Criticism: A Zionist Project
By Lawrence Davidson
June 10, 2015 "Information
From the 1920s on into the 1990s, the
Zionists controlled the storyline in the West on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
This meant that their version of history was the only version as far as most of
the people in the West were concerned. Consequentially, they had an uncontested
media field to label the Palestinians and their supporters as “terrorists” – the
charge of anti-Semitism was not yet widely used. Also, as a consequence of their
monopoly, the Zionists did not bother to engage in public debate.
Then, over the last twenty years the Zionists slowly lost their
monopoly. In part this was due to the fact that in 1993 the PLO recognized
Israel’s right to exist and renounced terrorism, and in the following years many
of the Arab states made or offered peace. However, the Israelis did not respond
in kind. In particular they failed to respond in a fair and just way to
U.S.-sponsored peace efforts. Why so?
The answer to why the Israelis did not, in good faith, take up
multiple historic opportunities to make peace with the Palestinians lies in the
very nature of the Zionist movement. From its beginning, and certainly from the
establishment of the State of Israel, Zionism has been driven by dreams of
colonial expansion and religious exclusiveness. Each of these goals is seen as
part of Zionism’s God-given mission, and they still prevail. Professor David
Schulman of Hebrew University, writing in the New York Review of Books (23 April
2015), describes the consequences of this situation, “the Israeli electorate is
still dominated by hyper-nationalist, in some cases proto-fascist, figures. It
is no way inclined to make peace. It has given a clear mandate for policies …
that will further deepen Israel’s colonial venture.” As a consequence, Israel’s
credibility with an increasing number of people in the West has eroded.
This erosion led to a relatively short period of time in the
early 2000s when the Zionists attempted to counter the situation by engaging
with their critics in public debate. However, the majority of time they lost.
Israel’s barbarous behavior on the ground, combined with the fact that their
historical version of events was shown to be full of holes, condemned them to an
increasingly weak defensive position. This proved to be intolerable to the
Zionists, so they withdrew from the debating field. And, as they did, they began
to level charges of anti-Semitism against their critics, even those who are
Jewish. These accusations of the worst sort of racism have been with us ever
since – which is really ironic because much of what Israel is being criticized
for is its own racist, apartheid nature.
This was an important change in tactics for Israel because it
opened the way to misusing Western laws to Israel’s advantage. Just as the
charge of terrorism has often been misused in a broad and sweeping manner (for
instance, leveled against non-violent supporters of Palestinian charitable
organizations), so the charge of anti-Semitism can potentially be used in an
almost unlimited fashion by over-aggressive, pro-Zionist Western prosecutors
against any critic of Israeli behavior.
Part II – The Boycott Movement
In the West, much of the organized criticism of Israel now comes
from campaigns aimed at promoting Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of
the Zionist state. So robust has the BDS movement grown that Gilad Erdan,
Israel’s newly appointed Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and
Public Diplomacy, has described it as one of the most “urgent issues” facing
Israel. Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, has described the developing academic
boycott, just one part of BDS, as a “strategic threat of the first order.”
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has taken it upon
himself to set the tone of Israel’s counter-attack on BDS. He has declared that
there is an “international campaign to blacken Israel’s name” and he alleges
that it is not motivated by Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians but rather
seeks to “delegitimize Israel … and deny our very right to live here.” In other
words, he is claiming that present criticism of Israel is really an attack on
its existence, and not on its behavior. For Netanyahu this has to be a form of
anti-Semitism. As Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee,
describes Netanyahu’s argument, “If you criticize me you are anti-Semitic … . If
you accept any kind of punitive measure or sanctions against Israel, you want to
destroy Israel.” That is how the prime minister avoids confronting the facts.
As bad as this is, it gets even worse. Declaring the goal of BDS
to be the elimination of Israel allows the Zionists to use their influence with
Western legislators to make cooperation with the boycott subject to penalties.
In the United States, AIPAC, the most powerful of the Zionist lobbies, is
working on legislation similar to that used against Iran and also the Arab
boycott of Israel in the 1970s. This legislation would penalize businesses, both
at home and abroad, that favorably respond to calls for boycott. If this works
we can expect the Zionists to go further and try to subvert the U.S.
Constitution’s free speech provisions and then go after individuals as well as
businesses. In this regard, efforts are also under way in Canada and France.
Part III – Money Magic
Finally, there is the assumption that money can destroy Israel’s
critics. This is a special belief of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino
magnate and enthusiastic backer of Netanyahu. Adelson has taken aim at activity
critical of Israel on U.S. college campuses. In the first week of June 2015, he
and his supporters convened a “Campus Maccabees Summit,” the purpose of which
was “to develop the conceptual framework for the anti-BDS action plan [on
college campuses], assign roles and responsibilities to pro-Israel
organizations, and create the appropriate command-and-control system to
implement it.” Fifty activist Zionist organizations attended the conference, as
did twenty donors, each of whom pledged one million dollars to the cause over
the next two years.
Part IV – Conclusion
Prime Minister Netanyahu personifies the problem with Zionist
thinking. He is wholly self-centered and seemingly incapable of recognizing,
much less taking responsibility for, Israel’s racist behavior. Thus, with the
Zionists having spent the last 100 years planning and then actually doing what
was needed to deny as many non-Jews as possible the “very right to live in”
Palestine, Netanyahu now accuses others of doing the same thing to him and his
kin – and labels it a criminal act.
The truth is that most Western critics, including supporters of
BDS, are not trying to kick the Jews out of Israel. They are trying to bring
maximum pressure on the Israeli government to stop kicking non-Jews out, to stop
territorial expansion in violation of international law, and to start acting
like the democratic state it so questionably claims to be.
Speaking strictly for myself, I don’t believe any of these goals
are possible unless Zionism is in fact kicked out of what is now Israel. That
is, the ideology that drives Israeli racism and colonial expansion must be done
away with, in the same way that apartheid was brought down in South Africa. That
did not result in South Africa being destroyed or all white South Africans being
deported. But it did result in a democracy being imported. The same scenario is
necessary for Israel.
No doubt many Israelis and their supporters would equate this
goal of extirpating Zionism with promoting another Holocaust. This is not so,
but they are scared enough to label the effort of bringing a real democracy to
Israel as anti-Semitic, and to try to get it declared it illegal in the West.
Finally, besides the public outcry over anti-Semitism, the
Zionists are working behind closed doors – the closed doors of American state
and federal legislatures and university board rooms – where they do not have to
face serious debate. This might prove the most dangerous of their maneuvers. For
behind closed doors the Zionist monopoly resurfaces and truth is all the easier
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from
West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the
history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in
Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual
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