Lecture by Joachim Martillo before New Jersey Solidaity
New Brunswick, New Jersey, October 3, 2002
Issues and Questions In the Historiography of Pre-State Zionism
by Joachim Martillo
The Failure of Jewish Studies in America
Zionism is the movement to make Palestine the site of a nation-state for Jews. It can also be the ideology associated with the movement. A Zionist supports the goals of Zionism. The preceding definitions represent a plethora of questions far more than they provide any sort of explanation, for one must ask in response the following.
· Who are the Jews?
· What is a nation-state?
· Why Palestine?
· Why is there a need?
The academic field of Jewish Studies or Judaica should provide answers, reasonable analysis or the tools by which an educated person might be able to address the questions himself. Unfortunately, this field supplies only propaganda or poor scholarship from the study of the ancient Middle East to the history of Zionism and the State of Israel. The state of the academic disciplines associated with Judaica can be compared with the situation Eastern European historians faced after the fall of the Soviet Union when they suddenly had to write genuine history, and noone really knew how. While Judaicists are not ready to provide genuine scholarship, Eric Hobsbawm’s Budapest 1993 lecture to Eastern European students on the question of proper historiography indentifies a large part of the problem of Jewish Studies today.
Either Elvis Presley is dead or he isn't. The question can be answered unambiguously on the basis of evidence insofar as reliable evidence is available, which is sometimes the case. Either the present Turkish government, which denies the attempted genocide of the Armenians in 1915, is right or it is not. Most of us would dismiss any denial of this massacre from serious historical discourse, although there is no equally unambiguous way to choose between different ways of interpreting the phenomenon or fitting it into the wider context of history ...
Few of the ideologies of intolerance are based on simple lies or fictions for which no evidence exists. After all, there was a battle of Kosovo in 1389, the Serb warriors and their allies were defeated by the Turks, and this did leave deep scars on the popular memory of the Serbs, although it does not follow that this justifies the oppression of the Albanians, who now form 90 per cent of the region's population or the Serb claim that the land is essentially theirs. …. [Note that the specifics of this battle are far less clear than Hobsbawm suggests. Likewise the basic facts of the history of Greco-Roman Palestine or the origins of Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe are generally obscure.]
The most usual ideological abuse of history is based on anachronism rather than lies. Greek nationalism refuses Macedonia even the right to its name on the grounds that all Macedonia is essentially Greek and part of a Greek nation-state [like the common denial by Zionists of a genuine Palestinian ethnic identity], presumably ever since the father of Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, became the ruler of the Greek lands on the Balkan peninsula. Like everything about Macedonia, this is a far from a purely academic matter, but it takes a lot of courage for a Greek intellectual to say that, historically speaking, it is nonsense. .... [Like many of the claims of modern Jewish connection to ancient Palestine beyond the religious.] These and many other attempts to replace history by myth and invention are not merely bad intellectual jokes. After all, they can determine what goes into schoolbooks, as the Japanese authorities knew, when they insisted on a sanitized version of the Japanese war in China for use in Japanese classrooms. [Likewise Zionists have insisted on a sanitized propaganda history of the modern settlement and colonization of Palestine and of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine during the Israeli War of Independence, which Palestinians and most of the world call the نكبه (nakbah or catastrophe).] Myth and invention are essential to the politics of identity by which groups of people today, defining themselves by ethnicity, religion or the past or present borders of states, try to find some certainty in an uncertain and shaking world by saying, `We are different from and better than the Others.'
…. History is not ancestral memory or collective tradition. It is what people learned from priests, schoolmasters, the writers of history books and the compilers or magazine articles and television programmes. It is very important for historians to remember their responsibility, which is above all, to stand aside from the passions of identity politics -- even if we feel them also. After all, we are human beings too.
How serious an affair this may be is shown in a recent article by the Israeli writer Amos Elon about the way in which the genocide of the Jews by Hitler has been turned into a legitimizing myth for the existence of the state of Israel. More than this: in the years of right-wing government it was turned into a sort of national ritual assertion of Israel state identity and superiority and a central item of the official system of national beliefs, alongside God. Elon, who traces the evolution of the transformation of the concept of the `Holocaust' argues … that history must now be separated from national myth, ritual and politics.
As a non-Israeli, though a Jew, I express no views about this. However, as a historian I sadly note one observation by Elon. It is that the leading contributions to the scholarly historiography of the genocide, whether by Jews or non-Jews, were either not translated into Hebrew, like Hilberg's great work, or were translated only with considerable delay, and then sometimes with editorial disclaimers. The serious historiography of the genocide has not made it any less of unspeakable tragedy. It was merely at variance with the legitimizing myth.
Don’t Touch My Holocaust!
Hobsbawm could perhaps have emphasized far more that correct historiography can have value far beyond the country or regions that are the subjects. Genuine pre-state Zionist histories should investigate issues of
· development of a sense of ethnic identity,
· fabrication or obliteration of "national" memory and
· the creation of an imagined community.
As these processes take place in the case of Zionism particularly late in the history of European nationalism and with copious documentation, the study of pre-State Zionism can perhaps provide insight not only into the specifically European phenomena but also into general global phenomena or at least into some similar non-European situations like the development of Sikh ethnonational identity in Punjab.
Comparative history aside, the study of pre-State Zionism provides a unique window onto Central and Eastern European politics at one of the most critical periods in modern history as well as a magnifying glass on a racist Eastern European settler colonist movement and on the Eastern European settler colonists themselves in their interactions with a non-Western population. The history of the Zionist settlement may thus aid in understanding Czarist colonial imperialism and aspirations in Central and Southwest Asia and provide a comparison situation with French colonialist imperialist endeavors in Algeria.
Better histories of Zionism could have predictive value in the current Palestine conflict. Zionists have never been particularly imaginative.[i] The treatment of Arafat today parallels the Zionist demonization of al-Haj Amin al-Hussayni, the Mufti of Jerusalem during the Mandatory period. Zionist propaganda transformed the rather compliant Hussayni into a bogeyman. As a result Zionists could avoid dealing with any of the difficult ethical questions of their aggression against the native population because dealing with the bogeyman took precedence. The Barghouti trial is merely an attempt to reprise the trial of Eichmann, a Nazi war criminal, who was captured by Israeli spies and then brought to Israel to be tried. That case could have been concluded within two weeks, but Ben-Gurion wanted to make a show trial to mobilize the world opinion and the Israeli Jewish population. The Barghouti trial has the same purpose. Even the election of Sharon himself shows the inability of Zionists to develop new ideas in response to new situations, for the Israeli Jewish electorate facing difficult questions has chosen to depend on a member of the generation of ethnic cleansers from 50 years ago and not to rely on their current leadership.
Sharon himself simply follows the logic of the Iron Wall that Jabotinsky, one of the primary pre-State Zionist leaders, articulated from 1916 through 1923. This idea assumes "What is impossible is voluntary agreement." Zionists must work for "the establishment in Palestine of a force which will in no way be influence by Arab pressure. In other words, the only way to achieve a settlement in the future is total avoidance of attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present." This strategy as first clearly articulated by Jabotinsky 80 years ago[ii] and as reiterated by Sharon today is completely incompatible with the goal of globalization as espoused and supported by the USA.
It is hard for an educated American citizen even to notice the recourse of Israeli Jews to outmoded and failed strategies. Because of laziness of textbook writers or because of Zionist manipulation, in the USA the historiography of the ME at least at the high school and to a large extent at university level conforms to Zionist ideology, has little factual basis and even less interpretive value. One could say that the discourse on the ME in the USA is Zionist through and through. It is a serious problem in a republic that must depend on an informed public.
As long as US strategic foreign policy is hitched to Israel, whether an American citizen supports the alliance between the USA and Israel or opposes it, he must be distressed by the inadequacy of Jewish studies in America because he must have a good background in Judaica in order to make an informed judgment on this policy. Jewish studies dominated by racists, tribalists and Zionists have simply failed the obligation to educate Americans. The wrong questions are debated while important questions are not posed.
Figure 1 Zionist Dictionary of the English Language
Because of Zionist control of the discourse, obvious facts become the subject of dispute.
Zionism is a racist Ideology
Zionism presupposes that Jewish historical, ethnic or national rights to Palestine are superior to the human rights of the native population.
The first edition of the American Heritage Dictionary defines racism[iii] as follows.
|The notion that one’s ethnic stock is superior.|
The assertion that one group’s rights are superior to another group’s rights is tantamount to the claim that the former group is superior to the latter group. Zionism is a racist ideology as matter of standard dictionary definitions that American journalists and political leaders simply ignore (viz Figure 1). It is hard to be more explicitly racist than Zionist ideology. Zionists dispute the point because in our culture it is acceptable to hate racism, racists and those that support racism. Simple application of dictionary definitions and basic rules of logic like modus ponens show that hostility toward the Zionist state, Zionists and those that support Zionism is perfectly legitimate and as meritorious by modern standards as despising any form of racism.
His Fraudulency, The Unelected President and Thief, Is a Dope
President Bush created perhaps even a stupider more vacuous debate than the non-question of the racism of Zionist ideology when he claimed that "they" hate our freedom and individuality. In the aftermatch of the WTC attack, "they" was supposed to mean Ossama bin Laden and his followers, but talking heads and political commentators quickly expanded the range of meaning to include Arabs, Muslims or some generalized third-world "other."
1. They do not hate our freedom.
2. As Karen Armstrong points out, at the beginning of the century, western politics, economics, society and culture were admired.[iv]
3. They do hate Israel with perfect legitimacy. (Just check out the Bible.)
תְבֹרָךְ לֹא וְאַחֲרִיתָהּ בָּרִאשֹׁנָה מְבֹחֶלֶת נַחֲלָה: 20:21 (Proverbs) מִשׁלֵי . The verse tells us in a loose translation that is faithful to the meaning, "If you steal a legacy that is not yours, you will be hated [more literally its end result will not be blessed/secure]."
4. The USA is allied with Israel or, to be more accurate, maintains Israel as a colony. If the USA supports bad people and a bad country, the USA will be hated.
5. The USA inspires hatred
a. by forestalling Arab political development through the sponsorship of despots that long ago would have been overthrown but for US interference and
b. by murdering Arabs directly and indirectly in Iraq for a decade while its Zionist colonial surrogate has oppressed, brutalized and murdered the native Arab population of Palestine for over 50 years.
6. They hate US policy with perfect justice, and so should Americans as well.
7. The closed-minded bigotry, ignorance and arrogance of the Bush administration does not improve the general world impression of the President, his policy, the USA or Americans.
The Bully Pulpit Betrayed
Bush is not alone in obscuring the basic facts. If practically all the main political, intellectual, journalistic and academic leaders were not misleading the public not merely on the core racist nature of Zionist ideology but also on practically all other major issues, the basic facts would be obvious.
· Zionist settler colonists stole the greater portion of Palestine from the native population in 1947-8, and they continue the program to this day.
· The settlers ethnically cleansed the native population from areas under their control in 1947-8 and have continued the program ever since.
· They plundered the native population in 1947-8 and have continued the program ever since.
· They have been committing pogroms against the native population since 1947-8 and have continued the policy ever since.
· The state of Israel sends death squads to murder the best and the brightest of Palestinians in territories under Israeli control and throughout the world.
Zionists Are The Bad Guys!! And the USA should switch sides in the conflict. A competent statesman in the White House would have all the means at hand to direct American public opinion against Zionism and the State of Israel as well as to act against those organizations that support Zionist racism, aggression and terrorism.
Almost everyone that tries to discuss the issues rationally quickly runs into the first wall of anachronism and obfuscation. However one attempts to describe Jews, whether as a race, an ethnic group, a people, a Volk, a territorial population, a nation or a religion, a Zionist interlocutor will invariably object according to the following rule.
|Pick the definition of Jews that best serves the specific Zionist argument at the time.|
Not only does Zionism control the discourse about Palestine and related issues in the USA; it also attempts to control the English language as used in the discussion.
The Greco-Roman Anachronism: Jews or יהודים, ’Iουδαϊοι, Idaei
Biblical Israel[v] and the associated Greco-Roman Judean religion of a later period simply were not Jewish as we understand it today. When talking about the Greco-Roman period and earlier,[vi] one should never employ the term Jew, which belongs to a much later time frame. The correct word is Judean, from which Jew derives etymologically. The meaning of Judean in the Greco-Roman period is subject to much debate. I can only assume modern scholars simply do not have much command of classical idiomatic usage, for Judean had the same range of definitions as Roman had then and still has today. Generally, Roman could imply residence in Rome, descent from residents of Roman, practice of a religion or culture perceived as Roman or citizenship in the Roman Empire. Likewise Judean could imply residence in Judea or descent from former residents of Judea. It could refer to people whose religious practices were connected or originating with Judea as well as to the subjects of the King of Judea.
Greco-Roman Judean religion has approximately the same connection to modern Rabbinic Judaism that ancient Roman religion, which was centered on the worship of Jupiter, has to modern Roman religion, which is generally called Roman Catholicism. People that observed Roman, Greek or Judean religious or cultic practices in ancient times rarely had ancestry that traced to Rome, Greece or Judea just as few Roman Catholics today are Roman in the sense of residing in Rome or of having ancestors that came from Rome.
Most Judeans in Greco-Roman times were Judean by religious practice, did not live in Judea or Palestine and were neither Judean nor Palestinian by ancestry or by residence. The majority of the population in Palestine was not Judean by religion although sometimes the people of Palestine or of Judea are described as Judean in a purely territorial sense even when they do not practice Judean religious ritual. Most cultic Judeans lived in Mesopotamia (i.e., Iraq) and were the descendants of non-Judean non-Palestinian populations that took up Judean cultic practices. Most Judeans of the Roman Empire were Greek-speaking and were the descendants of non-Judean non-Palestinian populations that practiced variants of Judean religion. The Romans did not expel Judeans from Palestine.
Modern Palestinians are descendants of ancient Roman period Judeans (in the territorial sense) or Palestinians of all religions. They were gradually Christianized and then Islamized like all other Middle East populations. Zionist racists, tribalists and propagandists in the media and in academic promote a false primordialist equation between modern Jews and ancient Judeans in order to justify or to legitimize the theft of Palestine from the native population by European settler colonists.[vii] Even though the primordialist argument is fundamentally nonsensical even if true (to wit, no one believes Vienna should be handed over to the Irish because the founders were Celts), such primordialism characterizes most Central and Eastern European nationalism of which Zionism is a particular extreme example. Radical German nationalists attempted to equate modern Germans with ancient Teutonic tribes even though modern Germans have probably more Celtic and Slavic ancestry than anything that can be considered Teutonic and even though we know that there was considerable Hunnish settlement of Bavaria. Polish nationalists had their own comparable version of primordialist nonsense and claimed to be reviving the Medieval Rzeczpospolita (Republic) while extremist Rumanian nationalists try to equate modern Rumania with ancient Roman Dacia.
The implicit content of primodialist claims is the assertion that Jews, Germans, Poles or Rumanians as the extremist nationalists define them were there first and that their rights are superior to those of anyone else in the lands the nationalists claim. The counterfactual Zionist primordialist propaganda that pertains to Biblical and Greco-Roman times has tended to be most effective with the most ignorant and gullible of American fundamentalist Christians.
The Medieval Anachronism: Jews or יהודים, ’Iουδαϊοι, Idaei, اليهود
Despite the uninformed beliefs of most Christians and Jews, modern Rabbinic Judaism crystallizes in the 10th century C.E. thanks to the efforts of Saadya Gaon and other 10th century sages and emissaries from the Gaonic academies of Mesopotamia. From then on it becomes legitimate to use the term Jew in lieu of Judaean. This time period was a general age of theological consolidation for cultures derived from ancient Hellenism. Christian theology attained its final form in the Roman West and the Byzantine East with the exception of developments of the Protestant Reformation. The stimulus for such consolidation among Christians and Jews may have been the finalization of Islamic theology with the rejection of the doctrine of المُعْتَزِلَة (the Mu`tazilah). We can only speculate why the Geonic form of Judean religion became dominant as modern Rabbinic Judaism, but there is evidence from Geniza studies that the Geonim were in communication with elite of the Khazar Turks, who seem to have converted en masse to Judean religion between the 8th and 9th centuries as they migrated westward from Central Asia into the Ukraine and then into the Balkans. The Khazar elite may have provided funding to the Geonic academies, whose form of Judean religion thus had a tremendous advantage over forms of Judean religion like modern Karaitism in the competition for the hearts and minds of adherents of Judean religion.
Modern Rabbinic Judaism could well be a product developed jointly by a collaboration of the Geonim and the Khazar Turks. Even if not, modern Rabbinic Judaism is still properly understood as the youngest of the Abrahamic religions. It originates in the Diaspora, and its natural environment is the Diaspora. The Zionist assertion of having returned (Rabbinic) Judaism to its native soil is about as anachronistic as a claim can be and serves as nationalistic propaganda that is most effective among Jews whose origins are Central and Eastern Europe.
Anachronism Upon Anachronism: יהודים, ’Iουδαϊοι, Idaei, اليهود
During and subsequent to the time period when communities practicing Judean and related rites became modern Rabbinic or modern Karaite Jews, there is no evidence of any migration from the Middle East or N. Africa to medieval Central or Eastern Europe except for a small migration into France from Egypt and N. Africa during the late 12th and early 13th century and another migration into Hungary during the 100 year occupation by the Ottoman Empire that ends in the middle 16th century.
Figure 2 The migrations of Ashkenazim in Central and Eastern Europe.
All archeological, historical, ethnographic, linguistic and textual evidence available to us is consistent with the assumption that Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, most of whom later came to be known as Ashkenazim, have practically no ancestry from the ancient Palestinian Judean communities of the Greco-Roman period or earlier. Jews in Central and Eastern Europe were an indigenous population whose Germanic, Slavic, Turkic, Celtic and Romanic ancestors assumed some form of Judean cultic practices long ago and then were subsequently Judaicized to Rabbic Judaism like almost all populations that practiced some form of the ancient Judean religious rites.
At first only Jews in the region bounded by the Rhine, Danube and Elbe called themselves Ashkenazim (viz Figure 3). There is a good possibility that many early Judean-rite immigrants to this region came from the Turkic Khazar Empire, for the time frame of the founding of the Ashkenazi communities in German territories corresponds roughly to a period of increasing practice of Judean rituals within the Khazar Empire and continuing migration of Eastern populations westward. There is also considerable archeological evidence of western migration of refugees when the Empire finally dissolved and was overrun.
Ashkenazi is a Hellenistic Judean Hebrew-Aramaic term for Scythian (also known as Ashguzai), Turk, Phryigians, Mysians and Ascanians. Geographically, the term is associated with Southern Russia, Western Turkey and parts of the Balkans. During the period of the Khazar Empire, Khazars that practiced Judean rites probably called themselves Ashkenazim because of this traditional terminology. Khazar immigrants to Central Europe could have joined already existing pre-Ashkenazi communties of Celts and Germans that followed some form of Judean or related religion. Probably, Khazar immigrants, associated with the activities of Radanite merchants, dominated these communities economically, intellectually and culturally. As Central European populations that practiced pre-modern Judean cults were gradually Judaized to modern Rabbinic Judaism, they forgot their actual origins like many other European populations. When only memory remained of the name by which the dominant element described itself, all Central European Jews came to be known as Ashkenazim, and the Central European German speaking region became the original territory of Ashkenaz.
Before Eastern Europe became the eastern region of greater Ashkenaz, it was a major source of slaves during the Medieval period and was at first known as Canaan in Jewish writings because Hellenistic Judean Aramaic used Canaanite as a common term for slave just as most Medieval European languages and Medieval Arabic used some variant of the word Slav as the word for slave.
There were some basic differences between Ashkenaz and Canaan simply because the Ashkenaz region was mostly Germanic linguistically while Canaan in the early period was mostly Slavic in terms of language, but the critical historical divergence between Central and Eastern Europe takes place in 1648.
The Treaty of Westphalia, which ended The Thirty Years War, had the effect of excluding religion as a cause for war in Western and Central Europe.
The Chmielnicki Rebellion results in a series of slaughters of Polish Roman Catholics, Polish Jews and Ukrainian Orthodox. Relations among the three groups begin a long downward slide. Confessionalism, which is religious hatred without religious belief, takes root in Eastern Europe as a precursor to the development of modern ethnic identities.
Figure 3 from A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names by Alexander Beider
The short-term consequences of Chmielnicki Rebellion included the absorption of Poland and the Ukraine into the empires of the Prussian Hohenzollerns, the Austrian Habsburgs and the Russian Romanovs while Jewish Canaan completed its merger into Ashkenaz. As a result, Eastern European Jews finished the linguistic shift from derivatives of West Yiddish and from Slavic (as well as possibly Turkic, Romanic or Yavanic) languages to East Yiddish, which is basically a Germanoslavic creole or fusion language. Nowadays, practically all Jews whose origins lie in Central and Eastern Europe are considered Ashkenazim.
In the long-range the effects of the Treaty of Westphalia and the Chmielnicki Rebellion defined the 19th century evolution of modern nationalism, which demanded that the nation and the state must be congruent.
· France and the UK, belonging wholly to the area of the Treaty, developed a secular civil or voluntary nationalism according to which citizenship conferred membership in the nation,
· Germans, whose territories came to span the regions of the Treaty and the Rebellion, tended toward secular organic nationalism according to which the idividual was analogous to a cell in the organic body of the nation and the state was identified with a specific ethnonational group, and
· Eastern Europeans including Ashkenazim developed a confessional organic nationalism according to which the specific ethnonational group to which the state belongs was strictly defined on confessional boundaries even though religious belief declined precipitously among Eastern Europeans during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Figure 4 Khazaria at its greatest extent
The pattern of secularity and confessionalism among Central and Eastern Europeans held true even during Nazi persecultions of European Jews. Nazi Germans claimed to abuse Jews on strictly racial groups while Eastern European collaborators generally showed strong confessional tendencies in their persecutions.
Obviously, modern Ashkenazi history no more takes place in a vacuum than Greco-Roman Judean history, but modern historiography of Ashkenazim is flawed not only by anachronism as Hobsbawm points out but by exceptionalism and omission. Exceptionalism is probably either Zionist or racist in origin. Omission is characteristic of all false and propaganda histories. Zionist historians have gotten away with this sort of intellectual dishonesty for far too long.
Exceptionalist histories of Ashkenazim avoid connecting Ashkenazi social, political, intellectual and economic history to the Central and Eastern European environments in which they lived. Exceptionalist history serves Zionist purposes because prejudiced historians and propagandist can avoid interpreting Zionist ideology and actions as part of the general tapestry of European aggression, imperialism and colonialism against the non-Western world. Instead such exceptionalist pseudohistorians can portray well-meaning Zionist settlers as merely reacting to groundless savagery and hostility according to the Zionist formula popularized by Herzl in Altneuland. At the same time such exceptionalist histories are fundamentally racist because they follow a standard Judeophobic racist formual that Ashkenazim are non-Europeans that have no place in Europe.
In the non-exceptionalist history of the 17th and 18th century, Ashkenazim in Central and Eastern Europe faced the common issues related to modernization of traditional societies just like all other Central and Eastern Europeans. For the most part Ashkenazim selected one of three possible responses. The earliest and most commonly chosen reaction was Enlightenment (השכלה) and assimilation. Most Eastern European and practically all German and Austrian Ashkenazim selected this path, which was particularly easy for the latter group because there were no major ethnolinguistic destinctions between German-Austrian Ashkenazim and other German-speakers and because most German nationalists had no inclination to exclude German Ashkenazim from German ethnicity or identity until the later part of the 19th century. German Ashkenazim were Germans just like German Protestants or German Roman Catholics, and Ashkenazi identity in Germany was purely religious.
Somewhat later Yiddishism developed as a particularly Eastern European populist Ashkenazi response to modernization. Yiddishism developed into several distinct movements that sought Yiddish cultural autonomy in various forms. Yiddishism was an expression of the developing Eastern European Ashkenazi ethnic identity that was distinct from Jewish religious identity and unprecedented in the history of Jewish religion since the 10th century. Zionism was primarily an even later development among a very small group of elitist Central and Eastern European Ashkenazi intellectuals that were estranged both from Jewish religion and from Eastern European Ashkenazi culture. Such Ashkenazi intellectuals are typically called non-Jewish Jews, but they are more correctly identified as non-Jewish Ashkenazim. The animosity between Yiddishists and Zionists was immense in practically every way (viz Figure 5).
Zionism like practically all other 19th century Eastern European nationalist movements makes its first appearance as a rerun and translation of Polish nationalist ideology into Ashkenazi terms. The Medieval Polish Rzeczpospolita (Republic) provides the archetype of the anachronistic mythological lost nation state that must be restored. Even though important Polish nationalists had proto-Zionist or Zionist beliefs and even canvassed the Polish Ashkenazi community for support of both Polish nationalism and also of Zionism, no history of Zionism mentions the connection of Polish nationalism with early Zionist thought while the standard histories like those of Walter Laqueur, Howard Sachar or Arthur Hertzberg dig up a long list of fairly implausible Jewish forerunners of Zionist ideas. This effort looks more like a dishonest attempt to establish the internal Jewish legitimacy of Zionism and to deny the connection with Polish nationalism than to provide historical illumination.
To find mention of the possible influence of Polish politics on Polish Jews, one must search outside the standard histories of Zionism or of Ashkenazim in texts of general European political history like Fire in the Minds of Men by James H. Billington or in Polish language biographies and memoirs of Polish nationalist leaders. The absense of investigation of the Polish influence in the origins of Zionism may be symptomatic of the anti-Polish and anti-Slav prejudice of many historians that specialize in Jewish studies.
Polish nationalism is hardly the only Slavic influence or source for proto-Zionism or early Zionism. The influence of Russian culture is fairly obvious although hardly ever mentioned in the standard histories of Zionism. Czar Alexander II encouraged a very Palestine oriented form of Russian Orthodoxy especially in the 1870s and sponsored the pilgrimage of tens of thousands of Russians to Palestine. Shortly after the institution of this program the ציון חבת (Love of Zion) movement appears among Russian Jews. The development of Zionism among Russian Ashkenazim could be a symptom of the thoroughness of the Czarist Russianization program that had made Russian the primary language of most of the world’s Jews by 1905. The absense of discussion of the influence of Russian social, political and religious culture in the development of early Zionist thought suggests anti-Russian or anti-Slavic bias and a conscious distortion of the history of Zionism by historians associated with Jewish studies.
The Known Facts
There is no doubt that German, Austrian and Russian social, political and intellectual culture served as the main influence on the three primary leaders of Zionism from the 1890s through the first decades of the 20th century, for Herzl the journalist, Nordau the social critic and Жаботинский (Jabotinsky) the literateur were the most non-Jewish of Ashkenazim. Like most German, Austrian and Russian intellectuals of the fin de siécle, they were all anti-bourgeois, anti-liberal, collectivist, anti-democratic and social Darwinist. Even though in their own minds they were very much members of the European elite and men of great personal achievement, they found themselves excluded from the highest ranks of German, Austrian and Russian society in a manner somewhat analogous to the treatment of Burakumin in Japan or Hakka in China. For such cultured men espousing "primitive" Eastern European Ashkenazi Yiddishism was simply out of the question.
Figure 5 The literary battleground between Yiddishists and Zionists.
Instead, they redefined the Eastern European Ashkenazi ethnic group as the Pan-Judaic Jewish nation on Pan-German and Russian Pan-Slavic models.,[viii] Herzl was quite frank in his diary that German and Austrian Ashkenazim, who were not a Volk or Race in the Pan-German sense, would have to be shaped into a nation. Naturally, Herzl, who was developing a primordialist pan-Judaic fiction of ancient Jewish glory for Zionists, found inspiration in Wagner’s attempt to create a modern myth of a heroic German past for romantic nationalist pan-Germanists.
Herzl’s pan-Judaic Zionism looks like a combination of the ideas of Western European and perhaps Russian imperialist colonialism[ix] with the pan-German ideology of the Austrian politician and racist anti-Semite Georg Ritter von Schönerer, who founded the Pan-German party, a direct ancestor of the Nazi party and who achieved the rank for which Herzl longed. Herzl’s newspaper, Die Neue Freie Presse, carried many stories about von Schönerer and his party.[x] A genuine historian that sought the inspiration and model for Herzl’s Zionism would probably investigate connections between Herzl and von Schönerer and not waste time on insignificant rabbis or Ashkenazi eccentrics like Moses Hess in a propagandistic effort to provide a Jewish lineage and legitimacy for Herzl’s ideas.
The origins of Nordau’s and Jabotinsky’s ideas come no less from the Austrian, German and Russian cultural milieu than Herzl’s. The nation, body and violence worship of the racist anti-Semite Turnvater Jahn, who founded the German nationalist gymnastic movement in the early 19th century, apparently had a strong influence on both Nordau and Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky was fortunate in developing his form of Zionist ideology in the Russian culture millieu from whose models of gunpowder imperialism, colonialism and expansionism he could draw directly.
The fascination that racist anti-Semites held for the three patriarchs of Zionism is not a little bizarre but does make sense in terms of their personal belief systems and of their goals for European Ashkenazim. The attraction that anti-Semitic public personalities exerted over them is also not particularly hard to document even though it rarely appears in Zionist histories. Nordau had a particularly long-standing, somewhat twisted and probably sexual relationship with the rather notorious Russian anti-Semite Olga von Novikoff, to whom he dedicated his play The Right to Love.
The Scary Story
Jabotinsky’s thought and behavior crosses the line from the peculiar and disconcerting to the scary. His writings of the naughts and teens were far more creative and innovative than either Herzl or Nordau. A lot of this material is either not translated or is badly translated from Russian to English or to Hebrew. "Сионизм и Палестина" ("Sionizm i Palestina" - Zionism and Palestine) in Еврейская Жизнь (Evreiskaia zhizn' - Hebrew Life), no. 2 (February 1904), p. 205, proclaims a very strong primordialist blood and soil form of nationalism.
[The] tie between Zionism and Zion is for us not only an ineradicably strong instinct, but also an empirically proven consequence of strictly positivist study (пробньи, законньи вывод строго-позитивного размышление -- probnyi, zakonnyi vyvod strogo-pozitivnogo razmyshlenie).
Subsequent discussion combines the blood and soil logic with social Darwinism to create a very basic form of biological determinism. In short, Jabotinsky develops in the naughts a political ideology that combines extremist organic nationalism, primordialism, biological determinism and social Darwinism. Zionist historians either credulously or disingenuously describe Jabotinksy’s occasional and perfunctory protestations of devotion to democracy, liberalism and Enlightenment ideals to English-speaking audiences as indicative of his fundamental beliefs. Yet, in Russian Jabotinsky never wavered in his anti-democratic anti-bourgeois anti-liberal ideals. In short Jabotinsky created about two decades in anticipation of Hitler a complete abstract form of Nazism. Labor Zionists were correct when they called him Vladimir Hitler with the qualification that Jabotinsky’s abstract Nazism is an independent creation and crystallizes earlier than German Nazism.
Americans incorrectly view Nazism as a uniquely horrible movement that requires singularly evil political leaders. In reality Nazism is just a specific conglomeration of 19th century fin de siécle ideas. Nazism can occur over and over again if we fail to keep guard against it. The component ideas of Nazism suffused the intellectual milieu of Central and Eastern Europe. Jews and Non-Jews were equally likely to incorporate them into their Weltanschauungen.,[xi] The ideology of Sharon and his government, with which the USA is allied, is on the straight line of development from Jabotinsky’s abstract Nazism. If one understands Modern Israeli Hebrew and German, the similarity of political discourse in Israel and 1930s Germany is quite striking. Despite the portrayal in US media there is hardly any debate about transfer among Israeli Jewish politicians. Usually, the discussion focuses mostly on manner and on means.[xii]
Exceptionalism and Omission: A Fantasy Pretending to Be History
The disconnection between reality and American perception of Zionism directly relates to the Zionist control of the historical and political analysis taught in American universities. The indoctrination then percolates outward into primary and secondary school education as well as into the journalistic and popular media. Two examples can show some of the perniciousness of Zionist historiography. A conscientious college course whose topic related to Zionism might include readings from The Founding Myths of Israel by Zeev Sternhell or from Zionism and the Arabs 1882 - 1948, A Study of Ideology, by Yosef Gorny, for these two books are probably the best of Zionist historiography, and there is some internal evidence that at a conscious level both authors tried to transcend the mindset of Zionist propaganda and write genuine history even though they were mostly unsuccessful.
Sternhell is one of the leading experts on late 19th and early 20th European political movements of which Zionism is one example. The Founding Myths of Israel purports to be a genuine history of the development of Labor Zionist ideology even as it makes an internal Israeli political argument for a new civil nationalist form of Zionism. The political argument is mostly irrelevant to the topic of pre-state Zionist historiography while the actual concept that Sternhell advocates is oxymoronic. As an historian Sternhell made his reputation with several books and papers on the origin and development of fascist and nationalist socialist thought. In the historical framework that Sternhell has developed, nationalist socialism is a nationalist revision of Marxist socialism according to which the class struggle is transcended via national revival while fascism combines opposition to bourgeois democracy with extremist organic nationalism, nationalist socialism and state corporatism, which places industry and agriculture under the collective control of worker syndics or unions in coordination with the government.
The Founding Myths has some value in its discussion and analysis of Labor Zionist ideology, but for the most part, it tends consciously or unconcsiously to subtle Zionist propaganda and disinformation. Sternhell admits facts that are harmless or indisputable. He notes that the Zionist linguistic program is fairly typical of Eastern European nationalist political movments. He admits that the Labor Zionist ideologist Berl Katznelson plagiarized ideas from the Henri de Man, the leader of Belgian fascism. Sternhell even admits that the Zionist state is racist albeit somewhat cravenly, for he uses the German word völkisch instead of plain English. Yet, The Founding Myths remains a unique example of Zionist exceptionalism, for Sternhell fails to apply to Labor Zionism the same intellectual apparatus by which he analyses fascist and nationalist socialist movements or ideologies in Neither Right nor Left and his other publications. Thus, Sternhell’s own historical analysis of Zionism is exceptionalist with regard to Sternhell’s own historical analysis outside Zionism.
When readers have asked Sternhell to explain why Labor Zionism is not a fascist ideology, Sternhell simply lies. He claims that Labor Zionists were not anti-democratic. The main Labor Zionist ideologist Victor Arlosoroff did not conceal his anti-democratic political positions while Labor Zionists invariably opposed the creation of local democractic political structures in Palestine whenever the issue came up in discussions with the Mandatory government, and it is certainly impossible to call any movement democratic whose first act in achieving state power is the ethnic cleansing of the majority of the population. But Sternhell makes most of his argument by ommision, for he fails to place Zionism in the Eastern European context, where Fascist movements and ideologists under the influence of the myth of the ancient Polish Rzeczpospolita have generally preferred a formal democracy that concealed an undemocratic political military oligarchy to outright antidemocratic political forms and structures.
From the creation of the State of Israel through the 60s the oligarchic structure of the Israeli state has been obvious, for citizens were given the option of voting for party lists chosen by the parties. Later, the Zionist government has used more subtle means to discount the votes of non-Zionist elements of the population especially as the native proportion of the population has increased. In a genuine democracy, we would expect the government of the state to change as the demography of the state changes. In non-democratic states like Israel the political leadership develops a strategy to change the demography of the state to maintain the power of political elite.
Despite its problems Sternhell’s work has a lot of value, but Gorny’s has less. It is a measure of the quality of pre-State Zionist historiography that this text has become more or less the standard work from which Hebrew and English speakers learn this area of ideological history. Even Finkelstein cites him rather uncritically. Zionism and the Arabs embodies every questionable aspect of Zionist historiography. The least of its flaws is the use of ideological terminology in the presentation of an "alleged" history of ideological development. The book uses expressions like "return of Jews to Palestine" rather than "emigration of Ashkenazim to Palestine."
Gorny is a complete and utter historical exceptionalist. He is blind how Slavic racist the Zionist theory of relations with the native population is. The argument whether Palestinians are a genuine nation show the typical logic by which Slavic nationalists deny minorities national or cultural rights. Extremist Slavic nationalists invariably casuistically describe people whose rights are to be denied as a народность (nationality) and not as a народ (nation).
Gorny unlike Sternhell is also blind how thoroughy German völkisch racist Zionist ideology about relations with the native population is. The argument whether Palestinians are a genuine people or defined only negatively in response to Zionism evinces the typical logic that German racists applied to Ashkenazim when they argued that Ashkenazim were a Gegenvolk (i.e., an anti-people) and not a genuine Volk (i.e., a people in the racial spiritual sense of German Romanticism)?
Gorny simply ignores the effects of the Nazi persecutions on Zionist ideology. When one reads Zionist literature of the 40s or often even earlier, one cannot help but notice that Palestinians had become surrogates in the thinking of many of the Palestine-resident Zionist leaders for all the supposed European persecutors of Ashkenazim in the false "pogrom and persecution" version of Ashkenazi history that Ashkenazim commonly believe. It is simply mind-boggling that the UN could propose in 1947 to place so many Arabs under the rule of people so likely to view them as reasonable targets of revenge for every real and imagined grievance against someone else.
Nevertheless, according to Gorny’s narrative Zionist leaders are invariably moderate and reasonable while Arab leaders are extreme, unreasonably and unwilling to negotiate. He omits to mention that Shakib Arslan as an agent al-Hussayni and later various Syrian Nationalists offered to facilitate the immigration of Ashkenazim into Arab countries if Zionists would renounce the goal of making Palestine a Jewish state. Arabs offered Ashkenazim more in the way of refuge than the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia or anyone else, but this fact is absent from practically all histories of the Pre-State Zionism because it belies "the compelling necessity" argument for Zionism. Gorny dismisses pre-State Arab attempts to negotiate just as Barak did at Camp David. Like most Zionists Gorny does not permit the facts to interfere with his worldview.
Gorny includes the usual counterfactual nonsense that the rumor of the murder of an Arab boy by a Zionist settler immensely disturbed העם אחד (Ahad Haam, Asher Ginzburg) even though there is no evidence whatsoever that Ashkenazim were any less violent than other Eastern and Central Europeans. In Eastern Europe throughout the 19th century and 20th century, Ashkenazim took part in revolutionary and terrorist violence just like all other Eastern European ethnic groups. In Palestine during the teens Ashkenazi שומרים had no reluctance to use violence, terrorism and intimidation to claim property illegitimately or to deny Palestinians their legitimate non-title rights to land use.
Many Ashkenazim served in WW1 on both sides. There is no reason to believe that demobilized young Ashkenazi males were any less violent than demobilized German, Austrian and Eastern European soldiers, who formed private militias. The Yiddish novel, Steel and Iron by I.J. Singer, centers about such a tough former Jewish soldier. It is a great novel that portrays a very different reality than the Zionist anti-Diaspora ideology of passive and weak Diaspora Jews. Such Zionist anti-Diaspora attitudes represent genuine irrational anti-Semitism unlike the Palestinian anti-Zionist resistance, which is simply a normal reaction to murderous genocidal racism and theft.
Not only does Gorny ignore 19th and early 20th century history of Ashkenazim in Europe, he fails to contextualize the Zionist ideology of the relationship with native Palestinians in the framework of Eastern and Central European Orientalist discourse, particularly that which is associated with Russian imperialism and colonialism in Central Asia. Nowadays, scholars probably do not put the Prussian or Austrian policy of colonization, domination and Germanization in Eastern Europe in the same category as European colonialism and imperialism in the 3rd world, but in the 19th century the similarities were undeniable, and Ashkenazim were often in the position of local collaborators with the foreign Austrian or Prussian overlords. One could argue that Herzl’s Altneuland was a sort of personal advertisement of a would-be colonial surrogate population for an imperial motherland.
Because Germany and Austria had no imperial possessions, German Orientalism of the Ancient and Modern Middle East or India was generally accounted a subspecialty of Classics and therefore tended to relegate even modern Arabic cultures to a non-living status. German Ashkenazi Zionists steeped in German Semitics had no problems in denying the national and human rights of the members of dead cultures. German Indology, which had a direct input into Nazi theories of Aryan superiority, probably also had indirect influence on Zionism through the idea of Umvolkung or population supplantation as it developed in extremist German nationalist discourse to justify the displacement of inferior races.
Gorny disregards completely this ideological framework, which first appears among Zionist ideologists during the naughts and the teens in discussions of the transfer or removal of Arabs. German Nationalists called such a process Umvolkung or population supplantation. Hitler’s Professors[xiii] by Max Weinreich describes in detail the Nazi Umvolkung program. Landeskunde or knowledge of country was the linchpin of this program, whose first step comprised dispatching academics and archeologists to find archeological evidence of ancient ancestors. The historical presence of ancient Teutons or the shedding of Germanic blood in a region would be verified to justify replacement of the current residents with German settlers. Thus, German academic Landeskunde was an intimate part of the racist German theory and practice of relations with subordinate non-Germans.
הארץ ידיעת (yedi`at ha’arets, a loan translation of Landeskunde) is the transference of racist German practices and theory to the Zionist context of relations with Palestinians. הארץ ידיעת provides the evidence for the claim of superior rights of Ashkenazim to Palestine as Zionist leaders like Jabotinsky claimed on "a strictly positivist basis." If Zionism had not been so murderous and genocidal, there would almost be something sad and pathetic that a population like Eastern Eruopean Ashkenazim would be so ashamed of their own history that they would deny their own heritage and attempt to claim or to steal the history and heritage of another people.
Unfortunately, in the case of Zionism conflicted Ashkenazi feelings about their genuine ancestry lead to massive brutality and heinous crimes. From appropriating the archeological and historical sites of Palestine,,[xiv] it was only a small step to stealing the property, expelling the population and destroying the evidence physical presence of the native population. הארץ ידיעת provides the basic ideological legitimization of Zionist expulsion of the native population of Palestine, which in current Israeli discourse is still the final solution to the Arab question within Zionism just as expulsion was the Nazi solution to the Jewish problem up to 1939.[xv]
הארץ ידיעת directly ties Zionist ideology to German racist and Nazi ideology of purifying the lands of Eastern Europe of non-Germans. Yet, there is no mention of הארץ ידיעת or Umvolkung in a book that claims to be a study of ideology but is like practically all pre-State Zionist historiography really a whitewashing of a fundamentally racist genocidal program of colonial aggression against an innocent and inoffensive Arab population. Such historiography makes it possible to portray crimes against humanity as a just and heroic endeavor in which Zionist Ashkenazim and their supporters should take pride.
The failings and distortions associated with the Zionist historiography, of which Sternhell and Gorny are in some sense the best examples, have obvious consequences and repercussions for American historical and political debate as well as the popular culture from which most Americans learn their history and develop their political choices.
…what people learned from … the writers of history books…
The excerpt in Figure 6 from a standard junior high school history textbook used in the Boston public school system shows how the Zionist control of historical discourse affects pre-college education. This item is hardly the worst example of questionable analysis contained in the book, but it is exceptionally pithy. Boston students do not learn history; they receive religious indoctrination and study Zionist legitimization narratives or myths.
This particular textbook is implicitly primordialist. It does not explicitly say that modern Israeli Jews are descended from Ancient Jews or Israelites, but why would anyone reading the text assume otherwise? Even if modern Ashkenazim were the descendants of Greco-Roman natives of Judea - as we know they are not -- does it make sense for people to attempt to claim the lands where their ancestors might have lived thousands of years ago? The text does not address this question, but the Bush administration answered the question at Durban at the UN World Conference Against Racism where it argued that for the sake of progress and economic development claims for compensation for events from only 200 years ago must be stayed or allowed to lapse.
Figure 6, World History, Patterns of Interaction, McDougal Littel, p. 75.,[xvi]
… what people learned from … television programmes [and movies] …
The ill effects of Zionist control of the political and historical discourse hardly cease with pre-college education. Americans are constantly bombarded with false and racist depictions of the conflict in the Middle East by the popular media. No one should wonder why American political leaders consistently side with Zionists on the question of Palestine. The following list of American produced and directed films shows how much Hollywood has assimilated or absorbed Zionist myths, attitudes and beliefs into its products for dissemination into the American and world market. [xvii]
· Exodus (1960, UA) is practically a course in Labor Zionist הסברה or propaganda. It goes through practically all the standard false claims to justify Zionist Ashkenazi colonization and aggression against the native population of Palestine. It shows the de rigeur association of Nazis with the anti-Zionist resistance although in point of fact Zionists themselves tried very hard to work with Nazi Germany and did so fairly effectively until 1939 while al-Hussayni, when he finally approched the Nazis for aid, was fairly quickly dispatched to Bosnia, where he did not speak the language when he tried to approach Germany for aid.
Both the director Otto Preminger and the author Leon Uris had many revisionist associations. Therefore, it is not too surprising that Exodus contains a justification of Zionist terrorism that in 2002 underscores the hypocrisy of the Israeli and American Ashkenazi reactions to legitimate terrorism against the State of Israel. Like most Hollywood movies that contain the theme of nation creation, the movie ends with a poignant sacrifice for the sake of the nation. Exodus is particularly creative in this regard because one of the martyrs on behalf of Zionism is a Zionist Arab. Exodus is exceptionally explicit in sending the message that the USA should get in bed with Israel.
· The relatively insignificant Operation Eichmann (1961, Allied Artists) followed Exodus into popular distribution. It is supposed to provide the story of the capture in 1960 of Eichmann, a Nazi war criminal. It further elaborates the theme of Arab collaboration with the Nazis in what must be a form of psychological projection of the Zionists’ own collaboration with Nazi Germany during the 1930s. In this movie Israeli agents intend to capture Eichmann in Kuwait, but just before the operation succeeds he flees to South America. There is no historical basis for this episode in the movie.
· United Artists had a fair amount of success with Exodus and tried once again with Cast a Giant Shadow (1966, UA). This movie gives the story of Colonel Mickey Marcus, who was recruited by the Haganah, the Labor Zionist militia, to provide operational expertise. Marcus conveniently dies in 1948 so that the film can have the typical ending for films of nation creation. The movie lectures the viewer in the standard Labor Zionist הסברה but goes one step beyond Exodus to argue that American Ashkenazim should serve Israeli interests. The beginning of the movie is worth watching. It goes through all the standard Zionist propaganda that is still repeated in American schools, universities and media to this day. It portrays the Ashkenazi settlement as outnumbered although it was not. It claims Arab leaders made statements that are mostly impossible to verify. It claims that the Ashkenazim had no place to go even though the Ashkenazi displaced persons could have been resettled fairly easily within a few years while most of the Ashkenazi settlers in Palestine would probably have been happy for the colony to be dismantled. Major Safir, the Zionist emissary, makes the obligatory emotional pitch about the threat to the Ashkenazim in Palestine so that Marcus will only react reflexively rather than think rationally about the claims Safir makes because otherwise a little reflection might have lead to the revelation that the native population has just as much claim to liberty and justice as the Ashkenazi settler colonists. At the time Safir is supposed to give his speech, Zionist forces have already begun their ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
· Videoclip 1 and videoclip 2 from the next film, Black Sunday (1977, Paramount), are rather more interesting. One might hypothesize that Ossama bin Laden was inspired by the imagination of Thomas Harris, the author of Black Sunday as well as Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.
Michael Lander is a disgraced US Airforce pilot that plots with the help of Black September to kill 80,000 people and the president of the United States at a Superbowl football game by crashing an explosive laden blimp into the stadium. Because of the similarity of the movie’s terrorist operation to the WTC attack, it is worth mention that that no Palestinian group was involved in the September 11 atrocity and that the perpetrators were members of an extremist group loosely associated with the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood (المسلمون الإخوان), which has its own distinct and often legitimate grievances against the USA. Such complaints, as Palestinians and other Arabs can make against the USA, do not interest Harris, who focuses mostly on the psychopathology of the killer. Palestinians, the Middle East conflict and Black September are mostly props in his book.
Both the movie and the book are somewhat unique in that they begin with murders of Arabs by an Israeli death squad. Normally, Israeli terror squads are portrayed as retaliating for some on-screen act of violence, but Harris’ lack of interest in Middle East issues may have immunized him to some extent to the common Zionist attitudes that most Americans have adopted. Nevertheless, the terrorist act itself corresponds far more to Zionist mythology than to actual Palestinian operations at the time, which generally confined themselves to the seizure of hostages or airplanes to secure the release of prisoners that were held by Israelis under torture and the threat of execution at any time.
The director and the scripter went beyond the book to explore motivations and the cause of the conflict. In the movie Major Kabokov, the Israeli protagonist, suffers from the usual "whack ‘em and weep syndrome." The scenes of the auditing of the Black September post-attack tape and of the identification of the Dahlia Iyad by Egyptian security are worth reviewing. The message that Iyad reads is far more powerful in the movie than in the book while the identification scene was created for the movie.
One can only speculate why it was necessary in the movie to identify Iyad as an Arab of German Palestinian extraction. Perhaps after showing some sympathy with Palestinian suffering, the director might have felt an obligation to pander Zionist myth of the Arab German link in the opposition to Zionism. Or perhaps, the director just needed explain the portrayal of a Palestinian woman by an actress of German extraction.
I also have to wonder whether the director was reluctant from the start to portray Arabs as relentlessly negative as Harris wrote in the book or whether there might have been some last minute editing of the film in response to Sadat’s peace initiative. The movie’s ending differs significantly from that of the book. While Harris’ book is rather flawed, his ending applied to the movie would have provide a far superior climax to the story.
· Time after Time (1979, WB) also repeats the standard Zionist lie that Palestinian terrorists committed senseless violence against masses of innocent civilians.
· The next movie to appear was Masada (1981, Universal). It is a dramatization of Zionist primordialist myth and הסברה. The movie has no factual basis in Iosephos, who provides the only "historical" desription of the events associated with Masada, but the Masada of Zionist myth was never a matter of history but more an issue of providing Ashkenazim with a secular non-religious connection to Palestine. During the 30s and 40s, the story was rewritten as an example of courage even though it describes mostly banditry. Ashkenazi terrorists and suicide attackers used variants of the Masada myth as an inspiration and example for their behavior during the 40s.
· Golda (1982, Paramount) is a biography of Gold Meir that is mostly hero worship and Labor Zionist הסברה. The descriptions of the issues of Palestinian refugees and of access to Jerusalem are simply dishonest. The movie probably correctly but accidentally portrays Meir as a person that lacks any ethical awareness, understanding and impulses. In the clip presented she has the nerve to ask the self-serving question what population could remain a refugee population for 30 years even though she herself is the leader of the movement that made them refugees and even though the Zionist movement justifies its seizure of Palestine by means of the primordialist argument that Jews have been refugees for 2000 years.
· Hanna K. (1983, Universal) is fascinating because of the timidity that Costa-Gavras shows in portraying ethically dubious Zionist beliefs, actions and behavior. The movie depicts problems in the life of an attorney loosely modeled on Felicia Langer. She is defending a Palestinian infiltrator. According to its own internal documentation, the IDF usually simply shoots unarmed infiltrators, but the director and writer uncritically accepts the Zionist viewpoint that Israel actually has a functioning legal system and that Zionists actually make effort to deal with difficult ethical questions as well as they can. The suggestion that aspects of Zionism were morally problematic lead to a major public controversy at the release of the film. The clip shows Hanna, the prosecutor and the judge as they attempt to find an extra-juridical solution to the problem that the defendant presents. Note how the judge makes the usual irrational and unethical Zionist arguments to justify Zionism while he uses the usual psychological triggers about the Nazi persecutions to intimidate Hanna into accepting his viewpoint.
· Little Drummer Girl (1984, WB) was also released with a major controversy, which in retrospect is hard to understand, for the movie is similar to Black Sunday except for less examination of motivations. The movie begins with a Palestinian terrorist attack so that Israeli actions can be portrayed as legitimate retaliation. Even though the members of the Israeli hit team are particularly unpleasant as they murder and use non-Jewish bystanders in order to track down and murder an important Black September leader, Zionist self-perception and claims are never challenged. In the course of the story the Palestinian terrorists specifically target an Israeli peace advocate, and the movie includes some "weep and whack ‘em" Zionist blubbering.
· Oh God! You Devil (1984, WB) really demonizes Arafat. The devil comments that he has had Arafat’s soul for years. As far as 3rd world national liberation leaders go, Arafat does not seem much different from Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Ahmed Ben Bella, etc. His demonization in the USA is particularly incomprehensible except as a symptom of the pervasive assimilation by Americans of the Zionist point of view.
· Loose Cannons (1990, Columbia Tristar) rewrites the Kurt Waldheim affair at the UN into something far more sinister and salacious that the real story ever was. US homicide detectives cooperate without a second thought with Israeli Mossad operatives undertaking an illegal covert operation in the USA.
· Schindler’s List (1993, Universal) is unprecedented as an expression of extremist nationalist Likud הסברה. We know that the story is fundamentally a nation creation narrative because the movie ends with the death of Schindler to show that the people he lead became capable of standing on the own. This movie proved to be a genuine blockbuster unlike earlier Zionist oriented films that were only moderately successful. Obviously, no one visits the cinemaplex for a lecture in Labor Zionist ideology.
This film is extremely problematic on several grounds. It is a consciously inverted film noir Wizard of Oz that markets its message subliminally. The evil of Nazism is reduced to psychopathology. Zionist ideologues prefer such an understanding of Nazism because genuine analysis of the phenomenon of Nazism would find to many similarities to Zionism. As history, the movie embodies the serious failures of Zionist historiography to which Hobsbawm referred. The movie describes the Holocaust of Zionist myth not the historical שואה (or catastrophe). The Soviet officer makes the pitch of a שליח (a Zionist emissary that recruits new immigrants).
One must wonder how a Palestinian would view the conclusion. It shows the Schindler Jews, who mostly did not migrate to Palestine, as they step into a rebirth of color and into Jerusalem to the sound in the background of זהב של ירושלים, a song that celebrates the culmination of a series of dispossession, tragedies and expulsions of the native population and that is generally associated now with the extreme right in Israeli politics.
Spielberg is indoctrinating the audience with the following propaganda.
a. The State of Israel is an appropriate monument to murdered European Jews even though the vast majority were either non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, and
b. making Palestine a Jewish state was proper recompense for persecution of European Jews despite the wishes of the majority native population (who in a sinister foreshadowing of planned expulsion or mass extermination are absent as the theme of the 1967 conquest is played).
I am not surprised that the Egyptian and many other governments had some serious issues with subjecting their populations to this sort of blatant Zionist propaganda.
There are a lot of ethical problems associated with the UN recommendation to partition Palestine along völkisch principles that violated the UN charter and that wronged the native population. Universal Studies should have given the film a voluntary NC-17 rating, for it is certainly wrong to indoctrinate young people and children with the idea that two wrongs make a right.
This ending was so close to the Likud forumula for "national ritual assertion of Israel state identity and superiority" and conformed so exactly to the "central item of the official system of national beliefs" as promulgated by the Likud party that the ending had to be modified for Israeli audiences. USA popular culture has an even higher tolerance of the most extremist Zionist myth and propaganda than Israeli Jews do. One must wonder whether the success of such clever Likud propaganda at the box office presaged the failure of the Oslo Process?
· Point Men (2001, Columbia/Tristar) recycles a lot or tired old Zionist הסברה and cliches.
Zionist Intimidation and McCarthyism
Moreover, the moment one expresses concern about the Zionist domination of American attitudes discourse one is accused of anti-Semitism. Yosef Gorny in his preface provides a useful, albeit primordialist, comment on this issue.
|During the last hundred years the Zionist movement has changed the course of Jewish history in several respects. One of them is in the protracted problem of Jews vis-à-vis non-Jews. By this I am implying that the relations, which have evolved in Palestine between the two peoples over the past century, are totally different from those of the Jewish people with any other nation throughout its lengthy history.|
In other words, terms like anti-Semitism refer to a reality of the past not the present, are anachronistic and simply do not apply to the conflict over Palestine (viz Figure 7). It is a Pavlov trigger used to cause a reflex response instead of rational thought. On hearing the phase the hearer is supposed to think of poor oppressed Jews, who are being threatened with machine guns, instead of the current reality that consists of an ideologically racist Jewish state that is a criminal and of murderous European colonist settler soldiers that are engaged in on-going oppression, plunder and genocide against the native population of Palestine. When a university president like Lawrence Summers of Harvard use such tendentious, propagandistic and inappropriate terminology in a debate over Palestine, one must question his fitness to lead that university. A person that uses the term anti-Semitism in a debate about Palestine is simply intellectually dishonest. Such a person should be denied any position of political or educational responsibility.
Figure 7 The Meaninglessness of Anti-Semitism in Current Usage
What is to Be Done?
The evil that Zionist control of discourse represents in the USA is practically all encompassing. It starts with the miswriting of history in academia and spreads outwards. In America Jewish studies begs practically all questions of history and ethics on subjects even only remotely connected with Zionism. Zionist professors have practically ruined the whole concept of academic discourse in the USA
Nowadays there is little scholarship in the field of Judaica. Only subservience to Zionist interests remains. If genuine Jewish studies existed in the USA instead of a Zionist propaganda machine, the Palestine question would be a no-brainer. The USA would probably have kissed Israel goodbye long ago or bombed Israel into submission as it did Milošević. A US alliance with Zionism is a betrayal of ideals to which Americans are supposed to cling. To advocate or to support such an alliance is a betrayal of America. An American that supports or advocates this alliance is a traitor whether he is the President, who holds office by a judicial coup, or an ordinary citizen. The foreign policy course for the USA is obvious and presents one of the few cases where ethics and pragmatism are congruent. To switch sides and treat Israel as an enemy would win many friends and no significant enemies. Regime change first in Palestine first to overthrow Zionism and then to bring to justice Zionist war criminals or perpetrators of crimes against humanity would probably eliminate most opposition to military action against Saddam Hussein.
At the Local Level
Obviously, most of us do not have the resources to combat Zionism either at the national or university level, but parents in particular can play an important rôle. They have to be involved in politics at the community level because American Zionists already are disseminating propaganda and falsehood.
Parents must force textbooks like World History, Patterns of Interaction out of the school systems and coerce the publishers to present history that has some connection to reality. But parents cannot stop there. In many states Holocaust instruction is mandated. These courses are very bad. Usually, the course materials are prepared directly or indirectly by the State of Israel so that no genuine history is taught, and the classes focus on legitimization myths for Zionism. Such courses distract from the crimes that have been committed in the USA like slavery and the genocide of the Native American population. Even the name is bad. Wiesel used the word holocaust to refer to the Nazi murders of Jews to suggest that the deaths were burnt offerings to God to sanctify the creation of the State of Israel. As the vast majority of the murdered were non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, Wiesel’s nomenclature is offensive and insipid to say the least. The Yiddish word, חורבן (khurban), and the Hebrew word, שואה (sho’ah) are more appropriate, for they simply mean catastrophe like the نكبه (nakbah). All Holocaust studies must be coupled with study of the Nakbah and of the crimes of Zionism because according the normal pattern in human history, which we probably wish to teach children to avoid, victims turn into victimizers at the drop of a hat. The שואה and Zionism provide an illustrative example.
Anti-Zionist activism must go beyond the public schools. Arab Americans and any American committed to justice must punish local politicians whenever they espouse Zionism. Then maybe national politicians will get the message. I know that some Muslims have religious problems with political participation. When someone argues that a true Muslim should not participate in an infidel government, I respond that the US government is no more an infidel than a tank or a fighter plane. The government is just a big machine that can be put to any use if one is willing to make the effort to control or influence it. Anyone that is unwilling to vote or to participate simply concedes the power of that government machine to Zionists or other bad guys that are willing to put their money and attention to working the political system. To concede such power to such forces is un-Islamic, for it is a service to injustice. We must all work to make anti-Zionism as reflexive in the USA tomorrow as Zionism is today.
What People Of Jewish or Ashkenazi Ancestry Can Do
Zionism and the State of Israel present people of Jewish or Ashkenazi ancestry with a severe ethical problem because Zionists claim to represent all Jewish people and Israel is self-defined as the state of the Jewish people. As long as Jews or Ashkenazim are silent, they give consent. There are four ovious models that they can use in acting against Zionism.
1. Doctore Seuss (Theodore Geisel) albeit an American of German ancestry took an advance garde position to propagandize against everything for which Nazism stood and to advocate early entry of the USA into a war against Nazi Germany. American Jews and Ashkenazim have no excuse not to imitate Geisel with similar opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel.
2. Marlene Dietrich took the position that if Nazis define what it means to be German, then she was not German. She left Germany and never hesitated to condemn Nazism and Nazi Germany. Israeli Jews could take exactly the same position, renounce their Jewishness as defined by the Israeli government, emigrate from Israel and denounce Zionism and the State of Israel at every possible chance.
3. Nataśa Kandić albeit a Serb never missed a chance to condemn Serb racism, to thwart Serb anti-Albanian action and to advise NATO to attack Serbia. Concerned Jews should condemn Zionist racism, work to thwart Zionist anti-Palestinian action and should demand that NATO attack the State of Israel on the same grounds that NATO took action against Serbia.
4. German anti-Nazi resistance groups like the White Rose undertook sabotage against Nazi Germany. Israeli Jewish groups should likewise undertake campaigns of sabotage against the State of Israel. In a sense, when Allegra Pacheco took Israeli citizenship to fight Zionism she was following the example of the White Rose.
As long as the effects of the last 50 years of Zionist indoctrination of the American population can be overcome, combined efforts of Jews and non-Jews of good will should be able swiftly to end the US-Israel alliance, to eliminate Zionism as a living political ideology and to obtain justice and restitution for the Palestinian people.
Recommended Reading or Viewing
and the Fin de Siècle: Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism from Nordau to Jabotinsky
by Michael Stanislawski
Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names : Their Origins, Structure, Pronunciations,
by Alexander Beider
on the Ground: Archeological Practice and Terminal Self-Fashioning in Israeli
by Nadia Abu El-Haj
Founding Myths of Israel
by Zeev Sternhell, David Maisel (Translator) or
origines d'Israël : Entre nationalisme et socialisme
de Zeev Sternhell (There are some intriguing differences between the French and English versions). and
Right nor Left
by Zeev Sternhell, David Maisel (Translator)]
by Abdelrahman Munif, Abd Al-Rahman Munif, Erroll McDonald (Editor)
Trench (The Cities of Salt Trilology, Vol 2)
by Abdelrahman Munif, Abd Al-Rahman Munif, Erroll McDonald (Editor)
on Night and Day
by Abd Al-Rahman Munif, Peter Theroux (Translator), Abdelrahman Munif]
STEEL AND IRON
by I. J. Singer
Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Society, and the Military
by Baruch Kimmerling
by Rashid Khalidi
Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
by Avi Shlaim
War for Palestine : Rewriting the History of 1948
by Eugene L. Rogan (Editor), Avi Shlaim (Editor)
Politics of Yiddish: Studies in Language, Literature, and Society (Winter Studies
in Yiddish, V. 4)
by Dov-Ber Kerler (Editor), Oxford Winter Symposium in Yiddish Language, Literature and Society
Socialist Movements, 1871-1917: While Messiah Tarried (Littman Library of Jewish
by Nora Levin
Destruction of the European Jews (Third Edition)
by Raul Hilberg
Holocaust : From Auschwitz to Schindler; How History is Bought, Packaged and
by Tim Cole
Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
by Norman G. Finkelstein
Holocaust in American Life
by Peter Novick
to the Qur'an
by Abu Al-Qasim Ibn Ali Akbar Khui, Abdulaziz A. Sachedina (Translator), Al-Sayyid Abu Al-Qasim Al-Musaw Al-Khui [There are many introductions to the Qur’an from a Sunni viewpoint. This book provides a Shiite version.]
Socialists in the United States: The Cahan Debate, 1925-1926
by Yaacov N. Goldstein (Editor), Abraham Cahan, Jacob Goldstein
by Max Simon Nordau, George L. Mosse (Designer)
by Amos Oz, Nicholas De Lange (Translator) or
השלישי המצב :עוז עמוס
Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe.
by Patrick J. Geary
Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel
by Thomas L. Thompson
and the Arabs, 1882-1948: A Study of Ideology
by Yosef Gorny
Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
by Benedict Anderson
נופש עיר ,באדנהיים אפלפלד׃ אהרן
by Caroline B. Cooney
Changing Agenda of Israeli Sociology: Theory, Ideology, and Identity (Suny Series
in Israeli Studies)
by Uri Ram
and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality
by E. J. Hobsbawm (Author)
in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith
by James H. Billington
State or Israeli Nation?
by Boas Evron, James Diamond or
הלאומי החשבון עברון׃ בעז (The Hebrew version has more detail)
Masada Myth: Collective Memory and Mythmaking in Israel
by Nachman Ben-Yehuda
Wilkomirski Affair: A Study in Biographical Truth
by Stefan MacHler, John E. Woods (Translator), Stefan Maechler, Wilkomirski
Brown (Modern Library Classics)
by W. E. B. Du Bois, David R. Roediger (Editor)
Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany's Crimes Against the Jewish People
by Max Weinreich [There is some irony in this book because it contains some gratuitous anti-Palestinian propaganda. Thus, Weinreich himself is an academic conspirator in crimes against the Palestinian people.]
by Peter Fritzsche
Postzionism Debates: Knowledge and Power in Israeli Culture
by Laurence J. Silberstein
by Joseph Conrad
Apocalypse Now (1979) (movie)
von Arthur Schnitzler, Hilde Spiel (Mitarbeiter), Egon Schiele (Illustrator)
Psychohistory of Zionism
by Jay Y., Gonen
ערבסקות שמאס׃ אנטון
Conflict: The Palestinians & Israel
by John Gee
by Joseph Conrad
Invention of Tradition
by Terence Ranger (Editor)
la colonie en Algérie
de A. de Tocqueville
de Emile Zola
in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories
by Ghassan Kanafani, Hilary Kilpatrick (Translator)
de Henri Pirenne, Quadrige and Mohammed, Charlemagne and the Origins of Europe
by Richard Hodges, David Whitehouse (Photographer), Charlemagne Mohammed (Photographer)]
Between East and West: Aspects of Modern Jewish History (Harvard Judaic Texts
and Studies, Vol 4)
by Isadore Twersky (Editor)
Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust
by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen and A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth
by Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn]
Birth of the Modern: World Society, 1815-1830
by Paul Johnson
by Robert Graves
Myths: The Book of Genesis by Robert Graves
by Robert Graves, R. Patai
und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft. Antisemitismus. Imperialismus. Totale Herrschaft.
von Hannah Arendt
ihr wollt, ist es kein Märchen. Altneuland / Der Judenstaat.
von Theodor Herzl
The Making of a Palestinian American
by Fawaz Turki
Qur'an and Its Interpreters
by Mahmoud Ayoub
Qur'an and Its Interpreters: The House of 'Imran
by Mahmoud M. Ayoub
of Arab Lands a History and Source Book
by Norman A. Stillman
Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times
by Norman A. Stillman
Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine (Nr.5401) von Eberhard
Nestle (Mitarbeiter), u. a.
Deutsche Bibelges., St (1999)
( Lingua Tertii Imperii). Notizbuch eines Philologen.
von Victor Klemperer
vitae. Erinnerungen 1881 - 1918.
von Victor Klemperer, Walter. Nowojski (Herausgeber)
sammeln, nicht fragen wozu und warum. Tagebücher 1918 - 1932.
von Victor Klemperer, Walter Nowojski (Herausgeber), Christian Löser (Herausgeber)
will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten, Tagebücher 1933 - 1945. 2 Bd.
von Victor Klemperer, Hadwig Klemperer (Mitarbeiter), Walter Nowojski (Herausgeber)
the Qur'an: The Early Revelations
by Michael Sells (Translator)
Bibelausgaben, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Nr.5218)
Septuagint with Apocrypha
by Lancelot C. Brenton (Editor)
of a Map: A Bilingual Anthology of Arabic Poetry
by Mahmud Darwish
ohne Gerechtigkeit? Israel und die Menschenrechte der Palästinenser.
von Ludwig Watzal
by Chinua Achebe
by Michael Prior
and the State of Israel: A Moral Inquiry
by Michael Prior
Jews in the Greek Age
by Elias J. Bickerman [I object to the use of the term Jews during the Greco-Roman period. It is a topic on which there is much scholarly dispute, but Bickerman is probably a reasonable place to start]
Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey Through Language and Culture
by Ruth R. Wisse [A fairly vicious racist and generally insipid person, but hard to find an apropriate introduction]
Book of Beliefs and Opinions (Yale Judaica Series, Vol 1)
by Saadia Gaon, Samuel Rosenblatt (Translator)
by Edward W. Said
by A. L. MacFie
The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland
by Jan Tomasz Gross
Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1872-1905)
(Harvard Papers in Ukrainian Studies)
by Timothy D. Snyder
sur la violence
de Georges Sorel, Jacques Julliard (Préface), Michel Prat (Sous la direction de)
Eclogues-Georgics-Aeneid Books I-VI (Loeb Classical Library, 63-64)
by Virgil, Fairclough, H. R. Fairclough (Translator)
by Eugene Burdick, William J. Lederer
Concepts of Probability and Statistics
by Joseph Lawson Hodges, E.L. Lehmann
in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
by Hannah Arendt
in Islam: Biblical and Talmudic Backgrounds of the Koran and Its Commentaries
by Abraham Isaac Katsh
Odyssey (The Loeb Classical Library, No 104 & 105)
by Homer, George E. Dimock, A. T. Murray (Translator)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) (movie)]
Iliad (Loeb Classical Library, No. 170)
by Homer, A. T. Murray (Translator)
All Volumes (Loeb Classical Library)
All Volumes (Loeb Classical Library)
III Metamorphoses, Book One Thru Eight, No#42 (Loeb Classical Library)
by Ovid, Frank J. Miller (Translator)
Metamorphoses Books 9-15 (Ovid, Volume 4 - Loeb Classical Library)
by Ovid, A. Miller, Grant Showerman, G. P. Goold, Frank J. Miller (Translator)
Hymns Epic Cycle Homerica
by Hesiod, Hugh G. Evelyn-White (Translator)
All Volumes (Loeb Classical Library)
by Pindar, William H. Race (Editor)
All Volumes (Loeb Classical Library)
by Apollodorus, J.G.,Sir Frazer (Translator)
Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition
by Florentino Garcia Martinez (Editor), Eibert Tigchelaar (Editor), Martinez, Florentino Garcia Martinez
Land und zwei Völker. Zur jüdisch-arabischen Frage.
von Martin Buber
Starring: Lior Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, et al.
Director: Dover Koshashvili
Opening Date: May 17, 2002 (limited release)
Days : His Autobiography in Three Parts (Modern Arabic Writing)
by Taha Hussein, E. H. Paxton, Hilary Wayment, Kenneth Cragg
Werke, 5 Bde. in 6 Tl.-Bdn., Bd.4, August 1914 bis Januar 1919
von Rosa Luxemburg
and the Arabs: An American Jewish Dilemma, 1898-1948
by Rafael Medoff
in America: The Rise and Impact of the Jabotinsky Movement in the United States,
1926-1948 (Judaic Studies Series)
by Rafael Medoff
Jabotinsky and Arlosoroff writings in the original – transalations are unreliable.
Making of Israeli Militarism
by Uri Ben-Eliezer
Politics on the Israeli Screen
by Yosefa Loshitzky
Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the
Modern Middle East
by David Fromkin
Slavism Its History and Ideology
by Hans Kohn
Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Lowith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse.
by Richard Wolin
to Biblical Hebrew
by Thomas Oden Lambdin
A Comprehensive Course in Russian
by Sarah Smyth (Author), Elena V. Crosbie (Author)
Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds
by Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, Abbas Al-Tonsi
Fii Ta'allum Al-'Arabiyya: A Textbook for Beginning Arabic
by Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal (Contributor), Abbas Al-Tonsi (Editor)
Fii Ta Allum Al- Arabiyya/a Textbook for Arabic
by Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal (Contributor), Abbas Al-Tonsi (Contributor)
Fii Tacallum Al-cArabiyya: A Textbook for Arabic, Part 2
by Kristen Brustad, Abbas Al-Tonsi (Contributor), Mahmoud Al-Batal (Contributor)
Fii Tacallum Al-cArabiyya : A Textbook for Arabic, Part Three
by Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, Abbas Al-Tonsi
of Israeli Hebrew With an Introduction to the Classical Language
by Haiim B. Rosen [linguistics oriented and idiomatically dated] or
A Multimedia Program for Students at the Beginning and Intermediate Levels
By Esther Raizen
With contributions by Yaron Shemer
for Intermediate Students
A Multimedia Program
By Esther Raizen
Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew
by Miguel Perez Fernandez, John Elwolde (Translator)
Arabic: A Practical Introduction to Ruq'ah Script
by T. F. Mitchell
Introduction to Koranic and Classical Arabic: An Elementary Grammar of the Language
by Wheeler M. Thackston
Introduction to Koranic and Classical Arabic: An Elementary Grammar of the Language
Key to Exercise
by Wheeler M. Thackston
Greek: A Book for Beginners
by Clyde Pharr, Wright, John Henry Wright (Photographer)
to Attic Greek
by Donald J. Mastronarde, Donald J. Matronarde
A Biblical Greek grammar
Introduction to Aramaic (Resources for Biblical Study, No 38)
by Frederick E. Greenspahn
by Frederic M. Wheelock, Richard A. Lafleur [The whole course]
in Action : A Beginning Course in Language and Culture, the Capretz Method
by Pierre J. Capretz, Beatrice Abetti (Contributor), Marie-Odile Germain, lau Wylie, Laurence Wylie (Contributor)
by Oscar E. Swan [I am not sure what would be a good introduction or advance book nowadays]
Yiddish : An Introduction to the Yiddish Language and to Jewish Life and Culture
by Uriel Weinreich
A Textbook for Intermediate Courses
by Mordkhe Schaechter
 The title is suggested by Martin Kramer’s somewhat delusional polemic, Ivory Towers on Sand, The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America. Kramer is hardly the only extremist racist delusional Zionist posing as an expert on Middle East Studies.
Review A Pro-American Forum
October 3, 2002, Thursday
A Pro-American Forum
To the Editor:
Re ''Web Site Fuels Debate on Campus Anti-Semitism'' (news article, Sept. 27):
The Web site Campus-Watch.org, a project of the Middle East Forum, is not primarily about anti-Semitism but about the poor record, extremism, intolerance and abuse of power by Middle East specialists. One consequence of this, to be sure, has been the outbreak of anti-Semitism that Lawrence H. Summers, the president of Harvard, described, but this is not our primary concern.
You describe the Middle East Forum, of which I am the director, as ''a pro-Israel research and policy group.'' In fact, the Middle East forum has as its slogan ''Promoting American Interests.'' The forum believes in strong ties with Israel, Turkey and other democracies in the Middle East as they emerge. It is not pro-Israel; it is pro-American.
Philadelphia, Sept. 28, 2002
Published: 10 - 03 - 2002 , Late Edition - Final , Section A , Column 4 , Page 26
Such Zionist McCarthyism is spawning an opposition: Campus-Watch WATCH!
 From On History by Eric Hobsbawm, pp. 6 -- 9. I have left out Hobsbawm’s summary. "Yet this very story gives us ground for hope. For here we have mythological or nationalist history being criticized from within. I note that the history of the establishment of Israel ceased to be written in Israel essentially as national propaganda or Zionist polemic about forty years after the state came into being." The change to which Hobsbawm refers has proven only a temporary phenomenon associated with the Israeli Labor Party’s loss of control of the Israeli government when Begin became Prime Minister (viz The Fabrication of Israeli History by Ephraim Karsh and recent works by Benny Morris, for Zionist historians like Karsh still represent the proponderance of the Israeli Jewish and Diaspora Ashkenazi historical writing in areas related to the State of Israel and Zionism while Morris has shown himself to be a Zionist historian that concedes issues only when they can no longer be denied and still remain credible.).
Zeev Sternhell notes the lack of intellectual diversity or creativity among Zionists in The Founding Myths of Israel, p. 332.
After 1967 everything continued as before. Social and national ideologies were unchanged. Not everyone benefited from rapid economic growth; on the contrary, growth accentuated social differences. Moreover, the nationalism of "socialist" Zionism remained as it had been when Mapai was founded four decades earlier: radical, tribal, [völkisch], steeped in the cult of the heroic past, and convinced of the justice of its claims to the entirety of the ancient land, which was formerly the scene of national independence and greatness. This nationalism, together with symbols, had always been a common enterprise of the Left and the Right. Katznelson described "socialist" Zionism as an enterprise of conquest; Revisionist Zionism never had any other objective. The two forms of Zionism differed only in their methods.
 The Modern Jewish Canon by Ruth Wisse (Harvard University) provides a particularly good example of using Jewish Studies as a soapbox to serve Zionist racism and to demonize Palestinians or Arabs in general. She writes on p. 98.
The logic of language imposed itself on the kindred writers, Kafka and Brenner, to spectacularly different ends. Brenner's hero Hefetz went mad within the security of Hebrew while his author was murdered by Arab assailants who imported the pogrom politics of Europe into the Middle East.
We all know that there were problems between the native Palestinian population and the Ashkenazi colonists, but to claim that the Palestinians were importing pogrom politics from Europe is over the top, corresponds to the most extreme Revisionist demonization of the native population and was not the opinion of most of the Zionist leadership. She could simply have stated that Arab assailants killed Hefetz during the violence of 1929. Anything more crosses the boundary into propaganda, and one has to question the decision to inject Zionist anti-Palestinian politics into a book that is supposed to be a semi-scholarly survey of modern Jewish literature.
Her comment also shows the typical Zionist lack of imagination. Her racist anti-Arab nonsense in The Modern Jewish Canon hardly differs from that in Hitler’s Professors, which Max Weinreich unfortunately and irrelevantly incorporated into his rather useful book. He probably unconciously absorbed these ideas from the standard 1930s Zionist anti-Palestinian propaganda.
Wisse’s race hate is not confined merely to typical Zionist demonization of Palestinians or Arabs in general. In November 1997, she authored a Commentary article entitled Yiddish: Past, Present and Imperfect. She writes the following.
I have described that trip before, and it was actually as a consequence of my article about it in these pages ("Poland's Jewish Ghosts," January 1987) that Khone's manner toward me cooled. I, too, was thrilled by the rise of Polish liberalism, and drawn by powerful emotions to the Polish home of my parents and ancestors. It was stirring to explore the physical landscape where so much of Yiddish literature had been created. But in my article I also noted the presence of what I called "the phantom limb" an anti-Semitism that continued to make its presence felt in Poland long after the Jews had been physically excised from the country. While it was important that Jews protect the visible memory of their past, and promote scholarly exchanges as Shmeruk was doing, I believed they should not ignore the anti-Jewish cast of modern Polish nationalism, including its present-day variety.
Khone did not appreciate my cautionary approach, any more than a lover wants to hear about his sweetheart's failings. His critical attention was shifting, from the internal contacts between Yiddish and Hebrew to relations between Jewish and non-Jewish literatures, Polish in particular. I did not understand the import of his growing interest, or recognize its every facet. One of them was this: he had fallen in love with a Polish Christian woman, Krystyna Bevis, who shot the documentary film of our trip, and shortly after the death of his wife in 1989 he married her, and she bore him a son. He named the boy Avigdor, after his father.
WHEN SHMERUK officially retired from the Hebrew University in 1989, he began to divide his time between Warsaw and Jerusalem, teaching and guiding research in both places but with the stronger pull coming from Europe. How many reasons, in addition to the fact of his new family, one might offer for his attraction to Poland! He would certainly not have been the first Israeli to chafe at the constrictions of a tight society, or to leap at the opportunity to spend time abroad. Cut off for so many years, he now had access to Poland's archives and its scholars. A lifelong teacher, he welcomed the chance to pioneer Yiddish studies in a new country: he could do as much, if not more, to protect the Jewish past in Poland by training Polish students in Jewish research as by preparing students for the task in Israel. Jews habitually visit keyver oves, ancestral graves; is it not understandable that Khone Shmeruk, who left his family one day in 1939, should have wanted to forge a link with his martyred parents in Poland? But I think it was also the enticement of life, not death, that drew Khone so powerfully to Poland: the allure of his interrupted youth, when he was just starting out as a historian with all his years ahead of him. One night during our 1986 trip I returned with Khone from a performance at the Yiddish theater. We were strolling along a tree-lined street (Grzybowska, I believe), and Khone said, "This is where I used to walk with girls in the evening when I was a student." Before there was a professor of Yiddish there had been a young man who felt the promise of romance and the prospect of greatness and who adored the complications of his city. Now that Poland was free again, what was to prevent that man from starting all over, in the city of his youth, in the university that had once humiliated him; what was to prevent him from creating a new Polish-Jewish symbiosis in his own person?
One of Shmeruk's most interesting and far-reaching studies concerns the legend of Esterke, which exists in both Polish and Yiddish versions. Obviously based on the biblical book of Esther, the story tells how the Polish king Casimir the Great (1310-70) fell in love with a Jewish maiden and took her for his mistress. This tale has served as a litmus test for perceptions of Polish-Jewish relations. To Polish anti-Semites, the king's out-of-wedlock liaison with a Jewish concubine has long been a reminder of the perils lurking in their country's hospitality to the Jews. To philo-Semites, especially in the 19th century, it seemed to confirm the generosity of native Polish impulses.
What interested Shmeruk was something else: the unequal way the story developed in Polish and Yiddish literature. Whereas modern Yiddish writers were aware of and responded to the various Polish versions of the legend, Polish writers in general paid scant attention to the Yiddish. Shmeruk's study interprets this as still another paradigm for the inequality at the heart of Polish-Jewish relations. But his study itself, simply by virtue of existing, establishes a connection between the two cultures that the cultures had failed to make, and consummates a kind of union between two peoples otherwise doomed to remain apart.
Khone must have felt uniquely qualified to help bring about a new rapprochement between Poles and Jews. While Poland was still under Soviet occupation, he had extended many invitations to Polish academics to attend conferences in Jerusalem, making "the West" available under the auspices of Jewish studies. Now that Israel was strong and free, the Jew could return to Poland not as a supplicant but as a benefactor, bringing Western know-how to a society that had stagnated under Communism. Perhaps he even wanted to play out the Esterke romance in reverse, as the munificent Jew coming to the rescue of the Polish maiden.
If so, however, this is not how it felt to those he left behind. During the last stages of his illness, when he deliberately flew from Jerusalem to Poland because that is where he wished to be buried, he imprinted a wound on the hearts of his countrymen. I cannot speak for his daughters, his colleagues, or his students, but I know how his attraction to Poland affected our own relations over the past decade, and how a sense of rejection has compounded my grief. In effect, everything that his postwar life, the land of Israel, and scholarly achievement had brought him could not replace what he had lost in Warsaw. His life also reminds us that, even in the newly constituted Jewish commonwealth, Jewish dreams of exogamy, in both the personal and cultural sense, are not soon likely to fade.
Not only is the nasty sarcasm and a not too subtle criticism of miscegenation somewhat offensive albeit unsurprising in the context of the garbage the Commentary has published about Edward Said, but Wisse in this article has reached a whole new level of insipidity for Commentary with the implication that the preeminent scholar in her field was thinking with his dick because he did not happen to share her anti-Polish prejudice. Even though her phraseology is rather less direct than mine, I found it truly amazing that a full Harvard professor would publish such a comment in a national journal. Harvard seems to have relocated to the twilight zone sometime recently.
Wisse’s hatreds also cloud her scholarly judgment. Her analysis of the Esterke literature is questionable. Polish anti-Jewish prejudice typically took the form of a demand that Jews convert to Catholicism and intermarry with other Catholics. Wisse is projecting a Nazi prejudice onto Poles.
The debacle in the former Yugoslavia has provided graphic illustration that ethnic hostility is and was more or less the norm in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The hatred has been completely mutual among all the groups since modern völkisch nationalism fused with Eastern European confessionalism, and there is no reason for someone of Eastern European Ashkenazi background to take a pose of ethical superiority over other Eastern European ethnic groups.
I can understand why Shmeruk might have cooled in his relations with Wisse, and I feel very sorry for the Arab, the Pole or the member of a Jewish non-Jewish couple that takes an interest in Yiddish literature at Harvard.
 Central and Eastern Europe have been in the forefront of the development of modern racism. Ashkenazim participated in full measure in the racism of these regions. Anyone that understands Yiddish or is even mildly familiar with some Yiddish idioms is aware of the phrase קאָפ גוייִשער (goisher kop), which indicates some common racist attitudes among Ashkenazim. I am not aware of similar expressions in Hebrew and Aramaic scripture, Judeo-Arabic, Dzhudezmo, Karaite (Judeo-Kipchak) or Judeo-Persian.
 Otherwise the ignorant, inarticulate, unethical moron, who stole the 2000 election and who holds office by a judicial coup, would neither call Ariel Sharon a man of peace nor babble incoherently about the need for democratic reform in Palestine in order to develop a reasonable modus vivendi between the settler colonist population and the native Palestinians. The arrogance of Bush’s aides in demanding regime change in Germany is quite astounding because unlike Bush Chancellor Schröder was genuinely elected to office by the will and vote of the German citizenry. The title of this section is a reference to the Tilden-Hayes election, but the circumstances of the 2000 election were far more sinister.
 Both movable property (e.g. bank accounts) and immovable property (e.g. land) were stolen.
 The settler colonists have frequently attacked the native population at least since the founding of the שומרים [Shomrim] in the teens of 20th century. The Shomrim (the Guardians) were a terrorist militia established to prevent the native population from exercizing non-title rights (analogous to easements) that Zionists had not purchased.
 The PBS series Heritage is a particularly egregious example of propaganda masquerading as propaganda. The Sopranos show both the idea of Jews as a religion and more primordialist conceptions.
 This usage was very common. The Romans of a city in Egypt would be the worshippers of Roman gods and goddesses. The usage is preserved today in the term Roman Catholic while Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians in the territories of the former Byzantine Empire as well as Greek-speaking Byzantine Catholics in Southern Italy invariably called themselves Romans until modern times because Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th century.
 In a minimal sense Shaye Cohen argues in The Beginnings of Jewishness that practicing Judean religion might simply worshipping the God El and performing ritual male circumscision. It is quite probable that worshippers of El in his Greek incarnation of Kronos, in his Roman incarnation of Saturnus and in his Germanic near incarnation of Wotan might have been as practicing an associated religion and as practicing Judean religion if they incorporated circumscision into their practices.
 The Book of Suzanna, found in the Greek Bible makes an interesting distinction between Judeans and Israelites. It takes place on the shores of the Black sea. Palestine is a place where significant spiritual events took place, but there is no sense of exile in the text.
 The Islamic approach is the most modern and in some sense avoids most of the problems of the conflict between religion and history. The Qur’an is uncreated and has existed for all time. It is meaningless to argue whether specific historical events that occurred in real secular time conflict with it. Judaism and Christianity have philosophical problems with concepts of predestination because revelation must take place in real-time in genuine historical events. Likewise, from the standpoint of the Believer the Arabic of the Qur’an has existed for all time even if the Arabic of the real time secular world evolved to that Arabic and continued to evolve afterward.
 Note this hypothesis neatly explains the confusion whether the Khazar Turks converted to modern Rabbinic or modern Karaite Judaism, for they converted to a premodern form of Judean religion and then helped to craft modern Rabbinic Judaism.
 The examples of Judean ritual and law that we find in Greco-Roman texts generally look far more like the earliest forms of Karaitism than like modern Rabbinical Judaism. Nevertheless, the religion of the Ethiopian Beita Israel is probably far closer to the Greek language form of Judean practice during the Greco-Roman period than any other religion that exists today. Axum in Ethiopea created a unique form of Hellenistic culture translated in Ge`ez. Ethiopian Judean religion probably is a result of that cultural efflorescence. Because it is not studied by students of Hellenistic Judean religion, who typically do not have the necessary linguistic skill set, a lot of important information is being lost as Israeli rabbinical authorities force the Ethiopians to assimilate to modern Rabbinical Jewish practices.
 For example, evidence is completely lacking that the ancestors of modern European Jewish communities ever spoke a form of Aramaic or Hebrew. The linguistic history of Ashkenazim should be contrasted with that of the Roma (Gypsies), who are a genuine migrant population that preserved an Indic language over a period of almost a thousand years.
 While no textual, archeological or historical evidence indicates any migration of Judean populations from Palestine to Central or Eastern Europe, fairly detailed knowledge of the migrations of Ashkenazim within Central and Eastern Europe can be obtained from onamastic studies and similar techniques (viz Figure 2). None of the genomic studies of modern Ashkenazim that have appeared over the past few years makes any use of such information in identifying reasonable comparison populations.
 The Khazar Empire (650-1016), in which some form Judean religion was dominant, for a time extended from Dacia (Bessarabia, formerly in Romania, now mostly in Moldava) through the Ukraine (viz Figure 4). Relationship of Turkic Khazars to Turkic Khabar and Avar communities that may have adopted some form of Judaism is obscure. Note that the Khazar Empire straddles the transition from Greco-Roman Judean religion to modern Rabbinic Judaism.
 Slavic areas known as Canaan in Hebrew-Aramaic texts as well as the adjoining Turkic speaking regions have been exporting people both slave and free throughout Europe, N. Africa and Mesopotamia since late antiquity.
 There are questions in my mind about the portrayal of the Chmielnicki Rebellion in the USA. Most accounts tend to focus on attacks on Jews. Some of the figures for casualties sound impossibly high. In the final stage Ukrainian Cossacks and Polish peasants are supposed to have joined together to slaughter Jews. I am not sure to what extent Ukrainian rebels distinguished Polish Ashkenazim and their Polish overlords, and I am not sure to what extent Ashkenazim distinguished between Polish and Ukrainian peasantry. I know that Western Ukrainians generally do not consider Chmielnicki a hero.
There is a pattern of false memories among Ashkenazim (or at least a tendency to increase the victimization of Jews and the culpability or enmity of non-Jews). This pattern is not restricted to Ashkenazim in Eastern Europe and may be a general human tendency. All scholars must rethink the value of Ashkenazi anecdotal evidence. Note that Israeli historians, who are often more correctly identified as Zionist propagandists, invariably dismiss Palestinian anecdotal history.
The New York Times July 14, 2002, Sunday Magazine story What Happened to Uncle Shmiel? By Daniel Mendelsohn provides an example of a sort of false memory syndrome surrounding the Nazi persecution of Jews in which the report of the murder of the author’s family in the Ukraine after betrayal by a Ukrainian Christian traitor was an extremely garbled version of the true story of the betrayal of the local partisans (including the author’s relatives) by a Ukrainian Jew under threats and torture by the Nazis.
 In Yugoslavia small refugee Iberian communities continued to speak Dzudezmo (Judeospanish) until the 20th century. Most Jews of Bulgaria were of refugee Iberian origin while some ethnic Tatar communities in Eastern Europe practiced Karaite Judaism.
 A good analysis of the demonization of Palestinians and other propaganda techniques used by Herzl in Altneuland can be found in "A Reading of Herzl’s Altneuland," by Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Journal of Palestine Studies, Volume XXX, Number 4, Summer 2001, pp. 55-67.
 The various Eastern European Ashkenazi communities did not have much sense of an ethnonational identity until after the 1870s and sought integration and assimilation. Especially during the 1870s, many young educated Russian Ashkenazim became involved in народничетво (narodnichestvo -- populism), a movement that idealized peasants and peasant life. The associated ideology was probably a major influence on the Zionism of Russian Ashkenazim.
 Some mid-century German nationalists and linguists like Boeckh explicitly identified Yiddish speaking Eastern European Ashkenazim as Germans sometimes in support of German claims to rule in Eastern Europe.
 While the pogroms of 1881-82 lead to more demands for assimilation, they gave birth of the Yiddishist movement, beginnings of Yiddish (Ashkenazi) ethnonational consciousness.
The first Yiddishist political party was the בּונד אַרבּעטער יִידישׁער אַלגעמיינער (Bund). It was secular and Marxist socialist. The Bund sought cultural autonomy. An oppostion party, ישראל אגודת (Agudas Yisroel), which was religious and anti-socialist, later acted as a Yiddishist opposition to the Bund’s political program.
 Fire in the Minds of Men, p. 162, contains the following passage.
Already in the 1830s the Poles had assumed a certain leadership in internationalizing revolutionary nationalism. Arriving in Paris in great numbers after the failure of the Polish Revolution in 1831 they organized innumerable protest meetings and petitions against repression by the German as well as the Russian government. Mickiewicz and others expected a German revolution throughout 1832-33 that might lead to guerilla uprisings and the liberation of Poland. On November 3, 1832, many Poles addressed a proclamation of solidarity to the Jews as another persecuted nation in exile. Mickiewicz died in Istanbul in November 1855, in the arms of a Jewish friend who had his own proto-Zionist dream of liberating Jerusalem.
 This exclusion might have resulted from the heighted religious tensions associated with the Kleindeutschland Grossdeutschland debates and with the Kulturkampf that Bismarck instituted during the 1870s between German Catholics and Protestants in response to the declaration of papal infallibility, which itself developed out of the affair of the kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.
 Sholem Abramovitsch (Mendele Moykher Sforim), regarded as the founder of secular Yiddish literature, published in Yiddish and Haskalah Hebrew from 1857 - 1899. Eventually, he renounced Hebrew to the eternal animosity of Zionists like Usishkin.
 This idea that people of Jewish confession constituted a pan-Judaic ethnonational group made little headway among Ashkenazim or any other Jews until after the creation of the State of Israel. The Israeli sociologist Uri Ram traces the increasing acceptance of this idea to the program of education and indoctrination created by Ben-Zion Dinur and his associates during the 50s. Zionists merely followed a course already laid out by Italian nationalists before them. The Italian nationalist leader Massimo D’Azeglio once quipped, "Now that we have made Italy, we must make the Italians."
 The conceptualization of "Prussian" Israelite monarchy that was formulated by German Protestant theologians to bolster the Hohenzollerns was ready made for Zionist myth creation.
 Nordau developed the concept of Muskeljudentum, which means tough, power or muscular Judaism or Jewry. He admired the German dueling culture. Jabotinsky turned such ideas into a full-blown Sorelian worship of violence as well as a paean to militarism and force directed primarly against non-Jews but even more viciously against Jews that disagreed with Jabotinsky’s or Revisionist ideas. Today, this cult of violence suffuses modern Israeli Jewish culture and has spread via neo-con chickenhawks, who are often the blue diaper babies of American Revisionists, to the political culture of the USA.
 Zionist intimacy with possible or known Judeophobes is a recurrent theme in the history of Zionism. Herzl and Jabotinsky had close relations with several notorious European anti-Semites while Arlosoroff and Goebbels apparently shared Magda Quandt, who later became Goebbels wife. Today, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu both receive much support from the American Christian right, whose leaders often express traditional Christian anti-Jewish ideas. European Ashkenazi supporters of Likud are reported to have close ties to both Le Pen, leader of the National Front in France, and Haider leader of the Freedom Party, but to be honest it is far from clear that either Le Pen or Haider is particularly Judeophobic even if they are rather xenophobic.
 Jabotinsky’s point is important. He makes a blood and soil argument and not a religious claim to Palestine. This aspect of Zionist logic or illogic often confuses Muslim scholars. Abdulaziz A. Sachedina embarrasses himself when he writes the following (p. 12) in the Translator’s introduction to The Prolegomena to the Qur’an (القرآن تفسير في البيان) by al-Khu’i (الخوئي).
The Shi`ite rights to Iran, then, would be on the same principles that allowed the Jews in the Diaspora to claim a divinely ordained right to migrate to Palestine.
 I argue later in this document that Labor Zionism is a form of fascism. Americans, who often have difficulty distinguishing fascists and Nazis, might then wonder why Labor Zionists and Revisionist Zionists were so hostile to one another. If Americans actually studied the respective ideologies, they would find that the nationalist socialism of fascism and the social Darwinism of Nazism are not particularly compatible.
 It is not surprising that German and Austrian professors that later became Nazis were favorites among Ashkenazi students in the early 20th century (viz Heidegger's Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Lowith, Hans Jonas and Herbert Marcuse by Richard Wolin).
 Sternhell uses the word völkisch instead of the plain English word racist. The French version is cowardly in exactly the same way.
 In Neither Right Nor Left, p. 212, Sternhell states the following.
Yet, on the other hand, the revision of socialism by the French and Belgian socialist rebels itself developed into fascism for one essential reason - the same reason that underlay the move toward the extreme right of the generation of 1910. For the revolutionary syndicalists at the beginning of the century as for the exponents of the new socialism twenty years later,  the proletariat had ceased to be a revolutionary force and Marxism no longer provided a suitable answer to the problems of the modern world. This loss of faith in the vitality and capacities of the proletariat, joined with  an unhesitating denunciation of the essential principles of Marxism and social democracy,  this desire to achieve quick results by utilizing the full force of political power but without undertaking structural changes,  this need to come to terms with the existing social order because one has come to regard it as natural and immutable,  this replacement of Marxism by a planned, organized, rationalized system of economy, led through a natural inner logic, to fascism. Thus, in the thirties, fascism often appeared to be the only system of thought that answered to the logic of the twentieth century.
It is simply hard to understand why Labor Zionism as described in The Founding Myths does not meet the five qualifications above.
 In August 1985, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Basic Law: The Knesset, in accordance with the High Court's comment in the Kach case. The amendment added incitement to racism as grounds for barring a party from participating in elections. The law now states as follows: 'A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
2) negation of the democratic character of the State;
3) incitement to racism.
One must ask how Zionism is anything other than an incitement to racism. The rest of the law is simply oxymoronic and is generally interpreted by the Israeli political elite to mean anything they do not like.
 Zionists even attempt to delegitimize the name Palestine with the claim that the Romans applied the name Palestine as a punishment for the Judean. Zionist behavior parallels the Greek attempt to deny Macedonia its name. Egyptian texts commonly referred to the region as Peleset since the 12th century B.C.E. and probably since the 14th century. Akkadian normally uses Palashtu for the region of Southern Syria encompassing modern Palestine. In a few rare cases one can find Egyptian and Akkadian texts that refer to Israel, but usage of the term is rare. Palestine and and Canaan are probably functional synonyms because many of the original Sea People (Peleset) immigrants to Southern Syria probably identified themselves as merchants that would provide services related to trade. A 1st C.E. Samaritan instription (Strugnell, "Quelque inscriptions samaritaines," 562) locates Mount Gerizim in Palestine (פלשתים ארץ). I often wonder about the founders of Hebron/El-Khalil. The archeology of the region and the associated mythology suggests that the shrine was originally an oracular cave dedicated to Poseidan or Set also known locally in Canaan as Ab Rahab (Father of the Sea Monster). Peleset settlers could easily have founded the city. Another problem in the use of Biblical terminology for ancient peoples comes from the Egyptian use of Denyen as a synonym for Peleset. Denyen is probably related to the Biblical Dan as well as to mythological Danaos. The Hebrew and Greek Bibles’ nomenclature is most likely an Orwellian attempt to cast the history of the region into a mold to legitimize the authority of the Persian Judaean and then the succeeding Hellenistic Judean elites. The techniques have not changed very much in the past two millennia and racist settler colonists today try to control the terminology and definitions in order to legitimize their actions and claims.
 The issue is probably not related to to the topic of Gorny’s book, but one can make a good case that Zionist program to make Palestine the site of the "Jewish" nation-state may have occasioned the deaths of far more Jews during the Nazi persecutions than might have occurred if Zionism had never managed to obtain the patronage of the British in the aftermath of WW1.
 Gorny correctly points out that Ahad Haam was no less racist than other Zionist leaders, for he believed that Jewish historical rights to Palestine took precedence over the human rights of the native population. He merely wanted Zionists to be more circumspect in stealing Palestine and to refrain from overt public displays of racism.
 Was and is נשק טוהר (purity of arms) anything but a propaganda slogan? Historical and contemporary records witness the complete vacuousness of Zionist claims.
 Lev Kopelev in To Be Preserved Forever identifies Ashkenazim as some of the most violent, murderous and cruel of Soviet leaders.
 German Orientalist discourse had a popular form. Georg Ebergs Eine aegyptische Koenigstochter war das Kultbuch im Deutschland des späten 19. Jahrhunderts. He also wrote Uarda, die Aegypterin, and had many imitators.
 Both Facts on the Ground Archeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society by Nadia Abu El-Haj and Sacred Landscape: Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948 by Meron Benvenisti identify the steps in the Zionist conquest and theft of Palestine but do not make explicit connection with Nazi Umvolkung on which the Zionist program is probably modeled The Nazis had no reluctance with publicizing Umvolkung as a program of historic justice. If archeology in Israel were really an academic discipline and not often a tool of Zionist legitimization, propaganda and indoctrination, some Israeli archeologists would investigate the alleged migration of Jewish Palestinians into Europe during the Greco-Roman and early medieval period.
 There is a lot of Zionist primordialist trash out there, e.g., Ancient Zionism, The Biblical Origins of the National Idea by Avi Ehrlich, Restoring the Jews to their Homeland, Nineteen Centuries in the Quest for Zion by Joseph Adler, Letters to Auntie Fori, The 5,000-Year History of the Jewish People and Their Faith, by Martin Gilbert. Hyam Maccoby’s misrepresentations of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism serve similar purposes of disinformation, propaganda and indoctrination.
 Likewise, Palestinians are supposed to forget about their real claims against Zionism and the State of Israel while we must take Zionist demands seriously even though they are founded in mythology. Any to the Palestine problem solution that demands Palestinians must as permanent the loss of real residence and property rights of 50 years ago while Jews can claim residence and property rights on the basis of mythological claims from 2000 years ago cannot possibly work. If mythological refugees from 2000 years ago can claim rights, why should not refugees from a mere 50 years ago be able to claim their rights. If Jews did not forget after 2000 years ago, why should Palestinians forget after 50 years? Common sense tells us that the common wisdom is simply a common fallacy.
Proposals to resettle the native population of Palestine in surrounding Palestine while Israel maintains open immigration to populations from Europe and the Americas are particularly offensive. The neighboring Arab countries are poor and unstable and could not easily assimilate the refugee Palestinian population. There are estimates that 70-80% of the Israeli Jewish citizens have the right to citizenship in European or North American countries. If any people should be resettled as citizens of other countries, members of the Israeli Jewish population are the right choice. Israeli Jewish identity is so intertwined with genocide and ethnic cleansing that the vanishing of this nationality from the planet would be no great loss. Baruch Kimmerling argues correctly in The Invention and Decline of Israeliness that Israeliness has failed as a national identity. Only about 30% of the Israeli population is capable of functioning at any sophisticated level in Modern Israeli Hebrew. If Israeli Jews were willing to negotiate in good faith with the native population of Palestine, a secular constitution could easily be developed that would protect the cultural status of Hebrew and Hebrew language educational institutions.
 In case the graphic is not clearly visible the following is the text of Connect to Today: The State of Israel.
On May 14, 1948, Jews and many non-Jews around the world celebrated the birth of the modern state of Israel. Israel owes its existence in part to the idea of the Promised Land. Jewish tradition kept that idea alive for almost 18 centuries after Jewish rule had ended in Palestine. By the 1800s, persecution of Jews in Europe led many to believe that Jews should return to the land give to them by God - to Palestine.
In the late 1800s, a movement called Zionism called for "a (Jewish) home in Palestine secured by law." In 1947, after the horrors of Nazism, the United Nations answered that call. It established Israel as the Jewish homeland. Jews had regained their Promised land.
 Note that I could not even find an example of a similar type of American feature film that portrayed any aspect of the Palestinian narrative. Eyewitness (1981, Twentieth Century Fox) poses some questions about the true loyalties of Zionist American Ashkenazim, describes some fears of the American white lower classes as the USA becomes more multiracial and multicultural and addresses some issues of class in the USA, but it was somewhat unfocused and any discomfort that this film expressed with Zionism was completely unrelated to the crimes committed by Zionists against the native population of Palestine. One can generally learn far more about the facts and the nature of the conflict from Israeli and Palestinian films. If I understand Late Marriage (Hebrew & Georgian), it attacks every aspect of Zionism, but a particularly explicit sex scene early in the film distracted most viewers from the underlying allegory of the State of Israel. Perhaps, the best film on the issues in the Palestine conflict was made in 1943. It is called This Land Is Mine and dramatizes the Nazi occupation of an unnamed Western European country. Other films that might illuminate the conflict from the point of view of Palestinians are Mrs. Miniver and the Planet of the Apes remake. Apocalypse Now, which updates Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to modern times, illuminates the psychological dimension as well as the naked and brutal fist of Western colonialist imperialism. It is helpful in understanding the nature of the conflict over Palestine.
 An excellent case can be made that Palestinians from the beginning of Zionist aggression in the late 19th century through the فدعيون (fida’iyuuna) attacks of the 50s through the Munich Olympics attacks and מעלות (Maalot) until today have been mostly reacting to on-going Zionist genocidal acts, murder and torture.
 Selling the Holocaust, From Auschwitz to Schindler, How History is Bought, Packaged and Sold, by Time Cole has a worthwhile discussion of Schindler’s List.
The ending only compares the survivorship of Schindler and Polish Jews. It says nothing about Yiddish culture, and one would be hard pressed to glean from Schindler’s List that an independent Yiddish society and culture had been murdered in Eastern Europe. A great movie would have shown more ethical complexity. Hero was ethically a far more sophisticated film. Schindler was far sleazier than portrayed. Making the chief Nazi villain a psychopath lets a lot of Germans escape their guilt. Compare The Nasty Girl. For more serious ethical complexity you might wish to check out Lili Marlene.
In the real world many victims of the Nazi persecutions made an easy transition to victimizers of Palestinians.
 Bracket works should be read or viewed together, or one work is a translation or derivaive of the other.
[i] They are not even particularly logical as Boaz Evron (הלאומי החשבון) and Omer Bar-Tov (Mirrors Of Destruction) imply.
In the Zionist view, increasing popular anti-Semitism would cause the state to assist the Zionist program in order to prevent disorder. Nazis did not conform to Zionist model. But Labor Zionists refused to see it and made all the wrong choices so that far more Jews died during WW2 than was inevitable. If the world really hates or intends to destroy the Jews as Zionists believe, does it make sense to gather in one place, where they can be destroyed in one fell swoop?
[ii] Ha’aretz, Oct. 1, 2002 contains the following op.ed. article:
The scent of the pines
Besiege the Muqata, don't besiege the Muqata; invade Nablus, don't invade Nablus - these are all sterile debates taking place instead of the real discussion that should be underway in Israeli society. It's not true to say the prime minister has no political horizon. He certainly does have one: It just does not include what many people mean when they use that worn-out expression.
The political horizon for Sharon and his gang is clear. It is based on a somewhat primitive interpretation of Ze'ev Jabotinsky's "Iron Wall." The Arabs want to destroy us. They regard every sign of Israeli weakness as a crack in the door through which they can shove a foot or two. Israel, therefore, must never allow any such crack; no window of opportunity can be allowed to be opened. The only language spoken in the Middle East is the language of force. Israel must constantly use force, lest it lose its "deterrent capabilities." Deterrence does not serve any specific goal; it's an autonomous essence, a Moloch demanding endless sacrifices.
Imposing fear, humiliating, lording it over the other - these are not character flaws, but carefully thought-out, deterministic instruments for survival. The attacks on Yasser Arafat, for example, are not meant to achieve any concrete goal, but to humiliate him, and through him, humiliate the Palestinian people. He should not be expelled because he still has symbolic value. When he is completely meaningless, when the Palestinian nation understands that the effort to bring forth an independent leadership and their opposition to Israel has totally failed, only then can Arafat be thrown out with the garbage.
Palestinian dreams are dangerous because, as weak as they may be right now, their dreams could give them strength. So Israel has to make sure the Palestinians give up their dreams, that they reach total despair. Only then can Israel feel safe, according to Sharon.
Their complete surrender of any ambition is more important than tanks or territories. It means that the Palestinians finally have accepted Israeli mastery. Then they can love their masters, because we will be good masters. When they give up their national ambitions - because we hit them, because we dice up their land with thousands of settlements, because we kill off their leaders, and because they will be absolutely dependent on us - then we can show our humanitarian side, renovating their schools and water wells, and granting them passes to work in our cities.
It is surprising how deeply this view of the political horizon has taken root in Israeli society. It goes with the ingrained notion that being victimized is part of our essence, that in every generation "they" rise up to destroy us. That prophecy is self-fulfilling, of course. Policies of exploitation, repression and violence lead to violent reactions that justify counter-violence and strengthen our paranoia. The advantage of the policy is that it does not need documents and detailed plans. We have to continue doing what we - and Sharon plays an important role in that "we" - have been doing for years: unnecessary retaliatory raids, pinpoint assassinations, energetically settling everywhere, apologizing for operational "accidents," and go on, identifying compromise with weakness and lack of patriotism, planning and implementing Big Pines and Small Pines (Sharon's plans preceding the Lebanon War) - entire forests.
There are two basic failures inherent in this political view. First, it totally ignores the changes in the world. Even after the Americans strike (or don't strike) Iraq, the course of history won't change. Those who want to be part of the democratic bloc will not be allowed to continue being colonialists. True, the Europeans were much worse colonialists than we are. But that was then. In history, as Spiro Agnew once said, "they changed the rules and didn't tell anyone."
If we become a state after Sharon's liking, we may be of some use to the Americans, but it's worth noting what happened to some of America's dubious allies of the past: when they finished their jobs, they were declared unfit to dine with respectable guests, and sent home. I wouldn't count on the Bush family's love of Israel.
The second failure is the illusion that Israel's social fabric will hold up when the traditional image of the state and its economic circumstances deteriorate further. Currently, the illusion is maintained by Israel's tough stand against terror. External terror won't break us. But when the democratic world, to which we want to belong, shoves us out, we will collapse. Don't be surprised. With Sharon it always works that way - you start with pine forests and end up in a thicket of thorns.
[iii] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language Fourth Edition provides the following definitions.
racism Syllabication: rac·ism.
Noun: 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
OTHER forms: rac ist -ADJECTIVE & NOUN.
NOUN: 1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics. 2. A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race. 3. A genealogical line; a lineage. 4. Humans considered as a group. 5. Biology a. An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies. b. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals. 6. A distinguishing or characteristic quality, such as the flavor of a wine.
ETYMOLOGY: French, from Old French, from Old Italian razza, race, lineage.
USAGE NOTE: The notion of race is nearly as problematic from a scientific point of view as it is from a social one. European physical anthropologists of the 17th and 18th centuries proposed various systems of racial classifications based on such observable characteristics as skin color, hair type, body proportions, and skull measurements, essentially codifying the perceived differences among broad geographic populations of humans. The traditional terms for these populations-Caucasoid (or Caucasian), Mongoloid, Negroid, and in some systems Australoid-are now controversial in both technical and nontechnical usage, and in some cases they may well be considered offensive. (Caucasian does retain a certain currency in American English, but it is used almost exclusively to mean "white" or "European" rather than "belonging to the Caucasian race," a group that includes a variety of peoples generally categorized as nonwhite.) The biological aspect of race is described today not in observable physical features but rather in such genetic characteristics as blood groups and metabolic processes, and the groupings indicated by these factors seldom coincide very neatly with those put forward by earlier physical anthropologists. Citing this and other points-such as the fact that a person who is considered black in one society might be nonblack in another-many cultural anthropologists now consider race to be more a social or mental construct than an objective biological fact.
The new definition is considerably more detailed, but the new definition applies equally well because the abilities in question are the ability to claim Palestine as a homeland and the ability to exercise property rights, residential rights and the right to democratic self-determination.
[iv] The curse of the infidel: A century ago Muslim intellectuals admired the west. Why did we lose their goodwill?
The curse of the infidel: A
century ago Muslim intellectuals admired the west. Why did we lose their
On July 15 1099, the crusaders from Western Europe conquered Jerusalem, falling upon its Jewish and Muslim inhabitants like the avenging angels from the Apocalypse. In a massacre that makes September 11 look puny in comparison, some 40,000 people were slaughtered in two days. A thriving, populous city had been transformed into a stinking charnel house. Yet in Europe scholar monks hailed this crime against humanity as the greatest event in world history since the crucifixion of Christ.
The crusades destabilised the Near East, but made little impression on the Islamic world as a whole. In the West, however, they were crucial and formative. This was the period when western Christendom was beginning to recover from the long period of barbarism known as the Dark Ages, and the crusades were the first cooperative act of the new Europe as she struggled back on to the international scene. We continue to talk about "crusades" for justice and peace, and praise a "crusading journalist" who is bravely uncovering some salutary truth, showing that at some unexamined level, crusading is still acceptable to the western soul. One of its most enduring legacies is a profound hatred of Islam.
Before the crusades, Europeans knew very little about Muslims. But after the conquest of Jerusalem, scholars began to cultivate a highly distorted portrait of Islam, and this Islamophobia, entwined with a chronic anti-Semitism, would become one of the received ideas of Europe. Christians must have been aware that their crusades violated the spirit of the gospels: Jesus had told his followers to love their enemies, not to exterminate them. This may be the reason why Christian scholars projected their anxiety on to the very people they had damaged.
Thus it was, at a time when Christians were fighting brutal holy wars against Muslims in the Near East, that Islam became known in Europe as an inherently violent and intolerant faith, a religion of the sword. At a time when the popes were trying to impose celibacy on the reluctant clergy, western biographies of the prophet Mohammed, written by priests and monks, depict him, with ill-concealed envy, as a sexual pervert and lecher, who encouraged Muslims to indulge their basest instincts.
At a time when feudal Europe was riddled with hierarchy, Islam was presented as an anarchic religion that gave too much respect and freedom to menials, such as slaves and women. Christians could not see Islam as separate from themselves; it had become, as it were, their shadow-self, the opposite of everything that they thought they were or hoped they were not.
In fact, the reality was very different. Islam, for example, is not the intolerant or violent religion of western fantasy. Mohammed was forced to fight against the city of Mecca, which had vowed to exterminate the new Muslim community, but the Koran, the inspired scripture that he brought to the Arabs, condemns aggressive warfare and permits only a war of self-defence. After five years of warfare, Mohammed turned to more peaceful methods and finally conquered Mecca by an ingenious campaign of non-violence. After the prophet's death, the Muslims established a vast empire that stretched from the Pyrenees to the Himalayas, but these wars of conquest were secular, and were only given a religious interpretation after the event.
In the Islamic empire, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians enjoyed religious freedom. This reflected the teaching of the Koran, which is a pluralistic scripture, affirmative of other traditions. Muslims are commanded by God to respect the "people of the book", and reminded that they share the same beliefs and the same God. Mohammed had not intended to found a new religion; he was simply bringing the old religion of the Jews and the Christians to the Arabs, who had never had a prophet before. Constantly the Koran explains that Mohammed has not come to cancel out the revelations brought by Adam, Abraham, Moses or Jesus. Today, Muslim scholars have argued that had Mohammed known about the Buddhists and Hindus, the native Americans or the Australian Aborigines, the Koran would have endorsed their sages and shamans too, because all rightly guided religion comes from God.
But so entrenched are the old medieval ideas that western people find it difficult to believe this. We continue to view Islam through the filter of our own needs and confusions. The question of women is a case in point. None of the major world faiths has been good to women but, like Christianity, Islam began with a fairly positive message, and it was only later that the religion was hijacked by old patriarchal attitudes. The Koran gives women legal rights of inheritance and divorce, which western women would not receive until the 19th century. The Koran does permit men to take four wives, but this was not intended to pander to male lust, it was a matter of social welfare: it enabled widows and orphans to find a protector, without whom it was impossible for them to survive in the harsh conditions of 7th-century Arabia.
There is nothing in the Koran about obligatory veiling for all women or their seclusion in harems. This only came into Islam about three generations after the prophet's death, under the influence of the Greeks of Christian Byzantium, who had long veiled and secluded their women in this way. Veiling was neither a central nor a universal practice; it was usually only upper-class women who wore the veil. But this changed during the colonial period.
Colonialists such as Lord Cromer, the consul general of Egypt from 1883 to 1907, like the Christian missionaries who came in their wake, professed a horror of veiling. Until Muslims abandoned this barbarous practice, Cromer argued in his monumental Modern Egypt, they could never advance in the modern world and needed the supervision of the west. But Lord Cromer was a founder member in London of the Men's League for Opposing Women's Suffrage. Yet again, westerners were viewing Islam through their own muddled preconceptions, but this cynicism damaged the cause of feminism in the Muslim world and gave the veil new importance as a symbol of Islamic and cultural integrity.
We can no longer afford this unbalanced view of Islam, which is damaging to ourselves as well as to Muslims. We should recall that during the 12th century, Muslim scholars and scientists of Spain restored to the west the classical learning it had lost during the Dark Ages. We should also remember that until 1492, Jews and Christians lived peaceably and productively together in Muslim Spain - a co-existence that was impossible elsewhere in Europe.
At the beginning of the 20th century, nearly every single Muslim intellectual was in love with the west, admired its modern society, and campaigned for democracy and constitutional government in their own countries. Instead of seeing the west as their enemy, they recognised it as compatible with their own traditions. We should ask ourselves why we have lost this goodwill.
- Karen Armstrong is the author of Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (Weidenfeld); The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (HarperCollins), and Islam: A Short History (Weidenfeld).
Karen Armstrong on "Islamic Terrorism"
This perception is not due to any intrinsic resentment of Islam by the American people. It is understood that the mainstream of Muslims, the vast majority of them, like in every other faith, is peaceful and pay their taxes, trying to make America a better society, trying to improve relations with neighbors and colleagues.
But images and terminology influence public opinion, and a bitter taste is left when Islam is reported in the daily headlines. The term "Islamic fundamentalism", whatever it means, has been repeated enough times in relation to violent incidents that naturally, any thinking human being has to be uncomfortable with the fact that America is home to a vibrant Muslim community. The problem stems from negative images about Islam. In the court of public opinion, Islam is guilty untilproven innocent.
Even though the Middle East was home to fewer terrorist incidents than Latin America and Europe, for example, it is still regarded as the region where terrorism is rooted. According to a recent US State Department report, Patterns of Global Terrorism, issued earlier this year, 272 terrorist events occurred in Europe, 92 in Latin America and 45 in the Middle East. Sixty-two anti-US attacks occurred in Latin America last year, 21 in Europe and 6 in the Middle East. These numbers represent the terrorist trend and not an anomaly, whereby the majority of perpetrators are not linked to the Middle East or Islam. The Red Army Faction in Germany, the Basque Separatists in Spain, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Shining Path in Peru and the National Liberation Army in Columbia are not viewed with the same horror as terrorist groups of Muslim background.
There is no moral justification for terrorism regardless of the ethnic or religious background of the perpetrator or the victim, but the factual basis of terrorism has been either hidden or twisted in the public's perception of this policy problem, especially in congressional hearings on terrorism. The countries with the worst terrorist records in the world are not in the Middle East either. They are not even Muslim countries outside the Middle East. They are Columbia and Germany, havens for drug lords and neo-Nazis.
The negative association of Islam with terrorism exists, but no one has ever asked "Why?". Could it be that American society cannot overcome the Khomeini phobia, even though he is dead? The US Congress found it necessary to push $20 million towards covert operations in toppling the Iranian government even at the dissent of people in the CIA. The Arab countries, both friend and foe, are run by tyrants who kill more of their own people than those outside their countries. The presumption that these countries represent a threat to American interests or that any one of them can dominate the region or even rival the only remaining superpower is indeed generous. So the issue is not these countries' hegemony in their region or the world, but aout who can dominate their people and exploit their resources.
The perception in the Middle East is that US policy does not serve the peoples interests; it protects Israel and friendly Arab dictators even then they violate human rights, while it slaps sanctions on and takes military actions against countries whose dictators misbehave, resulting in suffering, starvation and even slaughter, all in the name of teaching the tyrants a lesson. The priorities in the Middle East for the US are not human rights and democracy, but rather oil and Israeli superiority. Consequently, anti-American sentiment increases. This mood of the general public is then characterized as "Islamic fundamentalism", even though the resentment is not rooted in religion. When it turns violent, it is termed "radical Islamic fundamentalism" or "Islamic terrorism." The various "terrorism experts" promote linkage to the Middle East before any other possibility every time terrorism is speculated. They exploit the human suffering of the victims, their families, and the fears of the American public.
Indeed, extremists of Muslim backgrounds are violating the norms of Islamic justice and should be held accountable for their criminal behavior, but we in America should not be held hostage to the politics of the Middle East or biased reporting.
An Israeli journalist, Yo'av Karny, reporting on the events in Chechnya made a striking observation about this development: "The West will be told--and will be inclined to believe--that the oppression of the Chechens is part and parcel of a cosmic struggle against 'Islamic extremism' that rages from Gaza to Algeria, from Tehran to Khartoum. Russians will seek Western sympathy. They should not be given it." The issue is not Chechnya, and it is not even about Islam and the West. Debates about religious wars and cultural clashes only distract us from the real issue: the powerful want to continue dominating the powerless, manipulating facts to influence public opinion, hence maintaining the status quo.
For a negative opinion of Karen Armstrong, viz
Karen Armstrong’s Unscholarly Prejudices
by Andrea Levin. During a reading of Levin’s column, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that Armstrong teaches at the Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism in England.
[v] Ancient Israel is probably a construct of the Hellenistic period. The earliest pentateuchal texts found date to the 4th century BCE. Earliest more or less complete Greek and Hebrew texts date to the period of the Hasmoneans. The Hebrew Bible text is a Hellenistic work composed long after the events recounted are supposed to have taken place. Modern people cannot possibly read these works as a Hellenistic reader would. The texts tell us a lot about the Hasmonean period period and practically nothing about earlier times. The Bible is a response to Homer.
· Iliad: Faithless, impious, sleazy Greeks defeat pious and noble Trojans. Victory belongs to the cunning, who return home to wealth and glory.
· Bible: Saul is the Homeric hero, who does what he believes is right and is deprived of kingship. The Biblical hero, e.g., David as every man, strives for perfect faith. Ancient Israel fails the test of faith. A surviving pious remnant, transformed in the crucible of גלות, creates a new Israel in Judea on new terms to succeed where Ancient Israel failed.
[vi] Biblical history is an oxymoron, but from the archeological record and extent contemporaneous texts we can establish a basic history that is relevant to this lecture and that encompasses Europe, N. Africa, the Mediterranean, the Levant and Mesopotamia.
Very Ancient History of the Mediterranean (10,000-6000 BCE)
Mediterranean culture begins to develop in the rich forests and savannahs of the Sahara. The population speaks Nostratic, which is the ancestor language of proto-Indo-European, proto-Semitic, proto-Egyptian, proto-Chadic, and they worship the Great Goddess.
The period concludes with major climactic change when the Sahara becomes a desert. The North African culture migrates south and west and probably north across Gibralter. Then it circles back at the Dardanelles into Europe. The migrants found Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. There is a common culture sphere around North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, Sicily, Crete, Europe, the Balkans, Albion, Hibernia, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Levant.
Continuing History 6000 - 2300 BCE
During this period the earliest forms of the cult of קַנָּא אֵל (El-Qanna’) or El-Kon-Arz or Κρόνος (Kronos) develop within the system of Titan Worship (14 gods, 2 per day, Sabbath or Saturday is the Day of Kronos, who is Saturn). Kronos is a raven god whose attributes are assumed in a later time period by Wotan, a Wednesday God. The Tower of London may be built on a site sacred to a Celtic version of the Kronos cult. This cult extends from Albion through Mesopotamia. Variants of Kronos worship exist in sub-Saharan Africa. El-Kronos was explicitly worshipped in Phoenicia during the Hellenistic period. Immigrant "sea" peoples settle Palestine. They become such a numerous proportion of the population that Bronze Age (pre-Patriarchal period) Egyptian texts refer to Palestine as the land of Peleset immigrants.
Continuing History (2300 - 1000 BCE)
The migrations of the sea peoples continue along with Hellenic migrations into Greece while Egypt falls into disorder. The Zeus (or Baal) Olympian (or Bull) cult spreads and begins to displace the Titan cult around the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia. Egyptian Armarna letters (14th and 13th centuries) contain correspondence between Egyptian Pharaoh and Palestinian chieftains including "king" Abdi-Hepa of Urusalim that may have been located where modern Jerusalem/al-Quds is. Merneptah Stele (circa 1230 BCE) mentions Israel and Canaan as family eponyms, but the usage does not have the same meaning as found in the Hebrew Bible, any more than the pre-Columbian American use of the name Yankee has any major relationship to current usage. Hill and valley cultures begin to differentiate in Palestine as pezzonovante chiefdoms develop.
Continuing History (1000 - Persian Imperial Period)
The Pezzonovante chiefdoms coallesce into Palestinian city states and then into Northern and Southern chiefdoms. The historicity of the Biblical unified kingdom is dubious. The Mesha stele (Shishaq/Shoshenq) may describe a victory over Rehob’am but the interpretation is disputed. Samaria falls to Sargon II (722), and according to the Annals of Sargon II, he deports 27,290 inhabitants.
Jerusalem falls to Nebuchadnezar (586) as described in deportation texts and Lachish relief. Archeologists have only found evidence of battle around Jerusalem. Probably only Jerusalem was affected by battle and deportation. The Elephantine texts, 6th century describe an Israelite community probably composed of descendants of Judeans, Samarians and assimilated native Egyptians. Meanwhile, large communities of Yehudim develop in Mesopotamia. One must suspect that the term "Judean" refers more to membership in a cultic or cultural community than to geographic origin rather like the terms "Roman" or "Greek" in a later period.
In 539 BCE Cyrus decrees the establishment of the Persian province of Yehud as recorded in the Kurash Prism.
I am Kurash [ "Cyrus" ], King of the World, Great King, Legitimate King, King of Babilani, King of Kiengir and Akkade, King of the four rims of the earth, Son of Kanbujiya, Great King, King of Hakhamanish, Grandson of Kurash, Great king, King of Hakhamanish, descendant of Chishpish, Great king, King of Hakhamanish, of a family which always exercised kingship; whose rule Bel and Nebo love, whom they want as king to please their hearts. When I entered Babilani as a friend and when I established the seat of the government in the palace of the ruler under jubilation and rejoicing, Marduk, the great lord, induced the magnanimous inhabitants of Babilani to love me, and I was daily endeavoring to worship him.... As to the region from as far as Assura and Susa, Akkade, Eshnunna, the towns Zamban, Me-turnu, Der as well as the region of the Gutians, I returned to these sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which used to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned them to their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command of Marduk, the great lord, all the gods of Kiengir and Akkade whom Nabonidus had brought into Babilani to the anger of the lord of the gods, unharmed, in their former temples, the places which make them happy.
There is no particular reason to believe that the people sent to colonize Yehud were actually descendants of former inhabitants. Relocating populations that then become dependent on the central imperial authority was a technique by which the Persians stabilized their kingdom. The earliest texts that are later worked in the Penteteuchal sections of the Hebrew and Greek bibles are probably written shortly after Mesopotamian colonists are dispatched to Palestine.
The Hebrew Bible, Ezra 1:1-8 in a text that probably dates to Hasmonean Judea, the 2nd century BCE records the decree of Cyrus as follows.
In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: "Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: "All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him! Let everyone who has survived, in whatever place he may have dwelt, be assisted by the people of that place with silver, gold, and goods, together with free will offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.' Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites---everyone, that is, whom God had inspired to do so---prepared to go up to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbors gave them help in every way, with silver, gold, goods, and cattle, and with many precious gifts besides all their free-will offerings. King Cyrus, too, had the utensils of the house of the Lord brought forth, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his god. Cyrus, king of Persia, had them brought forth by the treasurer Mithredath, and counted out to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.
Alexander conquers Persian Empire (336-323). Palestinians of all religious practices begin to learn Greek culture and Homer. The Penteteuchal text and portions of other Biblical scripture seem to date to the earliest phase of the Hellenistic period. Later, Hasmoneans displace the Persian-Hellenistic elite. They seem to identify with Spartans among whom Kronos cult practices were common, and indeed the fictional relationship between Israelites and Canaanites seems consciously modeled on the subjugation of the Laconians by the Spartans. The Hasmoneans seem to have remodeled the Jerusalem temple on the pattern of Delphi, and the Hasmonean kingdom tries to associate itself with the Yahweh cult in the manner that the Athena cult was connected to the Athenian league. About this time period the Samaritans, who to this very day are loyal to the cultic site on Mount Gerizim, split with the Judeans. Early complete Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts seem to date to this period, and the conflict with the Samaritans described therein probably reflects the politics of Hasmonean Judea and not early Persian Yehud.
Roman Period 63 BCE - 325 CE
Herodians displace Hasmoneans 37 BCE. Distinct communities of adherents to the Yahwe cult develop in Palestine. Examples include Judeans, Galileans, Idumeans, Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes. Sectarians write and hide the Dead Sea Scrolls. Greek-speaking Judaism, whose primary intellectual representative was Philo, becomes the numerically dominant form of Judaism within the Roman Empire. Around 30 CE Jesus of Nazareth leads a movement that synthesizes aspects of Attic philosophy and Judean religious concepts. Some Judean and Galilean followers of Jesus became the Judean sect of Ebionites, who never completely separated from Judean religion. Other groups of followers eventually came to constitute the founders of various gentile Christian churchs that also attracted many Aramaic and Greek speaking people of Judean religion. The Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, but there was no expulsion of the Judean population. The Romans defeated the Bar Kochba Rebellion in 135 CE. While there was no expulsion of the Judean population, approximately 10,000 people were sold as slaves to defray the cost of the rebellion. By the end of the first century or the early part of the second century, complete texts of the books New Testament were circulating although canonization took place much later. The final Mishna text was probably complete by the end of the second century CE.
A major theme of the New Testament is the failure of the Judean religious community from which a small subsection separates itself to form a new Israel in the Church. Thus, the New Testament reiterates a major theme of the Hebrew Bible, in which Ancient Israel fails only to be reconstituted as a New Israel with the return of the Babylonian exiles. The theme is common throughout classical literary works as anyone that is familiar with Virgil’s Aeniad must realize. The Mishna in its own way may have addressed the same theme, for the Hebrew and Greek Bibles describe the establishment of the New Israel in Judea (Persian Yehud) three generations after the destruction of the first temple while the Mishna may implicitly address the question posed by the failure to rebuild the Herodian Temple three generations after its destruction.
The 2nd til 4th centuries is apparently a period of proselytization of various Eastern religions including various forms of Christianity and Judean religion within and without the territory of the Roman Empire. There is some evidence of the Samaritanization of some formerly mostly Judean towns and villages. In the 324 CE Constantine became the first Christian emperor of the Empire. Thereafter, Christianity is favored while paganism and Judean religion (including its Samaritan variant goes into decline). This Christianization of the Empire may have precipitated the rather hasty completion of the Palestinian Talmud sometime during the 5th century while redaction of the Babylonian Talmud continues outside the reach of Rome probably until sometime during the 7th century. The completion of Babylonian Talmud was necessary for the transformation of Judean religion into modern Rabbinical Judaism, but textual evidence suggest that even for a period after the completion of both Talmuds, Talmudic ur-Rabbinical Judaism was confined to a relatively small community or sect associated with the Geonic acadamies in Palestine and in Mesopotamia. The commonly practiced Judean religion at the time of Muhammad was probably closer to older Kara’itism and modern Samaritanism, but currents of Hellenistic Judaism such as found among Ethiopian Beita Israel were probably still quite strong.
[vii] The primordialism of Zionism is a Gesamtkunstwerk in the Wagnerian sense. One can view the claim that Eastern European Ashkenazi settlers revived Hebrew in a Modern Israeli version as evidence of the thoroughness and planning in Zionist primordialism. Paul Wexler elucidates the politics behind the assertion in Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish on p.3.
In the late nineteenth century, some East European Jewish nationalists, led by a Belarusian Jew, Eliezer ben Jehuda, proposed replacing almost the entire lexical component of their native Yiddish by Classical Hebrew phonetic strings, while a far smaller group of Yiddish speakers, likewise headed by a Belarusian Jew, Ludwik Zamenhof, simultaneously advocated the replacement of the Yiddish lexicon by a Latinoid lexicon of their own creation. The result of the former act of relexification (now spoken as a first or second language by over seven million Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs) is known universally as "Modern Hebrew"; the Jewish revivalists’ choice of name for this type of "relexified Yiddish" was intended to foster the link with Classical Hebrew (which died out as a native language in approximately 200 A.D.) and thereby to strengthen a claim (which, otherwise, had almost no historical basis) to control Ottoman-British Palestine. The result of the second relexification act was Esperanto (on the Slavic or Yiddish grammar of the latter, see Goninaz 1974; Gold 1980; Piron 1982); Esperanto is the only "variant of Yiddish" to be spoken by a predominantly non-Jewish population.
[viii] From Pan-Slavism, Its History and Ideology, by Hans Kohn.
Pan-Slavism, a movement in which nationalist elements were mingled with supra-national and often imperialist trends, was a product of the political awakening of the intellectuals in central and eastern Europe, which was brought about by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. But even more potent was the influence of German romanticism and of a linguistic Pan-Germanism as represented by Arndt and Fichte. Pan-Slavism proclaimed the affinity of various peoples, in spite of differences of political citizenship and historical background, of civilization and religion, solely on the strength of an affinity of language. It could thus arise only at a time when under the influence of Johann Gottfried Herder the national language, the mother tongue, was regarded as a determining factor for men’s loyalty.
While the modern State of Israel is in all but name a colony of the United States of America just like French Algeria, it also maintains interesting similarities with Czarist Russia from the standpoint of Russian Pan-Slavism. Ashkenazim play the role of the Rus’ while other Jewish groups correspond to subordinate Slavic nationalities inside the Russian Empire. From the standpoint of Arab peoples, the State of Israel is a gunpowder empire just as the Czarist Empire was for the peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Within the Pan-Slavic framework masquerading as Zionist Pan-Judaicism, השפה כיבוש (conquest of language or Hebraization of modern Jewry) was sine qua non while the fanatic hostility of Zionist leadership toward Yiddish is hardly surprising. The Politics of Yiddish editid by Dov-Ber Kerler provides an interesting example on pages 2-3 provides an interesting example.
It is often said that the major "consumers" of anti-semitic literature in the former Soviet Union are either blatant (or "commited") anti-semites or the Russian Jews themselves. An analogous situation can be observed with regard to those who continue the vexing notion of Yiddish as a "dying" or an altogether "dead" language. Yiddishists, anti-Yiddishists and seemingly informed well-wishers of different walks of life continue to sustain this "thanatological" approach by either contibuting to it as "intellectually honest" observers (see e.g. Shpiglblat 1990, 1991, 1993, cf. J. Fishman 1991: 328-329, 332-333) or as its passive subscribers. One of the fairly recent gems of this genre belongs to a renowned historian of Hebrew literature who among others made the following "observation" at a conference devoted to the centennial of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1987:
Yiddish in Israel is a dead language, used mostly in homes for the elderly and as a literary language by a few Holocaust survivors. It exists for the readership in Israel, as in America, in translation only… (Shaken 1990: 190)
Gershon Shaked has every right to his opinions. It remains, however, incomprehensible why the Yiddish-speaking inhabitants of homes for the elderly and the allegedly few Yiddish reading and writing Holocaust survivors should be buried alive by one of the leading experts on modern Hebrew literature.
[ix] From Herzl's Altneuland,
Kingscourt und Friedrich beeilten sich auch fortzukommen. Sie fuhren auf der schlechten Eisenbahn nach Jerusalem. Auch auf diesem Wege Bilder tiefster Verkommenheit. Das flache Land fast nur Sand und Sumpf. Die mageren Äcker wie verbrannt. Schwärzliche Dörfer von Arabern. Die Bewohner hatten ein räuberhaftes Aussehen. Die Kinder spielten nackt in Straßenstaube.
Kingscourt and Friedrich hurried to get away. They traveled on the bad railroad to Jerusalem. Even on this route scenes of the deepest depravity. Flat land almost only sand and swamp. The spare cultivated fields as if scorched. Sandniggertowns. The inhabitants looked like robbers. The children played naked in the street dust.
While I am fluent in German, I am not a native speaker. Just to be sure of my translation, I checked with a native speaker friend.
Here is her comment.
"Verkommenheit" also describes something that is rotten, neglected, ruined; "sand und sumpf" is the description of absolute infertile, hostile land, not cultivated by "civilised" people; and of course scorched fields and the neglected, primitive, colourless villages of the "natives" (because this is what it implies!) reminds us of a country that had been devastated by a war; the inhabitants are either second class human beings or not human beings at all, as they are described as criminals, homeless, dishonest, not trustworthy people (this is what "raeuberhaft" implies) whose children don't even have clothes to dress. This is no different from any kind of colonialist literature, which serves the purpose of justifying the rule of the colonisers over those savage people.
[x] Michael Stanislawski discusses the Zionist myth that the Dreyfus case inspired Herzl’s ideology in Zionism and the Fin de Siècle on p. 13.
In the face of the seeming dissolution of the cosmopolitan dream, Herzl began to obsess over the future of the Jews. Typically, of course, he is said to have come Zionism as a result of the Dreyfus Affair, a claim he himself made repeatedly in later years. But in an important 1993 study, the historian Jacques Kornberg carefully analyzed Herzl's reportage on the Dreyfus Affair from the beginning of the case to its end and demonstrated that Herzl's reactions to the first stages of the Affair, well into 1897, were entirely typical of those of other writers in Die Neue Freie Presse or other liberal (and often Jewish-owned) newspapers, and indeed of most Jews in France and elsewhere. It was only after Herzl was a convinced Zionist, and the case itself was transformed in the late 1890s into a cause celebre, that he began to interpret it through Zionist lenses. Nordau also went through exactly the same stages of Dreyfusardism, to the extent that he, too, would later counterfactually insist that it was the Dreyfus Affair that made him a Zionist.
[xi] Sins of the Father by Yosef Dan
Heidegger's Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Lowith, Hans Jonas and Herbert Marcuse by Richard Wolin, Princeton University Press, 276 pages, $29.95
One of the oddest and most difficult chapters in the tortured history of Jewish philosophers in the 20th century is the prolonged and determined connection between the greatest Jewish intellectuals and some of the leading Nazi and fascist thinkers in that century. It is a fact that some of the key figures in the European intellectual world who supported, in various ways, fascist and Nazi totalitarianism worked in an environment where Jewish figures were present, sometimes in a dominant way. This is especially significant with respect to figures who had a great deal of influence on European thought and competed in their support for Nazism (even if not explicitly) and neither accepted criticism nor expressed self-criticism about their support for the European fascist movements.
It is an excruciatingly painful episode, so extensive that it cannot be ignored. Several times during the period after World War II, Jewish students and associates of figures who identified - to one degree or another - with Nazism failed to disassociate themselves fully from their teachers, who were tainted by anti- Semitism and enthusiasm for cruel totalitarianism.
Among prominent examples of this phenomenon there is the still very influential school of Carl Gustav Jung, at the center of which there were and still are many Jews who did not and have not dealt with the episode of Jung's support for Hitler in the 1930s. Another example is the Romanian fascist Mircea Eliade, who became the primary spokesman of "the science of religions" from his chair at the University of Chicago, surrounded by Jews, and who never apologized for his activity in the ranks of Romanian Fascism, an ally of the Nazis, during the war. Another example is the Belgian literary scholar Paul de Man, one of the pillars of the Yale school of literary studies and deconstruction in the United States. After his death, fascist and anti-Semitic articles that he had written in Belgium during the war years, which he had concealed from his many Jewish students and friends, were published. Among those who banded together to defend him, most notable was his friend, philosopher Jacques Derrida, who tried to interpret an anti-Semitic article of his through deconstruction, as if it were full of enthusiasm for Jews. His student, philosopher Shoshana Feldman, tried to explain de Man's silence and concealment as remorse and acceptance of judgment.
It is difficult to find a more far-reaching and painful example than that of Martin Heidegger, who is almost universally described as the greatest German philosopher of the 20th century and one of the greatest of all the century's philosophers. In contrast to the three mentioned above, Heidegger's support for Hitler and Nazism was open and official. He joined the Nazi Party with great fanfare in 1933, and was appointed by the party to be the first Nazi rector of the very prestigious Freiburg University. From his platform as rector, Heidegger preached the adoption of the Nazi worldview at German universities and the expulsion of Jews from them.
He practiced what he preached. His teacher and instructor, the great philosopher Edmund Husserl, who was already retired, was expelled from the philosophy library at the university and forbidden to enter it because he was Jewish. His Jewish assistants and doctoral students could not complete their studies, and in at least one case Heidegger told a student that it was not possible for her to complete her studies because she was Jewish. He broke off his ties with a person who had been his good friend, the important philosopher Karl Jaspers, because his wife was Jewish. In 1934 he demanded that his students stop dealing with ideas and opinions and concentrate on the Fuehrer, who was the essence of everything. He continued to pay his dues as a member of the Nazi Party until the end of the war, although he resigned from his post as rector after a year and did not continue to support Nazism publicly after 1936.
After the war, a special commission determined that he should not be allowed to continue to teach at the university because of his negative influence on students, and he retired. However, he continued to write and lecture for about another 30 years after the war, until his death in 1976.
The most outstanding thing about Heidegger, who saw himself as the most important philosopher since the pre- Socratic Heraclites (in his opinion, beginning with Plato philosophy had declined into a dead end), is that for 30 years after the war he stubbornly and consistently refused to express remorse for what he had said and done during the 1930s. He justified the horrors of Nazism by saying that "all participants in war did this," and denied the evidence of his anti-Semitic activities. Many people visited his cottage near the city of Baden and tried to convince him to express remorse, to no avail. Hence, everyone who met with Heidegger and everyone who availed himself of his ideas knew very well that this was a person who had been an active partner in the Nazi and anti-Semitic takeover of the German universities, and a person who for decades refused to express remorse or criticism of National Socialism.
Heidegger's teacher was a Jew; many of his colleagues were Jews or closely associated with Jews and his main, direct disciples were Jews. We now have before us a profound book that reopens this affair in a systematic way: "Heidegger's Children," by Richard Wolin, which discusses four of Heidegger's Jewish disciples: Hannah Arendt, Hans Jonas, Karl Lowith and Herbert Marcuse, four philosophers who wrote their first works under Heidegger's supervision and went on to develop thought systems of their own that placed them in the front ranks of philosophers in the 20th century.
Wolin, a professor at New York University, devotes his book to a detailed discussion of their personal relationships to Heidegger and his ties to Nazism, as well as their relationship to his ideas and the way these are integrated into their own philosophical works. This book is the latest in Wolin's impressive series of previous studies that dealt with various aspects of Heidegger's thought, as well as two prior books on the issue: "The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader" (MIT Press, 1992), which collects and analyses the major documents about Heidegger's involvement in the world of Nazism; and a translation and analysis of a collection of Karl Lowith's articles on this issue that Wolkin edited in a special volume: "Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism" (Columbia University Press, 1995).
The publication of Wolin's books at this time is important; a sort of revival of Heidegger's thought in Western culture seems to be underway, and is gaining increasing prominence, especially in the world of Jewish intellectuals in the United States, Europe and even Israel. I have even often sensed pride in a kind of super-liberalism when colleagues have spoken in praise of Heidegger and were, in effect, speaking about themselves: "We know that he was a Nazi, but we are so liberal and universalist in our worldview that we pay no attention to such trivial matters," and they reject as provincial and narrow-minded any criticism of Heidegger's insistence on not expressing reservations about Nazism (a similar tone is taken in discussions of Eliade and Jung).
Herbert Marcuse gained fame in the 1960s as the spiritual teacher of the leaders of the student revolution during that decade. He wrote his first book under Heidegger's supervision between 1928 and 1932, when Heidegger's closeness to Nazism was becoming increasingly evident, and apparently for that reason Marcuse did not receive the academic approval he had hoped for from his teacher. At the time Marcuse was attending Heidegger's seminars, he was already identified with the left in Germany; he wanted to pave a way of his own within the Marxist framework, and was especially close to the spirit of the new formulation of Marxism that was proposed by the young Gyorgy Lukacs.
In his philosophical work afterward, Marcuse tried to integrate elements of Heidegger's thought, especially concerning the rejection of the classical German philosophic tradition, with a restructuring of Marxism. Unlike Lowith and Jonas, he did not stress the line in Heidegger's thought in the 1920s that leads consistently to his identification with Nazism in the 1930s; he attempted to create a kind of "Heideggerism of the left," but did not forgive Heidegger his Nazi leanings. He saw this as a mistake, but defined it as "a mistake that a philosopher must not make," and saw in his deeds not only evil and injustice but also a betrayal of philosophy as such, a betrayal of everything philosophy represents.
Marcuse met with Heidegger in 1974, a meeting he defined as "very unpleasant," and afterward wrote to him several times and demanded that he admit his mistakes and express remorse for his deeds. Heidegger refused, and his letters to Marcuse reiterated the old saws about how in every war horrible deeds are committed by all the sides engaged in the fighting, and how the German people had known nothing about what was really going on and therefore is not guilty. With this, the connection between them came to an end.
Karl Lowith, one of Heidegger's first and most veteran students (who afterward converted to Christianity), was also his most consistent and systematic critic. In a series of articles (collected by Wolin), Lowith thoroughly analyzed the roots of Heideggar's thought in German philosophy, and the stages of the growth of its affinity to Nazism. Lowith completely rejects the perception that Heideggar's attraction to Nazism at the start of its takeover of Germany was a mere coincidence. In a detailed analysis, he proves the affinities of his thought to that of Carl Schmitt, the explicit ideologist of Nazism, who as early as 1932 called for the establishment of a "total state" based on "racial hegemony," and for the elimination of "marginal elements" in the country, such as Communists and Jews. Both of them together preached a philosophy of existence at the basis of which is "decisiveness," the ability to make radical decisions in the context of the destruction of the old liberal and Romantic concepts. When the Nazis appointed him rector of the University of Freiburg, Heidegger offered Carl Schmitt a partnership in leading the Nazi revolution at the German universities and in German intellectual life.
Lowith analyzed in detail Heidegger's famous speech as rector of the university, and especially his letter to its students, in November 1933, in which he calls upon them to vote unanimously for Hitler as the ruler of Germany; he strode at their head to the voting station. In this letter, Heidegger explicitly identifies the central concept in his thought, Dasein (existence), with the command of the leader, the Fuehrer, who embodies the spirit of Germany.
The most impressive figure, as described by Wolin, is Hans Jonas. This young and enthusiastic admirer of Heidegger was once sent by his teacher to deliver a love letter from Heidegger to Hannah Arendt, and Heidegger's influence was evident in his great scientific study of gnosis in ancient times. Jonas left Germany even before the book was published and came to Jerusalem. As opposed to Heidegger's other students, who saw themselves as Germans in every respect, Hans Jonas had a background in Judaism and the Hebrew language. During the war he served as a soldier in the British army in Palestine, and participated in fierce battles in Italy. During Israel's War of Independence he enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces and fought in its ranks.
After the war Jonas immigrated to North America and wrote his philosophical works there (foremost among them "The Imperative of Responsibility," 1979). He aroused greater interest in Germany than in the United States and in his later years earned great respect in Germany. His studies in the field of gnosis influenced his historical and philosophical perceptions. Thus, for example, in dealing with the Holocaust he made use of the notion that God ceased to be omnipotent, and in the creation of the world had already limited himself and his powers (he used the kabbalistic concept of tzimtzum in order to make room for the free will of those he created.
When Heidegger was invited to but did not attend a philosophical conference in the Untied States, Jonas was asked to substitute for him in the opening lecture. He painted a broad picture of the analysis of Heidegger's thought and how it had led his teacher to adopt Nazism and place his prestige at the service of the Fuehrer. He read to the conferees Heidegger's speech at Freiburg in which he demanded that the students see the Fuehrer as the spirit and significance of philosophy.
Love of her life
The most difficult chapter in Wolin's book, difficult for the writer and difficult for the reader, is the one devoted to Hannah Arendt. The story of the relationship between the young Jewish student and the brilliant professor of philosophy has already been the subject of extensive discussions, and it seems that with respect to the basic facts there is nothing more to add. Today there is no doubt that Hannah Arendt saw Heidegger as the love of her life, and did not dissociate herself from him even after the horrors of the war became clear. She asked him to apologize for his deeds, but when he refused she did not cut off her close ties with him. She published his writings in the United States and endeavored to spread his message in every way possible. (Recently, it has come to light that at the German publishing house where Arendt's works were published in German after the war, the person who took care of her writings and was in close communication with her, Hans Rossner, had been an officer in the SS, who during the war had worked in the offices of Himmler and Eichmann - See Der Spiegel, May 6, 2002, pp.64-65. Apparently Arendt was unaware of this, but it turns out that she never inquired or tried to find out who the man was. The author of the article in the German newspaper gave it the harsh title "Second Career.")
Hannah Arendt visited Heidegger's cottage in Germany several times and corresponded with him frequently. She had no difficulty in developing a profound hostility toward Gerschom Scholem, who had been severely critical of her book on the Eichmann trial, but she found no way of overcoming her love for Martin Heidegger. Her close relations with him now serve as a kind of alibi for Jewish intellectuals who admire Heidegger's thought.
Wolin devotes the final chapter of his book to a detailed examination of three basic concepts in Heidegger's thought during the 1920s - especially in the book "Being and Time," which brought Heidegger his fame and his status - and the development of these concepts in Heidegger's thought during the 1930s, in the period of his Nazi activities at the universities, especially in his series of lectures on logic. The three concepts are "historicity," "folk" and "work." Wolin examines the roots of these concepts in the thought of Hegel and Nietzsche, the way they were adapted by Heidegger during the first period and especially the way they were integrated into the Nazi ideology he adopted and tried to instill in his students at the university.
Heidegger, who prior to that had developed the idealization of the concept of work, fitted with no difficulty into the activities of the Nazi regime aimed at sanctifying the value of work as the life elixir of "the people." One of the factors in his resignation from the post of university rector was his colleagues' opposition to his demand to impose the obligation of service in "work camps" that the Nazis had organized to "re-educate" the public, both ideologically and socially. In this concept, Heidegger relinquished his initial distaste for technology, and after the Nazis' victories by virtue of their technological superiority, he saw "technological work" as what would bring Germany control of the world. The quotations and analysis Wolin presents in this chapter are very difficult for the Jewish reader, and there is no need to expand on this. The chilling title he chose for this chapter says it all: Arbeit macht Frei.
Haaretz Review of Heidegger's Children
[xii] Revisionist Zionism may be having a pernicious effect on American political discourse today. American revisionists include the Netanyahu family and Baruch Korff, Nixon’s Rabbi, who may have been more important in the formulation of Nixon’s Israel policy than Kissinger. Irving Kristol, Leo Strauss, Ruth Wisse, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle are all linked to this movement. American Jewish Revisionism has always had a strong presence in Hollywood.
From where does the idea come that removing Saddam Hussein will make it possible to reform the Arab world on democratic pro-American models?
Rafael Medoff, who is Visiting Scholar in the Jewish Studies Program at the State University of New York--Purchase and Associate Editor of American Jewish History, outlines in Militant Zionism in America, The Rise and Impact of the Jabotinsky Movement in the United States, how American Revisionists formed alliances with Republicans and conservatives throughout the country.
Maybe there is a connection between American Revisionism and the Neoconservative movement, for the idea of that only the effendi class prevented good relations between Ashkenazi Zionists and the native population of Palestine is an old Zionist myth that seems to have been resurrected in a form pertaining to the whole Arab world and USA.
Revisionists never took seriously the idea of good relations on the basis of reform. This idea has usually been propounded as a fig leaf for the Iron Wall logic that Sharon has always espoused. Jabotinsky, one of the primary pre-State Zionist leaders, articulated this view from 1916 through 1923. This idea assumes "What is impossible is voluntary agreement." Zionists must work for "the establishment in Palestine of a force which will in no way be influenced by Arab pressure. In other words, the only way to achieve a settlement in the future, is total avoidance of attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present."
If this concept first clearly articulated by Jabotinsky 80 years ago and reiterated by Sharon today really has been translated into the US policy for relations between the USA and the Arab world, at the very least it is completely incompatible with the goal of globalization as espoused and supported by the USA, and it is probable that it is the recipe for 100 years of Algeria-like rebellion and terrorism.
The Iron Wall logic has a very bad record even from the Israeli standpoint. The 1967 war was followed by the 1973 war while the invasion and occupation of Lebanon turned into a quagmire.
Political scientists need to keep in mind that Algeria-like warfare in the 21st century would involve far higher numbers of casualties than it did in the 20th. There is an assumption that the barrier to obtaining WMDs is really high even though nuclear bombs can be produced with 1940s technology and even though fissile material can be prepared from ore with almost off the shelf metallurgical technology while older simulation programs are fairly easy to obtain.
Not only does the current Bush policy presages a disastrous 100 years of relations with the Arab and Muslim world, the idea of preventive war in lieu of preemptive war is rather scary. Right now no country could run a preventative war against the USA. But within 25-50 years China, which seems very much to consider the USA a threat, might be able to knock out the USA with a first strike in a preventative war even if strictly by the numbers the USA were still much more powerful than China.
[xiii] Hitler’s Professors describes the rôle German scholars and academics played in legitimizing the Nazi program. Do Zionist, Jewish and American professors recapitulate the behavior of German professors in the first half of the 20th century? Do they work for the accommodation of completely outrageous Zionist ideas and programs by the American public?
Hans Kohn, Robert Weltsch, George Mosse, Howard Sachar, Martin Gilbert, Isaiah Berlin, Leo Strauss, Max Weinreich, Walter Laqueur, Arthur Hertzberg, Ruth Wisse, Bernard Lewis, Martin Cramer, Anita Shapira, Jehuda Reinharz, Samantha Power and many others provide numerous examples of academic falsification, misrepresentation, omission and sometimes outright racism in their scholarly work. Weinreich includes fairly standard Zionist demonization of Arabs right in Hitler’s Professors and become an example of precisely the same sort of scholarly malfeasance that he condemns.
[xiv] Many of the genomic studies that are referenced at Russian Jewish Genetics - DNA, genes, cohen, kohen, Jews look very much like Nazi racial science. Given the abstract Nazi nature of Revisionist ideology and the total incorporation of the Nazi Umvolkung program into Zionism, it is not surprising that such genetic anthropology research in support of Zionist myths began to appear when archeologists began to express doubts about the existence of the patriarchs, Moses and whether the Exodus ever occurred. Some of the data may be valid. Comparison populations almost never are, and most of the conclusion are unwarranted or couched in language to suggest more than they say.
[xv] The Polish Ashkenazi jurist and genocide survivor Raphael Lemkin created a definition of genocide as part of the attempt to found an international legal regime to criminalize genocide.
Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. [Just what Goldah Meir wanted, viz the videoclip from Goldah.] The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity but as members of a national group.
Cited in "Beyond the 1948 Convention -- Emerging principles of Genocide in Customary International Law," Maryland Journal of International Law and Trade, vol. 17, no. 2, Fall 1993, ppp. 193-226.
There is no reasonable doubt that Lemkin meant to include all instances of Umvolkung whether Nazi or Zionist in his definition. Lemkin explicitly stated as Peter Novick points out in The Holocaust in American Life that this definition applies to expulsions of Ostdeutsch populations in the aftermath of WW2.
From Definition of Democide (Genocide and Mass Murder)
In 1946 the United Nations General Assembly recognized that "genocide is a crime under international law which the civilized world condemns, and for the commission of which principles and accomplices are punishable." Then two years later the General Assembly made this concrete. It passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This international treaty, eventually signed by well over a majority of states, affirms that genocide is a punishable crime under international law, and stipulates the meaning of genocide to be any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
There is no valid reason why there is no mention of the Zionist treatment of Palestinians in "A Problem from Hell," America and the Age of Genocide, by Samantha Power.
[xvi] It would be hard to inject more false, misleading or offensive comments than the Connect to Today above has.
Zionism was a belief of only a very tiny essentially non-Jewish Ashkenazi minority in the late 1800s. The horrors of Nazism were unrelated to the reasons the Soviets and the Americans supported the partition proposal. The Soviets wanted the British out of the Middle East, and Truman wanted to win the 1948 election. The vast majority of Jewish DPs (Displaced Persons) had no interest in migrating to Palestine. Most of the Ashkenazi settler colonists in Palestine had no desire to remain there. The Ashkenazim did not regain a homeland; Zionist Ashkenazim stole the homeland of another people.
All Abrahamic religions consider Palestine a place where important spiritual events happened long ago, but this belief is unrelated to modern nationalism either in the Western European civil or voluntary form or in the Central and Eastern European organic nationalist form.
Hobsbawm (one of the pre-eminent scholars of nationalism) describes the actual situation of Jewish communities right up to the Nazi persecutions on pp. 47-8 of Nations and Nationalism Since 1780 (Program, Myth, Reality).
To take only two obvious examples. Until 1945, and vestigially to this day, speakers of German dialects whose elites used the standard written German language of culture, have been settled not only in their main region of central Europe, but as classes of rulers, as townsmen and in patches of peasant settlement all over eastern and southeastern Europe, not to mention small colonies forming a generally religious diaspora in the Americas. They were scattered in a series of waves of conquest, migration and colonization from the eleventh to the eighteenth century as far east as the lower Volga. (We omit the rather different phenomenon of nineteenth-century migration.) All of them certainly regarded themselves as in some sense 'German' as distinct from other groups among whom they lived. Now while there was often friction between local Germans and other ethnic groups, notably where the Germans monopolized certain crucial functions, e.g. as a landed ruling class in the Baltic area, I know of no case before the nineteenth century where a major political problem arose because these Germans found themselves living under non-German rulers. Again, while the Jews, scattered throughout the world for some millennia, never ceased to identify themselves, wherever they were, as members of a special people quite distinct from the various brands of non-believers among whom they lived, at no stage, at least since the return from the Babylonian captivity, does this seem to have implied a serious desire for a Jewish political state, let alone a territorial state, until a Jewish nationalism was invented at the very end of the nineteenth century by analogy with the newfangled Western nationalism. It is entirely illegitimate to identify the Jewish links with the ancestral land of Israel, the merit deriving from pilgrimages there, or the hope of return there when the Messiah came - as he so obviously had not come in the view of the Jews - with the desire to gather all Jews into a modern territorial state situated on the ancient Holy Land. One might as well argue that good Muslims, whose highest ambition is to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, in doing so really intend to declare themselves citizens of what has now become Saudi Arabia.
For a probably genuine classical period (probably Roman Silver Age) attitude of Judean sages toward any sort of Judean identity other than religious, I cite Rabbi in So. 49b "amar rabbi beerets yisrael leshon sursi lamah o leshon haqodesh o leshon yewanit" or R. Joseph BQ 83a "amar rab yosef bevavel leshon arami lamah o leshon haqodesh o leshon parsi," i.e., Hebrew for spiritual matters but Greek or Persian for all other intellectual expression. Thus, the neo-orthodoxy of Samson Raphael Hirsch has far more basis in Jewish intellectual tradition than Zionism. In Hirsch’s formulation, German Jews in Germany were supposed to be Germans nationally and should renounce all cultural distinction from their fellow German citizens - there was not much -- just as German Catholics or German Protestants were supposed to be. I believe that there is an implicit criticism of the Kulturkampf between German Catholics and German Protestants in Hirsch’s writings.
[xvii] Bias is not confined to the movie industry. If one watches the 1948 newsreels shown in the USA, one would never know that Zionists assassinated Volke Bernadotte, and the coverage has become consistently more biased ever since. The international press never uncovered the true story of Zionist ethnic cleansing in 1947-8 while the Israeli propaganda about aggression by the State of Israel in 1967 against its neighbors is still reported as fact. From today’s media commentary on the Middle East, one would not have any clue to the magnitude of the hypocrisy of Israeli Jews and non-Israeli supporters of Zionism when they rail against Palestinian terrorism even though Jabotinsky advocated suicide attacks during the 30s, Zionists romanticised suicidal attacks for 40 years from the 1920s through the 1960s by means of a profound misinterpretation of Iosephos’ description of Sicarii at Masada and Elie Wiesel wrote the novel Dawn to justify Zionist terrorism and assassination.
[xviii] This book was subject to controversy because some members of the American Muslim community misunderstood it. Here is an email that I sent to parties to the hullabaloo.
Subj: Re: The Terrorist
Recently, CAIR has tried to apply its usual heavy-handed tactics of intimidation to Scholastic, Inc. with the polemical press release that I have attached below. Lately, I have been trying to decrease my mordancy when I write on such issues, but the responsible people at CAIR have the literary interpretive skills of a turnip and even less strategic sense.
Cooney is one of the hottest adolescent novelists and has written at least 16 novel, many of which have won awards like the ALA Best Book for Young Adults, the IRA-CBC Children's Choice, the 2000 Texas Lonestar Award (The Terrorist), the ALA 1998 Quick Pick (The Terrorist and others), the Booklist Editors' Choice. Scholastic, Inc. would not pull one of her books on the imperious demand of a group with as little credibility as CAIR.
There are some minor problems with the book, but a better approach might have been to arrange a civilized meeting with the author, who shows, unlike the CAIR leadership, every indication of being a reasonable person. With some reasonable persuasion, she might incorporate some minor corrections in later editions. Now of course there probably is not a snowball's chance in hell of doing any such thing.
The book is actually quite good. The main protagonist in the book is Laura Williams, who is a sort of silly misguided person (and naive American) and proud thereof.
From p. 71.
"I'm ignorant, thought Laura. I was proud of being ignorant. I felt superior because I *didn't* know anything."
The most sympathetic and intelligent character, who solves the crime, was Mohammed, a sensitive perceptive Palestinian refugee, who unabashedly declares his longing for Palestine to Laura.
The theme of the book is the danger of preconceptions and prejudices because to live under the thrall of bigotry and stereotypes is to live in a dangerous fog, which might make it difficult to perceive who one's friends and who one's enemies are.
I agree to some extent with the complaint about the passage on p. 77. I actually had a similar discussion at Laura's age with a Jewish girl from a sister school to the elite school that I attended. I pointed out that she confused temporary political sovereignty with geography. The country was Palestine when the Ottoman's ruled it as part of the of the Ottoman Empire. The country is still Palestine even though the Zionists now rule it. Poland provides the perfect analogy. The country of Poland existed even after the Polish State ceased to exist and the territory was divided among Russia, Germany and Austria.
The CAIR document seriously and somewhat dishonestly butchers the passage by only quoting bits and pieces of it. Cooney actually makes clear how bad Laura's judgment is even to consider the possibility that Mohammed could be involved in terrorism.
The discussion of terrorism in the book is somewhat simplistic. Terrorism is a tool like mustard gas. No one wants to use it, but sometimes it might be necessary. If the Nazis had managed an invasion of the Britain, Churchill fully intended to use mustard gas despite the Hague Convention and other treaties that the UK had signed.
Furthermore, the characterization of terrorism is part of the propaganda war. Israel commits terrorist acts and war crimes by the standards of international law, and then as part of the propaganda war characterizes responses that are acceptable under international law as terrorism.
The complaint about Jehran's comments on page 107 and 108 just shows how little the CAIR readers actually understood the story. Jehran was feeding Laura all the stereotypical nonsense that Laura foolishly believed. The story that Jehran told was a complete fabrication.
Laura's comment on p. 111 is typical of her confusion although like most stereotypical comments there is an element of truth when one considers the behavior of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But Cooney shows in the character of Samira that a tiny element of truth certainly does not justify the generalization. (Laura actually comes to this realization later in the book.)
Laura's comment on p. 76 is just some verbal sparring with Mohammed that is far more innocent if the complete exchange is provided.
The complete comment of Mr. Hollober on p. 119 is far less unconditional than the excerpt portrays it. Nevertheless, there is an element of truth Hollober's claim as Fawaz Turki attests in his writings.
Laura's comment on p. 151 is just another symptom of the fuzziness and silliness of her thinking.
But CAIR's last complaint just shows the complete lack of understanding by the CAIR readers. Jehran's story was a fabrication. She was not trying to escape a Muslim marriage. We do not know exactly what she was trying to do, but as Mohammed correctly points out, Jehran was just telling a story that Laura would believe in her ignorance and in her desire to believe. The story had no basis in fact, but was simply a tool by which Jehran was manipulating Laura.
Once again CAIR has proven to be a complete embarrassment to American Muslims. I recommend reading the book and sending a letter of complaint to CAIR.
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
CAIR Muslim Parent Alert
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C., 20003
NEW Tel: 202-488-8787
MIDDLE SCHOOL READER DEFAMES ISLAM
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/15/2000) - CAIR is warning Muslim parents about a middle school reading text that contains a number of inaccurate, offensive and stereotypical references to Muslims, Muslim women, Arabs, and Islam.
"The Terrorist," written by Caroline B. Cooney (ISBN 0-590-63913-7) and published by Scholastic Inc. (Nasdaq: SCHL), deals with an American student at a private school in London who seeks revenge for the death of her 11-year-old brother killed by a package bomb. Its back cover carries the statement: "This edition is only available for distribution through the school market."
The book was brought to CAIR's attention by a concerned Muslim parent whose daughter read it based on a list provided by her teacher.
A few examples of offensive content in "The Terrorist:" (There are many more examples available.)
Page 77 - "'What country are you from, Mohammed?' she asked. 'Palestine.' [said Mohammed] 'That's not a country...It's Israel. It's been Israel since before my father was born...Is Mohammed a Palestinian who would throw a bomb?"
Pages 107 and 108 - Muslim girl named Jehran speaking: "I will not yet be sixteen. The man chosen for me is a general in his fifties. I will be his third wife. His is a traditional household. I will be forced to wear a black robe like my servant, and have my face covered by a solid veil with eye slits. I will not be permitted to leave my house. I will not be allowed books to read or television to watch or a radio to listen to...It is living death...My money would be his, and I would never be permitted to touch it. I would obey my husband always, no matter how painful or cruel or wrong. I would have no purpose except to give birth to sons. If I had a daughter, he would punish me and quickly get me pregnant again."
Page 111 - "Islam. You thought that religion was a pact between you and God, but it wasn't...Men who hated women. Men who wanted women literally locked in their clothes and their homes."
Page 76 - "Oh, you Arabs," said Laura, "you just want to push people around."
Pages 89 and 90 - "Shiites are very, very strict. The ruler they have now is called an ayatollah, a sort of Moslem (sic) priest. Iran hates America."
Page 110 - "In marriage, Jehran would dress like a vampire. A black shroud with eye slits...Nobody except her husband would ever see her skin. The husband who was forty years older. Who already had wives...Laura [Jehran's friend] did not like to think of the logistics of their bedrooms."
Pages 118 and 119 - "'If a girl from an observant Moslem family were to fall in love with a Christian,' said Mr. Hollober, 'or flirt, or expose her face or limbs or hair in front of men except her father and brothers, she would taint her family's honor. She would be punished because honor of the family matters more than she does...Mr. Hollober insisted he was telling the truth. 'Girls who tempt men are criminals. Girls who disobey their fathers and brothers are criminals. And criminals in Islamic countries pay with their lives.' So if Jehran disobeyed her brother, he would not yell at her. He would execute her."
Page 151 - "Laura was pretty sure Allah would expect Jehran to obey her brother. That's what Moslem women did: they obeyed the men in their family."
To top off this offensive and stereotypical material, the author reveals that "The Terrorist" was in fact the girl who is trying to escape the "living death" of a Muslim marriage. The girl killed the heroine's brother just to obtain his passport. So even the "good" Muslims are bad.
In a letter to Scholastic President Richard Robinson, CAIR asked that the book be recalled because it is "targeted at a captive audience of impressionable middle school students" who, unlike adult readers, do not have a choice in what they read and absorb.
In response to CAIR's request, Scholastic's Senior Vice President of Corporate Communication Judy Corman wrote in part: "Taking the book as a whole, as a novel is intended to be considered, we believe the book represents a contribution to the dialogue about commonly held attitudes and preconceived notions." Scholastic is a $1.2 billion global children's publishing and media company.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be firm, but POLITE.)
1. Contact Scholastic to express your concerns, as a Muslim parent, about the negative impact this type of offensive and stereotypical material has on your children and their classmates.
Mr. Richard Robinson
New York, NY 10012
COPY TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Find out if "The Terrorist" is on the reading list used in your child's school. If it is, bring the stereotypical content to the attention of school administrators. Muslim children should also express their views about the impact this book could have on their lives. Suggest alternate titles such "American Islam: Growing Up Muslim in America" (ISBN 0802783430) or "Kiss the Dust" (ISBN 0140368558).
3. Obtain copies of CAIR's 16-page booklet, "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," for distribution to teachers and school administrators. ($3+S/H)
1. Offensive material in a book used as assigned reading for students is not the same as similar content in a book that would be freely, and voluntarily, accessed by adults.
2. The material concerning Islam's alleged treatment of women is inaccurate as well as offensive.
- PLEASE COPY, POST, DISTRIBUTE, AND ANNOUNCE -
Original document: http://www.cardamon.org/NAAP_Lecture/naaplecture.htm