Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 08, 2008

Zionism's Dying

The Israeli historian Zeev Sternhell fears that Zionism's dying between Hebron and Yitzhar. At the end of the piece about the occupation and colonization of the West Bank he writes:

But over the years, the golem has risen up against its creator: When the public finally realized that if the Jewish national movement does not absorb universal foundations of human rights, democracy and the rule of law it will doom itself to destruction, a force had already arisen over the Green Line that now threatens to drown all of Israel.

Thus a minority took control of the fate of the entire society and held it hostage, due both to the left's ideological impotence and a lack of character, determination and leadership. If society does not find the emotional strength to remove the noose of the settlements, nothing but a sad memory will remain of the Jewish state as it still exists.

I agree with this view. The settlements and the radicalization of the settlers as well as their political support in Israel and from the rich diaspora make a separate Palestinian state impossible. That leaves the choices between an apartheid state - not viable over any longer term - or a single state in which Jews will become a minority.

But that was from the end of Sternhell's column. The beginning somewhat expresses the opposite:

"The Zionist Enterprise," said Berl Katznelson in 1929, when he summed up the first 10 years of the Ahdut Ha'Avoda movement, is a "conquest enterprise." And in the same breath he added: "It is not by chance that I am using military terms to describe the settlement of the country." And in fact, Zionism was a movement of conquest, and all means were permitted to carry out the task.

However, what was essential and therefore justified in the pre-state days is now assuming an ugly and violent form of colonial occupation: ...

Why was something justified before 1967 when it is, rightly, not justifiable now?

The Zionist project was always one of colonial conquest and based on religiously embellished racism. Sternhell is right to condemn its current excrescence, but why then are the old ones justified?   

Posted by b on August 8, 2008 at 13:20 UTC | Permalink


I think you're misreading him - "pre-state" means before 1948, not 1967

Posted by: isentrope | Aug 8 2008 16:46 utc | 1

"pre-state" means before 1948, not 1967

There were, in my view, three major phases:

Before 1948 - the Zionist movement and guerrilla war to establish Israel. Up to 1967 a socialits influenced movement to consolidate the won state. After 1967 a hard-right movement to expand that state.

Sternhell justifies stage 1 and condemns stage 3. I conclude he includes stage 2 in stage 1, i.e. he sees "pre-state" as before 1967.

Posted by: b | Aug 8 2008 20:25 utc | 2

Zionism and Jew-ism if I may express it like that is out, internationally.

No Jewish / Israeli parent of children aged 1 - 20, who has the oppo to leave the country, stays.

No 20- or more year olds from the West would contemplate moving to Isr, except for high-paid and very temp jobs. (There are no real scholarships etc.) Israeli grads only want to leave, ask any U admin, the CVs are piled three feet high, with begging letters faxed.

Children brought up Jewish feel comfortable only in the US, with vacations in Hawaii and Florida. No Americans beyond the starving would ever move to Israel. The only ppl who go there are US pols, protected, in fancy hotels, for max 3 days. (Or a few French tourists, who need money ...another story.)

The place is a bad-lands nightmare.

Not just because of strife with Palestinians, as many would consider that OK, but because of lack of social structure, gvmt, laws, free movement (even for the anointed), the need to always take care, be on guard, the availability of meds/med care; the usual, like garbage disposal, etc, and the rampant poverty leading to insecurity and crime everywhere about. And the difficulty of any kind of action - a small business, new social services, a new art studio, a stab at a musical festival..not possible.

Only the very rich, basically criminals, many of them foreign (Russians), with armed guards and helicopters can live, or visit, there in comfort.

Settlers are funded for 100% by the State (and US stipends) but live a miserable life, bowing over the Talmud, and having 10 kids, 3 with deathly diseases, their wives doing assembly in computer factories part time... ordinary Israeli citizens have had to bow down to the new economics, winding down of community feeling and 'social aid'...

The decentralized method of Gvmt. means there is never any recourse, no action to take, no response possible. South Africa had similar tricks. What, Soweto?

The Americans continue to support this madness, for geo-strategic reasons, and cultural ones: the Europeans also went to the Promised land with one hand on a gun and the other on the bible, and killed off all the original inhabitants.

Why can’t the Israelis manage the same? And become real Americans? Kill those damn Hizb., Pal, Arab criminal, terrorist types?

Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 11 2008 16:29 utc | 3

Why can’t the Israelis manage the same? And become real Americans? Kill those damn Hizb., Pal, Arab criminal, terrorist types?

Surely--I hope--you're being ironical.

Posted by: Sam | Aug 11 2008 18:57 utc | 4

Tangeringe, you really seem to be a sad a nervous little woodpecker. No clue what sort of site this is, could for all I care be some american neo-nazi web-site. Prolly is.

Posted by: Johnny | Sep 25 2008 10:44 utc | 5

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