ANTI-ZIONISM / IS NOT / ANTI-SEMITISM

antizionism isnot meme2

Enough of the bald-faced Big Lie the pro-Zionists are pushing!
If anything’s increasing anti-Semitism in the world it’s the Zionist state’s crimes of commission & omission.

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“Israel/Palestine, what is a just solution?” – a note for the coming AJDS workshop on this subject

“Israel/Palestine, what is a just solution?” This is the subject of a workshop that the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) is holding in Melbourne on Sunday 30 April. The announcement says the following topics will be covered: the two state versus one state solution; the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign; and the right of return of Palestine refugees.
I would have loved to attend, but my health condition prevents me from traveling to Melbourne. So I’m posting this note on how I see this subject, in the hope that some of those attending may read it & may want, in the course of the workshop, to relate to points made here.

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Talking about a just solution may seem utopian in the present circumstances.

Yet making this the subject of our contemplation is surely a most important moral choice: it is, first of all, taking a clear stand: What we seek, above all, is a just solution.

& articulating what is necessary for a just solution is surely a precondition for achieving as much of it as is achievable at any given stage.

If the goal is a just solution, it must be just to all concerned, no matter what their racial, ethnic, religious, national, or gender identity.

It seems to me that of “the topics to be covered” only the third, the right of return, really touches on the main subject. The second, BDS, is a question of strategy, not of a solution. The first, one state or two states, addresses the question of a just and equitable arrangement for the future harmonious co-existence of Palestinians & Israelis. But a just solution must surely also address past & present injustices. Not only for moral reasons, because otherwise the solution cannot be just, but also for pragmatic reasons: for people to believe in the possibility of a just future co-existence, they must also feel that justice will be done with regard to the past.

Thus any just solution must first of all acknowledge & attempt to redress the injustices that have been done and are still being done by Zionism and the Zionist State to the Palestinians whose homeland they have colonized.

Injustices perpetrated by people dispossessed or oppressed by colonization, in acts of resistance or revenge, cannot be justly considered as equally unconscionable as the acts of dispossession or oppression that prompted those responses.

The dispossessors & oppressors will need to acknowledge that
• The Zionist colonization, oriented to turn Palestine into “the Jewish State”, was from the outset unjust.
• The Balfour Declaration was unjust.
• The ethnic cleansing begun after the UN GA’s November 1947 recommendation for partition, & extended with the implementation of “Plan Dalet” on 1 April 1948, was unjust.
• The establishment in 1948 of the Zionist “Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel” was unjust.
• The continuing existence of the Zionist State ethnocracy in Palestine within the “Green Line” is unjust.
• The continuing military occupation, since 1967, of the West Bank and the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip are unjust.

Each & all of these general injustices entails countless particular injustices to individual people: to non-Jewish Palestinians, obviously – but also, if less obviously, to “Israeli” Jewish Palestinians who have grown up in a regime that indoctrinates them to Zionist nationalism & forces them to serve in &/or be complicit in the continuing unjust occupation &/or exclusion from residence &/or full citizenship rights of non-Jewish Palestinians in their homeland.

Responsibility for all these injustices rests firstly on the Zionist movement & all its agencies & supporters, but also on the powers that have made the Zionist colonizing enterprise possible – from the Ottoman Sultanate, through Great Britain, the League of Nations, the United Nations, all the countries that have recognized, accepted &/or supported the Zionist State as a legitimate entity in Palestine, &above all the USA, & the multinational corporations that profit from the status quo….

All these injustices must be acknowledged before a viable solution can even be considered.

What must be guaranteed in a just solution?
• People who were exiled must be allowed to return to their homeland, & together with people now living in Palestine who were dispossessed &/or unjustly oppressed by the Zionist state &/or its “Israeli” settlers, must be allowed to repossess their homes or be adequately compensated.
• People who have no moral right to become residents of the country must no longer be granted automatic citizenship on their arrival there. The Zionist “Law of Return” which allows all Jews automatic citizenship must be revoked.
• The country, named Falastin in Arabic, & Eretz Yisrael in Hebrew, is by now the homeland of people who identify with two distinct nations & speak two different (if related) languages. In any just solution it can no longer be the state of only one of these nations. It can no longer be called Israel – a name that the present “State of Israel” was never entitled to, since the name “Israel” has for millennia been a name for all Jewry, all Jews in the world.
• In any just solution each of these nations must have equal rights to cultural autonomy, with educational & cultural institutions in the country’s two equal official languages.

re the two-state vs one-state solution:
Two states may then be an option, if majorities on both sides still want that. But that would be a kind of Grand Apartheid, & an anachronistic enhancing of conflicting nationalisms. It seems much more just & advanced to advocate for a binational state that grants full cultural autonomy to both nations.

re BDS: in terms of strategy, I think Ran Greenstein (Facebook, March 29 at 4:01pm) nails it:
‘Yes, a boycott definitely will help. But no, in South Africa boycott helped because it was triggered by and in turn amplified the mass struggle of millions on a daily basis, in the streets, factories, communities, schools, churches. Boycott without mass struggle is good, but let’s not delude ourselves that it could force change without an internal uprising.’
This doesn’t answer whether BDS is a just strategy.
But whether it is or isn’t, it will continue as long as the unjust Zionism regime continues to rule Palestine.
& Ran is right, it alone cannot bring about change: there needs to be an internal uprising.
But not of the non-Jewish Palestinians alone.

Without a change of heart among the “Israeli”-Jewish populace, a just solution cannot come about. There needs to be an internal uprising of this populace’s conscience, & it is towards this that the advocacy of Diaspora Jewry needs to be oriented: ‘Pursue justice, justice!’: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof!צֶדֶק צֶדֶק, תִּרְדֹּף

Raising the visibility of this issue at this time (1)

Posting this first “Raising the visibility” meme today. Featured is the cover of the report.
The entire report can be read here.

ESCWAr cover meme

The other day I posted a “Shame the UN” meme on my Facebook page:

shame un meme

From today’s Facebookings

they-told-me-meme

Of all my Facebooking moments today, the above I think pierced me the deepest (it’s from the 5th of the posts below), & so I’ve headlined the quote & memed a bit of the story

Richard Flantz shared Umar Al-Ghubari’s post.
42 mins ·

‘OUR NEIGHBOURS AND US’: MORE FROM UMM AL-HIRAN,
this a time a pic & a pithy paragraph by Umar Al-Ghubari, some of whose incisive writings in Hebrew exposing & analyzing the criminal Zionist occupation of Palestine I have been glad to be able to translate
:
“A pile of books near a pile of stones by a demolished house. One book, a civics textbook in Arabic for grade four, called ‘Our Neighbours and Us’, was in the pile. For real. I photographed it. The neighbours that destroyed the house kept the body of the deceased, who was killed by the neighbours a week ago, for the sake of neighbours who don’t want us as neighbours. Let the education ministry make up lies all it wants. The real school is reality. This time the name of the school is Umm al-Hiran.”
– Umar Al-Ghubari of Zochrot
(happy tp be able to share this English translation of his Arabic & Hebrew that I found in this post by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society)


Tamar Goldschmidt
5 hrs ·
A translation into English by Tal Haran

Tamar Goldschmidt:
On January 14, the boy Ahmad Shabir died. He did not die. He was murdered. By the Shabak (Israeli General Security Services).
I am translating the disturbing article written by Talal Al Nabih of the Palestine Communication Center in Gaza:

“Ahmad Shabir – the martyr who thwarted the Shabak.

Some justify it, necessarily, as ‘human’. But in Ahmad Shabir’s vocabulary this is totally negative, and he considers it treason, an assault on the dignity of life… ‘A life and death struggle’… This was the obsession that took over his mind for two years, and finally he decided. And chose to die standing.

‘Dad. come, I’ll sum this up. They have asked me to collaborate and I told them I’d rather die in Gaza and not sell them myself cheap, or harm any of my countrymen and homeland’. This is the essence of those 12 hours which 17-year old Ahmad Hassan Shabir spent in a holding cell of the Zionist Shabak, haggling – over receiving treatment and collaborating, or returning to Gaza to die.
Ahmad had foregone the surgery he was supposed to undergo in recent months, taking leave of life and leaving behind his story – ‘love of one’s homeland’, his dream – ‘healing hearts’ buried along with him, and he will from now on be named ‘martyr of the siege’.

Shabir’s story:
Young Shabir suffered congenital cardiac flaws. Throughout his life he traveled 40 times to receive medical treatment. However, for the past two years his attempts at such travel were refused by the Zionist authorities. Attempts to extort collaboration from him failed as Ahmad was determined, and preferred to return to Gaza untreated rather than becoming a traitor-collaborator.
The son’s position was repeated by his father. As the Israeli Occupation attempted to take advantage of the latter’s fatherly feelings, tempt and trick him. But all the authorities’ attempts failed as Hassan answered, ‘I refuse to sell my soul cheap and harm my own countrymen. Just as you are committed to what you call your country, so am I committed to my own state and homeland.’

About Ahmad’s illness and death, father Hassan Shabir told the Palestine Communication Center that his son suffered four congenital heart flaws, but had always been patient and hopeful to be cured. He lived his life in hope, travelling on occasion to hospitals inside Israel to get treatment.
The security check:
Apparently the first 17 years of Ahmad’s medical treatment were unhampered. However, for the past two years, 2015-2016, Ahmad and his family were fated to a via dolorosa of haggling with the Occupation authorities which made their life impossible.
The father explains: ‘the first time Ahmad and his mother were offered the possibility of medical treatment in return for collaboration by the Occupation authorities at the Bet Hanoun/Erez Checkpoint was on March 22, 2016. They refused but were still allowed to proceed.’
The father continues: ‘After their return, Ahmad and his mother traveled again on April 18, 2016 and the doctors set a date for cardiac catheterization surgery in September.
Again in Gaza, as the surgery date approached, they applied for permits to travel but were surprised to receive the Occupation authorities’ refusal, as they were now declared ‘denied entry’.
The security meeting:
On October 10, 2016 the parents came with their ill son to the Bet Hanoun Checkpoint after agreeing to meet with the Zionist Shabak, ‘which then began haggling in order to obtain security collaboration as the price for medical treatment’.
During this meeting, lasting from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., the Shabak agents destroyed Ahmad’s medication, while negotiating ‘collaboration’. He was interrogated about members of the ‘Palestinian resistance’, his neighbors and friends, says his mother.
The mother, in her forties, tells the Palestine Communication Center, tears in her eyes, that her son refused the tempting offers made by the Shabak official, leaving him for long hours alone and in an impossible state of mind, but her on was patient, entrusting his fate to God.
The mother says that the Shabak official summoned her as well and suggested she ‘collaborate’, but she persistently refused and told him: ‘I am a housewife, we have no interest in such matters. The only thing we care about is the medical treatment that Ahmad should receive, so that he can be cured and live like any other youngster in this world’.
She recalls her son’s dream, which he shared with her a few days before his death:
‘I hope to live another six months and complete my matriculation exams’. And she continues: ‘He dreamed of treating hearts (specializing in heart surgery), but after his final meeting with the Shabak, the gates closed and his health deteriorated, parting with this life on Friday, January 14, 2017, after praying at the mosque, reading the Cave Sura, speaking with us and helping me to hang some laundry to dry’.”

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Some Facebook Posts from Yesterday & Today (It’s that kind of day…)

 

composite-meme

I’m sharing these posts mainly for followers of this blog-site who are not Facebook friends. But I don’t know if you can see them if you don’t have a Facebook account. So this is also an experiment. I’d be grateful to receive a comment telling if all the posts open fully to you, or are even visible. (& if they do, I’d also be happy to hear if anything here speaks to you…)

The posts, from earliest to latest:

What IS Zionism? – a definition, some corollaries (& 2 personal disclosures)

1  A definition

The clearest, most comprehensive (& simplest) definition of Zionism, as an ideology & as a movement that has spanned & still spans many political parties &/or organizations & has been & is still supported or opposed by many individuals, is, to my mind, this:

Zionism aims at maintaining a Jewish state in Palestine.
(Until May 14, 1948, its aim was to establish such a state.)

I derive this from the key first sentence of the “Basel Declaration”, as resolved at the First Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland (1897) [see excerpt from Wikipedia at end of post, after my 2 personal disclosures. Note: all emphases in bold type are mine.]

“Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people
a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine.”

A few days after the congress ended, Herzl wrote in his diary (September 3, 1897):
“Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today l would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it.”

& to clarify the different terminology we find in the Basel Declaration & in Herzl’s diary entry, I add this quotation (also from Wikipedia):

” […] when Theodor Herzl who in 1896 wrote Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) giving birth to the modern Zionist movement, he envisioned a state based on European models, which included religious institutions under the aegis of the state. In order to avoid alienating the Ottoman Sultan, there was no explicit reference to a Jewish state by the Zionist Organisation that he founded. The phrase “national home” was intentionally used instead of “state”.

zionism-3-meme

2  Some Corollaries

– Support for a binational state is not Zionism – because a secular, egalitarian & democratic binational state will not be a Jewish state. Even if one views oneself as a Zionist when supporting such a solution. Many who call &/or called themselves Zionists sought &/or seek to fulfill the romantic dream of Jews being able to live in Palestine (Eretz-Yisrael, Israeland) again & to build a Jewish Hebrew community there – without feeling or thinking there needed or needs to be a Jewish ethnocratic state with sovereignty over all of Palestine while half or so of its inhabitants are denied basic civil rights & held under the Zionist State’s military occupation &/or blockade, & millions of Palestinian refugees & their descendants are denied return to their homeland… & though most of them have accepted the realities established in 1948–49–67, this does not mean that they would not accept or even prefer a binational state which assured equal rights to all citizens & cultural autonomy to the two nations & languages of Palestine/Israeland today, were it not for their fears & the absence of any positive blueprint for such a state that is agreeable to significant persons from both nations….


Zionism, if not declaredly, aims for a “Jewish” state in all of Palestine. As Ali Kazak, a former Palestinian ambassador to Australia, wrote in 2015:

‘The aims of Zionism since its creation in 1897 […] was never for coexistence, nor was it to establish a Jewish state on part of Palestine. Instead, the aim of Zionism has been to colonise all of Palestine and parts of the neighbouring Arab states, and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people. / In his Diaries, Theodor Herzl writes that the area of the Jewish state stretches: “from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.” / The Zionists’ acceptance of the partition of Palestine was tactical, to gain international legitimacy. David Ben-Gurion, Chairman of the World Zionist Organisation and Israel’s first Prime Minister, wrote as much in a letter sent to his son explaining his reaction to the Peel Commission Report:
“From our standpoint … How can this land become ours? The decisive question is: Does the establishment of a Jewish state [in only part of Palestine] advance or retard the conversion of this country into a Jewish country? My assumption is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning. / “We will admit into the state all the Jews we can … We shall organize an advanced defence force – a superior army which I have no doubt will be one of the best armies in the world. At that point I am confident that we would not fail in settling in the remaining parts of the country, through agreement and understanding with our Arab neighbours, or through some other means. / “We must expel Arabs and take their place … I am confident that the establishment of a Jewish state, even if it is only in a part of the country, will enable us to carry out this task …”‘

Kazak’s article “Justice, not Deceit, will achieve Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Response to Alan Johnson” is a bit long, but basically gets it right. I think. Well worth reading in its entirety:
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2015/07/31/4284463.htm – A “Jewish state” is of necessity an ethnocracy, not a democracy. In a Jewish state, non-Jews are not equal to Jews.
– Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. & Zionism itself fosters anti-Semitism

Zionism, both overtly & covertly, represents itself as representing all Jews. This is Zionism’s “big lie”, which if repeated frequently enough gets to be believed by more & more people. It is implicit in the false & arrogant claim that Israel is “the nation state of the Jewish people” (false, because a people is not a nation; the Jews of the Diaspora are all citizens of other nations, & being Jewish is not their nationality; arrogant, well, that needs no explanation). This lie is spread in every reference in the world media to Israel as “the Jewish state”  —  another misnomer.

Israel is not & cannot be “the Jewish state”. Israel is a Jewish state, or, more precisely a, & the, Israeli-Jewish state. It is an ethnocratic nation-state, the state of the Israeli-Jewish nation. This is a distinct nation, in which vigorous nation-building has been active since the early 20th century, producing a national entity that is different from all other Jews in the world in that it has its own language, culture, economy, government, public & social institutions, armed forces, etc etc.”
[The two pars above are quoted from a response of mine published in 2015: https://medium.com/@thepalestineproject/a-response-to-is-anti-zionism-really-anti-semitism-39b7095ef5a6#.69yxggc2o]

To oppose the Israeli-Jewish Zionist oppression, dispossession, expulsion and occupation of native Palestinians, i.e. to be anti-Zionist, cannot be anti-Semitism (if we continue to use this inept term for what we can’t grammatically call anti-Jewsism). Committing &/or being complicit in such crimes is no more characteristic of being a Jew than it is of being any other kind of person, of whatever race, nation, or religion – so opposing an ideology & a state for committing such crimes cannot be deemed anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic. Actually, the opposite is true: Zionism, by committing these crimes in the name of “the Jewish people”, implies to all the world that all Jews are responsible for them, & thus itself fosters anti-Semitism, more grist for its mill.

– Zionism is (religional/ethnic) racism. In the Jewish state, a Jew is someone born of a Jewish mother: this is thus a matter of race. & I agree with all four statements by Asa Winstanley that I quoted in this meme a couple of months ago.

zionism-meme

3  Two Personal Disclosures

1
I was a Zionist, from 1949 when I was 13 until 1967 when I was 31. & thanks to Zionism I “ascended” to “Israel” in 1959, where I met my wife of now 53 years (she was born in Tel Aviv before there was a State of Israel, to parents who had come to Palestine from Poland/Ukraine because they were Zionists), & we raised our three sons there, & we lived there (though with some years in other countries) until 2001. So that personally, like many other Jews & perhaps more than a few non-Jews, I have much to be grateful to Zionism for. Yet I cannot silence within me – & I also feel I need to share – how I see what Zionism is & does, & my view that only the abolition of Zionist rule in Palestine can bring justice & peace to this tragically tortured country & its tormented & tormenting inhabitants.

2
What triggered this post was a question I was asked by Sol Salbe, who indefatigably continues posting on Facebook (among other interesting items) significant analyses of the situation in & related to Palestine/Israeland, in English translations & sometimes Hebrew updates. Two days ago I shared on Facebook an article from the English Haaretz, with an intro that prompted his question:
https://www.facebook.com/richard.flantz/posts/10157865890645018?pnref=story
https://www.facebook.com/richard.flantz/posts/10157865890645018?pnref=story

Sol asked: Out of curiosity Richard, do you have a definition of Zionism?
& another Facebook friend, Tom Pessah, commented:  R. Binyamin defined himself as a Zionist.
I replied:
Good question, Sol. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. & to Tom’s comment too.
So yes, I do have a definition of Zionism. & some corollaries (there’s more, nut these will have to do for now)  – & this post… (Sol added in another comment that I don’t have to answer, & I accept that for him I don’t but I had to, for me…)

 

The First Zionist Congress

1stziocongress

The delegates at the First Zionist Congress, Basel (1897)

The First Zionist Congress (Hebrew: הקונגרס הציוני הראשון‎‎) was the inaugural congress of the Zionist Organization (ZO) (to become the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1960) held in Basel (Basle), Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897. It was convened and chaired by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionism movement. The Congress formulated a Zionist platform, known as the Basel program, and founded the Zionist Organization. It also adopted the Hatikvah as its anthem (already the anthem of Hovevei Zion and later to become the national anthem of the State of Israel). (Wikipedia)