Jewish supremacy is a characteristic of the Zionist Jewish state of Israel. Some Israeli human rights activists deny this fact. Some know it but avoid discussing it for fear of being attacked as anti-Jewish. It is safer for critics of Israel to address the other characteristics of the Zionist state — its settler-colonial origins, its apartheid as enshrined in law, or the bigotry against Jews of color found in Israeli society.

“No country is one thing,” racial justice expert Jeffery Robinson (and deputy legal director and the director of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality) says in a powerful presentation on the dark history of Confederate symbols across the United States.

With understated feeling but devastating poignancy, he talks about the explicit expressions of White supremacy that pervaded, not just Southern culture but also the minds of many American iconic figures, like Abraham Lincoln, for example, whose major reason for waging the Civil War was to preserve the Union, whether that entailed freeing slaves or not.

When we don’t deal with the whole truth about our history, says Robinson, we have no chance of going forward in any productive manner.

Similarly in Israel/Palestine, Israeli leaders are Jewish supremacists — i.e., they identify as Jews and justify their rapacious past and present in Palestine as a Jewish supremacist right.

The fact that the predominant Israeli rhetoric and practice represents “the authentic Jewish values as they crystallized in the diaspora” (in the words of Ben Gurion in 1936) and therefore allows the bigotry of supremacy to extend to Arab Jews (viewed by the European Jewish elite who established the state as a product of an inferior culture, in need of a civilizing Jewish influence) does not defrock them of their Jewishness, nor does it absolve any Israeli Jew (Arab/Mizrahi, Nigerian, Russian or American) who embraces political Zionism.

I learned much from Jeffery Robinson’s presentation on Confederate monuments. As a human being with a deep yearning for universal justice — and as a Palestinian standing at the cusp of another “formal” Israeli move to steal yet more Palestinian land, as someone hoping that this latest Israeli outrage (the announced forthcoming annexation of parts of the West Bank) would be the impetus for Palestinian liberation at last, the equivalent of the Civil Rights revolution led by Martin Luther King, Jr. — the insight that struck me most forcefully was this:

“The South lost the Civil War, but it went on to win the peace.”

As Robinson’s presentation unfolded, it becomes very clear what he meant by the above statement. Through example after horrendous example, he demonstrated how the South has succeeded in imposing its narrative of White supremacy on a United States in which slavery, and later segregation and discrimination, had been abolished.

Even a black president was unable or unwilling to challenge or confront this sick and racist narrative that permeated the political consciousness of the country. Even Martin Luther King Jr., whose beliefs in a sanitized version are what’s taught in American schools, failed to do so. It took a “tipping point,” the voice of George Floyd calling out to his mother with his last breath, to bring the truth out— over 400 years after the Republic was formed with White supremacy as its guiding light.

When we are allowed to hear and then accept (rather than deny or hide) what White supremacist leaders themselves are telling us, there is no flinching away from the racism and depraved economic greed it is advocating.

Robinson says:

They are saying it to you as plainly and as directly as they can. And so to the people today who say the folks honored in these monuments were not fighting for slavery, my response is, I understand that that’s what you want to believe and I understand how difficult it is to wrap your mind around the fact that human beings, fellow Americans, will fight and kill other people and die to preserve slavery. It’s really hard to wrap your mind around that but that is the ugly truth.

In a similar way, it is hard for many Jews and others — in Israel and outside Israel — to wrap their minds around the ugly truth of Jewish supremacy in Palestine, even when their leaders have been saying it for decades as plainly and directly as they can.

I recently came across a book published online by Ben Adams (a pseudonym “to reduce the threats I am likely to be subject to” — the Arabic expression “bani Adam بنی آدم” means human being) titled The Inconvenient Truth About Israel By Israelis And Zionism’s Founding Patrons.

In the introduction, Adams writes:

Jews have been oppressed, excluded, and discriminated against for centuries, most notably in the pogroms of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Germany. This oppression climaxed in the Holocaust (6 million killed). Palestinians have also been a subjugated people for centuries, most notably under the Ottomans, the British and the Israelis. This subjugation climaxed in mid-20th century Palestine (currently close to 5 million refugees, including over a million living in squalor, in deprived Palestinian refugee camps). Both peoples have inadvertently adopted paradigms of behavior that helped fortify their exclusion. Whether based on a self-defined image of ethnic superiority, and/or victimhood….

This short book documents quotations of one side that support the veracity of the core narrative of the other …The focus is on quotations of the Israeli side because that is the side which has the upper hand militarily, politically, and economically. It is also the one that has the stronger voice, and is most listened to in the corridors of influence, internationally.”

What these quotations tell us is that the driving force behind the Nakba, regardless how else you characterize it, is first and foremost a “Jewish Question,” as expressed in Theodor Herzl’s landmark book “Den Judenstaat” (The State of the Jews), which inspired political Zionism, as the only solution to anti-Semitism in Europe.

The Jewish Question exists wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country, and will remain so, even in those highly civilized- for instance, France- until the Jewish question finds a solution on a political basis. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of Anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.

In the afterword of Yizhar Smilansky’s novella “Khirbet Khizeh” about the brutal Jewish expulsion of Palestinian villagers from their homeland, David Shulman writes in horror: “The parallel Yizhar drew between Jews and Nazis was inescapable. Jews had ordered atrocities, and Jews had carried them out.”

The “Jewish Question” Herzl describes above has led Jews to this appalling— but within the logic of Zionism—necessary, existential condition.

Today, as they displace Palestinian Bedouins from the Jordan Valley (the Palestinian Ghor) in order to formally annex this fertile piece of Palestine for continued economic gain and profit (another one of Robinson’s sayings is: “Follow the money”), Israel’s leaders are telling us, plainly, the exact same thing Ben-Gurion wrote in 1937:

The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war.

There is only one thing that everyone accepts, Arabs and non-Arabs alike: facts. The Arabs would not make peace with the Jews “out of sentiment for justice,” but because such a peace at some point would become worthwhile and advantageous. A Jewish state would encourage peace, because with it the Jew would “become a force, and the Arabs respect force.”

Ben-Gurion explained to the Mapai party “these days it is not right but might which prevails. It is more important to have force than justice on one’s side.” In a period of “power politics, the powers that become hard of hearing, and respond only to the roar of cannons. And the Jews in the Diaspora have no cannons.” In order to survive in this evil world, the Jewish people needed cannons more than justice.

To borrow another one of Robinson’s sayings, what Palestinians need is “a naked lunch moment” with all those who identify as Jews — one that will allow us to confront Jewish communities allied with Israel with the many paradoxes and ironies that the Jewish state represents. We need all Jews in and out of Israel to say, “I am Jewish, but I didn’t sign up for the dispossession of Palestinians.”

As Robinson explains, before reconciliation is even a possibility, the truth must come out. Calling out Jewish supremacy as it manifests itself in Jewish communities around the world that are allied with Israel’s political Zionism is still considered by many a “conspiracy theory.” But the fact remains that much of the legitimacy of the Jewish state comes, not only from the United States and its allies, but also from so-called “Jewish leaders” of Jewish communities in various countries — Jewish magnates, Jewish media moguls, Jewish oligarchs, Jewish neocon politicians, Jewish PACs, synagogues, religious leaders, etc. who identify with Israel.

To point this out is considered to be anti-Semitic, referring to “a Jewish plan to dominate the world.” But the truth is, unless such Jewish support of and identification with Israel is called out for what it is, racist support for a racist ideology and regime, Palestinians will never be able to liberate themselves from under the Zionist project that’s been kneeling on their necks for 72 years and counting.

_____________________
Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.


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