Pamphlet on the nationalist character of Zionism and the need for an anti-Zionism that is genuinely anti-capitalist.
Zionism against Jews
Zionism did not 'save' Jews from the Holocaust. That was never its concern. "If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Israel, then I opt for the second alternative", Ben Gurion - who became the first Israeli Prime Minister - said in 1938. He acknowledged that rescue would have been the end of Zionism: "If our brothers in America have to choose between the physical rescuing of the Jews of Europe and Zionism, they will choose the former and that will be the end of our movement ." The colonization of Palestine was the be-all and end-all, even at the cost of Jewish lives.
This did not change when the Jews were being exterminated. The Stern Gang sought an "anti-imperialist" alliance with the Nazis, stating "Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true [read: Zionist] national aspirations of the Jewish people." A foul pact was made to save 600 select Budapest Jews at the expense of 800,000 others; members of Zionist youth organizations, the "best biological material" as the Nazi Eichmann put it, were saved in exchange for "quiet and order" in the camps.
Zionism has always been concerned not with opposing anti-Semitism, but with coming to an arrangement with it. Even amidst the genocide of the Jews, it placed the colonial project before the masses of Jewish people.
The founders of Zionism rejected the possibility of overcoming anti-Semitism through popular struggle and social revolution. Moses Hess, Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann chose the side of state power, class domination and exploitative rule. They fully understood that the cultivation of anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews were the work of the very ruling class from whom they sought favor.
In seeking the sponsorship of the anti-Semites themselves, they revealed several motives: the worship of power with which they associated strength; an illusion of ending Jewish "weakness" and vulnerability and the state of being perpetual outsiders.
This sensibility was a short step to assimilating the values and ideas of the Jew-haters themselves. The Jews, the Zionists wrote, were indeed an undisciplined, subversive, dissident people, worthy of the scorn they had earned. The Zionists catered shamelessly to racist Jew-hatred; their literature is full of the most poisonous stereotypes. This worked in tandem with the anti-Semitic desire to be rid of a group of people long radicalized by persecution who swelled the ranks of many revolutionary movements.
The racism and oppression shown by the Israeli state is not unusual. The historical betrayals of Zionism are not unique: they are common to all forms of nationalism. Our anti-Zionism is based on opposition to all states, all borders and nations; to all the rulers and exploiters of the world.
Jews against Zionism
Zionism claims to speak for all Jews, because it wishes to silence us. Zionism claims Palestine as the homeland, because it wants to uproot us. Zionism claims to be the only possible defense against a new holocaust, because it wishes to dominate us.
The actions of the Israeli state has actually made us more vulnerable as Jews, as shown by the rise in anti-Jewish attacks. And in a telling twist, congregation members of a strongly anti-Zionist Stoke Newington synagogue have stated that Zionist militants are likely to be responsible for a spate of threats and attacks against them.
As Jews we are supposedly obliged to support a permanent state of war and hold a laughable "right" to "return" to a land many of us have never seen. But as people descended from the murdered of the Nazi genocide and countless pogroms - and who but for a few decades would have been murdered for being Jewish and for other "crimes" too - we reject Zionism and all it entails.
Zionism is the predictable outcome of worldwide nationalism, colonialism and statism. Born at a time when the world was being carved up and the European nation-state system consolidated, Zionism is the accomplice of Western power and a scourge of the Palestinians. The Zionist alliance with power and tyranny does not make it the guardian of Jews. It has always collaborated with racists and murderers to further its colonization of Palestine.
On the contrary, we support those who seek to overthrow 'their own' governments and leaders. We support struggles with the potential to undermine the state and capitalism. The 300-plus Israeli soldiers who have refused to fight, Palestinians resisting in the grassroots spirit of the first Intifada, the international activists who are spreading both their own and Palestinian struggles are positive developments. While beyond the Middle East, from Argentina to Geneva, from Woomera to Campsfield, a new world is trying to express itself.
For a global intifada and an end to all borders!