The Zionist Project
Stephen Gowans Israel, Palestine, Zionism 1 Minute
Published by Stephen Gowans
Stephen Gowans is the author of The Killer's Henchman: Capitalism and the Covid-19 Disaster (2022); Israel, A Beachhead in the Middle East: From European Colony to US Power Projection Platform (2019); Patriots, Traitors and Empires: The Story of Korea's Struggle for Freedom (2018); and Washington's Long War on Syria (2017). For notification of updates, send an e-mail to email@example.com with "subscribe" in the subject line. View all posts by Stephen Gowans
19 thoughts on “The Zionist Project”
” This close relationship included the sharing of nuclear technology, which suggests co-operation at the highest and most sensitive levels.
In other words, Israel was a great friend to apartheid-era S. Africa, probably its greatest friend. This speaks volumes. ”
Here is why:
1) Rothschild Bank helped the British government buy the Suez Canal in 1875.
2) The Rothschild family helped set up many settlements in Palestine.
3) Rothschild Bank helped fund Cecil Rhodes and provided the funding for the creation of De Beers in 1887, the world’s diamond monopolist during the 20th century. Cecil Rhodes became De Beers’ Founding Chairman in 1888.
4) There are 3 major diamond beneficiation centers in the world – New York, Antwerp and Tel Aviv.
5) Finished diamonds are Israel’s single biggest export and as such, a matter of national security in Israel.
6) The reality of the diamond market is that diamonds are everywhere, and the key to keeping the price high is to keep all other deposits off the market. During the 20th century they managed to make sure that they sold 95% of the world’s diamonds and that they all came from Botswana and South Africa.
The Oppenheimers failed to maintain this monopoly by controlling Zimbabwe, which could supply 20% of the world’s diamonds from it’s Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields.
As a result, De Beers’ global share fell from 95% in the 20th century to 40% in 2001.
As a result, the Oppenheimers are now permanently out of the diamond business. (Google: carats to carrots oppenheimer)
And Robert Mugabe is still there. He has outlasted Tony Blair, the Bushes, the Clintons and the Oppenheimers.
I realize I’ve come to this article very late in the sense that the discussion was concluded a while back, but I think that it’s worth pointing out that quite recently Israel has made it clear in formal legal terms that the Jewish character of the state of Israel is foremost – even over and above its “democratic” character.
Also, on the subject of the apartheid nature of Israel it’s worth taking on board the following well-documented historical facts:
– Past Israeli leaders developed a close relationship with apartheid-era S. Africa, explicitly acknowledging the similarity between S. Africa’s “Black problem” and Israel’s “Palestinian problem” and seeking to learn from the S. African example.
This close relationship included the sharing of nuclear technology, which suggests co-operation at the highest and most sensitive levels.
In other words, Israel was a great friend to apartheid-era S. Africa, probably its greatest friend. This speaks volumes.
Funny how the relationship soured since S. African liberation.
– If any one knows what apartheid looks like, it’s the kind of people in S. Africa that were fighting against it up until the early 1990s. These same people (Archbishop Desmond Tutu springs to mind, but there are many others) have said quite clearly that Israel is in fact an apartheid state. It would be tough indeed not to take these opinions seriously.
– Just because apartheid in Israel isn’t exactly the same as it was in S. Africa (or other historical examples) doesn’t mean it’s not apartheid nonetheless.
For example, capitalism in the US looks quite different to capitalism in Norway, but both countries are undoubtedly capitalist.
Apartheid Israel is not exactly the same as apartheid S. Africa was, or other similar states have been – but the fact remains it is an apartheid state.
This will never be accepted by the supporters of Zionism (whatever the trend of Zionism in question), which really leaves only one question – whose side are you on?
You’ve acknowledged Israel’s crimes, but in its defense, have put forward a rejoinder that amounts to
A. Billy stole a cookie from the cookie jar and you condoned his actions.
B. I stole a cookie from the cookie jar; therefore, you should condone mine.
Your argument suffers from two fatal flaws:
1. I didn’t condone Billy’s actions.
2. A crime isn’t justified by its prior commission by other parties.
I could carry on endlessly with you, and I might if I needed to fill my files with real-life examples of sophistry. But inasmuch as I’ve heard your arguments before—indeed, so routine and predictable are they that I could carry on both sides of this discussion myself—there’s no point in going further. It is impossible to make a man see the truth when his religious faith depends on him not seeing it, and I believe your religious faith trumps your commitment to reason, evidence, and indeed, humanity itself. There’s no better evidence of this than your posing the question:
Anyone with a kindergarten level of moral development knows the answer: Because there was someone already living there.
Your arguments have merit within the framework of a Zionist interpretation of Jewish religious texts—that’s true. Outside it, however, they are pure nonsense, and worse, profoundly immoral and inhumane.
I appeal to you Morris. Embrace your brothers; join the human race.
‘Zionism holds that the land of Israel belongs exclusively to Jews; that those parts still owned by Arabs must be Judaized; and that Arabs must be prevented from buying land.’
This statement makes no sense. First, there is no ‘Zionist manifesto’ that states ‘Israel belongs exclusively to the Jews’. Second, there are many forms of Zionism, so to say, ‘Zionism holds …’ is a meaningless generality. If you have a source, please share it.
‘One-fifth of Israeli citizens are Palestinian yet one-half of Israelis who live below the poverty line are Palestinian.’
‘The petty apartheid of full racial segregation is not in force. Discrimination is more subtle, but the school system up to university is segregated.’
I see you’ve backed off from claiming Israel is an apartheid state, to charging it with more subtle discrimination. And I will agree with you that the latter problem exists. However, discrimination against minorities is not a problem solely endemic to Israel.
There are ethnic groups in the US and in many other democracies which are disproportionately impoverished. Israel is not alone in this regard. The challenge of remedying minority group poverty and discrimination does not, in other democratic nations, call into the question those nations’ legitimacy or right to exist. Nor should it in Israel’s case.
‘While Israeli law forbids discrimination on the basis of race and religion, it doesn’t forbid discrimination on the basis of whether one served in the military – which means Jews and two small minorities of Druze and Bedouin.’
Conscription extends to *all* Israeli citizens. There is no restriction preventing Israel’s Arab citizens from serving in the military. Israel’s MoD allows exemptions so that if Israeli Arabs do not wish to serve, they are under no compunction to do so. And most do not.
Their choice, however, may cause discriminatory practices against them later on. Some employers place ‘help wanted’ ads including a requirement for military service – even if the advertised opening isn’t security-related in any way. For most Israelis, including Jews, this practice is completely unacceptable. To the best of my knowledge, statutory law forbids it, but its enforcement is lax.
‘Mixed couples cannot be buried together in a state-funded Jewish cemetery.’
Neither may a Jewish couple, for example, if one of them has committed suicide. Both mixed marriages and suicide are contrary to Jewish religious law.
It is not a matter of discrimination by the state, but a matter of adhering to Jewish law and customs. State-funded non-denominational cemeteries exist and offer an alternative.
‘Israelis cannot be inscribed as Israelis in the state population register, but must be recorded according to their religious or ethnic origin. Every request by Israelis — Jewish and Arab — to be listed simply as Israeli has so far been rejected.’
Census forms in many (perhaps most) democracies have included fields for recording one’s religion and ethnic background. There is nothing unusual or discriminatory in this practice.
‘Arab citizens say they face discrimination in immigration policy, land ownership, education and public employment, either explicitly or in the application of the law.’
As I mentioned earlier, I agree that discrimination exists, and it is not excusable – full stop. I disagree with your claim about ‘explicit discrimination’, but the phrase ‘in the application of the law’ is a relevant one. My own observation is that sufficient anti-discrimination laws, both constitutional and statutory, already exist; but indeed, there is inconsistent enforcement of those laws.
Putting the question of institutionalised discrimination aside for a moment, it is worth noting that discrimination and prejudice in Israel exist not just between Jews and Arabs. They exist within the extremely varied Jewish community as well. And they exist within the Arab community, which includes Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Baha’i. This is less an indictment of the state of Israeli society, and more generally about the nature of human beings.
‘The point that Israel is a democracy is a silly one. Israel is first and foremost a Jewish state. It is a democracy only secondarily, and only so long as Jews comprise a majority. Hence the concern about the demographic time-bomb. How can Israel remain both a Jewish state and a democracy if the Arab population grows faster than the Jewish one (as is happening) and evetually overtakes it?’
A great deal of discussion has centred around the so-called ‘demographic time-bomb’, but recent studies do not bear (pardon the pun) this out – for example, see http://www.pademographics.com/Forecast%20for%20Israel%202025%20June%202006.ppt
Allow me to address what I think is the more important point – that you apparently believe it is contradictory for Israel to be considered equally a democracy *and* a Jewish state. I am frankly puzzled why this should be so. Consider that the vast majority of democracies are still openly based on aspects of ethnicity, language, religion, and culture. Sometimes even their names relate to these characteristics. For example, the German Federal Republic is a federal republic primarily populated by … Germans. Although divided by religion, they are united by language, culture, land, and ethnic history.
Why, then, I must ask, are the Jewish people so uniquely discriminated against in this regard? Why may they not, in their ancestral land, have a democratic nation which is also primarily Jewish?
Since you wish to dishonestly claim that Palestinian citizens of Israel are treated equally, let me set the record straight.
• Zionism holds that the land of Israel belongs exclusively to Jews; that those parts still owned by Arabs must be Judaized; and that Arabs must be prevented from buying land.
• One-fifth of Israeli citizens are Palestinian yet one-half of Israelis who live below the poverty line are Palestinian.
• The petty apartheid of full racial segregation is not in force. Discrimination is more subtle, but the school system up to university is segregated.
• While Israeli law forbids discrimination on the basis of race and religion, it doesn’t forbid discrimination on the basis of whether one served in the military – which means Jews and two small minorities of Druze and Bedouin.
The points above are from Ilan Pappe, The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel. Yale University Press. 2011. Yes, I know, in the twisted logic of Zionism, Pappe’s criticism makes him a self-hating Jew, just as my criticism makes me a Judeophobe.
Some more points:
• Mixed couples cannot be buried together in a state-funded Jewish cemetery. Even more absurd, Israel is probably the only country in the world that does not recognize its own nationality. Israelis cannot be inscribed as Israelis in the state population register, but must be recorded according to their religious or ethnic origin. Every request by Israelis — Jewish and Arab — to be listed simply as Israeli has so far been rejected. The government argues that this would undermine the principle of Israel as a Jewish state. Meanwhile, “unrecognized” Arab villages languish for decades without municipal services, while governments of both left and right have spent $15 billion on settlements beyond the 1967 border. New York Times, June 28, 2008.
• Making up about a fifth of Israel’s population — and growing much more rapidly than the Jewish majority — Arab citizens say they face discrimination in immigration policy, land ownership, education and public employment, either explicitly or in the application of the law. Jonathan Finer, “Gaza conflict angers, alienates Israel’s Arab citizens,” The Washington Post, January 20, 2009.
• The Arab municipalities receive only a fraction of the funding per person that the Jewish areas are allocated, and furthermore the Israeli state bans the Arab districts from expanding to meet the housing and social needs of their populations, while the Jewish districts are provided with ample land for development. “If you want to listen to some data, 23 per cent of the Israeli population live under the poverty line and 32 per cent of the children in Israel live under this line. “But if you take the Arab population, 52 per cent of the Arab population is under the poverty line and 64 per cent of our children, the Arab children, live under the poverty line. Israeli law that prevents us from recognising the Nakba Day as part of our narrative and memory. Noah Tucker, “You can’t demolish a whole people”, The Morning Star, April 26, 2010.
• [Y]et another apartheid law was passed in Israel. This new law allows Jewish settlements built on state land inside Israel not to admit Israeli Palestinian citizens as residents and legalizes the wish of these new settlers not to sell land to the Palestinians citizens of the state. This is one of many such laws passed recently (the loyalty oath law that turns the Palestinians in Israel to second class citizens by law and one which does not allow them to live with their Palestinians spouses from the occupied territories are two of the more famous apartheid laws passed recently). The new law, like the previous others, institutionalize the Apartheid State of Israel or for short ASOI. ASOI is now one of worst apartheid regimes in the world. It controls almost all of Palestine (apart from Gaza which it imprisoned hermetically since 2005). It has, in absolute terms the highest number of political prisoners (China was reported to have less then 1000, Iran has few thousands); Israel holds nearly 10,000 of them. It has the largest number of apartheid laws and regulations than any country in the world and apart from the Arab regimes that are now collapsing and rogue states such as Miramar and North Korea, has the longest imposition of emergency laws and regulations that rob citizens of their most basic human and civil rights. Its policies against the discriminated native population, now composing nearly half of the overall population in ASOI, include atrocities such as barring people from using water sources, from cultivating their fields, building more houses, from getting to work, schools or universities and it bans them from commemorating their history and in particular the 1948 Nakbah. Ilan Pappe, “Israel’s latest apartheid law”, Counterpunch.com, March 22, 2011.
The point that Israel is a democracy is a silly one. Israel is first and foremost a Jewish state. It is a democracy only secondarily, and only so long as Jews comprise a majority. Hence the concern about the demographic time-bomb. How can Israel remain both a Jewish state and a democracy if the Arab population grows faster than the Jewish one (as is happening) and evetually overtakes it? The answer is, easily; it just has to continue to hold elections and maintain universal suffrage. But this holds out the threat that Israel will no longer be organized as a country for Jews, since an Arab majority may decide that it no longer wishes to live as second class citizens in a Jewish state and will use its votes to reverse its maltreatment. Israel will only tolerate democracy to the extent it can manage the demographic threat of a growing Palestinian population, that is, to the extent Jews outnumber Arabs. The moment this is no longer the case, Arabs will either be transferred out of Israel, or will be denied suffrage. Israel, then, is a democracy, to be sure, but a democracy, in the final analysis, for Jews — and only a democracy so long as Jews outnumber Arabs. What is particularly galling is Zionists making a virtue out of Israel’s democracy, when, in reality, their respect for it stops the moment it threatens Zionist domination of historic Palestine. Israel’s punishment of Palestinians for voting for Hamas is along the same lines.
If there was indeed ethnic cleansing of Israeli territory, as you claim, explain how 20% of Israel’s population today is Arab…
This is like saying, “If there was indeed an anti-Jewish holocaust in Europe explain how there are so many Jews in Europe today.”
Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Well, when “opportunity” amounts to this, I’m not surprised:
Here’s what Michael Ignatieff wrote in The Guardian (UK) on April 19, 2002:
“Two years ago, an American friend took me on a helicopter ride from Jerusalem to the Golan Heights over the Palestinian West Bank.
He wanted to show me how vulnerable Israel was, how the Arabs only had to cross 11km of land to reach the sea and throw the Israelis into it.
I got this message but I also came away with another one.
When I looked down at the West Bank, at the settlements like Crusader forts occupying the high ground, at the Israeli security cordon along the Jordan river closing off the Palestinian lands from Jordan, I knew I was not looking down at a state or the beginnings of one, but at a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control.”
You refuse to acknowledge Israel as a democracy, that it offers equality to Jew and Arab alike, that its Arab population isn’t housed in bantustans but rather may live wherever they wish and has freedoms and a standard of living unexcelled in the Arab world – indeed, you find that offensive!
And yet, these are simply facts.
When every attempt has been made to reason with your adversary, and you continue to get no-where, because he refuses to accept the possibility that anything you are saying is indeed factual, there is no conclusion to reach, other than your adversary is anti-semitic. That, and horribly close-minded.
But, just in case I’m wrong about you, and that a small ray of light could shine in – allow me to suggest you visit Israel. Spend several weeks. See for yourself what life is like there, in different parts of the country. Talk with Jews, Muslims, Druze, Christians. Ask tough questions. You’ll discover an entire range of opinions, and you’ll also find that although Israel is far from perfect, it has earned a place amongst the nations of the world.
And you might – just possibly – find you were wrong about at least some of your opinions.
Do you dare? Or would you rather continue hewing to your prejudices?
Now we’re getting somewhere.
I’ve been waiting for this.
MV makes the final specious charge of being an “anti-semitic leftist.”
This is where these debates with zionists usually end up.
Take a good look at his point 3 above. Full of lies.
This part is particularly offensive, “the citizens of the Arab nations should have it this good.”
This is similar to what the apologists for S. African apartheid would say about “their blacks” having it better than other Africans in other African countries.
‘MV, an apologist for the crimes of this colonial-settler regime based on a religious and ethnic orthodoxy, continues the “hasbara” so familiar to most who struggle against this apartheid client state of U.S. imperialism.’
That’s the problem with trying to have a decent conversation with people of your mindset – it’s closed:
1. Someone who tries to make you aware that history has at least two sides is an ‘apologist’, spouting ‘hasbara’/PR slogans.
2. Jews have no right to their ancient homeland, although other homelands for other peoples have been created or reconstituted (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, the Baltic states … ). Instead, Jews are ‘colonists’, to be pushed into the sea, I suppose, at the next available opportunity.
3. Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, is an apartheid regime, despite the fact Arabs are 20% of the population, serve in the Knesset , the ministerial cabinet, and in many other government offices, live where they wish, say what they wish, and go where they wish. The citizens of the Arab nations should have it this good.
4. Israel, despite having developed its own economy and having one of the highest standards of living and life expectancies in the world, is but a client state of the US and a colonial outpost.
And so on.
But that’s all right. You’ve a right to your opinion. But I’ve seen opinions like yours before.
It’s pure, unadulterated anti-semitism, masquerading as high-minded leftist dogma.
And there’s no debating with prejudice and bigotry.
MV, an apologist for the crimes of this colonial-settler regime based on a religious and ethnic orthodoxy, continues the “hasbara” so familiar to most who struggle against this apartheid client state of U.S. imperialism.
Good, let’s talk about the partition.
‘Jews made up one-third of the population, most having arrived after WWI, and owned only six percent of the land. Nevertheless, 56 percent of the territory was allocated to a Jewish state.’
Yes, that’s correct. But the vast portion of the allocated Jewish territory was the Negev. Have you ever been to the Negev? And do you know how it contrasts in resources, climate, and habitability to the central and northern parts of the old Mandate? Statistics alone do not tell the whole truth, and again, you are doing your argument no favours by telling half-truths.
‘The UN … unilaterally carved up a land that had been home to Arab Palestinians for centuries, and awarded the best parts of it, and greatest part of it, to a Jewish state.’
The UN, to which a number of Arab states were party, did not act ‘unilaterally’. The partition plan (UNGAR 181) was passed by majority vote in the General Assembly (with the USSR’s support, it should be noted to leftists). The Arab states acted unilaterally (and illegally) afterward — by attempting to destroy Israel.
And permit me to mention there has been a Jewish presence in Israel, for millennia, not just centuries.
‘Would you like to talk, as well, about the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of the territories it controlled …’
Let’s first talk about the Arab cleansing of Jews in surrounding states (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_and_Muslim_countries), and of calls by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (Amin al-Husayni, a Nazi sympathiser), during the War of Independence, for the Arabs to leave parts of the Mandate, so as not to get in harm’s way when the invading Arab armies were to slaughter the Jews.
If there was indeed ethnic cleansing of Israeli territory, as you claim, explain how 20% of Israel’s population today is Arab, or why there have been Arab members of the Knesset and in ministerial posts.
‘Unfortunately, the pursuit of justice for Palestinians has been set back, and the Zionist project of claiming all of historic Palestinine … as the diagram which makes up this post, illustrates.’
The Palestinians’ pursuit of ‘justice’ is what has prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state – for the Palestinian notion of ‘justice’ has too long included the goal of exterminating the Jewish state. There was an opportunity in 1948 for a Palestinian state, which was met by Arab violence. There have been other opportunities since then as well – most notably after the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1995 – but Yassir Arafat, who had received 95% of the territorial concessions he had asked for in subsequent negociations, launched an intifada against Israel, rather than compromise on the remaining 5%.
The Palestinians, as has been observed, never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Once there is an acceptance by them of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and a willingness to live in peace with it, all things then become possible.
It’s that simple. Yet the Palestinians haven’t been able to learn this in 63 years. *That’s* what your diagramme illustrates.
Good response Stephen.
But history, truth and logic are not the forte of the zionist.
Again I said the phrase “the deed for our land is the torah” is the basis of the zionist project.
Also “a land without a people for a people without a land.”
Since at least 1967 (see attack on USS Liberty) this state has been supported unconditionally by U.S. imperialism in the region of the world which contains the largest known reserves of easily exploitable conventional oil and natural gas.
Okay, let’s talk about the UN partition plan for Mandate Palestine. Jews made up one-third of the population, most having arrived after WWI, and owned only six percent of the land. Nevertheless, 56 percent of the territory was allocated to a Jewish state. The Arab state would receive 42 percent under the partition plan, despite Arabs comprising two-thirds of the population. (Jerusalem, which would be internationalized, would make up the remaining two percent.) Not a single Arab Palestinian was consulted on the partition. The UN, instead, unilaterally carved up a land that had been home to Arab Palestinians for centuries, and awarded the best parts of it, and greatest part of it, to a Jewish state. It doesn’t take a great jurist to see that the partition was profoundly objectionable on moral, legal and democratic grounds, and that the Jewish state of Israel, born of this great injustice, is equally objectionable on the same grounds.
Would you like to talk, as well, about the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of the territories it controlled; of the Arabs driven from their homes; of Arabs who have never been allowed to return to their homes; of Arab land and property taken over by Jewish settlers?
Or perhaps we can talk about how the process continues today?
You are offering an apology for the indefensible partition decision of the UN, and for the birth of a Jewish state on land occupied by a majority of non-Jews whose consent was never obtained nor even sought for the partition, and wasn’t for the obvious reason that the partition and subsequent founding of Israel criminally dispossessed them of their land and homes.
Israel represents a massive theft, aided by the UN, and it is no surprise that the victims vigorously object and seek the return of what was taken from them.
Unfortunately, the pursuit of justice for Palestinians has been set back, and the Zionist project of claiming all of historic Palestinian–or at least as much of it as can be secured through extortion, ethnic cleansing, and force–continues, as the diagram which makes up this post, illustrates.
What is being left unsaid by the author is that the nascent Jewish state accepted UNGAR 181 (the partition of Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states), whereas the Arab states rejected the partition and attempted instead to invade and destroy Israel. The resulting armistice line (aka the ‘Green Line’) which existed from 1949 to 1967 was a direct result of Israel’s general success in turning back the Arab invasion.
One-sided, inaccurate accounts, masquerading as ‘history’, do not add credence to your cause or to you. A half truth is a whole lie.
Zionism has always been a colonial-settler project despite the attempts to cast it as a liberation movement for Jews.
Like all colonial-settler states it is “racist” and expands territorially expelling the indigenous people as it does so.
The additional factor here is the religious component expressed in the phrase “the deed for our land is the torah.”
The land given by god to the chosen people.
All others are foreigners and can be removed.
This map really speaks volumes for the plight of the long suffering Palestinians
The 1946 to 2000 maps of Palestine confirm, without a shadow of doubt, that the Jewish Piece Process joke is about as funny as a holocaust and has a similar relevance to Peace.
Now that Fateh and HAMAS have agreed to kiss and make up they may well consider celebrating the union by adopting a new Palestinian National Anthem:
You’re Moving Out Today (Carole Bayer Sager et al).
It’s 2011 and the future’s looking bleak for Israel and its anti-negotiation negotiators.