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Tel Aviv University
TAU Moshe Zuckermann invited to bash Israel in Zurich

 (Image taken from Strohmeyer Arn, Das Palestina Portal)

TAU Moshe Zuckermann: "Why does a state 

pursue policy which has no future and 

brings its existence in danger of decline?"


Editorial Note

Pro-Palestinian groups in Europe put a high premier on Israeli academics who can bash Israel without being accused of anti-Semitism.  Moshe Zuckermann, a professor of German history at TAU, is a case in point. Using his knowledge of German and his “pedigree” as a son of Holocaust survivors, he has served in the role of Israel-basher-in-chief in German, Austrian and Swiss media.  His "winning formula" of coupling ferocious criticism of Israel with whitewashing all things Palestinian has not changed for decades.  

Zuckermann is well-known for his far-fetched theories about the alleged deformation of the Israeli psyche and his frequent comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany.  He made the original diagnosis of the Israeli psyche in his infamous book Shoah in the Sealed Room - a reference to the experience of Israeli citizens who were forced into sealed rooms during Saddam Hussein's Scud missile attack in 1991.  In his view, reference to Saddam Hussein as Hitler indicated the Holocaust-driven “congenital deformation” of the Israelipsyche.   Zuckermann was so bent on proving deformation theory that he failed to notice that others, including the US President George H.W. Bush, used the same comparison.

In due time, Zuckermann broadened his diagnostic portfolio.  In his view, criticism of Islamist terrorism following the 9/11 attack was a clear case of Islamophobia. 

With the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, not to mention the spectacular atrocities committed by ISIS in its self-proclaimed caliphate, the Israeli-Nazi equivalent fell into disrepute.

Never to be daunted by reality, Zuckermann added apartheid to his repertoire. He says Israel "passes on to an apartheid state and that is more or less the trend at the moment."  Though the apartheid territory has been well-trodden, since Oren Yiftachel and his Ben Gurion University colleague Neve Gordon first found Israel to be an apartheid state in the early years of the twenty first century, Zuckermann has all the zeal of a new convert. 

He was recently invited to Zurich, Switzerland, and in February 4, 2015 will promote his book Israel's Fate: How Zionism Operates its Demise. The main market is pro-Palestinian members of groups such as Jewish Voice for Justice and Democracy in Israel/Palestine; Swiss Circle of Givat Haviva; Cafe Palestine Zurich; Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) Zurich, which all sponsor the event.  

As one German observer put it, Zuckermann's thesis is clear, "With this rejection of any constructive understanding policy, Zionist Israel has "maneuvered a historical impasse" in one from which it could find out probably only by surrendering its Zionist concept (or key parts of it)." 

Israelis like Zuckermann provide the intellectual justification for BDS activists on campus and beyond.   He has the right, of course, to speak and write on the subject.  But he has adroitly used his position as a tenured professor at Tel Aviv University to push his polemics dressed up as bona fide scholarly research, a tactic that he should be blamed for.  Tel Aviv University that has tenured and promoted him on this basis should share the blame.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at 19.00 

Culture house Helferei, Breitingerstrasse, Kirchgasse 13, 8001 Zurich


ISRAEL'S DESTINY: How Zionism Operates its Demise

Presentation and discussion with Moshe Zuckermann about his new book

Moderator: Dr. Sophia Bietenhard


Prof. Moshe Zuckermann, born in Tel Aviv, lived from 1960 to 1970 in Frankfurt, Germany, and studied after returning to Israel sociology, political science, philosophy and history at the University of Tel Aviv. He has been teaching since 1990 at the Cohn Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas (Tel-Aviv University).


New Arrivals:

Resisting the zeitgeist, Vol I and II, Laika Verlag, 2012/13

"Anti-Semite" - an accusation as an instrument, Promedia Publishing, 2010

Israel's fate - How Zionism operates its downfall, Promedia, 2014


Dr. Sophia Bietenhard, lecturer at the Paedagogical University of Bern. She was 2000-2010 President of the Swiss Friends of the Peace and Country project "Tent of Nations" in Bethlehem in Palestine.



Jewish Voice for Justice and Democracy in Israel / Palestine

Swiss Circle of Givat Haviva

Cafe Palestine, Zurich

EAPPI group Zurich


Moshe Zuckermann's lecture in German on YouTube
Published on Oct 27, 2014

Moshe Zuckermann: Israel's fate - How Zionism operates its demise

An event by the Association twilight in cooperation with the local association Verdi Hamburg (Department of Media, Culture and Industry) 

Moshe Zuckermann: Israels Schicksal - Wie der Zionismus seinen Untergang betreibt

Eine Veranstaltung der Assoziation Daemmerung in Kooperation mit dem Verdi Ortsverein Hamburg (Fachbereich Medien, Kultur und Industrie)
Moderation: Rolf Becker
Aufgenommen am 18. Oktober 2014 im Stadtteil-Cafe Kaffeewelt in Hamburg.



Israel's fate

Saturday, 10 January 2015 - 19:00

How Zionism operates its own demise

Moshe Zuckermann, Professor of History and Philosophy at the University of Tel Aviv

The past year has shown very clearly that Israel has not only failed on the peace negotiations initiated by the US, but it did allow to escalate the bloody conflict with the Palestinians  (presenting itself  as usual as a victim of aggression), it has unwaveringly adhered to its policy of settlement construction, land dispossession and ethnic cleansing.

Moshe Zuckermann's thesis: with the rejection of any constructive policy without trying to reach a understanding, the zionist  Israel has  maneuvered itself into a historical dead-end situation,  from which it could find out probably only by surrendering its Zionist concept (or key parts of it).

Organizer: SALAM SHALOM Arbeitskreis Palestine-Israel Association

  in cooperation with the PRO, Stadtverband Munich

Location: DGB-house, Ludwig Koch Hall



 INTERVIEW / Beitrag vom 03.12.2014


"Israel does not want peace"

 Moshe Zuckermann in conversation with Dirk-Oliver Heckmann

   On the Israeli flag, the shadow of a person reflects

In Israel, the government is politically once again at the end. 

The fraction of government in Israel is not a question of personal initiative, but a structural problem. "Well, it's over," Moshe Zuckermann said, a historian at the University of Tel Aviv, in the DLF. He sees Israel on the way to the apartheid state.

 The break of the government is not a personal initiative of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni or Finance Minister Yair Lapid, but a structural problem from the beginning, said the historian Moshe Zuckermann. For him Netanyahus rumor against they dismissed ministers is nothing but rhetoric.

 Benjamin Netanyahu  himself said, that this government was imposed on  him due to the election results. "So it was from the start a very precarious coalition," Zuckerman said. It was good that it has come to an end. People where unable to talk to each other in the end. It was no longer possible to hold normally government meetings.

 Netanyahu did not want to make peace. "Livni has made clear from the outset, when she came into this coalition, it is only because of the foreign policy agenda," Zuckerman said.

 The law, which aims to strengthen the Jewish character of the Israeli state, Zuckermann, names as "racist". For now it is off the table, but if there should be an even more extreme government at the next election, the prognosis for the law will be much better..

The full interview:

Dirk-Oliver Heckmann: Hectic bustle are currently underway in Jerusalem, because once again a government is politically at the end. This time it is the center-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that he runs for new elections.  He accused Finance Minister Lapid and Justice Minister Livni he  of plotting a coup against him, and therefor has removed them from their posts. On the phone now Moshe Zuckermann, a historian at the University of Tel Aviv. Good morning, Mr. Zuckerman.

Moshe Zuckermann: Good morning.

Heckmann: From your point of view, are the allegations of Netanyahu valid, or are they more rhetoric?

Zuckerman: I think it's more rhetoric, because the problem with which we are dealing here, a break of this government is, indeed no question of a personal initiative of Livni or Lapid, but the structural problem this government faced from the beginning. Netanyahu himself says that it had been a forced upon him government, precisely because of the  results of the last election, and therefore it suffered  from the start of its very precarious constellation and the coalition built up. 

However, what could have been made with this government, is something quite different from what in fact has been done, and therefore we can say that it is good that it has come to an end, for as in the last few days people were already so frustrated and angry that they even could not talk to each other any more and that it was no longer  possible to hold even ordinary government meetings.

"Its good, it's over."

Heckmann: Mr. Zuckerman, may I hook in? Netanyahu yesterday concretely did accuse his Justice Minister Livni of having met with Palestinian President Abbas, without having had the okay of the Government. This is more then the head of government can accept, right?

Zuckerman: Oh, that's nonsense! Look, if Netanyahu said about four or six years ago, how much it was his program, the two-state solution, then it should be out of question why Livni tried to pursue this program, but why then Netanyahu did everything he could do to every opportunity to reach a peace agreement with Abbas to undermine the last two to six years.

So to to say, of course you can formalize this thing and say she has not formally discussed it with him, but Livni has made clear from the start, as she came into this coalition, it is only because of the political, foreign policy agenda.

Therefore, one can not say in all seriousness that she since has  made something that not has been somehow located on the line, which has approved at least in the past by Netanyahu.

The problem was that it has really come on the human level to a clash that it is now more or less come to a culmination, and now it's over. And you know what? Good, it's over.

Law is "racist"

Heckmann: the reason of the recent rift was a law that should strengthen the Jewish character of the State of Israel. What do you think of this law?

Zuckerman: This is a racist law. I mean, what do we really think  it means when a state wants to find out all of a sudden  after 60 years of existence, what's its kind of character?What the hell is this? Imagine, in Germany, you would try now somehow to bring in a law to strengthen  the German character of the German state. Now you can tell me, what would you think of it. That is absolute nonsense. And the fact that this was somehow brought into concideration was, because they just want to make no peace policy, because they were more and more exposed to a rightward shift in the interior and Netanyahu had already understood very well that he is now approaching elections, and therefore tries to overtake Bennett and other people from the right-wing camp from an even more right position. That has something to do with the fact, that he allowed Halkin and such people to act as they wanted.  So I think this law is not only absolutely worthless, but I think that this is a racist law,  more or less offending the 20 percent of the legal Israeli citizens, ie the Arabs .

Heckmann: Do you believe, Mr. Zuckerman,  this law, which you call  racist will be implemented? 

Zuckerman: Right now it does not look like, because the government has dissolved as I said. But should  the next coalition as a result of the coming elections -  probably be scheduled for March - will be formed, and for my understanding this will happen,  by Netanyahu  going together  with Bennett and with the Orthodox or the religious, then it could be implemented very well. There will be no more oppositionin the coalition  that is against the law, such as the one of Lapid and Livni during in recent weeks. Should it come to the results as expected for the next coalition government, the prognosis for this law is better,  compared to now. 

Heckmann: You think there will be an even more extreme government after the elections?

Zuckerman: Yes, that's what Netanyahu always called his natural partner. His natural partners were always the right-wing National Religious, the Jewish Home of Naftali Bennett,  the national-religious,  formerly the Naftal party.  He always had a good organization  with the Orthodox, with the Oriental Orthodox Shas -party, as well as the Ashkenazi Orthodox. So I think when he gets the mandate to form a new government - and it looks like this; I do not think there is anyone there at the moment who can challenge him - then he will go in that direction. Of course you have to wait and see what will be the election results.

"Israel wants no peace" 

Heckmann: Why is it, in your view, that the liberal forces threaten increasingly coming under the wheels in the population?

Zuckerman: The question is if you somehow now want to know their personal capacity, or if you want to know the structurally. Personally means that it's actually charismatic enough or does not have enough inner power for sting seriously. Look at the Labor Party, for decades this a party was paralyzed on the ground and is no longer able to stand up against Netanyahu in any way. The structural response, why the liberal forces are not strengthening would be, because basically nobody wants what liberal forces  usually want, namely to seek peace. 

I do not think that Israel wants peace, and I believe that each other's balance holds in the way how to prevent this peace. I think in the population that is more or less reflected. The population selected again and again the governments that want to have peace.

Heckmann: What does the whole development now mean for the "peace process" if you still can call it that, with the Palestinians? 

Zuckerman: First, exactly what you've done right now, that you put in the quotes, and that means then that it looks to secure peace in the moment like nothing. However, this also means for Israel that Israel is moving towards a bi-national structure that it has basically now generated already manifest. And then the big question is, if you want to have a bi-national structure. If you want to have a democratic bi-national state sanctioned? Of course nobody wants in Israel. And then passes on to an apartheid state and that is more or less the trend at the moment. 

Heckmann: The opinion of Moshe Zuckermann, a historian at the University of Tel Aviv. Mr. Zuckerman, thank you for the interview.

Zuckerman: Thank you.




Moshe Zuckermann

Israel has snapped off too much! 

22.01.2015 12:13 

by Hannes Heine

Moshe Zuckermann sees Israel ahead of a fundamental decision: The historian explained in a new anthology, towards which direction  Zionism is heading.

Moshe Zuckermann's new book is more for connoisseurs then for clueless, rather for vehement critics then for unconditional Israeli-fans. In his book Zuckerman wants to reveal how it could come so far that people in Israel must decide: to accept a Palestinian state or consent to a soon-to-come Israel which owns the occupied territories, but the majority of its population would be Arabs. This bi-national country could be dominated by Jews only if they turns to apartheid. Zionism, in many places, started as a socialist national movement would have capitulated.

Israeli theaters once banned Yiddish

Zuckermann provides material in a long debate - to immigrate to Israel or rather not? His academic terminology reads sometimes bulky, but from time to time relaxed by the author providing verbal pictures,  as that of the road, spitting towards the government,  which, later on legitimized the spitting.

Connoisseurs want to remember details: for example that Yiddish was tracked reasons of state and that plays were banned if in the language of the Diaspora. Zuckerman writes German. The history professor, born in 1949 in Tel Aviv, the son of Holocaust survivors, moved with his parents in 1960 to Frankfurt am Main, before he went back to Israel at age 21. Core issue is the occupation by settlers - which changed from the bargaining chip for negotiations into a quasi-religious fetish. Zuckermann stresses that withdrawal would lead into an inner-Jewish civil war.After the occupation of the West Bank in 1967 it looks like, that after "one has taken an apple in its mouth, one is neither able to devour it, nor spit it". Now they threaten to suffocate.

Moshe Zuckermann: Israel's fate. How Zionism operates its downfall . Promedia, Vienna 2014. 208 pages, 17.90 euros.


Tages Anzeiger     18/07/2014
(TA is a Swiss German-language national daily newspaper published in Zurich)

Israel does not want peace at all


Israel fought Hamas by conducting a ground offensive in Gaza.

Moshe Zuckermann, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University spoke about the causes and consequences of the escalation of the Middle East conflict.

Before the start of the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza, there were indications for a ceasefire . Why again an escalation of the violence?

Hamas did not accept the cease-fire because it did not get what it wanted from Israel. Hamas postulated the raising of the Israeli blockade, especially the opening of the border crossings to Sinai and Egypt, in order to bring in supplies to the Gaza Strip population, whose situation is very vulnerable. In addition Hamas demanded the release of prisoners. Because the Palestinians continued firing rockets at Israel, even during the humanitarian cease-fire, and because it turned out that a terrorist commando wanted, via a tunnel, to attack a kibbutz, it was clear that the Israeli government had to respond.

Was the ground offensive unavoidable from an Israeli perspective?

Actually, Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu was not interested in a ground offensive. As the Hamas’s rocket attacks continued, he was under political pressure to act, by the Right Wing members in his own party as well as those from the Right outside of his party. Above all, his coalition partners, Avigdor Lieberman and Naphtali Bennett had been putting pressure on him for some time. Israel exploited the murder of the three teenagers.  For the government it was a welcome opportunity to act against Hamas in the West Bank. From this point of view, Israel shares the responsibility for the escalation.

For Hamas it was a futile escalation. Why embark on it?

With her massive action in the West Bank, Israel wanted to smash Hamas’s infrastructure, and also drive a new wedge between Hamas and Fatah. Against this political background Hamas was in trouble with its profile. It could not raise its profile with economic or political successes, but by demonstrating its military power.  As soon as Hamas’s military image shines, Fatah loses its political power. At least Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, is the temporary loser in the current developments. In the war against Israel the Palestinians cannot afford not to support Hamas’s war policy.

How long could the Israeli army’s ongoing ground offensive last?

If this military operation would proceed the way that Israel imagines, it would be a matter of two or three days. However it will not go as Israel imagines it, because there will be strong resistance. Then its own dynamics, which go beyond the objective, can come into action.. Officially, the ground offensive’s aim is the destruction of Hamas’s infrastructure, above all the tunnel system running from Gaza to Israel. Now we have to wait and see what happens. In a ground offensive one knows where it starts, but one never knows where it ends.  It was thus twice in Gaza and likewise, twice in Lebanon.

Is the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip an issue for Israel?

No. Neither Israel nor anyone else is interested in that. The Israeli government wants to weaken Hamas enough for it to stop the rocket attacks. She would like to beat Hamas, but not crush it. For Israel needs Hamas to maintain the internal conflicts of the Palestinians; in addition, to prevent more radical groups in Gaza from taking over power from Hamas there.

Does Israel’s population expect the ground offensive to bring about increased safety?

The government of Netanyahu has the support of the majority of the population. Most people have no illusion that peace is definitely coming. Only for a while will there be peace from missiles, because Hamas is in Gaza. After the ground offensive it will be quiet for two to three years. Once Hamas has rearmed, it will start up as before, due to some reason or other. This is the tragedy of this conflict. But this is not the main tragedy. There is a different one.

What do you mean by that?

The problem is that Israel does not want peace. Peace would mean a two state solution and Israel wants to prevent this happening. In Israel today there is no political force that could tackle a two state solution without risking an Israeli civil war. If Israel does not want this solution, this will lead to a bi-national structure, with four to five million Palestinians living under Israeli sovereignty. If the Palestinians are denied their basic rights, we have an Israeli apartheid state. If they are granted fundamental rights, it is a bi-national state, which means the end of the Zionist state. Israel has maneuvered itself into an historic dead-end.

With each armed offensive against the Palestinians, Israel refers to its need for self defense. That is understandable and legitimate.

This is absolute nonsense. The moment Israel, in self defense, acts illegally according to international law, namely, the decades of occupation of Palestine territories, this has nothing to do with self-defense. In Israel there are no peace prospects, the peace movement being pitifully small. Yitzhak Rabin was the last Israeli politician who was ready to make peace with the Palestinians. We know how that was ended twenty years ago

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