Against Zionism, against anti-Semitism, for humanity

We publish below an article from the Organisation Communiste Libertaire (OCL) of France.

Our comrade Claudio Albertani, author of numerous articles on the situation in Mexico in Courant Alternatif (magazine of the OCL ) as well as the book A quel moment le Mexique a-t-il été foutu ? (When was Mexico Screwed?) sends us this text “against Zionism and anti-Semitism” which forcefully and concisely recalls facts that are often unknown or distorted and which shows that on the other side of the Atlantic there are also dissident voices from the mainstream media. in the service of Zionism against the Palestinian resistance.

“Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools.” Auguste Bebel

A few days ago [in Mexico City], during a demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy, ​​an individual shouted anti-Semitic slogans. He was a provocateur who was quickly isolated. But the issue is sensitive because the Zionist state exploits the undeniable rise in anti-Semitism after the invasion of Gaza to justify its crimes. This story is legitimised by a historical fact: the Jews were victims of one of the greatest massacres in history, the Holocaust (Shoah in Hebrew), perpetrated by the Nazis during the Second World War. This would justify survivors taking refuge in Palestine, a region that would belong to them for historical and theological reasons.

This is where the problem lies because Israel’s problem is twofold: not only is its current government not presentable, but its historical legitimacy is also questionable. According to Netanyahu, the Palestinians are a bunch of people without history who persecute the Jews like the Nazis did. Under these conditions, Israel would have no choice but to defend itself, if necessary with disproportionate force. And, of course, anyone who opposed it would be anti-Semitic or, to be more precise, anti-Jewish.

It turns out, however, that there are many Jews among the anti-Zionists. In Israel itself, the new school of historians has dismantled the founding myths of Zionism. One of them is the so-called diaspora, the supposed exile of the Jews after the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem (AD 70), when they were said to have been scattered throughout the Mediterranean. In Comment le peuple juif fut inventé (How the Jewish People Was Invented) (Fayard, 2008) and Comment la terre d’Israël fut inventée (How the Land of Israel Was Invented )(Flammarion, 2012), Shlomo Sand, from Tel Aviv University, demonstrates that this dispersion never took place and that the Romans never expelled them.

In supporting documents, the Israeli historian proves that the Jewish communities which existed and still exist in many regions of the world are the product of the different waves of conversion which took place from the 4th century of the Christian era, and not migratory flows from Palestine. Of course, there were and are Jews scattered all over the world; sure, they were victims of anti-Semitism, which is a terrible stain on human history, but claiming that the Jewish people have ancestral rights to Palestine is as absurd as claiming that Buddhists have ancestral rights to the land of Siddhartha Gautama.

On the other hand, two archaeologists, Israel Finkelstein, also from Tel Aviv University, and Neil Asher Silberman, from Belgium, questioning the reliability of the Bible, have shown that it is an fascinating literary account, but in no way from a credible historical source. After decades of excavations in Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, the two scientists discovered that there is no evidence of the existence of the patriarchs, nor of the flight of Jews from Egypt, nor of the conquest of Canaan. It is even less proven that David and Solomon reigned over a vast empire (The Bible Unveiled, Gallimard reissue, 2004).

As for the history of Zionism, an American historian of Jewish origin, Lenni Brenner (Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, 1983), showed that, in the 1920s and 1930s, the main leaders of the Jewish Agency even negotiated with Hitler and Mussolini to achieve their goals. And it is always worth remembering that the first followers of terrorism in Palestine were members of Jewish paramilitary groups, the precursors of today’s Israel Defence Forces. It must be recognized, however, that only a minority of Jews scattered around the world were Zionists. Brenner discusses the experience of the General Union of Jewish Workers of Lithuania, Poland and Russia, known as the Bund, which, at the beginning of the last century, opposed emigration to Palestine and called for the fight against anti-Semitism and for socialism in the countries of origin. More recently, Matzpen, a small anti-Zionist and anti-Stalinist communist party made up of Palestinian and Jewish workers, fought against the occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel.

Was there ever a left-wing Zionism? The humanist and utopian spirit of Martin Buber, for example, and others who aspired to create libertarian socialism in Palestine is undeniable. Against the Zionist slogan “A land without people for a people without land”, Buber thought of a land for two peoples and he criticised the colonial policy of the Zionist leaders. In 1947, on the eve of partition, he emphasised that the solution was not to build two states, but a common binational socio-political entity. He was right.

However, Buber’s position has always been in the minority, even within the so-called Zionist left. It was under the leadership of Mapai, the Labour Party, that the Jewish state was proclaimed in 1948. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were then massacred, while between 700,000 and 800,000 of them were forced to flee their homes. This is what we call in the Arab world the Nabka, or “catastrophe,” which is very well explained by the Palestinian Edward Saïd in La Question de Palestine (The Palestine Question) (Actes-Sud, 2010), but also by the Jewish Ilan Pappé in Le Nettoyage ethnique de la Palestine (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine) (Fayard, 2008). An ethnic cleansing, specifies Pappé, which still continues today. A few days ago, Avi Dichter, a member of the Israeli government’s security cabinet, bluntly declared that the Jewish state – the same state that denied Nabka for seventy-five years – had now launched Nabka 2023. Indeed, 80% of Gaza’s population (2.26 million inhabitants) have already been forced to flee their homes in the worst humanitarian catastrophe since 1948.

Yet, as journalist Gideon Levy has written, it is impossible to keep 2 million people in prison without paying a cruel price. This prison must be dismantled now and, as improbable as it may seem, in the long term, only the reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians that the “utopian” Buber advocated can change the destiny of the two peoples. In 2009, the US CIA predicted Israel’s collapse within 20 years, and today the Pentagon says the Jewish state could suffer a strategic defeat in its war on Gaza. The countdown has begun.

by Claudio Albertani
December 2023