Jarrod Tanny
Jarrod Tanny

Free Palestine: From Ferguson to the Moon

Palestinians consume more public attention than any other non-American “persecuted people.” This is no accident and the reasons behind it have little to do with the actual conflict in the Middle East. It has everything to do with 2,000 years of Jew hatred.

For the antisemite – and by extension the legions of fellow travelers who are receptive to what the antisemite propagates – “the Palestinian” is merely an abstraction, not a concrete living being.

Building upon the long history of Jew hatred, the culturally constructed Palestinian is an amalgamation of Jesus and the nineteenth-century proletariat. For the Jews, this represents a deadly combination. It means that the crimes of the Jews are eternal, international, foundational to western civilization, and an obstacle to the creation of a harmonious and just society. The proverbial Jew’s original sin was the killing of Christ, the mark of Cain cemented into the Gentile mind for 2000 years. The proverbial Jew’s ongoing sin is his global deracination, with Israel now serving as his command center, a tiny state with large tentacles, reminiscent of the way the Vatican’s alleged pernicious power briefly evoked paranoia in the United States when JFK ran for president. But Americans got over that, because the Catholic Church did not bear the stain of Christ-killer.

The malevolent Jew’s omnipresence coupled with his loyalty to Israel signifies the Jew’s complicity in oppression everywhere. Hence “From Ferguson to Gaza”, two places thousands of miles apart whose populations have nothing to do with each other. Hence the avowed incompatibility between Zionism and feminism, LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter, and (for the far right), undocumented immigration. Because the proverbial Jew is everywhere, lurking in the shadows, his complicity is everywhere. All these victimized communities are victimized by Zionism, and they cannot be free until the Palestinians are free.

Much like the proletariat for classical Marxists, the Palestinian represents the universal victim, whose oppression intersects with every other form of oppression. The Marxist liberation of the proletariat would have freed every subjugated nation, class, and individual because this was a universal battle between good and the ubiquitous evil ruling class. Like the proletariat, the Palestinian can only be free through a revolution that would eliminate the universal oppressor, which in this case is Zionism and the proverbial Jew.

But even if Hamas, Iran, or the Woke social justice warriors liquidate Israel and bestow upon the Palestinians all the land they claim as their patrimony, little would change. Another group would fill the Palestinians’ place, because an allegedly victimized group has always filled that place since the advent of Christianity. Jews will continue to exist – somewhere, everywhere – now rendered stateless, but still a threat because of their original sin and their stubborn refusal to disappear.

Much as the Jew has played an oversized demonic role from late antiquity through modernity, as tenacious Christ-killer, as greedy capitalist in opposition to utopian revolution, as global imperialist, so to the Palestinian has to play an oversized divine role as the embodiment of all that is good.

This of course has nothing to do with actual living Palestinians, an ethnic nation that did not exist as what scholars of nationalism call an “imagined community” until a century ago. Today, the real Palestinians are, like their Israeli counterparts, actors in an incredibly complex and intractable ethnic conflict. But it is a rather minor conflict in our landscape of violent ethnic conflicts – Kurdistan, Tibet, the former USSR – and in a world replete with dysfunctional, violent, and oppressive regimes, many of which are Israel’s neighbors who will ironically continue to exist and oppress, even if Israel ceases to exist.

Thus the discourse that transpires today in American social justice spaces and college campuses over “Palestine” is not about the actual Arab-Israeli conflict, which is merely a century old. It is far more akin to the eschatological battles between Aryan and Jew imagined by Wilhelm Marr, Houston Stewart Chamberlin, and Adolf Hitler, good versus evil on a global scale. The Arab-Israeli conflict in the minds of antisemites and their fellow travelers is an apocalyptic war, not a fight over a piece of real estate. This is why Hitler’s Final Solution not only demanded the elimination of the Jew from Nazi occupied space; annihilation had to be global.

It may sound hackneyed by this point, but it is nonetheless true: if the Palestinians did not exist someone would have to invent them. There cannot be a proverbial Jew without a proverbial Palestinian. The Palestinian is merely the latest incarnation of Jewish victimization; a straight line can be drawn from hapless medieval Christians who feared their children being ritually murdered for Judaic ritual to West Bank Arabs who believe their kidneys will be harvested for Zionist business practices.

The early Zionists, including Leon Pinsker and Theodor Herzl, were right about many things, but there was one fatal error in their envisioned future. They erroneously believed the creation of a Jewish state would end antisemitism. The Jews would become a “normal” people, who, like every other nation, would be treated with dignity, because they would now have a state of their own. With their own territory, government, and productive workers, they would cease to be the rootless wanderers that conjured fear and hate in the minds of their neighbors. Their faulty conclusion was the product of a profound misreading of Jewish history; they overlooked the foundational role of the proverbial demonic Jew. Imagined deracination stemming from imputed deicide does not disappear with the creation of a state. If anything, it further entrenches a belief in Jewish global power, because the Jew now has a command center, with an army, bombs, and the latest technology.

Had Zion been created in a place where there were no inhabitants whatsoever, someone would still have invented the “Palestinians”. A Jewish state on the Moon would still be oppressing “Palestinians” and it would still be impeding social justice in America and elsewhere. “From Ferguson to the Moon.”

Neither the Enlightenment nor the creation of Israel solved the “Jewish problem”, baked as it is into western civilization. Jewish diasporas will always be marked as pariahs and a Jewish state will always be marked as global empire. One day down the road the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories may find themselves free from Zionist control. They will have their freedom, but the Jew will not, because someone else will assume the role of Palestinian.

About the Author
Jarrod Tanny is an Associate Professor and Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History in the Department of History, University of North Carolina Wilmington.
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