JVP, Zionism breaks every human value, not just every “Jewish Value”

Jewish Voice for Peace poster: “Zionism breaks every single Jewish value! What is Zionism? Why are we anti-Zionist?”

It took some doing, but at long last, Zionism is being denounced openly for what it is, a racist, settler-colonial Jewish regime aided and abetted by imperial forces and delusional Christian fanatics. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), for example, recently addressed its Jewish constituency on the question of Zionism by publishing a statement titled “What is Zionism? Why are we anti-Zionist?” It featured a poster of a young, presumably Jewish activist holding a sign that says, “Zionism breaks every single Jewish value!”

Zionism, of course, breaks every human value. JVP is addressing a Jewish Zionist mentality, both in its religious and secular senses. The ancient Israelites of the Torah believed that God revealed himself personally to them and thus they had a unique relationship with the divine. But even this chosen community, according to the same ancient narrative, failed in its obligation and had to be “summoned back, time and again, to its responsibility by the prophets — the divinely called spokespersons who warned of retribution within history and argued and reargued the case for affirmative human response.” The voice of JVP to religious Jews, then, could be likened to the voice of yet another prophet calling Israel’s Jews to heed “Jewish values.”

In the secular sense, “Jewish values” denote a Jewish humanist identity devoid of its religious aspects. In answering the question “What is Zionism?”, JVP explains that the “Zionist movement emphasized their ideology as a response to centuries of antisemitic persecution against Jews across Europe.” But, in fact, as Harry Clark wrote in Counterpunch in 2014, “Zionism was a response not only to anti-Semitism but to liberal modernity. Zionism opposed the assimilation and integration of Jews, and held that anti-Semitism was irrevocable and natural.”

Additionally, “Zionism adopted anti-Semitic ideas and tactics and cooperated with anti-Semites practically … Zionism was an elite project of national renewal, concerned with … ‘the problems of Judaism, not the problems of Jewry’… Nazi and Zionist ‘race experts’ consulted each other in the 1930s.” In other words, Israel was not built in Palestine as “a haven for the Jewish people.” It was built to squash rising liberalism and assimilation and to maintain Jewish separatism.

I believe that in highlighting “Jewish values” in its statement rather than universal human values, JVP is ironically still indirectly referencing Zionist beliefs in an irreducible Jewish difference as well as in separatism, alienation, and anti-gentilism at the very same time as it is exhorting “secular Jews” against Zionism.

What JVP needs to do is come up with a universalist critique of Zionism. JVP must (to quote Harry Clark again) “reject the Zionist idea of ‘the Jewish people’ in whose name the state of Israel and organized Jewry act; condemn the role of US organized Jewry and the Zionocracy as a quasi-sovereign, radicalizing force in US Middle East policy; and defend a secular realm in which we think and act together. It would do this in the name of the people of Jewish background who contributed so much to modernity, from Spinoza onward, whose legacy towers over Zionism. The failure to do this is catastrophic, comparable to the German Communist Party’s disastrous misreading of Hitler and Nazism, which weakened the left and assisted their rise to power, and all that followed.”

Zionism breaks every Jewish value, but more importantly, it breaks every human value.

Note: First published on Medium

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

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism

Is Zionism anything but crass racism? Do the Indigenous people have any right to exist in their homeland? Apparently not, if they are Palestinians who are evicted and killed by…

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News