Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the British and France to the French. Gandhi (1)
Tribalism is a creed that leads to grief and massacre, whether it bears the label of Zionism, Aryanism, Anglo-Saxon America, or Pan-Islam. M.R. Cohen (2)
Supposing His Majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could in turn undertake to regulate the whole finances of Turkey. We should then form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism. Theodor Herzl(3)
The Roots of Israeli State Terrorism
In a courageous statement, Turkish Foreign Minister Gul did little more than state the obvious when he described Israel as a state terrorist regime. Definitions of terrorism vary; all, however, include violence directed against soft targets, that is, civilians and their property to advance a political agenda. With blatant and frequent viciousness, the Israeli government and its agents have killed civilians in the thousands and destroyed their property in the billions of dollars just counting their actions of the last six months in Lebanon and Palestine. Seldom does a day pass without news of the deaths or the maiming of very young or very old Palestinians, caught up in the pursuit of 'terrorists.' Last summer saw the killing of tens of thousands of Lebanese, the wounding of many more thousands, the displacing of over twenty percent of the population and the destruction of nearly the entire infrastructure of Lebanon, all in the ostensible pursuit of 'terrorists.' The Israeli definition of terrorism is more generous than others; it includes all those who do not comply with Israeli orders or who find themselves in the company of such people.
My purpose is not to document Israeli terrorism yet again. In this essay I try to describe the roots of Israeli State Terrorism, Zionist(4) and Fundamentalist.(5) Once understood, the criminal policies of successive Israeli governments and their purposes will be clear. I will try to show that there is a coherent, racist, imperialistic, militaristic theory underpinning the Zionist State, which in turn justify and imply Israeli State Terrorism. I will try to show further that State Terrorism has been a rational, effective, and consistent, if horrific, policy. Israeli State Terrorism is neither an accident nor a mistake.
Israel and its American allies often say that Israel's activities, including terrorism, torture and other violations of human rights, are unfortunate byproducts of Israel's efforts to survive in a hostile Arab sea. These regrettable activities are necessary in the pursuit of laudable goals, a peaceful Israel in a stable, democratic Middle East. When Arab terrorism stops, Israel will behave like any other Western democracy, the way it has always wanted to behave. From this perspective, when a particularly outrageous attack occurs, one which even the Americans notice, when death and destruction cannot be attached to any 'terrorist' activity, Israel issues an apology, regretting that a 'mistake' was made. Any effort to chastise Israel in the UN is predictably vetoed by the U.S., and the world waits for the next 'mistake' to occur. I, no more than Kofi Annan, believe in such 'mistakes,' such as the killing of UN observers in Lebanon. The Israeli army cannot at once be the most well trained, most disciplined, most technologically advanced military force in the region and the most prone to 'mistakes.' I believe the Israeli army is too competent to make 'mistakes' so often that they constitute a pattern. I believe 'mistakes' cannot make a pattern, which so closely comports with Israel's objectives in the Middle East. These 'mistakes,' to the contrary, illuminate the real policy of Israel. But first, let us examine political Zionism, the approach to Jewish nationalism first articulated in the late 19th century.
To Come So Far
The precipitant of State Zionism was the Dreyfus Affair. One hundred years after the French Revolution entrenched the values of the Enlightenment in France, including the emancipation of Jews, implying their assimilation into French society without any qualification or reservation, basing the French nation on citizenship, not inherited 'French' characteristics, ethnically or racially conceived, one hundred years after the fall of the Ancien Regime, beginning the final scattering of the shards of Medievalism in Western Europe, the Dreyfus Affair erupted, making problematic all the supposed accomplishments of the Enlightenment. Rationality, tolerance, moderation, secularism, individualism, and rule of law-all the indices of modernity were in retreat before the forces of tribal suspicion and hatred.
Overshadowed by cataclysms to come, the shock of the Dreyfus Affair is difficult for us to appreciate. Its injustice seems too small to have provoked such a firestorm. Yet from the perspective of self-satisfied, prosperous, imperial Europe, the trial for treason of Captain Dreyfus properly became a cause celebre. For this trial of a Jewish officer called into question the very basis of the most advanced nation of Europe, calling into question the notion that citizenship defined nationality. It was the trial of a Jew that threatened the Rights of Man in their French incarnation. It was the conviction of this Jew, a conviction based on false evidence and the suppression of valid evidence that divided France, not only into Dreyfus supporters and opponents, but into those who believed in France as the nation of the Enlightenment and those who believed in France as the expression of the ethnic French. The Dreyfus Affair precipitated France into two large groups: those who believed in universal values, or at least universal as Europeans understood them, and those who believed in tribal values, the values of blood and soil, of kinship and ethnicity and the cultural experiences which flow directly from them.
Most French Jews sided with the Universalists. The French Revolution not only liberated French Jews from restrictions emanating from the state, it liberated them from the tyranny of the rabbinate. They flourished. Yet they feared that their success, no matter how complete their assimilation, might be temporary. The precariousness of their position in Europe was a well-established fact. Dreyfus, therefore, symbolized their assimilation, by his career in the unJewish occupation of arms, and their precariousness, by how vulnerable he proved to baseless charges of treason. Jews, after all, could not be trusted with military secrets, because they lacked conceptions of honor, loyalty and self-sacrifice. Jews remained Jews, after all, a rootless, wandering people, whose only goal was survival. For anti-Semites, this picture was settled fact. For Jews, this picture would receive up to date brush strokes from the Dreyfus trial. Not all Jews responded with trepidation.
Naturally, religiously observant Jews proved resistant to Enlightenment values and its implication of Jewish emancipation and assimilation. Beit-Hallahmi puts it this way:
The idea of the citizen, central in Western liberal thinking since 1776 and 1789, is totally missing in Israel…. Israel is the only country in the world that does not belong to its citizens, even in principle. At the same time, the state belongs to individuals who have never even lived there…. The Israeli definition of nationality and citizenship makes foreigners (in their country of residence) of Diaspora Jews everywhere in the world, (except in Israel); it also makes Palestinians, who happen to live in Israel, foreigners in their homeland.(7)
Without Judaism, and Judaism, conceived as a nation, the Chosen People, bonded together and with God by a covenant, Jews would cease to exist. At best they would become Frenchmen who might for a time profess a diluted version of Judaism. French citizens first, Jews, if at all, a very poor second.(8)
The dramatic changes stimulated by the Dreyfus Affair occurred among assimilated, educated Jews like Theodore Herzl. For him the promise of Clermont-Tonneur proved false, worse, impossible of fulfillment. Even if the Jews ceased to be a nation within a nation, even if they ceased to yearn for a return from exile, even if they proved their loyalty to the nations in which they resided, in which they were citizens, they would always remain Jews. They would never be part of the state the way other Frenchmen or Germans were part of France or Germany. No matter what they did, no matter how they perceived themselves, they would be seen as outsiders, interlopers, transients of dubious honesty and loyalty. Anti-Semitism was ineradicable. It was an absolute doctrine which applied inevitably, sooner or later, to all Jews who were minority members of a state. The problem was plain, the solution equally so. To be safe, Jews had to have their own state, just like any other people or nation. The Jews were a nation, if for no other reason than Gentiles could not see them in any other light. So be it, as a nation, they deserved and needed their own state. Thus State Zionism was conceived as a counsel of despair in a spirit of defiance.
The first premise of State Zionism, and this is what makes it unique among European nationalisms, is the concept of Absolute Anti-Semitism. This axiom states that every nation has been and must be anti-Semitic. No matter what rights might be proffered the Jews under this or that universal creed, no matter how these rights were to be guaranteed, sooner or later, anti-Semitism would reveal itself.
With the rise of State Zionism another reason for fearing Western democracies arose. These countries, particularly the U.S. would attract Jews who were still persecuted, mostly from Eastern Europe, thereby making it more difficult to populate Palestine. For these reasons, one doctrinal, one practical, the axiom of Absolute Anti-Semitism has support of both atheists and Fundamentalist Jews. Moreover, the nation-states of the Enlightenment were considered more insidiously dangerous to Jewry than the nation-states of reaction. For concepts of natural rights would seduce Jews into becoming non-Jews far more effectively and permanently than the tortures of the Inquisition.
Naturally, not all the advocates of State Zionism have believed in all its tenets, or in any of its tenets to the same degree or in the same way. Nevertheless, Absolute Anti-Semitism lies at the heart of its doctrine. What matters to this paper is not its truth of the State Zionists' position, but its absolutism. State Zionism is an ideology based on an absolute conviction, one impervious to history and experience, to emendation and to compromise. State Zionism is a secular faith, more akin to Nazism than its proponents grant.
Linking Nazism and State Zionism often seems extreme, especially to Americans. Not to honest Israelis. According to Teddy Preuss, Israeli extremists see the Arabs as nothing more than disease-spreading rats, lice or other loathsome creatures; this is exactly how the Nazis believed that the Aryan race alone had laudable qualities that were inheritable but that could become polluted by sheer contact with dirty and morbid Jews. Kahane, who learned nothing from the Nuremberg Laws, had exactly the same notions about the Arabs.(9)
As this paper suggests State Zionism and Nazism have many elective affinities: Both are racist, asserting the biological inferiority of human groups. Both assert the right of the dominant group to rule absolutely all others in the interest of the Chosen group. Both assert the right of conquest. Both deny individual civil and political rights to any but the chosen few. More positively, both Nazism and State Zionism are idealistic movements. Their strength and energy come from the belief in their sacred mission to cure the world of its ills, to make it more spiritual, to make it conform to a transcendent divine plan which only its leaders know.
State Zionism's founders were enthusiastic atheists. Not only were they antithetical to religious ideas, they particularly despised the Judaism and the Jewish way of life of the Diaspora. According to Zionism, the effects of Diaspora-living on the Jewish people have been thorough and devastating. The abnormal state of the Diaspora has created physical, years of death in life created a sick human group, profoundly perverted and parasitic.(10)
Not incidentally, the Nazis shared this assessment of Diaspora Jewry. If the Jews were to assert their destiny as a people, medieval Judaism had to go and with it all the practices of the Diaspora that had enabled Jews to survive in a generally hostile Christendom.
The ideological aim of the founders of State Zionism was to eliminate Diaspora Jewry without having the Jews become Germans or Poles who practiced Judaism or who had ancestors who did so. The State-Zionists quite properly understood this would be impossible without a homeland, not conceived merely as a place where Jews could live as Jewish citizens or this or that state, but as a place where Jews would rule. The second cardinal principle of State Zionism: If the Jews were to survive they needed their own state.(11)
Before World War I, Zionist efforts were principally with the Ottoman State, who had ruled Palestine for over 400 years. After the War, working with the British, who now controlled Palestine, now seemed more promising. Influential British Jews were enlisted in the Zionist cause, largely under the leadership of Weizmann. The Balfour Declaration was this effort's most portentous result.
The Balfour Declaration: Grammar versus Zionism
It did not require prophecy to write in the 1930's that State Zionism would result in unending and increasingly violent conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. Reading the Balfour Declaration in the context of State Zionist claims would have sufficed:
His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
Rihani, along with many other honest people, knew who would make the journey to hell, as millions of Palestinian refugees can attest. For State Zionism, from its inception, would make every effort to resolve the contradictory objectives of the Balfour Declaration in favor of a Jewish state. When in 1948 the West recognized the Israel, it in effect placed a period after the word 'object' in the Balfour Declaration. Seldom has a punctuation mark resulted in so much bloodshed and misery. No one should be surprised that the Zionist would read the Balfour Declaration as it suited them. It was no secret that they wanted a Jewish state no matter the cost or the implications for the natives. A early draft of the Declaration makes this clear.
C.G. Montefiore, who was shown this draft said:"We feared that the proposed national home might create far more anti-Semitism than it would cure. Our views and objections were, however, not listened to, except that for the definite article, 'the', as the draft originally read, the indefinite article 'a' was substituted, so that the words now run: 'a national home for the Jewish people."(14)
In contrast to this straightforward reading of the grammatical function of the comma and the indefinite article, especially in view of the reasons for its substitution, consider the interpretation of a leading American apologist for State Zionism, who has additional difficulties with grammar: prepositions.
The Jewish people, like other historic nationalities, have a right to self-determination. The Jews, having been exiled from their ancestral homeland, cannot effectively exercise their right to self-determination until restored to sovereign possession of their country. Ergo, the Jews are entitled to sovereign possession of Palestine. The subordinate clauses that were appended to the Balfour Declaration had the following significance, in terms of this scheme: Other legitimate rights existed which might conceivably be affected by restoring Jewish sovereignty in Palestine. The restoration should be so conducted that these would not in fact be adversely affected. This was entirely possible, moreover, since the rights in question, by definition, were not incompatible with Jewish sovereignty in Palestine.(15)
Leaving aside highly problematic historical premises, e.g., the forced exile of all Jews from Palestine without any possibility of return until sovereignty be achieved, note the question begging assumption that Jewish sovereignty in Palestine is to occur first, before other rights have to be considered. The plain reading of the English states that a Jewish Homeland in Palestine is conditional upon the upholding of other rights of non-Jews already living in Palestine. Before a homeland can be pursued on the ground an agreement must be reached with the indigenous population regarding their rights. Note also, the Declaration refers to a homeland in Palestine, not a homeland of Palestine. Note also the enormous omission that the Palestinians, certainly a historic nationality, might have a right to self-determination, an intentional omission, according to Balfour:
In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country.' Balfour's rationale…was that 'Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit the ancient land.(16)
Although Balfour's words might make Halpern's reading more understandable, the Declaration did not mention sovereignty at all. If Halpern wishes to introduce the term in his eccentric reading of the document, then he must allow the concept to be used by the Palestinians, the principal non-Jewish community in Palestine. That he does not do so demonstrates that his avowed attempt to give an impartial 'Wilsonian' assessment of the idea of the Jewish state is either a failure or a fraud.(17) It is much more successful as a moderate State Zionist piece of propaganda, which is precisely how an honest scholar would have presented it. Over fifty years later the violence and the suffering continue. State Zionism, as predicted, has been a 'menace…to peace in the Near East.'(18) The reality of State Zionist Israel has been disastrous for Palestine. From the beginning the 'fundamental problem in the Arab-Israeli conflict is the Zionist character of the state of Israel.'(19)
Here it may be useful to indicate the propositions my paper assumes, but does not defend. For reasons of brevity: first, all absolutist ideas are inimical to reason and tend to find the material world problematic if not depraved; second, all racial nationalisms, like State Zionism and Nazism, are totalitarian in nature, however circumscribed their practice is by reality. Third, all sectarian dogmatic monotheisms tend towards theocracies; the more literal and fundamental the theology, the greater the tendency towards tyranny in the name of God; fourth, when racial nationalism and fundamentalist theology combine, the rush to totalitarianism becomes all but irresistible. The political becomes subordinate to 'God's will', which speaks to the communicant or the priest in eschatological terms. The end justifies the means because only the end counts.
By 'political' I mean the ancient Greek idea that all public matters are at the disposal of the citizenry. Of course, they may have religious views, that is, beliefs which transcend the material world, but these, however much they inform their citizenship, have no place in the public debate. Transcendental views count privately but not publicly. Above all these transcendental ideas are not the province of priests or rabbis or any other special interpreters of the divine. In other words, transcendent ideals have to become politicized, that is, brought within the body politic to be debated and criticized like any other idea. They possess no special or privileged status.
The Jewish State: Vision or Reality?
Zionist policy, that is, the aims of the Jewish Start of Israel, in the Middle East has three main objectives: The first is the elimination of the possibility of Palestine as a viable political entity. No objective observer believes that a viable Palestinian state can exist without a reversion to 1967 borders, the removal of Israeli settlements from Palestinian land, the dismantling of the matrix of Israeli military roads and other security procedures which make a joke of Palestinian sovereignty, and finally a sovereign right of way between the West Bank and Gaza. These are minimal requirements and they leave a multitude of other serious issues aside, like the right of return of Palestinian exiles. No Israeli proposal accepts, or ever deals with, any of these issues. Instead, illegal settlements expand and new settlements are proposed, all in violation of UN resolutions and US stated policies. Instead, raids on the West Bank and Gaza are nearly daily occurrences, making a mockery of Palestinian authority. Instead, millions of Palestinians live at the sufferance of Israel for basic necessities, like water and electricity, to say nothing of jobs. All of these policies aim at driving Palestinians from their land, leaving a demoralized, defeated, subservient remnant that Israel will call citizens of the Palestinian state.
The second Israeli objective is to sustain instability in the Middle East. From its inception Israeli policy has been to keep the Arab world disunited. It has exploited traditional Arab enmities and fomented others. Israel has subverted Arab governments, instigated civil wars, armed insurgents and generally fomented discontent. Its efforts to arm and train PKK rebels, as recently reported by Seymour Hersh, are but the latest in a long list of activities designed to keep Middle Eastern states in turmoil. Why would Israel want instability in its region? There are many reasons. The first is that Israel fears Arab solidarity would lead to systematic support on behalf of Palestinians, including pressuring Americans, whose interests in oil trump their domestic political attachments to Israel and their racist antipathy to Arabs. The second reason is that Israel requires America to be a hostage in the Middle East. Every American casualty, in their view, ties America to Israel in an anti-Arab crusade. The so-called war on terrorism is but political cover for Israel's need for American body bags. A stable Middle East would enable the US to resume the pursuit of its long term interest in the region, which center on the free flow of oil at market prices. A stable Middle East would enable Americans to have a meaningful debate on what America's interests in Israel really are. The third reason for Israel's preference for instability concerns terrorism. Israel benefits from terrorism, despite the fact that Israelis often suffer from terrorist attacks.
My purpose is not to document these propositions. Rather I will try to show that these policies have been implicit in Political Zionism from the beginning in precisely the same way that genocide was implicit in Mein Kampf. Consider one of the most attractive of the early Zionists, Ahad Ha'Am, often designated a 'Cultural Zionist' due to his many objections to Political Zionism. I have not the slightest doubt that he was a thoroughly honest and decent man. Nevertheless, "he could not understand that people of Jewish descent and faith could be, by their cultural roots and their free decision, Americans or Italians…. Judaism to him was not only a spiritual tradition but a biological community…. When his daughter married outside the Jewish race she died to him."(22)
There is very little difference between Ha'Am's biological determinism and that of Hitler and the Nazis. And yet his daughter's defiance of his logic then compelled him to defy his own. Uncontrovertibly his blood relations became less determinative of his behavior than the highly problematic bloodlines of the Jews (or any other people for that matter). Biological racism triumphs over biological descent. This sad outcome demonstrates the power of a racist ideology, overcoming the otherwise decent values of an intelligent and sensitive man. There can be little wonder and less surprise when Political Zionists apply their form of Zionism as ruthlessly as any other fascists apply theirs.
Political Zionism, however, does add a factor, one which disturbed many cultural Zionists to say nothing of liberal Jews throughout the world. For example, M.R. Cohen: "Instead of the Teuton, it is the Jew that is the pure or superior race. All sorts of virtues, love of family, idealism, etc., are the characteristic qualities of its spirit. Only in Palestine can this spirit find root, in the Hebrew language its true expression."(23)
Cultural Zionists like Ha'Am may not like this extension of their thought and may regret its policy implications. Yet is it not implicit in their racism? How can a Chosen People exist without the concept of a Rejected People? As well shall see below in our discussion of Fundamentalist Judaism, one answer has been that non-Jews are not really people at all. There have been many well meaning attempts as well as duplicitous rationales to make the concept of the Chosen People benign or even beneficial to non-Jews. None, however, has been able to overcome the objections of honest and fair minded liberals like Cohen. It is an inherently racist concept.
Many commentators on Zionism have drawn a similar distinction between Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion. The Israeli scholar, Simha Flapan has destroyed this distinction: "There is a tendency to juxtapose Weizmannism and Ben-Gurionism…. A close analysis, however, shows that these two trends in Zionist policy [are in] substantial continuity…. Weizmannism is a combination of maximalist-even extreme-aims and a gradualist, pragmatic approach…."(24) According to Flapan: "Weizmann opposed both a bi-national state and self-government, explaining that democracy is not appropriate for backward peoples."(25)
A sensitive observer, Beit-Hallahmi, has demonstrated that Weizmann's racism has characterized Zionism to the present day and has determined policies toward the Arabs in Israel: "Discrimination against the Arabs in Israel is often described as a result of the common gap between vision and reality, and as contrary to Zionist ideals. Nothing could be further from the truth. The discrimination exists exactly because of Zionist ideology."(26)
When concepts of citizenship, along with natural right, are intentionally denied their full power to Israeli Arabs, the oppression of Palestinians in the Territories cannot be seen as a 'gap between vision and reality' or the result of Palestinian resistance. Zionism has always been "incompatible with democracy."(27)
The fascism implicit in any racist ideology has not only manifested itself in the State of Israel, it was predicted with great accuracy by the avowed fascist, Vladimir Jabotinsky, who expressed his ideal of the new Jew: 'A new race shall rise/ Proud, generous, and cruel.' Proud and cruel without doubt. Force was no last resort for him but a great and glorious first option: "if you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison on your behalf…. Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force."(28)
Ben-Gurion was to Jabotinsky as Weizmann was to Ben-Gurion, the apparent voice of moderation. The truth was another matter; despite stylistic differences-Weizmann and Ben-Gurion were instinctively duplicitous (pragmatic, if you will), where Jabotinsky was forthright (foolish, if you will)-their policies were in their essentials the same. All worked for a Jewish State, which they knew would oppress or eliminate Palestinians, all approved of the use of violence, including terror, to meet this goal; all viewed the natives as biologically and culturally inferior to Jews.(29)
While President of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Judah Magnes wrote: "A Jewish state can only be obtained, if it ever is, through war…. You can talk to an Arab about anything, but you cannot talk to him about a Jewish state. And that is because, by definition, a Jewish state means that the Jews will govern other people…. Jabotinsky knew that long ago. He was the prophet of the Jewish state. Jabotinsky was ostracized, condemned, and excommunicated. But we see now that almost the entire Zionist movement has adopted his point of view…."(30)
One might well think that Magnes wrote this after the 1967 War, when right-wing Zionism became the dominant force in Israeli politics, under the leadership of Jabotinsky admirers: Begin, Netanyahu, and Sharon. My point is that Magnes was not prophetic but merely correct in his assessment of the compatibility of Zionism and fascism. I would go further State Zionism, like State Terrorism, is intrinsically fascist. They are not aberrations from a Zionist ideal; they are not reflections of a gap between vision and reality. They are the direct descendants of Political-Zionism, its fullest and most coherent expressions. The importance of the 1967 War is that it provided triumphalist mood which allowed the mask of moderation, so assiduously displayed by the Weizmann's and the Ben-Gurion's, and so sadly by Ha'Am, and so disparaged by the Jabotinskys, to be dropped in favor 'proud and cruel' oppression of the Palestinians.
Thus in one stroke a flame had been lit and the conditions made ripe for imparting a new messianic and fundamentalist ideology to a wide religious public, especially to young Zionist Jews. A totally new kind of religious spirit and literature emerged that focused on the messianic and eschatological meaning of the Six-Day War.(31)
All fascist movements try to co-opt the religious feelings of its subjects. The Nation or the Race is portrayed as eternal, spiritual entities, whose qualities are embodied in the Leader. These movements are not merely systems of rule but systems of belief. They could not rule if they did not engender belief which transcends the pragmatic concerns of the here and now. It should not be surprising, except perhaps to him, that Jabotinsky's ideology has found its most powerful expression in Fundamentalist Judaism. His brown shirted legions and the other trappings of 'Jewish Nazism' are now little more than embarrassing historical curiosities. The cloth yarmulkes and the automatic weapons of militant Jewish settlers is an every day reality. We now turn to the other source of Israeli State Terrorism.
God as a Racist: Fundamentalist Judaism
The least likely support for this idea was among the most religiously fundamental sects of Judaism, which are often anti-political. Yet this is the source of much of the contemporary energy of State Zionism. This is not as paradoxical as it may seem. For absolutists tend to share the same cast of mind. Because the propensity to believe absolute ideas is more important than the content of those ideas, it has proved a short mental step from State Zionism to Fundamentalist Judaism. Fundamentalist Judaism believes in the absolute, divinely ordained superiority of the Jewish people. Rabbi Kahane makes the point clearly: "The Jewish people stands or falls on the knowledge that it is not like all other people…. The raison d'etre of the Jewish people is that it is the Chosen People, a godly people-the people chosen by the Almighty to do his will…. There is a Chosen People, a chosen land, a chosen state, and a chosen destiny, and the conduct of the Jew and his state must be directed toward that destiny."(33)
It is a nice question whether the Jews became superior because God chose them or whether God chose them because they were superior. It is beyond question that this superiority is God's will and that it should be expressed by control of the land of Israel. The racist implications of this doctrine are also beyond dispute. The most obvious, but not the only, expression of this union of State Zionism and Fundamentalist Judaism can be seen in the alliance of the New Religious Party (NRP) and the Gush Emunim, the settlers of the Arab territories taken in 1967.
During the time of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, for example, the military rabbinate in Israel…exhorted all Israeli soldiers to follow in the footsteps of Joshua and to re-establish his divinely ordained conquest of the land of Israel. This exhortation of conquest included extermination of non-Jewish inhabitants.(34)
Ideologically, this policy of extermination is justified by the dogma that Jews are of God and non-Jews are not. In the words of Rabbi Ginsberg, "If every simple cell of a Jewish body entails divinity, is part of God, then every strand of DNA is part of God. Therefore there is something special about Jewish DNA…." As Shahak and Mezvinsky assert: "Changing the words 'Jewish' to "German" or "Aryan" and "non-Jewish" to 'Jewish' turns the Ginsberg position into the doctrine that made Auschwitz possible in the past."(35)
To most Americans and, I believe, many Turks, these words seem extreme. Yet there can be no doubt that the same sort of racism which forms the basis of the Aryan race is virtually identical to right-wing Judaism's concept of the Chosen People. Consider the following, which is only one of many such statements which fill Shahak's book: "As their [Baruch Goldstein and his admirers] statements abundantly testify, they see the Arabs as nothing more than disease spreading rats, lice or other loathsome creatures; this is exactly how the Nazis believed the Aryan race alone had laudable qualities that were inheritable but that could become polluted by sheer contact with dirty and morbid Jews."(36) Goldstein murdered 29 Muslim worshippers, including many children, and was hailed as a Jewish martyr throughout Israel.
These biologically racist views should not be considered the random ravings of a Zionist extremist or a mentally disturbed fanatic. They have their basis in widely held views among Fundamentalist Jews. According to Rabbi Ginsberg: "If a Jew needs a liver, can he take the liver of an innocent Jew to save him? The Torah would probably permit that. Jewish life has infinite value. There is something more holy and unique about Jewish life than about non-Jewish life."(37)
"No influential Israeli rabbi," Shahak observes, "has publicly opposed Ginsberg's statements."(38) Moreover, these views are seldom contradicted by Israeli politicians, although most secular Israelis find them ridiculous.
Nonetheless, the policies of the Gush which derive from their racist beliefs do find widespread agreement among right-wing Israelis. Sprinzak summarizes the Gush's three positions:
 The notion of universal rights is a foreign ideal that, like other European non-Jewish values, has no meaning in the context of the Holy Land.
 The second proposition amounts to a denial of all rights, since Arabs are hostile to the Jewish rebirth in Eretz Yisrael.
 The most extreme solution, extermination, was expressed in an essay by Rabbi Israel Hess…under the title 'Genocide: A Commandment of the Torah.(39)
Although the Gush has had an influence disproportionate to their numbers in the various right-wing governments of Israel, I doubt that a majority of Israelis support their policies any more than they buy their ideology. Yet the Gush cannot be considered a fringe movement or even one limited to the Settlements. According to Sprinzak: "The [Gush] movement has gone through three stages: spontaneous single actions, institutionalized licit and illicit drives, and finally, full official and state-supported operations."(40)
There can be no question that it is in the Settlements that the Gush predominate: "The invisible realm of Gush Emunim has evolved a district security and defense organization…. The result is that the settlers are directly involved in defense and security matters that were originally handled by the army and military government ... One cannot ignore the dangerous potential of a semi-independent armed force should strong disagreement with government policy arise."(41)
Although I have treated Fundamentalist Judaism and Political Zionism separately, and despite many difference of opinion within both movements and even more between them, I believe they must be treated together. In other words, the atheism of Herzl and other founders of Political Zionism did not form the essence of their creed.
Ironically, perhaps, it was the less political Cultural Zionists like Ha'Am who were truer to the spirit of Zionism after the State of Israel was born and especially after the 1967 War. The concept of the Chosen People has been far more determinative of State Zionist policies than the atheism of the founders of Political Zionism. This is not because a majority of Israelis have become religious. It is rather that the Israeli right-wing has dominated policy formation.
The distinguishing feature of the new extremist camp is therefore not its fundamentalism but its radical rightism, a combination of ultranationalism, militarism, ethnocentrism and religiosity. The religious fundamentalism of Gush Emunim and Kahane, while a very important part of the new extremism, is just one part of a larger politico-cultural phenomenon.(42)
Beit-Hallahmi makes the same point: "If Gush aims really ran counter to the basic goals of Israeli governments, it would have been crushed. The Gush is not a movement of dissidents, but a vanguard of Zionist renewal."(43)
Religiously grounded racism is, unfortunately, a widespread phenomenon. It is an outgrowth of the three great monotheistic traditions. Only in Israel, however, do Nazi ideas have so great an impact on state policies.
According to Shahak: "The religious influence upon the Israeli rightwing of Israel B [religious Israelis] is attributable both to its militaristic character and its widely shared world outlook."(44)
It is impossible to conceive that secular Israel, despite its security concerns, memories of the Holocaust, and fear of the Arab world, would have terrorized millions of Palestinians, twice invaded Lebanon, and initiated many anti-Arab wars without the influence of Jewish Fundamentalism. In fact the majority of Israelis before 1967 were in favor of coming to terms with the Palestinians and their desire for a viable state.
The triumphalism of the victory of the 1967 War changed the dynamic of Israeli politics in favor of elimination of the Palestinians as a viable political entity.
Conclusions: Nazi Lite
With the demise of Nazism and Bolshevism, State Zionism remains the most powerful tyranny in the Western world. It is likely to remain so, as long as it has the tacit moral and very tangible financial support of the so-called enlightened nation-states of Europe and North America. Its absolutist, racist, and tyrannical concepts were twisted and perverted ideals which in the face of the Nazi threat would necessarily seem small and unimportant to all but those directly in its path. Now, when State Zionism is in power (armed with nuclear weapons) and Nazism is but a perverted doctrine with a cult following, when State Zionism has placed over 4 million Palestinians in camps, and kept them there for a generation in appalling conditions, where is the outrage in the West? Now, when it is clear that State Zionism is the most powerful and thorough antagonist to the values of the Western democracies, in practice as well as ideology, where is the outrage of the West? Forget outrage; where in the governments of the West can one find a frank discussion of State Zionist atrocities? It is a measure of the success of Israeli propaganda, in conjunction with anti-Arab racism, that the word 'atrocity' seems out of place in reference to Israeli policies and practices. Yet Israelis have known the truth for nearly sixty years and counting: "Yet by 1948, the Jew was not only able to defend himself but to commit massive atrocities as well. Indeed according to the former director of the Israel army archives, "in almost every Arab village occupied by us during the War of Independence, act were committed which are defined as war crimes, such as murders, massacres and rapes."(47)
These acts cannot be considered isolated incidents in the fog of war or the heat of reprisal. Moshe Sharett makes this clear: "The conclusions from Dayan's words are clear…. It must see the sword as the main, if not the only instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Towards this end it may, no-it must-invent dangers and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation and revenge…."(48)
As I have tried to demonstrate, the harshness of Israeli State Terrorism is not a product of the political conditions which arose with the imposition of the Jewish State in Palestine. It was implicit in both the Political Zionism of Herzl and the Cultural Zionism of Ha'Am. In the words of Finkelstein, "The defensive ethos was never the operative ideology of mainstream Zionism. From beginning to end, Zionism was a conquest movement."(49) More than conquest, Zionism was a movement to eliminate the natives, so that a Jewish State could thrive. "In Zionist consciousness, [the Arabs] became a surplus population to be got rid of, a group whose rights could never be recognized or considered."(50)
I have chosen the word 'elimination' carefully, fully aware that it described Nazi policy toward European Jews until the Final Solution was implemented in late 1941. According to a leading American scholar, Arno Mayer, "All in all, the `Final Solution' may be said to have been forged and consummated in the crucible of the abortive crusading war against Soviet Russia and Judeobolshevism, which in eastern Europe created the context of extreme cruelty and destruction apart from which the Judeocide would have been unthinkable and impracticable."(51) In other words, the death camps were precipitated by defeat in the East, signaled by the catastrophe of Stalingrad. This judgment has contemporary significance, because until impending defeat in the East, Nazi policies toward the Jews and Israeli policies toward the Palestinians are nearly identical. Moreover, the extreme manifestations of the concept of the Chosen People are virtually identical to those of the Chosen Aryan Race. One cannot avoid considering the possibility of a similar fate of Palestinians and Arabs in general, if Israel were to face such a defeat. And it must not be forgotten that Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear war heads.
I realize that linking Israel to Nazi Germany seems extreme. Consider Israeli historian Anita Shapira, "whose main aim is to validate Zionism's conquest myth."(52) Zionism, Shapira observes, originated in the 'Romantic-exclusivistic' (also: German, 'volkisch') brand of nationalism that purported that `blood-ties, common ethnic origin' etc., not citizenship or 'agreement', were the proper foundations of community. Accordingly, its aim from the outset was to create a Jewish state in `all of Palestine', that is to 'alter the demographic, economic, and cultural balance of power' so that Jews would be its 'rulers and masters', 'lords and masters'.
Noting German source, Shapira pints to the 'recurrent motif' in Zionism of the 'mysticism that links blood and soil,' 'the cult of heroes, death and graves,' the belief that 'graves are the source of the vital link with the land, they generate the loyalty of man to that soil,' and that 'blood fructifies the soil' and so on.
The similarities with Nazi ideology could not be more powerful: "The radicality that constituted the true nature of National Socialism does not really spring from the license it offered to instinctual gratification. The problem was not one of criminal impulses but of a perverted moral energy…. Out of his harshness toward himself he derived the justification for harshness toward others. The ability to walk over dead bodies was literally demanded of him; and before that could be developed, his own self had to be deadened. It is this impassive, mechanical quality that strikes the observer as far more extreme than sheer brutality…. The moral imperative was supplemented and crowned by the idea of a special mission: the sense of taking part in an apocalyptic confrontation, of obeying a higher law, of being the agent of an ideal. Images and slogans alike were made to seem like metaphysical commandments, and a special consecration was conferred upon relentlessness."(53)
To avoid the catastrophe of an Arab Holocaust Shahak suggested four changes: (1) break the silence regarding Israel's racist oppression of Palestinians; (2) stop enabling Palestinian oppression by acceptance of the Israeli viewpoint of their struggle with the Palestinians, especially by the U.S.; (3) make the Jewish State more secular, more in line with Western liberal democratic values; (4) apply universally accepted standards of human rights. I would add that all Israeli weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms, must be eliminated or made subject to the deterrence regime, Mutually Assured Destruction, (MAD).
Only under these conditions can a lasting and just peace evolve in the Middle East. Until the disproportionate influence of Jewish Fundamentalism and its policies of Nazi Lite are eliminated, this critically important part of the world will remain hostage to rogue terrorist state Israel has become. In the 1930s the world refused to confront the rogue terrorist state of Nazi Germany and the world witnessed to its horror as the policies of Nazi Lite led to Auschwitz. Never Again.
1. Quigley, John: Palestine and Israel: a Challenge to Justice, Duke, Durham, 1990, p.14
2. Cohen, M.R.[1919/1946]: 'Zionism: Tribalism or Liberalism?' pp.48-55, p.55. From Smith, Gary: Zionism: the Dream and the Reality: A Jewish Critique, Barnes & Noble, NY, 1974. The reader will notice that virtually all my sources are Jewish or Israeli. I have not tried by so doing to avoid the charge of anti-Semitism. The term has come to cover so much that it is practically meaningless. Almost any criticism of Israel evokes the charge, as does the mere recitation of a fact which may seem to place Israel or Jews in a negative light. The charge, like all calumnies, is meant to silence discussion. My sources simply represent what I believe to be the best available. It must be added I do not believe they have special authority for being Jewish or Israeli. Just as Jewish writers who write on non-Jewish matters should be judged on the quality of their work, gentile writers who write on Israel should be judged on the quality of their work. To do otherwise attacks the basis of all learning.
3. Beit-Hallahmi, B.: Original Sins, Olive Branch, NY, 1993, p.65
4. In this essay I use the term 'Political Zionist' to refer to those Zionists who believed that Jews and Judaism could not survive without their own state. 'State Zionist' refers to political Zionists after the state of Israel came into existence. 'Cultural Zionists' refers to those who believe that the Jewish people and Judaism must return to Palestine to continue to exist.
5. By 'Fundamentalist' I mean those adherents of Judaism who believe in a literalist and extreme version of the faith.
6. A. Vital, People Apart :the Jews of Europe, Oxford, NY, 1999
7. Beit-Hallahmi, op. cit., pp.90-1
8. 'Defining Jews as a nation creates unique problems in terms of the way nations are regarded in the modern world and international law. It creates a new extraterritorial nationality, which is plainly contrary to logic and international law, and which makes Jews outside Israel foreigners by definition… According to the Zionist perception, being Jewish supersedes any other classification. In this respect Zionism accepts the anti-Semitic view of Jews as immutable aliens,' op. cit., p. 59
9. Shahak and Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Pluto, London, 1999, p.106
10. Beit-Hallahmi, op. cit. p.49
11. Shahak and Mezvinsky, op. cit.,p.64
12. Rihani, Ameen: The Fate of Palestine, Rihani Publishing, Lebanon, 1967, p.39
13. Cattan, Henry: Palestine, the Arabs and Israel, Longmans, London, 1969, p.138
14. Cattan, pp.11-2
15. Halpern, Ben: The Idea of a Jewish State, Harvard, Cambridge, 1961, p.299
16. Quigley, op. cit., p.11
17. This early abuse of 'Wilsonian' foreshadowed the Neoconservative justifications of pre-emptive war in the Middle East and elsewhere. There is nothing in either the spirit or the text of Wilson that justified war in the pursuit of national self-determination. 'National self-determination' was for Wilson part of the peace proposal at the end of WWI, not a justification for aggression.
18. Rihani, Fate, op. cit., p.37
19. Mezvinsky, N.: 'The Zionist Character of the State of Israel,' pp.244-56. From Smith, op. cit. p.244
20. Masalha, Nur: Expulsion of the Palestinians, Washington, 1992, pp. 176, 180, 210, respectively.
21. Quigley, op. cit., p.154
22. Kohn, Hans : 'Ahad Ha'Am: Nationalist with a Difference,' pp.21-37. From Smith, op. cit.p.34
23. Cohen, M.R., from Smith, op. cit. p.55
24. Flapan, Simha: Zionism and the Palestinians, Barnes & Noble, NY, 1979, 17-8
25. Op. cit. p.71
26. Beit-Hallahmi, op. cit., p.97
27. Op. cit., p.98
28. Op. cit., pp.102 & 103
29. Beit-Hallahmi, passim. 'Ben-Gurion…always looked moderate and reasonable, denying either a conflict with the Arabs or the wish for a Jewish state. This was a brilliant ruse, a great tactical posture, but behind it he knew that the only way to defeat the Palestinians was through military force, which he created.' Op. cit., p.109
30. Rodinson, Maxim: Israel: a Colonial-Settler State? Monad, NY, 1973, p.68.
31. Sprinzak, E: The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right, Oxford, NY, 1991, p.44.
32. Shahak, I. and Mezvinsky, N.: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Pluto, London, 1999, p.65.
33. Kahane, Meir: Our Challenge: the Chosen Land, Chilton, Radnor, PA, 1974, p.15.
34. Shahak & Mezvinsky, op. cit., p.64
35. Op. cit., p.62, both quotations
36. Op. cit., 106
37. Op. cit., p.43
38. Op. cit.
39. Sprinzak, op. cit., pp.122-4
40. Op. cit., p.124
41. Op. cit., p.135
42. Op. cit., p.21
43. Beit-Hallahmi, op. c-it., p.148
44. Op. cit., p.11
45. Quigley, op. cit., p.25-6
46. Tekiner, op. cit., p.45
47. Finkelstein, op. cit., p.110
48. Berger, Elmer, 'Zionist Ideology,' pp.1-32. From Tekiner, R., Abed-Rabbo, S., Mezvinsky, N.: Anti-Zionism, Amana, VT, 1988, p.28.
49. Finkelstein, op. cit., 108
50. Beit-Hallahmi, op. cit., p.72
51. Mayer, Arno: Why the Heavens Did Not Darken, Pantheon Books, NY, 1988, p.314
52. Finkelstein, op. cit., pp.99-100
53. Fest, Joachim: Hitler, Harcourt, NY, 1974, translated by Richard & Clara Winston, p.377.