In a comment to Who_Me, one of our commentators, I mentioned that I found Gilad’s “Anti-Zionist Zionist” a ‘poor description’. Who_Me. asked me to elaborate – so here goes:
First, the term ignores an important distinction between the relatively recent (but ongoing) crime of Jewish supremacism in stealing Palestine from the Palestinians and other, older examples of Jewish abuse of non-Jews. The most noticeable of these is the Jewish role in the crimes of Bolshevism against the Russian and other Eastern European peoples and the horrific (and also ongoing) crimes against the German people. Zionism, as I understand the term, refers to Jewish notions of political nationhood and the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Neither the crime against the Russians nor the crime against the Germans were specifically crimes of Zionism.
I also think the term is inaccurate. I’ve met loads of Jewish Marxists who claim to be anti-Zionists (In fact few non-Jewish anti-Zionists can match the bile with which these Jews express themselves on the subject) and as far as I can see, they are indeed what they claim to be – they really do hate Israel and Zionism. The fact that this is an essentially family squabble about which group of Jews will lead the Jewish supremacist movement is immaterial – the anti-Zionist Jews really are anti-Zionist.
Who-Me doesn’t agree and, in a previous exchange, offered some very well-chosen examples of how Jewish anti-Zionists will adopt positions that end up protecting Israel. Of course he’s right and he gave the example of how Jewish anti-Zionists will violently object to any notions of American foreign policy being dictated by the Jewish lobby. These anti-Zionist Jews insist that American foreign policy is just part of general, all-round American imperialism.
But this is not protecting Israel or Zionism – it is protecting Jewish power from proper scrutiny – the fact that Israel may benefit from it is just collateral damage – a price that has to be paid to secure their own brand of Jewish supremacism. Sure, on this occasion they’re acting like Zionists but to use this to designate them as Zionists seems to me to be confusing.
Of course, it could be argued that unconsciously these anti-Zionist Zionists really DO want to protect Israel because, although they may not much like it, Israel is still a Jewish endeavour and therefore must be protected. I would be the last to argue against the power of unconscious motivations and there is something in this point. But the term as it stands, with its complete lack of accompanying analysis in our debates – serves only to mislead. The same goes for the notion that in the term ‘anti-Zionist Zionist’ the word ‘Zionist’ is used as an all-round word for Jewish supremacism much as Lenin used it when he described the Bund (The AZZs of his time) as “Zionists with sea-sickness”.
And this brings me onto my second reason why I dislike the term
It, and its even worse abbreviation of ‘AZZs’, is just one more slogan. It joins ‘one-state’, ‘two state’, ‘Free free Palestine’, and the ever-ghastly Zio-this and Zio-that as just something to chant at demonstrations and spatter the comments columns of internet journals. True, they’re easy to write and even easier to chant but, in the absence of any proper and accompanying analysis, what do they really mean? And how do they advance the debate?
deLiberation is just what it says: a place for measured (not compromised) thought, reflection, discussion and argument.
We need properly developed ideas – not soundbites.