palestine holocaust

anonymous asked:

hi just wanna ask u, as a lebanese muslim, what defense do u have if any, for israel's invasion of palestine. i agree completely that Jewish ppl deserve a homeland just as any one else does but to invade an already existing and developed nation is cruel. i know ur not 100% pro-israel but i just want to hear ur side bc u don't seem to extremely support either israel/palestine. also, im antizionist but i fail to see how this makes me antisemitic? i have nothing against jewish ppl, just israel. ty

OK. I’m going to break this down a bit because there’s are many components to your ask and some of them are contradictory.

1. Agreeing that the Jewish people deserve a homeland is a form of Zionism. I’m frustrated by the term “anti-zionist” for a number of reasons, especially considering very few people who use the term seem to actually know what Zionism even is, or what it sounds like to most Jews. 

2. Many far right Jew haters use the term “Zionist” interchangeably with Jew and many anti-zionists who are predominantly concerned with the plight of the Palestinians end up buying into all sorts of antisemitic ideas because they’re sold as “anti-zionist.” This is incredibly dangerous to us as it allows antisemitism to be transmitted under a different label and far too few anti-zionists bother to challenge these ideas, allowing them to spread. This is dangerous for Jews and it makes it harder for us to take anti-zionists seriously when they say they aren’t antisemitic.

3. As far as Israel is concerned the circumstances are complicated and too many people try to simplify it by acting like either the Palestinians don’t exist as a people, which is wrong, or that the Jews were pure colonialist invaders which is equally wrong. This drives me nuts. So I’m going to have to break this down a bit. 

Most of the challenges I see to Zionism as practiced by Herzl and Ben Gurion are cherry picked and largely irrelevant to the cause’s necessity. Had there not been multiple waves of refugees, I probably wouldn’t support what they were doing. I also wouldn’t exist. Let me break this down a bit.

British Mandate Palestine’s Jewish Population DOUBLED between 1933 and 1939. The reason for this is twofold.

1. Nazi Germany came into existence, took over neighboring countries and began their steady process of destroying Jewish rights and safety. We all know where that led.

2. Britain, who was controlling Palestine at the time, kept immigration there open when most other countries, including the British mainland and the USA were closed. History has proven that they did, indeed, save their lives by fleeing there.

In 1939, the White Paper, in response to Palestinian protests and revolts, severely restricted Jewish immigration to British Mandate Palestine, left Jews with almost nowhere to run, right when WWII was beginning and the worst effects of Nazism were about to be felt. 

Now here’s my question. Would you bar Jews fleeing Nazism from entering the country? Knowing what we know now? Knowing that nowhere else was taking them in? 

Jewish immigration to Palestine slowed to a trickle during the Holocaust and Jews were literally trapped in Nazi occupied Europe and North Africa. 6 million died. This is historical fact.

After the Holocaust, the survivors who tried to go home faced pogroms, yet were barred from immigrating. They were forced to live in refugee camps. Again, no country made a significant effort to let them in. The USA wouldn’t until 1949 until AFTER Israel’s founding. My grandparents came to the USA because of the Refugee act of 1949. For survivors before 1949, it was Israel, pogroms or homelessness.

The next major wave of immigration to Israel were Jews in the Middle East and North Africa who were driven out of their own countries for being “Zionists” regardless of whether or not they actually were Zionists. These Jews actually form a majority of Israel’s current population. They were driven out and Israel took them in. What alternative did they have?

Finally Jews from the USSR and Ethiopia were facing brutal, systemic oppression and they came to Israel to live safely and freely among their own people, options they didn’t have elsewhere.

Now, here is my problem. Much of the rhetoric and tactics employed by anti-zionists don’t just demonize the Israeli government or state, but Israeli people, the majority of whom are Israeli because they were fleeing for their lives and safety. This is thrown in the garbage bin in favor of throwing out false equivalencies to the Boers or the British Empire. There is a level of hatred thrown at average Israeli Jewish citizens I don’t see thrown at the residents of any other country that is guilty of comparable crimes. I don’t recall seeing people damning Russian actors for being Russian the way I see Gal Gadot being damned for being Israeli. I personally live in the United States, a country built on slavery and genocide, and I don’t see instant hate the way Israeli Jews do. And, had circumstances been even slightly different, my grandparents would’ve moved to Israel instead of the USA after the Holocaust and they would’ve suddenly been treated as evil.

I don’t particularly care at this point about a one or two state solution, though I oppose the idea of annexation as being suggested by the Settler movement because it would result in genuine apartheid. What I do care about is fostering a reality where Jews and Palestinians can live side-by-side as neighbors either in neighboring countries or in the same countries and that will be impossible so long as demonization of Israeli Jews remains a major part of the pro-Palestine movement. How do you expect Jews and Palestinians to live as neighbors when they are taught to hate each other and are egged on by foreigners? 

Peace of any sort can’t happen until people actually want peace and the current environment is so grotesquely driven by hatred and demonization that I don’t see any solution as viable until we see major changes in how it’s discussed. But when Israeli voices, even moderate and liberal ones, are shut up, that is impossible. You can’t make peace with people you refuse to even talk to. This has to stop. 

The reason that so many anti Zionist Jews are American is because they come from a place of privilege and comfort. If they lived in Europe they would realise how important it is to us that we have a homeland to return to when we are forced out our own countries by our own neighbours.
An American Jew has nothing to fear by comparison to a European Jew. Our land is stained with the blood of our relatives and the ground we walk on is a mass grave of people who never had a chance to live.
An American Jew will never have to run to Israel in order to survive
But in Europe we have to or there will be nobody left.

anonymous asked:

Do you think that anti-Semitism and anti-zionism are synonymous? I didn't think so, but many have said that they are, which doesn't make sense since zionism is separate from the religion and ethnicity and culture (but maybe this is wrong because I'm reading non-Jewish people's viewpoints and it's a way for them to be antisemitic while being edgy)

While anti-zionism isn’t technically the same thing as antisemitism, the line between “Jews don’t have a right to a safe homeland” and “I hate Jews” is awfully precarious. Few can walk it with care and far fewer even bother to try. Anti-zionists are prone to treating accusations of antisemitism as more offensive than actual antisemitism.

Anti-zionists will often use the idea that anti-zionism isn’t anti-semitism to defend antisemitic actions. Just a few things I’ve seen defended as “just anti-zionist.”

- Spreading Rothschild Jewish Banking Conspiracies
- Accusing Holocaust Survivors of controlling the US Government
- Blaming Israel for 9/11
- Denying Jewish History 
- Denying Jewish genetics
- Derailing any conversation of antisemitism by injecting Israel/Palestine into the debate
- Spreading Khazar theories
- Policing how Jews talk about our own history and experiences
- Dictating to different groups of Jews how they should feel about other Jews
- Silencing Israeli Jews on college campuses even if they are there to criticize Israeli Policy
- Treating LGBTQIA Israeli Jews as if their very existence was the same thing as “pinkwashing” Hasbara
- Comparing Jews with Nazis
- Downplaying the severity of the Holocaust
- Acting like the Holocaust was the beginning and end of antisemitism
- Denying that Israeli Jews are Majority non-Ashkenazi and that they are there because of oppression and expulsion by MENA countries.
- Talking over said Jews about how they should feel about Israel
- Dismissing antisemitism against white and/or Ashkenazi Jews 
- Defending and promoting antisemitic figures in the “Pro-Palestine” movement like Holocaust Denier Paul Eisen and Blood Libelist Alison Weir
- Tokenizing Jews most other Jews find reprehensible like the Neturei Karta and Gilad Atzmon so they can prove they aren’t antisemitic
- Dividing Jews into “good Jews” and “bad Jews” based on our opinion on Zionism (which is probably far more nuanced and informed than theirs) and not caring about anything else we think or feel.
- Telling Jewish victims of antisemitism that they should blame Israel instead of the perpetrators
- Blaming Israel for ISIS/ISIL/Daesh
- Ignoring or denying the plights of Jewish refugees
- Ignoring Jewish voices when it comes to our own history and experience of antisemitism
- Cheering and/or justifying the deaths of Israeli civilians
- Boycotting Israel and only Israel despite countries like Russia, China, Pakistan, Turkey and others committing the same sins, frequently on much larger scales
- Demonizing Jews for being activists on anything other than Israel/Palestine
- Telling Jews what is and isn’t antisemitic
- Trying to excuse their own antisemitism by deflecting the question with the etymology of “semite” - Chaim’s Law
- Telling MENA Jews they have no right to their own cultures
- Telling Latinx Jews they have no right to their own culture
- Identity Policing Jews
- Acting like there’s no difference between Jewish refugees from murderous antisemitism and colonial conquerors who came to exploit the local population and resources for a foreign mother country

I could go on.

My point is there’s a reason most Jews I know, even anti-zionist Jews have a severe distrust of non-Jewish anti-zionists and much of it has to do with the points above and so many more. This goes triple for any anti-zionist who isn’t Palestinian. Unlike Palestinians, there’s a good chance their country expelled, oppressed or murdered their Jewish populations, necessitating Zionism in the first place. The fact of the matter is most Israeli Jews are survivors of genocide, oppression and expulsion who went to the one place in the world that would take them in. You can’t treat that last point as a hypothetical. They went to Israel because they wanted to live. They are frequently damned for making that choice by the very people who gave them no other choice. That’s just cruelty. It demonstrates a callous indifference to Jewish life and suffering, and if many Jews consider that to be antisemitic, do you really think you can blame them?

Anti-zionists need to change their tactics and their associations in a major and visible way if they want to avoid accusations of antisemitism from a majority of Jews. And that’s on them, not us. 

Hannah Szenes (1921-1944) was a Jewish Hungarian resistance fighter who was parachuted behind German lines in World War 2.

The child of a Jewish family in Hungary, Szenes showed a talent for writing from a young age. She was accepted into a Protestant private school, however in spite of a ‘gifted student’ discount she still had to pay double the regular fees because she was Jewish. Combined with her awareness of the worsening situation for Jews in Hungary, this led her to join Maccabea, a Hungarian Zionist youth movement.

In 1939 Szenes traveled to the British Mandate of Palestine where she studied agriculture and wrote poetry and plays about Kibbutz life. In 1941 she joined the Jewish paramilitary force Haganah and in 1943 volunteered to join the British Special Operations Executive to train as a paratrooper. After training in Egypt she was selected to take part in an operation to infiltrate German-occupied Europe and establish links with beleaguered Jewish communities.

On March 14th 1944 Szenes was parachuted into Yugoslavia along with two men, Yoel Palgi and Peretz Goldstein. Their mission was to enter Hungary and help save Hungarian Jews from being deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The team spent 3 months working with Yugoslavian partisans, during which they discovered that Hungary had been forcibly occupied by German forces in retaliation for attempting to surrender to the Allies. Faced with this new information Palgi and Goldstein decided to call off the mission. Szenes disagreed and pressed on to the Hungarian border alone, however not long after crossing she was arrested by Hungarian police.

Szenes was imprisoned and suffered a brutal interrogation by police who wanted to know the code for the radio transmitter she used to communicate with the partisans and the British. She was stripped, tied to a chair, and whipped and clubbed for 3 days. She lost several of her teeth. Yet she refused to surrender the code and so she was transferred to a Budapest prison where she continued to be tortured. Frustrated that she wouldn’t break, the guards brought in her mother, who she had not seen for 5 years, and threatened her life. Despite this Szenes still refused to give up the code and eventually her mother was released.

Szenes spent the next three months in prison but was not idle. She communicated with other prisoners using a mirror to flash signals and used large cut-out letters to spell out messages in Hebrew. She often sang to keep up the spirits of the other prisoners. However in late October she was tried for treason and on November 7th 1944 she was executed by a German firing squad.

Following the end of the war, Szenes became widely known when her diary, poetry and plays were published. She was recognised as a national heroine of Israel and in 1950 her remains were reburied in the military cemetery on Mt Herzl in Jersualem.

One of the final entries in her diary contained a poem reading:

In the month of July I shall be twenty-three,

I played a number in a game,

The dice have rolled. I have lost.

anonymous asked:

wait, there was a civil war between Jews and the British Empire Mandatory Palestine??? Nobody taught me that! I always thought the British Empire was on OK-ish terms with the Jews in Mandatory Palestine. Nobody ever teaches me anything.

Not sure I’d call it a civil war. There was a Palestinian revolt in 1936 due to a massive spike in Jewish Immigration caused by Nazism doubling the Jewish population in a few short years. In response, the British tried a partition plan, which was rejected. Afterwards, they instituted the White Paper of 1939 which put a low cap on Jewish immigration to Palestine right as WWII began in Europe and teh Holocaust was about to enter its first stages. By the time the war had ended and the true horror of what happened to the Jews left in Nazi territory came to light, Jews in mandatory Palestine demanded that the survivors be allowed to immigrate, but the British kept the caps in place. In response, a number of Jewish militants took to attacking the British, including, most famously, the bombing of the King David Hotel. Eventually, the British left the country and the question of its future status to the UN, which voted for partition.


Disable Protester by Kombizz Kashani
Via Flickr:
Hundred thousands of protesters gathered in London on this Saturday (19th July 2014) to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza and “justice and freedom” for Palestine. This demonstration called by: Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND, Friends of Al Aqsa, British Muslim Initiative, War on Want, Islamic Forum of Europe, Palestinian Forum in Britain 2100 Israeli air strikes, over 2000 rockets fired, and now the ground invasion has started we can expect a sharp escalation. Over 300 Palestinians have been killed, 77% of them civilians, a quarter of them children. Over 2200 have been injured and more than 2000 homes destroyed. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu says, “No international pressure will prevent us from striking.” Israel’s barbaric bombardment of the most densely populated area on earth must stop now. Barack Obama, David Cameron and UK foreign secretary William Hague’s support for “Israel’s right to defend itself” is nothing less than collusion with war crimes killing women, children and disabled people. I joined this vast crowd of people in the national demonstration and took few images. 4th July in East Jerusalem !Netanyahu Blames Hamas for Gaza Casualties !!# I CHECK THE LABELAll for C H A N G E !!

alternateuniverseofanna  asked:

hello! so I'm writing a historical-fantasy story that borrows a lot from the Victorian Era. to sum up quickly; there was a big war between pro-magic and anti-magic. Anti-mag's won and did thier best to Cull mages. They forced everyone to convert to thier religion. I'm wondering if there's any techniques in the past that any theocratic governments used to keep down thier people? I'm not looking for anything really violent. Even if you could just point me to the right direction for research, ty 😊

I was all set to use a “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” gif and then I realized that you’re not looking for anything violent.  Whoops.

I don’t know that theocratic governments have any special claim on techniques used to oppress the people; plenty of governments in past and present have oppressed their people, with or without a divine mandate.  XD  What I’m saying is, you don’t have to look to theocratic governments for ideas on how to get to oppressin’; the religion stuff is just an excuse.

But some things that come to mind are (stuff in parentheses you can research):

  • Segregating people into certain neighborhoods/ghettos and giving inferior services to the people in the ghettos, like insufficient policing, intermittent electricity, not picking up the garbage (Native American reservations; Jim Crow era; the Holocaust; Israel/Palestine)
  • Not allowing certain people to vote and thus limiting their voice in government (women’s suffrage; black suffrage)
  • Announcing that anyone who refuses to convert will be put to death–or you can move far, far away, and leave behind your homes/businesses/communities, y’know, your choice (persecution of Polish Socinians)
  • Not allowing certain people to work, or only allowing them to work certain (undesirable) jobs, or only allowing a certain number of workers to work per day, thereby keeping people in poverty (Jim Crow era; Israel/Palestine; migrant farm workers in the U.S.)
  • Finding reasons to seize the property of the people you don’t like and giving it to people you do like, or finding a way to prevent people you don’t like from owning property at all (persecution of Transylvanian Unitarians; racist lending practices in the U.S. known as “redlining”; Palestinian house demolitions)

Basically, anything the government can do to keep a certain population poor and disenfranchised is what you’re looking for, and the religion stuff is just an excuse.  You might be interested in the examples of the Polish Socinians and Transylvanian Unitarians in particular, because they were actually quite well tolerated at one point in history, and it was because of successive kings/emperors/conquest that the screws got turned on them.  Might be relevant to your story.

Oh, but if you’ll accept my unsolicited advice, don’t underestimate the power of the people!  The anti-mags can probably do a lot of the government’s work for it, yanno, pushing mages into puddles and breaking their windows and refusing to do any business with them and whatnot.  And then the government can just refuse to prosecute them.

Hope that helps!

DISCLAIMER: These replies are only writing advice and intended for entertainment purposes only.  Your personal experiences may vary.  The author accepts no liability stemming from improper use of any material presented here.  I am not here to be your pastor; I am here to help you write better pastors.  If you need real life spiritual advice or are experiencing a spiritual crisis, please search for local resources related to your specific crisis as these will be best equipped to assist you. If the first resource doesn’t work out, try the next one. You matter.

I’m seeing a lot of people mentioning the St. Louis and the dozens and dozens of countries that blocked entrance to Jewish Refugees before and during the Holocaust. Honestly, I’m in favor of absorbing Syrian refugees for exactly that reason. My family had nowhere to escape to when the Holocaust happened and, as a result, my grandmother and grandfather were the only survivors of their families outside of a recently discovered second cousin on my grandmother’s side. They were finally admitted to the United States in 1949.

My point here is that if you are going to use the historical treatment of Jewish Refugees as a parellel, you are obligated to understand what happened to them. They didn’t all die. A great many of them fled to British Mandate Palestine between 1933 and 1939, more than doubling the Jewish Population in less than a decade. Some welcomed the refugees, others rioted. To keep the peace, the British created the White Paper of 1939 which effectively blocked all Jewish immigration to Palestine. 

At the same time Jews were blocked from entering virtually every other Nazi-free country in the world, with few exceptions. We revere the names of those who helped Jews escape, Wallenberg, Sugihara, Winton, Roncalli. But they were rare exceptions. History remembers the Six Million who could not escape.

The survivors found themselves homeless, their money, property and businesses stolen. Many who attempted to return faced pogroms by their former neighbors who were hoping that the Jews were gone for good. And so they lived in Displaced Persons camps for years, petitioning for opportunities to simply make new lives for themselves along with whoever remained. Some, like my grandparents, had distant relatives in countries like the United States and could successfully petition to bring them there. But even then the numbers of immigrants allowed was limited. Ultimately, many of these displaced survivors ended up in Palestine and what would eventually become the State of Israel.

My point is this. So much rhetoric around Israel comes by comparing it to imperialist powers like Britain, Spain and Belgium. But those were countries sending their people out into other parts of the world to exploit them and expand the power and influence of the home country to whom they remained loyal. Jews who fled to British Mandate Palestine had nowhere else to go. 

The reality is that a majority of Israeli Jews are refugees and their descendants. Refugees from Europe, Africa, the MIddle East and the Soviet Union. They were fleeing persecution to go to the one place on Earth that promised to never turn them away when, historically, so many places had.

So if you are moved to sympathy by the plight of the Syrians I share your feelings. But if you are going to use Jewish refugees as a basis for comparison, you need to recognize that in the absence of countries willing to take them in, Jewish Refugees really had only one choice to make.

I’m not asking you not to criticize the Israeli Government. I do it all the time. I’m asking you to recognize the humanity of the Jewish People, both Israeli and diasporic. I’m asking you to acknowledge that conflating Imperial Power Grabs with a need for a place to simply survive is disingenuous at best and is ultimately anti-semitic. You can question the circumstances of Israel’s founding. You can fight for justice for the Palestinians. I don’t care if you support a one-state or a two-state solution. All I want you to do is acknowledge that Jews have a right to live somewhere and that it’s rank cruelty to displace us as if we had a safe mother country to go back to.

I read a metaphor, I forget where, that said that Jewish Immigration to Israel was similar to a situation where a man flees a burning house and has no choice but to jump off a roof and land on another person, breaking their arms and legs. We need to acknowledge the harm Israel’s creation and actions have done. At the same time, we also need to recognize that too many Israel critics believe that the Jews should’ve burned. 

The term “Zionism” is not an epithet. Nor is anti-Zionism a mask for social hatred of Jews. The Exodus mythology justifying Israel’s foundation is unraveling & the dystopic vision of Zionism stands exposed by the barbarous excesses of Israeli ethnic cleansing in Gaza. There is no Biblical or historic claim to Palestine.

The Pentagon can arm Israel to the teeth with the latest high-power armaments, drone bombers, F-35 stealth fighters, & Iron Domes but it cannot give Israel justification for colonialism, for the expropriation & ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Israeli apartheid has no real theoretical defense. That’s why their only defense is to demonize Hamas & try to identify anti-Zionism with social hatred of Jews. But Zionism’s demise is written in its mission.

Zionism is a right-wing ideology originating in the late 19th century in response to persecution & pogroms against Jews in Europe. It emerged in an era when European colonialism in Asia, Africa, the Americas, & Pacific was starting to be addressed by progressive political forces. Dividing up the world & competing for plunder was a fundamental conflict between nations which led to the first World War. The socialists of the day believed racism & colonialism should be challenged & historically vanquished or it could destroy humanity.

Zionist ideologues, based on their privileged class, were hobbled in their vision of freedom from persecution by a belief in the superiority of Jews & a rejection of any kind of assimilation like modern nation-states entail. Thus Zionism in the historic contest between colonialism & social freedom for all, chose to side with colonialism, adopted its methods & perspectives to set up a Jewish-only state, & rejected the struggle against racism & colonialism.

The Jewish holocaust of WWII was part of European colonialism. What distinguished it was not the extreme barbarism against Jews. Europe & the US were long-involved in unimaginable crimes against Indigenes & black & brown-skinned peoples. Even the massive Atlantic slave trade is only a part of that horrific history. What distinguished the holocaust was that barbaric practices honed against colonized peoples were now being turned on European peoples in the metropolitan center.

There has always been strong objection by progressive Jews to the right-wing proposals of Zionists. Some of the most powerful writings & critiques are by Jews who detested the stinking elitism, wanted to ally the struggle against antisemitism to the struggle against racism & colonialism, & considered it treachery to ally with the forces of reaction. Many of them died in the holocaust while Zionists exploited it to peddle their nefarious scheme. What had been an ideology without a hope now became a social movement.

After 67 years of Zionist terrorism & colonial expropriation, of watching the US & European powers abet Zionists in setting up a country on their lands, Palestinians are finally marshaling the forces of justice & human rights around the world to stand with them. As Palestinian solidarity & the cultural & economic boycott (BDS) of Israel grows, Zionists will become more rabid. An Israeli law firm just won damages in a US federal court against the PLO & Palestinian Authority for fomenting terrorism. They have already begun to go after BDS groups as hate groups. Palestinians are up against the most powerful & reactionary forces in the world. They have not been daunted for 67 years by the odds against them. Nor should we be.

Build the economic & cultural boycott of Israel! Demand “No aid of any kind to Israel!”

The photo is street art in Gaza by the graffiti artist named Banksy who is doing a series to highlight the Palestinian struggle. This one of children swinging from an Israeli army watch tower is in the same town where Israel bombed the school used as a UN refugee center.
By Mary Scully

(Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Back in school I remember thinking “How did Hitler get over 6 million people to follow along blindly and not fight back?” Then I realised I’m watching the world walking the same path now.

anonymous asked:

As an ethnic jew born in America, I found your post on the term Zionism very interesting. What do you think of Vanessa Redgrave calling Zionists Hoodlums? She refuses to acknowledge that she is antisemitic because she actively protests antisemitism that is unrelated to Israel and doesn't treat antisemitism as a threat that 'no longer exists'. Do you think her use of the term Zionism is justifiable? Thanks so much, I must admit I am not very educated on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“Zionism” has become a very loaded term and I honestly wish non-Jews would just stop using it. Hell, Uri Avnery made a very good case that no one should use it. When someone mentions Zionism, you honestly have no idea what they think that term means.

The worst meaning of “Zionist” refers directly to the notorious anti-semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which postulated that Jews secretly control everything or at least are plotting to. People under this false belief will often mask their anti-semitism in anti-zionist language, using “Zionist” interchangeably with “Jew.”

Modern Political Zionism, as suggested by Theodor Herzl, was the belief that Jews needed a state to be safe from anti-semitism. That idea ultimately took shape in the modern State of Israel, though that wasn’t an inevitability. Both Uganda and Patagonia were suggested as alternatives. Regardless it ended up with Jewish groups purchasing land in Palestine during the Ottoman rule and then with the British Mandate which promised a safe Jewish home there. A lot of anti-Zionism is based in the thoughts, acts and theories of these Zionists who were responding to the anti-semitism of Europe during the late 19th and early 20th century. Jewish anti-Zionists of this period mostly believed in other solutions to anti-semitism including assimilation, communism, social justice activism, prayer and other ideas. Very often you’ll see anti-Zionist attacks along these lines based on the (frequently cherry-picked and decontextualized) statements of Zionists like David Ben-Gurion, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Chaim Weitzmann and others.

Then there is what I’ll call “circumstantial” Zionism wherein Jews had to flee to British Mandate Palestine and later Israel as a practical matter rather than as a deliberate support of a political theory. In this case I’m talking about refugees. First you have a major flood of refugees from central Europe in the 1930s who fled to British Mandate Palestine because of the rise of Nazi Germany and its ideologies. 

As you can see here, there is an enormous spike in Jewish immigration in that period. Most of the rest of the world had severe caps on Jewish immigration during this period. The British promised a safe Jewish homeland in Palestine, so that’s where Jews fled. This is where I get frustrated with the people who are against ideological Zionism based on the statements and actions of the early Zionists. They don’t have a good answer for this population. 

The slowdown in 1936 came in large part as a result of Palestinian riots against the British and Jewish populations, which culminated in the British White Paper of 1939 which put extreme caps on Jewish immigration. 

As you can see in 1932, there were just under 200,000 Jews in Palestine. By 1942, that number had more than doubled. These are Jews who had to flee. You can condemn that 200,000 all you want, but I’m frustrated by the general apathy towards the other hundreds of thousands who came during this period where their immigration almost certainly saved their lives. Combine this with later waves of immigration which also included large masses of refugees from anti-semitism and you see where a country built on the notion of “all Jews always welcome” was not a theoretical but a practical matter. 

What I’m saying is that, for a great many Jews, Zionism isn’t a political theory, it’s a practical question of survival. To these Jews “I’m against Zionism” means, “I don’t care if Jews have a safe place to live.” 

The question of the costs of Zionism is a necessary and important one. But in taking sides, a lot of people ignore or downplay the role that the existence of Israel has played for the very survival of millions of Jews. Any solution to the question of Israel/Palestine that doesn’t take this into account is doomed to failure and will only exacerbate the situation. 

To borrow the cliche, “one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” Anyone who isn’t interested in a better future for both peoples is one I don’t  fully trust.

Calling Zionists “hoodlums” is a grotesque oversimplification. I don’t doubt that Redgrave and other anti-Zionists have good intentions. But I also don’t think they are taking the effort necessary to understand the complexities of the issue. It’s much easier to take a side than it is to try to find practical solutions. Especially when the personal cost to her isn’t an existential one.
Anti-Zionists are fools if they think they have a monopoly on compassion
And so, the end is near, and now we face... But let us not be maudlin. Let us, instead, return to a theme I’ve addressed often in the 17 years I’ve been writing feuilletonisms – sometimes misconstrued as opinion pieces – for this newspaper. Death? Cyclists? Offence-taking as a lifestyle choice? No, none of the above.

“You can mourn a dead Jew and disrespect a living one. So when an anti-Zionist tells me that his fervent wish is to see the end of Israel but he cannot be an anti-Semite because he regrets the Holocaust, I don’t necessarily feel I am in the presence of a friend…

One can overreact. How significant is the opinion of a few Oxford students? So “Hitler was right” placards appear on our streets every time there’s renewal of Gaza violence and you never know when the organ-harvesting version of the blood-libel is going to pop up next. This is still not yet Kristallnacht, is it? To which the only sane answer is no, this is not yet Kristallnacht. The trouble is, Kristallnacht wasn’t Kristallnacht either, before it was.”

Things I saw on that antisemitic blog reminded me of a trend I see on tumblr.

A lot of people will suddenly become concerned about other Holocaust victims like the Romani people, queer, disabled people and POC killed by the Nazis- just so they can make a smart remark about how Jewish people deliberately erase these other victims. Or that the attention the Holocaust gets is somehow, unjustified. So, the insinuation that one of the primary victims of a genocide are “making it all about themselves”. (When people do this, Slavic Holocaust victims usually get no mention, despite the aim being to allegedly “remember everyone”.)

They do not really care about who else went into Auschwitz or Dachau or through the hands of Dr Mengele, do they? It is always about using one group of victims of a genocide as a club to beat another. How much lower can we get? We are not talking about people obscuring achievements or contributions of others here, we are talking about multiple groups who had the immense misfortune to be victims of a genocide. “Victim of a genocide” is not a privilege, not a cool sticker people have to attract more attention to themselves, it’s immensely scarring for an entire ethnic group. It’s not something where any of us should be trying to pit the victims against each other. 

And from what I have seen, Jewish people are actually very involved in raising awareness about all the other victims of the Holocaust, maybe because, I don’t know, it happened to them and they appreciate the immense suffering inflicted on everyone persecuted? Yet, these persistent claims that there is a widespread phenomenon of Jewish people erasing other genocide victims go on. Even though the erasure and Holocaust deniers i see in the media is by neo-Nazis, by leaders of far right parties like Marine Le Pen, by the Golden Dawn, by people who are not only anti-roma and anti-slavic but antisemitic. It has become fashionable to pretend to suddenly care about Rroma people, if only just to claim Jewish people are “making the Holocaust about themselves”. Or if it’s about saying light-skinned European Jews have unqualified white privilege (not true at all in Europe), it will be Ethiopian Jews or Palestinians or European Muslims that become a cudgel to derail conversations about antisemitism. 

What do we call this shameless pitting of oppressed groups against each other? It’s no different from a classic divide and conquer tactics. Parallel conversations can be held about antisemitism, antiblackness, Islamophobia and Palestinian suffering precisely because oppression is not linear, is not one where there is one group indisputably “most oppressed”, because one can be oppressed but yet oppress in another context. Because the oppression each group face is unique and exists in different dimensions, because there are multiple contexts from Israel to Europe to the US- where who has power is different. Instead of discussions about white supremacy, European and the US imperialism that feeds into the dynamics that oppress all these groups, people will have them beat each other up. It’s a scrabble for the imaginary place at the bottom of the heap while the people who benefit most from all this (like the US military industrial complex) continue being able to avoid blame. 

In all my time writing about the Japanese war crimes my family experienced on tumblr, I have yet to be accused of “making it all about Chinese people” if I did not mention Koreans or Vietnamese or Indonesians or any other group that suffered under Japanese rule in that specific post. People take it that I am focusing on my family’s experience, not that I am trying to “make it all about my ethnic group”. With the Holocaust? I have honestly not really seen another issue where the victims of a massive crime against humanity are so rampantly accused of “making it about themselves” by various people. Where discussion of genocide- probably humanity’s most heinous crime- is framed as if it is an attention-seeking device. Particularly by people who are ostensibly against racism, but nonetheless, I guess, are champions of oppression olympics, seeing from how they often cynically try to cut light-skinned Jewish people out of conversations about racism. 

The social justice discourse on tumblr generally does not see this as acceptable to do to light-skinned East Asians or white-passing non-Europeans like light-skinned people from North Africa and the Middle-East, as much as we recognise things like light-skinned privilege- yet on big parts of tumblr - it’s popular and alright to do that to light-skinned European Jews? When European racism is ethnicity based, not just colourist? Or Jewish people as a whole? When antisemitism continues to be virulent today?

Blogs that do this are trash.