Bomb Throwing Pacifist
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Play somethin' about Zion, Sam. I need some bud.
Explaining Jews, Part 7: Why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism
By: Dennis Prager
Imagine someone saying that he seeks the destruction of Italy because he regards Italian national identity as racist. Further, imagine that this person constantly denies being anti-Italian, because he does not hate all Italians, only Italy and all those who believe Italy should exist.
So in other words those still living in the pre-1870 world. Or Sicilian separatist groups. Or Sardinian separatist groups. Or that crazy Northern League. In any case, as you can clearly see, such ideas are preposterous. (Note to author: next time, pick a better example for when you make your strawman).
Now substitute "Jewish" for "Italian" and "Israel" for "Italy" and you understand the absurdity of the argument that one can be anti-Zionist but not anti-Jewish.
Sigh. See above. In the meantime, I think I'll do something more productive with my time. Like maybe pick my nose or something.
Among the many lies that permeate the modern world, none is greater – or easier to refute – than the claim that Zionism is not an integral part of Judaism or the claim that anti-Zionism is unrelated to anti-Semitism.Well, I don’t know about that. After all, one would think that some of the easier lies to refute in this modern world would be the doozies about Saddam having WMD. Or Saddam being behind 9/11. Or that no one could have anticipated the levees breaching. Or- oh, why do I even bother. It’s too easy. Professor. Teufelhosen Kertoffelfopf, department chair of Mad Science and Political Theory at MIT chimes in with his analysis:
If only zere vas a vay to tap into zis stupidity. Ve vould have a veapon of almost limitless destruktif capabilities! Mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahah...meing gott...ha
Thank, Prof. On with the show!
To understand why, it is first necessary to explain Zionism and anti-Zionism.Preferrably using English words of only one syllable. Because you know, like, looking in a dictionary or an encyclopedia might cause you to stray off-message and perhaps draw your own conclusions. Plus, you might learn something, and we don’t want you to skip out on the next 37 installments of my serial.
A modern secular movement called Zionism was founded in the 19th century, but the belief that Jews belong in Zion (the biblical term for Jerusalem) is as old as the Jewish people. See Part 1 of this series, "Explaining Jews," for a discussion of why Jews are a people and not only a religion.Ok kids. Although there was a historical, secular, non-religious movement starting in the 19th century which agitated for a Jewish homeland within the British Empire (specifically in Palestine), the idea that Jews deserve their own home goes back thousands of years. As a side note, guess which one is responsible for the creation of the state of Israel in 1947? (I’ll give you a hint. None of the MPs debating the idea of a Jewish homeland had the name Moses ben Pharaoh).
Starting in 586 B.C., with the destruction of the first Jewish state, Jews were already Zionists in that they fervently prayed to return to Zion.Likewise, Americans traveling overseas are known as Yanks, no matter where they may actually be from. So suck it, Toby Keith, you Yankee bastard!
While the movement known by the specific name "Zionism" is modern, the movement of Jews returning to Zion is more than 2,500 years old. That is why the claim that Zionism – the return of the Jewish people to Zion – is not part of Judaism is a theological and historical lie.I think I understand what Prager is trying to say. Basically, the problem is this: Israel is a modern country that was created by a diktat of the United Kingdom and the U.N. However, we need to find a way to equate the modern state of Israel with all those old stories about desert tribesmen trying to follow their prophets to their mythical Holy land. So how do we resolve this discrepancy? Listen closely because if you blink, you might just miss it-or at least recognize just how retaradilicious this entire premise is (it's synapse-lickin' good!).
Although the movement which essentially created the modern state of Israel was secular and only goes back about 125 years, the fact that Israel now exists does not change the fact that the idea that Jews belong in Jerusalem is very old. As such, which the two movements are very different from each other, they both kinda had the same goals, and as such are more or less inseparable. Got it.
Judaism has always consisted of three components: God, Torah and Israel, roughly translated as faith, practice and peoplehood. And this Jewish people was conceived of as living in the Jewish country called Israel.Or alternatively, God, holy texts, and worshippers. Now while this God did supposedly relate to his worshippers through prophets, this is primarily recorded in these holy texts. In these pages, we can see references to God making Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars and promising them a land flowing with milk and honey. It should however, be noted, that “this Jewish people” were conceived of living in a land where the Lord led them for his own reasons. As such, claiming that the modern nation of Israel has a divine mandate based off of biblical pretexts is somewhat absurd. After all, if “Israel” means “peoplehood” as your superpose, then the area in which they are a people is somewhat irrelevant except in terms of historical sentimentality. After all, God could command through the prophets to abandon Palestine and migrate to Australian outback en masse. They would not be leaving Israel behind, but would be setting up Israel in its new location, no?
Granted, all this above logic is based on the presupposition that there really was a God and he really did choose a people and that he really did lead them to a specific land for them to call home and gave them an infinite, divinely-stamped mandate over it. Because despite the undeniable existence of a greater Jewish people and the sense of a Jewish diaspora, if this whole notion is built on the creation myths of an ancient, desert-dwelling tribe of sheperds, well now you do have yourself quite the geopolitical conundrum now, don’t you?
One can argue that the modern state of Israel was founded at the expense of Arabs living in the geographic area known as Palestine (there was never a country or a nation called Palestine); but that in no way negates the indisputable fact that Zionism is an integral part of Judaism.I think what he’s trying to say here is that even though a lot of Arabs got screwed over when Israel was founded, it’s ok because there was no ancient land called Palestine, and as such it must have been a pretty shitty place to begin with, so presumably the Arabs living there wouldn’t have minded.
On another note, there actually WAS an ancient land called Palestine. For you see, the name Palestine comes from the word Phillistine, who were the ancient inhabitants of the near east and the Land that was to become Israel. You know? The same people who along with the Canaanites, Arameans, and other related peoples were kinda living in the holy land when the Israelites showed up with the Ark and decided that this was where their God wanted them to settle. So likewise, just as lots of Arabs got screwed when Israel was established in 1947, a lot of ancient peoples got screwed in the 1100s AD when the Holy Land became holy. Just the same though, that doesn’t change the fact that this is an integral part of Judaism and if you criticize it, you’re and anti-semite.
Nor does the fact that some Jews who have abandoned Judaism are opposed to Zionism, nor that a tiny sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews (Neturei Karta) believe that only the Messiah can found a Jewish state in Israel.
When anti-Israel Muslim students demonstrate on campus chanting, "Yes to Judaism, no to Zionism," they are inventing a new Judaism out of their hatred for Israel. It would be as if anti-Muslims marched around chanting, "Yes to Allah, no to the Quran." Just as Allah, Muhammad and the Quran are inextricable components of Islam, so God, Torah and Israel are of Judaism.In other words, while they are showing that they bear no animosity towards the Jewish faith and people, those anti-Zionist protestors are trying to separate the modern state of Israel from the ancient biblical concept of Israel and in so doing trying to criticize the country without criticizing it’s inhabitants. And damn it, that’s Prager’s job!
But, one might argue, even if Zionism is as much a part of Judaism as any other part of the Hebrew Bible, the modern Jewish state of Israel has no right to exist because it displaced many indigenous Arabs, known later as Palestinians.Well, I do believe that most people would support the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East, but only if it did things like retreat to its 1947 borders, stop forcibly evicting Palestinians and colonizing Palestinian land, and recognized that the territory it acquired in 1948 and 1968 through military force does not rightfully belong to it.
Before responding to this, it is crucial to understand that this argument – that Israel's founding was illegitimate – is completely unrelated to anti-Zionism. An intellectually honest person who believes Israel's founding is illegitimate would still have to acknowledge that Zionism is an inseparable part of Judaism.Well, if by Zionism you mean the sense of a greater Jewish people, nation, and identity, then yes. However, if by Zionism you mean the armed annexation and colonization of any area originally considered part of the Biblical Israel with no regards for the rights or feelings of the people living there…
But the argument that Israel is illegitimate because its founding led to 600,000 to 700,000 Arab refugees is as anti-Jewish as is anti-Zionism. Virtually every country in the world was founded by displacing some of the people who had lived there, and many of those countries did far worse to far more people than Israel did. Therefore, anyone who calls only for Israel's destruction had better explain why, of all the states on earth whose founding was accompanied by the displacement of others, only the Jewish state is illegitimate.In other words, the Arabs should quit bitching about losing their homes, families, and loved ones as the result of a unilaterally imposed decision by foreign powers. After all, at least they should be happy that more of them weren’t killed in the process. I mean, do you have any idea how much of a bloodbath it takes to start a country these days? Honestly. If the Palestinians want their own damn country, then they’re going to have to stop bellyaching about being oppressed and retake their homes by force. After all, that’s how every other nation is built and if the Israelis can’t handle the fact that longing for a Palestinian homeland is an integral part of Palestinianism and the Free-Palestine movement and keep critising the actions of people for whom Palestine is an integral part of their identity, well then they’re being…oh…wait…I see where this is going.
Take Pakistan, for example. Unlike the Jewish state of Israel, which had existed twice before in history, there was never a country called Pakistan, nor was there ever any other independent Muslim country in the part of India that was carved out to create Pakistan.Technically, you are correct, Mr. Prager. However, it should be noted that Pakistan is an acronym for Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan, the traditional muslim regions of the area which was annexed by the British and later called “India.” However, being forced to correct your basic historical incompetence is becoming tiring. Screw up one more time, and I’m afraid I will have to crown you with the Helmet of Stupidity, lest other wingnuts drift towards your siren song of teh stoopid and find themselves crushed on the rocks of reality below.
Moreover, if the Jewish state of Israel is illegitimate because it created 700,000 Arab refugees, why isn't the Muslim state of Pakistan, which created more than 8 million Hindu refugees, illegitimate?Oops. Too late. Even as we speak, millions of members of the Pakistani diaspora are percolating towards their promised land from all corners of the globe and, backed with a nearly limitless arsenal of weapons and bottomless pits of cash from sympathetic western countries are returning home. “Never again shall Karachi fall” is their battle cry.
However, once again, Mr. Prager has made a stoopid. Instead of using the much more apt and historically appropriate reference to Kashmir (a majority-muslim area ruled by the Indian military and a continual flashpoint of potential nuclear confrontation), he had to go the 1940 Lahore Resolution “Two Nation” route. No one argues that Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh should ever be united into one country again (and seeing how India was essentially a colonial construct, this is for the better). However, what people DO argue about is whether Kashmir should be part of India, Pakistan, China, or its own country. Likewise, very few sane people argue with the notion of whether or not Israel should exist. However, what they DO argue about is wether its really ok for Israel to have gobbled up the 1947-mandated, U.N.-approved Palestine and then gone out of its way to reabsorb these lands into part of a great nation-state. Tricky, tricky. In any case, here is your helm, my leige. Wear it with pride!
dur, dur dur dur durrr....
The answer is obvious. When people isolate the one Jewish state in the world for sanctions, opprobrium and delegitimizing, they are doing so because it is the Jewish state. And that, quite simply, is why anti-Zionism is simply another form of Jew-hatred.
Which is of course totally different from when a white cop is caught beating the crap out of a minority suspect and then is accused of being a racist. Not only is he not being a racist (after all, he probably had a good reason for kicking the crap out of his suspect), but you’re being a reverse-racist jerk for assuming that he is a racist just because he’s a white guy beating down a non-white prisoner. So shut up, ya racist jerk!
You can criticize Israel all you want. That does not make you an anti-Semite. But if you are an anti-Zionist or advocate the destruction of the Jewish state, then let's be clear: You are an enemy of the Jews and of Judaism, and the word for such a person is anti-Semite.
You can criticize Israel all you want without being anti-Semitic. That is your right. But you have to understand that the nation of Israel is divinely mandated and a central part of the Jewish faith. Therefore, if you criticize Israel as a concept, or anything it does in the name of a greater Jewish hegemony, or say things along the lines of “well maybe they shouldn’t really have dropped those bombs and killed all those civilians in their attempts to get the bad guys,” then you are criticizing the Jewish right to self-defense, and therefore existence and therefore calling for the destruction of Israel. And therefore you, sir, are an anti-Semite. I rest my case.