Tag Archives: Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon – Anatomy of an Unresolved Conflict

According to Hegel, attaining ‘self-consciousness’ is a process that necessarily involves the other. How am I to become conscious of myself in general? It is simply through desire or anger, for example. Unlike animals that overcome biological needs by destroying another organic entity, human desire is a desire for recognition.

In Hegelian terms, recognition is accomplished by directing oneself towards non-being, that is, towards another desire, another emptiness, another ‘I’. It is something that can never be fully accomplished. “The man who desires a thing humanly acts not so much to possess the thing as to make another recognise his right. It is only desire of such recognition, it is only the action that flows from such desire, that creates, realizes and reveals a human, non biological I.” (Kojeve A., Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, 1947, Cornell Univ. Press, 1993, p. 40). Following this Hegelian line of thinking, we can deduce that in order to develop self-consciousness, one must face the other. While the biological entity will fight for its biological continuity, a human being fights for recognition.

In order to understand the practical implications of this idea, let us turn to the ‘Master-Slave Dialectic’. The Master is called the Master because he strives to prove his superiority over nature and over the slave who is forced to recognize him as a master.

At first glance, it looks as if the master has reached the peak of human existence but as we shall see, this is not the case. As has just been stated, it is recognition that humans fight for. The master is recognised by the slave as a master but the slave’s recognition has little value. The master wants to be recognised by another man, but a slave is not a man. The master wants recognition by a master, but another master cannot allow another superior human being in his world. “In short, the master never succeeds in realising his end, the end for which he risks his very life.” So the master faces a dead-end. But what about the slave? The slave is in the process of transforming himself since, unlike the master who cannot go any further, the slave has everything to aspire to. The slave is at the vanguard of the transformation of the social conditions in which he lives. The slave is the embodiment of history. He is the essence of progress.

A Lesson in Mastery

Let us now try to apply the Hegelian Master-Slave Dialectic to the notion of Jewish ‘chosenness’ and exclusivity. While the Hegelian ‘Master’ risks his biological existence to become a master, the newborn Jewish infant risks his foreskin. The chosen infant is born into the realm of mastery and excellence without (yet) excelling at anything. The other awards the chosen baby his prestigious status without the requirement of facing any process of recognition. And in fact, the ‘chosen’ title is given to Jews by themselves (allegedly God) rather than by others.

If, for instance, we try to analyse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the Hegelian mechanism of recognition, we realise the impossibility of any dialogue between the two parties. While it is more than clear that the Palestinian people are fighting for recognition, which they declare at every possible opportunity, the Israelis avoid the whole recognition issue altogether. They are convinced that they are already fully recognised in the first place. They know who they are – they are born masters who happen to live on their ‘promised land’. Israelis refuse to join the dialectic ‘meaning transformation’ game and instead divert all their intellectual, political and military efforts into demolishing any sense of Palestinian recognition. The battle for Israeli society is to suppress any Palestinian symbol or desire, whether material, spiritual or cultural.

Strangely enough, the Palestinians are managing quite well in their fight for recognition. More and more people out there are now beginning to understand the just nature of the Palestinian cause and the level of inhumanity entangled with the entire concept of Zionism and Jewish politics in general. More and more people out there find the Palestinian people and their spokesmen very easy to empathise with. Even the Hamas who were despised by most Western political institutions are now managing to get their message across. The Israelis, on the other hand, are falling behind in such manoeuvres. The average Western listener finds them almost impossible to sympathise with. While a Palestinian will call you to share his pain and misery, talking straight to your heart, the Israeli spokesman will demand that you to accept his views. He will insist on selling you a ready-made fantastic historical narrative; a repetitive tale that starts somewhere around Biblical Abraham, continues with a series of Holocausts and leads eventually towards more current bloodshed. It seems as if the Israelis, the masters, always present the same faceless story. Can Abraham and the Holocaust justify Israeli inhuman behaviour in Gaza? Not really, and the reason is simple, Abraham and the Holocaust and historical narratives in general do not evoke genuine emotional feelings. And indeed, the Jewish political world is so desperate to maintain its narrative that the last Holocaust has now been transformed into a legal narrative. The message is as follows: “beware, if you doubt my narrative you will end up behind bars.” This is obviously an act of desperation.

Following Hegel, we learn that recognition is a dynamic process; it is a type of understanding that grows in you. While the Palestinians will use all their available, yet limited, resources to make you look at their faces, in their eyes, to carry you into a dynamic process of mutual recognition, the Israelis would expect you to accept their narrative blindly. They would expect you to turn a blind eye to the clear fact that as far as the Middle East is concerned Israel is an aggressor like no other. Israel is an occupying regional super power, a tiny State heavily engaged in exploring different nuclear, biological and chemical arsenals. It is a racially orientated apartheid state that bullies and abuses its minorities on a daily basis. Yes, the Israelis and their supportive Jewish lobbies around the world want you to ignore these facts. They insist upon being the victims, they want you to approve their inhuman policies referring to Jews endless suffering.

How is it that Jewish politics has become aggressive like no other? It is simply the fact that from a Jewish political perspective, there is ‘no other’. The so-called other for them is nothing but a vehicle rather than an equal human subject. Israeli foreign affairs and Jewish political activity should be comprehended in the light of a severe lack of a ‘recognition mechanism’. Israeli and Jewish politics, left right and centre, is grounded on locking and fixing of meaning. They would refuse to regard history as a flux, as a dynamic process, as a journey towards ‘oneself’ or self-realisation. Israel and Israelis view themselves as if they are external to history. They do not progress toward self-realisation because they have a given, fixed identity to maintain. Once they encounter a complex situation with the surrounding world, they would then create a model that adapts the external world into their chauvinist self-loving value system. This is what Neo-conservatism is all about; this is what the fantasmic yet sickening newly emerging Judeo-Christian discourse is all about.

As sad as it may sound, people who are not trained to recognise the other are unable to let them be recognised. The Jewish tribal mindset: left, centre and right, sets Jews aside of humanity. It does not equip the followers of the tribal mindset with the mental mechanism needed to recognise the other. Why should they do it? They have done so well for many years without having to do so. Lacking a notion of an other, indeed transcends one far beyond any recognised form of true humanist thought. It takes one far beyond ethical thinking or moral awareness.

Instead of morality, every debate is reduced into a mere political struggle with some concrete material and practical achievements to aim for.

Hegel may throw some further light on the entire saga. If indeed one becomes aware of oneself via the other, then the ‘Chosen subject’ is self-aware to start with. He is born into mastery. Accordingly, Israelis are not practicing any form of dialogue with the surrounding human environment since they are born masters. In order to be fair to the Israelis, I have to admit that their lack of a recognition mechanism has nothing to do with their anti-Palestinian feelings. As a matter of fact, they cannot even recognise each other – Israel and Israelis have a long history of discrimination against its own people (Jews of non-European descent such as Sephardim Jews are discriminated against by the Jewish elite, those of Western descent). But are progressive Jews any different? Not really. Like the Israelis and similar to any other form of tribal chauvinist ideology, they are continuously withdrawing into self-centred segregated discourse that has very little to engage or grab the interest of anyone besides themselves. Consequently, like the Israelis who surround themselves with walls, the Jewish progressive cells have already set themselves into cyber ghettos that are becoming increasingly hostile to the rest of humanity and those who supposed to be their comrades.

Historic Materialism

If one cannot establish relationships with one’s neighbour based upon recognition of the other, there must be another way of establishing a dialogue. If one cannot form a dialogue based upon empathy with the other and the rights of the other, one must pursue another mode of communication. It seems as if the alternative ‘chosen’ dialogical method reduces any form of communication into a materialistic language. Almost any form of human activity, including love and aesthetic pleasure, can be reduced to a material value. The Chosen political activists are well practised in using this method of communication.

Recently the Israeli ultra-Zionist author A B Yehoshua has managed to upset many American Jewish Ethnic leaders at the American Jewish Committee conference by saying: “You [Jews in the Diaspora] are changing jackets … you are changing countries like changing jackets.” Indeed, Yehoshua came under a lot of pressure following his remark, he was very quick to regret his statement. However, Yehoshua’s insight, while far from being original, is rather painfully truthful.

It is quite apparent that some politically orientated Diaspora Jews are engaged in an extremely fruitful dialogue with any possible core of hegemony. Yehoshoua’s criticism was fairly spot on. Following Yehoshua, once it is clear that a new country is becoming a leading world super power, it won’t take long before a wave of liberated assimilated Jews would try to infiltrate into its governing elite. “If China ever became the world’s foremost super power,” he warned, “American Jews would migrate there to assimilate rather than in the US.” (http://www.amin.org/eng/uncat/2006/june/june30-1.html).

A decade ago, at the peak of the legal battle between major Jewish institutions and the Swiss Bank, Norman Finkelstein stood up and said that very little remains of the Jewish Holocaust apart from various industrial forms of financial bargaining for compensation. According to Finkelstein, it was all about profit-making. Without any criticism intended by me about financial compensation, it appears as if some people are quick to translate their pain into gold. (It is important to mention that pain as well as being transformed into gold, can be transformed into other values such as moral or aesthetic ones). However, the possibility of transforming pain and blood into cash stands at the heart of the Israeli false dream – that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially the refugee problem, is resolvable. Now we know where this assumption originates. The Israelis, as well as Jewish leading institutions, are fully convinced that if they were happy to come to a financial settlement with the Germans (or the Swiss for the matter), the Palestinians would be equally happy to sell their lands and dignity. How do the Israelis arrive at such a strange conviction? Because they must know better than the Palestinians what the Palestinians really want. How? Because the Israelis are brilliant, they are the Chosen People. Moreover, the chosen subject doesn’t even try to engage with the human in the other. Sixty years after the Nakba, the mass the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians, the vast majority of Israelis and world Jewry do not even start to acknowledge the Palestinian cause, let alone do they show any form of empathy.

When you talk to Israelis about the conflict, one of their most frequently used arguments is the following: “When we (the Jews) came here (to Palestine), they (the Arabs) had nothing. Now they have electricity, work, cars, health services, etc.” This is obviously a failure to recognise the other. It is typical of the chauvinist colonialist to impose one’s own value system on the other. In other words, the Israelis expect the Palestinians to share the importance they attach to the acquisition of material wealth. “Why should the other share my values? Because I know what is good. Why do I know what is Good? Because I am the best.” This arrogant and completely materialistic approach obviously lies at the heart of the Israeli vision of peace. The Israeli military calls it ‘the stick and the carrot’. Seemingly, when referring to Palestinians they actually have rabbits in their minds. But, as bizarre or even tragic as it may sound, the Israeli born, ultra-left Mazpen movement was not categorically different. They obviously had some revolutionary dreams of secularisation for the Arab world. They obviously knew what was good for the Arabs. Why did they know? Shall I let you guess? Because they were exclusively and chauvinistically clever. They were the Marxists of the chosen type. Hence, I wasn’t overwhelmingly surprised that as time went by, the legendary ‘revolutionary’ Mazpen and the despised neo-conservatism actually united into a single catastrophic message: “We know better what is good for you than you yourselves do.”

Both Zionists and Jewish leftists have a “New Middle East dream”. In Peres’s old fantasy the region turns into a financial paradise in which Israel would stand at the very centre. The Palestinians (as well as other Arab States) would supply Israeli industries (representing the West) with the low cost labour they need. In turn, they, the Arabs, would earn money and spend it buying Israeli (Western) goods. In the Judeo progressive dream the Arabs leaves Islam behind, they become Marxist cosmopolitan progressives (East European Jews) and join the journey towards a world revolution. As much as Peres’s dream is sad, the Judeo Marxist version is almost funny.

As it seems, within the Zionist dream, Israel would establish a dual coexistence in the region where the Palestinian people would be the eternal slaves and the Israelis their masters. Within the Judeo progressive cosmopolitan dream, Red Palestine will establish a dual coexistence in the region where the Palestinian people would be the eternal slaves of a remote Euro-centric ideology. If there is a big categorical difference between the two Judeo centric ideologies, I just fail to see it.

However, according to Hegel, it is the slave that moves history forward. It is the slave that struggles towards his freedom. It is the slave who transforms himself and it is the master who eventually vanishes. Following Hegel, we have good reason to believe that the future of the region belongs to the Palestinians, the Iraqis and nation Islam in general. One way of explaining why Israel ignores this understanding of history relates to the conditional detachment of the exclusive ‘chosen’ state of mind.

Welcome to Cuckoo land

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian doctor who lives and works in the occupied West Bank, referred to Israel as “trying to be David and Goliath at the same time” (Dr. Barghouti was speaking at a debate at the House of Commons, 22 Nov. 2000). According to Dr. Barghouti, this is impossible. He also claimed that “Israel is probably the only State that bombs a territory it occupies.” He found this very strange and even bizarre. Is it really strange to be David and Goliath simultaneously? Is it really strange to destroy your own property? Not if you are insane. The lack of mirroring (again, seeing oneself through the other) can lead people, as well as nations, into strange dark corners. The lack of a framework which would allow you to discern your own image through the other, the lack of a corrective mechanism, appears to be a very dangerous state of affairs.

The first generation of Israeli leaders (Ben-Gurion, Eshkol, Meir, Peres, Begin) grew up in the Diaspora, mainly in Eastern Europe. Being a Jew living in a non-Jewish environment forces one to develop a sharpened self-awareness and imposes a certain kind of mirroring. Moreover, early Zionism is slightly more developed than other forms of Jewish tribal politics for the simple reason that Zionism is there to transform the Jews into ‘people like other people’. Such a realisation involves a certain amount of necessary mirroring. However, this was not enough to restrain Israeli aggressive acts (e.g., Deir-Yassin, Nakba, Kafer Kasem, the ’67 war, etc.) but it was more than enough to teach them a lesson in diplomacy. Since 1996, young leaders who were born there have led Israel into the state of ‘chosenness’ (Rabin, Netanyahu, Sharon, Barak, Olmert). Whilst in their earlier years they were imbued with an intense traditional Jewish anxiety, as they grew up this was overtaken by the legacy of the 1967 ‘miracle’, an event that turned some of the ‘chosen’ ideologies into a messianic extravaganza. This fixation with absolute power exacerbated by Jewish anxiety coupled with ignorance of the ‘other’ leads to epidemic collective schizophrenia, both of mood and action; a severe loss of contact with reality that gives way to the use of excessive force. The recent “Second Lebanon War” was an obvious example for that matter. Israel retaliates with machine guns in response to children throwing stones, with artillery and missiles against civilian targets following a sporadic uprising, and with a total war to a minor border incident. This behaviour should not be explained by using political, materialist or sociological analytical tools. Much greater understanding could be gained by situating the conflict within a philosophical framework, which allows a better understanding of the origins of paranoia and schizophrenia.

The Israeli Prime Minister, representing both ‘David and Goliath’, can talk about the vulnerability of Israel, Jewish pain and Jewish misery in one breath and about launching a massive military offensive against the whole region in the next. Such behaviour can only be explained by seeing it as a form of mental illness. The funny/sad side of it is that most Israelis do not even realise that something is going terribly wrong. Being a born master leads to the absence of a ‘recognition mechanism’. Inevitably it leads toward blindness. This lack of a recognition mechanism results in a split psyche, being both ‘David and Goliath’ at one and the same time. It seems that neither Israel nor Israelis can any longer be partners in any meaningful dialogue.

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PALESTINE THINK TANK IS BORN!!

Haitham Sabbah, Mary Rizzo and Gilad Atzmon are very pleased to announce their new site. Palestine Think Tank. It is a site containing news, analysis, art and more to further the cause of justice for Palestinians. It concentrates on many aspects of the resistance, but also focuses on the issues affecting the entire Middle East. Please visit us at www.palestinethinktank.com, share this news with those who might be interested, and if you have a blog or site, consider linking to us. We also have a forum for those interested in interactive communication.

Together with us are some of the most insightful and talented writers, activists and artists around. Contributors include Khalid Amayreh, Ramzy Baroud, Adib Kawar, Ernesto Paramo, Wael Al Saad, Nadia Hasan, Iqbal Tamimi, Richard Jones, Nahida Izzat, Razan Al Ghazzawi, Khaled Islaih, Steve Amsel, Ben Heine and many more. www.palestinethinktank.com contains both original material and material from other sources that we believe deserves to be considered.

We are people from different backgrounds who live in different countries. We speak different languages and believe in different religions, or even believe in no religion at all.

These differences are not a problem to any of us.

Differences are what makes the world a wonderful place because everyone is unique. It allows us the possibility to learn more about the world and gain insights we would never have access to otherwise.

Celebrating our differences, we understand that there is a belief that unites us and unites all the people involved in creating this website. It is the belief that Zionism is wrong. Zionism is racism. For Zionism to happen, it means the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of the land of Palestine. We accept nothing about Zionism as being positive, yet we believe there are some people who don’t know exactly what Zionism is, and therefore assume it is something different than an ideology, and therefore, is beyond criticism.

We wish to educate those who don’t know what Zionism is so that they are able to see how damaging it is and how it is a just cause to stop it. We hope www.palestinethinktank.com will be a space for free discussion and wide-ranging analysis.

We believe that the just struggle of the Palestinian people is the greatest liberation struggle of our times, and we aim to render service to their cause through presenting as many aspects of their history, culture and struggle as we can. We intend to give space to many Arab voices as well, since the full realisation of the potential of people in the entire Arab world has been hindered for far too long by the “International Community”. It is far easier to promote an idea of “the Arab” that cleanses Israel and the West from all responsibility for the instability and lack of progress that in some cases is evident than to listen to the complex arguments and reasoning that people from these countries and who understand the history of the Arab World are able to present.

We hope to be able to provide a site full of valid content that is at the service of the Palestinian people especially. Their steadfastness is an inspiration to all mankind, and to those of us in particular who feel close to their cause or are Palestinian, it is a message of love, hope and humanity that we hope we are worthy of.

Content of www.palestinethinktank.com is intellectual property of the authors. All material that does not appear in this site as the original source will always be credited for authors and source.

The material here may be reproduced elsewhere, but we request that you kindly cite our source and post a link to the page on www.palestinethinktank.com from where it was taken. We will also build up our links and community as time develops, so that we can all work towards our goal with the energy and imagination required.

www.palestinethinktank.com contains a forum, which is a space to discuss arguments related to the Middle East. We hope that it will allow all of us to broaden our horizons, engage in constructive debate and present a social network that will be useful to all of us.

www.palestinethinktank.com will be in two languages, in English predominantly, and Arabic.

We accept original articles as well as suggestions for material published elsewhere.

Gilad Atzmon – Anthony Julius and a journey to the dark Zionist world

Anthony Julius is a prominent British lawyer and academic, best known for his actions on behalf of academic Nazi hunter Deborah Lipstadt. It was Julius who perpetrated the destruction of history revisionist David Irving’s career.

However, Anthony Julius is far more than just an academic and a lawyer. He is also a devoted Zionist who has established a reputation for his opposition to ‘new anti-Semitism’. Adding to the list of his accomplishments, he is also a founding member of Engage, the notorious British Zionist smear operator. On top of that he is also founder member of the UK based Neo-con think tank known as the Euston Manifesto.

A few days ago I came across a two part paper named ‘Jewish Anti-Zionism Unravelled: The Morality of Vanity’[1]. Apparently, it is a study made by Anthony Julius. It didn’t take me long to gather that Julius’s text should be read and understood. It must be scrutinised not because it is an important informative text, but because it serves as an invaluable document.

As one may guess, Julius is far from being stupid. He is by far more sophisticated, educated and eloquent than the average Zionist operators we come across on a daily basis. Thus, it is rather depressing to admit that his deconstruction of some large sectors of the Jewish political and ideological left is more than valid. As bizarre as it may sound, in places his criticism of his dissident anti-Zionists brothers and sisters is not far at all from the discomfort expressed rather often by Palestinians and Palestinian solidarity activists concerning Jewish anti-Zionism.

However, it should be mentioned that as much as Julius succeeds in exposing some serious inconsistency as well as a fundamental lack of integrity within the Jewish left discourse, his own study suffers badly due to his own lack of understanding of the intellectual foundation of anti-Zionist debate and the people who happen to carry this emerging discourse forwards.

From Politics to Humanism

The author’s biggest failure lies at the very premise of his study. Initially Julius tries to grasp the shift between the ‘modern’ and the ‘contemporary’ Jewish political anti-Zionism assuming that political anti-Zionism is still in place. Julius apparently fails to see the very obvious. Though pre WWII Jewish anti-Zionism had been largely politically orchestrated and ideologically orientated, contemporary anti-Zionism and Jewish anti-Zionism in particular is not at all politically leaning. If Julius would take a deep breath and view the list of ‘contemporary’ voices he himself had chosen to quote within his study (me included), he would notice that none of them are political activists. Neither Jacqueline Rose nor Tony Judt nor Ilan Pappe nor Oren Ben-Dor, nor Uri Davis nor myself are operating as politicians or within political cells. We all act as humanists, academics and artists. We write, we offer some critical thoughts, we compose music we make films and so forth.

The question that comes to mind is how is it that a prominent lawyer and an intellectual such as Julius fails to recognise such an obvious fact. The explanation is shockingly simple. It is actually called projection. Zionism is a form of blindness and Julius is apparently imbued in it. Julius is doomed to interpret his subject of research while employing his own tribal Judeocentric worldview. Because Zionist Jews operate constantly and solely within politically and racially orientated cells, they tend to believe that their dissident brothers must be operating within very similar settings.

Thus, rather than reading Julius’s study as academic scholarship, at times we should endorse some sceptical approach and take his different insights as a glimpse into the Zionist mindset. Julius’s paper is actually a glance or even a journey into the dark Zionist world.

Tribal vs. Universal

Once we manage to transcend ourselves beyond Julius’s Ziocentric limitations, we are left with a very interesting reading and eloquent exposure of some the fallacy entangled within Jewish anti-Zionism.

“Jewish anti-Zionism,” says Julius, “inaugurates a return for many Jews to some kind of Jewish identity.” But then what does he mean by Jewish identity? Who are the Jews, are they a racial group? Are they a cultural group?

In order to address the issue Julius elaborates and scrutinises the ideological message behind “Independent Jewish Voices” (IJV).

The IJV was launched on February 5 2007 by 150 prominent British Jews such as Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, historian Eric Hobsbawm, lawyer Sir Geoffrey Bindman and others. The organisation was there to refute “the widespread misconception that British Jews speak with one voice – and that this voice supports the Israeli government’s policies.” The IJV was there to shake the hegemony of the Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Though the IJV attracted a lot of media attention in early February 2007, it died soon after. A quick glance at the IJV website and its news page reveals the embarrassing fact that the IJV last news update happened on February 12 2007, just a week after its bombastic launch. In other words, the IJV is a dead political entity. It was set to create a media impression of Jewish dissidence and Jewish liberal pluralism. But as it seems, as far as the IJV is concerned, its dissidence is rather fictional.

I tend to believe that Julius is fully aware of the fact that the IJV is not active, however for some reason he decided to elaborate on the IJV’s message and its ideological teaching aiming at the exposure of the fallacy within Jewish anti-Zionism.

Julius cited the IJV opening document:

The “Independent Jewish Voices” (IJV) opening statement endeavoured to ‘reclaim the tradition of Jewish support for universal freedoms, human rights and social justice.’ ‘Judaism,’ it continued, “means nothing if it does not mean social justice And Moses’ instruction to Israel was cited, “Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20).

I assume that there is something both the IJV as well as Anthony Julius prefer to be very secretive about.

First, there is NO “Jewish tradition of universal freedoms”. Indeed, in the cathedra of the history of humanism more than just one Jew occupied a prominent seat. More than just one Jew taught us universalism and brotherhood, whether it was Christ, Spinoza, Marx or Simon Weil. But as sad as it may be, these provocative beings were brutally expelled and ostracised by their brothers.

Second, Moses’ reference to ‘Justice perusing’ (Deuteronomy 16:20) could have established a major ethical argument in favour of Jewish universal tradition. Yet this was the same Moses who just a few chapters earlier vowed to bring his people to the Promised Land where they are allowed to rob and loot the indigenous people. “A land with large, fine cities you did not build, houses filled with choice things you did not accumulate, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – and you eat your fill.” (Deuteronomy: Six 10-11). Seemingly, the IJV’s Moses, who was presented as an icon of universal humanism, is in fact a (very) early Zionist invader as well as the mastermind behind the Israelite collective looting culture.

Anyhow, Julius truly notices that the myth of Jewish universalism and profound ethics is repeated by many of the IJV signatories. “As a Jew,” says one, “I feel a particular duty to oppose the injustice that is done to Palestinians.”

“The anti-Zionist,” says Julius, “is not just a Jew like other Jews; his dissent from normative Zionist loyalties makes him a better Jew. He restores Judaism’s good name; to be a good Jew one has to be an anti-Zionist.”

Though Julius is sharp enough to trace the obvious righteousness within the IJV call, he happens to miss a further severe logical flaw here. When a so-called ‘better’ Jew refers to himself as a ‘Jew’, what is it that he refers to? Is it his racial belonging? Is it biological determinism in play? Is it the ethnic identity or is it again the collective belief in the comforting qualities of chicken soup? It is clear that statements such as: “As a Jew I feel a particular duty” or in general, “as a Jew I feel X, Y or Z” exposes the IJV in a very non-flattering light. It bluntly and foolishly admits a certain level of Jewish dogmatic homogenous collectivism that defies the initial claim of independence.

It is therefore not very surprising that the IJV died a week or two after its launch. Intellectually it couldn’t hold more than a week or two. It failed to bridge the gap between Athens and Jerusalem or rather, between the universal and the tribal. It failed simply because this gap may be unbridgeable. Once a secular Jew insists upon operating as an ‘independent’ humanist, he becomes an ordinary human being leaving behind all traces of tribal particularities and privileges.

Julius continues, “There is the objection (to Zionism) ‘in the name of universalism’. The Jewish anti-Zionist would argue that the national project has debased the Jewish character by making it ordinary.” Seemingly, Julius himself fails to see how deep is the logical absurdity in such a statement. If there is indeed a ‘Jewish Character’ with some cosmopolitan characteristics as opposed to ‘ordinary’ nationalist traits, then gravely, we would have to admit that Jews can never join humanity as equals. Jews can never intermingle with the ‘ordinary’. As bizarre as it may sound, once again we notice that Jewish universalism appears to operate as a maintenance project of Jewish chauvinism and tribalism.

Julius continues, “the Jewish anti-Zionist says ‘Jewish particularism’ of every kind must be rejected; Jews should not cut themselves off from their fellow students, workmates, and neighbours. Jews should seek a ‘Jewishness not sealed behind walls of conviction’, but open to the infinite possibilities of tomorrow.” Again, the absurdity behind such a statement is mind blowing. On the one end it refers to Jews as an ideal lucid homogenous collective, yet in the same breath it insists upon making this collective characterless. The truth of the matter must be said here. As long as Jews regard themselves as a homogenous collective and operate as a collective they happen to install a barrier between themselves and the rest of humanity. False calls for humanism and employment of Marxist jargon can’t and won’t cover it up.

Though I am totally convinced that the majority of the IJV signatures are well meaning and genuine peace lovers, the philosophy they happened to succumb to is rather embarrassingly lame. However, this is not big news. This flaw at the heart of the IJV’s declaration failed in every form of Jewish tribal left thinking for over a century. It is this very basic fault that made ‘Jewish anti-Zionists’ (JAZ), the Bund and IJV look like the ‘Best universalists amongst tribalists’ or alternatively ‘the ultimate tribalists amongst the universalists.’

“In the IJV’s principles,” cites Julius, one of its foundations includes “putting human rights first; repudiating all forms of racism; and giving equal priority to Palestinians and Israelis in their quest for a better future… (these are) principles that unite people of goodwill…group or ethnic loyalty, by contrast, is not a principle – or not a worthy one, at least.” “It must be,” answers Julius with scorn, that it is “Jewish quality to have no qualities at all.” It is very sad to admit, but Julius has a point here. As much as I would prefer to support the well-intentioned IJV agenda, I have to confess that the cosmopolitan attitude expressed above is totally irrelevant and even counter-effective as far as the Palestinian national struggle is concerned. As much as Julius insists upon the right of Jews to celebrate their symptoms as Jews, it is the humanist duty to insist upon a similar right of Palestinians to celebrate their ‘group or ethnic loyalty’. It is rather shocking to admit that Zionist and Palestinian criticism of Jewish anti-Zionism is almost similar.

The Moraliser

At this point, Julius is ready to pour a rain of contempt over his dissident brothers. “These Jewish anti-Zionists claim to speak as the moral conscience of the Jewish people. They no longer assert, as their revolutionary forebears once did…they play the part of scourges of the Jewish State.” ‘The scourge’, explains Julius, is a kind of “moraliser, that is, a public person who prides himself on the ability to discern the good and the evil. The moraliser makes judgments on others, and profits by so doing; he puts himself on the right side of the fence. Moralising provides the moraliser with recognition of his own existence and confirmation of his own value.”

But Julius doesn’t stop just there, he continues, “a moraliser has a good conscience and is satisfied by his own self-righteousness. He is not a self-hater; he is enfolded in self-admiration. He is in step with the best opinion. He holds that the truth is to be arrived at by inverting the “us = good” and “other = bad” binarism.

Julius should have grasped that ‘self-loving’ and ‘binary opposition’ settings are exactly that which set any form of Jewish tribal left within the ever-growing rabbinical tradition. The real meaning of secularism within the Jewish tribal left discourse means the replacement of ‘God-loving’ with ‘self-loving’, The modern Jewish tribal leftist believes in himself. And the binary formula he adopts should be read as Us = kosher / Other = taref.

However, if Julius would spend some time looking in the mirror while contemplating over the issues of ‘binarism’ and ‘self-loving’ he may find out that he is falling into the exact same trap. The Euston neo-conservative think tank he himself founded is intellectually premised on the exact same parameters. It is based on white liberal ‘self-loving’ and ‘binary opposition setting’ in the shape of us/them, kosher/taref, West/the rest.

Once again we notice, that Julius’s study is fuelled by projection. Once again we see that as much as it is interesting to read what Julius has to say, it is far more interesting to ask why he says what he says. Every insight Julius provides us with stands as a revelation concerning the Zionist project and the Zionist mindset.

The Crypto Zionist’s Role

Only in the last part of his study, Julius reveals his true motivation. Apparently the British Zionist academic has some Judeocentric conspiratorial expectations from his fellow dissident brothers. He would like to see them fighting the anti-Semites in the Palestinian solidarity discourse. He would like to see them operating as Sayanim.

The development of his argument is rather interesting.

According to Julius, the Jewish anti-Zionist “wrongly assumes that group loyalty is inconsistent with the ethical life, and that universalist moral foundations cannot sustain a version of nationalism.”

This is indeed reassuring to see that Julius asserts the most radical form of right wing views. Seemingly, the man learned a lot from the revisionist historian he managed to defeat in court. However, the truth must be said. Julius is absolutely correct here. There is NO contradiction between group loyalty and the ethical life. Torah Jews prove it beyond doubt. This is why Torah Jews are far more popular amongst Palestinian solidarity campaigner than any other Jewish collective. Julius is also correct to argue that there is no contradiction between universalist moral foundations and nationalism. Again this insight is no different to the Palestinian critiques of the cosmopolitan Jew. A Palestinian would rightly say: ‘If you are a cosmopolitan Jew who opposes nationalism, how exactly do you plan to support my Palestinian national struggle?’

Julius correctly suggests that anti-Zionist Jews fall into contradiction when they hold that while dispersion is good for the Jews, it is bad for the Palestinians, and when they demand of the Jews that they disavow ‘nationalism,’ while valuing the Palestinians’ “continuing struggle for justice;” Julius obviously hit here on some severe level of lack of integrity within the Jewish left discourse.

In short, it seems as if Julius manages to establish a profound criticism of Jewish anti-Zionism. Seemingly, Jewish anti-Zionism is inconsistent to the bone. Due to the impossibility to bridge the gap between the tribal and the universal, Jewish anti-Zionism is doomed to fall either into inconsistency or lack of integrity.

But here is where Julius comes with some clear suggestions regarding the Jewish role within the left. Trotsky, according to Julius, wasn’t operating as a Jew, yet he could “smell anti-Semitism in others”. But Julius doesn’t stop just there. “Contemporary Jewish anti-Zionists,” he says, “have lost the sense for it.” It is clear beyond doubt that Julius expects his dissident brothers to keep up day and night tracing and fighting the anti-Semites. He expects the Jewish anti-Zionists to operate as Sayanim, people who are motivated to operate as Zionist agents due to Jewish tribal brotherhood.

As funny as it may sound, Anthony Julius describes here the exact role taken by the discredited UK JAZ group who for a while worked day and night fighting, smearing and lobbying against those whom they regard as anti-Semites. Bearing in mind that Julius is a Zionist who calls the anti-Zionists to fight anti-Semitism , it is impossible not to see JAZ (http://azvsas.blogspot.com/) as an integral part of the Zionist plot on the verge of Sayanim.

Julius continues, “Jewish anti-Zionist contributions to anti-Semitically inflected positions taken by non-Jewish anti-Zionists consist of the following: (a) to give cover to the holders of such positions by endorsing them ‘as Jews’ (b) to endorse those positions as true, with the all the authority of an ‘insider’ or ‘expert’.”

It is very clear that as far as Julius is concerned, anti-Zionist Jews are not exactly ordinary human beings. They are primarily Jews and must serve their tribal interests first. At large, Julius’s expectations from his fellow brothers fall short of fulfilment. Not a single prominent Jewish anti-Zionist has ever joined the Zionist hunting expedition. They obviously have far better things to do. Those who were and still are foolish enough to follow Julius’s instructions and become hunters of anti-Semites have managed to marginalise themselves within the anti-Zionist movement beyond repair. If they were acting as double agents at some stage, they are now exposed in a very unflattering light.

The reason is simple. Every genuine anti-Zionist realises that if Israel is the Jewish State and the crimes committed by this State are committed in the name of the Jewish people then we are bound to ask, ‘who are the Jews? What is Judaism? And what is Jewishness?’ There is no alternative than to question the Jewish lobby and the role of Jewish media. These are the parameters of contemporary anti-Zionism, this is what anti-Zionism is all about, and if this is what new anti-Semitism is all about, we have nothing left to admit to the hunters than being anti-Zionists means we are going to be hunted sooner or later.

Interestingly enough, the IJV collapsed because independent, assimilated intellectuals tend to operate independently, they do not and could not succumb to tribal concerns. Prominent independent voices could never operate in an atmosphere of a synagogue. The IJV collapsed because its prominent members were too independent to operate as a fig leaf for the Jewish national project.

Sadly, we would have to admit that as much as the Jewish left is inconsistent to the bone, as much as it loses its way between Athens and Jerusalem, Zionism is unfortunately a success story. It is consistent, it knows exactly where Athens is but it prefers the road to Jerusalem. Zionism is a proud tribal project, it gives a new dynamic contemporary meaning to Jewish existence. Unfortunately this meaning is oppressive and murderous on the verge of genocidal. Since Zionism is a monolithic voice of the Jewish people, the future of anti-Zionist discourse will inevitably address a scope of issues to do with the Jewish question.

As much as I do not agree with Julius’s prime agenda, I tend to agree with many points raised by him. Jewish anti-Zionism is a futile project. It leads nowhere, it is there to make Jews look nice and to dismantle a real debate about Zionism and Jewish nationalism in general. If secular Jews intend to resist Zionism genuinely rather than just gather a momentary sympathy to their cause, then the only way to do it is to join the human family and to act as ordinary people. Such an act would give the French revolution and emancipation a real new meaning.

(1) part one: http://www.z-word.com/z-word-essays/jewish-anti-zionism-unravelled%253A–the-morality-of-vanity-%2528part-1%2529.html
part 2 http://www.z-word.com/z-word-essays/jewish-anti-zionism-unravelled%253A-questioning-antisemitism-%2528part-2%2529.html

Related post: https://peacepalestine.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/auntie-ziona-here-comes-trouble/