This article responds to a March 15 Los Angeles Times Judea Pearl one headlined: “Is anti-Zionism hate?” Pearl, who teaches computer science at UCLA, is the father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. It was “formed… to continue Danny’s mission and to address the root causes of this tragedy in the spirit” of the man it represents, including “uncompromised objectivity and integrity… and respect for people of all cultures… “
Some of its honorary board members belie this purpose:
- former president Bill Clinton, an unindicted war criminal and backer of neoliberal plunder;
- Elie Wiesel, a shameless self-promoter, “Holocaust” exploiter, and apologist for the most outrageous Israeli crimes;
- Jordan’s Queen Noor, wife of King Abdullah II who, like his father Hussein, ruled with dictatorial police state powers; and
- Christiane Amanpour and Ted Koppel, two notables in the corporate media who never let facts conflict with their views and support for the powerful.
Pearl calls anti-Zionism “hate more dangerous than anti-Semitism, threatening lives and peace in the Middle East.” Zionism is precisely the opposite as numerous Jewish writers, including this one, have addressed.
In his book Overcoming Zionism, Joel Kovel explained how it fosters “imperialist expansion and militarism (with) signs of the fascist malignancy;” that it turned Israel “into a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses” led by terrorists posing as democrats. Kovel’s book and his work got him fired from the Bard College faculty effective July 1 when his current contract expires – for daring to criticize Israel, its Zionist ideology, state-sponsored terror, and decades of lawlessness and egregious behavior.
Kovel expressed outrage that institutions like Bard aren’t bothered; that they grant Israel impunity, suppress dissent, then marginalize, punish, and remove the “heretics,” ones like Kovel who honorably and courageously write truths.
Pearl railed about a UCLA Center for Near East Studies symposium invitation to “four longtime Israel bashers” so they could attack Zionism’s legitimacy and “its vision of a two-state solution… ” – a scheme to consign Palestinians to isolated cantons and steal their most valuable land.
He equates legitimate Israeli criticism and anti-Zionism with “criminaliz(ing) Israel’s existence, distort(ing) its motives and malign(ing) its character, its birth, even its conception.” He cites “Jewish leaders (condemning) this hate-fest as a dangerous invitation to anti-Semitic hysteria” even though one has nothing to do with the other and conflating them masks the real issue – Zionism’s corrosive effects and the myths on which it’s based.
Ones Pearl ignores in stating “Anti-Zionism rejects the very notion that Jews are a nation – a collective bonded by a common history – and, accordingly denies Jews the right to self-determination in their historical birthplace. It seeks the dismantling of the Jewish nation-state: Israel, (what it) ‘grants’ to other historically bonded collectives (e.g. French, Spanish, Palestinians), the right to nationhood… “
Pearl can’t accept the hard facts that Tel Aviv University Professor Shlomo Zand documented in his important 2008 book: When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? It exposes biblical nonsense comprising core Zionist beliefs about Jews:
- that ancient Romans expelled them;
- their exodus from Egypt, then left to wander the earth rootless;
- enslaved, oppressed, and tormented for centuries; and
- the myth that God bestowed a “Greater Israel” for Jews alone – “A land without people for a people without land.” According to Israeli journalist Tom Segev and others:
- there never was a Jewish people, just a Jewish religion;
- there was no exile, therefore no return, and much of the Jewish Diaspora was voluntary; and
- the story was a Zionist invention, a conspiracy to justify a future Jewish state, and now vilify Palestinian self-determination as a plot to destroy it.
With regard to other “bonded collectives,” France, Spain, America and other states are nationalities, not religions. Israel is a Jewish state with rights for Jews alone. They matter. Others don’t, and therein lies the difference. Palestinians, in contrast, are occupied, impoverished, oppressed, driven from their land, vilified for being Muslims, and victimized by slow-motion genocide to destroy them and any hope for self-determination.
“Are Jews a nation,” asks Pearl? “Some philosophers would argue Jews are a nation first and religion second.” He cites the usual mythology:
- the Exodus and return to the “promised land before they received the Torah at Mt. Sinai;”
- “the unshaken conviction in their eventual repatriation to (their) birthplace (since) the Roman expulsion;” and
- their “shared history, not religion (as) the primary uniting force behind the secular, multiethnic society of Israel” – favoring Jews alone in a quasi secular/religious state where practicing another one is dangerous. The “Jewish identity today feed(s) on Jewish history (more precisely folklore and myths) and its natural derivatives –
- the state of Israel” despite its illegitimate birth and mythological roots;
- “its struggle for survival” in spite of being the world’s fourth most powerful military, nuclear-armed; with no enemies except the ones it makes; and having a history of aggressive wars; violence over conciliation; confrontation, not diplomacy; and claiming self-defense as justification when there is none;
- “its cultural and scientific achievements,” much of the latter involving militarism and hard line security; and
- “its relentless drive for peace.”
Pearl like most others can’t accept the fact that Israel disdains peace, thrives on violence, and needs it as justification. The very notion of peace and conflict resolution terrifies it. What prime minister Yitzhak Shamir once admitted about Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war – that there was “terrible danger… not so much a military one as a political one” so a pretext was invented to attack when no threat or justification existed.
It took 18,000 lives and left South Lebanon occupied until Israel Defense Forces withdrew in May 2000, except for the 25 square km Shebaa Farms area illegally retained to this day.
Yet Pearl insists that “anti-Zionism targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the Jewish population of Israel, whose physical safety and personal dignity depend crucially on maintaining Israel’s sovereignty. Put bluntly, the anti-Zionist ‘plan’ to do away with Israel condemns 5.5 million human beings, mostly refugees or children of refugees, to eternal defenselessness in a region where genocidal designs are not uncommon.”
He adds that “anti-Zionist rhetoric (shows) academic sophistication and social acceptance in certain extreme yet vocal circles. (It’s also) a stab in the back to the Israeli peace camp (and) gives credence (to) the hidden agenda of every Palestinian (for) the eventual elimination of Israel.”
Now some facts misrepresented, distorted, or unstated by Pearl and other like-minded apologists:
- There never was nor is there now an “Israeli peace camp,” as explained above.
- Israel’s sovereignty isn’t the issue. It exists, is accepted, and anti-Zionists don’t dispute it. Further, since at least the late 1980s, Palestinian leaders (including Arafat and Hamas) have been willing to extend recognition. But Israel rejects all peace and reconciliation overtures, yet the dominant media and Zionists won’t mention it.
- Palestinians and other Arabs don’t target Israel and haven’t since the 1973 war. However, they justifiably defend themselves when attacked as international law allows.
- Anti-Zionists, like this writer, have no plan or desire to destroy Israel, harm its people, or render them defenseless. Demanded, however, is that Israel behave, act civilized, practice the democracy it preaches, observe international and its own laws, and be held fully accountable when it doesn’t, including its leaders for their crimes of war and against humanity to deter future ones from committing similar violations.
- Israel alone menaces Palestinians and other regional states, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Those nations, nor any others, threaten Israel, yet again media and Zionist propaganda say otherwise.
- Zionist ideology is extremist, undemocratic, and hateful. It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness, and uniqueness – God’s “chosen people.” It harms Jews and non-Jews alike. Former Israeli scholar, critic, and life-long human rights activist, Israel Shahak (1933-2001), explained the dangers of Jewish chauvinism, religious fanaticism, and its influence on America’s polity.
He called the notion of self-hating Jews “nonsensical” and explained the definition of a Jew:
“if either their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother (or) great-great-grandmother were Jewesses by religion; or if the person (converted) to Judaism in a way satisfactory to the Israeli authorities, and on condition that the person has not converted from Judaism to another religion.” According to the Talmud and post-Talmudic rabbinic law, “conversion (must be) performed by authorized rabbis in a proper manner.” For females, it entails an outlandish ritual – “their inspection by three rabbis while naked in a ‘bath of purification’ ” to confirm it.
Shahak wrote extensively on how Israel discriminates in favor of Jews in most every aspect of life, including the three he called most important – “residency rights, the right to work (and to have) equality before the law.”
Zionist ideology demeans non-Jews and denies them equal rights in Israel. A body of law enforces it – to legally discriminate against non-Jewish Israeli citizens (for their religion) and Palestinians in the Territories, something unimaginable in all developed states and most others on every continent.
Shahak stated: “The obvious intention of such discriminatory measures is to decrease the number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel (to affirm its existence as a) ‘Jewish’ state” quite hostile to and demeaning of other religious faiths.
This is the Zionist message and why growing numbers of Jews and many others oppose it. Supporting Zionism is repugnant, indefensible, and equivalent to defending cancer, a malignancy relentlessly destroying its host. It must be exposed, denounced, and once and for all expunged from the body politic. A CIA study suggested the alternative – that beyond 20 years, Israel won’t survive in its present form.
The Agency predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 (Palestinian) refugees. The latter (is) the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”
According to international lawyer Franklin Lamb, “the handwriting… is on the wall… history will reject the colonial enterprise sooner or later.”
The report also predicts the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland and the exodus of two million Israeli Jews to America in the next 15 years. They’re fed up and want to leave. Omitted from the report, or at least unrevealed, is that short of an equitable resolution to the long-standing Palestinian conflict, Israel eventually will destroy itself. Nations that live by the sword, die by it, and Israel is no exception.
The alternative is peace and reconciliation, something Israel flatly rejects. Unless that changes, its very existence is at stake, what history teaches but Israel has yet to learn.