by Zafar Bangash (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 46, No. 11, Rabi' al-Thani, 1439)
This article was first published in the CI April 2010 issue. It is being reproduced here in view of recent developments in the Holy Land.
In its long tortuous history, Europe has spawned many de-monic ideologies — colonialism, imperialism, na-tionalism, fascism, Nazism, and Zionism, to name just a few — but while most have been repudiated, at least theoretically, Zionism is venerated as a religion. Zionists masquerade it as a badge of honor. It would be difficult to find anyone calling himself a colonialist or imperialist these days, although there are plenty of countries peddling these ideologies under the guise of other labels (humanitarian intervention, the right to protect, etc). Nor would one find anyone openly proclaiming to be a fascist or a Nazi. Yet there are plenty of people who proudly claim to be Zionists. They come in all stripes: Jewish, Christian, Hindu, atheist and (yes) Muslim.
It is important to clarify at the outset what Zionism, or to call it by its correct name, political Zionism, is not. Despite strenuous efforts by its proponents, Zionism has little or nothing to do with Judaism, the religion of millions of people.
True, Zionist ideology was first propounded by people of Jewish background — Theodore Herzl, Ze’ev Jabotinsky et al. — but they were not religious at all. In fact, they considered Judaism as an impediment in their colonial enterprise. Herzl was a racist. He propounded the idea, in the wake of the Dreyfus affair in France (year 1894), that Jews could not assimilate in other, primarily Christian European societies; they needed a separate homeland of their own. Even before Herzl announced his racist idea at the first Zionist Conference in Basle, Switzerland (1897), most rabbis had condemned political Zionism. The Philadelphia Conference of November 3–6, 1869 adopted a resolution that stressed the radical opposition between the universalist principles of Judaism and those of political Zionism.
So how did political Zionism, a racist colonial enterprise, succeed in establishing itself in the heartland of Islam despite strong opposition from leading rabbis and the indigenous population of Palestine? By the turn of the last century, British and French colonialists were busy instigating revolts in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) by buying the loyalty of Arabian tribal chiefs to use them against the Ottoman Sultanate. The toxic brew of Western colonialism, Arabian nationalism, and political Zionism facilitated the imposition of the Zionist entity in Palestine through the infamous Balfour Declaration.
On November 2, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour, in a letter to Baron Walter de Rothschild, outlined the British government’s favorable view of establishing “in Palestine a home for the Jewish people…” While Balfour stated, “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” he deliberately ignored their political rights.
That the overwhelming majority of inhabitants of Palestine were Muslims and Christians whose fundamental rights were being violated was of little consequence. In typical colonial style, Balfour promised the Palestinians’ land to European Zionist Jews.
Unlike European racists that have a long and gory history of persecuting Jews and other minorities in their midst, Muslims have not perpetrated any pogroms or indulged in inquisitions against religious or other minorities.
Whenever Jews suffered persecution in Europe or Russia, they found refuge among Muslims, hence the presence of Jewish communities in North Africa, Turkey, and Iran to this day. Yet European racists transferred their “Jewish problem” to Palestine.
The tiny minority of Jews in Palestine — 7% in 1919 and even at the time of Israel’s creation in May 1948 through a scandalous vote in the United Nations General Assembly (November 1947) — the 30% Jewish population owned a mere 6.5% of the land. Yet it was given 56% of Palestinian territory. The rapid increase in Jewish population from 7% to 30% in 29 years (1919–1948) was not the result of natural growth; it was achieved through illegal Jewish immigration into Palestine.
Even Hitler’s WWII bloodbath did not convince the overwhelming majority of Jewish people to settle in Palestine. But Zionist leaders missed no opportunity to emphasize the importance of Jewish migration to Palestine and lamented the lack of interest among European and North American Jews.
While Zionists denounce anti-Semitism and advance it as the principal justification for the creation of a separate homeland for the “Jewish people,” anti-Semitism is a twin of Zionism and needed for its survival. Herzl himself wrote, “The Jews constitute a single people and cannot be integrated into other peoples. But they do become assimilated by any society if they find themselves secure in it for a long period. And that will never be to our interest.” Thus, Herzl considered anti-Semites as indispensible allies in his quest to create the Zionist State in Palestine.
Today’s Zionists are no less eager to align themselves with racists and bigots. In fact many Zionists, especially in the US, are leading Islamophobes. In Palestine, the Zionists have not only expropriated Palestinian land — today the Zionists control more than 93% of the original land of Palestine through theft, forcible occupation, and other illegal means — they have also built roads, neighborhoods, communities, and settlements reserved exclusively for theJews. This is what apartheid South Africa had done, hence the designation of Israel as an apartheid state. The apartheid wall through which the Zionists have cut off Palestinian families and villages, stealing in the process more Palestinian land, caps it all. In a ruling handed down in July 2004, the International Court of Justice described Israel’s apartheid wall as illegal. Zionists are also masters at forging history. From the biblical claims that “God promised them this land” described as a “land without a people” (Palestinians are non-people in Zionist mythology), they have gone about uprooting Palestinian families from their homes and villages, often at gunpoint and frequently using it as well, to indulging in mass starvation and killings. By using the Bible as a real estate manual, ironically by people that do not even believe in God, the Zionists have added the myth of selective history to their spurious claims to Palestine.
They claim that they have a historic link with Palestine because Prophets David and Solomon (a) ruled the Holy Land 3,000 years ago. It is as if in Zionist mythology, nobody existed before the Hebrew tribes arrived in Palestine — not the Philistines (hence the name Palestinians), the Moabites, the Hittites, the Amorites, or others — and subsequent to the 73-year rule of David and Solomon nobody else inhabited this land until the Zionists arrived to inhabit it. The guilt-ridden Christian West that has historically perpetrated bloodbaths against the Jewish people accepted such infantile claims at face value.
Nothing could be more spurious than the claim of Christian charity assuaging the guilt of European Christendom. Christian charity requires the good believer to give from what he has; nothing could be more un-Christian than to “give” stolen property to someone else. Similarly, nothing could be more personal than Christian morality, and so how is Christian dogma appropriated to govern the behavior of nation-states, which in reality wanted to solve the Jewish problem through expulsion?
The fact is, Europe and the numerous squatter/colonial entities it spawned — America, Australia, New Zealand, to name a few — never stopped being racist; long before the Third Reich, the so-called “final solution” was discussed in Britain, and a thoroughly assimilated Jew, constrained most of the time to live in his own ghetto, was still not tolerable to the European racist. And so European racism set upon a course to solve two problems with one master stroke.
Perceiving themselves to be locked in a life-and-death struggle with Islam, the real purpose of the creation of the Zionist State of Israel was to position a colonial beachhead in the heartland of Islam that would empty Europe of all its Jews and simultaneously act as a permanent impediment to peace and progress in the Muslim world.
Israel admirers never tire of reminding the world that it is the “only democracy” in the Middle East. Hitler’s Third Reich was also a democracy yet it perpetrated the biggest bloodbath in European history. The Zionists are busy replicating the Nazis’ horrible record in the Holy Land.
There are also a number of racist laws in force in Zionist Israel. One is the Law of Return. Under this law, any Jew living anywhere in the world is automatically entitled to Israeli citizenship upon setting foot there. That the overwhelming majority of Jewish people who occupy Palestine today have no links with the land whatsoever is of little consequence. Palestinians who have lived there for millennia, have to prove their ownership to land or property before they are given any rights. Their papers were often stolen or destroyed by the very Zionist marauders who invaded Palestinian villages and towns in 1947–1948. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were murdered and others driven out through a campaign of terror — and this was before 1948. This is even more critical for Palestinians in Jerusalem; if they are away from the city for more than three months, they lose the right of return. Similarly, every effort is made, fair and foul, to force them to leave. Palestinians are denied building permits not only for new homes but are also refused permission to rebuild. Palestinian home demolitions are a common practice of the Zionists to target Palestinians involved in resistance activity.
Concurrent with this was the policy of land grab, the most important consideration after illegal Jewish immigration into Palestine. If a core group of Jewish settlers, the vanguard of the Zionist movement, did not occupy a core area of territory, the Zionist enterprise would not succeed. This is what the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling referred to as “territoriality” being at the centre of the Zionist project. At the time of Israel’s creation, the 30% Jewish/Zionist population owned only 6.5% of the land yet they grabbed 56% of the territory, quickly expanding it further through terror.
Three instruments were particularly effective in this theft: the Jewish National Fund (set up in 1901), the Land Ordinance Act of 1943 and, the Emergency Laws decreed in 1945, the latter two courtesy of the British colonial occupation of Palestine. The first stipulated, in typical colonial style, that land acquired by it cannot be resold or even leased to non-Jews. The Land Ordinance Act was applied under the rubric of the “public interest” while under Emergency Law the military governor was given powers to suspend all the rights of citizens. The most convenient pretext used was that of “security” or by declaring certain areas “prohibited.” The Zionist occupiers of Palestine have all these repressive instruments to dispossess the indigenous Palestinian population.
All this is done under the absurd and bogus claim that Jewish people are superior to Palestinians and they cannot live side by side with them as neighbors. How else should one describe racism? And regardless of what the cowardly Western rulers and their puppets say, Zionism is racism.
What most people — and unfortunately the bulk of Muslims falls into this category as well — fail to recognise is that Israeli racism is integrally connected to the Israeli nation-state. Were it not for the state apparatus, the military, political, economic, and criminal resources required to pull off this grand deception and occupation of the Holy Land would not be possible. Zionism will never become a bitter historical memory unless its eradication is coupled with the dismemberment of the State of Israel and the thorough dezionisation of its Jewish inhabitants.
However even this is not enough, as the tentacles of Zionism extend far beyond the borderless pariah State of Israel into the Arabian and imperialist capitals of the world. It is not enough to say that imperialist America and colonialist Europe prop up the Zionist cancer in the Muslim world. The Zionists would never have lasted a day without the willing 80-year complicity of Arabian despots, dictators, presidents, and princes from Morocco to the Persian Gulf. And we are witnessing this complicity explode into the open with the Arabians’ embrace of Zionist Israel.
Thus the will to make Israel disappear into the pages of history must also be the will to look for an Islamic post-national alternative to the nation-state fiasco that currently grips the whole world. Were such a will to reassert itself into people-to-people associations across the world, then Jews would once again be free to settle anywhere in the Muslim world, not just in the walled-off military bunkers of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
And this directional course has its starting point at the heart of the Arab world, indeed the entire Muslim world: Makkah. Jerusalem will never be free so long as its sister holy precincts in Makkah are not liberated from the crypto-Zionist clan of Saud and its people are not cleansed of their tribal-cum-nationalistic perversions acquired from the sons of Israel.
This is the only way to eradicate Zionism — as ideology and as social construct. All partial solutions will land us in the same spot we are in today. Until this racist ideology is uprooted and eliminated utterly and irrevocably, there will be no peace in Palestine or anywhere else in the world.