Why I Am Not a Zionist

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As I have mentioned here before, I am Jewish. In fact, I’m an anguished Jew. But I am not a Zionist. I’m an individualist and an advocate of private property and voluntary association.

But because the words Zionism and Zionist are oftentimes thrown around carelessly and ignorantly, I want to clarify what that means.

Since the late 19th Century, Zionism has been a political movement promoting a national homeland for Jews, with the mystical “Land of Israel” as God’s “Promised Land” to the Jews, according to the Bible. However, the more influential Zionists would not consider any other territory but Israel (or Palestine as it was known before 1948) as the “safe homeland for Jews.” But as Murray Rothbard pointed out, Israel was already inhabited. Thus, the resettling of Jews to that one small territory involved not voluntary contracts and property title transfers but involuntary land takings that were carried out not by private individuals but by government bureaucrats and their armed enforcers.

So I would say that the past century’s drive to urge all the world’s Jews to settle in the one small territory of Israel has not been particularly “Jewish,” as such attempts to realize the goal of Zionism have violated the very moral teachings of Judaism (and Christianity), and thus it is a proposed scheme that could never work in practicality.

In fact, in addition to the desire for Palestinian expulsion, the ideologues in control over the decades have demonstrated an agenda of persecution and perhaps even worse. For example, how do the Zionists morally explain the blockade of the Gaza Strip, in which the Palestinians there are not allowed to travel such as into Jerusalem or the West Bank?

Regarding the practicality of that scheme, how would Jews in Israel surrounded by Arab, Muslim, or Persian countries, protect Jews from pogroms of oppression, especially given the natural blowback following years of government land takings from Palestinians, expulsions of Arabs from Palestine, and military occupation?

And how many Jews currently in Israel have been the actual victims of pogroms, oppression, or discrimination, as opposed to Palestinians in Israel or Gaza who are such victims?

You see, not too many of today’s Jews in Israel had been actual victims themselves. But it seems as though many do see themselves as victims, as antisemitism expert Antony Lerman had noted.

But it seems that it is so politically incorrect to speak negatively about Israel or criticize its ruling bureaucrats and their illicit aggressions without being labeled “anti-Semite” by ignorant or intolerant people. College campuses want to criminalize criticism of Israel, and dissent within the ranks of Jewish leaders has greatly shrunk due to McCarthyesque intimidation tactics.

The Haaretz newspaper journalist and Gaza war critic Gideon Levy wrote that he was “nearly lynched” by a mob of angry Israelis while he was being interviewed outside a shopping mall.

And, ironically, now it seems that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the EU to “strictly regulate” anti-Gaza war protests and criticism of Israel, out of fear of “another Holocaust” in Europe as a reaction to his own genocidal aggressions in Gaza. (Why am I reminded of the Islamic jihadists who say that any criticism of Islam or Muslims justifies murdering the “infidels”?)

And now the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to support Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. A few years back the sanctimonious panderers in Congress wildly cheered their hero Netanyahu. And Congress now wants to spend even more U.S. tax dollars on the Israeli military’s “Iron Dome” defense system which may not even be very effective. That is in addition to a new “mysterious” facility known as “site 911″ the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is building for the Israeli Air Force, as well as several other expensive projects.

U.S. taxpayers had already funded the Israelis’ destruction of civilian water and sewage treatment facilities in Gaza during the 2008-09 war, and the blockade has been a tool to prevent the Gazan population from repairing that infrastructure and thus they must use and drink untreated water. In fact, the same thing is occurring now, and the further U.S. taxpayer-funded Israeli destruction of water and sewage facilities is causing widespread health crises.

In the current aggressions, the Israelis have bombed homes, schools and hospitals while erroneously claiming that Hamas was using civilians as human shields. In the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza war, Amnesty International concluded there was no evidence that Hamas was using “human shields.” However, the Israelis themselves have used Palestinians as “human shields.”

Previous to the July 8th start of “Operation Protective Edge” (Israel’s current war on Gaza), Israeli soldiers on May 15th had shot and murdered two Palestinian teens who had not presented any threat. Israeli soldiers had also targeted and murdered several Palestinian children playing on a beach.

Apparently, violence perpetrated by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians happens a lot. And the Israeli organization Breaking the Silence has shown that beating Palestinian children is a regular occurrence.

According to Breaking the Silence’s report on soldier testimonies regarding the 2008-09 Gaza war, “testimonies describe use of … white phosphorus ammunition in densely inhabited neighborhoods, massive destruction of buildings unrelated to any direct threat to Israeli forces, and permissive rules of engagement that led to the killing of innocents … and … harsh statements made by junior and senior officers that attest to the ongoing moral deterioration of the society and the army.” Another controversial story focused on Israeli soldiers with t-shirts joking about shooting pregnant Palestinian women and children.

In my view, the forced implementation of Biblical Zionism has fostered a society of institutionalized racism, supremacist sentiment, and nationalistic extremism.

To get an understanding of how that is, look at Israel’s indoctrinations of the children. In May Israelis celebrated their 66th Independence Day, which Palestinians refer to as “Catastrophe” or Nakba Day. Little Israeli kids played with pretend grenades, guns and rocket launchers. Militarism seems to be just another fact of life, as much as anti-Arab (and anti-Christian) hatred in Israel. As quoted in The Forward, in his description of the events Gideon Levy wrote, “When Hamas treats its children like this, Israeli parents tut-tut with disgust: Look at these beasts.”

In Israeli society, anti-Arab racism and discrimination is rampant, whether the censors want that known or not. In a previous article I mentioned “Jim Crow” laws in Israel, and separate buses and schools for Israelis and Palestinians. A 2006 poll conducted by the Center for the Struggle Against Racism found that 68% of Jews polled in Israel would not live in the same apartment building as an Arab, 40% believed that “the state needs to support the emigration of Arab citizens,” almost half would not let an Arab in their homes, and 41% believed that entertainment venues should be segregated. In a similar 2007 poll the Center Against Racism found that more than half of the Jewish respondents believed that a marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is “national treason.”

2010 poll of Israeli high school students conducted by researchers at Maagar Mochot and Tel Aviv University found that half of the students oppose equal rights for Arabs in Israel, and more than half would ban Arabs from serving in the Israeli Knesset. Another 2010 poll of Israeli youth conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Macro Center for Political Economics found that 46% of the youths would revoke whatever rights Arabs actually do have in Israel. 60% of the youths believed that “strong leadership” was more important than the rule of law, and, when asked how they feel about Arabs, 25% answered, “hate.” (Those who would actually admit it, that is.) And a 2012 poll conducted by Israeli pollsters Israel’s Dialogue also showed large percentages of Israeli Jews approving of official discrimination policies against Arabs and denying Palestinians the right to vote.

Regarding Gaza and the “Arab question” and the sentiment of a “Jewish State” meaning that only Jews may live in Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a former member of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s far-right militant Kach Party that was banned in Israel, has called for an Israel free of Arabs, and for Israel to give the Gaza Strip a “thorough cleansing.” Lieberman also believes that Israel needs to treat Hamas in Gaza as the U.S. treated the Japanese at the end of World War II.

And following in Lieberman’s collectivist footsteps, the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son, Gilad Sharon, had written an op-ed in 2012 stating that, “We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima — the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”

Also in 2012 the former Minister of Internal Affairs Eli Yishai said of the Israeli Operation Pillar of Defense attack on Gaza, ” The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages, only then will Israel be calm for the next 40 years.” At that time, Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari declared, “There are no innocents in Gaza,” and he urged Israel to “mow them down!”

A popular orthodox rabbi who died last October, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, believed that non-Jews should be servants to Jews. In a sermon, he declared, “Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.” Rabbi Yosef also said of the Palestinian Authority, “all these evil people should perish from this world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.” And he said of Arabs: “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.” Rabbi Yosef’s son, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef who also died earlier last year, endorsed a controversial 2009 bookThe King’s Torah which promoted the killing of non-Jews, including innocents.

You’d think that after Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the Nuremberg Trials, that Zionists and Israeli Jews would be extra sensitive to the plight of minorities and innocents, and would exercise tolerance of diverse religious views and cultures. And you’d think that they would not engage in Nazi-like collectivist thinking such as persecuting an entire group of people based on the actions of a few of its specific members. (I know, I’m kind of fussy when it comes to moral consistency. Whatever.)

Leading up to the founding of the current state of Israel, several Zionists expressed ideological sentiments in which the priority was more to bring the world’s Jews to the Land of Israel than to save Jews from oppression. For instance, the very first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, stated, “If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter…”

Zionism’s main goal has been to realize the Biblical notion of the Land of Israel as God’s “Promised Land” to the Jews. But how true and verifiable is the assertion that God promised the Land of Israel to Jews? Because the Bible says so? Some people believe that God wrote the Bible, but in reality, in my view, men wrote the Bible claiming that God wrote the Bible. But I’m sure that debate will never be resolved.

And it’s one thing to really believe in all that and attempt to implement such an ideology by way of voluntary contract and land title transfer as modern Zionism’s founder Theodor Herzl favored. But that is not how it turned out.

The collectivist ideology of Zionism had become a driving passion in the hearts and minds of some Jews, some religious Christians, and political strategists who exploited the plight of the Jews for the sake of power-grabs, land-grabs, and so forth. And some of the more extreme activists have sought further expansions in which they believed that making Israel a Middle-Eastern “superpower” was necessary for its survival.

But with the destruction that collectivist ideologies had wrought throughout the 20th Century, you would think that more rational people would reject Zionism than promote it.

It is better that each Jewish person (as well as Christian, Muslim, etc.) and one’s family live in a location that best serves their own needs according to their preferences for climate, economic opportunities, social connections, and security. In my view, it isn’t particularly beneficial to resettle to a new geographical location to fulfill a Biblical promise, and, given how dangerous Israel is because of the conflict between the land expropriators and the expropriated, Israel is especially a case in point.

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