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World Association of International Studies

Post Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism Revisited
Created by John Eipper on 09/02/16 3:53 PM

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Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism Revisited (Luciano Dondero, Italy, 09/02/16 3:53 pm)

WAIS is not always an enlightening venue for debate, especially when it comes to the topic of Israel and related things. Notably on the issue of Zionism, recent posts have not been very helpful. I will try here to do my best to provide some useful information.

There are three things I would like to discuss here.

The first one is the 1975 United Nations resolution 3379, which included the statement "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination."

The second one is Martin Luther King's quote from 1968, just weeks before his assassination:
"When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism!"

Finally, I draw an analogy between Zionism and Italian/German nationalisms, to point out the relevance (or not) of references to Zionism.

(1) The "Zionism/anti-Zionism" canard was not invented by the Soviet Union and by the KGB, but they put it to good use for decades.

In 1975, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union scored a significant diplomatic success when they pushed through a pro-Arab/anti-Israel resolution at the UN. The resolution was passed by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions) with the support of the Soviet bloc and other then Soviet-aligned nations, in addition to the Arab and Islamic-majority countries.

It was subsequently rescinded in 1991 with UN General Assembly Resolution 46/86.
President George H. W. Bush personally introduced the motion to revoke 3379, saying:
"We should take seriously the charter's pledge "to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors."

UNGA Resolution 3379, the so-called "Zionism is racism" resolution, mocks this pledge and the principles upon which the United Nations was founded. And I call now for its repeal. Zionism is not a policy; it is the idea that led to the creation of a home for the Jewish people, to the State of Israel. And to equate Zionism with the intolerable sin of racism is to twist history and forget the terrible plight of Jews in World War II and, indeed, throughout history. To equate Zionism with racism is to reject Israel itself, a member of good standing of the United Nations.

This body cannot claim to seek peace and at the same time challenge Israel's right to exist. By repealing this resolution unconditionally, the United Nations will enhance its credibility and serve the cause of peace."

(see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_3379 )

(2) Since the 1967 war, and Israel's smashing victory against the combined might of the Soviet-backed Egyptian and Syrian armed forces, it has been customary on the left to condemn Israel in any possible way, form and shape. Thus, in 1968, while in the US a very important struggle for civil rights for Blacks was going on, some people tried to drive a wedge between Blacks and Jews in America. At one point, a student at Cambridge put a question on the topic of Zionism to Martin Luther King, whose reply is well known:

"When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism!"

Because it's hard to accuse King of being a tool of the Hazbara, pro-Palestinian apologists have tried to deny that King ever uttered this statement. You may find an appropriate description of the whole thing in Martin Kramer's blog: http://martinkramer.org/sandbox/2012/03/in-the-words-of-martin-luther-king/

Of course King could have been wrong:

However, this leads me to the third point.

(3) In the years 1848-1871 several wars were fought on European soil that had various impact on different nations. In particular, they brought into existence two countries that had been "thought of" for a long time, Italy and Germany. Marx and Engels, two Germans by birth, living in exile in England, devoted many pages to the issue of "Po und Rhein". Once those two countries were unified, each one in a single state with a capital in Rome and Berlin respectively, it was over. Although, events subsequent to their defeat in WWII led to a new splitting of Germany, which was a divided country in the period 1945-1990. Now it's one again.

However, people did not oppose German (or Italian) unification by attacking "Germanism" or "Italianism". Much less do they so now.

How come then, that this is what happens with Israel and Zionism?

Bush father put it nicely: "Zionism is not a policy; it is the idea that led to the creation of a home for the Jewish people, to the State of Israel."

Those who are against Zionism are against the existence of the State of Israel, as it is presently constituted. This is a position that can (and is) easily held, both outside and inside Israel itself. Provided it is not "argued" with bombs, guns and knives, it should be debated in public and openly, each one of the participants taking full responsibility for what they stand for, and not hiding behind a curtain.

JE comments:  But Luciano, WAIS does debate topics far and wide, and (usually!) in an enlightened fashion.  I would argue that Zionism is no exception:  we see views from the strongest apologists to the harshest critics.

I consider my "position" to be a simple one:  I defend Israel's right to exist, but not its right to mistreat Palestinians.  Nor do I see a clear parallel between Zionism and "Germanism" or "Italianism."  With some notable exceptions, the birth of modern Germany and Italy had to do with politically uniting the people who were already there.  

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  • Zionism, Germanism, Italianism (Robert Whealey, USA 09/04/16 5:05 AM)
    I agree with John E on the history of German and Italian national unification, 1848-1871. One problem with Luciano Dondero's essay of September 2nd, is that it begins with the 1975 debate between the US and USSR about Zionism and racism at the UN.

    Luciano answers his own questions about the UN Resolutions of 1975 with the statement of George H.W. Bush in 1991. Bush, after the Soviet Union collapsed, was able to recommend to the GA "to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors." Bush was a good Episcopalian and international lawyer.

    I think JE and WAIS should now stop talking about the obsolete red flag words racism and Zionism. The reality is that all nations, the Germans, the Italians, the Israelis, the English, all began as tribes which over the centuries gradually unified. The 10 tribes of Israel have been "lost"--i.e. integrated, assimilated. The British Isles also killed some of the Celts, Britons, Danes, Angles, and Saxons over the centuries to create the UK.

    American nationalism was created by the United States Constitution and was fortunate to have inherited the English language as the predominant language, 1776-1783.

    JE comments: I'd say we Americans were more fortunate to inherit English institutions, not necessarily our unphonetic and often illogical language.

    What do WAISers think?  Is "racism" an obsolete word?  I'd say not at all.  But Zionism is a different case.  Given that Zionism was the movement to create a Jewish state, didn't it achieve its goal in 1948?

    Luciano Dondero has sent a further comment on Zionism and nationalism.  His post is next.

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    • George H W Bush (David Duggan, USA 09/05/16 5:36 AM)
      A correction to Robert Whealey (4 September): George H. W. Bush was not a lawyer.

      JE comments: I should have caught that. Bush the Elder graduated from Yale with a degree in economics, and was the last (most recent) US president without an advanced degree.

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  • Zionism and Other Cases of Nation-Building (Luciano Dondero, Italy 09/04/16 7:07 AM)
    Commenting on my post of 2 September, John Eipper wrote that he does not "see a clear parallel between Zionism and 'Germanism' or 'Italianism.' With some notable exceptions, the birth of modern Germany and Italy had to do with politically uniting the people who were already there."

    I apologise for my inability to express myself clearly.

    The point about the fictional "Germanism" or "Italianism" has to do with facts on the ground.

    Italy and Germany exist, so does Israel. Nobody sees fit to invoke "anti-Germanism" or "anti-Italianism" because, unlike anti-Semitism, they did not really exist in the real world.

    But it may be useful to explore that avenue.

    I will list a few democracies--the US, Russia, Turkey, Australia, Canada and New Zealand--and then ask a simple question: which of these were built by "politically uniting the people who were already there"?

    The correct answer is: "None."

    But, again, nobody, even those who would like to undo some of the nation-building undertaken by these countries (I'm in favor of carving out some of Turkey in favor of the Kurds, for instance), does so in the name of an "anti-this" or "anti-that" ideology. Usually, no such ideologies even exist, whereas there is a spurious "anti-Zionism," which is only a cover for something else: a crime that does not dare to speak its name, so to say.

    Let me say a few words about Australia and New Zealand--probably there is nobody from those countries in WAIS, so I can't be suspected of being Australasian-phobic.

    Both nations came into being as a result of British expansionism in the 1700s, but in somewhat different ways. Australia was such an inhospitable and faraway place that they sent the scum of the earth there: all sorts of delinquents of both sexes. They were tough cookies and proceeded to build a real place, in the process almost entirely wiping out the local fauna, animal and human beings alike. If you think that I am being politically incorrect, Aborigenes were hunted as animals until not so long ago, and generally regarded and treated as beasts by our fellow Europeans settling there.

    Little did they know that the local population is actually one of the best specimen of pure Homo Sapiens, because they reached Australia on foot and sail some 40 thousand years ago, after a trek that started somewhere in Southern Africa several tens of thousands of years before. Unlike us Europeans, the Aborigenes have no trace of Neanderthal blood in their DNA.

    In New Zealand, the British met a quite different population, the Maoris, a fierce people not unlike those Africans who managed to defeat the Italians and the British themselves on a battlefield in the late 1800s.

    Like the Zulus, the Maoris were not the original inhabitants of their stretch of land, they came to NZ sometime around 800/1000 CE, and they did the wiping out of those people who lived there.

    As a result of their fierceness, today the Maoris represent a real minority in NZ (some percent) while the Aborigenes are basically non-existent. Of course there may not have been very many of them to begin with.

    The Aborigenes were hunter-gatherers in one of the harshest places on earth, the Australian outback, and yet had managed to survive there for an incredibly long time, by having an almost invisible presence. Today, in one of the final twists and turns of liberal racism disguised as political correctness, "their ancestry is protected," meaning it becomes impossible to conduct a serious scientific inquiry into their past, because somehow "it would go against their religious beliefs."  At first it was ok to kill them, now they are regarded not as one key piece of mankind, but as a separate (but equal?) chunk.

    We have many things to learn about our own past, and Australia is a special place where we could study it.

    JE comments:  I was speaking specifically of German and Italian nation-building, but touché to Luciano Dondero in the cases of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US.  (Russia is a democracy?  We'll leave that for a later discussion.)  Among Australian WAISers, we have Martin Storey in Perth.  Our Kiwi colleague Paul Davis has been silent for many years.  Are you still out there, Paul?

    On the Maoris, this 2000 RH post deserves a replay:


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