by Greg Felton
Soon, delegates to the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will assemble in Durban, South Africa, and possibly debate a resolution equating Zionism with racism.
That we should have to debate this issue in 2001 is regrettable, for the General Assembly has already decided the matter. On Nov. 10, 1975, it passed Resolution 3379, which, among other things, reaffirmed the UN's condemnation of the "unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism," (Resolution 3151G, 1953), and further condemned "any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority [to be] scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous," (Res. 1904, 1963).
Even more regrettable is the reticence of Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to revisit the issue: "If there is an attempt to revive the idea of Zionism as racism we will not have a successful conference." (Toronto Globe and Mail, July 28).
I submit that a conference that willfully ignored the worst sustained human rights violation of the last 60 years is irredeemably compromised. By this willful sin of omission it will tacitly condone the very kind racism it purports to abhor.
Even a cursory examination of the Zionist enterprise and statements by its practitioners provides ample prima facie proof that Zionism is, has been, and will always be, racist.
Zionism as racism
"Both the process of expropriation and removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly." Theodore Herzl in The Complete Diaries, Chapter I, p. 88.
"The Palestinian refugees will find their place in the diaspora. Those who can resist will live thanks to natural selection. The others will simply crumble. Some of them will persist, but the majority will be a human heap, the scum of the earth, and will sink into the lowest levels of the Arab world," Near East Department of the Israeli government, 1948.
"There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them; not one village, not one tribe, should be left." Joseph Weitz, the Jewish National Fund administrator for Zionist colonization (1967), from My Diary and Letters to the Children, Chapter III, p. 293.
"The only good Arab is a dead Arab...When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle," Rafael Eitan, Likud leader of the Tsomet faction (1981) in Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle, pp 129, 130.
"It is forbidden to be merciful to them, you must give them missiles, with relish - annihilate them. Evil ones, damnable ones. May the Holy Name visit retribution on the Arabs' heads, and cause their seed to be lost, and annihilate them, and cause them to be vanquished and cause them to be cast from the world," Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, founder and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Ma'ariv, April, 9, 2001.
In reaction to Yosef's statements, Interior minister Eli Yesha said supportively: "They reflected the overall state of thinking of the Israeli Jewish society."
These five citations, from Herzl to the present, show that Zionism is, at root, a conscious war of extermination and expropriation against a native civilian population. In the modern vernacular, Zionism is the theory and practice of "ethnic cleansing," which the UN has defined as a war crime.
Unfortunately, justice doesn't always win against a determined campaign of disinformation and intimidation. In 1991, under intense pressure from Israel and the North American Jewish lobby, the UN reversed itself on Zionism, thereby denying the truth it spoke 16 years earlier.
The Zionist argument, then as now, consists of the falsehood that the UN's action itself constituted an act of racism. Zionism, we are told, is merely the national expression of Jewish self-determination. Thus, to condemn Zionism is to condemn all Jewry--an act of "anti-Semitism."
The epithet "anti-Semitism" is hurled to silence anyone, even other Jews, brave enough to decry Israel's systematic, decades-long pogrom against the Palestinian Arabs. Because of the Holocaust, "anti-Semitism" is such a powerful instrument of emotional blackmail that it effectively pre-empts rational discussion of Israel and its conduct.
It is for this reason that many good people can witness daily evidence of Israeli inhumanity toward the "Palestinians' collective punishment," destruction of olive groves, routine harassment, judicial prejudice, denial of medical services, assassinations, torture, apartheid-based segregation, etc. -- yet not denounce it for fear of being branded "anti-Semitic."
To be free to acknowledge Zionism's racist nature, therefore, one must debunk the calumny of "anti-Semitism." Once this is done, not only will the criminality of Israel be undeniable, but Israel, itself, will be shown to be the embodiment of the very anti-Semitism it purports to condemn.
Zionism as anti-Semitism (general case)
First, we need to rectify one major misunderstanding. The words "Semite" and "Semitic" refer to more than Jews and Jewishness. Strictly speaking, "semitic" is a linguistic term denoting a family of Afro-Asiatic languages, of which we have today Arabic, Hebrew, Maltese, and the South Arabic languages of northern Ethiopia.
Ancient semitic languages included Akkadian, Sumerian, Canaanite, Amorite, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Punic, Aramaic, as well as ancient Hebrew and Syriac.
Thus, anyone who spoke or speaks these languages is by definition a Semite, though the term only came into use in 1813. In the case of the Middle East, Semites include the Palestinian Arabs. Not only do they speak a semitic language (Arabic), but they are the direct blood descendants of the Canaanites, whom we know as the Philistines.
Now, the Zionist Jews who founded Israel are another matter. For the most part, they are not Semites, and their language (Yiddish) is not semitic. These Ashkenazi ("German") Jews -- as opposed to the Sephardic ("Spanish") Jews -- have no connection whatever to any of the aforementioned ancient peoples or languages.
They are mostly East European Slavs descended from the Khazars, a nomadic Turko-Finnic people that migrated out of the Caucasus in the second century and came to settle, broadly speaking, in what is now Southern Russia and Ukraine.
In A.D. 740, the khagan (ruler) of Khazaria, decided that paganism wasn't good enough for his people and decided to adopt one of the "heavenly" religions: Judaism, Christianity or Islam. After a process of elimination he chose Judaism, and from that point the Khazars adopted Judaism as the official state religion.
The history of the Khazars and their conversion is a documented, undisputed part of Jewish history, but it is never publicly discussed. It is, as former U.S. State Department official Alfred M. Lilienthal declared, "Israel's Achilles heel," for it proves that Zionists have no claim to the land of the Biblical Hebrews.
Thus what we know as the "Jewish State" of Israel is really an ethnocentric garrison state established by a non-Semitic people for the declared purpose of dispossessing and terrorizing a civilian semitic people. In fact from Nov. 27, 1947, to May 15, 1948, more that 300,000 Arabs were forced from their homes and villages. By the end of the year, the number was close to 800,000 by Israeli estimates. Today, Palestinian refugees number in the millions.
That the Jews knew they were committing a criminal act is shown by a eulogy Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan delivered for a Jew killed by Arabs on the Gaza border in 1956:
"Let us not heap accusations on the murderers," he said. "How can we complain about their deep hatred for us? For eight years they have been sitting in the Gaza refugee camps, and before their very eyes, we are possessing the land and the villages where they and their ancestors have lived. We are the generation of colonizers, and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel we cannot plant a tree and build a home."
In April 1969, Dayan told the Jewish newspaper Ha'aretz: "There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."
Clearly, the equation of Zionism with racism is founded on solid historical evidence, and the charge of anti-Semitism is absurd.
Zionism as anti-Semitism (specific case)
Despite the preceding evidence, Zionists still have one rhetorical weapon that must be defused: the claim that the state of Israel is necessary because Jews need a safe haven from "anti-Semitism" in the non-Jewish world. Zionists insist that anti-Semitism is solely a crime against Jews, and that criticism of Zionism is by definition an attack upon Jews, a denigration of the Holocaust, and therefore "anti-Semitic."
The image of Israel as a necessary bastion for Jews is compelling enough to convince reasonable people that equating Zionism with racism is morally wrong. This was especially true in the immediate post-war world: "Generally speaking, the Zionists succeeded in persuading large segments of world public opinion to link the Zionist cause with the Holocaust," wrote Professor Ilan Pappé of Haifa University. "Against such a claim, even able Palestinian diplomats -- and there were not many in those days -- could hardly win the diplomatic game." The Journal of Palestine Studies (Winter 1997).
The equation of Zionism with the Holocaust, though, is based on a false presumption. Far from being a haven for all Jews, Israel is founded by Zionist Jews who helped the Nazis fill the gas chambers and stoke the ovens of the death camps. Israel would not be possible today if the World Zionist Congress and other Zionist agencies hadn't formed common cause with Hitler's exterminators to rid Europe of Jews.
In exchange for helping round up non-Zionist Jews, sabotage Jewish resistance movements, and betray the trust of Jews, Zionists secured for themselves safe passage to Palestine. This arrangement was formalized in a number of emigration agreements signed in 1938. The most notorious case of Zionist collusion concerned Dr. Rudolf Kastner Chairman of the Zionist Organization in Hungary from 1943-45. To secure the safe passage of 600 Zionists to Palestine, he helped the Nazis send 800,000 Hungarian Jews to their deaths. The Israeli Supreme Court virtually whitewashed Kastner's crimes because to admit them would have denied Israel the moral right to exist.
As the Jewish-Israeli scholar Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi wrote: "Out of the original sins of the world against the Jews grew the original sins of Zionism against the Palestinians: Its memory poisons the blood and marks every moment of existence." (Original Sins -- Reflections of the History of Zionism and Israel. p. 216.)
If this horror seems incredible or aberrant, it shouldn't. In a letter to the Zionist executive on Dec. 17, 1938, David Ben-Gurion stated it openly and unapologetically: "The saving of Jewish lives from Hitler is considered here as a potential threat to Zionism, unless they are brought to Palestine. When Zionism had to choose between the Jewish people and the Jewish state, it unhesitatingly preferred the latter...
"Zionism accepts anti-Semitism as the natural, normal attitude of the non-Jewish world toward the Jew. It does not consider it as a distorted, perverted phenomenon; it is a response to anti-Semitism, but not a confrontation, denunciation or fight against it." (Faris Yahya, Zionist Relations with Nazi Germany, p. 78.)
Even today, pro-Israeli journalists and publishers play up acts of violence against Jews to give the illusion that anti-Semitism is rampant and to manufacture consent for Zionism as a virtuous, necessary ideology. Journalists who try present a balanced view of Israel, to say nothing of a critical one, are silenced or terrorized. This goes for Jews as well as non-Jews.
On Nov. 10, 2000, the American-Jewish editor in chief of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, Debbie Ducro, published an impassioned 1,150 word article from another Jew decrying Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. The writer, Judith Stone, even used the term Israeli Shoah, to draw allusion to Hitler's genocidal war against the Jews. Ducro was fired on Nov. 11.
In San Francisco, Rabbi Michael Lerner has endured death threats and vicious harassment from right-wing Jews because he gives voice to Palestinian views on his website and in the magazine Tikkun.
"An Israeli web site called 'self-hate' has identified me as one of the five enemies of the Jewish people, and printed my home address and driving instructions on how to get to my home," wrote Lerner in a May 13 e-mail. "We reported this to the police, the Israeli consulate, and to the Anti Defamation league. The ADL said it wasn't their concern because this was not a 'hate crime."
Here's a typical letter that Lerner said Tikkun received: "You subhuman leftist animals. You should all be exterminated. You are the lowest of the low life" (David Raziel in Hebron).
If anyone other than a Jew had written this, you can be sure that the ADL and any other Jewish lobby groups would have gone into full attack mode. In other words, when non-Jews slander and threaten Jews, it's called "anti-Semitism" and "hate crime'; when Zionists slander and threaten Jews, nobody is supposed to notice.
War crimes occur when cruelty is made to appear honourable, and good people stand by and do nothing to stop it.
The world watched as the Nazis unleashed state-sanctioned terrorism against the Jews, who were deemed to be sub-human (Untermenschen) - not worthy of dignity, respect or legal protection under the law. To kill a Jew, to destroy his livelihood, to force him and his family out of their homes - these were accepted, sanctioned forms of conduct by citizens of the German Reich to rid Europe of a specific group of people.
Today, the world watches as Israelis unleash state-sanctioned terrorism against Palestinians, who are deemed to be sub-human (Untermenschen) - not worthy of dignity, respect or legal protection under the law. (See citations above.) To kill a Palestinian, to destroy his livelihood, to force him and his family out of their homes - these are accepted, sanctioned forms of conduct by citizens of the Zionist Reich designed to rid Palestine of a specific group of people.
If Nazism is racist and deserving of absolute censure, then so is Zionism, for they are both fruit of the poisonous tree of fascism. It cannot be considered "anti-Semitic" to acknowledge this fact.
To condemn Israeli terrorism, does not in any way imply animus against Jews; neither does it attempt to diminish the Holocaust. In fact, the opposite is true. Zionists did nothing to aid non-Zionist survivors of the death camps, and did everything they could to coerce them to come to Palestine. For Zionists, the only Jew worth saving from the camps was one who wanted to build the Jewish State.
As famed violinist Lord Yehudi Menuhin told the French newspaper Le Figaro in January 1988: "It is extraordinary how nothing ever dies completely. Even the evil which prevailed yesterday in Nazi Germany is gaining ground in that country [Israel] today."
For it to have any moral authority, the UN must equate Zionism with racism. If it doesn't, it tacitly condones Israel's war of extermination against the Palestinians.
Mr. Greg Felton is a Canadian editorialist on international politics, especially the Middle East. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org