Progressive Jewish women and the women’s movement as a whole must take a stand on the question of Palestine and Israel, without allowing charges of anti-semitism to cloud our view of what Zionism is really about. We can’t cop out by saying it’s just too confusing. Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir articulated a fundamental tenet of Zionism when she stated in 1969: “It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.” Behind this chilling lie is the reality that “Israel” was carved in blood from the homeland of the Palestinian people. Before the Zionist invasion, Palestine had a population of a half a million people. Muslims, Christians, and 20,000 Jews lived together for over thousands of years.
The Zionist leader Herzl commented that if the Zionist movement was to receive British support, it must show the British government “spot in the English possessions where there were no white people as yet.” Uganda, Argentina, and Palestine were all seriously considered as possible sites for the Zionist settlement. British Zionist Lord Melcher argued the reasons why Britain should support the colonization of Palestine: “The advantages to the British Empire are obvious. The Suez Canal and air stations, the oil-pipe outlet in Haifa and its harbor, have become vital to our naval strategy in the Mediterranean. The security of the imperial complex of interests can be better assured by a large European population than by the few battalions that can be spared.“ (emphasis added)
The Zionist and British usurpation of land and power was accomplished through terror and genocide. In 1948 alone 385 Palestinian villages were destroyed and their names erased from the map. Over the years 1 and ½ million people were displaced at gunpoint. By the hundreds of thousands, Palestinians were forced to flee into the desert, living for decades in tent villages while the settlers took over their farms and groves.
At every step, the Palestinian people resisted being driven from their homeland. Since the Zionist invasion, there have been six major revolts and scores of popular uprisings; 30,000 martyrs have died in the process. This is the reality behind the Zionist myth that the colonization of Palestine has “made the desert bloom.” The Zionist state of Israel could not exist without the backing of US imperialism, which has built Israel into an outpost of white supremacy. 20% of the US foreign aid budget goes to the Zionists; in turn Israel operates as the policeman of imperialist interests in the Middle East. Just as South Africa invades Angola, Namibia and Mozambique to enforce imperialist domination of Southern Africa, so Israel bombs Lebanon, Iraq and annexes Syrian land with impunity. Like the white settlers in South Africa, the Jewish settlers in Israel provide the manpower and political base for white supremacist aggression.
On a world scale, Israel actively supports other fascist regimes and military dictatorships. Israel is a major supplier of military aid to South Africa and the repressive regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala. It supported Somoza in Nicaragua, the puppet government in South Viet Nam, and now Pinochet’s rule in Chile. Fascist South Africa and Israel are each other’s number one trading partners. This situation cannot be brushed off by blaming the right wing policies of Israeli Prime Minister Begin. It is not the particular administration that is in question, but the basic nature of the Zionist white settler state. From the very beginning, Israel’s takeover of Arab land has depended on aggression, the threat of aggression, and on serving the interests of US imperialism.
“The Issue of Zionism in the Women’s Movement” published by Women Against Imperialism (April 1982)