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MJ
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Nov 27 2007 01:23

sphinx
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Nov 27 2007 14:08
Quote:
I think Zionism is special because it's the only active colonial (not neo-colonial, but downright colonial) political movement in existence.

Also, if you're looking for where the revival of anti-semitism is coming from, you need look no further than the Zionist movement, crystalized into the Israeli government, which has appropriated the consistent victimhood of anti-semitism in order to promote its own colonialism (and is still getting money from the German government as a result; I wonder how anti-Deutsch wrap their heads around that, and the fact that the Israeli government is now asking for additional funds). By the way, how do you respond to the Neo-Nazi flareup inside of Israel, as well as the ridiculous amount of new Holocaust-related material (novels and autobiographies) that get published over here?

No matter how much the Israeli government appropriates 'the' narrative of victimization, there is no reason that the real content of anti-semitism, its real history and consequences should be thrown out while critiquing the abuses of history. The rise of the SS, the scapegoating of the Jews, their fetishization, their place in racial hierarchies, biology etc. are incredibly important lessons for humanity as a whole; they are not to be abandoned or diminished. To say that 270,000 settlers in the occupied territories (not all of whose future is certain by the way) and the occupation required to maintain their presence is responsible for the rise in anti-semitism worldwide essentially legitimates the crude extrapolation of guilt to all Jews based on the actions of an Israeli settler minority. It is also clear that this narrative does not always stand up, witness the Gaza settlers being evicted even so with yellow stars of David pinned to their orange shirts. Here the holocaust was not decisive. How do you 'respond' to that?

The truth is that the growth in worldwide anti-semitism is a manifold phenomenon that is only tangentially related to a real concern for Palestinian lives. Whereas its political implications are intricately connected to the ambitions of local ruling classes, militias and their imperialist patrons, anti-semitism (in its geopolitical form, anti-zionism) is one political safety valve for people who think that somehow the imperialism of the West is the 'primary contradiction', the breach holding capitalism together, when in fact imperialists wage wars of position in order to restructure the same international economy. In fact, anti-semitism most often does not result from an engagement with Jewish people, and (often) the people decrying Zionism have no real knowledge of the conflict; these ideas result from a particular despair vis-a-vis one's agency in capitalist society.

Jef:

Quote:
I was under the impression that EU funding for the Palestinian administration was necessary to avoid collapse

Hamas did not have control of the PA at that point. This was mainly 2001-2003. At the time, Europe was essentially funding a terror war against Israeli civilian targets. It was only after Hamas' election that there were serious talks about funding a Hamas-led PA.

Quote:
In fact, why is 'Anti-Zionism' a distinct position in itself, one adopted by non-Israelis? Why do the hippy activists in solidarity with Tibet not declare themselves 'anti-Chinese'? Why do people in favor of Kurdish nationalism not declare themselves 'anti-Kemalist'? Why are partisans of the Zapatistas not 'anti-Mexican'?

Anti-zionism is a position taken against an aggressive and racist form of nationalism. Declaring yourself anti-chinese etc would be lumping all chinese together as oppressors when in fact it is the chinese governetn that we are against. In the same way as while I am against zionism (as well as other imperialist/nationalist movements) I would never describe myself as anti-jewish or anti-israeli. Although obviously judaism and Israel like other religions and nations have little or nothing to offer the working class.

No, anti-zionism is more than you describe, and I do not think you can so easily separate Israelis from Zionism, the movement that of course made that nation possible. From the very phrasing 'anti-zionism' you do not pick and choose but instead negate everything about the zionist movement, including its most important contribution, that it managed to create a space for Jews to defend themselves on their own terms when the revolutionary movement despite its brave contributions failed in this regard.

If you really find it necessary to take a particular position against an 'aggressive and racist form of nationalism' to the exclusion of similar judgments on other nationalist movements worldwide, what is lacking to you in the classical position 'against the occupation' ?

Most importantly, why is it not a position 'against the occupation', but instead those judgments that Israel is incurably imperialist and therefore deserves a special kind of abolition which undergo a wave of popularity? That was the content of my original question.

Quote:
Which discourse?

I would say the shift in discourse that I am discussing appears at most levels of discussion on the topic of the middle east, certainly in the 'left' papers such as the Morning Star which recently had a big feature on Gilad Atzmon (http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index2.php/free/culture/music/interview_gilad_atzmon) or the Guardian which allows this man platform to 'respond' to people who call him out as an obvious anti-semite. Oxford allowing Irving and the BNP leader to speak are similar scandals.

There have been certain milestones on the left as well such as the attempt by the UCU and other unions to boycott Israeli academics which was conceived on premises that go 'against all internationalism' (Alf) but didn't get much critique here or in any revolutionary publications that I read. Right now Walt and Mearsheimer are touring America 'exploding the taboo' of anti-semitism by shilling for the sections of the American ruling class who see in Israel a useful scapegoat for the failures of American imperialism. On the internet you can search 'zionist' and get taken right to 'ziopedia' where you can find out who's a dual citizen, who is a Jew, which Zionists hold the levers of power in the US etc. It has been hard work for the anti-semites to hike up their position on the search engines so high but in doing so they have scored quite a propaganda victory.

Over at 9/11 blogger where the truth is about 9/11 is studiously uncovered by troupes of cake-eating recluses, we can see Charles Lindbergh approvingly quoted in the context of potential war with Iran: http://www.911blogger.com/node/12497

Quote:
The second major group I mentioned is the Jewish.

It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.

No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.

Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastations. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.

Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

These are a few of the levels at which anti-semitism and anti-Zionism are emerging as popular explanations for the current crisis.

Alf:

Quote:
I still don't get Sphinx's logic. Yes, the left (of capital) is nationalist and anti-semitic. Why would it not be? But to argue from that to (critically) supporting Israel is to compeltely undermine the internationalist critique of the left. It's basically saying that internationalism is perhaps a nice idea but could never work, so in the meantime, we have to defend the (Israeli) nation's right to exist. Interesting as well how the anti-Germans' view of 'Germany's non-right to exist' is the mirror image of the anti-Zionist argument about Israel's 'non-right to exist'. Again both of them run counter to the communist position that all nation states need to be destroyed.

First I think the anti-german position is not that internationalism could never work but that at least that it did NOT work when it needed to, or that it was too weak, and the consequence of that failure was the establishment of a Jewish state. I do not think that it completely undermines internationalism to exercise solidarity in the self-defense of people for whom their own value as labor power, and therefore power as workers, was negated in planned genocide after decades of oppression and terrorism.

I agree that all nation states are only good as mediums of the ruling class, and on that basis deserve to be dissolved. Israel fits this criteria too if you conceive of it as 'just another state'. The problem is that more and more it is clear that Israel will not be allowed to be like 'any other state' and its people as any other people. Maybe this was possible up until the second intifada, but now Israel is too useful as a scapegoat and 'other' for Islamism and European nationalism to rally against, a historical 'anomaly' to be dissected, a 'contingency' to be paved over by the steamroller of history. Now its original purpose as a place of defense for Jews resumes a certain importance.

Hi Angelus_Novus, long time no speak!

Quote:
I'm generally sympathetic of the critique of any sort of Anti-Zionism (as opposed to anti-nationalism encompassing all nations, not just "illegitimate" ones), but I think my comrade sphinx is making a theoretical error by adhering to theoretical conceptions of anti-semitism which attempt to derive it from the value-form.

? Am I doing that in this thread? I would agree that anti-semitism shouldn't be reduced to simple dimensions, but would be interested in the particulars of your critique of my position.

winjer
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Nov 27 2007 16:09
smokescreen wrote:
Very much like that "We are all Hezbollah" crap.

Trying to express support for Lebanese people's solidarity against Israeli attacks by simply adopting their slogan may have been silly, but I hardly think it's comparable to the anti-Deutsch.

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Nov 27 2007 23:43
sphinx wrote:
No matter how much the Israeli government appropriates 'the' narrative of victimization, there is no reason that the real content of anti-semitism, its real history and consequences should be thrown out while critiquing the abuses of history. The rise of the SS, the scapegoating of the Jews, their fetishization, their place in racial hierarchies, biology etc. are incredibly important lessons for humanity as a whole; they are not to be abandoned or diminished.

With you so far.

sphinx wrote:
To say that 270,000 settlers in the occupied territories (not all of whose future is certain by the way) and the occupation required to maintain their presence is responsible for the rise in anti-semitism worldwide essentially legitimates the crude extrapolation of guilt to all Jews based on the actions of an Israeli settler minority.

Where did I say this? Where did I even use the term settler? I said this:

tojiah wrote:
Also, if you're looking for where the revival of anti-semitism is coming from, you need look no further than the Zionist movement, crystalized into the Israeli government, which has appropriated the consistent victimhood of anti-semitism in order to promote its own colonialism (and is still getting money from the German government as a result; I wonder how anti-Deutsch wrap their heads around that, and the fact that the Israeli government is now asking for additional funds).

The usage of Holocaust victimhood as justification for atrocities is completely mainstream, and not just used by a settler minority.
Also, I said this:

tojiah wrote:
I think Zionism is special because it's the only active colonial (not neo-colonial, but downright colonial) political movement in existence.

In general, as I have said in this forum before, though perhaps I have not said so clearly enough, I do not consider what is called "settlements", i.e., Jewish villages, towns and outposts erected outside the green line (or outside the green line and the "big settlement blocks", depends on who it is you're talking to) to be the Zionist movement's sole colonialist enterprise. I in fact see them as merely as the violent margin of a process driven by the "Law of Return", which effectively promotes Israel as a colony for world Jewry. Every Jew is allowed automatic citizenship in the colony, while non-Jews are either tolerated as citizens, limited to residency, or merely held as cheap labor until such time as they are deemed fit to be dismissed. It doesn't matter if a Jewish "oleh" goes to a settlement; the dynamic of colonialism pushes people into the periphery of Israel, which pushes a very small minority of extremists into broadening the "legitimate" living space, which is then settled by those looking for cheaper housing, which then becomes more expensive, and thus the process repeats. The driving force behind the atrocities committed against the Palestinians is not a few hundreds or thousands of active hooligans, but by the demographic forces which push them forward, coupled with a colonist mechanism which enforces and reinforces an ethnic differential.

sphinx wrote:
It is also clear that this narrative does not always stand up, witness the Gaza settlers being evicted even so with yellow stars of David pinned to their orange shirts.
Here the holocaust was not decisive. How do you 'respond' to that?

How do I respond to what? Holocaust victims have protested against the Israeli government's "mismanagement" of the funds given to them from the German government. The only conclusion to that was vague promises and further demands for reparations from the German government. What's your point? That the Israeli government is being dishonest? That the Holocaust memorial rhetoric is a mere fig leaf? No shit, Sherlock! I never claimed that the Holocaust is decisive: you and the Zionists claim it, and the latter use it as an excuse for atrocities and funding when that is convenient; and since they have appropriated the victimhood of the Holocaust, they may ignore its imagery at their convenience.

sphinx wrote:
The truth is that the growth in worldwide anti-semitism is a manifold phenomenon that is only tangentially related to a real concern for Palestinian lives.

Perhaps. But the Israeli government constantly bigging up anti-semitism abroad in order to justify its existence as well as to persuade more wealthy colonists to settle within its borders has been a great help.

sphinx wrote:
Whereas its political implications are intricately connected to the ambitions of local ruling classes, militias and their imperialist patrons, anti-semitism (in its geopolitical form, anti-zionism)

You have yet to show that in any manner. Your rhetoric mirrors that of Zionist apologists such as Abe Foxman and others. How is opposition to a colonialist regime automatically racist?

sphinx wrote:
is one political safety valve for people who think that somehow the imperialism of the West is the 'primary contradiction', the breach holding capitalism together, when in fact imperialists wage wars of position in order to restructure the same international economy. In fact, anti-semitism most often does not result from an engagement with Jewish people, and (often) the people decrying Zionism have no real knowledge of the conflict; these ideas result from a particular despair vis-a-vis one's agency in capitalist society.

A lot of people decrying Zionism are either Palestinians, who have direct personal or familial experience of the conflict, with a few of whom I have discussed this issue, or Israelis, who experience and know it from the "offending" side, like myself. I decry your attempt to muddy the waters.

Let's move this discussion onto firmer ground. I'm willing to take on the mantle of being "an anti-Zionist", at least for the sake of discussion; I also have real knowledge of the conflict. What do you have to say to me? Is it wrong for me to oppose Zionism? Should I be joining the IDF instead? Should I be hailing the Annapolis talks, which are no more than a final attempt at having a legitimized indigenous contractor for the Zionist regime?

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Tacks
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Nov 28 2007 00:47
winjer wrote:
smokescreen wrote:
Very much like that "We are all Hezbollah" crap.

Trying to express support for Lebanese people's solidarity against Israeli attacks by simply adopting their slogan may have been silly, but I hardly think it's comparable to the anti-Deutsch.

well quite!

AD are fucking fruits.

yoshomon
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Nov 28 2007 00:50

I listen to right-wing radio now and then as entertainment, and there are ads all the time from an American zionist group about how Israel is a "nation of peace" and such. As far as I know, Israel is the only country whose policies get defended consistently via (creepy) advertisements on the radio. Why is that>

Sphinx, how would you analyze anti-Americanism and its connection to Islamism? Some in the anti-German milieu fly American flags, Should there be solidarity with the nation of America as well as Israel, as money and support from the US in many ways keeps Israel afloat? And what of Israeli funding of Hamas?

lumpnboy
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Nov 28 2007 02:40

Israel is a state whose form of reproduction is not only founded upon various forms of racialisation (hierarchy, exclusion, etcetera) but a state whose hegemonic strategy of reproduction is based around the defence and expansion of its status as the "jewish state", which entails an ongoing project of aggression against people deemed to be a problem, including a problem by their very existence (the 'demographic problem'). 'Anti-zionism' can certainly be criticised, in ways parallel to radical critiques of 'anti-fascism' and 'anti-imperialism' - but, just as in the latter cases these critiques are not based on indifference to fascism or imperialism, a critique of anti-zionism shouldn't be based on an indifference to zionism, an 'it's just another state' refusal to attend to the realities of the struggles involved. Zionism is a tendency in the organisation of the reproduction of capitalist social relations, of which the Israeli state is obviously the central manifestation, and one which overwhelmingly exists as inseparable from ongoing violence against Palestinian people, using almost every means at the disposal of the Israeli state and adjunct zionist institutions. I don't know if Israel's constitution as a particular form of racialised violence is 'incurable', but it hard to see how it would be 'curable' in the absence of the destruction of much of what zionists think they are defending in the state of Israel.

In other words, Sphinx, if some critics of anti-germanism have never had experience of hard-core anti-semitism, it seems that pro-Israel tendencies in anti-Germanism probably have very little real experience of zionism and its socio-political realities.

Atzmon is indeed one manifestation of a particularly repugnant, not to mention bizarre, tendency, to be sure, around Israel Shamir and some people in Deir Yassin Remembered. Some have or claim to have jewish backgrounds, but to be rejecting being jewish per se, and then move toward the expression of surprisingly crude anti-semitic views. Which is why when the SWP's Bookmarks had Atzmon launching his book, a protest was organised outside precisely by left-wing anti-zionists, in particular those involved with Jews Against Zionism.

Some of whom, by the way, are active supporters of a boycott of Israel, including by educational unions. The point being that it should be possible to debate the boycott of Israel proposals, as part of efforts to oppose Israel's active project of what we are now trained to call 'ethnic cleansing', without regarding supporters of the boycott strategy as a priori anti-semitic.

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Nov 28 2007 08:45

Good post ToJ.

Quote:
Sphinx wrote:

I agree that all nation states are only good as mediums of the ruling class, and on that basis deserve to be dissolved. Israel fits this criteria too if you conceive of it as 'just another state'. The problem is that more and more it is clear that Israel will not be allowed to be like 'any other state' and its people as any other people. Maybe this was possible up until the second intifada, but now Israel is too useful as a scapegoat and 'other' for Islamism and European nationalism to rally against, a historical 'anomaly' to be dissected, a 'contingency' to be paved over by the steamroller of history. Now its original purpose as a place of defense for Jews resumes a certain importance.

The 'just another state' view is how Israel should be viewed. Doing anything other than that is putting it in a special category that both anti-zionists/semites do, giving the state of Israel special treatment as the historical anomaly, the ultimate evil, the outpost of imperialism, that murderous state etc. Interestingly enough this category is also what apologists and zionists do as well. Israel is historically unique, its people suffered at the hands of the ultimate evil, Israel is a beacon of democracy in the Middle East/ sea of barabarians etc and so on.

This is exactly what you're arguing Sphinx, and there is quite a bit of hypocrisy in there. You decry that ant-zionists verge over to anti-semitism because of setting Israel/Jews apart from other nation-states, but go full circle ending up as a mere apologist of Israeli colonialism and occupation.

Israel is just like any other nation-state. What is happening to the Palestinians at the hands of Israel(is) is not unique at all. Nearly every single creation of a nation-state has been a bloody affair with enough bigotry and violence for everyone. Genocide, politicide and ethnic cleansing are also pretty standard historically. The difference is that these sorts of things are more unpopular these days, and this does have an impact on how Israel is viewed.

In addition, the Palestinians have been quite successful in publicizing their plight for better or worse (intifadas and aviation and suicide terrorism respectively). Israel is playing the same PR game, and is better at it. This is also part of the reason why the I-P conflict resonates more than other conflict, and why Israel and Palestine are put in special categories that subsumes all other reducing everything to the pro/anti Israel/Palestine binaries.

sphinx
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Nov 28 2007 13:23

There's a couple other comments I'd like to get to but I won't have time for a little bit.

TreeofJudas

The original question I posed was: how can we understand the rise in worldwide anti-semitism and anti-Zionism, concentrating on its appeal to populations with nothing directly at stake in the territorial struggle of Israelis and Palestinians. You said that Zionists and the Israeli government use anti-semitism to justify internal colonialism. If what you refer to as colonialism is not the 'excesses' beyond the borders of the nation state (settlements), but intertwined with the capitalist history of the state (the Histradut etc.), that Israel is colonialist in its very constitution, then if the Israeli government defends its policies by decrying 'anti-semitism', the day to day existence of Israel must be an incitement to anti-semitism. I think this is a uselessly broad statement, and doesn't shed much light on the contemporary appeal of anti-semitism and so I went with the supposition that you were referring to the colonies of Israel itself.

Is Israel a colony of 'world jewry'? I'm not entirely convinced by your argument. The law of return certainly exists and is built on exclusionary principles, it grants accelerated citizenship to Jews, and other immigrants flounder in the bureaucratic nightmare (the Sudanese are a good example lately, I also have a friend who after a year trying to immigrate to Israel gave up in exasperation after his papers were delayed for months and months simply for being a convert). Israel is also a racist place, with not only a 'demographic' exclusionary principle but workforce hierarchies based on ethnic affiliation. But back to the subject, world Jewry is not a nation state with the power to militarily defend the territory of 'its colony' from the outside. In terms of finance? The American government is for instance the heaviest investor in the Israeli economy, both in terms of direct investment and foreign aid, mostly for the sake of advanced weapon production, but even this amounts to only $1.2 billion a year. Israeli GDP is $195 billion a year. How does this colonial relationship exist objectively?

I would argue that Israel is better described as a state in which the primitive accumulation phase of the bourgeois revolution has essentially been allowed to continue indefinitely, and the racist aspects of this remain within the tiers of the economy, the economic relationship between Israel and the territories and with the annexation of land in the settlements serving as a pressure valve for working class struggle. All of these tendencies are important for understanding class society in Israel and Palestine, but to concentrate on them to the exclusion of the most important consideration: that Israel is a sovereign state which mediates the class relations of capitalism, like any other state on the rest of the planet, seems to me to miss the forest for the trees. And this is precisely the obsessive focus of the anti-Zionists. It needs to be emphasized that the core of Israeli capitalism is the tech sector, metals, the diamond industry, weapons, it is not the settlements nor is it the land that the JNF has accumulated but doesn't know what to do with.

When I was in Israel this summer I went to a village called Segev Shalom, which is a bedouin settlement created by the government. Here there was a presentation by people working in solidarity with Bedouin against demolitions in the Negev, discussing the problem of the 'Judeaization of the Negev', a project the Israeli bourgeoisie has been quite keen on since the founding of the state: creating an infrastructural link between the middle belt of Israel (starting at Be'er Sheva basically) and its southern outposts across the vicious heat of the Negev. You may remember that there were some recent Bedouin evictions which were initiated by the government for the sake of slowly bringing Jews from outside of Israel into the desert and subsidizing their neighborhood developments in order to slowly populate this area with Jews. This is an example of this process. However can we analyze this project in terms of a colonial endeavor for instance?

It would be a mistake to understand the goal of the policy as the ethnic cleansing of bedouin remaining on the land. The Israeli bourgeoisie are like any other, they not only want to profit from a large public works project, they are also interested in centralizing all the water resources in this area, which is one of the centrifugal characteristics of capitalism itself. Thirdly they are interested in a stronger transport infrastructure across the Negev, and last the military benefits of firmer control over the entire territory. Most of these goals are not characterized by colonial aims, but instead by capitalist development. For the bourgeoisie, the Bedouin are only in the way. They are only in the way like other poor minorities in American slums slated for redevelopment, like working class people where a nuclear power plant will be built.

Getting back to the subject of anti-semitism,

Quote:
Whereas its political implications are intricately connected to the ambitions of local ruling classes, militias and their imperialist patrons, anti-semitism (in its geopolitical form, anti-zionism)

You have yet to show that in any manner. Your rhetoric mirrors that of Zionist apologists such as Abe Foxman and others. How is opposition to a colonialist regime automatically racist?

Wow, Abe Foxman. That's low.

First off, why is it that in a discussion of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism we have not yet even touched on the efforts of Al-Manar, broadcasting since 1991, which was (is still?) available in Europe until 2004 and enjoys a considerable audience in the middle east and Arabic-speaking parts of Africa. We haven't talked about the rise of the far right in Europe. We haven't talked about Al Qods day, we haven't talked about Iranian TV. We haven't talked about the efforts to rally holocaust deniers with an international conference and contest in Teheran. We haven't talked about Jorg Haider on Al Jazeera. We haven't talked about the propaganda of Hamas.

Just the above should be enough proof that anti-semitism is seen as a useful tool of mobilization for a variety of ruling classes. Add to this that many of them have overlapping interests.

Quote:
is one political safety valve for people who think that somehow the imperialism of the West is the 'primary contradiction', the breach holding capitalism together, when in fact imperialists wage wars of position in order to restructure the same international economy. In fact, anti-semitism most often does not result from an engagement with Jewish people, and (often) the people decrying Zionism have no real knowledge of the conflict; these ideas result from a particular despair vis-a-vis one's agency in capitalist society.

A lot of people decrying Zionism are either Palestinians, who have direct personal or familial experience of the conflict, with a few of whom I have discussed this issue, or Israelis, who experience and know it from the "offending" side, like myself. I decry your attempt to muddy the waters.

Ok, yes of course. I did not mean to assert that for some reason Israelis and Palestinians should not have a critique of Zionism (alongside one of capitalism and the state).

Quote:
Let's move this discussion onto firmer ground. I'm willing to take on the mantle of being "an anti-Zionist", at least for the sake of discussion; I also have real knowledge of the conflict. What do you have to say to me? Is it wrong for me to oppose Zionism? Should I be joining the IDF instead? Should I be hailing the Annapolis talks, which are no more than a final attempt at having a legitimized indigenous contractor for the Zionist regime?

If you send me your address I will send you pom-poms for the Annapolis broadcasts.

Seriously though, I am in no position to give you advice on what you should do personally. Like any anti-capitalist, the goal is to be and act subversively in your own context (and eventually outside of it). It is good that you are a revolutionary and that you communicate with the rest of us. I would hope that you are capable of organizing among others and fighting capitalism. What I think you will find however is that in an Israel where 80% of the population saw the end of the second intifada in a security barrier, and not in cross-border struggles, that the prospects for an internationalist movement are quite dim at the moment.

Two questions:

1. Why anti-zionist? What is lacking in the post-Zionist position (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Zionism) which asserts that Israel has achieved a safe space for Jews as well as a democratic state, and now is the time to move beyond it?

2. From an anti-zionist perspective, why do you think that Matzpen for instance failed to make real dents in the settlement project, but more importantly Israeli capitalism as a whole? Were the masses just too stupid for anti-Zionism the first time around?

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Alf
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Nov 29 2007 13:45

"1. Why anti-zionist? What is lacking in the post-Zionist position (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Zionism) which asserts that Israel has achieved a safe space for Jews as well as a democratic state, and now is the time to move beyond it?

2. From an anti-zionist perspective, why do you think that Matzpen for instance failed to make real dents in the settlement project, but more importantly Israeli capitalism as a whole? Were the masses just too stupid for anti-Zionism the first time around?"

1. Most of the people on this thread are not arguing from an anti-zionist position, but, as Khawaga said, from the position that Israel is neither an extraordinary evil (rather like the anti-fascists argue about Nazi Germany) nor a special case that needs to be defended; that it is a bourgeois, imperialist state like all other nation states.

2. If the 'post-zionist' view is that Israel is a safe space for Jews then it's a crock, because I can't think of any less safe space for Jews than Israel

3. I have no doubt that putting forward an internationalist position in Israel/Palestine is extraordinarily difficult and always has been. But I don't think that Matzpen ever did that. They were classic anti-Zionists, leftist and pro-Palestinian nationalist - even their more 'libertarian' spokesmen like Akiva Orr who was a member of Solidarity when he moved to the UK never broke from this ideology.

yoshomon
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Nov 29 2007 20:25
Alf wrote:
2. If the 'post-zionist' view is that Israel is a safe space for Jews then it's a crock, because I can't think of any less safe space for Jews than Israel

While I agree with you that Israel is not the safest place for Jews (the US or Canada are safer, for example), it is certainly not the least safe place. I can think of a number of places that would be much more dangerous that are right nearby Israel...

winjer
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Nov 30 2007 10:56
revol68 wrote:
how is taking up the slogan of victory to hezbullah as a suppoused act of solidarity with the lebanese any different than taking up the slogan of victory to Israel/IDF as a suppoused act of solidarity with jews?

The difference is that the slogan "We are all Hezbollah" was taken up by the Lebanese population and then migrated to Lebanese ex-pats, and only then was it taken up by (some of) the Trots.

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Nov 30 2007 11:59

[i]"While I agree with you that Israel is not the safest place for Jews (the US or Canada are safer, for example), it is certainly not the least safe place. I can think of a number of places that would be much more dangerous that are right nearby Israel...["/i]

Except that most of the Jews in these countries have left or been kicked out since Israel was formed. At the time of the US invasion, there were two Jews in Kabul, who apparently couldn't stand each other.

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Nov 30 2007 14:52
sphinx wrote:
The original question I posed was: how can we understand the rise in worldwide anti-semitism and anti-Zionism, concentrating on its appeal to populations with nothing directly at stake in the territorial struggle of Israelis and Palestinians. You said that Zionists and the Israeli government use anti-semitism to justify internal colonialism. If what you refer to as colonialism is not the 'excesses' beyond the borders of the nation state (settlements), but intertwined with the capitalist history of the state (the Histradut etc.), that Israel is colonialist in its very constitution, then if the Israeli government defends its policies by decrying 'anti-semitism', the day to day existence of Israel must be an incitement to anti-semitism.

Nope. It is an "incitement" to anti-Zionism. Its identification with the victimhood of the Holocaust on and the monetary compensation it garners as a result, on the other hand, as well as its persistent deflection of criticism towards anti-semitism, are what encourages the latter, and the connection between the two.

sphinx wrote:
I think this is a uselessly broad statement, and doesn't shed much light on the contemporary appeal of anti-semitism and so I went with the supposition that you were referring to the colonies of Israel itself.

Well, I hope I have made it more specific for you.

sphinx wrote:
Is Israel a colony of 'world jewry'? I'm not entirely convinced by your argument.

I can't see why though:

sphinx wrote:
The law of return certainly exists and is built on exclusionary principles, it grants accelerated citizenship to Jews, and other immigrants flounder in the bureaucratic nightmare (the Sudanese are a good example lately, I also have a friend who after a year trying to immigrate to Israel gave up in exasperation after his papers were delayed for months and months simply for being a convert). Israel is also a racist place, with not only a 'demographic' exclusionary principle but workforce hierarchies based on ethnic affiliation.

So far you're with me.

sphinx wrote:
But back to the subject, world Jewry is not a nation state with the power to militarily defend the territory of 'its colony' from the outside.

World Jewry is a loosely-connected cultural collective, with a few major influential bodies (mostly centered around the colonial project). That is not at all a necessary condition for Israel to be a colony, though, so long as there is enough organization for a sufficient body of human resources to be directed at enlarging the colony.

sphinx wrote:
In terms of finance? The American government is for instance the heaviest investor in the Israeli economy, both in terms of direct investment and foreign aid, mostly for the sake of advanced weapon production, but even this amounts to only $1.2 billion a year. Israeli GDP is $195 billion a year. How does this colonial relationship exist objectively?

I refer you to your own statement above. It's a matter of demographics, not finance. When it comes to finance, I suspect Israel is a lot like other imperialist pawns. But other imperialist pawns of the bigger powers such as the US, Russia and China are not based upon an influx of enclassed ethnically-differentiated immigrants.

sphinx wrote:
I would argue that Israel is better described as a state in which the primitive accumulation phase of the bourgeois revolution has essentially been allowed to continue indefinitely, and the racist aspects of this remain within the tiers of the economy, the economic relationship between Israel and the territories and with the annexation of land in the settlements serving as a pressure valve for working class struggle. All of these tendencies are important for understanding class society in Israel and Palestine, but to concentrate on them to the exclusion of the most important consideration: that Israel is a sovereign state which mediates the class relations of capitalism, like any other state on the rest of the planet, seems to me to miss the forest for the trees. And this is precisely the obsessive focus of the anti-Zionists. It needs to be emphasized that the core of Israeli capitalism is the tech sector, metals, the diamond industry, weapons, it is not the settlements nor is it the land that the JNF has accumulated but doesn't know what to do with.

I don't disagree with anything you've said in this paragraph, except that I think the JNF knows exactly what it wants to do with the land it has accumulated: put more Jews on it, and keep non-Jews off of it.

sphinx wrote:
When I was in Israel this summer I went to a village called Segev Shalom, which is a bedouin settlement created by the government. Here there was a presentation by people working in solidarity with Bedouin against demolitions in the Negev, discussing the problem of the 'Judeaization of the Negev', a project the Israeli bourgeoisie has been quite keen on since the founding of the state: creating an infrastructural link between the middle belt of Israel (starting at Be'er Sheva basically) and its southern outposts across the vicious heat of the Negev. You may remember that there were some recent Bedouin evictions which were initiated by the government for the sake of slowly bringing Jews from outside of Israel into the desert and subsidizing their neighborhood developments in order to slowly populate this area with Jews. This is an example of this process. However can we analyze this project in terms of a colonial endeavor for instance?

Read this over again and tell me if this isn't an exact description of how a colonial power would expand its settlements and slowly yet violently remove the current inhabitants. Seriously, why do you keep arguing with me when all your arguments are supportive of my perspective?

sphinx wrote:
It would be a mistake to understand the goal of the policy as the ethnic cleansing of bedouin remaining on the land.

Was that ever the goal of colonialism anywhere else? As you say later, the ethnic cleansing has always been the result of indigenous people being "in the way":

sphinx wrote:
The Israeli bourgeoisie are like any other, they not only want to profit from a large public works project, they are also interested in centralizing all the water resources in this area, which is one of the centrifugal characteristics of capitalism itself. Thirdly they are interested in a stronger transport infrastructure across the Negev, and last the military benefits of firmer control over the entire territory. Most of these goals are not characterized by colonial goals, but instead by capitalist development. For the bourgeoisie, the Bedouin are only in the way.They are only in the way like other poor minorities in American slums slated for redevelopment, like working class people where a nuclear power plant will be built.

With, again, the clear difference that there is an ethnic differential created by the colonialist regime making class solidarity close to impossible.

sphinx wrote:
Getting back to the subject of anti-semitism,
...
Wow, Abe Foxman. That's low.

You're right. That was needlessly insulting and I withdraw it. I'm sorry.

sphinx wrote:
First off, why is it that in a discussion of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism we have not yet even touched on the efforts of Al-Manar, broadcasting since 1991, which was (is still?) available in Europe until 2004 and enjoys a considerable audience in the middle east and Arabic-speaking parts of Africa. We haven't talked about the rise of the far right in Europe. We haven't talked about Al Qods day, we haven't talked about Iranian TV. We haven't talked about the efforts to rally holocaust deniers with an international conference and contest in Teheran. We haven't talked about Jorg Haider on Al Jazeera. We haven't talked about the propaganda of Hamas.

That's because the real topic wasn't antisemitism but anti-Deutsch, a group which, like anti-semites in the Left, conflates Zionism and Judaism.

sphinx wrote:
Just the above should be enough proof that anti-semitism is seen as a useful tool of mobilization for a variety of ruling classes. Add to this that many of them have overlapping interests.

And which interests do anti-semite migrants in Israel represent?

tojiah wrote:
A lot of people decrying Zionism are either Palestinians, who have direct personal or familial experience of the conflict, with a few of whom I have discussed this issue, or Israelis, who experience and know it from the "offending" side, like myself. I decry your attempt to muddy the waters.
sphinx wrote:
Ok, yes of course. I did not mean to assert that for some reason Israelis and Palestinians should not have a critique of Zionism (alongside one of capitalism and the state).

That's awfully kind of you.

tojiah wrote:
Let's move this discussion onto firmer ground. I'm willing to take on the mantle of being "an anti-Zionist", at least for the sake of discussion; I also have real knowledge of the conflict. What do you have to say to me? Is it wrong for me to oppose Zionism? Should I be joining the IDF instead? Should I be hailing the Annapolis talks, which are no more than a final attempt at having a legitimized indigenous contractor for the Zionist regime?
sphinx wrote:
If you send me your address I will send you pom-poms for the Annapolis broadcasts.

Seriously though, I am in no position to give you advice on what you should do personally. Like any anti-capitalist, the goal is to be and act subversively in your own context (and eventually outside of it). It is good that you are a revolutionary and that you communicate with the rest of us. I would hope that you are capable of organizing among others and fighting capitalism. What I think you will find however is that in an Israel where 80% of the population saw the end of the second intifada in a security barrier, and not in cross-border struggles, that the prospects for an internationalist movement are quite dim at the moment.

And this is a God-given fact of life, that cannot be analyzed in any way? My critique of Zionism is exactly as the use of colonialism as a tool of suppressing working-class consciousness in Palestine by the most powerful local ruling class.

sphinx wrote:
Two questions:

1. Why anti-zionist? What is lacking in the post-Zionist position (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Zionism) which asserts that Israel has achieved a safe space for Jews as well as a democratic state, and now is the time to move beyond it?

Common sense and historical perspective, maybe, seeing as it suggests that Zionism was worthy of support at some time in its past, that it has at some point not been a reactionary and repressive ideology?

sphinx wrote:
2. From an anti-zionist perspective, why do you think that Matzpen for instance failed to make real dents in the settlement project, but more importantly Israeli capitalism as a whole? Were the masses just too stupid for anti-Zionism the first time around?

It's not a matter of stupidity, it's a matter of availability of colonists. As long as enough colonists are available for the Zionist ruling class, it can prove itself and reproduce itself through the influx of colonists and expansion of living quarters. What can a bunch of whiny leftists do against that?

sphinx
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Dec 6 2007 16:05
Quote:
Nope. It is an "incitement" to anti-Zionism. Its identification with the victimhood of the Holocaust on and the monetary compensation it garners as a result, on the other hand, as well as its persistent deflection of criticism towards anti-semitism, are what encourages the latter, and the connection between the two.

Ok well you said it is an incitement to anti-semitism earlier in the thread, thus my response. Reframing your statement with the emphasis on anti-Zionism brings up a different argument.

Quote:
World Jewry is a loosely-connected cultural collective, with a few major influential bodies (mostly centered around the colonial project). That is not at all a necessary condition for Israel to be a colony, though, so long as there is enough organization for a sufficient body of human resources to be directed at enlarging the colony.

I guess I'd like to hear your definition of colony then. Keep in mind that I'm not saying Israel doesn't have colonial aspects to it, it irrefutably does. But I still don't see the usefulness of your formulation. From what I know 'world Jewry' is a somewhat varied force. It's only homogeneity vis-a-vis Israeli policy comes in influencing Israeli policy on Jerusalem (a holy city to all religious Jews), in almost all other cases the Israeli government takes the lead in defining military operations, maintaining the occupation, regulating the economy etc., to which Jewish organizations worldwide take their own positions on. The relationship is largely one of reaction, not an active colonial relationship. World Jewry simply isn't deciding Israeli policy. Really, did world Jewry launch the attack on Lebanon? Or did Israel do that?

Even if you restrict your point to demographics, this does not decide the question of what is and what isn't a colony of something else. Germany for instance has (or had) 'the law of blood', a preferential immigration policy for people of German descent about which I quote:

Quote:
Under this concept of citizenship, non-Germans in far-off lands who can show ancient Germanic family ties can claim a "right of return" to the fatherland, while children born in Germany to Turkish workers face bureaucratic obstacles. In the past decade, as many of these "Germans by blood" have been taken in as those seeking asylum; the ingathering was intended.

And the Germans were never subjected to a systematic policy of annihilation enacted on the basis of who and who was not a German. Germany also has a much lower population of non-Germans than Israel has of non-Israelis. Is Germany a colony of...Germans? Or just a nation state with racist tendencies like they all have? (Japan incidentally has the same policy and I'm sure others do as well). It makes more sense to me to understand Israel as a colonial state in its own right, that is in terms of its internal policy and the colonies outside of its borders, not in relation to an external power.

I also don't think that its development can be seen outside of the wider tendency towards the formation of post-colonial nation states after WWII, especially when you take into account how many Jews were evicted from countries in the region. The upsurge in Zionist immigration and the establishment of the staet coincided with the end of the colonial period in the middle East and the reactions to Israel's emergence were rooted in the attempts by regional ruling classes to define their own new nations not only against the imperial projects of Europe and America (and therefore the 'imperialist outpost Israel') but also narratives which could unite disparate belief systems to agree with the feudalistic governance structures on which these states were erected. In the period after the 1948 war, right when so many of these nations were coming into being, the attacks on Jews as Jews in these countries is pretty plain evidence that Zionism was defined as both an external enemy of these new nation states (illustrated in the war) and as an internal menace (already a marriage of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism), and therefore that the Zionists (more or less the Jews) could stand in as an easy avatar of imperialism (and in some instances communism).

Quote:
In 1941, following Rashid Ali's pro-Axis coup, riots known as the Farhud broke out in Baghdad. As a result of Farhud, about 180 Jews were killed and about 240 were wounded, 586 Jewish-owned businesses were looted and 99 Jewish houses were destroyed.[33]

A series of pogroms started in Tripoli in November 1945; over a period of several days more than 130 Jews (including 36 children) were killed, hundreds were injured, 4,000 were left homeless, and 2,400 were reduced to poverty. Five synagogues in Tripoli and four in provincial towns were destroyed, and over 1,000 Jewish residences and commercial buildings were plundered in Tripoli alone.[41] The pogroms continued in June 1948, when 15 Jews were killed and 280 Jewish homes destroyed.[42]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_lands#Jews_flee_Arab_states_.281948-.29

During the Arab-Israeli war:

Quote:
In June 1948, soon after Israel was established and in the midst of the first Arab-Israeli war, riots against Jews broke out in Oujda and Djerada, killing 44 Jews. In 1948-9, 18,000 Jews left the country for Israel.

In 1948, Jewish neighborhoods in Cairo suffered bomb attacks that killed at least 70 Jews. Hundreds of Jews were arrested and had their property confiscated.

These events are part of the larger picture of how many of the post-colonial nationalisms in the middle east managed self-definition. The ideologists who defined themselves in anti-imperialist terms against Israel and the press which empowered them not only worked (and work) in their own interests for preserving their own power (my original point) but they are at least as responsible for reactionary anti-semitism and anti-Zionism as the justifications of the Israeli government (your point).

Quote:
Read this over again and tell me if this isn't an exact description of how a colonial power would expand its settlements and slowly yet violently remove the current inhabitants. Seriously, why do you keep arguing with me when all your arguments are supportive of my perspective?

Yes the situation of the Negev does resemble traditional colonialist development, the Bedouin are gathered in settlement cities and the estates are used as incentive for Jews from other countries to immigrate to Israel. The problem is that the colonial aspect ("Judaization") is focused on to the exclusion of more relevant critiques of the situation for an anti-capitalist: 1. resource centralization and monopolization by the state and 2. the construction of road infrastructure for the sake of expanding access for capital and the military. These two phenomenon produce the exclusion which makes way for the colonists, and these phenomenon are the primary target for a critic of political economy.

You said that the worldwide growth in anti-semitism and anti-Zionism is mainly due to Israel being the only active colonial power in the world, a fact which supposedly sets it apart from other nations. What I'm trying to point out is that this 'active colonial' aspect of the Israeli state is fetishized, it is widely understood as an intransigent greed for territory and resources, when in fact it is the product of quite rote laws of capitalism in the context of uneven development. The settlements for another example have long been not only a biblical fulfillment of prophecy and justification for military outposting (Zionism) but also a tradeoff negotiated by successive labor and Likud governments to new immigrants and working class Israelis via 'Labor Zionism'.

Against any materialist understanding of Israeli class society, a good example of how the colonialist aspects of Zionism are fetishized is provided by Gilad Atzmon, given a megaphone as I mentioned above, by the Morning Star:

Quote:
"For an Israeli to humanise himself, he must de-zionise himself. In this way, self-hating can become a very productive power. It's the same sense of self-hating I find, too, in Jews who have given the most to humanity, like Christ, Spinoza or Marx. They bravely confronted their beast and, in doing so, they made sense to many millions."

"I know deep inside me that the Hebraic identity is the most radical version of the idea of Jewish supremacy, which is a curse for Palestine, a curse for Jews and a curse for the world. It is a major destructive force," he says.

Not only for Gilad Atzmon, but for the press that endorses him, for the people who read him seriously, for the discourse that enables his speech, the critique of Zionism as colonialism is a moral critique. Self-hatred is the way to redemption (and others can help the Israelis hate themselves as well! Actually we can just hate the Israelis). Not the attack on value and the state, but the internal struggle against external phenomena is accorded legitimacy. It is not enough to note that Gilad Atzmon is an anti-semite. Given the currency accorded this man, I think it is fair to say that this is a relatively uncontroversial assessment of Zionism, that Zionism does not have liberatory qualities even after the Shoa but is an expansionist menace internal to the Israelis that has no internal barriers to development, not in terms of class nor in politics. I don't think this sort of essentialism is so far from a biologism, and the manifestation of the latter was illustrated quite vividly up until 2004 by suicide bombers for whom the bodies of the Israelis came to substitute for the domination they experience. "Every Israeli is a colonist".

It is also of course a scandal that the same European and American left which holds a special condemnation for the eviction of Palestinians from the territory that became Israel hardly had any such words when these powers were variously assisting the breakup of Yugoslavia (characterized by ethnic cleansing on all sides).

If I could bring this back to the anti-Germans for a minute, I think it is at least them who managed to expose many of these problems even if they have many of their own.

Next, you keep bringing this up:

Quote:
And which interests do anti-semite migrants in Israel represent?

I'll bite. What do you think about them? To me they indicate the widespread appeal of anti-semitism in Russia, their country of origin, and not a lot more.

Quote:
Two questions:

1. Why anti-zionist? What is lacking in the post-Zionist position (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Zionism) which asserts that Israel has achieved a safe space for Jews as well as a democratic state, and now is the time to move beyond it?

Common sense and historical perspective, maybe, seeing as it suggests that Zionism was worthy of support at some time in its past, that it has at some point not been a reactionary and repressive ideology?

Wouldn't that be the exact reason to leave it behind? That it was an ideal that became exactly that, a reactionary and repressive ideology. I suppose you share the position that after WWII there was not a need for Jews to gather together to defend themselves?

Quote:
sphinx wrote:

2. From an anti-zionist perspective, why do you think that Matzpen for instance failed to make real dents in the settlement project, but more importantly Israeli capitalism as a whole? Were the masses just too stupid for anti-Zionism the first time around?

It's not a matter of stupidity, it's a matter of availability of colonists. As long as enough colonists are available for the Zionist ruling class, it can prove itself and reproduce itself through the influx of colonists and expansion of living quarters. What can a bunch of whiny leftists do against that?

There are plenty of colonists available for Gaza right now. Why aren't there any colonists actually living there? Obviously the ability for settlements to expand is a factor of the political situation, and surely it is a sign of consciousness that Israelis have grown a distaste for defending these colonies against the Palestinians that attack them. Somehow some whiny leftists managed to accomplish that, even if it was Sharon who eventually pulled the plug.

I'm still curious though do you see anti-Zionism as eventually having some sort of appeal among working class Israelis?

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Tojiah
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Dec 11 2007 22:30
sphinx wrote:
Quote:
Nope. It is an "incitement" to anti-Zionism. Its identification with the victimhood of the Holocaust on and the monetary compensation it garners as a result, on the other hand, as well as its persistent deflection of criticism towards anti-semitism, are what encourages the latter, and the connection between the two.

Ok well you said it is an incitement to anti-semitism earlier in the thread, thus my response. Reframing your statement with the emphasis on anti-Zionism brings up a different argument.

No, I did not. This is what I said, originally, in regards to how Zionist policy incites anti-semitism:

tojiah wrote:
Also, if you're looking for where the revival of anti-semitism is coming from, you need look no further than the Zionist movement, crystalized into the Israeli government, which has appropriated the consistent victimhood of anti-semitism in order to promote its own colonialism (and is still getting money from the German government as a result; I wonder how anti-Deutsch wrap their heads around that, and the fact that the Israeli government is now asking for additional funds).

I clearly link this with the appropriation by the Zionists, rather than the mere colonialism itself.

sphinx wrote:
tojiah wrote:
World Jewry is a loosely-connected cultural collective, with a few major influential bodies (mostly centered around the colonial project). That is not at all a necessary condition for Israel to be a colony, though, so long as there is enough organization for a sufficient body of human resources to be directed at enlarging the colony.

I guess I'd like to hear your definition of colony then.

I'd say that a colonial state is a state whose ruling class depends on a continuing influx of immigrants directly linked to it ethnically. The important part is for a large enough group outside the state to be able to become higher-strata members of the state, and for this to be necessary for the local ruling class's survival.

sphinx wrote:
Keep in mind that I'm not saying Israel doesn't have colonial aspects to it, it irrefutably does. But I still don't see the usefulness of your formulation. From what I know 'world Jewry' is a somewhat varied force. It's only homogeneity vis-a-vis Israeli policy comes in influencing Israeli policy on Jerusalem (a holy city to all religious Jews), in almost all other cases the Israeli government takes the lead in defining military operations, maintaining the occupation, regulating the economy etc., to which Jewish organizations worldwide take their own positions on. The relationship is largely one of reaction, not an active colonial relationship. World Jewry simply isn't deciding Israeli policy. Really, did world Jewry launch the attack on Lebanon? Or did Israel do that?

Ever since that point where David Ben-Gurion had to acquiesce to the demands of world Jewry not to be forced to obey him, so that they may support Israel financially and demographically, Israel's policy has to a large part been subservient to its need to maintain an organic connection with world Jewry. The colonial aspect doesn't have to be a matter of being given direct orders. The pre-revolutionary American colonists were not obeying orders to commit genocide upon the indigenous population, they were simply facilitating the use of natural resources for the benefit of the various empires and expanding their colonies in order to contain the influx of colonists. Indigenous peoples just happened to be in the way.

sphinx wrote:

Even if you restrict your point to demographics, this does not decide the question of what is and what isn't a colony of something else. Germany for instance has (or had) 'the law of blood', a preferential immigration policy for people of German descent about which I quote:

Quote:
Under this concept of citizenship, non-Germans in far-off lands who can show ancient Germanic family ties can claim a "right of return" to the fatherland, while children born in Germany to Turkish workers face bureaucratic obstacles. In the past decade, as many of these "Germans by blood" have been taken in as those seeking asylum; the ingathering was intended.

How many "blood" Germans make use of this law every year? What percentage are they of the population? And, not least importantly, just how many "blood" Germans are living their lives outside of Germany's borders? With Jews and Israel the yearly influx has been:

  • 2000: 61723
  • 2001: 44863
  • 2002: 34984
  • 2003: 24536
  • 2004: 22485
  • 2005: 22806
  • 2006: 20955

As you can see, there is a marked decline in Jewish immigration, to which the Zionist regime has responded by privatizing certain colonization aspects and by initiating more benefit packages for Jewish immigrants.

As for the number of potential positive colonists compared to existing colonists, at the end of 2006 there were 5,393,400 of them (75% of the general population, and apparently about 4.3% of which were immigrants from the past seven years alone) according to the Israeli central statistics bureau, while there are around 6 million Jews in the US alone and around 14 million world-wide. How do the Germans compare?

sphinx wrote:
And the Germans were never subjected to a systematic policy of annihilation enacted on the basis of who and who was not a German.

Quite a few of them were, obviously. Or are you claiming that Jews, Slavs, etc. were not true Germans?

sphinx wrote:
Germany also has a much lower population of non-Germans than Israel has of non-Israelis. Is Germany a colony of...Germans? Or just a nation state with racist tendencies like they all have? (Japan incidentally has the same policy and I'm sure others do as well).

The law is just words on a piece of paper. Again, in practice, how large is the influx of Japanese "returnees"? How large is the influx of German "returnees"? How large are the respective external colonial pools?

sphinx wrote:
It makes more sense to me to understand Israel as a colonial state in its own right, that is in terms of its internal policy and the colonies outside of its borders, not in relation to an external power.

Well, I disagree, for reasons I've stated throughout this exchange. Israeli policy within its "borders" is not all that different from that outside its borders, it just happens to have less room to maneuver. What about the Bedouin situation that you yourself previously raised in this thread, for example? That makes a lot more sense if you see the whole of Palestine as one big colony, as opposed to accepting the partition just because the UN said so and Stalin figured it was a good idea at the time (the real reason Israeli Leninists of various sorts accept it), or for whatever reason you accept for it.

Responding to the rest of your comment will have to wait, I'm afraid, until I've gathered the strength for it.

Mike Harman
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Dec 12 2007 18:52
sphinx wrote:
Why are partisans of the Zapatistas not 'anti-Mexican'?

Probably because some of their communiques appeal to some kind of broad Mexican nationalism?

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Alf
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Dec 12 2007 19:52

I am finding the discussion between Sphinx and ToJ hard to follow. Why is it important to decide whether or not Israel is a 'colonial state'? Isn't this going back to the false question of whether it's 'legitimate' or not? The key point is that it's an imperialist state but in that it's no exception to all other states in ths period of history.

kurasje
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Dec 12 2007 22:51
Alf wrote:
I am finding the discussion between Sphinx and ToJ hard to follow. Why is it important to decide whether or not Israel is a 'colonial state'? Isn't this going back to the false question of whether it's 'legitimate' or not? The key point is that it's an imperialist state but in that it's no exception to all other states in ths period of history.

I fully agree. I would just like to change the last sentence into this:
The key point is that Isreal is a capitalist state and so there is no exception to all other states at all !

As to all the 'Anti-German'-nonsence coming from the German 'Left' I think the best think to do is simple to ignore it and wait for some of them to come to their senses by themselves.

J.

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Tacks
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Dec 13 2007 13:10
Mike Harman wrote:
sphinx wrote:
Why are partisans of the Zapatistas not 'anti-Mexican'?

Probably because some of their communiques appeal to some kind of broad Mexican nationalism?

oh boo hoo.

Mike Harman
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Dec 13 2007 15:24

Today, we repeat: OUR STRUGGLE IS NATIONAL

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Dec 13 2007 15:36
Alf wrote:
I am finding the discussion between Sphinx and ToJ hard to follow. Why is it important to decide whether or not Israel is a 'colonial state'? Isn't this going back to the false question of whether it's 'legitimate' or not? The key point is that it's an imperialist state but in that it's no exception to all other states in ths period of history.

But I think that it is an exception to other states in this period of history, for the reasons I've explained on our talk at the Doric Arches a while ago. Being a colony is a particularly effective method of masking class consciousness; it throws the "ruling" ethnicity into a self-perpetuating siege consciousness, while the various "subjugated" ethnicities are thrown into national liberation consciousness, if they are not merely represented by well-meaning liberal civil rights activists. If we are to foment class struggle in the Middle East, this is something that needs to be accounted for, though neither by supporting (critically or otherwise) reactionary factions masking themselves with anti-colonialist rhetoric (like most of the Left), nor by opposing them and supporting watered-down Zionism (like the anti-Deutsch).

malb
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Dec 13 2007 23:46

> Apparently the anti-deutsch beat people up for wearing kheffiyehs among other crazy things.
This is certainly not true!

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Dec 14 2007 10:04

I agree with ToJ that there are particularities about the situation of Israel/Palestine which make it especially difficult to challenge the nationalist concensus on both sides; I also of course agree with the necessity to oppose Zionism and Palestinian nationalism as twin enemies. But Israel is certainly not unique in this: in Turkey, the nationalist oppression of the Kurds and the nationalist reaction to it produce a comparable trap, similarly in northern ireland, parts of the Russian Federation ,etc.

regarding modern anti-semitism, I do agree with Sphinx that it is not a mere reaction to Zionism, as it has much longer historical roots. Naturally though I don't at all agree with his Israeli 'exceptionalism'. The comrades of the Gauche Communiste de France produced an excellent critique of national liberation struggles (and Trot support for them) in the 40s called precisely 'Exceptional Cases'. Maybe I can translate it at some point.

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Tacks
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Dec 14 2007 10:18

look at my tears, i mean, just look at them

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Dec 14 2007 10:33

Alf, it's not just that there are and oppressing nationality and an oppressed nationality, it's that the oppressing nationality has reinforcements pouring in, that it depends on these reinforcements, which I think is different from the Turkish situation, though how one should respond to it I am obviously unsure. Somehow standing at Ben Gurion shouting "colonists go home!" doesn't seem to be the most effective answer (and would rightly make me look like a wingnut), but perhaps organizing in Jewish communities outside of Israel around this issue, within the greater immigration context, would make some sense, since it would cut off reinforcement at the source, and make the militant less accessible to the Israeli security apparatus. Considering that context of the conflict is so international, maybe this is where and how one should intervene.

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Dec 14 2007 11:45

I don't think that's the answer at all. It doesn't have any class basis. Jews who go to Israel come from a whole variety of class backgrounds - that's the whole problem with trying to intervene towards the 'Jewish community'. In the case of the most proletarian elements, they have most often gone to Israel to escape economic misery, as with many of the Russian and Ethiopian immigrants, or, earlier on, the direct racist oppression mentioned before in this thread. Arguing an 'anti-emigration' line outside Israel is not really any different from arguing against Jewish immigration inside Israel.

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Dec 14 2007 12:17

Presuming that the vast majority of Jews are working class, and taking into account the fact that the option of migrating into Israel with increased monetary compensation is only open to Jews, I think that there is a place for intervention within this milieu (of Jewish workers), either dissuading migration into Israel or providing a class background to circumvent class collaboration. I mean, working-class Jews would be a lot more accessible outside of Israel, before they have migrated, where they are experiencing their class anxiety most strongly (otherwise why would they move to begin with?), than after having migrated into Israel and settled into the "solution" to their problems, don't you think?

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Dec 14 2007 13:20

Not sure that the vast majority of Jews are working class....wasn't Borochov's 'inverted pyramid' about the tendency of Jews to be caught in the intermediate layers, linked to trade, etc? Leon had a similar idea with his notion of the 'people class', without drawing Zionist conclusions. Things have moved on since their day, but maybe not that much. '? In any case, a very strong petty bourgeois element to this day.

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Dec 14 2007 13:27

That's probably a question to be dealt with by a statistical analysis rather than by guessing. That'll have to wait for later. Anyway, I read on the online Israeli press that total Jewish migration to Israel is actually negative, more than twice as many Jews are leaving Israel as are returning, I've read on some other newspaper that there are some Russian government front organizations in Israel urging Russian-born Jews to return, etc. This is as much in the (bourgeois-imposed?) popular consciousness here as are draft-dodgers.