ACPR Policy Paper No. 171 with Israel Academia Monitor
OUR INNER SCOURGE:
THE CATASTROPHE OF ISRAEL ACADEMICS
Shlomo Sharan is Professor Emeritus of Educational and Organizational Psychology, at the School of Education, Tel Aviv University, where he taught from 1966 to 2000. An author of many books, research studies and articles on psychology and education, he has also published numerous articles on Jewish/Zionist topics, including several previous publications by the Ariel Center for Policy Research, including articles in Nativ.
The opinions expressed in the Policy Papers are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the members of the ACPR.
Quotation of the material herein is permissible provided that the ACPR is credited as the source. The ACPR requests a copy of any such use.
Additional copies of this and previous studies are available from the ACPR’s office.
OUR INNER SCOURGE:
THE CATASTROPHE OF ISRAEL ACADEMICS
“If the Nazi programme for the final solution of the Jewish problem had been complete, for sure there would be peace today in Palestine.”
Guardian Unlimited (Internet) October 5, 2002
Why Write about the Anti-Zionist Academics?
The many claims made in print or through other media of communication by anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic academics in Israel’s universities need to be examined and rebutted, to set the historical record straight. Citizens of Israel, who still respect the status of professors in our universities should understand what is being said by this group and why it is at once very upsetting and very distorted, in many cases turned inside out. There are at least three important reasons why such a rebuttal is vital.
These people are among those who teach our youth in the universities and who exert enormous influence on their ideas, attitudes, values and strivings. University professors do not know exactly how they influence their students. Occasionally the reactions of students can be the exact opposite of what was intended. Nevertheless, the role of the anti-Zionist academics in molding Israel’s youth cannot be discounted. It is crucial that their opinions meet with serious counter-efforts on behalf of all Jews who value the existence and significance of Israel as a Jewish nation. On the subject of classroom teaching by AZ academics, one description by a student from the United States speaks for itself (cited by Plaut, 2007):
Student Complaint about Ben Gurion University’s Neve Gordon
Eyewitness report from a classroom by Joshua Kahn (he can be reached at email@example.com):
The lecture began smoothly, with Neve Gordon giving a theoretical explanation of human rights (including the fundamental human right of free speech). It soon, however, turned very political. He presented a slideshow about the “Separation Wall” and the injustices it causes to the Palestinians. He made many mentions of land being “confiscated” by the Israelis and the “humiliation” caused to the Palestinians due to lack of movement throughout the territories. On his power-point presentation, he mentioned that parts of the fence were electrified. However, I then corrected him that they were just electric monitors. He conceded on this point.
My fellow students and I challenged him on his accusations and he became frustrated and lashed back due to the questions. He said he was more Zionist then any of us on the basis that he lives in Israel (although some in the class, including myself, are currently making Aliya). He condescendingly remarked that we were just full of American propaganda. He then requested that we stop asking questions and try to learn something.
I made a comment that Israel is in a war and fences and separation are necessary. He then made a comment about how during war millions of Jews were thrown in ovens. I asked him if he was comparing the situation in Israel to Nazi Germany and he did not answer. He then made another comparison of fenced in Palestinians and ghettos in Germany. He also claimed that when Jordan took control of the West Bank it was legal, but when the Israelis won the territory in war it was illegal.
At the end, I was able to approach him. I asked how he could possibly justify standing in solidarity with Arafat after the Passover Seder massacre. He became agitated and admitted that the picture has caused him troubles.
I then asked how he could sue another professor (at the University of Haifa – SS) for exercising his right to freedom of speech. He responded that we as Americans don’t understand that in Israel it is acceptable to sue in such a case for libel and that in Israel his case is reasonable...
He left in a huff, seeming very frustrated, annoyed, and agitated.2
Furthermore, many of the anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic academics to whom we refer here published books and articles presenting their views on Jews, Zionism and Israel that have received wide circulation in the English speaking world and among readers of English in other countries.3 Note the caption above quoted from comments written by the late Prof. Kimmerling of the Hebrew University published on the leading British Internet website called “The Guardian”. Rather than direct their comments at their countrymen for the purpose of stimulating public debate, the anti-Zionists parade their ideas in English with the explicit goal of stoking the fires of antagonism of the non-Jewish world against their own country. Obviously they understand that the citizens of Israel reject their positions and claims, so they appeal to non-Jews who would be sympathetic to their views, such as readers of the Guardian. In fact some of the most fanatical of the Jewish Israel haters among academics here have or will relocate themselves to Britain where anti-Semites of their persuasion abound.
Another explanation for writing about this subject is that academics lecture in various institutions in Israel (Bogdanor, 2006) and also travel abroad and lecture in many countries to academic and non-academic audiences. The lectures of Israel’s anti-Zionists infect listeners with the anti-Semitic poison that appears in their books and articles. Perhaps the listeners were converted to anti-Israel or anti-Semitic attitudes before they were exposed to our academics, and the audience hears what they came to hear in the first place. But we must be cognizant of the damage inflicted on us in order to counter it. In October 2007, an Arab Palestinian organization called Sabeel, will conduct a two-day conference in Boston to protest apartheid in Israel that allegedly “segregates” the Arabs in Israel. Speakers at the conference include Desmond Tutu, John Dugard (special UN reporter on the Palestinian Territories), Naim Ateek, Anat Biletzki, from the philosophy department in Tel Aviv University and Jeff Halper. Jeff Halper heads his own NGO called Israel Coalition against House Demolitions funded by the European Union whose purpose is to rebuild houses of Arab terrorists demolished by the Israel army as an act of punishment for aiding and abetting terrorism. Halper’s efforts do not include the Jewish and Arab victims of the rocket bombings by Hizbullah in the northern Galilee, or in Sderot in the Negev where homes are being destroyed daily and whose residents did not harbor terrorists.
How Many Academic Personnel are Involved?
Many attempts to determine the frequency or epidemiology of a social phenomenon depend upon how successful experts can be in identifying the subjects. When identification involves personal feelings, thoughts, attitudes, or even diseases, the extent to which the phenomenon exists is difficult to determine. The majority of academic personnel in Israel, or in any country, do not publish their thoughts on social-political-religious-philosophical or ideological subjects since many of them are engineers, mathematicians, medical personnel or specialists in the natural sciences. Faculty members who teach these disciplines easily comprise 50% of the faculty who teach in Israel’s universities (including the Weizmann Institute and The Technion) with the other 50% in the Social Sciences, Psychology and the Humanities (including Education). A reasonable estimate is that there are at present 8000 faculty members teaching in Israel’s universities, of whom approximately 500 have aligned themselves with anti-Israel protest documents or demonstrations. These protests are more than objections to government policy on the matter of the “occupied territories” but reflect an entire social-historical perspective (fundamentally Marxist in many cases) regarding Israel and the Zionist enterprise, although not all those who protest against Israel soldiers serving in Judea and Samaria are anti-Zionists. If our estimates are correct, anti-Zionists constitute about 6% of the entire faculty teaching in the nation’s universities (including several of the academic colleges as well).However, their number is much higher when we take into consideration the number of professors who teach the social sciences and humanities where the proportion of anti-Zionists reaches 25% or more. A small organization called the Israel Academia Monitor was set up to identify and collect the ideas circulated by these people. As a result of its efforts, lists of who they are were published on the Internet along with quotations from their remarks.4
Some members of the group of anti-Zionists are mathematicians, such as Jacob, Tamar and Haggai Katriel, Matania and Yoni Ben-Artzi, and Kobi Snitz, and some are from “the hard” sciences such as chemistry and physics such as Victoria Buch. Again, the academic disciplines of the 358 signers of the document appealing to soldiers to disobey orders commanding them to serve in “occupied territories” in Judea and Samaria, are indicated on the document itself accessible on the Internet.5 Included in the list are History (Moshe Zimmerman, Aviad Kleinberg, Ehud (Udi) Adiv), Political Science (Ze’ev Sternhell, Neve Gordon, Ilan Pappe, Yigal Bronner), Law (Oren ben-Dor now in England, Yossi Schwartz, Orna Ben-Naftali, Aeyal M. Gross and Keren R. Michaeli) Anthropology (Jeff Halper, Daniel Breslau, Maya Rosenfeld), Sociology (the late Baruch Kimmerling, Uri Ram, Lev Grinberg, Dan Jacobson, Yehuda Shenhav), Psychology (Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Daniel Bar-Tal, Judith Harel who also works for the UN OCHA
Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Information and Advocacy Unit), Literature, Linguistics (the late Tanya Reinhart, Nomi Shir), Education (Elana Shohamy), Philosophy (Yosef Agassi, Adi Ophir) and Geography (Oren Yiftachel). These are the disciplines most frequently represented among the radical anti-Zionist academics. More important, people from those disciplines are most likely to write a book or article concerning their thoughts about Zionism, the Jewish people, the Arabs, and so forth. They may even be found among protestors on the street or at some disputed site (Neve Gordon and Kobi Snitz from ‘Anarchists Against the Wall’ were arrested in demonstrations). The net result is that a small minority of academic personnel publish the lion’s share of the articles and books on the subject of this discussion. They “set the tone” of academic opinion about Israel not because they are so numerous, but because they write and publish.
Let us differentiate between academics who are critical of some policy of the government or of the citizens of Israel, and those who seek to cause serious harm to Israel or who decry the very existence of a Jewish Zionist nation (all –and more- of those mentioned above). The former cannot be categorized as anti-Zionists and/or anti-Semites. Some Jews who express various kinds of criticism of Israel may very well entertain extremely virulent anti-Israel notions. Yet, many of Israel’s finest supporters and patriots, totally devoted to Zionism and to Israel as a Jewish nation, as well as to the welfare of Jewry as a whole, are very critical of government policies in a variety of domains. Criticism is an absolutely necessary prerequisite for creativity and for constructive citizenship in a democracy, or anywhere for that matter. But parading Israel abroad as a criminal nation to be denounced, boycotted and/or ostracized is condemnable. This kind of criticism is motivated by intentions that aim to delegitimize Israel/Zionism/Jewry, or otherwise wreak havoc on, or demoralize the Jewish population.
Relevant to the discussion here is Natan Sharansky’s (2004; cited in Gerstenfeld, 2007) criteria, called the “3Ds”, for identifying anti-Semitism, namely: Demonization, Double Standard, Delegitimization, which overlap with the definition suggested in 1936 by Yehezkel Kaufman (cited in Sharan, 1995):
Demonization occurs when Israel’s acts are blown out of all proportion, Israel is compared to Nazism, and the Arab refugee camps are called Auschwitz.
Double Standard: Israel is singled out for condemnation of human rights abuses, but mention of countries whose abusive behavior regarding human rights is blatant, such as China, Cuba, Iran, Syria, etc. are ignored.
Delegitimization denies Israel the fundamental right to exist.
A similar set of criteria was offered by Irwin Cotler when he was Minister of Justice of Canada (cited by Gerstenefeld, 2005):
Cotler stated that
...people become anti-Semites when calling for the destruction of Israel and the Jews; when denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination; when they delegitimize Israel as a state...when Nazifying Israel; denying the Holocaust or singling out Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena.
These recent definitions were adopted by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). All of them apply to non-Jews and Jews alike, regardless of country of origin, religion, and so forth. Unfortunately, the EU in regard to Israel does exactly what it formally regards as racism in the behavior of other nations. The present study is focused on Jewish-Israeli academics. Of course people with devious minds can play the role of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The dissidents, Israel bashers and would be condemners of Israel consistently assert that they are trying to save us from ourselves. Words are skillfully employed by them to present themselves as defenders of freedom and democracy rather than as the antagonists of Jews and Israel.6
For example, a document was composed by academics in Israel’s universities in support of soldiers who refuse to serve in the “occupied territories.” Consequently the document is essentially an incitement of soldiers to disobey their commanders’ orders, an act commonly known as incitement to sedition. It was signed by 358 academics. Other protest documents are available signed by many more academic figures in Israel’s universities and colleges. Readers interested in learning the names of a large number of these academics in Israel’s universities too numerous to mention by name here can access them at the website of the Israel Academia Monitor.
The academics who signed these documents have committed an immoral and illegal act in Israel as well as in any democratic country. Many US or British citizens oppose the war in Iraq. There has never been any instance that has come to the attention of the media of a US or British citizen, or group of citizens from whatever walk of life, sending a document to soldiers in the armed forces of that country (within the country or in Iraq) that urges them to disobey orders issued to them by their superior officers. In the United States, and most probably in other countries as well, the authors/signers of such a document would be subject to a jail sentence for inciting to sedition, or they may “get away” with paying a heavy fine, depending on circumstances. Citizens who disagree with government policy are free to protest against that policy. They are never free, anywhere, to interfere in the conduct of the armed forces in any form whatsoever, just as the armed forces are not free, unless ordered to do so by the head of state, with support from the people’s elected representatives in parliament or Congress, to interfere with the lives of the citizens. On rare occasions, this almost universal distinction is called into question, as it has recently in Israel in regard to the forced eviction of Jews from Gush Katif. Nonetheless, that is the principle that governs the functioning of the government and of the citizenry in democratic nations. Academics who signed the appeal to soldiers not to serve in Judea and Samaria should be tried and jailed or fined, unrelated to the question of their views about the legitimacy, integrity or significance of the Jewish State of Israel. They broke the law and disregarded their legal and moral responsibility as citizens. It is ultimately harmful to Jewish society in Israel that the academics involved remain unchallenged by the law (courts), by the universities or by the citizens, many of whose children serve in the army.
Academics are often sought after by the media because they provide an opportunity for cheap sensationalism at the expense of Israel’s morale, such as pitting “right-wing” Jews against those on the left on TV talk shows, when in some cases the so-called “left wingers” are not merely leftist Zionists but profound anti-Semites and anti-Zionists, such as Uri Avnery who, as a man in his 20s during WWII, an immigrant at about age 10 to Palestine from Germany, expressed his admiration for Hitler (Lord, 2000, p. 117) and who to this very day, in his 80s, heads the group called Gush Shalom. At this time he is collaborating with Ilan Pappe and others of the academic anti-Zionists mentioned here. This apposition of different views on TV talk shows is completely asymmetrical because there is no common ground for debate. Often those who appear on panels and talk shows may not notice that the so-called Zionist “right wingers” do not express hatred of Arabs. Jews might oppose the transfer of Israel’s territory in Judea and Samaria to them, or disagree with the policy of not drafting Israeli Arabs into the armed services. But the anti-Zionist “left-wingers” hate the Jews of Israel just as much as they despise Zionism. They are examples of classical anti-Semites (Allport, 1958; Cotler, cited above). The people on the two sides of the fence talk past each other on TV programs, not to each other.
The Arab media exploit to the fullest the statements made by Jews against Israel, whether they are anti-Zionists in the strict sense or not. On some occasions, Arab protests against Israel’s government are joined by anti-Zionists in person so that Arab journalists or politicians need not rely exclusively on their verbal utterances. The often irresponsible, unfounded, and wild accusations leveled against Israel and its institutions are broadcast to the public by journalists as the “public’s right to know”, or “freedom of the press”. Fiercely anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic academics frequently seek protection from prosecution or condemnation for their grossly illegal and immoral behavior behind the shield of academic freedom. The media claim freedom of the press to shield themselves from prosecution.
What Say the Critics?
Israel’s relationship with the Arabs and with the Arabs in Gaza, Judea and Samaria in particular, is the primary focus of the criticism leveled against Israel as a nation by these academics. The litany of Israel’s, and Jewry’s, crimes as asserted by the anti-Zionist academics would fill a book that cannot be summarized easily here. With this drawback in mind, here is a condensed presentation of their views.
Israel insists on clinging to its Judaic origins. It must shrug off its moral, religious, historical connection to Judaism and early Zionism. The Jewish State “did not overcome the religious substance of Jewish nationalism and thus create a liberal, secular and open society at peace with itself and its neighbors”.7
Israel has maneuvered itself into the position of standing squarely on the front line of fire between the Moslem world and the US. It must extricate itself from that dangerous condition. We must change our policies toward the Arab-Muslim nations and desist from provoking them. That can be accomplished by dismantling the “settlements” including the Golan Heights. The failed Second Lebanese War, the Yom Kippur War, the Intifada, the Scud missiles, terrorism, Kassam and Katyusha rockets have all proven that the price of military solutions leads nowhere...now more than ever the time has come for an about face...in respect to the Muslim world...”(Ezrachi, 2007).
Israel causes more damage to the Palestinians than they have caused us. The courts in Israel cover up claims of violence toward Arabs and of damage caused to their property. Consequently, such acts are performed with impunity. In other words, the courts in Israel support Jewish military hegemony. The media in Israel are denounced for not objecting to Israel’s retaliation against the shooting of rockets on Sderot and nearby parts of the Negev (Aviad Kleinberg).
Israel Jewry refuses to accept responsibility for the catastrophe (naqba) caused by the Jews to the Arabs of Palestine by establishing Israel in 1948. Arab refugees from that cataclysmic event must be allowed to return to Israel from whence they were evicted. Israel belongs to Arab and Jews alike. The catastrophe for the Arabs is similar to the Holocaust. Yad VaShem looks out on Dir Yassin where the Jews slaughtered the Arabs.8 To justify this violence Israel clings to the image of the besieged Jews who are always being attacked by external foes. Support is expressed for Jews like Norman Finkelstein in the United States who denies that the Holocaust occurred. Alan Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard University, should be denounced because he is an ardent defender of Israel and sharply criticizes anti-Zionists and Jewish anti-Semites like Norman Finkelstein and Neve Gordon.
Israel discriminates against Arabs. There is a distinct difference between Democracy and Jewish domination of Israel. Israel is an Ethnocracy not a Democracy. Jewish democracy is an illusion, and Israel practices apartheid in a manner worse than South Africa before the fall of the Afrikaner or white domination there. The demolition of Arab homes by Israel, some 250 to 300 per year since 1948, should be discontinued and those homes should be rebuilt. Indeed, the outspoken and radical anti-Zionist, Jeff Halper, professor emeritus of anthropology at Ben Gurion University in Be’ersheva, through his one man organization, is devoted to raising funds for the reconstruction of Arab homes demolished by the Israel army. At this time, Halper’s “organization” is being funded by the EU.
The world should impose a boycott of Israel in every possible sphere, particularly a boycott of military and financial support, as well as in the academic and professional sphere. Classroom instruction should be devoted to exposing the victimization of the Arab Palestinians and the clandestine connection between the universities and Israel’s security forces. Ilan Pappe’s activities in the realm of encouraging the British boycott of Israel in all domains, economic, cultural, academic, etc., has gained momentum recently (July 2007) as many British labor, business and academic organizations approach the date when they will vote whether to undertake a massive boycott of Israel.
Israel’s terrorist acts against the defenseless Arab Palestinian are worse than those perpetrated by Hamas, Hizbullah, or other Arab groups against Jews and Israel. Israel constitutes a danger to world stability. The British Medical Association should be invited to conduct a study of the extent to which Arab Palestinians are traumatized at checkpoints as they enter Israel from Judea and Samaria, or return to their homes there after a day’s or week’s work. The BMA should be invited to investigate how much the Arab Palestinians suffer from curfews imposed by the Israel army on parts of the Arab population. Since Israel conducts state supported terror against the Arabs, their acts of terror against the Jews are justified. The avid anti-Zionist Prof. Neve Gordon of BGU (Political Science) acted as a human shield to protect Yassir Arafat in Ramallah from being arrested.
Israel is an evil racist, oppressive colonialist movement. In the words of a professor of Psychology at Haifa University, Benjamin Beit-Ha-Llahmi, Israel is fighting against every liberation movement in the Third World: “From Manila in the Philippines...in Honduras,...in Nambia, Israel emissaries have been involved in a continuous war, which is truly a world war. And what enemy is Israel fighting? It is the population of the Third World which cannot be allowed to win its revolution” (cited by Issac, Rael and Erich, 1993, p. 139)
Three and a half million Arabs lived behind fences, wires and concrete for the past 40 years. The way to end the reign of terror against them is to take up an armed struggle against Israel and prevent her from perpetrating more torture and murder of Arabs. Only one nation deserves to stand on the soil now occupied by Israel and that is an Arab nation (Tamar Katriel, Jeff Halper). There can be no two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Arabs, only a one-state solution –an Arab state. Clearly Israel has to be de-Nazified. “Israel’s Nazification needs no dictatorship since plenty of sturdy little Hitlers seems to be securely ensconced in ...many...hearts.” (Neve Gordon).9
Narratives Replace History
Adoption of relativity in one’s historical-social perspective and in the study of historical and social affairs has introduced the fundamental assumption that each individual, group or nation possesses its own perspective on past events, and hence its view of these events, that may constitute its own past and historical identity, are more in the nature of a narrative, i.e. their way of viewing matters, than of “objective” truth. To some, the Jewish-Zionist narrative of why and how Israel emerged is not more legitimate than the Arab narrative which claims that the establishment of Israel brought a catastrophe (naqba) on the Arabs, regardless of what it meant to the Jews. The anti-Zionist academics adopt the Arab “narrative” as their own or as the only justifiable one in their eyes. It follows that acts of self-defense on the part of Israel deepen the catastrophe for the Arabs.
Israel: A Catastrophe for the Arabs?
Just what, we must ask, is the catastrophe? Or, what about the establishment of Israel is a catastrophe as far as the anti-Zionists are concerned? They certainly do not view the matter through the eyes of the Muslim world for whom the catastrophe is, to no small degree, the mere fact that Jews occupy territory that was once Arab land ever since it was conquered in the 7th century by Omar (638-640 CE), and hence must remain Arab in perpetuity, according to Islamic doctrine. Spain, called Andalusia by the Arabs, must also return one day to the fold of Islam. For the anti-Zionist Jews, the catastrophe does not stem from a grasp of the Islamic view of history but from the manner in which they comprehend their Jewish identity. The Arabs may object to Israel by employing concepts derived from Islam, but the anti-Zionist Jews think in terms of concepts derived from the social sciences and Marxist dogma that derides religion and particularistic nationality. In short, the concepts employed by the academic anti-Zionists in Israel are primarily on an ideology that is traditionally anti-Semitic. They are not based on a rational approach to understanding history.
In truth it is hair-raising to grasp that the AZs live in an historical bubble of their own making. They cannot see out into the world as it is or was. For example, Ilan Pappe claims in his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine that the Hagana planned to evict the Arabs from major cities. He never asks about the Arabs’ plans. During the five months between the UN Partition plan on November 29, 1947, and May 1948 when Israel was established massacres of Jews by Arabs were common. In fact, 1,256 Jews were slaughtered in Arab attacks during those five months alone. Commanders of the Jewish groups like the Hagana and Irgun had every reason to regard Arab villages as hostile and to proceed accordingly. Any other approach would have been suicidal. But the worst was yet to come.
Pappe and co., along with others in the anti-Zionist group, rewrite history in their own image and carefully avoid any clash with reality so that the Jews can remain devils and Arab attacks and murder of Jews can be displayed as reactions of desperation and revenge.10 That tactic is systematically employed by those anti-Zionists who write about “the Zionists” and their criminal deeds against the Arabs. That tactic is gross one-sidedness that “tells” what the Jews did and categorically omits any reference to what the Arabs were doing. That creates not merely a totally distorted picture but, more important, a nefariously tendentious reconstruction of events that cannot conceivably be understood in any rational manner. From the AZ literature one can only conclude that the Jews were driven by a biological urge to kill Arabs unrelated to events in the environment. That urge led to unrestrained hostility toward peaceful Arabs who were provoked into armed resistance. That is the historical picture the anti-Zionists would like us to believe. We will see precisely the same approach in the work of other anti-Zionist authors later in this study.
In 1948 the simple fact, without any interpretation, is that a coalition of Arab nations attacked the nascent state of Israel with every intention of eliminating all the Jews (which is exactly what they said they intended to do). Only 3 years after the WWII and the Holocaust Israel came into being. The Arabs had been close allies of the Nazis all through the war. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, was a devoted follower of Hitler who pointed out to him that he, Hitler, and Husseini had one purpose in common and that was to eradicate the Jews. The Arab League, as well as the so-called moderate Arab leader Ragheb bey el-Nashashibi11 made extreme genocidal comments regarding the Jews. If, as Kimmerling wrote, Hitler had completed his massacre of the Jews, Kimmerling (a Rumanian Jew) would not have lived to express his hatred for Israel regardless of whether he was to be found in Rumania or in Israel.
The anti-Zionist academics substitute the record of Israel’s wars with the Arab nations with their own “narrative”. Their version disregards the catastrophe planned by the Arabs for Israel’s Jews, and adopts the Arab narrative to the effect that the establishment of Israel was a catastrophe for the Arabs. Ironically, even a cursory reading of events surrounding the Israel War of Independence demonstrates that hundreds of thousands of Arabs remained in Israel after Israel was established despite the fact that Arab armies attacked Israel and threatened its very existence. Israel did not expel the Arabs within its borders as any other country would have done to a potentially irredentist population after the defeat of their home countries in war. After the defeat of Germany in 1945, the German nationals residing in many European countries, who took no active part in the war itself, were evicted and returned to Germany, particularly from the Soviet Union, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and more. Approximately 13 million Germans were transferred out of European countries and sent back to Germany even if they had resided in those countries for several generations. At the Yalta conference when Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met in February, 1945, the transfer of millions of Germans out of parts of Germany that were to be annexed to western Poland, and sent to that part of Germany that was to remain intact after conclusion of the war, was seriously considered by all of the three Allied leaders (Wheeler-Bennett and Nicholls, 1974).
The Arabs now living in Israel are the offspring of Arabs from the countries whose armies attacked Israel several times, not just once in 1948, but in 1967 and 1973 as well, and were defeated. Had Israel evicted all of the Arabs from Judea and Samaria as well as from the Galilee and the Negev after the defeat of the combined Arab armies in 1948, and certainly in 1967, that step would have been accepted by other countries as the legitimate policy of the victor in order to avoid certain conflict in the future. In our day, conflict between the Arab and Jewish populations in Israel is considered to be a distinct possibility, even a threat, by experts on Israel-Arab affairs (Israeli, 2002), especially if and when Israel completes its self destructive, patently insane plan for permitting the establishment of an additional Arab state in Judea and Samaria.
The annexation of Judea and Samaria by Jordan after 1948 was recognized by two countries only, namely Britain and Pakistan, but by no one else, not even by the other Arab nations, not to speak of the United States and the European nations. The League of Nations, followed later by the United Nations, explicitly designated the territory of Judea and Samaria as part of the Jewish homeland. Arab propaganda convinced European nations, the United States and many Jews in Israel, that Israel’s retention of Judea and Samaria after the Six-Day War constitutes “occupation” of the enemy’s territory by an act of aggression which is inadmissible under the Geneva convention. That assertion and position has absolutely no basis in international law or in the resolution of the United Nations immediately upon its establishment in 1945 when it upheld the declarations and commitments of the League of Nations. Yet, contrary to all historical precedent and the decisions of the United Nations prior to its transformation into an Arab dominated organization, the ruling establishment (Olmert and company at this time) adopted and implanted into Israel’s accepted vocabulary the term “occupation.” For Jews, that term refers to Judea and Samaria, but, for the Arabs, our “peace partners,” it refers to all of Israel (Epstein, p. 127).
Israel as an Ethnic Nation
The social sciences, especially sociology and political science, are heavily influenced by Marxist notions, and they focus on social class membership, social domination, government structure, the proletariat or the lower classes, and so forth. For many people in these fields of endeavor, the notion of an ethnic nation is either unknown or unacceptable.
Some American Jews accuse Israel of practicing apartheid precisely because it reminds them of white South Africans and the blacks, and the Arabs in Israel are equated with the blacks. Is that the mental background of Jeff Halper, BGU’s infamous Israel basher who is enamored of the term apartheid, which is an Afrikaner not an English word? (That word is favored by Desmond Tutu who applied it to Israel ever since he became friends with Arafat). Only some wild and irresponsible person can draw any reasonable analogy between Israel and apartheid in South Africa. The blacks in Africa did not undertake a war against the SA whites, and the blacks were segregated for racial reasons in South Africa. There was never any segregation by ethnicity or race in Israel. Arabs were free to choose where they wished to live or travel. Arabs choose to send their children to Arab, largely Muslim, schools where instruction emphasizes study of the Koran. They also segregate children from different Arab tribes so as to avoid inter-tribal conflict. Arabs do reside in separate communities in Israel, but there are large Arab populations in Haifa, Jerusalem, Jaffa-Tel Aviv and Akko, again in given neighborhoods, all on the basis of their own choice, just as there are Jewish, Black and Latino neighborhoods in American and European cities, such as Paris and London. It is rather commonplace to observe that people want to live with others who are most like them, who have a common origin, culture, religion, and so forth. Perhaps the term apartheid serves anti-Zionists purposes because code words of that kind trigger a fallacious comparison between Israel and South Africa. In the United States the term segregation is used to refer to the restriction by law in a given society or location as to where people of a specified minority group may reside or go to school. Jeff Halper knows that no one will buy the idea that there is segregation in Israel so he and colleagues prefer the Afrikaner term whose meaning for many people is shrouded in ambiguity.
Israel is geographically much closer to Europe than it is to the United States, Canada or Australia. The latter three nations are what may be called multi-ethnic/national nations. None of them has a particular dominant ethnic group, although there was a time when the WASPs were considered the dominant group, but they are no longer candidates for that distinction. Nor were they ever an ethnic group since their ancestors immigrated to the United States from a number of north-European countries including the UK.
Israel is similar to many ethnic nations in Europe and the Far East, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Holland, some of the states of Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Rumania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Georgia, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, the republics formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union such as The Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, as well as Japan, The Philippines, etc. Moreover, many ethnic nations have minority populations among their inhabitants. This is a norm not an exceptional phenomenon. Almost all of the countries named are democracies, in one form or another, and are, simultaneously, ethnic nations. Some of the ethnic nations just mentioned will not grant citizenship to persons of different ethnic origin, Japan being the most notable instance of that policy. Yet, the world does not question Japan’s democratic character. Israel does grant citizenship to non-Jews who apply for it. The anti-Zionists’ denunciation of Israel as an “ethnocracy” whose Jewish majority wields hegemony over the Arabs, accuses Israel of maintaining an ethnic-cultural-religious Jewish society. Such hegemony is widely practiced and accepted in the world. But, a Jewish ethnic nation is considered by Israel’s anti-Zionists as a racist endeavor even though self-determination was the Wilsonian principle upon which Lord Balfour based his Declaration granting Palestine to the Jews as their national home (Fromkin, 1989). These views of anti-Zionist academics in Israel unequivocally indict them as Jewish anti-Semites. A leading authority in Israel on anti-Semitism, Manfred Gerstenfeld (2007) noted:
Anti-Zionism today has become very similar to anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionists accept the right of other peoples to national feelings and a defensible state. But they reject the right of the Jewish people to have its national consciousness expressed in the State of Israel and make that state secure. They are not judging Israel with the values used to judge other countries. Such discrimination against Jews is called anti-Semitism.
Raya Epstein (2003, p. 119) observed, with her usual illuminating insight:
The new church (of European secular liberalism – SS) inherited from its predecessor (Marxism/Soviet Communism – SS) the moral identification with the PLO murderers and adopted the same anti-Semitism behind the mask of anti-Israelism. It is the very same anti-Semitism championed by the former communist church.
In my experience (author), many people in the United States are not aware of the fact that there are ethnic nations in contrast to the multi-ethnic society of their own country, and that there is a fairly large number of such nations. For the average American, the United States is the archetypal nation. Of interest is the recent development in Australia where the influx of Muslims has prompted the government to clarify the limits of the multi-nation principle and emphasize the English speaking and patriotic nature of Australian culture and society. In Europe, however, “...anti-Semitism is revealed in the European-Muslim alliance that seeks to eliminate the Jewish character of the State of Israel” (Epstein, 2003, p. 125; see Ye’or, 2002, 2004).
Jews are Prejudiced against Arabs
The critique or denunciation of Israel in the opinions of the anti-Zionist academics seems to exist in a near vacuum. Events in the international domain as well as the behavior of the Arabs, whether they call themselves Palestinians or by the names of the different Arab nations of the Middle East, (Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and so forth) are almost completely ignored, creeping in now and then inadvertently. Israel’s academic anti-Zionists assert that what the Jews, in or outside of Israel, say and do erupts out of the depths of their own prejudice and hatred, not in reaction to acts or statements made by the Arabs. The reader of publications written by members of this group is amazed at their disregard of any possible explanation of Israel Jewry’s behavior toward the Arabs as a reaction to events transpiring in the environment. In that kind of world Jews are not defending themselves or their country but are perpetrating pogroms on an innocent and helpless Arab population. All “laws” of action and reaction are suspended by the anti-Zionists in favor of the “psychological” sources of prejudice deep in the historically or even genetically determined psyche of the Jews. Indeed it was suggested (Hammerman) that Jewish aggression against the Arab Palestinians stems from ingrained persecution beginning with Biblical times. Given that the acts of aggression against Israel and Jews perpetrated by Arab groups and nations remain beyond the ken of the anti-Zionists except as resistance to Jewish/Israel aggression against the Arabs, there is no palpable explanation for Israel’s behavior other than as some bizarre acting out of biological impulses. If one excludes the panorama of historical events (and not just the behavior of one group in a given location) as the primary arena and motivator of human behavior, one inevitably must have recourse to biology, genetics and inherited psychological characteristics. It is more than obvious that the anti-Zionists have cultivated an unmistakably racist view of Jews, Israel, and Zionism even as they denounce Israel as racist.
Just why the persecution is ingrained rather than originating in the environment, as described very clearly in the Book of Esther, is not discussed. Indeed, from this author’s perspective, one of the amazing and distressing characteristics of the Jews is that, in the face of endless persecution through the ages, the Jews inexplicably trusted and continue to trust, their non-Jewish hosts in many countries of their long sojourn in the Exile, including the Jews of Germany in the first half of the 20th century (Volkov, 2002). Equally amazing is that Israel’s Jewish leaders trusted agreements with the Arabs time and time again. One betrayal after the other did not imprint on their minds the folly of their ways. The very same condition prevails to this day; 40 years of terrorism and Holocaust denial by Mahmoud Abbas, as Arafat’s close associate; the murder of many hundreds of Jews, betrayal, cunning deception and publicly paraded corruption, has left almost no mark on the Jewish-Zionist leaders of this country. To what “ingrained” hatred of the Arab Palestinians do the anti-Zionists refer?
The use of the term “hate” by members of the Israel AZ academics highlights once again their imperviousness to events in the Muslim world. Do the AZs read books? What about Brigitte Gabriels’ recent volume Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America (2006), or Dore Gold’s Hatred’s Kingdom (2003) about Saudi Arabia’s culture of Wahabi fanaticism and support of world wide terrorism against the West? Many US congressmen and senators object to the new American initiative (July 30, 2007) to give Saudi Arabia 20 or so billion dollars in new weaponry precisely because that country is the financier of world wide anti-Semitism and terrorism.
The AZs do indeed present matters in reverse of reality (Plaut, 2007). Psychoanalysts such as Anna Freud (1936) would call this phenomenon “reaction formation” in which a person defends him/herself against his own thoughts or impulses by transforming their meaning into their opposite. Because the original intent is laden with intolerable feelings, such as aggressive impulses against someone or something, the need is to direct this aggression elsewhere. The AZs cannot acknowledge Arab hatred toward Jews and Israel. Global terrorism and Islamic fanaticism financed by Saudi Arabia are not real, only a figment of our imagination. Therefore, Arab hatred is altered from “them to us” in objective reality into “our hatred for them” in the reality attributed to Israel Jewry by the Jewish anti-Zionist academics here.
This phenomenon is undoubtedly unique or at least extraordinarily unusual: A significant portion of a democratic nation’s intellectuals asserts that the relentless hatred publicly expressed and disseminated by the Arab nations – including Egypt whose publication of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic material (such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) is unmatched anywhere in the world – actually is a reaction to Israel’s or Jewry’s hatred for them. How reality can be so egregiously distorted and transformed into one huge lie remains an enigma, regardless of how we might seek psychological/ psychiatric explanations. Indeed, no nation would tolerate such behavior on the part of any of its citizens in times of war. Who in the United States claims that Americans hate Iraqis? Not even the most extreme detractors of George Bush have made such a claim, and certainly not as an explanation why Iraqis attack American or British soldiers in Iraq. The anti-Zionists, for their own reasons, have adopted Arab propaganda hook, line and sinker. That brings them in line with the Arabs nations on the one hand, and with the European nations on the other, against their own country. Perhaps that gives them a sense of protection from the threats directed against Israel from those countries.
Daniel Bar-Tal (2007) has made a career of writing about Jews’ negative stereotypes regarding Arabs, especially those reflected in schoolbooks, and how Jewish children have internalized that image. One must look hard to find any research in his publications about Arab children’s hateful stereotypes of Jews/Israelis and how profound and all pervasive is the hatred of Israel and Jews preached in Arab/Palestinian schools and school books (Sharan, 1999). Recently the international media presented to the public the contents and images of Arab video games whose explicit purpose is to cultivate hatred of Israel and of Jews among Arabic-speaking children. Many thousands of these games are sold every day in different Arab countries including Lebanon where they are produced by Hizbullah. These video games for children turn the entire topic of negative stereotypes in Israel’s schoolbooks into a sick joke. No subtle verbal description impacts the minds of schoolchildren with the power of moving pictures on videos. This entire phenomenon, and the behavior of the Arab world in general toward the Jews and Israel, simply doesn’t exist in the work of Bar Tal about the perceptions of Arabs in Israeli textbooks.
Bar Tal and Teichman (2005) studied Israeli children’s representations of Arabs in drawings. They made no effort to compare the Israeli’s drawings to those of Arab children’s representations of Israeli Jews. There is no “0” point, as found on a thermometer against which Bar Tal or any psychologist can compare someone’s behavior and determine that it is deviant, i.e. above or below “normal”. A set of norms must be established to serve as the comparison against which given behavior can be assessed. If the behavior of Arabs toward Jews, or Arab textbooks’ presentation of Jews/Israelis, is not measured or considered, what base-line data or criterion can be employed with which to compare the representation of Arabs by Jewish children? That comparison is required by all tenets of basic psychological research, otherwise the results lack validity. Also, we should be curious to learn how Israeli Arab children depict Jewish Israelis before and after the introduction into Arab Israeli textbooks of the term naqba (catastrophe, referring to the establishment of Israel in 1948). That study is required after all the tumult caused by the unfathomable act of Yael Tamir, Israel’s Minister of Education, as a means for promoting “peace ...Now”!
We know a great deal about how Arab adults represent Jews and Israelis in their drawings and caricatures (Stav, 1999). Should we expect the drawings of Arab children to be substantially different from those of the adult society? Children everywhere who hear adults discuss dreadful events perpetrated on their country by another nation or group most likely will depict people from that group in a negative light. Children’s drawings in the United States of the Germans and Japanese during WWII typically represented the images of “the enemy” in a very negative manner, to put it mildly. Aren’t such drawings and the perceptions they reflect stereotypical? Of course they are. Consider the fact that human thought in general about other people, groups and nations, even thoughts about your own nation, by necessity employs stereotypes as a basic cognitive means of categorizing the myriad events transpiring in the environment and within the human psyche. Despite the French deconstructionists, the world cannot be comprehended as a vast collection of finite events disconnected from one another. Thought about groups of people becomes possible by categorization and stereotypes. Otherwise we would be reduced to thinking only about individuals, and our mental ability to deal with groups or nations would be impaired.
Recent history has seen a world-wide increase in the use of negative stereotypes referring to Arabs because for the last decade or more many nations, primarily but not exclusively in the West, have been subjected to Arab or Muslim terrorism in different forms. The media have brought into the homes of people across the world scenes of the disasters perpetrated by Muslim terrorists from different countries, including those called Palestinian Arabs. Time and again the world is treated to another story of kidnapping by Muslim terrorist groups, in Israel, The Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere where the victims are used for financial or political extortion, torture and death by decapitation. By now, not only is it common usage to employ stereotypes in reference to the terrorists, but people have come to expect that the terrorists will be Muslims, whether the terrorism occurs in Spain, the UK, the US, Israel, Lebanon, Indonesia, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan or elsewhere. It reflects how many Western societies have come to perceive and think about the Islamic world in reference to actual events, not based on fantasies or “ingrained” hatred. Significant numbers of Muslims carried out these terrorist acts.
Some heads of state have said repeatedly that most Muslims are law abiding citizens. The sheer fact that government officials feel compelled to make statements of that kind indicates that the public at large has come to believe that Muslims are potentially dangerous and threatening to Western society, and sometimes to Muslim societies as well. We cannot blame prejudice for these stereotypes, but rather palpable fears and suspicions based on prior experience. The fact that Islamic groups have proclaimed their devotion to jihad emphasizes the power of Huntington’s concept of the “clash of civilizations”. Psychology researchers, who come up with accusations that Israel’s textbooks include negative stereotypes about Arabs, and who draw an analogy between Hebrew textbooks and those found in Nazi Germany, exclude the worldwide context in which we live from their mental horizon. That, of course, is in addition to Bar Tal’s own blatant and repugnant anti-Semitism expressed so unabashedly by stating that Israel’s schoolbooks are similar to Nazi textbooks. Of course what is implied is that Israel itself is like Nazi Germany.
It seems that some people forget that the anti-Semitic stereotypes in WWII German society and in its textbooks emerged long before Nazism. It was not the stereotypes that led to anti-Semitic outbreaks and the persecution of Jews. It was the persecution of Jews and the anti-Semitism rampant in German society during the entire 19th and early 20th centuries that produced the stereotypes in European schoolbooks, before and during the Nazi’s control of Germany and much of Europe (Vital, 1999). Indeed, Germany began its history of anti-Semitism in the early Middle Ages, as will be discussed later. Stereotypes of Arabs in Palestine/Israel were influenced by Arab persecution of Jews in the form of close to a century of armed attacks, murder, riots, and so forth (Israeli, 2002, 2003, 2006).
Just when prejudice against Blacks in the US declined markedly, the sinister specter of the Arab terrorist rose up to catch the attention of the free world. No doubt that law abiding Muslims in many countries are badly affected by the frightening image of the jihadist Muslims wreaking terror on the West. But not since Charles Martel halted the Muslim conquest of Europe at Tours in 732 C.E. has the West been so palpably threatened by Islam.
Moreover, stereotypes are not tantamount to prejudice and antagonism although they can accompany such feelings as they can accompany other feelings as well about given people, groups or nations. Statements to the effect that the Chinese people are industrious, or the Germans pay attention to details, the Swedes or Irish are drunk a good deal of the time or the Japanese are obedient, are also stereotypes (albeit not necessarily negative ones) that make it possible to think about social and national existence on this globe. “Investigators” at Tel Aviv University like Bar-Tal and Teichman (2005) want to impress upon the world and on the Jews that Jews are suffused with hatred.
The AZs transformation of Arab hatred for Jews into Jewish hatred for Arabs provides them with a self image of being defenders of the downtrodden and accusers of the aggressors, namely their own Jewish brothers and countrymen from whom they wish to distance themselves. This transformation of their hatred for Jewry and Israel into Jewish hatred for Arabs displays still another of Anna Freud’s mechanisms of defense called “Identification with the Aggressor”. That mode of relating to one’s own impulses has been called “the most pernicious of the dynamic process” (Dor Shav, 1998) that allows anti-Zionists to argue that Arab terrorist attacks on Jews are justified. For anti-Zionists, the Arabs allegedly practice terrorism primarily to “achieve their national goals or express their profound despair” which endows their terrorist activity with moral stature (Uri Avnery, Jeff Halper, Neve Gordon, Lev Grinberg, and others).
Ideology, Not Poverty, Breeds Terrorism
After so many years of Arab terrorism in different parts of the globe, one can only wonder how some people persist in clinging to the idea that terrorism stems from “despair”, referring primarily to poverty, lack of social mobility, or some form of emotional or economic deprivation. The September 11, 2001 devastation wrought on the United States, and the many successive explosions set off by homicidal bombers in Africa, Spain, England, Lebanon, and what have you, in addition to the years of homicidal bombings in Israel, demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that terrorism is motivated by ideology and not by poverty. Poverty breeds crime, not terror. Muslim terrorists are both educated and middle class, some with degrees in higher education, such as the medical doctors who perpetrated the terrorist acts in Glasgow in July 2007, or those who hijacked the airliners that attacked targets in the United States on 9/11. The despair of the Palestinian Arabs stems from their inability to eradicate Israel, not from their alleged abject poverty. But no evidence that testifies to these conditions is permitted to creep into the world view of the Jewish anti-Zionists in Israel, which bespeaks not only prejudice in favor of the Arabs, but the fact that their historical narrative is subjugated to their fanatical religion of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Precisely that characterization applies to the recent review by Ariel Hirschfeld (Hebrew U.) of an Israeli film in which he displays an extraordinary talent for distorting the feelings and intentions of Jews (“religious” Jews in particular) in an utterly grotesque manner, while expressing the most profound empathy for the Arab victim (in the movie under review) of Jews’ insensitivity and indifference to his plight.
The Arab Palestinians invest their energies, time and money, particularly the billions of dollars contributed to their “cause” by the United States, the EU, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and less directly by Russia too, in building their armies, purchasing weapons and paying terrorists. Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Fatah terrorist organization and “President” of the Palestinian Authority recently paid the salaries of Hamas members in Gaza (July-August 2007) after receiving 650 million US dollars from Israel as “tax returns”. (Does the US transfer huge sums of money to Canada and Mexico whose citizens cross the borders to work in the US? Large numbers of Frenchmen from Alsace-Lorraine work in Germany. Does Germany return the funds withheld from their salaries to France?) The Palestinian Authority does not engage in economic planning and development lest it become independent economically and no longer in need of charity from abroad. The PA could have been economically independent several times over with the vast sums it collected ever since the Oslo agreements in 1993.
Most relevant to this discussion is the fact that the anti-Zionist academics bemoan the Arab Palestinian’s plight without ever mentioning what it did with the “aid” it received that fell into their lap more abundantly than the manna fell from heaven as the Biblical Israelites wandered in the desert. Perhaps what is wrong with the PA is the same thing that is wrong with not a few countries in the Arab-Muslim world: A preoccupation with antagonism toward others, maintaining large numbers of men under arms to protect them from attack by fantasized enemies (Huntington, 1996, pp. 256-258) and a distinct paucity of attention and effort to self development in social-economic spheres of life. The fact that the previous statement is a generalization or a stereotype that does not apply to all Muslim countries (such as Dubai or Qatar for example) does not detract one iota from its validity as a reasonable description of current conditions in the large Arab countries of the Middle East, including oil-rich Saudi Arabia that still imports most of its food because it doesn’t bother to develop its agriculture. Why should it? It is easier to extract wealth from under the ground or from property, industries and securities bought in other countries – than to cultivate the soil. Anti-Zionist academics are completely embedded in their empathy with the Arabs that blinds them to the many factors that maintain the Arab Palestinian political-economic situation at a primitive level. Disregard for that aspect of the environment, like their disregard for the factors that dictate Israel’s need for self defense, and like their disregard for the bottomless hatred of the vast majority of Israel’s Arab neighbors, Christians and Muslims, allows the Jewish self-haters to continue to denounce Israel and the Jews as contributors to Arab Palestinian “poverty”.
With Friends Like These
As the saying goes, a person can be known by the company he/she keeps.
The spy for Syria, Udi Adiv of Matzpen, grew up in kibbutz Gan Shmuel of Hashomer Hatzair, which, at the time, was a communist greenhouse where the pro-Arab communist Simcha Flappan, founder and editor of the New Outlook magazine, lived since 1930 (Rael Jean and Erich Isaac, 1993). The spy Uri Davies formerly of Matzpen, formerly a Jewish resident of Sahknin, now in England, and the Arab “legislator” (i.e. agitator) Jamal Karsli appear in a photograph, arm in arm, with Israel’s anti-Zionist and demonizer of Israel Ilan Pappe of Haifa University and/or of Exeter University in the UK. Spies for the Arabs, communist ideology intended to undermine Israel in favor of the Arabs, and the academic anti-Zionists of the likes of Ilan Pappe, act in concert .They have all been striving for the same destructive goals for decades, ever since the matrix of communism, pro-Arabism, and spying for an enemy nation (Soviet Union) was introduced by Moshe Sneh in the early 50s (Lord, p. 44). Consider, too, a conference held in 2006 entitled “Contemporary Capitalism: USA, Europe and the Middle East in the Beginning of the 21st Century” that took place at Ben Gurion University. The conference was a Marxist attack on the United States and capitalism, including capitalism in Israel. In attendance were, inter alia, Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel, David Newman, Uri Ram, and Shlomo Swirski, the old time preacher of the Marxist Orthodox Church, and others from the list of our anti-Zionists. Kenneth Levin (2005, 2007) has brilliantly documented the ideological debt of Jewish anti-Semites to socialism and communism. The intellectual debt of Israel’s anti-Zionists to a long tradition in the social sciences of neo-Marxist, post modernistic “critical” thought has been carefully examined and documented by Ofira Seliktar (2005).
Anti-Zionists also hobnob with representatives of the far Right, not only of the extreme left, namely neo-Nazi groups with whom Noam Chomsky was and is in league (Alexander, 1993; Neuwirth, 2005). Harvard professor of law Alan Dershowitz wrote about BGU’s Neve Gordon: “(He has) gotten into bed with neo-Nazis, Holocaust justice deniers, and anti-Semites. He is a despicable example of a self-hating Jew and a self-hating Israeli.” The association of anti-Zionists with neo-Nazis follows the pattern of Arab anti-Semitism in WWII set by Haj Amin el-Husseini, as discussed above. Our contemporary Jewish anti-Semites have broadened their horizon to include communism as an ideological foundation to their ideas, so they have evolved a homegrown mixture of Red and Black, pseudo-communism and neo-Nazism. If they would have their way, Israel would soon become known as the only place on earth that manages to maintain both gulags and concentration camps, without either of them existing in reality.
Actually a short history lesson can demonstrate that the gulag served as the precedent from which Hitler developed the concentration camp. The communists were the Nazis’ instructors in the technology of mass persecution (Viereck, 1941/1965). Alfred Rosenberg, the central founder of Nazi ideology, was one of the primary figures in the Russification of German culture. Not that Germany needed Russian precedent to persecute Jews. After all, Catholicism conquered Germany 600 years before the advent of Luther in the late 15th early 16th centuries, and Luther is beyond doubt one of the major anti-Semites of Western history prior to the modern era. Germany remains largely Catholic to this day. The merger of communism and Nazism has its roots in the early years of the twentieth century (Viereck, pp. 266-272). Noteworthy is the fact that Hitler characterized his new movement as socialist: National Socialism! He and his immediate associates, Alfred Rosenberg most of all, were more Russified than commonly acknowledged. Who would have ventured to guess that our contemporary Jewish-Israeli anti-Semites would, knowingly or unknowingly, re-embody that singularly lethal combination for Jews, namely the ideological merger of the anti-Semitic far-Left with the far-Right?
From Where Did They Come?
From what origins did the anomaly of Jewish-Israeli Anti-Zionists/anti-Semites grow? Who or what cultivated them? The problem of origins plagues many academic disciplines, and rarely are we fortunate enough to learn the truth. How did I, or you or he or they get the way we are? To find a convincing reply to that question, as difficult or impossible as it may be in respect to the development of individuals, is next to impossible when the question is asked about a group or a nation. Many people think that if we only knew the answer we would be able to correct some given situation and prevent its recurrence. That is highly doubtful. Nevertheless, we can exercise our curiosity and seek a solution, whether we find one or not.
As noted earlier, some of the Israeli-Jewish anti-Zionists today are of communist persuasion. During the period of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of Israel’s existence, one source of the phenomenon at hand is the influence on young people in Palestine/Israel of communist ideology, or, at the very least, of left-wing socialist ideology. That was the ideology proclaimed at that time by political groups and parties such as Hashomer Hatzair and Mapam, as well as by the Communist Party itself. There are still Communist parties in Israel, such as the Hadash party whose constituents are largely Arab but not exclusively so, including Dov Hanin of Tel Aviv University. Dr. Ahmed Tibi, a close associate and advisor to Yassir Arafat, is a representative in the Knesset of that party. Information about the childhood of the Jewish-Israeli anti-Zionists is not easily accessible so that the nature of their early experiences, in terms of being exposed to communist ideas that incorporate anti-nationalist and anti-Zionist views, cannot be reconstructed a this time. The late Tanya Reinhart (died in New York in early 2007), one of the foremost anti-Zionist academics, student of Noam Chomsky and professor of Linguistics at Tel Aviv University, was born and raised in Haifa where she was a member of a communist youth group, and remained a communist all her life. Her life story also combines a communist background with exposure to neo-Nazis through Noam Chomsky, and with Arab terrorism (recall, Chomsky visited Nasrallah in Lebanon in May, 2006, see Seliktar, 2006, and Alexander, 1993). Ilan Pappe’s personal history might read something similar to that of Tanya Reinhart. Yossi Schwartz of the Tel Aviv University Law School advertises his Marxist ideology in public. Kimmerling also appears to have been exposed in his early life to communist ideology.
The revealing work of Amnon Lord (1988) leaves little room for doubt that in pre-State Palestine and in Israel’s early years, the far-left wing of the Zionist movement (Mapam-Hashomer Hatzair) was singularly concentrated on its loyalty to the Soviet Union and to communism, and viewed the Jewish State as a potential tool for the cultivation and spread of communist doctrine. The communist persuasion of Hashomer Hatzair before and after the establishment of Israel in 1948, and its fierce loyalty to Stalin and to the Soviet Union, aroused the wrath of Ben-Gurion who denounced them in a series of articles in the daily press (later collected and published as a booklet: Yariv, 1953). In the forties, the youth groups affiliated with Hashomer Hatzair in and outside of Palestine, including those in the United States, went marching in the streets singing quite loudly: “The worker marches forward to freedom and to the revolution!” Jews were to go to Palestine from the Golah to live as communist Jews. They had no ties with non-communist Jewish organizations or with synagogues in the broader Jewish community. When the reality of the Jewish communist experiment soured for them in Israel, many returned to their home countries straight from the kibbutz without stopping in the bourgeois cities of Tel Aviv or Haifa, and certainly not in the religious ghetto of Jerusalem. In their minds, they had not settled in the Jewish nation of Israel but in the communist settlement of the kibbutz.
Just what influence did the initiation into the communist religious doctrine have on the Jews of Palestine, later Israel? That initiation could have taken place in Russia or Germany where Jewish radicals became the priests and prophets of communism. Five out of a total of 21 members of the Communist Party’s Central Committee were Jews, namely Sokolnikov, Sverdlov, Trotsky, Uritskii and Zinoviev. Kamenev had one Jewish parent (Vital, p. 703). In addition to the leadership of the communist movements in some European countries, communist ideology enveloped large sections of East European Jewry (Vital, 1999). Many Jewish communists arrived later in Palestine, where they indoctrinated their youth and exerted considerable influence on some of Jewry’s institutions in Palestine, including the Haganah (Yitschak Sadeh, for example) with their social-political convictions (Lord, 1988). That initiation had broad and multiple implications for these people’s entire world view, affiliations, loyalties, values and life goals, all of which affected the lives of some of the anti-Zionists discussed here as well as the lives of many Jews in Israel.
This essay cannot provide a thorough treatment of communist ideology as it affected Jews, Zionism and Israel, but it is relevant to highlight a few fundamental ideas that bear directly on our discussion here. Readers who wish to pursue that topic further are referred to several extensive treatments of the subject (Dothan, 1996; Epstein, 2003; Isaac, Rael and Erich, 1993; Lord, 1988; Shiloah, 1991; Vital, 1999, see in particular pp. 703-754; Yariv, 1953).
Marxist-communist ideology, on the theoretical level, negates the significance of separate nationalisms and focuses instead on the trans-national “unity” of the working class or proletariat. It is a neo-messianic ideology that foresees the redemption of the workers from their “chains” through revolution that will redress the evils of the industrial revolution and its enslavement of the masses who do not benefit from the fruits of their labor. The prophetic brotherhood of Man will be realized by the dissolution of national boundaries when the representatives of international workers will replace the capitalist nation-state, as preached by socialism.
This basic tenet of radical socialism was expressed as early as the second half of the 19th century by Aharon Shmuel Liberman (1845-1880), editor of “The Truth” (Pravda!) the first socialist periodical in Hebrew that appeared in Russia. He wrote:
...for us socialists there is no division into nations or races...the “zid”...is a cosmopolitan: No country on earth can tie us to it by some special patriotism...(we) can be only cosmo-socialists... (Shiloah, p. 23; Vital, pp. 410-411).
Lenin’s ideas about the withering of the state are a direct continuation of this notion that preceded him by five decades.
...the one true common denominator of the Jewish members of each of the three major Revolutionary parties, the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and the Socialist Revolutionaries, was their fixed, quite passionate determination to disengage themselves from specifically Jewish interests and from the Jewish collectivity itself in any of its forms (Vital, p. 727).
This doctrine molded leftist Zionists in Palestine-Israel, as expressed succinctly by Ben Gurion:
The document that Mapam signed (that) demands that all the workers in Israel must also sign it...is not a minor matter. That document impresses itself on, molds and crystallizes all of our moral and political perceptions, determines all of our human and Jewish relationships in the world, in the Jewish world and in the international sphere...and suspends our free judgment regarding everything done by a mighty power (i.e. the Soviet Union- SS)...that is completely beyond our control ...if Mapam had its way...it would have, in fact as well as in theory, dissolved the sovereignty of the State of Israel and erased the image of the Jew and of the human being in us (Yariv, p. 28).
In short, for Jews in Israel, communism was a negation of Jewish nationalism, namely, of Zionism, and the Israeli communists rejected Ben Gurion’s condemnation of the principles of their manifesto. Hashomer Hatzair in Ben Gurion’s eyes was identified with the Soviet Union and with Stalin as its unopposed leader.
Inside the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik Jews displayed frightful savagery toward religion and toward religious Jews, including the deliberate desecration of Jewish and Christian buildings and hooliganism directed at humiliating religious people (Epstein, 2003; Hazaz, 1956/1968). The Russian theologian and priest, Sergei Bulgakov (d. 1944 in Paris) offered a penetrating interpretation of Jews’ enthusiastic participation in revolutionary activities in Russia (see Epstein, 2003, pp. 129-133). He observed that the Jewish revolutionary intellectuals had completely disconnected themselves from Jewish history and from their Jewish roots under the influence of radical socialism and humanism. But, argued Bulgakov, even their bestial behavior toward Jews and Christians manifested their religiosity, albeit in a reversed negative sense. They believed that they would “occupy the temple in place of God,” meaning that the revolution would redeem the world instead of the God of Israel or of the Christians, while the religious believers should be eliminated. They saw themselves as redeemers of the world while seeking the historical suicide of the Jewish People. They conducted a war of “Jews against their Jewishness.” Bulgakov’s assessment written early in the 20th century (perhaps in 1919) has been confirmed often by recent thinkers, particularly in regard to the total ignorance of anything Jewish and of Judaism by Jewish communists (Aharonson, p. 293).
The internationalist character of communist ideology, and its idealization of the world’s workers as forming a trans-national brotherhood, leads almost logically to the view that the “impoverished” Arab Palestinians (hence proletarians) would be viewed with great empathy by the anti-Zionist Jews in Israel with a strong communist background or ideology. Jews are not entitled to a separate nation while the Arab Palestinian “proletariat” is “homeless.” Nor would a new Arab nation in Judea and Samaria suffice because that leaves the Jews in possession of their ethnocratic nation that rules over many Muslims, Christians, Druze, and others. Hence, even with an Arab Palestinian state that would essentially terminate the so-called “occupation,” the Jews would continue to “occupy” Israel, and Israel should not exist, in the eyes of a Marxist-communist anti-Zionist. This form of trans-nationalism is not a local version of the United Nations, but one that entails demolition of existing nations to be replaced by a global government (Fonte, 2003). Since other nations fiercely defend their right to exist on their historic national soil, it suffices if the Jewish country will be dismantled as a first step in the direction of socialist-communist trans-nationalism until the advent of the millennium. In that way, the original communist ideal of world redemption through the abolition of national governments can be realized in part, and the Israeli Jewish anti-Zionists can boast of participating in this glorious endeavor through their struggle for the removal of Israel from the community of nations and the handover of the territory of Israel to the “proletarian” Arabs.
Perhaps the core notion of Jewish self-hatred is that the Jews have no moral right to place their own survival and self-interests above that of their enemies.
The other side of the coin comes from the Nazi onslaught on the Jews.
The Yiddish expression that “it is hard to be a Jew” must be rephrased in post-Holocaust times to read: It is frightening to be a Jew. Some people, observed Freud, cope with Fright by Flight, namely, attempt to escape from the source of the fear. For not a few Jews that means escape from being Jewish. Surely, the Nazi slaughter of the Jews must have generated an incalculable burden of fear that Jews tried to deal with by aligning themselves with their enemies. Our contemporary anti-Zionist Israeli Jews must have said to themselves something like the following:” If we will be accepted by the Arabs, even admired for our courage to reject the dominant culture of our own People, “to oppose the Zionist hegemony as the reigning narrative”, we will be exonerated and will not have to fear our enemies. By transforming my enemies into friends, at least in my own mind, I rid myself of the fear of being a victim. The fact that my former enemy remains an enemy of my country and of my People requires that I go one step further and perceive my fellow Jews and my country as my enemy”. Without specific evidence, that psychological scenario cannot be attributed automatically to given individuals, but it is most definitely within the realm of psychological possibility as one explanation of how the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic Israel Jews reached the depths to which they have sunk.
In short, the ant-Zionist Israeli-Jewish academics, largely of Marxist-communist persuasion or inclination, revel in identifying Israel with Nazism. Israel’s schoolbooks are Nazi-inspired, our youth groups are Hitler jugend, the life-long socialist-Zionists from Poland were (allegedly) Nazis, and Judeo-Nazi soldiers, who unashamedly obey the orders issued to them by their officers, are persecuting the helpless Arabs.
On their part, the Arabs, along with their Israeli-Jewish supporters, including a handful of American-Jewish professors thrown in for good measure, proudly parade their hatred for Jews and Israel before the world, on TV and in the press of almost every country. The world gleefully looks down on this drama – of anti-Semitic Jews who joined the chorus of Holocaust denial and support for the Arab aggression against Jews and Israel – from the top floors of the European Parliament or the American Department of State.
Jeremiah (17: 9) probably had in mind our Jewish-Israeli anti-Semites when he wrote:
Most devious is the heart;
It is perverse – who can fathom it?
In the modern era George Orwell’s penetrating comment can be applied to our anti-Zionist academics and their insistence on drawing analogies between Zionist Jews and the Nazis:
One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.
For all that, the questions asked here regarding the origins and development of Jewish-Israeli anti-Zionists, remain unanswered. The histories of the people identified with anti-Zionism must be studied and understood before a picture can be drawn of how this dreadful phenomenon emerged.
1 The author wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to the article by Ofira Seliktar (Israel Affairs, 11, No. 4) that discussed the topic of Israel’s academic anti-Zionists with great thoroughness and insight. Overlap between the present study and her work is inevitable. The seriousness of the subject, as well as the fact that Prof. Seliktar and I provide different perspectives, supported the decision to publish the present study. The present study also overlaps somewhat with the article by Meyrav Wurmser in the Middle East Quarterly, 1999, vol. 6.
2 Cited at <http://www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=3799>.
3 Numerous references to the anti-Zionists’ publications appear in the article by Seliktar (2005).
4 The information available through the Israel Academia Monitor served as the primary source for the presentation in this work of the anti-Zionists’ beliefs and ideas: <http:// israel-academia-monitor.com>.
6 See Tanya Reinhart, “Why Academic Boycott: A Reply to an Israeli Comrade”, Dissident Voice website, <http://www.dissidentvoice.org/
Articles/ReinhartBoycott.htm>, May 18, 2002.
7 Sternhell, 1998, p. 4, quoted in Wurmser, 1999. On Ze’ev Sternhell’s self-reported ignorance of Judaism, as well as the severe criticism of his competence as a historian by well-known academic authorities in France such as Raymond Aron, see Aharonson, 1997, p. 292-293, notes 4, 5 and 6.
8 Prof. Dan Bar-On, Ben Gurion University, <http://www/israelnational news.com/Blogs/Blog.aspx|1#2265>.
9 “The Nazification of Israel”, The Israel Academia Monitor, March 6, 2002.
10 Seth Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post, August 17, 2007, pp. 10, 45.
11 I am indebted to Manfred Gerstenfeld for this information.
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