The End of Modern Jewish History

The Establishment

In pre-modern times, European Jews lived in separate communities, governed by their religious authorities, with corporate rights and obligations, determined by the state. The Enlightenment and the growth of liberal rights and freedoms led to the end of Judaic temporal authority, dissolution of the corporate community and its legal status, and subjection of Jews to civil authority like all citizens, former denizens of other estates. The modern period of Jewish history began, symbolically, with the French revolution of 1789, which led to the emancipation of French Jewry, building on earlier advances in the status of Jews in western Europe. Gentile restrictions and prohibitions were gradually lifted and Jews admitted to full citizenship. The United States was founded on modern, liberal terms, with no vestiges of pre-modern Jewish status. Nor did anti-Semitism qualify the liberal prospect unduly. “The contours of European opinion between 1890 and 1914 do not comfortably fit into the metaphor of a ‘storm’ or ‘tide’ of rising anti-Semitism.i

In each country, beneath the surface phenomena of trials, demonstrations and riots, were not only structural trends toward greater tribalism and rejection of modern times, but also concurrent trends that indicated a continued rise of the Jews and a growing acceptance of it by non-Jews, a broader recognition of a legitimate position for Jews in the states and societies of modern Europe and America. Philo-Semitism of a modern sort also appeared in the nineteenth century, but because it did not become a “problem” in the way that anti-Semitism did it has been studied far less.ii

Zionism opposed liberalism diametrically. As Zionist ideologue Leon Pinsker stated in 1882, “the Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations under which they dwell, and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation. Hence the solution lies in finding a means of so readjusting this exclusive element to the family of nations, that the basis of the Jewish question will be permanently removed.” “The proper, the only solution, is in the creation of a Jewish nationality, of a people living upon its own soil, the auto-emancipation of the Jews; their return to the ranks of the nations by the acquisition of a Jewish homeland.”iii This was the view of the thin bourgeois stratum of Jewish society in the Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, not of the Jewish masses, who left by the million for the US, not Palestine.

Like them, the great majority of west European and North American Jews had full faith in liberalism, and Zionism was a marginal cult. From “1905-14, the World Zionist movement had been, with a few interludes, continually on the downgrade.”iv The conquest of Palestine by Britain in World War I, and the British government’s Balfour Declaration “viewing with favour” the establishment of “a Jewish national home” in Palestine increased interest momentarily, but it subsided. It took Hitler and Nazism to give Zionism widespread credence among Jews. The great majority of American Jews supported the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, but their prevailing outlook was still liberal, devoted to securing the civil rights of Jews and their just desserts in liberal society. Only after Israel’s dramatic victory in the June 1967 war was liberalism fully superseded by the intense chauvinism which remains the signature of organized Jewry.

The American Jewish Committee, the flagship of organized Jewry, encapsulates this history. The AJC was founded in 1906 by German Jewish Reform notables, to coordinate elite leadership as the US Jewish scene had transformed by the Russian Jewish migration. The Committee aided the Russian immigrants with philanthropy, defended them against nativist criticism, opposed legislation to limit immigration, and opposed anti-Semitism abroad, above all in Russia. The early AJC’s high point was its successful, highly public 1912 campaign against the US-Russia commercial treaty, on the grounds of discriminatory treatment of US Jews traveling in Russia.

The Committee was initially avowedly anti-Zionist, absorbed in the promise of liberalism, in which it had full confidence. One of its leading lights, investment banker Jacob Schiff, stated in 1907: “‘Speaking as an American,’ he declared, ‘I cannot conceive that one can be at the same time a true American and an honest adherent of the Zionist movement.’”v His peer in the Committee, attorney Louis Marshall, “declared political Zionism to be a mere ‘poet’s dream,’ an ‘irreverent protrusion of religious Judaism.’”vi Between the wars the AJC shifted to a “non-Zionist” position, supporting immigration and development in Palestine, without endorsing the Zionist call for a Jewish state. Principled anti-Zionists held this to be Zionism in effect, wilfully or naively. This view prevailed into World War II; in 1942 the Committee declined to “accept the Zionist program for a Jewish state, while the Zionists in turn would renounce the idea of Diaspora nationalism.”vii In 1943, the AJC rejected a Jewish state, proposed instead trusteeship, and withdrew from an American Jewish conference over its Zionist agenda. By late 1947, the leadership endorsed partition, which ruthless Zionist politicking had left as the only option, over strong minority opposition within the AJC. Yet the Committee’s interest in American “Jewish identity” was entirely liberal and integrationist. Their main concern was that “Jews were not integrating themselves into mainstream U.S. life quickly enough or well enough. Not just antisemitism from Gentiles but the Jews’ own reliance on obsolete European community models were seen as the culprits.”viii The AJC was “not concerned that Jewish youth was receiving an insufficient Jewish education” but “that the Jewish education that did exist was… promoting separatist, self-segregating and nationalist tendencies among the children.”ix

This is notably true of the Judeocide, the Nazi German annihilation of European Jewry and other undesirables. Peter Novick, in his study of “the Holocaust” in American life, noted that public discussion of historical events is greatest immediately and soon after their occurrence. After World War II, the Judeocide was a minor aspect of US culture. “By the 1970s and 1980s, the Holocaust had become a shocking, massive and distinctive thing.”x Novick also asks why the Judeocide became an institution in the US, when it took place thousands of miles away, when a tiny fraction of its population had any direct connection, and when the US led the defeat of the Axis.

Novick cites the Cold War, and the rehabilitation of Germany and its integration into the western alliance against the USSR, as organized Jewry’s reason for not making a public issue of the Judeocide. The American Jewish Committee limited itself to educational efforts within Germany, and obtaining apology and restitution from the newly formed Federal German government, though a 1959 eruption of swastikas in Germany and elsewhere brought swift public condemnation. Anti-semitism, and barriers to Jewish advancement, were declining rapidly in the US, and Jews seized the opportunities enthusiastically. Emphasizing catastrophe and victimhood distracted from enjoyment of citizenship in the most powerful, successful nation in history, as the US confidently saw itself then, Jews included. Victim portrayals in films, photographic exhibits and memorials were shunned. The Judeocide was not invisible, but interpreted in universalist terms, best represented by The Diary of Anne Frank, written by a teenage Dutch girl hiding from the Nazis with her family. It appeared as a book, play and Hollywood feature film from 1947-59, lacked much Jewish and Zionist content, and expressed the universal hopes of young Anne, tragically unrequited. Jewish educational material produced in the US included the non-Jewish victims. Novick found that an “integrationist rather than a particularist consciousness was the norm in postwar decades; difference and specificity were at a discount.”xi

By the early 1960s this had begun to change, precisely because of the success of liberalism. Concern for Jewish integration was superseded by the “first Jewish continuity crisis.” This was discovered in “threats” revealed by studies of intermarriage and Jewish fertility in the early 1960s. The AJC sought “‘to preserve the continuance of the American Jewish community against threats of assimilation through intermarriage’” through various programs and initiatives.xii This nascent Volkism was fatally supercharged during the “traumatic days of May and June, 1967, when Israel first seemed threatened by a new Holocaust, only to win a magnificent, almost miraculous victory, culminating in the reunification of Jerusalem.”xiii “[T]housands of American Jews, including many who had been active in the community, discovered a depth of Jewish commitment and concern in themselves that they had not previously recognized.”xiv “Almost overnight, the phrase ‘Jewish peoplehood,’ words that would have been shunned by the AJC in earlier years, found their way into the organization’s every public and private pronouncement.”xv Israel-related activity went from a minimal expense to 25-50% of the budget by the mid-1970s.

By the early 1980s, the AJC, which began as a secular, civil rights organization, “had weekly lessons among the staff, one on Talmud and one on the Hebrew Bible, celebrated all the Jewish holidays, and even had a sukkah on the roof.”xvi At a going-away party for a staff member who was making aliyah to Israel, executive vice-president Bertram Gold, hired for his Yiddish background, rather than the German Reform that dominated AJC from its founding into the 1960s, remarked: “‘That sound you hear is the sound of the AJC founders turning in their graves.’”xvii In the early 1990s, the “second Jewish continuity crisis” erupted when the decennial National Jewish Population Survey revealed deepening trends of intermarriage, communal disaffiliation and other liberal horrors.

The AJC once criticized private education of Jewish children and teens as nationalist and segregating, but after 1967 these effects became virtues. Traditional support for separation of church and state, for public education, and opposition to public funding of private education, was overcome as educational costs exceeded even Jewish communal resources, and education was seen as vital to “Jewish continuity.” “‘But now it is known, based on the research of Jewish continuity, that the results from the supplementary schools have been dismal and that from day schools has not,’” stated an AJC board member at a 1999 meeting approving support for day schools. Despite lingering reservations, public support has followed in train. “Tax credit programs are among the growing number of ways that private Jewish day schools and yeshivas nationwide are corralling hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars annually. The money is helping to defray operating costs, provide teacher training, assist students with tuition bills and enhance educational offerings.”xviii One day school alumnus wrote that his former “school’s monomaniacal focus on the advancement of a political agenda was enabled by a highly homogeneous environment, where dissenting views are absent, and by importation of lobbying techniques from the conservative Pro-Israel lobby.”xix

Awareness of the Judeocide began to change with the 1962 abduction and trial by Israel of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann. The trial “was the first time that what we now call the Holocaust was presented to the American public as an entity in its own right, distinct from Nazi barbarism in general.”xx The AJC questioned Israel’s right to abduct Eichmann, and to try him “in the name of the Jewish people,” arguing that he should be tried under international (or German) jurisdiction, for universally recognized crimes.

Aversion to victimhood was offset by pride in Israeli activism. During the June, 1967 war Israel seemed to American Jews at risk of another holocaust, and Israel’s dramatic victory (which expert observers had foreseen) introduced the “salvation myth” of “Holocaust and Redemption.” “‘The extermination of European Jewry could become the Holocaust only on 9 June when, in the aftermath of a remarkable victory, the State of Israel celebrated the return of the people of Israel to the ancient wall of the Temple of Jerusalem.’”xxi

Around this time the “Jewish continuity” and “survival” campaigners decided that “the non-involvement of the young in Jewish affairs—their thinning Jewish identity—was a consequence of their insufficient awareness of the Holocaust.”xxii Using Jewish persecution in conditions of total freedom to ensure “continuity” resonated, however incongruously, with consciousness of oppression by blacks and other minorities, by gays, and by the women’s movement. Neo-victimhood also coincided with a decline in the “melting pot” ideal of democracy and the rise of “cultural pluralism” and identity politics. It greatly amplified and exploited a negligible amount of anti-Semitism on the fringes of black and anti-Zionist politics. The October, 1973 war, and Israel’s isolation, apart from US support, gave powerful impetus to neo-victimhood. The “explanation commanding the widest support was that the fading memories of Nazism’s crimes against the Jews, and the arrival on the scene of a generation ignorant of the Holocaust, had resulted in Israel losing the support it had once enjoyed.”xxiii The result was “massive investments by Jewish communal organizations in promoting ‘Holocaust consciousness.’”xxiv Plans for the Holocaust Memorial Museum on the national mall in Washington date from this period.

The Holocaust became fundamental to American Jewish identity. “Victim identity” flourished left, right and center, based on what Salo Baron, perhaps the greatest Jewish historian of the 20th century, had sharply criticized as the “lachrymose conception of Jewish history,” one of endless “suffering and scholarship.”xxv As anti-Semitism declined and the Jewish socioeconomic ascent continued unchecked, the organized Jewish world prospered by hysterically denouncing “the new anti-Semitism” and bombarding its constituents with alarms.

This led to growing acceptance of “classic Zionist ideological propositions: that murderous anti-Semitism was always latent in the ‘unnatural’ conditions of Jews living in the Diaspora, that only in Israel were Jews safe.”xxvi The history of the Judeocide was tendentiously appropriated; Christian opposition to Nazism was deprecated; Allied governments were charged with collusion by failing to rescue Jews; the “uniqueness of the Holocaust” was zealously asserted; it attained sacramental status. Jewish writers wondered whether their gentile friends would save them from neo-Nazis if a holocaust ever came to America. The “absurd maxim In extremis veritas” served “to actively solicit anxiety and doubt, because who could ever be sure of such a thing? The asking of this pointless question” became “a sign that one has learned ‘the lesson of the Holocaust.’”xxvii Secular disaffiliation from the organized Jewish community—freedom—was “frequently described as a ‘quiet,’ ‘silent,’ ‘bloodless,’ or ‘spiritual’ Holocaust,” echoing the obscurantism of traditional Jewry toward emancipation 200 years before.xxviii Novick soberly called all this “an inward turn—a shift away from the previous ‘integrationist’ perspective and toward an emphasis on the defense of distinct Jewish interests,” a “fortress mentality,” “a change that has so far proved permanent” in the Jewish communal world.xxix

Jacob Neusner, another critic, summed it up as the “Zionism of Jewish peoplehood.”

We Jews form a unique entity, neither wholly a nation, nor wholly a religion, though part of us share a common faith, and all of us derive from that faith. We are a group without a common language, and with little that binds us as a common culture. What makes us a group today? It is our international character and concern; we are men and women who care deeply about what happens to Jews throughout the world. It is our historical heritage; we are men and women who together come from somewhere. It is our destiny; we are men and women who share a common fate…We are made a group…by our fathers and mothers and theirs, who constituted a people on earth, and who brought us into the world to carry on the existence of that

This Zionism is not limited to Zion. “The Jewish people is my homeland, wherever Jews live, there I am at home.”xxxi Peoplehood is the ultimate expression of Jewishness and Judaism. “Zionism is the highest expression of the Jewish people. By Zionism I mean the Jewish affirmation, the assertion that Jews constitute one people and that they wish to preserve that people and enhance its spiritual life.”xxxii “I understand by Judaism ‘the non-creedal religious civilization, centered in loyalty to the body of the Jewish people, of Zionism… All Jewish group activities should be conducted in conscious dedication to the solidarity of the Jewish people and the growth of its ethical and spiritual consciousness.’”xxxiii

Neusner’s definition candidly describes a cult whose highest belief and loyalty are in and to itself. Neusner describes himself as “on the margins of the group,” and has few illusions about it. “I wonder if history can provide an example of a Jewish community more ethnocentric, and less religiously concerned, than our own.”xxxiv

We who preach brotherhood so self-righteously to our fellow citizens preserve in our hearts the least edifying part of our heritage, the hostility to gentiles…One hears Jews speak frequently of all non-Jews as ‘goyim’… One sees the preservation of Jewish neighborhoods and social facilities as unwalled ghettoes in towns where Jews are freely accepted into the social life of the general communityxxxv

These attitudes still define the organized Jewish world, as represented in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, where opinion ranges from liberal hypocrisy to reactionary candor, equally committed to the Jewish people and to ensuring Israel’s domination, whatever their disagreements.xxxvi The Conference of Presidents includes AIPAC, though some of the most important groups, such as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which began as AIPAC’s research arm, are not in the Conference. The Conference is in effect the executive committee of organized Jewry; the rank and file are represented in groups like the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, which is a member of the Conference, and is comprised of local “Jewish Community Relations Councils.” These constitute through the JCPA another source of organized Jewish influence on the federal government, currently against the nascent detente with Iran.xxxvii The JCRCs are members of local Jewish federations, committees of Jewish philanthropic organizations.xxxviii These are grouped in the Jewish Federations of North America, which is also in the Presidents Conference. The JFNA holds an annual meeting in Israel, the General Assembly, and devotes much time and energy to foreign policy, not merely Jewish philanthropic issues.xxxix

In addition to this organizational core, support for Israel is widely diffused throughout higher education and think tanks, the media, business, the professions, politics and fund-raising, and philanthropy. The best term for this complex may be the “Zionocracy,” after the Slaveocracy, which wielded immense power in national politics until the Civil War. Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Israeli Knesset, argued that “‘World Jewry is a superpower,’”xl composed of

two structures. One is the semi-autonomous American Jewry, which was not here 150 years ago—powerful influence, access to the corridors of power, impact on the culture, and civilization… plus the infrastructure of the community of solidarity and fraternity and support system and education etc and also the sovereignty over there in the Middle East.xli

The “semi-autonomous American Jewry” has exercised a quasi-sovereign power over Middle East policy since the 1940s, to disastrous effect. To cite only recent history, the Zionocracy has been the chief driver of US militarism in the post-Cold War period, its crowning achievement being the 2003 US invasion of Iraq in the George W. Bush Administration. This expressed above all the ascent of the neoconservatives, a distinctive Jewish current of conservative politics, comprised of Democrats, former liberals, or Social Democrats and even Marxists, who shared the foreign policy outlook of the GOP right because of their attachment to Israel. The neoconservatives first appeared in the 1970s, as the GOP right gathered against the centrist Republicanism of Presidents Nixon and Ford. The traditional right were revanchists in foreign policy, advocating “rollback” (defeat) of the Soviet Union instead of the Nixon-Kissinger policy of detente, greater military spending and general counterrevolution abroad. The neocons disliked President Jimmy Carter intensely, and by 1980 they switched ranks. Reagan’s election as president in 1980 “‘provided the neocons with their version of John F. Kennedy’s Camelot,’” and many received national security appointments.xlii

The background of the neoconservative movement “lent an air of establishment respectability to doctrines that had been in the repertoire of the American right since the early days of the Cold War,” policies which “had traditionally been ridiculed and reviled by the liberal establishment as being completely beyond the pale.”xliii The neoconservatives helped in “preventing Reagan from being sucessfully caricatured as a zany right-wing warmonger.”xliv It is claimed that “‘Ronald Reagan would not have been elected and… been able to govern us effectively without some of the prominent neoconservatives who joined the Republican side.’”xlv

The neoconservatives shared the traditional right’s militant anti-Communism, including rollback and defeat of the Soviet Union, but the neoconservatives also favored global involvement, nation-building, and exporting democracy, in contrast to the traditional right’s isolationism, aversion to global policing and acceptance of repressive regimes. Above all the neoconservatives championed Israel, while the traditional right never had. The neoconservatives funded new and captured existing think tanks, and purged traditionalists and installed their personnel. “‘The old conservatives of the eighties were being swallowed up by the alliance that they initiated and sustained,’” wrote one historian.xlvi “‘Neoconservative activists have largely succeeded in centralizing both the collection and distribution of funding for right-of-center philanthropies.’”xlvii “By the late 1990s, even the venerable National Review belonged to the neocons, who boasted that they had created or taken over nearly all of the main ideological institutions of the American right.”xlviii

Thus “‘urban, Jewish erstwhile Democratic proponents of the welfare state took over a conservative movement that has been largely in the hands of Catholic, pro-[Joe]McCarthy and (more or less) anti-New Deal Republicans. That the older movement collapsed into the newer one is a demonstrable fact.’”xlix The Republican Party was transformed the same way, “at least in regard to its national security policy; there they have replaced not only the traditional conservative figures, but also the more moderate establishment wing that was identified with the elder George H. W. Bush.”l

Paul Wolfowitz, who served in the State and Defense Departments in the 1970s, was the leading neoconservative in the government. At Defense he chaired a 1979 study about threats to the Gulf oil fields, commissioned after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, where he emphasized an Iraqi threat. This was then so outlandish that Defense Secretary Harold Brown feared alarming Iraq and Saudi Arabia if the study leaked. Wolfowitz joined the Reagan State Department in 1981, where he headed the Policy Planning Staff, filling it with his acolytes. He opposed the sale of AWACS early warning aircraft to Saudi Arabia, and rapprochement with the Palestine Liberation Organization, becoming “one of Israel’s strongest supporters in the Reagan Administration.”li After Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in August, 1990, Wolfowitz and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney unsuccessfully advocated an attack in western Iraq that threatened Baghdad and the Saddam Hussein regime, and protected Israel.

Outside the government, “George Bush’s success in leading the American public into war might never have been possible without the energetic cooperation of the punditocracy,” who mounted “Operation Pundit Shield” and “Operation Pundit Storm” in support of the “Desert Shield” and “Desert Storm” military campaigns.lii “Virtually alone in Washington, William Safire and the neoconservative pundits called for immediate war.”liii While the Administration made its miltary plans, “a tiny cadre of mostly neoconservative pundits performed a similarly delicate operation on elite Washington opinion.”liv The “punditocracy shaped the political dialogue in a manner that substituted the Iraqi bogeyman for their fallen Stalinist icon and celebrated American military prowess with a degree of reverence that bordered on worship. Then, in the war’s aftermath, they proceeded to ignore many of its considerable costs, as well as nearly all the fundamental questions it should have raised.”lv

The January, 1991 congressional war vote—52 to 47 in the Senate, 250 to 183 in the House—was the closest since the War of 1812, amidst dire predictions of casualties, and deprecation of war aims; support for Israel may have provided the margin. The Zionocracy’s lobbyists were stung by columnist Patrick Buchanan’s accusation that “Israel’s amen corner” was war’s chief promoter apart from the Administration, but remained discreetly active.lvi “Some of the ten Democrats in the Senate and eight-six in the House who supported the use-of-force resolution did so because of their overriding concern for the fate of Israel.”lvii

Leaders of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee now acknowledge it worked in tandem with the Bush Administration to win passage of a resolution authorizing the president to commit U.S. troops to combat. The behind-the-scenes campaign avoided Aipac’s customary high profile in the Capitol and relied instead on activists—calling sometimes from Israel itself—to contact lawmakers and build on public endorsements by major Jewish organizations.lviii

AIPAC’s influence “was crucial, especially in helping the White House pick up Democratic support… Democrats who have benefited from large contributions by pro-Israel political action committees were among the swing votes, and the administration said that having pro-Israel liberals behind the resolution made it easier to hold moderate Republicans as well.”lix

With Iraq defeated, the attention of Israel and its US partisans turned to Iran, as President Bill Clinton entered office. By defeating Iraq the US had prepared the ground for an opening to Iran, after US opposition to the revolution and support for Iraq in its war with Iran. The Iranian leadership was receptive. and many US foreign policy experts favored a rapprochement, but it did not happen due to the Zionocracy. In 1985 Martin Indyk of AIPAC had with Dennis Ross founded the Washington Institute for Near East Policy to make Israel advocacy look independent. Clinton expedited Australian Indyk’s naturalization to allow his appointment to the Middle East desk at the National Security Council. WINEP became a major source of policy proposals and personnel for national security appointments, marking the Zionocracy’s ascendancy inside the executive branch, building on its representational influence in Congress and often over the presidency.

At the NSC Indyk successfully advocated “dual containment” of Iraq and Iran, which he had floated at WINEP, adapting an Israeli proposal.lx The “new policy called for the United States to abandon its traditional strategy of acting as an offshore balancer in the Persian Gulf and instead station a substantial number of troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for the purpose of containing both Iran and Iraq.”lxiThe policy “also aimed to cause ‘dramatic changes in Iran’s behavior.’ Among its goals was forcing Iran to stop supporting terrorists and to abandon its nuclear program.”lxii By 1995, resistance to dual containment welled up again, as opposing equally two states that were bitter enemies seemed pointless and expensive, and Iran awarded an oil concession to US firm Conoco. Yet the Zionocracy prevented Conoco from accepting the concession, and strengthened the sanctions regime, against adamant opposition from a substantial business lobby of firms with stakes in Iranian and regional markets.lxiii

Out of power, the neoconservatives “promoted their views from a strong interlocking network of think tanks” which “became essentially a ‘shadow defense establishment.’”lxiv In 1996 eight US neoconservatives led by Richard Perle wrote the “Clean Break” manifesto for an Israeli think tank, urging the overthrown of the Saddam Hussein regime as the key step in reordering the region to secure Israel.lxv In 1997, a wider group of neoconservatives, including Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz founded the Project for a New American Century, which pressured the Clinton Administration to attack Iraq in public letters and other activity.

If the Reagan Administration was a “Camelot of the neoconservatives,” the George W. Bush administration was a Restoration. Clean Break authors and PNAC members entered the government. Clean Break became “‘a policy manifesto for the Israeli government penned by members of the current U.S. government.’”lxvi Still, the invasion of Iraq was not a foregone conclusion, until September 11, 2001. Contrary to Zionist publicists, Palestine was central to the grievances of Osama bin Laden and his 9/11 team. The “notion of payback for injustices suffered by Palestinians is perhaps the most powerfully recurrent in bin Laden’s speeches.”lxvii Before the 2004 presidential election, bin Laden “voiced amazement that Americans, deceived, he supposed, by their government, had yet to understand that he had struck America because ‘things just went too far with the American-Israeli alliance’s oppression and atrocities against our people.’”lxviii The presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, adduced by publicists as the primary grievance, was also a function of the US-Israel relationship. The 9/11 attacks gave the neoconservatives their opening. Israel had been denouncing Iran but was also eager to see Iraq destroyed. The “deciders” were assiduously persuaded, the intelligence was cooked to the neoconservative recipe, and Iraq invaded.

Stephen Walt, co-author with John Mearsheimer of the celebrated The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, dates “the decline of the American empire” from the 1991 Gulf war. “Indeed, one could argue that this invasion was the first step in a train of events that did enormous damage to the United States and its position in the world.”lxix Walt argues that the 2003 invasion “wrecked Iraq” and “destroyed the balance of power in the Gulf and improved Iran’s geopolitical position.”lxx F. Gregory Gause, scholar of Gulf international relations, finds that “the state that benefited the most from the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was Iran. Both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were serious opponents of the Islamic Repubic. With their removal and the subsequent domestic turmoil in both countries, Tehran was able to extend its influence into Afghanistan and Iraq in ways unimaginable under the old regimes.”lxxi

The “destruction of the balance of power” escalated Saudi antagonism to Iran and its allies, Hizbollah in Lebanon, Syria, and Shia-dominated Iraq. This has led to the near-destruction of Syria, as the “Arab Spring” protests against the Assad regime were exploited by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners to promote an armed rebellion against the Syrian government.lxxii This has threatened a regional conflagration, especially after a August 21, 2013 chemical weapons attack, of questionable provenance, on a rebel-held Damascus suburb.lxxiii The Obama Administration’s threat to attack Syria was swiftly undermined by a defeat for the UK government’s supporting motion in the House of Commons, and a mutiny in the US House of Representatives. Adroit Russian diplomacy secured the decommissioning of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal by the UN, removing the nominal casus belli of the western powers, and reopening US talks with Iran, against the furious opposition of Israel and the US Zionocracy. President Obama defended his policy to the Zionocracy at one of their think tanks, and Congress is attempting to pass new sanctions on Iran.lxxiv The neoconservatives speak in name of all pro-Israel American Jews, even if they disagree otherwise. The “neocons find allies among various Jewish Americans, who may not support all of their hard-line militaristic positions or their more conservative domestic positions, but agree on the issue of staunchly supporting Israel and its foreign policy objectives.”lxxv

The twenty-year campaign of Israel and its US partisans against Iran may be momentarily stalled, but the US has unleashed forces in the region that it cannot control, beginning with Israel. Palestine has been utterly destroyed. The Palestinians are divided into several populations under different regimes: the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Israeli population, and the refugee/diaspora populations; they are being inexorably cleansed from Jerusalem. The US is unable to coerce Israel into a just settlement with the Palestinians. Afghanistan has been devastated, and nuclear-armed Pakistan deeply unsettled. Iraq and Syria have been nearly destroyed as states. Regional developments will continue to erode Israel’s position, leaving it like a nuclear-armed crusader state in an increasingly hostile environment.

This world-historical catastrophe, induced above all by Zionism, has not produced a liberal epiphany in the Jewish establishment, but at most a loyal opposition. This is confirmed by the leftmost element of the organized Jewish scene, J Street, a family of organizations differing started in 2008 as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”lxxvi This means, basically, encouraging a “two-state solution” in order to preserve Israel as a Jewish state: “we have reached a moment in history where supporting a Palestinian state is the only way to ensure Israel’s survival as a democracy and a national home for the Jewish people.”lxxvii The powerful victor will consolidate his domination of a vestigial statelet:

Borders based on the 1967 lines with agreed reciprocal land swaps allowing Israeli incorporation of a majority of settlers, as well as Palestinian viability and contiguity; a sharing of Jerusalem that is based on demographic realities establishing the capitals of the two states and allowing freedom of access and respect for all holy sites; robust security arrangements; and an agreed upon resolution of the refugee issue that resettles refugees outside of Israel.lxxviii

This will be a Pax Hebraica: “American assistance to Israel, including maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, is an important anchor for a peace process based on providing Israel with the confidence and assurance to move forward on a solution based on land for peace.”lxxix J Street is indistinguishable from groups in the Conference of Presidents. lxxx One observer has called J-Street “AIPAC-lite.”lxxxi

Peter Beinart has emerged as favored commentator on American Jewish affairs in the New York Review of Books, following a 2010 article, “The Failure of the Jewish Establishment,” and a 2011 book, The Crisis of Zionism.lxxxii Beinart’s crisis is that the Jewish establishment has not pressed Israel to honor the liberalism of Zionism’s founders. He claims that Israel can be Jewish and democratic. “At the heart of the Zionist project is the struggle to reconcile these two valid but conflicting ideals… American Jews are helping it fail.”lxxxiii As Gabriel Piterberg states, in this view

Zionism refers to a progressively liberal or moderately social democrat national liberation movement, which sought a national home for the Jews with the peaceful consent of its neighbors, and which still holds the key for peace and for the perfectly feasible existence of a state that is simultaneously Jewish and democratic. All other forms are deviations from, and corruptions of, that true Zionism…I believe, however, that the goal of founding an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine by European Jews is a more or less continuous concept and praxis from Herzl’s foundational Zionism, through the settler movement in the Occupied Territories, to Sharon’s wall…From the perspective of Zionism’s victims, who have been dispossessed and cleansed by all Zionist varieties, this continuity outweighs the differences.lxxxiv

Beinart’s solution is the same as the Jewish establishment’s, “Jewish continuity” through Jewish education. “Defending Israeli democracy… requires ensuring that the American Jews most committed to democratic values remain Jews and pass Judaism on to their children. Liberal American Jews must feel a special commitment to Israel’s ethical character because they feel a special commitment to being Jewish.”lxxxv Yet “being Jewish,” above all else, is an unlikely choice in a free society, so choices must be constrained. “The best antidote to assimilation, by far, is education…through full-time Jewish schools,” which have been shown to prevent dreaded intermarriage.lxxxvi “Throughout the world, in fact, the intermarriage rate rises as the Jewish school attendance rate declines.”lxxxvii

For Beinart, Jewish support for public education is misguided. Because private education is expensive, even beyond the resources of Jewish philanthropy, Beinart proposes that the teaching of secular subjects in private Jewish schools be subsidized by public funds, while private funds support education in Jewish subjects. Beinart’s “solution” is to reproduce the Jewish ghetto. “‘I’m trying to live as a critic of Israel’s policies, from a moral perspective, inside the Jewish community,’ Beinart says, ‘and inside the fairly mainstream Jewish community, which is where I feel most at home.’”lxxxviii No doubt. Beinart recognizes that this path will take time. In the meantime he advocates support for J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby, and “‘Zionist BDS,’” against occupation-related activity. This limitation enables critics “to delegitimize Israel’s occupation while legitimizing Israel itself,” which is a profound conundrum to Beinart.lxxxix

Recently, Beinart has discovered “the cocoon the organized American Jewish community has built for itself.”xc “Speak to American Jews long enough about Israel and you begin to notice something. The conversation may begin with Israel, but it rarely ends there. It usually ends with ‘them.’”xci As in “‘they’ won’t accept Israel within any borders,” and “it is ‘they’ who teach their children to hate and kill.”xcii Beinart attributes this to the fact that “Palestinians do not speak in American synagogues or write in the Jewish press,” or speak at campus Hillels because of its guidelines about criticism of Israel and Zionism, which are representative of Jewish institutions. Mainstream Jewish “human rights advocates” are notorious for their total indifference or antagonism toward Palestinians. Beinart attributes this to ignorance, and believes that there are many “American Jewish leaders…who harbor no animosity toward Palestinians” but “know little about the reality of their lives.”xciii Beinart cannot see that this insularity is not a regrettable quirk or anomaly, but the wilful, direct product of the neo-ghetto society that he idealizes.xciv

Some in the Jewish liberal establishment know the truth. In a recent discussion with Israeli journalist Ari Shavit, The New Yorker editor David Remnick asked “whether Zionism is a historical mistake,” and called Israel’s concealing of its nuclear arsenal the “most ridiculous scam. Ridiculous! ”xcv

Beinart’s concerns are those of the “professional Jew,” as Elmer Berger derided them. Among the Jewish public, the inexorable forces of liberalism are at work, to the dismay of the professionals. The Jewish population is declining more or less from assimilation and exogamy, with secular disaffiliation from religion, from communal organizations, and from other Jews. These trends were decried in the Decennial Jewish Population Survey, undertaken in 1990, when it set off the “second Jewish continuity crisis,” and again in 2000, by the Jewish Federations. When the Federations did not commission the survey in 2010, the Jewish Daily Forward did, a relatively heterodox voice among the subsidized, establishment Jewish press.xcvi This “first-ever independent study of American Jews,” undertaken by the Pew Research Center, found that “Jewish America is on the brink of a massive generational shift in identity and practice.”xcvii “Young Jews are increasingly likely to say they have no religion, despite saying they are Jewish…These ‘Jews of no religion’ are far less likely to marry other Jews, raise their children Jewish, give to Jewish charities, belong to Jewish organizations, feel connected to the Jewish community, and care about Israel.”xcviii The survey further found that “most Jews care about Israel, but many are skeptical of the Israeli government—and that skepticism is most pronounced in younger Jews.”xcix “A quarter of Jews aged 18-29 thinks the US government supports Israel too much.”c One Jewish academic lamented that he couldn’t “‘spin this report as being a good news story. It’s a story of a community that’s contracting.’”ci Another emphasized that “‘they still identify as Jews,’” but they are not “Jews” who sustain “the community” of the first scholar.cii Such findings are making the claim that “the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and Israel is fast eroding” into a conventional wisdom of sorts.ciii

This remains to be seen. For the time being, the Jewish establishment has reacted to the Pew study like the tyrant who dismissed the people and appointed another. “‘You know who the Jewish establishment represents? Those who care,’ said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. ‘This is a poll of everybody. Some care, some don’t care. I think it’s interesting, we need to be aware,’ he said. ‘But I’m not going to follow this.’”civ

Disaffection is not the same as opposition. Other observers warn that “disillusion and disidentification” can lead “to withdrawal,” not Assimilation also prevents people “from caring much more about Israel…They are less alienated than indifferent,” or sympathetic to the Palestinians, but as much concerned about other issues.cvi The inchoate disaffection of the Jewish public does not necessarily augur change in the organized establishment. The default of the liberals may enhance the influence of the small, committed minority, the Orthodox, as in Israel.

The Russian Jewish immigrants brought the ghetto and its outlook from the Old World, like the Italians brought the Mafia. As noted, the American Jewish Committee once saw “obsolete European community models” as a barrier to Jewish integration, but with increasing acceptance and affluence began to recycle those models in the “first continuity crisis.” The June, 1967 war turned a normal degree of immigrant embourgeoisement into fanatical advocacy for Israel’s racialism and bellicosity, up to genocide and the clash of civilizations. We may therefore say that diaspora Jewish society and the Jewish state both serve the Jewish people, that in their organized, communal voice, Jews have abandoned the principle of liberalism for the principle of the militant Jewish Volk as the basis of society. The modern period of Jewish history turned out to be brief and unrepresentative, lasting symbolically from 1789 to 1967. This anti-modern climate has also affected those Jews whose opposition to Israeli policies leads to activism. The Jewish left, a fixture of post-1967 politics, combines Jewish affirmation with criticism of Israel’s occupation of the territories it conquered in that war.

The Jewish Left

Zionism and Israel did not figure in the early years of the North American New Left, from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. In this period, “Jews did not constitute an oppressed and impoverished minority group. Anti-Semitism was at its lowest level and Jews were economically among the most prosperous groups in the country.”cvii Israel “seemed securely established and was generally considered not much of a threat to the sovereignty and economies of the surrounding Arab countries. When the New Left did look beyond America’s borders, there were more pressing matters… especially the Vietnam war.”cviii

Moreover, the “New Left was the most ‘American’ movement since the early Socialist party at around the turn of the century…made up almost entirely of native-born Americans,” and “also more American than its predecessors in terms of its ideology and dominant themes.”cix This broad appeal was important to Jewish and non-Jewish members alike. Thus, like “their cosmopolitan Jewish predecessors in the pre-World War I Socialist party and in the student movement of the 1930s, the Jewish New Leftists did not desire to be tied to particularistic primordial groups and identities. They wanted instead to be part of a universalistic movement.”cx The Jewish radicals then did not “deny their Jewish roots, but they do not see them as a determinant of their political activism.”cxi“Most radicals are what Isaac Deutscher called ‘non-Jewish Jews,’ singularly unself-conscious about their Jewishness.”cxii In addition, “categories such as ‘ethnicity’ and ‘religion’ did not figure large in New Left thinking…the New Left was primarily concerned with ‘the individual,’ ‘man’ [sic], or ‘people.’ Class and occupational categories…were not as significant.”cxiiiOne ethnic division was important to the New Left, the civil rights movement.

The New Left fractured in the late 1960s, on lines of liberal humanism vs. Marxist rhetoric and analysis, violent resistance vs. non-violent, liberal civil rights politics vs. black power activism, and Israel vs. what was called the Third World, after the June, 1967 war. As quintessential middle class liberals, Jews in the New Left were affected by the first three, and often as Jews by differences over Israel. Black-Jewish relations on the left were affected by Israel especially, as black activists supported emphatically the Arab position. Those relations were further complicated by the 1968 New York teachers’ strike pitting a largely Jewish union against a largely black community control movement, which highlighted black-Jewish inequality.

The gentile, white New Left was seen as indifferent to or supportive of criticism of Israel after 1967, and of the alleged antagonism toward Jews of black nationalism, by many Jews in the New Left. These elements “desired to hold onto their New Left principles at the same time as they moved closer to a Jewish identity,” by forming the “Jewish New Left,” as the editors of an anthology of the movement called it.cxiv The “Jewish radical movement arose in part because of the growing concern over the New Left’s increasingly anti-Israel posture,” which “made it uncomfortable for many young Jews to remain silent. Furthermore, they felt compelled to challenge their peers who apologize for or “explain away” these positions.”cxvThus

an upsurge of Jewish consciousness hit the campuses, and a new voice—what we call the “Jewish Left”—appeared. Young Jews began to make demands for “Jewish studies” programs, to publish Jewish underground newspapers, to criticize Israeli policies while defending Zionism against Arab and pro-Arab attacks, and to confront the Jewish Establishment for “selling out” to the “American dream” while ignoring the needs of the Jewish community.cxvi

In their introduction, the editors of the Jewish Radicalism anthology examine the membership of the New Left, which was strongly, though hardly majority, Jewish, note its universalism before the late 1960s, and argue for some continuity between the earlier secular New Left and the new Jewish Left. “One radical, a former S.D.S. leader at Michigan, told us he was ‘frightened’ by his own ‘chauvinism’” over the 1967 war.cxvii The secular left persisted but was heavily influenced by Jewish views on the Middle East. One article in the Jewish Radicalism anthology originally appeared in Ramparts, a leading radical publication of the period.cxviii The editors ask of the pre-1967 non-Jewish Jewish left,

Why do they turn their backs on Jewishness? “Universalism”—the customary response—is not the answer, for it does not explain their support for national and racial liberation movements. The answer is far more subtle. In their view, the oppressed peoples of the Third World are attempting to overcome years of colonialism, including the negative stereotypes imposed on them by the colonialists. The cultural and political nationalism of these groups—blacks, Vietnamese, Quebec French, American Indians, and others—is seen as an essential ingredient toward liberation and self-determination.cxix

Dismissing the left’s universalism, and claiming—“far more subtly”—that “cultural and political nationalism” were ends in themselves, allowed the editors to depict American Jews as an oppressed minority and endangered culture. “The important difference is that while the Third World peoples struggle to survive, to exist as self-conscious and autonomous entities, American Jews are passively, quietly watching their culture (Yiddish, for example) drift away, with only a trace of anguish or outrage.”cxx This echoed the Jewish establishment’s chauvinism over the “continuity crisis” and “silent Holocaust” of liberalism.

The comparison of American and Israeli Jewry, highly affluent, educated and influential in the world, to American Indians, Indochinese peasants, and African-American slaves and their descendants, followed Israel’s smashing victory in a war which it began. Israel defeated three Arab states, and conquered an area several times larger than its existing territory, which it continued to occupy, torturing, expelling and oppressing the conquered population, who were the true analogues of American Indians, et al. The 1967 victory preceded the “radical Jewish” claim that “Zionism… is nothing less than the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.”cxxi

The political concerns of “Jewish radicalism” were opportunities to be militantly Jewish. “On the political side, the Jewish Left concerns itself with four basic issues: Israel, Soviet Jewry, the Jewish establishment, and Jewish oppression in America.”cxxii Soviet Jews were among the most accomplished and highly placed of Soviet citizens. Jewish religious and cultural expression was suppressed, as it was for all Soviet minorities. The impassioned campaign for Soviet Jewry, as if it was threatened by the Nazi Holocaust, culminated in the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Reform Act of 1974, linking most-favored nation status with freedom to emigrate, and was opposed by US diplomats, some of the Jewish establishment, and some Soviet dissidents. The amendment infuriated the Soviet leadership as interference in Soviet affairs. It was a major blow to detente and to Jewish emigration, which was greatly reduced until the reformist regime of Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s, and the subsequent collapse of the USSR.cxxiii

The radical concern with the Jewish establishment was mainly insufficient Jewishness, as defined by the radicals. “By far the most dramatic confrontation” took place at a 1969 Federation meeting in Boston; the leadership allowed a representative of the “young rebels” to address the meeting, and “throughout the meetings, the students pressed their demands: increased subsidies for Jewish day schools, improved curriculum and teacher training in Hebrew and religious schools, chairs, and departments of Jewish studies on college campuses, scholarship programs for students of Judaica, more dramatic efforts—political and educational—on behalf of Soviet Jews, student participation in Federation policy-making, and subsidies for student-initiated projects.”cxxiv Most of this fit the “continuity” and “survival” agenda, and such “Jewish radicalism” became or was becoming an establishment program, or was subsidized by it.

The “radical Jewish” concern for “Jewish oppression in America” was tragicomic chauvinism, like proclaiming Zionism the “national liberation movement of the Jewish people” after the June, 1967 war. Jews have ascended socioeconomically since they began arriving on American shores, even during the interwar period, when anti-Semitism, mild by European standards, was strongest, and it declined rapidly after World War II. Even by the 1940s American Jewry was powerful enough to overwhelm the opposition to Zionism of the US military and diplomatic establishments, and secure US support and patronage for a Jewish state in Palestine. This power forced the Eisenhower Administration to offer security guarantees outside the United Nations when Israel withdrew from the Sinai peninsula and Gaza after Suez. It secured arms sales and concealed Israel’s nuclear program from the US in the 1960s, and was the chief reason for US acquiescence in the June, 1967 war. In 1968 it forced the sale of advanced F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers to Israel, over military and diplomatic opposition, which allowed Israel to escalate radically the War of Attrition with Egypt. The radical Jewish claim of “Jewish oppression” echoed the establishment’s augury of a “new anti-Semitism” over criticism of Israel.cxxv

“Jewish radical” politics meant defending Israel as the state of the Jewish people in leftist terms. Ber Borochov’s Marxist Zionism, developed in Russia in 1903-5, was rediscovered and pressed into service. “Borochivism is emerging from the long historical winter of ideological hibernation and lives again in the thoughts and actions of young radical Jews for whom the idea of Borochov serve as the basis of Zionism as the national and international liberation movement of the Jewish people.”cxxvi

To the Marxist means and relations of production, Borochov added “conditions of production”, which subsumed territory, natural resources, language and culture. In the Russian Empire the Jewish economy lacked agricultural and industrial sectors, which isolated the Jewish proletariat in the later stages of production and consumer goods, and deprived the Jewish people of an agricultural foundation on their own soil. It was the task of the Jewish proletariat to channel Jewish migration to Palestine, where Jews would comprise all sectors of the economy, and the Jewish class struggle could properly be pursued.cxxvii Borochovism internalized anti-Semitic tropes about the “abnormality” of the Jewish socioeconomy and shared the Zionist idealization of agricultural labor on Jewish soil, which Zionism in turn shared with romantic nationalism.

Borochov had joined the Russian Social Democratic Party, from which he was expelled for advocating Zionism, and worked with a Zionist youth group under the direction of Menahem Ussishkin, of the bourgeois General Zionists. Borochov upheld Zionism among Russian Jewish youth against involvement in the Russian revolutionary struggle. Borochov’s contribution was called “the price paid to the ruling socialist ideology…this system of Borochov was of great value to Poale Zionism.”cxxviii Ussishkin supplied Borochov with funds to found the Workers of Zion party (Poale Zion), Ben-Gurion’s first party in Palestine. Borochov complained of being constantly accused of “‘selling the proletariat to the bourgeoisie for money.’”cxxix

The “Jewish radicalism” movement was oblivious to this. It held that the “radical Zionist” “must agree that Israel is central to Jewish existence in the 20th century and must be devoted to its survival”—as a Jewish state.cxxx One writer merged American and Israeli Jewry in dismissing the anomaly of a Jewish democracy. “What of the idea of a democratic, united Palestine with equality for people of all faiths? Well, first of all, we’re not a ‘faith’…We are a people, a nation…Israelis with an economy, class conflicts, revolutionary movements, and a shared determination to be allowed to exist as a nation.”cxxxi “When the United States, or Russia, or England…voluntarily gives up its right to exist, we volunteer to go second.”cxxxii “The radical Zionist movement is getting its shit together again, and we won’t be denied.”cxxxiii The US and England did not claim a “right to exist” as racialist states, but as liberal democracies, states of their citizens.

The “Jewish radicalism” movement included a measure of social justice, in addition to such hypertrophied chauvinism. However, what was radical, including criticism of the Vietnam war, of capitalism, of racism, and to a limited extent, of Israel, was not Jewish. What was Jewish, such as Jewish education, Hebrew language, and religious study, was not radical. The radicalism of “Jewish radicalism” was the determination to fuse the two, to establish Jewishness as an ontological category, in which life could be lived and universally judged. This was the left’s counterpart the mainstream embrace of the Volk.

“Jewish radicalism” arose as exemplars of classical left and liberal ideals which rejected Zionism, such as classical Reform Judaism, and Marxist internationalism, were criticizing 1967 and its denouement in fundamental terms. As “radical Jews” rediscovered Borochov’s ideas, Moshe Machover of Matzpen, the Israeli Socialist Organization, described their historic role as Zionist apologetics. He noted an Israeli Borochovist revival, supported by an official emissary, which lured Latin American Jewish youth away from Castroism to Israel, where they were rudely disillusioned, and openly mocked by the same emissary.cxxxiv

Rabbi Elmer Berger had led a heroic rear-guard action against the Zionist campaign for a Jewish state in the 1940s, the American Council for Judaism. In 1968 Berger founded a new organization, American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism, as the ACJ wavered amidst the 1967 hysteria. He stated of the American Committee for New Alternatives in the Middle East, which included figures from “Jewish radicalism”:

What is so distressing is that these people, just seeing the first light of dawn, have largely ignored what you and I and a few others have known and put on the record long ago. I find either a certain pretentiousness about this, or careless study. Or, perhaps, fear to identify with any of us because we have been targeted. Well, if they think they will be any more loved for their late discoveries, then they are still too naive to be in the big leagues.cxxxv

The “Jewish radicalism” movement started the “progressive Jewish” identity politics that has been a fixture since 1967, especially over Palestine. Thirty years later, journalist Esther Kaplan referred to the “old school of Jewish activism on Palestine…organizations from Breira in the 1970s to New Jewish Agenda, International Jewish Peace Union, the Road to Peace and Women in Black in the 1980s and early ’90s,” groups that succeeded the “Jewish radicalism” movement. They typically “sought to support and create audiences for the Israeli left, to educate and mobilize the American Jewish community against the occupation, to bring Israelis and Palestinians into dialogue.” This activism “navigated under the star of identity politics… Many activists felt personally implicated by Israel’s transgressions and were motivated in part by a deep urge to redeem the Jewish community… they still tended to speak of a ‘peace movement’ to resolve a ‘conflict’ between ‘two peoples.’”cxxxvi

Kaplan found that “in the past few years, these assumptions and strategies, even this emotional tone, have begun to seem anachronistic,” citing the International Solidarity Movement, which brought international volunteers to the West Bank and Gaza; the boycott/divestment sanctions movement; campaigns to eliminate US aid to Israel, and manifold other initiatives which arose during Israel’s provocation, and brutal suppression of, the al-Aqsa intifada starting in September, 2000. Kaplan found that new frameworks “leave behind the old model of two people with competing claims and dispense with the assumption that Jews have a privileged voice on the issue.” This new activism has “rewritten a story that was once about ‘Jews’ and ‘Palestinians’ as one…about ‘an oppressing entity and the people they are oppressing.’” It has “replaced the language of ‘conflict’ and ‘peace’ with that of ‘occupation’ and ‘justice.’”cxxxvii Kaplan concluded that “no effort tough enough to overcome that [Israeli] government’s intransigence will ever emerge from the American Jewish community… But new activists can and will throw down the gauntlet, framing the issue in ways that are not overly shaded by history, but which simply look at the current situation, recognize it for what is is, and demand that it end… We Jews can join in—many of us have—but we don’t own this movement any more.”cxxxviii

Writing in 2003, Kaplan curiously did not mention Jewish Voice for Peace, which was founded in 1996 and is the successor to the groups she listed. Kaplan insisted that no serious opposition to Israel “will ever emerge from the American Jewish community,” but JVP’s Rebecca Vilkomerson stated that “We are trying to create a space in the Jewish world where we can express our criticism as Jews without needing to apologize for ourselves.”cxxxix JVP’s Cecilie Surasky stated that “[t]here are two liberation movements. There is a Palestinian led liberation movement that we support as allies. And there is a Jewish liberation movement that we are leading. We have to liberate our own community from growing bigotry and empty nationalism and Jewish exceptionalism.”cxl Surasky seems anguished most not by suffering in Palestine but by the hostility of official Jewry. “‘It’s very painful to do this work and it’s very hard…I do not use the word McCarthyite lightly.’” “Jewish organizations in San Francisco have ‘banned us [JVP] from the Jewish public square.’”cxli This commitment to the Volk, despite Kaplan’s dismissal, continues the Volkism of “Jewish radicalism.” Decades of refinement have turned the flamboyant chauvinism of “Jewish radicalism” into precise calculations of Jewish obligation and advantage.

JVP’s answer to the “frequently asked question” “Are you Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist or something else? ” is that its “members hold a wide variety of views on many issues involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. This diversity has been a great source of strength for JVP.”cxlii JVP is Zionist in all but name.

Its discussion of Zionism emphasizes victimhood. Its video “Israel Palestine, an animated introduction” begins by asking, “What would happen if you built a refuge for a persecuted people in a place where another people already lived? ” JVP features a “primer” by Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar, two academics in Middle East studies; Beinin co-founded JVP in 1996. Beinin and Hajjar state that Zionism believed “that the only solution to anti-Semitism is the concentration of as many Jews as possible in Palestine/Israel and the establishment of a Jewish state there,” and that “Zionism gained adherents among Jews and support from the West as a consequence of the murderous anti-Jewish riots (known as pogroms) in the Russian Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Nazi genocide (mass murder) of European Jews during World War II killed over 6 million, and this disaster enhanced international support for the creation of a Jewish state.”cxliii

Zionism was not simply a response to racialist anti-Semitism in late 19th c. Europe, but a reaction also against liberalism and emancipation of Jews, as shown in Pinsker’s statement cited above. The “Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations under which they dwell, and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation.”cxliv For Pinsker and Zionism, freedom was not found in “the civil emancipation of the Jews in this or that state,” but in “the auto-emancipation of the Jewish people as a nation,” a nation descended from biblical times, elaborated in terms of “blood and soil,” like other “organic nationalisms” as Zeev Sternhell put it discreetly, including Nazism.cxlv

This ideological affinity with anti-Semitism was expressed in anti-Semitic tactics and practical cooperation with anti-Semites. Herzl frequented the salon of anti-Semitic publisher Edouard Drumont in Paris, and promised the czar’s minister of interior to silence Russian Jewish protest in return for Russian support for Zionism with Ottoman Turkey.cxlviDuring the Russian civil war, Zionists joined the anti-Bolshevik nationalist regime in the Ukraine, and promoted the regime abroad as anti-Bolshevik. Pogroms by the White forces killed at least 30-50,000 when the Red Army counterattacked.cxlvii Above all, the Zionist movement broke the promising Jewish-led boycott of Nazi Germany with the Transfer Agreement from 1933 onward. This arrangement purchased German goods with Jewish assets in Germany for export to Palestine and further sale as Palestine exports, with foreign exchange remitted to Germany.cxlviii Zionism opposed relief for imperiled Jews on humanitarian grounds because it detracted from Zionist aims in Palestine.

Beinin and Hajjar argue that Jews needed “a haven from European anti-Semitism,” as if a Jewish state in Palestine would obviously and necessarily have prevented the Judeocide. They claim that Britain’s 1939 White Paper limited Jewish immigration and land purchases when “the Jews in Europe…were facing extermination.” When the White Paper was published in the spring of 1939, the Nazi regime did not occupy most of Europe, and had no design for mass extermination. Meanwhile, “in the last months before the outbreak of war, British consular officials in the Reich were granting emigration visas to Britain virtually without limit.cxlix

The great majority of Jews in Germany and Austria managed to emigrate before war began, though some left for territories eventually conquered by the Nazis.clMost European Jews were not in Germany, but in Poland. One historian has estimated that “had the gates of Palestine been open in the 1930s…[i]nstead of 140,000 Polish olim during the entire [interwar] period, there would perhaps have been half a million who went to Palestine. (To be sure, even that figure would not have solved the Jewish question in Poland.)”cli Had the Nazis conquered Palestine, it would have been a death trap, not a refuge. The Judeocide happened because Hitler and Nazi Germany committed it, not because there was no Jewish state.

Beinin and Hajjar present Zionist and Arab claims to Palestine as if they cannot be adjudicated. Zionist claims are based “on the biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants” and “on the fact that this was the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel.”clii Arab claims are based on “continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years, and the fact that they represented the demographic majority.” They note that Arabs “reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the basis for a valid modern claim,” as if this were a partisan view.

Beinin and Hajjar claim that “Zionism, or Jewish nationalism, is a modern political movement. Its core beliefs are that all Jews constitute one nation (not simply a religious or ethnic community),” as if this is a “modern” belief.cliii It is the antithesis of modernity, as noted at the outset. Before the modern age, Jews lived in corporate communities, under Jewish religious law, as chartered by royal or noble authority. With the Enlightenment and emancipation, the corporate community ended; Jews were free from religious authorities and became secular citizens, equal to non-Jewish citizens. The concept of “secular Jew” in any juridical or political sense was anomalous. This is modernity, not Zionism, despite Beinin and Hajjar.

While liberalism failed catastrophically in Nazi Germany, it is today the overwhelmingly successful “solution to anti-Semitism,” but doesn’t interest Beinin and Hajjar. They acknowledge Orthodox religious anti-Zionism, but cannot name secular liberalism. “Some Jews…opposed Zionism out of concern that their own position and rights as citizens in their countries would be at risk if Jews were recognized as a distinct national (as opposed to religious) group.”cliv For Beinin and Hajjar liberalism was only an obstacle to Jewish collective destiny, not a positive program.

JVP’s “Mission Statement” tells us that “Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.”clv JVP has a new rabbinical council, but it was not founded as a religious group, and does not identify itself as one. The Yiddish socialist movements and German and American Jewish liberalism of progressive “Jewish tradition” did not express “Jewish values” but universal values. This “secular Jewishness” is either not Jewish, or simply privilege and prejudice, a form of Zionism.

JVP claims that “[b]ecause we are Jews, we have a particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view.” Moreover, “Israel claims to be acting in the name of the Jewish people, and it is up to us to make sure the world knows that many of us are opposed to their actions.”clvi JVP is not not mainly voicing an alternative view, but defending as much of the existing view as possible. The Beinin/Hajjar “primer” is Zionist lawyering, not education. JVP defends Zionism in principle, if not in practice, and proffers a minimal critique of “anti-occupation,” “law and rights,” and other discourses. This substitutes for the classical left and liberal traditions that rejected Zionism categorically as illiberal and anti-modern, which is the best way to show “opposition to Israel’s actions.”

Limiting critique to “the occupation” of the territories Israel conquered in the June, 1967 war implies that the condition is still transient after nearly 50 years, and is distinct from Israeli society itself, where anti-Arab racism recalls Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. The emphasis on “international law and human rights” is like depicting Nazism as violations of collective security and minority rights, while ignoring Nazi ideology and its militarism and racialism. These terms are not heroic and exemplary, but ludicrously minimal and grudging, and they permeate JVP’s program.

JVP limits BDS to “companies profiting from the occupation.” In 2003 JVP stated that they do “not now endorse a boycott of all Israeli products, but we disagree with claims made by some members of the Jewish community that such a boycott would necessarily be anti-Semitic.”clvii In 2011 JVP issued an additional statement, acknowledging the distinction between comprehensive and “anti-occupation” BDS, and trying to claim that the latter served the aims of the former.

As a force of U.S.-based Jews and allies, JVP has considered the full range of BDS campaigns, and has chosen to focus our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. We believe this to be the most effective way for JVP to help bring about the aims we share with the Palestinian BDS call.clviii

The emphasis on “occupation” misconceives the role and importance of BDS. Europe, not the US, is the main market for Israeli products, and BDS makes most sense there. The main obligation of US citizens is the overwhelming US official support of Israel in all forms. To the extent BDS in the US sanctions the state of Israel directly, by boycotting its products, or its institutions, it at least stigmatizes Israel, and raises questions about US policy. BDS directed against “companies profiting from the occupation” implies that corporate profits drive US policies and diverts attention from the real actors.

JVP pursues a Potemkin politics of “Jewish debate” by organizing debates on anti-occupation BDS with interlocutors who advocate arming and funding and supporting Israel politically to the hilt. J Street, the “pro-peace, pro-Israel” lobby, advocates “maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge” as “an important anchor for a peace process” along with “robust US foreign aid to Israel”.clix JVP’s Rebecca Vilkomerson debated BDS with J Street twice.clx In Boston Vilkomerson opposed a liberal hypocrite and a neoconservative, the range of organized Jewish opinion.clxi JVP’s first attempt was to invite the Jewish Federation of San Francisco to debate; the Federation didn’t respond.clxii This activity is like asking Murder, Inc. to plead guilty to manslaughter, when it commits first degree homicide with impunity. Posing the real question—should Israel be coerced by withholding US support—would reveal communal obduracy and dispel the illusion that it can be reformed.

In December the members of the academic American Studies Association voted by a 2-1 margin of those participating for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions, whereupon the Zionocracy launched a ferocious counterattack.clxiii The ASA action was seconded by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and the Modern Language Association has scheduled a panel on boycott at its January, 2014 meeting.clxiv JVP stood aside. “While Jewish Voice for Peace takes no position on academic boycotts, we do not believe that boycotts to pressure Israel to abide by international law are inherently anti-Semitic.”clxv As the hollowness of the attack on the ASA exposed Israel’s oppression and its US apologists, JVP tried to have it both ways, to “support” the ASA while still limiting critique to “the occupation.” “Whether you agree with the ASA’s boycott decision or not, please call your university and remind them that you support the right of the American Studies Association to respond appropriately to the ongoing violations of Palestinian academic freedom. Tell your university that you oppose calling the ASA’s actions anti-Semitic, when neither Jews nor Judaism are targeted.”clxvi

On the perennial question of a “solution,” JVP “endorses neither a one-state solution, nor a two-state solution. Instead it promotes support for human rights and international law.”clxvii JVP argues that any “successful solution will have to be based on collaboration between the two peoples,” and calls for US citizens to change “our own country’s involvement from an impediment to peace to a role that supports progress that is fair for all involved.”clxviii These anodyne prescriptions are the “solutions discourse” of maps, treaties, and false liberal Zionist precedents that still obscure the historic injustice of Zionism, its colonial conquest and dispossession of Arab Palestine.

The hoariest, most cherished dogma of the Jewish left attributes the US-Israel relationship to Israel’se “strategic asset” value, not to the “Israel lobby.” A 2004 JVP booklet, Reframing Anti-Semitism, informs us solemnly:

The trauma of the Holocaust for all Jews, especially Europeans, remains very much with us today. The Holocaust represented the ultimate betrayal of Jewish hopes that the modern, secular ideologies of socialism, communism and liberalism would at last free us from centuries of persecution. It convinced many Jews that we would always be at risk; that at any moment, no matter how good things seemed, the pogroms and exile would start all over again, and that the world does, and always would hate us.clxix

Novick dismissed the “trauma” theory. “But the available evidence doesn’t suggest that American Jews (let alone American gentiles) were traumatized by the Holocaust, in any worthwhile sense of that term. They were shocked, dismayed, saddened, but that’s not the same thing.”clxx As noted above, that is because the US has been a smashing success for Jews. Nonetheless, the Jewish left wields the Judeocide no less than the mainstream, not to assert “identity,” or to defend Israel, but to coerce the left.

JVP warns that “the relative success of Jews in the United States and some parts of Europe has spawned some reactionary rekindling of late 19th/early 20th century Jewish conspiracy theories, harkening back to the infamous Russian forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”clxxi Even worse, “it is a simple fact that there is a segment of the left that believes in Jewish conspiracy theories.”clxxii Rather than “trying to take on the behemoth that is the American government, the Christian Right, and the arms industry,” believing in a “Jewish conspiracy is much simpler.”clxxiii Tom Wolfe would have called this “mau-mauing the gentiles” had he been inclined to mock the powerful instead of the weak.clxxiv The late Tanya Reinhart, comedian Jon Stewart and veteran Israeli politico Uri Avnery have all compared the power of organized Jewry to the mythic Protocols.clxxv

Naturally, people are interested in their ancestry and backgrounds, and are perfectly free to attribute values to and derive inspiration from them, on an individual basis. The problem is not individuals thinking that “I’m Jewish and I oppose…” The problem is claiming that secular “Jewish ethics” and “Jewish tradition” are more than personal allusion and illusion, are collective social traits, and organizing as the Jewish people. This turns Jewish identity into a universal category, and replaces secular modernity with “Jewishness.” Nearly fifty years of the minimal critique noted here—discourses of anti-occupation, law and rights, solutions, strategic asset, and anti-anti-Semitism—is not Jewish civil rights, but privilege and prejudice, to put it very mildly, a form of Zionism.

The radical labor activist turned historian Noel Ignatiev recounted that

a friend was joshing me about being Jewish in some of my tastes and habits. I have never denied it, I replied (though I would prefer the term Yiddish), but that is not all I am: my musical preferences range from Mozart to Miles to the Rolling Stones; my sports heroes are Willie Mays, John McEnroe and Michael Jordan; my reading taste runs to Mark Twain and B. Traven… you get the idea. Like any person living in America, I am, according to Albert Murray (The Omni-Americans) ‘part Yankee, part Indian and part Negro,’ with a pinch of ethnic salt. Or as blues artist Josh White sang, I am African and Indian, Mexican, Mongolian, Tyrolean and Tartar—and that’s the news, yes that’s the news—that’s the free and equal blues.clxxvi

People in the Jewish left cannot arrive at this democratic appreciation, but insist on privileging one aspect of their being—and expect the world to privilege it also. Shlomo Sand has written three critiques of Zionism, The Invention of the Jewish People, The Invention of the Land of Israel and “How and when I stopped being Jewish,” not yet published in English.clxxvii In the first Sand rejected the historical basis for a “Jewish people,” and in the second the “historical attachment” to the “land of Israel.” In the third Sand argued “that if there is no such thing as a Jewish people, then secular individuals cannot, by definition, be Jewish. Step by step, he undermines, weakens and deconstructs the identity of secular Jews.”clxxviii This applies no less to North America, in different terms. Merely posing the question sets off a fanatical Kulturkampf, including on the “left.”

Noam Chomsky

The views of Noam Chomsky have dominated the secular left on the question of Palestine and US policy in western Asia, and on many other matters. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Chomsky was the pre-eminent social critic in North America for his writing and activism against the US war in Indochina and the role of intellectuals in service to power.clxxix Chomsky’s reputation has only grown since. In 1997 Chomsky was found to be “one of this century’s most important figures, and his been described as one who will be for future generations what Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Mozart, or Picasso have been for ours.”clxxx A decade later Chomsky

was voted the most important public intellectual in the world today…This result is hardly surprising; his contributions to linguistics and his theories regarding the workings of the human mind have rocked the intellectual world for more than fifty years…His crusade against the Vietnam War and his on-going critique of American foreign policy…his long-standing local and international activism, and his assessment (often with Edward Herman) of how media functions in contemporary society have made him a darling of political dissenters around the world… He is at once a beacon to the downtrodden, and… also an inspiration to President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, clxxxi

who recommended that world leaders read one of Chomsky’s books.

Chomsky surveyed the views of the New Left on Palestine and the Middle East in an article written for a 1970 conference on “The New Left and the Jews,” organized by the American Histadrut Cultural Exchange Institute in New York. This became a familiar event after 1967, Jewish intellectuals gathering in solemn conclave for a show trial of critics of Israel.clxxxii Chomsky appeared for the defense, and limited himself to “the student movement, omitting reference to the Black Liberation movement, whose attitudes toward the Middle East must be considered in terms of domestic American problems.”clxxxiii

Chomsky found that there “is no New Left doctrine on the Middle East. Rather, there is confusion, unhappiness, some—though limited debate—and a great deal of sympathy, often at a rather intuitive and barely articulated level, for socialist elements within the Jewish and Arab national movements.”clxxxiv As Chomsky proceeded to describe, the New Left was overwhelmingly supportive of Zionism and Israel, and tried to accomodate its sense of the injustices done toward the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab people to that imperative. Chomsky noted of an article by I. F. Stone in Ramparts in July, 1967, that it was “as always, pro-Israel.”clxxxv A 1969 symposium in Liberation featured a Beirut-based writer sympathetic to Al Fatah, Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian guerilla faction, an American and an Israeli writer, both described by Chomsky as very sympathetic to Israel, and Chomsky.clxxxvi

Chomsky’s own early writings, collected in 1974 in Peace in the Middle East? were perhaps the leading examples of this attitude; the ideas in his first articles were recycled from his teenage days as Zionist youth leader. He described himself as

enormously attracted, intellectually and emotionally, by what I saw as a dramatic effort to create, out of the wreckage of European civilization, some form of libertarian socialism in the Middle East. My sympathies were with those opposed to a Jewish state and concerned with Arab-Jewish cooperation, those who saw the primary issue not as a conflict of Arab and Jewish rights, but in very different terms as a conflict between a potentially free, collective form of social organization as embodied in the Kibbutz and other socialist institutions on the one hand, and, on the other, the autocratic forms of modern social organization, either capitalist or state capitalist, or state socialist on the Soviet model.clxxxvii

Chomsky elaborated this in discussing pre-1948 Zionism and the post-1967 period. He defined the Palestine question as a national conflict. “Locally, there is a conflict between two national groups, Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, each claiming rights in a territory of ambiguous boundaries that each regards as its national homeland.”clxxxviii “The participants in the Palestine tragedy of the last half-century perceive it as a national conflict: Jews against Arabs.”clxxxix The overriding issue “is the conflict between two nations that claim the right of national self-determination in the same territory.”cxc Chomsky defined a Jewish national right to settle Palestine:

The Zionist case relies on the aspirations of a people who suffered two millenia of exile and savage persecution culminating in the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history, on the natural belief that a normal human existence will be possible only in a national home to which they had never lost their ties, and on the extraordinary creativity and courage of those who made the desert bloom.cxci

Chomsky claimed that the Zionist movement officially supported binationalism, the Zionist idea that Palestine would be governed by political institutions in which power would be shared equally between Jews and Arabs. The first group to advocate binationalism was Brith Shalom, in 1925. The idea acquired new urgency with the Arab uprising in 1929. Chomsky cited Ben-Gurion’s 1930 internal party statement as evidence of official Zionist support for binationalism. “‘The regime in Palestine must at all times assure both the Jews and the Arabs the possibility of unhampered development and full national independence, so as to rule out any domination by Arabs of Jews, or by Jews of Arabs. The regime must foster the rapprochment, accord and cooperation of the Jewish people and the Arabs in Palestine.’”cxcii

Likewise he cited Labor Zionist Berl Katznelson’s 1931 statement to a party conference: “‘I do not wish to see the realization of Zionism in the form of the new Polish state with Arabs in the position of the Jews and Jews in the position of Poles, the ruling people. For me, this would be the complete perversion of the Zionist ideal.’”cxciii These views were superseded by the 1942 Biltmore Program calling for Palestine to be reconstituted as a “Jewish commonwealth.” Chomsky noted that “[o]pposition to a Jewish state continued on the left wing of the Histadrut (the Jewish labor movement) and among intellectuals such as Judah Magnes, Martin Buber and others who formed the Ihud [Union].”cxciv

Chomsky called the kibbutz “the most advanced socialist forms in existence, the germs of a just and egalitarian society,” while acknowledging that they “were constructed on lands purchased by the Jewish National Fund and from which Arabs were excluded in principle.”cxcvHe referred to “the outstanding contribution of the Zionist movement to modern history, the cooperatives, which…point the way to the future, if there is to be a future for the human race.”cxcvi In Chomsky’s view a “binational socialist” Palestine could have been created in the 1940s.

A social revolution that would be democratic and socialist, that would move both Arab and Jewish society in these directions, would serve the vital interest of the great majority of people in Palestine, as elsewhere. At least, this is my personal belief, and a belief that was surely a driving force behind the Jewish settlement of Palestine in the first place.cxcvii

Zionism “‘conceived the Jewish national revival more in terms of the realization of a harmonious “just society” than in terms of the realisation of Jewish political independence.’ Or to be more exact, this was a major element in the prewar settlement.”cxcviii Chomsky referred to “the egalitarian ideals and libertarian social structures of the Yishuv,” to the “principle expressed by the Jewish labor movement in 1924, that ‘the main and most reliable means of strengthening friendship, peace and mutual understanding between the Jewish people and the Arab people is… the accord, alliance and joint effort of Jewish and Arab workers in town and country’” against the Arab ruling classes and the British Empire.cxcix

As noted earlier, in their critique of Zionism and Israel, Chomsky and his followers in the left eschew the universalist legacy of the Enlightenment and emancipation—classical Reform Judaism, the Marxist internationalism in which Jews were prominent, and what the late Israel Shahak called the “modern secular Jewish tradition,” which he dated from Spinoza, the greatest of the 17th c. rationalist philosophers. These outlooks viewed Zionism as colonialism, and as a reaction against the modern emancipation and integration of Jews, viewed the Zionist Jewish people idea as atavistic and pre-modern, and rejected Zionism categorically. Several representatives of these traditions, figures of Chomsky’s stature, were writing in this period, as secular leftists, not Zionist youth leaders.

These authors depicted a colonial struggle between conquerors and oppressed, not between two “nationalisms” with “equal rights,” as Chomsky did. Isaac Deutscher, the Polish literary and political writer, anti-Stalinist communist and biographer of Stalin and Trotsky, stated of Israel/Palestine that the “nationalism of the people in semi-colonial or colonial countries, fighting for their independence, must not be put on the same moral-political level as the nationalism of conquerors and oppressors,”cc while also noting that such nationalism faced challenges and was not exempt from criticism.

Maxime Rodinson, the French Marxist scholar of Islam and the Arab world, described the colonial nature of Zionism before the Union of Jewish Students in France in 1964, a prelude to his Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? which appeared as the June, 1967 war ended.cci He identified “an indifference linked to European supremacy, which benefited even Europe’s proletarians and oppressed minorities,” noted the “Jewish colonial community” proposed by Pinsker, of bourgeois background, and situated Herzl in the “great imperial groundswell.”ccii Rodinson dismissed the notion of historical attachment to Palestine that Chomsky found self-obvious.

It is only in order to refresh memories that I will mention the historical rights to the land of Palestine that are said to have been bequeathed to all Jews, since I would not insult my readers by believing they could be impressed by this argument.cciii

Rodinson repeated this the next year in Israel and the Arabs. He described “essentially… the struggle of an indigenous population against the occupation of part of its national territory by foreigners. Of course there are many other sides to the conflict which could be brought out. None of these, however, seems relevant to its basic definition.”cciv He stated again that the Zionist settlers

cannot be said to have a historic right to a piece of territory because some of their ancestors supposedly inhabited it two thousand years ago. For another, they ought to recognize that they have done a considerable wrong to another people, in depriving them of rights at least as great as their own.ccv

In liberal terms Israeli Jews would have secular Israeli Hebrew nationality or ethnicity, as discussed by Boas Evron, Moshe Machover and Tikva Honig-Parnass of Matzpen, and others.ccvi

The universalists dismissed the pretensions of “Zionist socialism.” Matzpen found that the kibbutz’s “elements of ‘free socialism’ have fascinated many intellectuals and socialists in the West” but also noted its historical importance for Zionist colonization, its ideological conformity, and its capitalist practices and decline.ccviiIn the early 1950s Chomsky “spent several very happy months working in a Kibbutz and for several years thought very seriously about returning permanently.”ccviii Around that time Isaac Deutscher visited Israel. He extolled the kibbutz, but found it past its prime as a social force, and notable mainly for its military role. “It is still the chief bulwark of Israel’s defence. It bore the brunt of the war of independence…The structure of its organization makes of the kibbutz an ideal military colony and militia…The bastions of Israel’s Utopian socialism bristle with Sten-guns.”ccix

Rodinson argued that “David Ben Gurion, like others in his group, was a non-Marxist socialist. But socialism was for them a means, not an end. Their dream was not to create a more just and freer society for all men, but to regenerate the Jewish people within its own state. Those among the Jews most deserving of sympathy and most capable of realizing such a project were the workers.”ccx Rodinson dismissed Chomsky’s Zionist evocation of Arab-Jewish class solidarity. The

Palestine War [1948] was not seen by anyone in the Arab lands as a war of liberation led by anti-British, and hence anti-colonialist, Jewish revolutionaries against pleasure-seeking feudal lords who pushed stupefied and mule-like peasants in front of them to safeguard their own class interests—as the version widely accepted by the European left would have it (a version I challenged thirteen years ago, thereby winning insults in Les Temps Modernes).ccxi

Rodinson found such thinking paternalistic and condescending at best. “The theoreticians of Jewish nationalist socialism paid very little attention to the societies their project threatened to hurt or destroy…they naively thought that a renewal of the Jewish community could have only a beneficial effect on these societies… The analogy with the French colonizers, imbued with the democratic ideology of the French revolution, is obvious.”ccxii

Martin Buber, one of Chomsky’s proponents of binationalism and Arab-Jewish cooperation, had issued a grim ultimatum at the 1921 Zionist Congress, the first held after World War I. Buber proclaimed that a

strong nucleus of the Jewish people is determined to return to its ancient homeland, there to renew its life, an independent life founded on labor which shall grow and endure as an organic element of a new humanity. No earthly power can shatter this determination, whose strength is found in the lives and deaths of generations of our pioneers. Any act of violence against us because of it sets the seal of blood on our national will.ccxiii

This declaration and the proposed immigration—the usurpation of another people’s country, under the patronage of an imperial power—were inherently violent. Buber claimed instead that only violent resistance would make this usurpation violent. In 1921 Hitler was a beer hall agitator. Buber’s declaration is part of Zionism’s history as a right-wing movement, not one of relief from persecution. Buber later declared that “[a]nyone who regards our undertaking as…simply in order to maintain our existence ignores the uniqueness of our activities” and has a “misconception of our task,” which is part of his mystification of Zionism.ccxiv

In 1919, before any substantial immigration related to the Balfour Declaration and the British conquest, Arabs were over 90% of the population of Palestine; many Jewish residents and their ancestors long preceded Zionism in Palestine, and opposed it.ccxv In 1921, even after a post-World War I wave of immigration (“Third Aliyah”), Jews were 11.6% and Arabs 88.4% of the population of Palestine. In 1925, when the binationalist Brit Shalom was established, Jews were 16.8% and Arabs 83.2% of the population. In such circumstances the binationalist offer to share power equally in the name of peace and cooperation was outrageous chutzpah and hypocrisy. By liberal standards, sovereignty and immigration policy should have democratically embodied the will of the indigenous people, the Palestinian Arabs.

In 1929 Jewish provocation at a holy site in Jerusalem led to an Arab uprising in which 120 Jews and 87 Arabs were killed. The uprising shook British policy to its foundations; investigations led to limits on immigration and land sales, and a new emphasis on Britain’s obligations to the indigenous population.ccxvi This was the context for the statements of Ben-Gurion and Katznelson that Chomsky quoted. Susan Hattis, an Israeli scholar, stated in her 1970 study of binationalism that

at certain junctures official Zionism could have been made to swallow the bi-nationalist idea if both the British and the Arabs had been determined to have it accepted. But as no pressure was exerted on the Zionists to this effect…they struggled through periods of weakness leaving behind some moderate speeches and declarations, but little permanent effect on policy.ccxvii

Irene Gendzier, in her introduction to the first edition (1974) of Chomsky’s articles defending binationalism, found that “binationalist attitudes and supporters were exploited by the Zionist Executive and the Jewish Agency, at those times when bitter confrontations between Jews and Arabs warned of the dangers ahead. Parity and non-domination were terms heard when the Jewish minority was small.”ccxviii The London Zionist lobby succeeded in reversing the British government’s reconsideration of Zionism after the 1929 events, and the pressure was off.ccxix

As a teenager Chomsky was a fellow traveler with Young Guard (Hashomer Hatzair), a Zionist youth movement. Young Guard began as a Buberite youth group in Galicia before World War I, not as a branch of Workers of Zion, Borochov’s Zionist Marxist party.ccxx The Guard acquired a socialist vocabulary after the Russian revolution, and after the war many emigrated to Palestine where they founded kibbutzim. After 1929 Young Guard advocated binationalism, but insisted on a Jewish majority, reconciling the two with the chimera of socialism. The “‘final aim is the setting up of a bi-national socialist society in Palestine and the neighborhood… Why does one not speak of a Jewish state? Because Marxism sees in the state only a transitory stage… We want a national majority, but we are in favour of complete equality between the nations.’”ccxxi Young Guard shared the standard Labor Zionist view that Zionism represented the true interests of the “Arab workers,” and viewed Arab opposition to Zionism as the work of reactionary “effendi” leadership.

In 1939 the binationalists grouped as the League for Arab-Jewish Rapprochement (except Young Guard) and proposed frankly racialist constitutional and demographic engineering schemes to increase immigration to parity with the Arabs and beyond. There were no Arab takers, and Magnes lashed out in frustration. “As to the other side, the so-called Arabs, they are no more true Arabs than I am a South Sea Islander… The Arabs live far from here. There is not much to do with these people here.”ccxxii Young Guard joined the League in June, 1942, after obtaining agreement that “[w]hile accepting agreed-upon immigration quotas, the League is, however, opposed to any tendency to crystallize the Yishuv as a minority in Palestine.”ccxxiii Magnes and others proposed federation of Palestine with neighboring Arab states, since in a federation the “Arabs would be relieved of their present fear of being swamped and dominated by a majority of Jews.”ccxxiv

In 1945, Jews were 32.3% of the population. It is argued that the Jewish settlement in Palestine opposed being a minority after the war and the Judeocide, but two wrongs do not make a right. It is also argued that there was no place but Palestine for the Jews in the displaced persons camps in Europe, but American Jewish leaders emphatically opposed a proposal from Roosevelt about admitting refugees after the war. Zionist agents entered the DP camps and falsely represented the desires of the refugees to go to Palestine, and even drafted them into military service.ccxxv

The binationalist Ihud (Union) group of Magnes, Buber and other notables arose from the League in September 1942. In 1946 Magnes emphasized to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that “‘there is no one in Ichud who wants the Yishuv to remain a permanent minority.’”ccxxvi “‘Ichud stands for a continuation of immigration and is opposed to fixation of the Yishuv as a permanent minority. Ichud’s aim is the creation of a political and economic situation enabling the absorption of the greatest possible number of Jewish immigrants in Palestine.’”ccxxvii Young Guard warned the Committee that the idea “that nothing should be done unless the Arabs consent to it, is doomed to failure.” It likewise accused “reactionary Arab leaders” who forsook “national emancipation of a progressive [Zionist] character” of a “deliberate contribution to failure,” i.e., of not capitulating to their veiled ultimatum.ccxxviii In a debate with Martin Buber in 1947, an Arab League diplomat described a conflict “between the indigenous people of Palestine, who are in the majority, who are determined to keep their country and want independence immediately, and a group of Jews—not the whole of Jewry—who regard Palestine as theirs by right and who want to come in unrestricted numbers and have a Jewish National State.”ccxxix Most of the above passages are from Hattis’s 1970 study of binationalism.

Subsequent scholarship has overwhelmingly confirmed the critical judgments. Gershon Shafir’s outstanding Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914 showed the origin of the kibbutz in late 19th c. German schemes to address a Polish “demographic threat” in the eastern Reich.ccxxx Proposals for settlement in the eastern Reich developed by German Zionists were donated to the World Zionist Organization, and implemented in Palestine under the direction of Arthur Ruppin, head of the WZO’s Palestine Office, with some experimentation. Ruppin’s initiatives enabled the Ashkenazi Jewish agricultural workers of the Second Aliyah, Ben-Gurion’s cohort, to achieve the “conquest of Hebrew labor” by removing the competition of Arab workers and Yemeni Jews that they faced in the labor market on large capitalist plantations.

The kvutza, a small, communal, agricultural settlement, gave the Ashkenazi Jewish workers modest but secure homes and livelihoods on exclusive terms. The kvutza became the kibbutz, the key institution of Zionist colonization. It was the practical result of two decades of attempts to sustain a Jewish settler population, not of European socialist ideology. That view that was grafted on by the Third Aliyah, immigrants from the Russian revolution in 1919-23, and sustained by generations of diaspora Jewish left Zionists, though it was not widespread in Israel until after the 1967 war.ccxxxi

Another study denied that the Zionist movement ever intended to cooperate with the Palestinian Arabs. A

careful comparison of Ben-Gurion’s public and private positions leads inexorably to the conclusion that this twenty year denial of the conflict was a calculated tactic, born of pragmatism rather than profundity of conviction. The idea that Jews and Arabs could reconcile their differences through class solidarity, a notion he championed between 1919 and 1929, was a delaying tactic. Once the Yishuv had gained strength, Ben-Gurion abandoned it. The belief in a compromise solution, which Ben-Gurion professed for the seven years between 1929 and 1936, was also a tactic, designed to win continued British support for Zionism.ccxxxii

A third study held that the Zionist movement denied

the existence of a distinct Palestinian Arab people with a legitimate claim to the country. This was implicit in the Zionist movement’s key demands: the right of unlimited Jewish immigration to Palestine and land acquisition in it, and (explicitly from 1942) a Jewish state in all or most of Palestine. Achievement of these goals would inevitably consign the country’s indigenous Arab population to either submersion in a Jewish majority or departure from the scene, voluntarily or otherwise.ccxxxiii

Chomsky cited the Zionist principle of “‘accord, alliance and joint effort of Jewish and Arab workers in town and country’” as “‘the main and most reliable means of strengthening friendship, peace and mutual understanding between the Jewish people and the Arab people’” against the Arab ruling classes and the British Empire. This was simply a gambit to deny the existence of a Palestinian Arab people and discredit their opposition to Zionism. The only way for the Labor Zionists

to reconcile their commitment to Zionism with their socialist principles was to deny the existence of a Palestinian Arab people, to define Palestinian nationalism as inauthentic, and to attribute all opposition to Zionism to the machinations of a reactionary and antisemitic elite… the apparent failure of all too many Arab peasants and workers to understand that Zionism (in its left-wing variant, at least) was entirely in their interest could only be explained by the pseudonationalist effendis and their agents.ccxxxiv

In 1985 Chomsky acknowledged that binationalism was a pipe-dream, in a candid conversation with a biographer. “[I]n retrospect, I’m afraid that most of this was wish-fulfillment, including the whole Avukah-League for Arab Rapprochement story, but I did believe it at the time.”ccxxxv In a 1999 interview he referred to the “ideological constructions, which I recall very well… The doctrine was that Jewish and Arab workers should be pursuing common interests in opposition to rich Arab landowners and British imperialists; a fine ideal, but very far from the reality.”ccxxxvi To be precise, it was a Zionist attempt to disguise its usurpation of Palestine in leftist terms.

More recently Chomsky has repeated his earlier claim that socialist binationalism was possible in the 1940s. In 2004, Chomsky stated: “Until December 1942, the Zionist movement had no formal commitment to a Jewish state. Until the state was established in May 1948, opposition to a Jewish state was within the Zionist movement.”ccxxxvii In an interview in September, 2010, he again stated: “I had been what was then called a Zionist youth leader, now it would be called anti-Zionist youth leader.” “Back in the 1940s, before the state was established, one part of the Zionist movement, and not a small part of it, was opposed to a Jewish state.” “A substantial part of the workers’ movement in Israel, then Palestine, was anti-state. That was the official position of Hashomer Hatzair [Young Guard], which was perhaps half of the kibbutz movement, and it was probably 20% of the Histadrut…about a quarter of the population of the Yishuv was opposed to a Jewish state.” “Being opposed to a Jewish state was part of the Zionist movement.”ccxxxviii

The reason may be Israel’s engorgement of the West Bank, and the increasing call for a unitary state. Chomsky insists that only a two-state solution is “realistic,” and cites his earlier “binationalism” as evidence of sincerity. “If you’re really in favor of a one-state solution, which in fact I’ve been all my life—accept [except? ] a bi-national state, not one state—you have to give a path to get from here to there. Otherwise, it’s just talk. Now, the only path anyone has ever proposed—is through two states as the first stage.”ccxxxix

Chomsky is reluctant to abandon the kibbutz. In a 1987 interview he stated that the “ideological conformity was appalling.” He recognized “the exclusiveness and the racist institutional setting” of these “Jewish institutions” and their “legal and administrative structures and practice” and “the land laws and the role the institution plays in the Israeli system.”ccxl Yet he still claimed that “if we abstract away from those factors, the external environment, it was a kind of anarchist community.”ccxli In the 1999 interview Chomsky claimed that “[i]n some respects, the Kibbutzim came closer to the anarchist ideal than any other attempt,” while again acknowledging the racism and conformism and its structural role.ccxlii The radicalism of Zionist collective settlement was not social but racial. The members of the kvutzot and kibbutzim were völkisch activists, not anarchists or socialists. Chomsky has never cited Shafir’s outstanding study, which Gabriel Piterberg, another leading critical Israeli scholar, called “one of the most fundamentally radical critiques of Zionism I am aware of.”ccxliii

Chomsky found it “characteristic of American ethnic minorities that they tend to support the right-wing forces in the national societies to which they often retain a cultural or economic connection. The American Jewish community is no exception.”ccxliv Nor are Chomsky and the Jewish left. Despite ample confirmation of the universalist critique of Zionism, and the death and destruction it has wrought, Chomsky is full of völkisch nostalgia. Unsurprisingly, Chomsky is on the JVP advisory board and recently sent a fund-raising email: “These days, there are really only a handful of Jewish organizations that honor the traditions of universal equality that inspired me to be an activist so many years ago. Jewish Voice for Peace is one of them.”ccxlv

The Jewish establishment and the Chomskyite left share loyalty to the Jewish Volk, though they interpret it differently. The latter express it in the circumscribed critique noted here: discourses of “anti-occupation”; “law and rights”; “solutions”; “progressive Zionism”; “strategic asset”; and “anti-anti-Semitism”. As any attentive reader knows, this is argument-spinning, logic-chopping and lawyerly haggling, designed to maximize Jewish advantage and minimize Jewish obligation. This is Chomsky’s “universal equality.” Philip Weiss has attributed Chomsky’s adamant deprecation of the “Israel lobby” to anti-gentilism.ccxlvi

A universalist critique would oppose Zionism, not “the occupation.” It would recognize Zionism not simply as settler colonialism in Palestine, but as Jewish racialism, opposing Jew and gentile everywhere. It would acknowledge Zionism as the major source of genocide and destruction in western Asia, and the source of Jewish chauvinism and separatism in the US and other liberal societies. It would reject the Zionist idea of the Jewish people in whose name the state of Israel and organized Jewry act. It would not fetishize “solutions” in maps and treaties in Palestine but focus on overcoming US support for Zionism. It would condemn the role of US organized Jewry and the Zionocracy as a quasi-sovereign, radicalizing force in US Middle East policy. It would defend a secular realm in which we think and act together. It would do this in the name of the people of Jewish background who contributed so much to modernity, from Spinoza onward, whose legacy towers over Zionism.

Instead the Chomskyite left has spun, chopped and haggled down its obligations for nearly fifty years, and won its great victory. Palestine is destroyed; Israel’s opponents are co-opted, in ruins, or under mortal threat; the US is fast becoming a police state; and criticism of Zionism’s central role is still marginal in the US. This has been a catastrophic failure, comparable to the German Communist Party’s disastrous misreading of Hitler and Nazism, which weakened the left and assisted their rise to power, and all that followed.

This article appeared in Left Curve, #38.


i Albert S. Lindemann, The Jew Accused. Three Anti-Semitic Affairs (Dreyfus, Beilis, Frank) 1894-1915 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 33

ii ibid.

iii Leon Pinsker, Auto-Emancipation, (January 4, 2014)

iv Jacob de Haas, “Brandeis in Zionism,” Menorah Journal v. XIV n. 2, February, 1928, p. 135

v Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America (New York: Knopf, 1992), p. 249

vi ibid.

vii Marianne Sanua, Let Us Prove Strong. The American Jewish Committee, 1945-2006 (Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2007), p. 20

viii ibid., p. 9

ix ibid., p. 94

x Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1999), p. 19

xi ibid., p. 114. This postwar emphasis on liberalism and integration is often explained as defensiveness over the charge of political radicalism among Jews, supposedly exemplified by the persecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and others for betraying nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. This is exaggerated. “Antisemitism played no role in the arrest and conviction” of the Rosenberg defendants. (A History of the Jews in America, p. 638) The judge and prosecutor and his staff were Jewish; while the capital prosecution and sentencing were vindictive, they owed as much to political ambition as any Jewish insecurity. The Jewish establishment, including the AJC, condemned the Rosenbergs as guilty (correctly), and attacked their defenders. The AJC also defended Jews who were being attacked for anti-Semitic reasons, which cleared a nominee for assistant secretary of defense and collapsed several investigations. The Jewish bourgeoisie were simply Cold War liberals, like many of their gentile social counterparts.

xii Sanua, Let Us Prove Strong, p. 115.

xiii Jonathan Woocher, Sacred Survival. The Civil Religion of American Jews (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1986), p. 65

xiv ibid., p. 66

xv Sanua, Let Us Prove Strong, p. 248.

xvi ibid., p. 65

xvii ibid., p. 65

xviii Uriel Heilman, “Advocacy effort has Jewish schools reaping hundreds of millions in gov’t money,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 1, 2013

xx Novick, The Holocaust in American Life, p. 133.

xxi ibid., p. 150, quoting Jacob Neusner

xxii ibid., p. 186

xxiii ibid., p. 153

xxiv ibid., p. 152

xxv Salo W. Baron, “Ghetto and Emancipation: Shall We Revise the Traditional View? ” Menorah Journal v. XIV n. 6, June, 1928; Baron insisted on this view after the Judeocide; see Michael Stanislavski, “Demystifying Jewish History.”

Stanislavski was at the time of writing Nathan Miller Professor of Jewish History at Columbia; Baron had been the first Miller professor. It must be emphasized that in dismissing the “lachrymose view” of pre-modern Jewish history Baron was qualifying as well the benefits of emancipation, in an alleged loss of value of the traditional “community.” This is the typical idealization of the bourgeois Zionist. Baron came from a wealthy Polish Jewish family.

xxvi Novick, The Holocaust in American Life, p. 176.

xxvii ibid., p. 181. Statements from Vanessa L. Ochs, Aviva Cantor, Leslie Brody and Arthur Hertzberg are cited, in sources that include books, Tikkun magazine and the New York Times Book Review.

xxviii ibid., p. 185

xxix ibid., pp. 178, 181

xxx Jacob Neusner, Stranger at Home. “The Holocaust,” Zionism and American Judaism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), pp. 135-6

xxxi ibid., p. 135.

xxxii ibid., p. 136; original emphasis

xxxiii ibid., p. 137, quoting Mordechai Kaplan, founder of “Reconstructionist” Judaism.

xxxiv ibid., p. 31

xxxv ibid., p. 32

xxxvi See the positions of Americans for Peace Now, a member of the Conference of Presidents. AFPN is the affiliate of a group of Israeli reserve military personnel founded to support Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s overtures to Israel in the late 1970s. The AFPN web site is (January 4, 2014); note especially the views of “security” commentator Yossi Alpher.

xxxvii See Nathan Guttmann, “Grassroots Jewish Groups Push for Tough Line on Iran, Despite Barack Obama’s Thaw,” Jewish Daily Forward, October 25, 2013

J.J. Goldberg, “Jewish Groups Back New Sanctions, Senators Split,” Jewish Daily Forward, December 20, 2013

JCPA web site.

xxxviii See (December 25, 2013)

xl Avraham Burg, The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 158, quoting Konrad Adenauer, Germany’s first post-war chancellor.

xlii Murray Friedman, The Neoconservative Revolution. Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 152

xliii Stephen Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal. The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel (Norfolk, VA: Enigma Editions, 2008), p. 37

xliv ibid., p. 37

xlv ibid., p. 37, quoting Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute, a neocon think-tank

xlvi ibid., p. 40, quoting Paul Gottfried, The Conservative Movement revised edition (New York : Twayne Publishers, 1993).

xlvii ibid., p. 40, quoting Paul Gottfried

xlviii Gary J. Dorrien, Imperial Designs Neoconservativism and the New Pax Americana, (New York: Routledge, 2004), p. 195

xlix Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal, p. 41.

l ibid.

li James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans. The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), p. 113; Geoffrey Wawro, Quicksand. America’s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East (New York: Penguin Press, 2010), pp. 405-6

lii Eric Alterman, Sound and Fury. The Making of the Punditocracy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Florida Press, 1993), p. 229

liii ibid., p. 235

liv ibid., p. 230

lv ibid.

lvi See The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, p. 428, n27, for Buchanan’s statement and other citations about “Israel lobby” advocacy.

lvii Elizabeth Drew, “Letter from Washington,” New Yorker, February 4, 1991.

lviii David Rogers, “Pro-Israel Lobbyists Quietly Backed Resolution Allowing Bush to Commit U.S. Troops to Combat,” Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1991

lix David Rogers, “Pro-Israel Lobbyists Quietly Backed Resolution Allowing Bush to Commit U.S. Troops to Combat,” Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1991. Organized Jewry unanimously supported the war, and worked with Representative Stephen Solarz, who organized liberal war votes in the House. Otherwise the vote of Jewish lawmakers split on party lines. The Jewish press emphasized the split Jewish vote, but conceded AIPAC’s influence. See Larry Cohler, “Goodbye to the ‘amen corner,’” Washington Jewish Week, January 17, 1991.

lx John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Farar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), pp. 286-7

lxi ibid., p. 287

lxii ibid.

lxiii Sasan Fayzemanesh, The United States and Iran. Sanctions, wars and the policy of dual containment (New York: Routledge, 2008), p. 75, for Conoco. The book shows how the Zionocracy outflanked business interests

lxiv Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal, p. 83.

lxv Richard Perle, et al., “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, 1996.

lxvi Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal, p. 90. See also Grant Smith, ed., Neocon Middle East Policy: The ‘Clean Break’ Plan Damage Assessment, (Washington: Institute for Research: Middle East Policy: 2005)

lxvii Max Rodenbeck, “Their Master’s Voice,” New York Review of Books, March 9, 2006

lxviii Rodenbeck, “Their Master’s Voice”

lxix Stephen M. Walt, “When did the American empire start to decline?” August 2, 2011

lxx Stephen M. Walt, “When did the American empire start to decline? ”

lxxi F. Gregory Gause III, The International Relations of the Persian Gulf (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 168

lxxiii Seymour Hersh, “Whose Sarin?”, London Review of Books, December 19, 2013

lxxv Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal, p. 32.

lxxvii ibid.

lxxxi Philip Giraldi, “My Problem with J Street,”, October 29, 2009

lxxxii Peter Beinart, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” New York Review of Books, June 10, 2010.
Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism (New York: Times Books, 2012). This is a work of loyal opposition, and for all that, it was attacked in the major Jewish and gentile media.

lxxxiii Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, p. 12.

lxxxiv Gabriel Piterberg, The Returns of Zionism. Myth, Politics and Scholarship in Israel (New York: Verso, 2008), p. 30.

lxxxv ibid., p. 183

lxxxvi ibid., p. 184

lxxxvii ibid., p. 185

lxxxviii Jason Zengerle, “The Israeli Desert,” New York, June 3, 2012.

lxxxix Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, p. 193, original emphasis.

xc Peter Beinart, “The American Jewish Cocoon”, New York Review of Books, September 26, 2013.

xci ibid.

xcii ibid.

xciii ibid.

xciv The same thing is happening in Britain. See Marcus Dysch, “Are British Jews living in new ghettos? Warning over growing insularity as community concentrates in fewer areas,” The Jewish Chronicle On-Line, December 19, 2013.

xcv Philip Weiss, “Remnick asks Shavit whether Zionism is a historical mistake,” Mondoweiss, December 23, 2013.

xcvi The Forward is the former Yiddish Vorwerts, one-time voice of the Yiddish-speaking immigrants. See also Luke Ford, interview with Larry Cohler-Esses, June 20, 2004.

xcvii Josh Nathan-Kazis, “Jews Bound by Shared Beliefs Even as Markers of Faith Fade, Pew Study Shows. Denominations Shrink, Intermarriage and ’No Religion’ Rises,” Jewish Daily Forward, October 1, 2013.
See also J.J. Goldberg, “Pew Survey About Jewish America Got It All Wrong,” Jewish Daily Forward, October 18, 2013;
and Alan Cooperman and Greg Smith, “Pew Stands By Sweeping Findings on #JewishAmerica in Face of Criticism,” Jewish Daily Forward, October 15, 2013.

xcviii ibid.

xcix ibid.

c ibid.

ci ibid.

cii ibid.

cv David Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel (London: Zed Books, 2011), p. 85

cvi Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, p. 171.

cvii Arthur Liebman, Jews and the Left (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1979), p. 560

cviii ibid., p. 561

cix ibid., p. 561

cx ibid., p. 561

cxi Jack Nusan Porter and Peter Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism: A Selected Anthology (New York: Grove Press, 1973), p. xxii

cxii ibid., p. xxiii

cxiii Liebman, Jews and the Left, p. 562.

cxiv Porter and Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism, p. 567.

cxv ibid., p. 53

cxvi Jack Nusan Porter and Peter Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism: A Selected Anthology (New York: Grove Press, 1973), p. xv-xvi.

cxvii Porter and Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism, p. xxv.

cxviii Sol Stern, “My Jewish Problem—and Ours: Israel, the Left, and the Jewish Establishment”, Jewish Radicalism, pp. 351-75, originally Ramparts, August 1971. Ramparts appeared from 1962-1975; all issues are on-line; see also the Wikipedia article on Ramparts.

cxix Porter and Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism, p. xxiii.

cxx ibid.

cxxi ibid., p. xxxi

cxxii ibid., p. xxx

cxxiii Gal Beckerman, When They Come For Us, We’ll Be Gone. The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010), pp. 277-309; Roy Medvedev, “Problems of Democratization and Détente,” New Left Review I/83, January-February 1974

cxxiv Porter and Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism, p. xxxv.

cxxv See Aviva Cantor Zuckoff, “The Oppression of America’s Jews,” in Jewish Radicalism. Such attitudes permeate the book and permeated the “movement.”

cxxvi Porter and Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism, p. 101.

cxxvii See Ber Borochov, Class Struggle and the Jewish Nation. Selected Essays in Marxist Zionism, edited and with an introduction by Mitchell Cohen (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1984), pp. 75-103, and Our Program; Jonathan Frankel, Prophecy and Politics. Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), Ch. 7, “Ber Borochov and Marxist Zionism, 1903-1907.”

cxxviii Frankel, Prophecy and Politics, p. 359, quoting Nahman Syrkin..

cxxix ibid., p. 359

cxxx Porter and Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism, p. 87.

cxxxi ibid., p. 80

cxxxii ibid.

cxxxiii ibid., p. 81

cxxxiv Moshe Machover, “Borochovism,” p. 157, in Ari Bober, ed., The Other Israel. The Radical Case Against Zionism (New York: Anchor Books, 1972), see also Enzo Traverso, The Marxists and the Jewish Question. The History of a Debate (Atlantic Highland, NJ: Humanities Press, 1994), Ch. 4, “Yiddishkeit or Zionism? The Judeo-Marxists”

cxxxv Jack Ross, Rabbi Outcast. Elmer Berger and American Jewish Anti-Zionism (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2011), p. 157, quoting a letter from Berger to longtime friend and colleague Norton Mezvinsky.

cxxxvi ibid., p. 81

cxxxvii ibid., p. 86

cxxxviii ibid., p. 88

cxl Cecilie Surasky, “There are two liberation movements,” March 29, 2012

cxli Philip Weiss, “‘JVP’ takes on the ‘epic battle’ inside the Jewish community,” Mondoweiss, March 5, 2010.

cxliiFrequently Asked Questions,” (January 4, 2014)

cxliii Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar, “Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. A Primer,” linked from the JVP home page under “Israel-Palestine 101”. Beinin is a historian at Stanford and past president of the Middle East Studies Association, Hajjar a sociologist at UC Santa Barbara. There are other “primers” linked from the JVP web site, but Beinin and Hajjar are the most authoritative authors and theirs is the oldest “primer,” dating from the 1990s, and used to be the only such document on JVP’s “primer” page.

cxliv Leon Pinsker, “Auto-Emancipation,” 1881.

cxlv Zeev Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel. Nationism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998)

cxlvi Ernst Pavel, The Labyrinth of Exile. A Life of Theodor Herzl (New York: Farar, Straus and Giroux, 1989), p. 164, pp. 497-502, David Vital, Zionism: The Formative Years, Oxford, 1982, Ch. 8, “The Autocracy as Friend, the Autocracy as Foe”

cxlvii David Vital, Zionism: The Crucial Phase (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 359; Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. A Reappraisal (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill, 1983), pp. 13-4. On Zionism as Jewish anti-Bolshevism, see Weizmann’s remarks quoted by in Lenni Brenner, ed., 51 Documents. Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis (Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, 2002).

cxlviii Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement. The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books, 1999). Black is still a Zionist, accepts Transfer as supreme raison d’etat, but his account is devastating.

cxlix William D. Rubinstein, The Myth of Rescue. Why the Democracies Could Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 27-8

cl Rubinstein, The Myth of Rescue, see Chapter 2, “The Myth of Closed Doors”.

cli Ezra Mendelssohn, “Zionist Success and Zionist Failure,” in Ruth Kozodoy, David Sidorksy and Kalman Sultanik, eds., Vision Confronts Reality. Historical Perspectives on the Contemporary Jewish Agenda (New York: Herzl Press, 1989), p. 205

cliii ibid.

cliv ibid.

clvi Jewish Voice for Peace, “Frequently Asked Questions.”

clx Max Blumenthal, “A BDS Debate at Princeton, with J Street, JVP, and me (this Wednesday).”
Max Blumenthal, “JVP’s Rebecca Vilkomerson debates for BDS at J Street’s annual convention,” March 1, 2011.
Philip Weiss, “J Street says it invited boycott advocate to its conference so as to pillory her,” Mondoweiss, February 10, 2011.
Phil tries to say that Ben-Ami was covering his right flank, but any organization that advocates “maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge” is the right flank.

clxi Leah Burrows, “BDS backer in hot seat at shul forum,” Jewish Advocate (Boston), October 28, 2011, (subscription only).
Leonard Fein, who co-founded Moment magazine with Elie Wiesel, and Larry Lowenthal of the American Jewish Committee were the featured speakers. The AJC is a bastion of neo-conservatism, and Moment of liberal hypocrisy. See, and Fein’s columns at

clxiii Ali Abunimah, “ASA membership votes to boycott Israel by landslide,” Electronic Intifada, December 16, 2013;
Israel lobby launches fierce counterattack against American Studies Association,” Electronic Intifada, December 29, 2013.

clxvi Sidney Levy, “Academic freedom,” December 27, 2013.

clxvii Mitchell Plitnick and Henri Picciotto, “One State or Two? A Jewish Voice for Peace position paper,” January, 2007

clxviii Plitnick and Picciotto, “One State or Two?”

clxix Henry Piccioto and Mitchell Plitnick, eds., Reframing Anti-Semitism. Alternative Jewish Perspectives (Oakland, CA: Jewish Voice for Peace, 2004), p. 3

clxx Novick, The Holocaust in American Life, p. 3.

clxxi Piccioto and Plitnick, eds., Reframing Anti-Semitism, 4.

clxxii ibid.

clxxiii ibid., p. 5. The author of the piece is Mitchell Plitnick; see also his attack on the “Israel lobby” critique of Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt; “De-Mystifying American Middle East Policy: A Response to Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer,” September 26, 2007

clxxiv Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970, New York: Picador, 2009). Wolfe’s book is an attack on “white guilt” over privilege and inequality as misguided and self-defeating. “Radical chic” is how Wolfe described fund-raising for the Black Panthers by the composer Leonard Bernstein and his circle. “Mau-mauing” is how Wolfe described the behavior of San Francisco minorities toward bureaucrats in federal anti-poverty programs, after the Mau-Mau anti-colonial revolt in Kenya, 1952-60. See the Wikipedia article on Wolfe’s book for more information; note especially the quote of a Panther member about Wolfe: “You mean that dirty, blatant, lying, racist dog who wrote that fascist disgusting thing in New York magazine?”

clxxv Philip Weiss, “Jon Stewart Calls AIPAC ‘Elders of Zion’”, June 6, 2008.
Philip Weiss, “Late Tanya Reinhart Reportedly Likened Lobby to ‘Protocols of Elders of Zion’”, September 15, 2008.
Uri Avnery, “The Charge of the New York Times,” CounterPunch, July 22, 2011.

clxxvi Noel Ignatiev, “Memoir of an Ex-Jew 6.”

clxxvii Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (New York: Verso, 2009); Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Land of Israel (New York: Verso, 2012)

clxxviii Ofer Aderet, “The Gospel according to Sand: We are not Jews,” Haaretz, May 19, 2013.
Naturally, Sand’s work has been denounced, with persuasion inversely proportional to prolixity, such as a review by Professor Israel Bartal of the Hebrew University, “Invention of an Invention,” Haaretz, July 6, 2008. Bartal disputes Sand’s depiction of Zionist historiography, but Sand’s account is seconded by Gabriel Piterberg’s account of the study of history in the Hebrew University; Gabriel Piterberg, The Returns of Zionism. Myth, Politics and Scholarship in Israel (New York: Verso, 2008). Bartal attempts to justify Zionism with theories of nationalism but this seems to concede the facts of Jewish non-affiliation until the late 1940s. (Bartal’s English text is not available on the Haaretz web site but is found on Zionist watchdog sites.

clxxix For this period, see Noam Chomsky, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”, New York Review of Books, February 23, 1967; Noam Chomsky, American Power and the New Mandarins. (New York: Pantheon, 1969); Noam Chomsky, At War With Asia (New York: Pantheon, 1970); Noam Chomsky, For Reasons of State (New York: Vintage Books, 1973)

clxxx Robert F. Barsky, Noam Chomsky. A Life of Dissent (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), p. 3

clxxxi Robert F. Barsky, The Chomsky Effect. A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007), p. ix

clxxxii proceedings published as Mordecai S. Chertoff, ed., The New Left and the Jews (New York: Pitman, 1971). The Histadrut is the General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel, a labor super-union and key Zionist institution, founded in 1920.

clxxxiii Chertoff, The New Left and the Jews, p. 199. See also Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East, The Great Berrigan Debate (New York: CONAME, 1974). This was an account of an exchange between Father Daniel Berrigan and several interlocutors, organized by American Report magazine in 1974. It has some of the show trial flavor, a well-meant but theoretically weak critique, and ruthless opposition. CONAME began in 1969 or 1970, and Chomsky was associated with it; accounts vary. See Aliza Becker, The American Jewish Peace Movement for a Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. An Overview of National Initiatives 1969-2012, (Washington: Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, 2013).
Michael E. Staub, Torn at the Roots. The Crisis of American Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), p. 286; Ofira Seliktar, Divided We Stand. American Jews, Israel and the Peace Process (Praeger: Westport, CT, 2002), pp. 37-8.

clxxxiv Chertoff, The New Left and the Jews, p. 199.

clxxxv Chertoff, The New Left and the Jews, p. 203. See I. F. Stone, “The Future of Israel,” Ramparts, July, 1967. See also Abdeen Jabara, “The American Left and the June Conflict,” in Ibrahim Lughod, ed., The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June, 1967: An Arab Perspective (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970). Jabara emphasizes the denunciations of the left by the establishment Jewish groups, and while they did criticize Israel, Chomsky is in the present writer’s view correct to find their overall tone “pro-Israel,” as with Stone..

clxxxvi The writers were Paul Jacobs, Amos Kenan and Gebran Majdalany.

clxxxvii Noam Chomsky, Middle East Illusions (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), p. 40.

clxxxviii ibid., p. 3

clxxxix ibid., p. 73

cxc ibid., p. 83

cxci ibid., p. 46

cxcii ibid., pp. 32-33

cxciii ibid., pp. 31-2

cxciv ibid., p. 35

cxcv ibid., p. 13

cxcvi ibid., p. 62

cxcvii ibid., pp. 60-1.

cxcviii ibid., p. 61, quoting an unpublished 1969 lecture by an Israeli scholar at Oxford

cxcix ibid., pp. 35-6

cc Isaac Deutscher, edited and with introduction by Tamara Deutscher, The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 138. For a literary appreciation of Deutscher as biographer, see Neil Ascherson, “Victory in Defeat,” London Review of Books, December 2, 2004.

For a Marxist critique of his overall politics, see Neil Davidson, “Isaac Deutscher: the prophet, his biographer, and the watch tower,” International Socialism 104, 9 October 2004. Davidson criticizes Deutscher’s idea that the Stalinist USSR was at least partially a workers’ state and was capable of reformation, which in Davidson’s view had an apologetic effect on attitudes toward the USSR of the postwar left. It also differed sharply with Trotsky’s own view of Stalinism and the USSR. Deutscher’s “The Tragedy of the Polish Communist Party,” and “An Open Letter to Wladyslaw Gomulka and the Central Committee of the Polish Workers’ Party,” in Isaac Deutscher, edited and with introduction by Tamara Deutscher, Marxism In Our Time (Berkeley: Ramparts Press, 1971) show his opposition to Stalinism. Steven Lukes, “The Cold War on Campus,” Dissent, Winter, 2014, reviews David Caute, Isaac and Isaiah: The Covert Punishment of a Cold War Heretic (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), which compares the roles of Deutscher and Berlin in Cold War ideology. Lukes finds that Deutscher had a “strategic view of truth.”

cci Maxime Rodinson Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? , introduction by Peter Buch, tr. by David Thorstad (New York: Monad: 1973). The essay appeared in a special edition of Les Temps Modernes. I. F. Stone, reviewing the special issue, referred to “M. Rodinson’s contribution—by far the most brilliant in the whole volume.” Stone, I. F., “Holy War”, New York Review of Books, v. 9, n. 2, August 3, 1967. Rodinson’s 1981 Cult, Ghetto, and State. The Persistence of the Jewish Question acknowledged his Stalinism, and discussed Jewish history and Zionism. This mature thought compared Stalinism, Zionism and anti-communism as totalitarian systems. He died in 2004 in Marseilles. Brian Johnson, “Maxime Rodinson, Marxist historian of Islam,” The Guardian, June 3, 2004; Adam Schatz, “The Interpreters of Maladies,” The Nation, December 13, 2004; “Looking back on a vanished past,” review of Rodinson’s memoir, Souvenirs d’un marginal (Paris: Fayard, 2005), Al-Ahram, December 22-28, 2005; Fred Halliday, “Maxime Rodinson: in praise of a ‘marginal man’

ccii Rodinson, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? p. 39, 21, 42.

cciii ibid., p. 79

cciv Rodinson, Israel and the Arabs, p. 219.

ccv ibid., p. 230

ccvi See Boas Evron, Jewish State or Israeli Nation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986); Moshe Machover, “Zionist myths: Hebrew versus Jewish identity.”

see this critique of Machover by Tikva Honig-Parnass, “One Democratic State in Entire Historic Palestine. A Socialist Viewpoint.”

ccvii Bober, ed., The Other Israel, pp. 106-8.

ccviii Chomsky, Middle East Illusions, p. 40.

ccix Deutscher, The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays, p. 106.

ccx Rodinson, Israel and the Arabs, p. 41..

ccxi ibid., p. 70

ccxii Rodinson, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? pp. 81.

ccxiii Paul Mendes-Flohr, A Land of Two Peoples. Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 61

ccxiv ibid., p. 89

ccxv Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest. Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948 (Washington: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1987), p. 841; all population citations are to this table, covering 1919 to 1946.

ccxvii Susan Lee Hattis, The Bi-National Idea in Palestine During Mandatory Times (Haifa: Shikmona Publishing Company, 1970), p. 320. In a 1975 article, “Israel and the Palestinians,” collected in Noam Chomsky, Towards a New Cold War. Essays on the Current Crisis and How We Got There (New York: Pantheon, 1982), Chomsky argues against Nahum Goldmann, who dismissed official Zionist talk of binationalism. At the 1931 Zionist Congress, Revisionist Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky had called for a Jewish state in a motion that Goldmann and others organized to quash. “All of us who voted against it desired a Jewish state as much as Jabotinsky did, but we knew that the time was not ripe.”(Nahum Goldmann, The Autobiography of Nahum Goldmann. Sixty Years of Jewish Life (New York:, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969), p. 102) Chomsky cites a statement by Hattis: “‘there is no doubt that during this phase [1931] Mapai was advocating a bi-national state in Palestine.’” (Towards a New Cold War, p. 259). There are two questions about binationalism. The first is whether it was a progressive program. From 1929 to 1932 Jews were 18% of the Palestine population. Zionist calls for “parity” and “non-domination” in such circumstances were a partial answer to the second question, whether such proposals were sincere. The Zionist claim that they were entitled to half of another people’s country was preposterous, strongly suggests that they desired it all, and would have plotted to take the rest as energetically as they were trying to acquire the first half. Hattis’s statement is contained in her review of Zionist reaction to the 1929 uprising on pp. 86ff. In August 1930, in an internal Zionist discussion on parity, Weizmann stated that “‘Lord Balfour and Lord Robert Cecil originally probably envisioned a Jewish state. I did so too.’” “‘We will certainly try and bring the maximum number of persons to Palestine and when we shall be the majority there, we will not dominate the Arabs.’” “‘Perhaps one can arrive at an understanding with the Arabs if our set aim were formulated. That set aim is, however, not the Jewish State, nor a majority which will administer the minority in the land.’” (The Bi-National Idea in Palestine During Mandatory Times, p. 89) In other words Weizmann tried to persuade Zionism to accept “parity” as a route to majority. Hattis’s discussion is full of such qualification and equivocation, as is Goldmann’s account of the 1931 Congress that Chomsky selectively quotes (The Autobiography of Nahum Goldmann, pp. 99ff.) Chomsky omits any discussion of the context, the Zionist response to the 1929 uprising, thus showing his intention, like the Zionists did theirs.

ccxviii Chomsky, Peace in the Middle East? , p. xlii.

ccxix Khalidi, ed., From Haven to Conquest, pp. 261-2.

ccxx Elkana Margalit, “The Social and Intellectual Origins of the Hashomer Hatzair Youth Movement, 1913-1920”. Journal of Contemporary History v. 4, n. 2 (April, 1969)

ccxxi Hattis, The Bi-National Idea in Palestine During Mandatory Times, p. 72.

ccxxii ibid., p. 278

ccxxiii ibid., p. 257

ccxxiv Judah L. Magnes, “Toward Peace in Palestine,” Foreign Affairs 21:2, January, 1943, p. 245

ccxxv Morris Ernst, “F.D.R.’s International Immigration Plan for Jewish Refugees,” p. 493, in From Haven to Conquest; see also Alfred Lilienthal, What Price Israel? , 50th Anniversary Edition (Haverford, PA: Infinity Publishhing, 2003), pp. 26-7;Yosef Grodzinsky, In the Shadow of the Holocaust (Common Courage Press: Monroe, ME: 2004), notably Chaps. 8-9

ccxxvi Hattis, The Bi-National Idea in Palestine During Mandatory Times, p. 268.

ccxxvii ibid., p. 269

ccxxviii ibid., pp. 293-4

ccxxix Mendes-Flohr, A Land of Two Peoples, p. 204.

ccxxx Gershon Shafir, Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press 1996)

ccxxxi See Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914. The latest iteration of the kibbutz romance is James Horrox, Living Revolution. Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement (AK Press: Edinburgh, Oakland, Baltimore, 2009) by a young Briton. His account of the origins of the first kvutza is written like a back-to-the-land memoir of the 1960s. Horrox loosely rehashes one side of a debate closely surveyed by Shafir, idealizing cooperative institutions and practices, and inflating their theoretical pretensions, in ways that Shafir and others carefully deconstructed. Horrox ignores totally the struggle in the labor market against the Arabs (and Yemenite Jews) that was the overriding concern of the Ashkenazi Jewish agricultural workers. The different class interests of Jewish planters led to different Zionist politics, which Horrox also ignores. His book is shoddy work, and moral and intellectual infantilism, and as such was received ecstatically by the left. It was published by anarchist AK Press, and carried blurbs from Ruth Kinna in Anarchist Studies and Michael Albert, MIT SDS radical in the 1960s and co-founder of South End Press and Z Communications.

ccxxxii Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs. From Peace to War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 199

ccxxxiii Zachary Lockman, Comrades and Enemies. Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906-1948 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), p. 64

ccxxxiv Lockman, Comrades and Enemies, p. 63.

ccxxxv Robert F. Barsky, Noam Chomsky. A Life of Dissent (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), p. 75.

ccxxxvi Noam Chomsky, “Eight Question on Kibbutzim: Answers from Noam Chomsky Questions from Nikos Raptis”, ZSpace Page, August 24, 1999, (This link is now broken and I cannot find the interview on the Z Communications site).

ccxxxvii Noam Chomsky, Justin Podur, Stephen Shalom, “Justice for Palestine: An Interview with Noam Chomsky,” Z Magazine Online, May 2004, v. 17. n. 5.

ccxxxviii Frank Barat, “A Conversation with Noam Chomsky,” September 2, 2010.

ccxl Noam Chomsky, edited by James Peck The Chomsky Reader (New York: Pantheon, 1987), p. 9.

ccxli ibid., p. 9.

ccxlii “Eight Question on Kibbutzim: Answers from Noam Chomsky Questions from Nikos Raptis”.

ccxliii Piterberg, The Returns of Zionism, p. 62.

ccxliv Chomsky, Middle East Illusions, p. 42.

ccxlv Philip Weiss, “Shavit and Beinart willfully ignore an anti-Zionist Jewish movement,” Mondoweiss, December 27, 2013

ccxlvi Philip Weiss, “The bastards,” Mondoweiss, April 27, 2011.

Harry Clark is an independent student of the Palestine question. He can be reached at his website The Question of Palestine. Read other articles by Harry.