I noticed a comment from a member the other day that said he had been troubled by some examples of what he perceived to be antisemitism on A|N. The examples were not supplied, but the member did equate, by means of parenthesis, antisemitism with anti-Zionism. I find this very curious but I wonder how prevalent this thinking may be. Many members, if not the majority, of the anti-Zionist movement are liberal Jews that are deeply vexed by the actions of the state of Israel. They are simply calling for an end to what many have considered to be Israeli-backed apartheid in Palestine. To be sure, the anti-Zionist movement does not speak with one unanimous voice. Does any movement?

Another common misconception that arises with criticism of the state of Israel's treatment of Palestinians is the belief that it's the same as glorifying or, at minimum, sympathizing with organizations like Hamas. There are rational voices, both Jewish and Palestinian, that decry all of the violence committed in this millenia-old conflict.

As secularists and atheists we can surely see the link between unconditional support for the state of Israel and deeply-entrenched religious beliefs about the role of Israel in "God's plan". Shedding such religious preconceptions may allow for greater clarity in approaching the conflict.

Please offer your views, no matter what they are, on this subject. With communication and openness, we can work towards peace for all of our brothers and sisters, Jewish and Palestinian.

Tags: Hamas, Israel, Palestine, Zionism, anti-Zionism, antisemitism, atheism, peace, secularism

Views: 47

Replies to This Discussion

One book of recent vintage I recommend is:

Bronner, Stephen Eric. Peace Out of Reach: Middle Eastern Travels and the Search for Recon.... Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007.

Bronner is one of the most sophisticated scholars of our time: first on critical theory, then on the history of socialism, then on the Enlightenment, and on anti-Semitism. This is the best book on the ideological history of anti-Semitism I've read:

Bronner, Stephen Eric. A Rumor about the Jews: Antisemitism, Conspiracy, and the Protocols of Zion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. (1st ed., 2000) More information can be found on my blog.
Thank you for the recommendation, Ralph. I'll check it out.
In dealing with the definitional/analytical question of Jewishness, the history of responding to the "Jewish Question", and the history of Zionism and competing movements, there are a number of tracks to pursue. One line of enquiry can be found in my recent minted bibliography:

Marxism & the Jewish Question: Selected Bibliography
http://www.autodidactproject.org/bib/jews-marxism.html

I've been having the distasteful Internet experience--a constant now--of not being able to say one word about Jews or the discourse of anti-Zionism, never once saying one word in support of either Zionism or Israel, or most often not even mentioning either one--without being subjected to anti-Semitic vitriol coming from the left, including atheists as well. Let the unfriending and banning begin.
These are good points, Adriana. Most ethnic nationalism is based on historical myth.
Sand is a fraud, possibly an imposter, and his work is anti-Semitic to the core. The biological descent of the Jewish people is irrelevant to either legitimating or delegitimating the Zionist claim. The existence of Jews as an ethnic group or a religious group is neither more nor less valid based on some distant biological tie to Judaea. Such argumentation is utterly idiotic. It only serves to defame the Jewish people as a fraudulent people, rather than simply delegitimate the "right of return". How could such an argument possibly have any effect on the present or future status of the Jewish state?
That was scary, Adriana.
It doesn't surprise me either. Even on A|N there are undercurrents of obnoxousness that get tiresome. Im trying to keep my interest going, and keep the positive going.
Another article by Moishe Postone analyzes the questionable translation of anti-capitalism into anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, and anti-Semitism:

Postone, Moishe. "History and Helplessness: Mass Mobilization and Contemporary Forms of Anticapitalism," Engage, Issue 5, September 2007.
http://www.engageonline.org.uk/journal/index.php?journal_id=16&...

More generally, the Engage web site is of interest, too, though I caught holy hell for even mentioning it:

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/
I made a big mistake about Shlomo Sand, confusing him with someone else. I find this thesis about the Khazars dubious, but since I don't give a crap about justifying the colonization of Israel or the "right of return" or determining who is legally a Jew I find this line of argumentation bogus. If one could prove that every Jew on the planet were a bona fide descendant of the 12 tribes of Israel, driven out of their homeland, with no converts along the way and no admixture with other populations, that would no more entitle them to reclaim their homeland 1900 years later that it would if they were all impostors.

And by the way, all these arguments were already made over a century when Jews were duking it out among themselves whether religious or secular, Zionist or anti-Zionist.

Debunking a founding myth doesn't much interest me, and I think there's a more subtle issue involved than the justification for current right-wing Israeli expansionist politics. The historical question is, how many pro-Zionist Jews, which were relatively few in number before the 1930s, were actually convinced by religious justifications, or purely secular claims to an original homeland which nobody was any more anxious to get to than Christians are to jump off a cliff to rush to heaven? Selling Zionism to the Jews could never have been done on the basis of religion alone, even if there weren't already a substantial process of secularization going on. There were always a mixture of elements in the Zionist sales pitch, and all of them undoubtedly had some effect on a subrational level, but the biggest motive was the actual danger to the Jews of Europe, first Eastern Europe, but also central Europe, and ultimately all of Europe.

In my next post I'll discuss the character whom I mixed up with Shlomo Sand.
Selling Zionism to the Jews could never have been done on the basis of religion alone, even if there weren't already a substantial process of secularization going on.

You may be right, Ralph. But religion has most definitely played a role, certainly not the only role, in selling Zionism to Christians.
Do you mean selling it to the present-day Christian Zionists, or something else? Actually, I think there's more to even the Christian Zionists than religion; it's global geopolitics, power, and wealth.
Do you mean selling it to the present-day Christian Zionists, or something else? Actually, I think there's more to even the Christian Zionists than religion; it's global geopolitics, power, and wealth.

It's difficult to find the line of demarcation between religion and global geopolitics. Politicians and clerics have been using one another for millenia.

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