Saturday, 30 July 2011

Self-Hating and Israel Threatening?

The anti-Semitism of Zionists.

In the disgraceful history of anti-Semitism there is an irony that the Jews have traditionally been depicted as both upper-class and lower-class, overly intellectual and too earthly, lazy and workaholic. For the Third Reich the Jew represented both the decadence of liberal capitalism and the Bolshevik spirit of socialism, the Fascists offered an alternative modernity devoid of class struggle and affirmed through a rebirth of the nation. For the Nazi conversion to Christianity is out of the question as the "guilt" of the Jews does not need to be proved, the "guilt" resides in the biological constitution of Jewishness. The source of the damnation was not theological but racial. The Jew first appeared as the enemy as the dark ages came to a close in Europe with the role of money in the rapid development of market exchange. The anti-Semitic depiction came in the form of parasites who disrupt the social fabric of society. Later, the wandering Jew came about just as capitalism began to emerge and as society was transformed it began to display the features that were attributed to Jewry.

The form of anti-Semitism prevalent today can be summarised in the words of Croat nationalist rockstar Marko Perkovic "I have nothing against [the Jews] and I did nothing to them. I know that Jesus Christ also did nothing against them, but still they hanged him on the cross."  Then there is the more recent development of Zionist anti-Semitism, which Žižek has pointed to, as the establishment of the Jewish state came so did the emergence of Jews who resist identification with the Jewish state. These are the Jews who insist on the "public use of reason" over the "private" domain offered by the nation-state being constructed in the Middle East. A standard case would be Noam Chomsky who stands against the self-designation of Israel as the state of the Jewish people on the grounds that it is based on the exclusion and oppression of the Palestinians. Chomsky was a Zionist Youth Leader and lived in a kibbutz in Israel for 5 years before leaving out of disgust with the ideological atmosphere of ultra-nationalism and even Stalinist sympathies expressed by some on the Left in those days.

A classic case of Zionist anti-Semitism can be found at where a list of over 7,000 S.H.I.T. (Self-Hating Israel-Threating) Jews can be viewed. The names listed often include detailed descriptions and unflattering photos of the person, along with an email address provided to enable hate mail. It has a lot in common with Red Watch and looks just like a Nazi list of decadent Jewish freaks. You will no doubt find Chomsky and Finkelstein on the list. The Jew who does not identify with the state of Israel is reconstructed along anti-Semitic lines as we can read in the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik. The latter drew a distinction between "loyal" and "disloyal" Jews which is presupposed by a fundamental rejection of the Jewish contribution to European identity, which is a radical universalism. In Breivik's terms the "disloyal" Jew is a liberal opposed to nationalism and Zionist, for him these Jews are complicit in the multicultural experiment and the rise of cultural Marxism.

The Vilification Industry.

It is this reconstruction of the Jewish critics of Israel along anti-Semitic lines is how the anti-Semites of the Christian Right can support Israel. There's a great deal of projection involved clearly, notice that the Christianists will attack the media and the elites as left-wing whenever criticism of Israel is given public space. The conspiracy theory of Jews ruling the world is ripped from it's context to explain away negative reports of Israel as the plot of a ultra-leftist cabal in media. At the same time, the Christian Right support Israeli expansion out of a perverse attempt to bring about the Rapture which will herald the end for the Jews and the Muslims. Generally, the logic of anti-Semitism remains prevalent in Western civilisation as particular characteristics are still considered "Jewish". We find these features are sometimes morphed to the point that the greedy Shylock becomes the entrepreneurial spirit of Alan Sugar. Apparently, this is a compliment and not a racist insinuation!

Then there is the special case of the vilification of Norman Finkelstein orchestrated by Alan Dershowitz. Finkelstein had slammed the work of Alan Dershowitz on Israel and so Dershowitz went after him. The aim was not to refute Finkelstein's argument, it was to blast him out of the water, ruin his career and muddy the discourse to the extent that there can be no step forward. Dershowitz opted to go after Finkelstein's mother, who is a survivor of Auschwitz and he actually had the nerve to claim that she survived because she was a collaborator with the Nazi regime. It has been described by Chomsky as a "jihad" to try and prevent Norman Finkelstein from being appointed to tenure at DePaul University, a Catholic university, which is vulnerable to accusations of anti-Semitism that Dershowitz certainly has no qualms about making. The use of anti-Semitism as a label to vilify critics is cynically used to shoot out the opposition to the moral degeneracy of the Israeli government.

The consistent line of Alan Dershowitz is that all of the criticism of Israel comes from anti-Semites and self-hating Jews. This is nothing unique on his part, these same claims are often made to undermine the critics of Israel. The double-think here is that if you're opposed to mass-murder then you're a Nazi of course. It is clear that the facts of Palestinian suffering evoke outrage from normal human beings and not from people with a warped view of the world. The fact that (as of June 4th 2011) 124 Israeli children killed by Palestinians and 1,463 Palestinian children killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000 should move a normal human being. The same goes for the Israeli reaction to the deaths of three Israeli citizens as a result of around 2,000 rockets being fired into Israel, the reaction being that which had left over 1,400 Palestinians dead and thousands more injured. Of course, 10 more Israeli soldiers were killed in the mean time and the slaughter was called to a stop just before Barack Obama was inaugurated as President to avoid any embarrassment for the US.

Immodest Proposals?

At the time of the establishment of the Jewish state Hannah Arendt was one of the vocal critics of the particular statist formula that the leadership of the Zionist movement embarked upon. For Arendt the worst model for the Jews to emulate is the racial nation-state because that model had produced the horrors of Nazi Germany. To secure a future free of conflict it seemed imperative to Arendt that the Palestinians and Jews had to have equal rights and recognition as citizens based on justice. Instead of an Israel based on race carved out of the Arab world by force, Arendt proposed an independent state for Jews and Palestinians as part of the British Commonwealth of Nations that would ensure both ethnic groups got a fair deal. A Jewish homeland was a solution to the perpetual "rootless" status of the Jews and a federation amongst the Arabs and Jews in Palestine would be vital for the survival of a Jewish homeland. This was the alternative to the violence that has been used to carve a Jewish state out of a predominantly Arab region.

The concerns Hannah Arendt had about the future character of a Jewish state that had to live in agitation with its Arab neighbours were somewhat prescient. She foresaw that the Jews would have to live surrounded entirely by a hostile Arab population and secluded inside ever-threatened borders. The state would become inward looking to the extent that all other interests are marginalised by "self-defence". We have seen that the social programmes and welfare measures taken in other states have been reduced in Israel in order to raise military spending. The external threats would overwhelm social experiments, which we have seen as the most radical Kibbutzim were suppressed, whilst the military would take the centreplace of political theory and economic development. Israel was once an almost socialistic society for many years, but it is now in a state of immense inequality in which 18 families control 60% of corporate equity. Israel is second only to the US in terms of inequality.

Noam Chomsky has commented that the ideas which were considered Zionist before the establishment of the state of Israel would be considered anti-Zionist today for it is anti-statist. When Noam Chomsky was a Zionist Youth Leader he was for Arab and Jewish working-class cooperation to construct a bi-national socialist Palestine. The establishment of the state of Israel was a day of mourning for Chomsky and his pals. We can see the break between the kind of Zionism that Chomsky was involved in and the trajectory of Israel. In the country inequality has exploded as the military-industrial complex and high-tech industry (which are interconnected) have taken precedent over the welfare state. The wealth generated through financial services, chemical fertiliser and diamonds is concentrated in very few hands. Arendt went as far as to claim that the Jews of Palestine would change character to such a degree that they would no longer represent world Jewry as a whole. We find this is the case as the Israeli government differs greatly in policy to the liberal values of American Jews.


Anonymous said...

That S.H.I.T list is totally abhorrent, I don't care what your political position is, anyone who starts making snide comments on personal appearance when purporting to create anything with a serious political agenda immediately slides down the scale of intellectual credibility, and the shrill amateur tone of the whole thing just compounds the ick factor.

Great article BTW - you might want to check out how the shadow of Nazism is also being invoked to describe right-wing anti-equal rights gay groups in the US struggle for marriage equality.

Samir S. Halabi said...

All these Self-hating-Israel-hating
Jews who are nothing less than verminous-Jewish-traitors, should all be marked down for elimination.
I consider them far worse than Jew-hating-arab-muslim-terrorists, aswell as Jew-hating-westerners. All these self-professed-anti-Israel-jews whom are citizens of israel should be deported to Gaza or definitely thrown out of israel andn their citizenship-revoked. All the other self-hating-Israel-hating Jews who are non-Israeli-citizens to be banned for life from ever entering Israel,They should also be targeted for elimination.
Samir S. Halabi.

Whitey said...

I appreciate all positive feedback I receive, but the comment last made on this post is utterly disgusting. The only reason I haven't deleted it is because it stands as evidence in favour of my overall argument, clear Zionist anti-Semitism.

It's just a shame that the issue of equal rights for Palestinians is obfuscated in this way. So you're either pro-Israel or you're a Nazi sympathiser, ironically for taking the side of human rights as well.