A persistently recurring slur in academia and the media today is that Israel is a settler-colonial project. The Arabs are the most successful colonizers ever and they have never accepted the equality of their subjugated peoples in any land they conquered. The Jews are no different than any other conquered people in the Muslim world. Ideally, to paraphrase (and with thanks to) Omar Barghouti, the founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel: “The post oppression identity of the indigenous Israelis and the indigenized Arab settlers who have acquired rights by their conquest over time must be rebalanced through a process of ethical decolonization also known as de-Arabization. All Arab colonial privileges must be abolished. Not just in Israel, but also across the Near-East, where the regions legitimate refugees have lost their ancestral homes to the racist Arab colonialist entity, ethical co-existence has to be re-established with all the marginalized non-Arab nations.”
The reality is that we cannot reverse Arab/Islamic colonization. We can only signal a change in the narrative of oppression. The starting point for that change is with a quote from Corinne Blackmer: “The Zionist closet is much larger than the gay closet.” We must fight back against a poisoned narrative that continues to force so many of us into that Zionist closet.
It is not ‘moral confusion’ but a deliberate rewriting of history. For example: The argument that “the Jews,” as inhabitants of Palestine, (and that includes Jerusalem) were anything other than ‘visitors’ (alien intruders). Historically, the fascist argument proceeds thus: Jews did not hold Jerusalem for a significant amount of time compared with the other nations that conquered the Holy Land. Those conquerors were the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans; Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, Mamluk and Ottoman; Byzantines and Crusaders. On each occasion, Israel’s Jewish inhabitants suffered persecution and death. It never invalidated their status as being indigenous to the Land.
I will make a few points on how this propaganda war is waged. First: the anti-Jewish narrative refuses to ever use names like Judah, Israel, Judea, and Samaria. It is always “Palestine.” This is a convenient way of crunching history into a narrow straight jacket of reductive one-sided and anti-Jewish propaganda.
In 1948 Arab League Chief Abdul Rahman Azzam, declared that the Arab invasion of Israel would be a mass war of extermination to be mentioned in the same breath as the Mongolian and Crusader massacres. This is the essence of HAMAS, the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s frenemy, Turkey.
If 1948 is too distant as a founding principle of the New Palestinians and their non-commitment to peace and reconciliation Yasser Arafat, in a moment of honest reflexion said, “We will not bend or fail until the blood of every last Jew from the youngest child to the oldest elder is spilt to redeem our land!” These are not the words of a peacemaker.
Trans-Jordan as it was then known was the only militarily successful Arab nation in the war against the Jews because its military was funded, armed, and fed by, as well as officered, and led by Britain. Its founder was Emir Abdullah from Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) who dreamed of creating an Arab, Hashemite empire (with British help) across Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine. The Hashemites were originally from Mecca, which they ruled for over 1,000 years. The Jewish territory of Judea and Samaria, in 1948, was conquered by Abdullah’s Arab Legion army (commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot). It was renamed the West Bank and incorporated into Abdullah’s territory, by annexation in 1950. The West Bank did not exist anywhere in the Near-East until then. This ‘liberated’ territory was ethnically cleansed of its Jews who were unable to return to living there until Jordan’s defeat by Israel in 1967.
Second: Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Jewish Bible (the Torah). Jerusalem is the most conquered city in history. It has been vanquished some fifty times. Jewish attachment to Jerusalem begins, by traditional counting, from 1,000 BCE when King David captured Jerusalem. Rewriting history to exclude or minimize Judaism’s spiritual as well as physical associations with Jerusalem is cultural genocide. And yet, nations will nearly always vote in favor of any United Nations resolution that omits mention of any connection that Judaism has to Jerusalem. Normally these Arab led (or in one case, New Zealand sponsored) resolutions tie Christianity and Islam together in a Devil’s knot. Jewish history is rewritten to its exclusion, as a means of delegitimizing Jewish indigenous rights. But it is a devil’s knot. The Christian world seems oblivious to the history of Islam.
Many languages, cultures, religions, and peoples that we know from archaeology, did not survive the conquering Arab armies of the seventh century CE onwards. These marauders enforced adherence to Arab language, culture, and religion by dint of brutal force. While European empires have been disbanded by local anti-colonial movements, the Arabs continue to persecute and ethnically cleanse indigenous peoples. The most recent example being the Yazidi’s who were the object of attempted genocide by Islamic State. These policies whether in non-Arab Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, or the Arab world are not taught in our schools. We teach about our own past but as a standalone subject that leaves the impression that we are alone, as a civilization, in having committed evil. The treatment of minorities in almost every Muslim country is reprehensible, but the global press and human rights NGOs remain silent. The nations of the 2020 Abraham Accords are the exception that makes the rule, but they do so by virtue of the absence of any Jews within their sovereign territory, except that is, in the UAE. But then, even that normalisation, is new.
Third: Israel’s detractors (enemies) imply that Might (Arab conquest) makes right, while Jewish rights are conditional. ‘Zionism’ is the excuse they need to damn us all. The antisemitic argument that Jews have no special right of protection in Arab conquered lands is the same selective memorialisation of history used to justify African slavery. The African continent has endured 1,800 years of misery brought about by almost continuous Arab (and from the 7th Century CE), Arab Muslim raids against African tribes. These raids inevitably resulted in African tribal genocide. It is conveniently forgotten that the Islamic Slave trade was responsible for an estimated 100 million African (and fewer European) deaths and, the ongoing attempted conquest of Hindu India that it is estimated may have been responsible for tens of millions more, murdered in the various waves of Muslim conquest, slaughter, and subjugation.
At no point are the indigenous people who were persecuted, slaughtered, or taken into slavery referred to as indigenous peoples. They simply cease to exist.
Jewish and African suffering is anonymized and therefore, rendered irrelevant. This is the woke generations hypocrisy and shame.
And then we have the Jewish people’s “Whiteness”. To quote Lauren Deutsch “It was less than a century ago that white-presenting Jews were defined as Black. White supremacist arbiters of whiteness — in an obsession with racial categorization as a scientific justification for a hierarchy of power …. whiteness was viewed as pure, and Jews were (and continue to be) viewed as an impure threat to Whiteness. ….. having “Black blood” meant genetic and moral inferiority. A British scientist named John Beddoe went so far as to score Jews on a “Blackness” scale, classifying us as 100% Black.” (Algemeiner. 27th July 2021)
Today we are damned by woke warriors, Islamists, and other race warriors as 100% White. It reminds me of the Communists for whom Jews were all Capitalists and therefore, damned, while the radical right viewed all Jews as Communists (and therefore) damned. In a discredited era of racial injustice, not that long ago, where pseudo-scientific theories were used to create a “White” race as justification for the domination of “White” people over all “non-White” people, those theories led us to World War 2 and the death camps. In an era of gene science where very few of us are just one thing and the genetic science can prove it, being Jewish is now synonymous with being White even when you are a Black Jew. The only possible explanation is that we have returned to an era of racial politics where one’s “race” label is used either to raise you above all others or to drag you down, to put you in your “proper” (inferior) place. If the radical Left is not the new radical right, the (newest) neo-Nazi (Left), it must re-examine its core beliefs, as well as its favourite memes of oppression, cause, and effect.
Next, the argument for independence. By the mid-19th Century, the Ottoman Empire was known as the Sick Man of Europe. It was corrupt, rapacious, and brutal. By the 20th Century, Arab, Armenian, and Jewish nationalism all asserted the right to Separate and to gain their freedom from Ottoman oppression. But even before then the urgency of the need for minorities to be protected was obvious.
In 1895 the Ottoman Turks began their genocide of the Kurds and the Armenians as well as other groups within the Anatolian region. Greek and Assyrian Christians were promised independence from Ottoman Turkey by the European powers, but Christian Europe betrayed them and instead, their Ottoman Turkish Muslim overlords gave them slaughter.
While Empire was the defining world experience of the modern era, so was its collapse. The ending of the Ottoman Empire happened in parallel with the ongoing collapse of far more powerful European empires. The failure of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires at the end of World War One occurred along with the ongoing disintegration of the British, German, French, Italian and Belgian empires. As the Ottoman Empire disintegrated, Greece, Romania and Serbia gained their independence. Other territories, such as Egypt and Bulgaria, gained a significant level of autonomy.
All this created the global impetus for minorities to seek independence from their colonial overlords.
The Arabs were eager to supplant the Ottoman’s. Sharif Hussein ibn-Ali was keen to become the new dictator of the Muslim world (he was Emir Abdullah’s father). But he needed Britain to help him to achieve his aim. Armenia and Eastern Thrace were both Christian nations promised their freedom from Ottoman oppression. Kurdistan and Anatolia should also have been freed. The problem was never that Sykes-Picot gave self-determination to Muslim nations. The real problem was always that the successor Arab nations as well as Turkey, and Iran, were incapable of respecting the minorities within their borders.
The global trend towards independence began in 1821 with Greece (freed from Turkish – Ottoman domination).
It is inexplicable, except due to anti-Jewish bigotry that Jews are denied the rights that other peoples are granted. The lives of minorities within the Muslim world have never been anything but precarious, the consequence of European betrayal, fatal.
it is ironic that in the Muslim world “independence” is synonymous with empire building. But warnings have always existed in plain sight. Turkey, once the centre of the Byzantine, Christian empire (the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium) is today, 568 years after its conquest by Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire, 99.8% Muslim. It ethnically cleansed those peoples that lived within the boundaries of the Turkish “homeland”. In its war against Kurdish (predominantly Muslim) sovereignty, Turkey has destroyed between 3,000 and 4,000 Kurdish villages, towns, and cities. Tens of thousands of Kurds may have been ‘executed’ in this rolling Aktion that continues to this day in Syria, at the least.
Referring to the Arab conquerors as if they have rights that the indigenous people do not, is a way of rewriting history. Israel and the Jewish people are indigenous peoples. To exclude indigenous Jews from exercising their Right of Return to their homeland is an act of intellectual ethnic cleansing. When woke fascists refer to Jesus as a Palestinian, for them it is just another item in the erasure of Jewish history meant to win over Christians to an anti-Jewish cause.
Today’s anti-Jewish exclusionary philosophy is not new. Between 1932 and 1944 The British Mandate for Palestine welcomed at least 500,000 Arab (Muslim) settlers while actively excluding Jews from the only country that could and should have been able to offer them sanctuary from Nazi persecution. Compare this with Muslim demands from the mid-20th and continuing today, for unlimited funding within their Western sanctuary. Few people question the Muslim right to immigration (over 1 million Muslim refugees were accepted into Germany in 2015-16 at a cost to date of over 100 billion Euros). But when it comes to discussions on Palestine, the idea that Jews have any refugee or immigration rights is rejected outright. The Jews of the British Mandate for Palestine positively embraced their newest Arab neighbours. They did not exclude them.
As Ruth Gavison stated in her essay on Zionism (New Essays on Zionism -2006) “It is a fundamental principle of democracy that no minority has the right to prevent the majority from advancing its interests so long as the minority’s basic rights are respected.” The right to a geographically separate Palestinian self-determination cannot violate Jewish geographical self-determination. It is in the Muslim – Left wing denial of Jewish rights to self-determination that a fascist, antisemitic agenda is discernible.
Those 500,000 Arab migrants and their descendants are now classified as the (New) Palestinians while the anti-Zionist sees all Jews (the Old Palestinians) as alien settlers. Many more Arabs arrived between 1945 and 1948, as soldiers in the war against Jewish sovereignty. In the violence they committed, they often did not differentiate between Jew and non-Jew. The New Palestinians have been sanctified as original inhabitants when it is clear that many, if not most identified as Arab’s while Jews identified as Palestinian’s. Within the greater Arab controlled region, they are the indigenized warriors of a greater Arab Islamic empire.
This ‘Old’ – ‘New’ paradigm mirrors the dichotomy of Old – New Testament and the replacement of one with the other is theologically justified. Except, this time ‘they’ are usually, only called ‘Jews’ behind closed doors. Zionism is a universalist and utopian philosophy which has been successfully rebranded by Judaism’s enemies as the Imperialist, Colonialist philosophy of the 20th – 21st Century.
This is why it can only ever be the same antisemitism in new packaging.
For a people accustomed to ruthlessly dominating their rivals, Islam has no theological justification for granting its minorities independence from Islamic rule. But the theological explanation and the rationale behind Muslim fanatical antisemitism is that Jewish success is caused by Satan siding with the Jews: What better explanation does Islam offer for the fact that the most docile community of “dhimmis” (a kind of apartheid, theologically defined as inferior, non-Muslim, subject to regressive and punitive legal sanction) suddenly started to inflict the most humiliating defeats upon the Ummah (greater – World-Wide Islamic nation)? To accept the more plausible explanation that Jews and Judaism have a righteous cause negates the conquest theology that is central to the identity of most Muslims. Islam has been grasping for an understanding of this failure to dominate and enslave its rivals since France and Britain carved up “its” territories in the 19th Century.
The ‘anti-Zionist’ uses the Arab slavers arguments for their corrupt ideology. Anti-Zionists desire a world where culpability is only ever on one side of the conflict, the Jewish side. Certainly, it is difficult to find any literature that is either critical of Muslim revanchism or the Islamic conquest narrative. It is the revanchist argument for reconquest and persecution justified by a continuance of hate and commercial avarice disguised as missionary, divinely endowed right.
“Occupied Territory” poses Israel as aggressor as does the word “settlement”, commonly used in the Hebrew Language without the baggage of post-modern word meaning. Both terms are a misrepresentation of the underlying territory and its history. Both terms provide legitimacy as if by law, when neither are legal terms that can be applied in any of the cases of the ongoing Israel – Palestine conflict. Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said “We must address the underlying issues including mutual recognition, occupation, despair and denial of dignity so people will not feel they have to resort to violence as a means of expressing their grievances.“ He was simply mouthing the excuses that antisemites make for rewriting history. It makes it almost impossible to view the New-Palestinians as anything other than victims even when they are the victims of their own lies, deceit, and prejudice.
The fascist will exercise a unique right to tell Jews and supporters of Jewish rights what to do. Mendacity is central to the fascist when they define the limits of Jewish equality. Bad faith seldom makes for a sound argument, but it is an easy route for the creation of a shared common ground. Racism, ethno-religious belligerence, and chauvinism are tools in the arsenal of those anti-Zionists and antisemites for whom tolerance of intolerance is an intersectional, hierarchically defined right. It is conquest by stealth. Its staged action has led to the situation today where secular and religious antisemites feel sufficient comfort to openly resort to anti-Jewish violence. Casual antisemitism is accepted instead of being defined as a micro-aggression whose intent it is to undermine Jewish stability and self-confidence.
My blog has a tag line: Tolerance cannot be measured in terms of degrees of intolerance. Freedom is either an absolute or it is conditioned on not inciting others to violence. Anything else is rationalized bigotry.
There are many specious reasons rolled out by Islamists and followers of radical Left wing (now increasingly mainstreamed) anti-Zionist opponents of Jewish and Israeli rights and we have Britain’s former Corbynite, Labour Leadership to thank for this new respectability for anti-Judaism. And we have universities, to thank for providing the intellectual cover for the ‘new truths’ and in their turn, the cover for the newfound respectability for global terrorism.
We need to be aware of our enemies’ arguments because they are the arguments of those who wish to dismantle Western Civilisation, it has never been just about Israel. It has always been about Jews. But what starts with us has never ends with us. The fascist who shamelessly throws around the anti-Jewish- anti-Zionist lie as truth deserves to be dismissed with contempt. We won’t change them. The best we can hope is to embarrass them into silence and to drive their noxious views, once again, underground. It is as it has always been, a war that denies the right of Jewish civilisation to its open expression and lived experience.
If we do not fight for our rights, we leave the war to our enemies, and there is nothing, but negativity, denial, and terminal Jewish decline down that path. Anti-Zionism is anti-Judaism.
We have the words of John F. Kennedy to remind us of our vision: “Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy, and it honours the sword of freedom.” We must remind ourselves of these sage words every day, in our fight with the enemies of our humanity.