|This was the imagery of the Zionist labour movement until it ran out of excuses for its nepotism and corruption|
Nog enkele dagen en een paar nachtjes slapen en Israël zal verblijd worden met een grootse overwinning van Bibi. Tegen het oprukkend populisme en fascisme is ook in dit land geen kruid gewassen. De wereld zal het weten, Israël staat pal tegen de moslimwereld die erop uit is de wereldheerschappij te veroveren, te beginnen met Israël.
Zijn we werkelijk zo achterlijk om de 100 jarige zegetocht van het zionisme te negeren, met ook hier weer alle dank aan die vervloekte Britten? Enfin, lees maar, er zijn nog gelukkig verstandige mensen, op de eerste plaats, zoals steeds, joden. Hoe zou dat zo komen?
Bij deze neem ik een blogbericht over van Tony Greenstein, niet in de laatste plaats omdat hij refereert aan een belangrijk artikel van Amira Hass in de Haaretz over Lebensraum en meer ongemakkelijke zaken waar het zionisme en fascisme zo rijk aan zijn. Racisme is er onderdeel van. Misbruiken van religie een ander.
|Gush Emunim settlers establishing the West Bank settlement of Elkana in 1979|
There is nothing that Netanyahu has done that Labour Zionism didn’t do before him
The Contradiction at the heart of secular Zionism is the God given right to Palestine
|A ceremony on an Israeli kibbutz in July 1951.
These members of a Jewish only settlement carried red flags but lived and settled the land of the Palestinians who had been expelled
Foto: Wikimedia Commons
As the Israeli Labour Party heads for its worst election result ever in Israel’s General Election, Amira Hass has written an important article reminding us of the unbroken line that connects Likud and the settler movement to Labour Zionism and the Israeli Labour Party. Amira Hass, along with Gideon Levy is one of only two non-Zionist journalists in Israel. She lives in the West Bank and unlike other Jews there, she is not a settler.
The Israeli Labour Party, until 1977, continuously formed Israel’s governing coalitions. As late as 1969, the Israeli Labor Alignment, together with Mapam, a left-Zionist party, won 56 out of 120 Knesset seats. The latest opinion polls suggest it will gain just 10 seats (or 15 combined with Mapam’s successor Meretz). A historic low. The ILP has been out of government since 2011 and it hasn’t formed a government since 1999.
It is always tempting to believe that the ILP represents an alternative to Netanyahu, even that it is a social democratic or left-wing party. That is the illusion that Zionist groups such as the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel foster. However it is an act of deception.
As former leader Shelly Yacimovich declared it was a ‘historic injustice’ to characterise the ILP as a left-wing party. The ILP ‘“has always drawn its power from being a centrist party. There have been both hawks and doves within its ranks.’
This is true. It would be a terrible injustice to paint the Israeli Labor Party in socialist colours. As Professor Ze’ev Sternhell showed in The Founding Myths of Israel the ILP and Mapai, which was formed in 1930 from two Labour Zionist parties – Ahdut Ha’avodah and Hapoel Hatzair – was never socialist. Indeed it was not until Hapoel Hatzair was satisfied that the ‘socialist’ rhetoric of Ahdut was purely verbal and that its socialism meant nothing more than Jewish working class solidarity against the native Arabs that it agreed to a merger.
Labour Zionism and its institutions, in particular its ‘union’ Histadrut (which was also Israel’s second largest employer until the 1980’s) built the Israeli state and constructed its racist, Zionist and Jewish supremacist nature. All the institutions of Israeli apartheid, such as the Jewish National Fund and Jewish Agency, were made into partners of the Israeli state under Israeli Labour governments.
What Labour’s Shimon Peres dispensed with in 1985 was the pseudo-socialist, collectivised forms of colonialism. State capitalism gave way under the Stabilisation Pact to monetarism, a slashing of the government budget and food subsidies, a hike in interest rates and all the other remedies favoured by the Chicago economists. Zionism however did not change its settler colonial colours merely its internal social and economic forms.
It is often forgotten that it wasn’t Likud but the Israeli Labour Alignment which helped to launch the settler movement. The pioneers of the settler movement came from the Israeli Labour Party and in particular the militaristic Ahdut Ha’avodah party which reunited with Mapai (Israeli Labor Party) in 1965. Sponsored by Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon, Labour Zionist stalwarts such as Yitzhak Tabenkin and Yisrael Galili made an effortless transition from the Israeli labour movement to the Greater Israel Movement, Gush Emmunim and the settler movement.
The contradiction at the heart of Labour Zionism has always been that its secularism rested on a biblical foundation. That is why there can be neither a secular nor a socialist Zionism. Historically secularism in Israel, be it of the Zionist left or right, either foundered or gave way to religious Zionism and Jewish Orthodoxy. Even Zionism’s atheists base their right to the Land of Israel on the god they deny! Even the most ardent non-believers quote the Bible as their foundational land deeds!
Amira Hass, quite correctly, described the expansionism of Zionism as ‘lebensraum’. For those unfamiliar with the term, this was the Nazi term ‘living space’. It described Hitler’s quest for territory in Russia and Eastern Europe and was an essential component of volkish ideology. ‘Living space’ was how the Nazis and German nationalists before them expressed their imperialist desires and it is appropriate to describe Israel’s thirst for land in similar terms.
Of course according to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism this is ‘anti-Semitic’, which is but one demonstration of the attempt to close down debate today since Israelis themselves continually use Nazi metaphors to describe Israel’s behaviour.