Category Archives: reflections

Dimi Reider on Zionism, anti-Zionism and non-Zionism

On +972, Dimi Reider::

“To anti-Zionists, first and foremost the Palestinians among them, Zionism is a remarkably heartless venture, an ideological movement that cynically and systematically unleashed itself upon an inhabited land and destroyed, and still destroys, towns, villages, identities and cultures. To reinforce their case as one of absolute morality and to try and confront the fundamental arguments of Zionism, many have insisted that Zionism is  overwhelmingly or totally colonial in ideology and practice, with Jewish history and historical trauma serving as merely ideological fuel for ongoing oppression maintained out of local and/or foreign-imperialist self-interest.

But to most if not all Israeli ears, anti-Zionism is something monolithic absolute. To them, it sounds not like a proposal for a different and more equitable future, but as mocking, taunting and jarring denial of everything that they are: Their present, their language, their fears and their love for the only land they ever knew; the future they imagine for themselves and for their children, their past, their parents’ love, their grandparents arrival to, adoption of and construction of a new homeland. Tell an Israeli you’re an anti-Zionist, and he’ll hear: “You are a liar; your parents are liars; your grandparents are liars; and I don’t stop you from lying, you’ll produce lying children who’ll continue to lie. I don’t care if you’re afraid – your fear is also a lie; I want you to go away, or at least to shut up and be grateful you’re allowed to stay here, preferably while paying penance for your parents’ and grandparents’ sins.””

Read it all.

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Well done mass media

I hope this wouldn’t embarrass him, but I have generally found myself in agreement with S.O. Muffin, reader and occasional contributor to Harry’s Place. I think he’s an academic with a foot in both Israel and the UK but don’t ask me where I got that impression.

Here he is congratulating the mass media on the quality (if not volume) of its coverage of the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Bonus links:

On Operation Cast Lead.

On Palestinian children and Jewish children.

On how the UCU reminded him that he is a Zionist.

“Had anybody asked me the same question a decade ago, I would have probably answered back (a bad Jewish trait) “and what exactly do you mean by `Zionist’?”.

If you ask me today, however, the answer will be an emphatic “Yes”. And for this I have to thank assorted members of the UCU executive, SWP, Respect and several posters on this blog. Jean Paul Sartre once said that Jews are defined by anti-Semites and by their persecution. Although I never liked this definition, I must confess that, at least in my case, Zionists are defined by the hatred of the anti-Zionists. (Not all anti-Zionists – I don’t believe that being an anti-Zionist makes you automatically into an anti-Semite. But by those vocal anti-Zionists that we hear these days in UK.)”

What’s in a name?

If you look at the “About Us” section of this web site you will find my name listed. There are more of us but some have chosen not to have their name splashed on the Internet.

Let’s have a look at those names. Levy. It’s a fair bet that he is Jewish. Vogel, not so sure, but Mira, there’s a clue. Toby Green, maybe Jewish? A “stein” on the end would be more of a giveaway. Burns, shades of Scotland there. And Howe, potentially Scottish too. I do have ginger hair and there is the caricature of the “mad ginger Scotsman”. But hold on. How many Scots do you know who are ginger?

Recently, Mira asked me a question. She said “Has anybody asked you if you’re Jewish yet?” She pointed to the experience of John Mann MP in relation to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism.

‘When I commissioned this inquiry, one MP commented with surprise: “I didn’t realise you were Jewish.” Neither did I.’

My reply was “Not only have I not been asked if I am Jewish, as far as I can recall I have never ever been asked about my religion, except on census forms and when I got married.” How about you?

Nobody, at least not overtly or to my knowledge, has made assumptions or connections between my expressed views and my religion or my background. But it has happened to John Mann, Jon Pike and other anti-boycotters. Perhaps it has happened to me because of my stance on this boycott, but without my knowledge? If it has, should I be surprised?

Alright, Jews can be sensitive, especially when it comes to the subject of the history of their people. But can we blame them when their views are so often automatically associated with their Jewishness rather than being derived from independent and reasoned thought. Are Jews not capable of the same independence of mind as anybody else?

Alan Howe