right or wrong is interpreted as complicity (even if by default) in Zionism’s crimes.
The most explicit warning of this danger was delivered by Yehoshafat Harkabi, the longest serving Director of Israeli Military Intelligence in his 1986 book Israel’s Fateful Hour. In my book I quote him at length but here in one paragraph with my emphasis added is the essence of his warning.
“Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.
If Harkabi was alive today (he died in 1994), and given that Israel is not going to change course and that its brutal oppression of the Palestinians will only get worse and worse, I think he might agree with me that unless the Jews of the world divorce themselves from Zionism, anti-Israelism will be transformed into anti-Semitism at some point in the future.
It’s that vision of the future that ought to motivate American, European and other Jews of the world to come to grips with the truth of history and the conclusion it invites – that Zionism is their real enemy.
The problem for some and perhaps many American, European and other Jews of the world is that divorcing Zionism would mean that they were saying, in effect, that they no longer had need for the insurance policy of Israel as a refuge of last resort. And that would raise a perfectly valid question. How can they be certain they will be safe and secure in their American, European and other homelands if they do abandon the Zionism?
My answer (as in my book) is this.
After the Nazi holocaust, and because of it, the giant of anti-Semitism would have gone back to sleep, remained asleep and, in all probability, would have died in its sleep – IF Zionism had not been allowed by the major powers, first Britain and then America, to have its way, as Balfour put it “right or wrong”.
In that light I say there is every reason to believe that the Jews of the Western world will remain safe and secure if they demonstrate by divorcing Zionism they are not complicit, even by default, in its crimes.
Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who has covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East.
His Latest book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Vol. 1: The False Messiah, is a three-volume epic in its American edition. He blogs on AlanHart.com.