Al Mayadeen’s Nakba Special featuring Gilad Atzmon

May 15, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reOKhDG6X78&t=3m28s

The English part starts around 3;29 min/sec.

In this interview with Al Mayadeen’s Zeinab Al Saffar  I elaborated on The Right of Return, the racism that is inherent to the Jewish State, the Jewish solidarity spin and the inevitable future – One Palestine from the river to the sea.

Six years ago 20 Palestinians called for my disavowal as I was touring America raising funds for The March to Jerusalem.  At the time some Palestinians were happy to serve their ‘solidarity meisters.’  But recent events  reveal how wrong they were. Their people are actually more determined than ever.

The Right of Return is the core of the Palestinian plight. It puts Gaza in context, it brings Israeli crude racism to light. It unites the Palestinians, it unites the rest of us behind them.

This interview was filmed in Maroun al Ras, Southern Lebanon

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

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Report: Pro-Israel Groups Demand Changes to Virginia Textbooks

Posted on 

Grant Smith and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) have released a report on efforts by Israel advocacy groups to effect changes in textbooks used in public schools in Virginia. According to IRmep, the requested changes include:

  1. Deletion of references to Israel “occupying” territories captured during the 1967 Six-Day War and substituting “controlled.” International conventions clearly outline the responsibility of occupying powers and the illegality of collective punishment and population transfers.
  2. Changes to maps to recognize Israel’s declared “annexation” of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The U.S. and most other countries do not officially recognize Israeli annexation of either territory.
  3. Substitution of references to “occupied territories” to “captured areas.”
  4. Substitution of references to “Jewish settlers” and “settlements” with “building of homes and communities.”
  5. Deletion of a lesson reviewing a video documentary by Iranian-American religious studies scholar, author, producer and television host Reza Aslan.
  6. Deletion of an activity based on reading the biography and work of Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi.
  7. Substitution of an editorial cartoon titled “The Mideast Peace Game Rules” with a cartoon of an Arab suicide terrorist holding a  “Road Map to Peace” game hostage.

A group calling itself the “Institute for Curriculum Services” proposed the changes to the Virginia Department of Education on February 28. You can go here to see a summary of IRmep’s findings, and here to access a more detailed review that includes documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

IRmep also outlines a number of “common themes” which emerge in the requested textbook changes. These include eliminating or replacing historical artwork created for predominantly Christian audiences; deletion of all references to “Palestinian territories”; as well as characterization of Judaism, i.e. Old Testament theology, as “God’s covenant” while relegating the tenets of Islam to mere expressions of “Muslim religious belief.”

Apparently the changes being sought in Virginia textbooks are a part of an overall nationwide effort. IRmep cites a spokesperson for the “Institute for Curriculum Services” who claims to have successfully made more than 11,000 changes to textbooks in US public schools.

The Israeli lobby has long had yokes locked around the necks of our Congress men and women. Now it seems they are trying to solidify their control over our public education system as well. If you think the millennials of today are daft, succored as they have been on identity politics, imagine what the next generation will be like after being fed a steady diet of Israeli propaganda in their school textbooks. Any school teachers who attempt to explain the truth about Israel and its genocidal occupation policies doubtless will risk being fired.

This is how the people of America are being robbed of the power of independent thought. Pretty soon, the only free countries left in the world will be those that don’t have Israeli lobbies.

On the False Dichotomy Between ‘Jews’ and ‘Zionism’

April 21, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

https://www.u-news.net/en/news/50/9743/Lebanon-%7C-Ex-Israeli-Saxophonist-Most-People-are-Making-a-False-Dichotomy-Between-Jews-and-Zionism.htm#footer-social

Lebanon | Ex-Israeli Saxophonist: Most People are Making a False Dichotomy Between Jews and Zionism

…Atzmon said that a lot of people are making a false dichotomy between Jews and Zionism, and explained that there are three categories in the Jewish world, there are Jews the people, Judaism the religion, and Jewishness the ideology and the culture..

He pointed that a lot of Jews don’t follow Judaism, they do not go to Synagogue, yet they are identified politically and culturally as Jews.

The saxophonist said that most people in the west and in the Arab world do not understand it, Jews, that are the people, may not be the problem, and Judaism is also not the problem, but Jewishness is always the problem for people are identified with a group that is racially oriented…”

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

In Case You Missed It: What Is Antisemitism?

By Michael Neumann

March 27, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – Every once in a while, some left-wing Jewish writer will take a deep breath, open up his (or her) great big heart, and tell us that criticism of Israel or Zionism is not antisemitism. Silently they congratulate themselves on their courage. With a little sigh, they suppress any twinge of concern that maybe the goyim–let alone the Arabs–can’t be trusted with this dangerous knowledge.

Sometimes it is gentile hangers-on, whose ethos if not their identity aspires to Jewishness, who take on this task. Not to be utterly risqué, they then hasten to remind us that antisemitism is nevertheless to be taken very seriously. That Israel, backed by a pronounced majority of Jews, happens to be waging a race war against the Palestinians is all the more reason we should be on our guard. Who knows? it might possibly stir up some resentment!

I take a different view. I think we should almost never take antisemitism seriously, and maybe we should have some fun with it. I think it is particularly unimportant to the Israel-Palestine conflict, except perhaps as a diversion from the real issues. I will argue for the truth of these claims; I also defend their propriety. I don’t think making them is on a par with pulling the wings off flies.

“Antisemitism”, properly and narrowly speaking, doesn’t mean hatred of semites; that is to confuse etymology with definition. It means hatred of Jews. But here, immediately, we come up against the venerable shell-game of Jewish identity: “Look! We’re a religion! No! a race! No! a cultural entity! Sorry–a religion!” When we tire of this game, we get suckered into another: “anti-Zionism is antisemitism! ” quickly alternates with: “Don’t confuse Zionism with Judaism! How dare you, you antisemite”

Well, let’s be good sports. Let’s try defining antisemitism as broadly as any supporter of Israel would ever want: antisemitism can be hatred of the Jewish race, or culture, or religion, or hatred of Zionism. Hatred, or dislike, or opposition, or slight unfriendliness.

But supporters of Israel won’t find this game as much fun as they expect. Inflating the meaning of ‘antisemitism’ to include anything politically damaging to Israel is a double-edged sword. It may be handy for smiting your enemies, but the problem is that definitional inflation, like any inflation, cheapens the currency. The more things get to count as antisemitic, the less awful antisemitism is going to sound. This happens because, while no one can stop you from inflating definitions, you still don’t control the facts. In particular, no definition of ‘antisemitism’ is going to eradicate the substantially pro-Palestinian version of the facts which I espouse, as do most people in Europe, a great many Israelis, and a growing number of North Americans.

What difference does that make? Suppose, for example, an Israeli rightist says that the settlements represent the pursuit of aspirations fundamental to the Jewish people, and to oppose the settlements is antisemitism. We might have to accept this claim; certainly it is difficult to refute. But we also cannot abandon the well-founded belief that the settlements strangle the Palestinian people and extinguish any hope of peace. So definitional acrobatics are all for nothing: we can only say, screw the fundamental aspirations of the Jewish people; the settlements are wrong. We must add that, since we are obliged to oppose the settlements, we are obliged to be antisemitic. Through definitional inflation, some form of ‘antisemitism’ has become morally obligatory.

It gets worse if anti-Zionism is labeled antisemitic, because the settlements, even if they do not represent fundamental aspirations of the Jewish people, are an entirely plausible extension of Zionism. To oppose them is indeed to be anti-Zionist, and therefore, by the stretched definition, antisemitic. The more antisemitism expands to include opposition to Israeli policies, the better it looks. Given the crimes to be laid at the feet of Zionism, there is another simple syllogism: anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is antisemitism, antisemitism is a moral obligation.

What crimes? Even most apologists for Israel have given up denying them, and merely hint that noticing them is a bit antisemitic. After all, Israel ‘is no worse than anyone else’. First, so what? At age six we knew that “everyone’s doing it” is no excuse; have we forgotten? Second, the crimes are no worse only when divorced from their purpose. Yes, other people have killed civilians, watched them die for want of medical care, destroyed their homes, ruined their crops, and used them as human shields. But Israel does these things to correct the inaccuracy of Israel Zangwill’s 1901 assertion that

“Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country”.

It hopes to create a land entirely empty of gentiles, an Arabia deserta in which Jewish children can laugh and play throughout a wasteland called peace.

Well before the Hitler era, Zionists came thousands of miles to dispossess people who had never done them the slightest harm, and whose very existence they contrived to ignore.

Zionist atrocities were not part of the initial plan. They emerged as the racist obliviousness of a persecuted people blossomed into the racial supremacist ideology of a persecuting one. That is why the commanders who directed the rapes, mulilations and child-killings of Deir Yassin went on to become prime ministers of Israel.(*) But these murders were not enough. Today, when Israel could have peace for the taking, it conducts another round of dispossession, slowly, deliberately making Palestine unliveable for Palestinians, and liveable for Jews. Its purpose is not defense or public order, but the extinction of a people. True, Israel has enough PR-savvy to eliminate them with an American rather than a Hitlerian level of violence. This is a kinder, gentler genocide that portrays its perpetrators as victims.

Israel is building a racial state, not a religious one. Like my parents, I have always been an atheist. I am entitled by the biology of my birth to Israeli citizenship; you, perhaps, are the most fervent believer in Judaism, but are not. Palestinians are being squeezed and killed for me, not for you. They are to be forced into Jordan, to perish in a civil war. So no, shooting Palestinian civilians is not like shooting Vietnamese or Chechen civilians. The Palestinians aren’t ‘collateral damage’ in a war against well-armed communist or separatist forces. They are being shot because Israel thinks all Palestinians should vanish or die, so people with one Jewish grandparent can build subdivisions on the rubble of their homes. This is not the bloody mistake of a blundering superpower but an emerging evil, the deliberate strategy of a state conceived in and dedicated to an increasingly vicious ethnic nationalism. It has relatively few corpses to its credit so far, but its nuclear weapons can kill perhaps 25 million people in a few hours.

Do we want to say it is antisemitic to accuse, not just the Israelis, but Jews generally of complicity in these crimes against humanity? Again, maybe not, because there is a quite reasonable case for such assertions. Compare them, for example, to the claim that Germans generally were complicit in such crimes. This never meant that every last German, man, woman, idiot and child, were guilty. It meant that most Germans were. Their guilt, of course, did not consist in shoving naked prisoners into gas chambers. It consisted in support for the people who planned such acts, or–as many overwrought, moralistic Jewish texts will tell you–for denying the horror unfolding around them, for failing to speak out and resist, for passive consent. Note that the extreme danger of any kind of active resistance is not supposed to be an excuse here.

Well, virtually no Jew is in any kind of danger from speaking out. And speaking out is the only sort of resistance required. If many Jews spoke out, it would have an enormous effect. But the overwhelming majority of Jews do not, and in the vast majority of cases, this is because they support Israel. Now perhaps the whole notion of collective responsibility should be discarded; perhaps some clever person will convince us that we have to do this. But at present, the case for Jewish complicity seems much stronger than the case for German complicity. So if it is not racist, and reasonable, to say that the Germans were complicit in crimes against humanity, then it is not racist, and reasonable, to say the same of the Jews. And should the notion of collective responsibility be discarded, it would still be reasonable to say that many, perhaps most adult Jewish individuals support a state that commits war crimes, because that’s just true. So if saying these things is antisemitic, than it can be reasonable to be antisemitic.

In other words there is a choice to be made. You can use ‘antisemitism’ to fit your political agenda, or you can use it as a term of condemnation, but you can’t do both. If antisemitism is to stop coming out reasonable or moral, it has to be narrowly and unpolemically defined. It would be safe to confine antisemitism to explicitly racial hatred of Jews, to attacking people simply because they had been born Jewish. But it would be uselessly safe: even the Nazis did not claim to hate people simply because they had been born Jewish. They claimed to hate the Jews because they were out to dominate the Aryans.

Clearly such a view should count as antisemitic, whether it belongs to the cynical racists who concocted it or to the fools who swallowed it.

There is only one way to guarantee that the term “antisemitism” captures all and only bad acts or attitudes towards Jews. We have to start with what we can all agree are of that sort, and see that the term names all and only them. We probably share enough morality to do this.

For instance, we share enough morality to say that all racially based acts and hatreds are bad, so we can safely count them as antisemitic. But not all ‘hostility towards Jews’, even if that means hostility towards the overwhelming majority of Jews, should count as antisemitic. Nor should all hostility towards Judaism, or Jewish culture.

I, for example, grew up in Jewish culture and, like many people growing up in a culture, I have come to dislike it. But it is unwise to count my dislike as antisemitic, not because I am Jewish, but because it is harmless. Perhaps not utterly harmless: maybe, to some tiny extent, it will somehow encourage some of the harmful acts or attitudes we’d want to call antisemitic. But so what? Exaggerated philosemitism, which regards all Jews as brilliant warm and witty saints, might have the same effect. The dangers posed by my dislike are much too small to matter. Even widespread, collective loathing for a culture is normally harmless. French culture, for instance, seems to be widely disliked in North America, and no one, including the French, consider this some sort of racial crime.

Not even all acts and attitudes harmful to Jews generally should be considered antisemitic. Many people dislike American culture; some boycott American goods. Both the attitude and the acts may harm Americans generally, but there is nothing morally objectionable about either. Defining these acts as anti-Americanism will only mean that some anti-Americanism is perfectly acceptable. If you call opposition to Israeli policies antisemitic on the grounds that this opposition harms Jews generally, it will only mean that some antisemitism is equally acceptable.

If antisemitism is going to be a term of condemnation, then, it must apply beyond explicitly racist acts or thoughts or feelings. But it cannot apply beyond clearly unjustified and serious hostility to Jews. The Nazis made up historical fantasies to justify their attacks; so do modern antisemites who trust in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. So do the closet racists who complain about Jewish dominance of the economy. This is antisemitism in a narrow, negative sense of the word. It is action or propaganda designed to hurt Jews, not because of anything they could avoid doing, but because they are what they are. It also applies to the attitudes that propaganda tries to instill. Though not always explicitly racist, it involves racist motives and the intention to do real damage. Reasonably well-founded opposition to Israeli policies, even if that opposition hurts all Jews, does not fit this description. Neither does simple, harmless dislike of things Jewish.

So far, I’ve suggested that it’s best to narrow the definition of antisemitism so that no act can be both antisemitic and unobjectionable. But we can go further. Now that we’re through playing games, let’s ask about the role of *genuine*, bad antisemitism in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and in the world at large.

Undoubtedly there is genuine antisemitism in the Arab world: the distribution of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the myths about stealing the blood of gentile babies. This is utterly inexcusable. So was your failure to answer Aunt Bee’s last letter. In other words, it is one thing to be told: you must simply accept that antisemitism is evil; to do otherwise is to put yourself outside our moral world. But it is quite something else to have someone try to bully you into proclaiming that antisemitism is the Evil of Evils. We are not children learning morality; it is our responsibility to set our own moral priorities. We cannot do this by looking at horrible images from 1945 or listening to the anguished cries of suffering columnists. We have to ask how much harm antisemitism is doing, or is likely to do, not in the past, but today. And we must ask where such harm might occur, and why.

Supposedly there is great danger in the antisemitism of the Arab world. But Arab antisemitism isn’t the cause of Arab hostility towards Israel or even towards Jews. It is an effect. The progress of Arab antisemitism fits nicely with the progress of Jewish encroachment and Jewish atrocities. This is not to excuse genuine antisemitism; it is to trivialize it. It came to the Middle East with Zionism and it will abate when Zionism ceases to be an expansionist threat. Indeed its chief cause is not antisemitic propaganda but the decades-old, systematic and unrelenting efforts of Israel to implicate all Jews in its crimes. If Arab anti-semitism persists after a peace agreement, we can all get together and cluck about it. But it still won’t do Jews much actual harm. Arab governments could only lose by permitting attacks on their Jewish citizens; to do so would invite Israeli intervention. And there is little reason to expect such attacks to materialize: if all the horrors of Israel’s recent campaigns did not provoke them, it is hard to imagine what would. It would probably take some Israeli act so awful and so criminal as to overshadow the attacks themselves.

If antisemitism is likely to have terrible effects, it is far more likely to have them in Western Europe. The neo-fascist resurgence there is all too real. But is it a danger to Jews? There is no doubt that LePen, for instance, is antisemitic. There is also no evidence whatever that he intends to do anything about it. On the contrary, he makes every effort to pacify the Jews, and perhaps even enlist their help against his real targets, the ‘Arabs’. He would hardly be the first political figure to ally himself with people he disliked. But if he had some deeply hidden plan against the Jews, that *would* be unusual: Hitler and the Russian antisemitic rioters were wonderfully open about their intentions, and they didn’t court Jewish support. And it is a fact that some French Jews see LePen as a positive development or even an ally. (see, for instance, “`LePen is good for us,’ Jewish supporter says”, Ha’aretz May 04, 2002, and Mr. Goldenburg’s April 23rd comments on France TV.)

Of course there are historical reasons for fearing a horrendous attack on Jews. And anything is possible: there could be a massacre of Jews in Paris tomorrow, or of Algerians. Which is more likely? If there are any lessons of history, they must apply in roughly similar circumstances. Europe today bears very little resemblance to Europe in 1933. And there are positive possibilities as well: why is the likelihood of a pogrom greater than the likelihood that antisemitism will fade into ineffectual nastiness? Any legitimate worries must rest on some evidence that there really is a threat.

The incidence of antisemitic attacks might provide such evidence. But this evidence is consistently fudged: no distinction is made between attacks against Jewish monuments and symbols as opposed to actual attacks against Jews. In addition, so much is made of an increase in the frequency of attacks that the very low absolute level of attacks escapes attention. The symbolic attacks have indeed increased to significant absolute numbers. The physical attacks have not.(*) More important, most of these attacks are by Muslim residents: in other words, they come from a widely hated, vigorously policed and persecuted minority who don’t stand the slightest chance of undertaking a serious campaign of violence against Jews.

It is very unpleasant that roughly half a dozen Jews have been hospitalized–none killed–due to recent attacks across Europe. But anyone who makes this into one of the world’s important problems simply hasn’t looked at the world. These attacks are a matter for the police, not a reason why we should police ourselves and others to counter some deadly spiritual disease. That sort of reaction is appropriate only when racist attacks occur in societies indifferent or hostile to the minority attacked. Those who really care about recurrent Nazism, for instance, should save their anguished concern for the far bloodier, far more widely condoned attacks on gypsies, whose history of persecution is fully comparable to the Jewish past. The position of Jews is much closer to the position of whites, who are also, of course, the victims of racist attacks.

No doubt many people reject this sort of cold-blooded calculation. They will say that, with the past looming over us, even one antisemitic slur is a terrible thing, and its ugliness is not to be measured by a body count. But if we take a broader view of the matter, antisemitism becomes less, not more important. To regard any shedding of Jewish blood as a world-shattering calamity, one which defies all measurement and comparison, is racism, pure and simple; the valuing of one race’s blood over all others. The fact that Jews have been persecuted for centuries and suffered terribly half a century ago doesn’t wipe out the fact that in Europe today, Jews are insiders with far less to suffer and fear than many other ethnic groups. Certainly racist attacks against a well-off minority are just as evil as racist attacks against a poor and powerless minority. But equally evil attackers do not make for equally worrisome attacks.

It is not Jews who live most in the shadow of the concentration camp. LePen’s ‘transit camps’ are for ‘Arabs’, not Jews. And though there are politically significant parties containing many antisemites, not one of these parties shows any sign of articulating, much less implementing, an antisemitic agenda. Nor is there any particular reason to suppose that, once in power, they will change their tune. Haider’s Austria is not considered dangerous for Jews; neither was Tudjman’s Croatia. And were there to be such danger, well, a nuclear-armed Jewish state stands ready to welcome any refugees, as do the US and Canada. And to say there are no real dangers now is not to say that we should ignore any dangers that may arise. If in France, for instance, the Front National starts advocating transit camps for Jews, or institutes anti-Jewish immigration policies, then we should be alarmed. But we should not be alarmed that something alarming might just conceivably happen: there are far more alarming things going on than that!

One might reply that, if things are not more alarming, it is only because the Jews and others have been so vigilant in combatting antisemitism. But this isn’t plausible. For one thing, vigilance about antisemitism is a kind of tunnel vision: as neofascists are learning, they can escape notice by keeping quiet about Jews. For another, there has been no great danger to Jews even in traditionally antisemitic countries where the world is *not* vigilant, like Croatia or the Ukraine. Countries that get very little attention seem no more dangerous than countries that get a lot. As for the vigorous reaction to LePen in France, that seems to have a lot more to do with French revulsion at neofascism than with the scoldings of the Anti-Defamation League. To suppose that the Jewish organizations and earnest columnists who pounce on antisemitism are saving the world from disaster is like claiming that Bertrand Russell and the Quakers were all that saved us from nuclear war.

Now one might say: whatever the real dangers, these events are truly agonizing for Jews, and bring back unbearably painful memories. That may be true for the very few who still have those memories; it is not true for Jews in general. I am a German Jew, and have a good claim to second-generation, third-hand victimhood. Antisemitic incidents and a climate of rising antisemitism don’t really bother me a hell of a lot. I’m much more scared of really dangerous situations, like driving. Besides, even painful memories and anxieties do not carry much weight against the actual physical suffering inflicted by discrimination against many non-Jews.

This is not to belittle all antisemitism, everywhere. One often hears of vicious antisemites in Poland and Russia, both on the streets and in government. But alarming as this may be, it is also immune to the influence of Israel-Palestine conflicts, and those conflicts are wildly unlikely to affect it one way or another. Moreover, so far as I know, nowhere is there as much violence against Jews as there is against ‘Arabs’. So even if antisemitism is, somewhere, a catastrophically serious matter, we can only conclude that anti-Arab sentiment is far more serious still. And since every antisemitic group is to a far greater extent anti-immigrant and anti-Arab, these groups can be fought, not in the name of antisemitism, but in the defense of Arabs and immigrants. So the antisemitic threat posed by these groups shouldn’t even make us want to focus on antisemitism: they are just as well fought in the name of justice for Arabs and immigrants.

In short, the real scandal today is not antisemitism but the importance it is given. Israel has committed war crimes. It has implicated Jews generally in these crimes, and Jews generally have hastened to implicate themselves. This has provoked hatred against Jews. Why not? Some of this hatred is racist, some isn’t, but who cares? Why should we pay any attention to this issue at all? Is the fact that Israel’s race war has provoked bitter anger of any importance besides the war itself? Is the remote possibility that somewhere, sometime, somehow, this hatred may in theory, possibly kill some Jews of any importance besides the brutal, actual, physical persecution of Palestinians, and the hundreds of thousands of votes for Arabs to be herded into transit camps? Oh, but I forgot. Drop everything. Someone spray-painted antisemitic slogans on a synagogue.

* Not even the ADL and B’nai B’rith include attacks on Israel in the tally; they speak of “The insidious way we have seen the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians used by anti-Semites“. And like many other people, I don’t count terrorist attacks by such as Al Quaeda as instances of antisemitism but rather of some misdirected quasi-military campaign against the US and Israel. Even if you count them in, it does not seem very dangerous to be a Jew outside Israel.

Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at: mneumann@trentu.ca

This article was originally published by “Counterpunch” –

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Information Clearing House.

Evolution according to Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef

March 22, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 Israel Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef  called black people “monkeys” during his weekly sermon.

Israel Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef called black people “monkeys” during his weekly sermon.

By Gilad Atzmon

Israeli press reported today that Israel’s chief  (Sephardic) rabbi Yitzhak Yosef  called black people “monkeys” during his weekly sermon.

During his weekly sermon, the rabbi used the Hebrew term for nigger before going on to call a black person a “monkey.”

Following wall to wall condemnations by Israeli and Jewish bodies around the world including the ADL, the Rabbi’s office insisted that the rabbi wasn’t expressing his own personal views but actually “citing a passage from the Talmud.”

In fact, we should thank the rabbi rather than condemning him. The grossly offensive statement he made yesterday puts Israeli current attitude towards African refugees in a historical, religious and cultural context.

If you want to understand the Jewish State you better dig into the ‘J word’ and understand the complex relationships between Jews, Judaism and Jewishness.

 If they want to burn it , you want to read it..

cover bit small.jpg

Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk)

How Zionist is the New World Order? and How Biblical Is Zionism?

March 13, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

guyenot-yahweh-1068x607.jpg

GA: If Zionism was intially all about the ‘promised land’, Neoconservatism stands for the shift towards a ‘promised planet.’ How do we bridge the gap between the nationalistic aspiration and the  globalist agenda?   From Yahweh to Zion by  Laurent Guyénot offers some interesting answers. Guyénot doesn’t attempt to tell us what Yahweh is but instead what the notion of Yahweh represents within the contexts of Judaism, jewish culture, Jewish politics and Jewish identification.  Guyénot’s offers a  very important contribution. I hope that is books are made of fire resistant materials.      

How Zionist is the New World Order? and How Biblical Is Zionism?

Laurent Guyénot

https://www.veteranstoday.com

Editor’s note: In these two articles, historian Laurent Guyénot explores questions that you are not even supposed to ask…much less actually think about. Those of us who still read, and think, are grateful.  –Kevin BarrettVeterans Today Editor

How Zionist is the New World Order?

by Laurent Guyénot, first published at Vinyard of the Saker

Laurent Guyénot is the author of From Yahweh to Zion: Jealous God, Chosen People, Promised Land … Clash of Civilizations, 2018.  ($30 shipping included from Sifting and Winnowing, POB 221, Lone Rock, WI 53556).

The Zionist paradox

Jewishness is full of paradoxes. For example, remarked Nahum Goldmann, founder and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress: “Even today it is hardly possible to say whether to be a Jew consists first of belonging to a people or practicing a religion, or the two together” (The Jewish Paradox, 1976)[1]. The answer has always depended on the circumstances. Another paradox is the relationship of Jewishness to both tribalism and universalism: Israelis, “the most separatist people in the world,” in Goldmann’s words again, “have the great weakness of thinking that the whole world revolves around them.”[2]

This great weakness is, of course, a great strength, and so is the ambiguity of Jewishness. It has served Israel—a secular “Jewish state”— very well. Theodor Herzl thought of Zionism on the model of European nationalistic movements, lobbying for the right of the Jews to become a nation among nations. But everyone can see now that Israel is no ordinary nation. It never was and never will be. It is the paradoxical nation.

Part of the ambiguity comes from the very name Israel, which already had a twofold meaning before 1948: it referred to an ancient kingdom supposedly founded in the first millennium BCE, and destroyed by the Romans in the first century CE. But for the following two thousand years, Israel was also a common designation for the Jewish community worldwide, “international Jewry” as some call it. That was the meaning of “Israel”, for example, when the British Daily Express of March 24, 1933 printed on its front page: “The whole of Israel throughout the world is united in declaring an economic and financial war on Germany.”[3] The members of Israel were then called Israelites interchangeably with Jews. Although quite contradictory in terms, the two notions (national Israel and international Israel) have been conflated by the 1948 Law of Return, which made every Israelite of the globe a virtual Israeli.

Today, Zionism has shifted into a kind of meta-Zionism where the greatest number of the Israeli elite—including individuals with no stamped Israeli citizenship but a profound loyalty to the Jewish state—reside outside Israel. Some of them hold key positions in state administrations, particularly in the United States. As Gilad Atzmon remarks, “there is no geographical center to the Zionist endeavor. It is hard to determine where Zionist decisions are made”; “the Israelis colonize Palestine and the Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilize lobbies by recruiting international support.”[4] The neoconservatives—“an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim,” as correctly assessed the Jewish Daily Forward[5] — are the most influential group of Diaspora Jews dedicated to Israel. They are no conservatives in the traditional sense, but rather crypto-Likudniks posturing as American patriots in order to align US foreign and military policies with the Greater Israel agenda—high-level sayanim, so to speak (read John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2008).

Their mentor Leo Strauss, in his 1962 lecture “Why We Remain Jews,” declared himself an ardent supporter of the State of Israel but rejected the idea that Israel as a nation should be contained within borders; Israel, he argued, must retain her specificity, which is to be everywhere.[6] Indeed, this paradoxical nature of Israel is vital to its existence: although its stated purpose is to welcome all the Jews of the world, the state of Israel would collapse if it achieved this goal. It is unsustainable without the support of international Jewry. Therefore, Israel needs every Jew of the world to define his/her Jewishness as loyalty to Israel. Ever since 1967, the hearts of an increasing number of American Jews began to beat secretly, and then more and more openly, for Israel. Reform Judaism, which had originally declared itself to be exclusively religious and opposed to Zionism, soon rationalized this new situation by a 1976 resolution affirming: “The State of Israel and the Diaspora, in fruitful dialogue, can show how a People transcends nationalism while affirming it, thus establishing an example for humanity.”[7]

How do they both affirm and transcend nationalism? The biblical way. The Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, is the unalterable prototype of Jewish history: everything that follows the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom has to be biblical—the Holocaust, for example. Inevitably, Jewish nationalism, or patriotic love for Israel, resonates with the destiny of Israel as outlined in the Bible: “Yahweh your God will raise you higher than every other nation in the world” (Deuteronomy 28:1). Every nation is a narration, and Israel’s narrative pattern is cast into the Hebrew Bible. To love Israel is to love Israel’s biblical story, no matter of how mythical it is. And through biblical prophecy, the vision of the past becomes the vision the future: Solomon’s empire will come to pass.

That is why Zionism was never an ordinary form of nationalism, nor can Israel ever be a “nation like others.” The paradoxical nature of Israel is best embodied by its founding father Ben-Gurion: a secular Jew who saw himself as a new Joshua,[8] hoped for “the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon,”[9] and prophesized that Jerusalem will be “the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah.”[10]Let us be fair and assume that Ben-Gurion was simply referring to Isaiah’s prophecy that “the Law will issue from Zion” and that Yahweh will “judge between the nations and arbitrate between many peoples” (2:3-4), not to the Second Isaiah’s prophecy that Israel “will feed on the wealth of nations” (61:6), and that nations who do not serve Israel “will be utterly destroyed” (60:12).[11] Ben-Gurion’s vision lives on: a 2003 “Jerusalem Summit” attended by three acting Israeli ministers including Benjamin Netanyahu and many American neoconservatives including Richard Perle, affirmed that “one of the objectives of Israel’s divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets.”[12] Zionists have always been in love with the Bible.

Such are the geopolitical implications of the Jewish paradox: Zionism cannot be a mere nationalistic aspiration, as long as it claims to be Jewish, for “Jewish” means “biblical”. And more than two thousand years ago, the ancient prophets had bent over the cradle of Israel to predestine it as “a nation above other nations.” Israel carries in its biblical genes the plan for a world order headquartered in Jerusalem. I’m not talking about a secret conspiracy here: the Jewish plan to rule the world has been plainly outlined in the global bestseller for more than two thousand years. If most people in the Christian world don’t see it, it is because it is right under their nose. Christians claim that the Jews don’t read their Bible correctly, or that they got their Zionism from the Talmud or the Kabbalah. Both claims are pitiful attempts to exonerate the Old Testament from the Zionist catastrophe: the Hebrew Bible was written by Jews for the Jews, and I have never heard a Zionist quote the Talmud or the Kabbalah, whereas they quote the Bible every day.

The prophetic spirit that inspired Isaiah long ago has been very active since the beginning of the 20th century. It spoke through religious leaders like Kaufmann Kohler, a leading figure of American Reformed Judaism, who wrote in his major work on Jewish Theology (New York, 1918) that “Israel, the suffering Messiah of the centuries, shall at the end of days become the triumphant Messiah of the nations.”[13] And it spoke through secular thinkers like Alfred Nossig, a Zionist who collaborated with the Gestapo in the Warsaw ghetto for the emigration of selected Jews to Palestine, who wrote in his Integrales Judentum (Berlin, 1922):

“The Jewish community is more than a people in the modern political sense of the word. It is the repository of a historically global mission, I would say even a cosmic one, entrusted to it by its founders Noah and Abraham, Jacob and Moses. [. . .] The primordial conception of our ancestors was to found not a tribe but a world order destined to guide humanity in its development.”[14]

The Feuerbachan approach

The paradoxical nature of Jewishness (combining separatism and universalism), which is reflected in the ambiguous nature of Zionism (combining nationalism and internationalism), is ultimately linked to the Jewish conception of God. Is the biblical Yahweh the national god of Israel or the universal God of humankind? Let’s search for an answer into the Book of Ezra, the paradigmatic episode for the Jewish colonization of Palestine. It begins with an edict of the Persian king Cyrus, which says:

Yahweh, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. […] Let [every Jew] go up to Jerusalem, in Judah, and build the Temple of Yahweh, the God of Israel, who is the God in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2–3).

Here Cyrus speaks in the name of “the God of Heaven” while authorizing the Judean exiles to build a temple to “the God of Israel […] the God in Jerusalem.” We understand that both phrases refer to the same God, called Yahweh in both instances, but the duality is significant. It is repeated in the Persian edict authorizing the second wave of return. It is now Artaxerxes, “king of kings,” who switches from the “God of Heaven” to “your God” or “the God of Israel who resides in Jerusalem” when addressing Ezra (7:12–15). The phrase “God of Heaven” appears one more time in the book of Ezra, and that is again in the edict of another Persian king: Darius confirms Cyrus’s edict and recommends that the Israelites “may offer sacrifices acceptable to the God of Heaven and pray for the life of the [Persian] king and his sons” (6:10). Elsewhere the book of Ezra only refers to the “God of Israel” (four times), “Yahweh, the God of your fathers” (once), and “our God” (ten times). In other words, according to the author of the book of Ezra, only the kings of Persia see Yahweh as “the God of Heaven” (a fiction, of course: for Persians, the God of Heaven meant Ahura Mazda) while for the Jews he is primarily the “God of Israel”. That is the deepest secret of Judaism, and the key to Jews’ relationship to universalism and to the nations: success rests on their ability to make Gentiles believe that the national god of Israel residing in the Jerusalem Temple is the God of Heaven who happens to have a preference for Israel.

The misunderstanding led to a public scandal in 167 CE, when the Hellenistic emperor Antiochos IV dedicated the temple in Jerusalem to Zeus Olympios, the supreme God. He was simply expressing the idea that Yahweh and Zeus were two names for the supreme cosmic God, the Heavenly father of all mankind. But the Jewish Maccabees who led the rebellion against him knew better: Yahweh may be the Supreme God, but He is Jewish. Only Jews are intimate with Him, and any way the Pagans worship Him is an abomination.

So is Yahweh God, or just the god of Israel? Why should we care? Well, let’s call it the Feuerbachan approach to the Jewish question. In his famous work The Essence of Christianity(1841), which was to influence greatly Karl Marx, Ludwig Feuerbach sees the universal God as “the deified and objectified spiritual essence of man”: theology is anthropology in disguise, and “The consciousness of God is the self-consciousness of man.” But if we regard the biblical Yahweh as a creation of Jews alone, rather than humanity at large, then we can consider him as a personification of the national character of the Jewish people—or, more correctly, a reflexion of the mentality of the Jewish elite who invented Yahweh.

It is known to biblical scholars that, in the oldest strata of the Bible, Yahweh appears as a national, ethnic god, not the supreme God of the Universe. “For all peoples go forward, each in the name of its god, while we go forward in the name of Yahweh our god for ever and ever” (Micah 4:5)[15]. “I am the god of your ancestors,” Yahweh says to Moses (Exodus 3:6), who is then mandated to declare to his people, “Yahweh, the god of your ancestors, has appeared to me,” urging them to talk to Pharaoh in the name of “Yahweh, the god of the Hebrews” (3:16–18). The Hebrews chant after the miracle of the Red Sea engulfing Pharaoh and his army, “Yahweh, who is like you, majestic in sanctity, among the gods?” (15:11).[16] And in Canaan, a Hebrew chief declares to an enemy king: “Will you not keep as your possession whatever Chemosh, your god, has given you? And, just the same, we shall keep as ours whatever Yahweh our god has given us, to inherit from those who were before us!” (Judges 11:24).[17] In all these verses, Yahweh is an ethnic or national god among others.

What sets him apart from other tribal gods of his kind is possessive exclusivism: “You shall have no other gods to rival me” (Exodus 20:3); “I shall set you apart from all these peoples, for you to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26). This is the justification for strict endogamy: it is forbidden to marry one’s children to a non-Jew, “for your son would be seduced from following me into serving other gods” (Deuteronomy 7:4).

Yahweh is known as “the Jealous One” (Exodus 20:5 and 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, and 6:15). But jealousy is an euphemism for outright sociopathy, because what Yahweh demands from his people is not just exclusivity of worship, but the destruction of their neighbors’ shrines: “Tear down their altars, smash their standing-stones, cut down their sacred poles and burn their idols” (Deuteronomy 7:5). Judean kings are judged on the unique criterion of their obedience to that precept. Hezekiah, whose disastrous policy of confrontation with Assyria led to a shrinking of the country, is praised for having done “what Yahweh regards as right,” namely abolishing the “high places” (2 Kings 18:3–4). His son Manasseh, whose 50-year reign is known to historians as a time of peace and prosperity, is blamed for having done “what is displeasing to Yahweh, copying the disgusting practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the Israelites” (2 Kings 21:2). Manasseh’s son Amon is no better. Josiah, on the other hand, proved worthy of his great-great-grandfather Hezekiah, by removing from the temple “all the cult objects which had been made for Baal, Asherah and the whole array of heaven. […] He exterminated the spurious priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed and who offered sacrifice on the high places, in the towns of Judah and the neighborhood of Jerusalem; also those who offered sacrifice to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations and the whole array of heaven” (2 Kings 23:4–5).

It is ironic that Yahweh, originally a minor tribal god, should compete with the great Baal for the status of supreme God, as when Elijah challenges 450 prophets of Baal in a holocaust contest, which ends up with the slaughter of them all (1Kings 18). In ancient Syria, Baal Shamem, the “Heavenly Lord,” was identified as the God of Heaven and honored by all peoples except the Jews.[18] The goddess Asherah, whom Yahweh loathed even more, was the Great Divine Mother worshipped throughout the Middle East. In Mesopotamia, she went under the name of Ishtar, while in the Hellenistic era, she was assimilated to the Egyptian goddess Isis. The Hebrews themselves called her “Queen of Heaven” and turned to her in times of trouble, to the dismay of their priest and prophet Jeremiah, who threatened them with Yahweh’s exterminating wrath (Jeremiah 44).

Historians of religion tell us that Yahweh was still a national god at a time when the notion of a supreme God was widespread. When and how the Levites declared the god of Israel to be the true and only God is not entirely settled, but it is generally admitted that it happened shortly before the time of Ezra, when the Book of Genesis was composed (with much borrowing from Mesopotamian and Persian myths). The process is easy to imagine, for it follows the cognitive logic of a narcissistic sociopath among the community of gods: from the commandment of exclusive worship and the destruction of other gods’ shrines, it is a small step to the denial of the very existence of other gods; and if Yahweh is the only existing god, he must be “The God.”

A curious story about King Hezekiah can serve as an illustration of this process. The Assyrian king threatens Hezekiah in the following manner, explicitly identifying Yahweh as the national god of Israel:

“Do not let your god on whom you are relying deceive you with the promise: ‘Jerusalem will not fall into the king of Assyria’s clutches’ […] Did the gods of the nations whom my ancestors devastated save them?”

Hezekiah then goes up to the Temple and offers the following prayer:

“It is true, Yahweh, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but human artifacts—wood and stone—and hence they have destroyed them. But now, Yahweh our god, save us from his clutches, I beg you, and let all the kingdoms of the world know that you alone are God, Yahweh” (2 Kings 19:10–19).

So here we witness how Yahweh was promoted from the status of a national god to that of universal God by the prayer of a devout king. In response to that prayer, according to the biblical story, “the angel of Yahweh went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp,” then struck their king by the hand of his sons (19:35–37). Pure fiction: the Assyrian annals tell us that in reality, Hezekiah paid tribute to the Assyrian king. Which proves that Hezekiah’s claim was deceptive.

Conclusion

The exclusive monotheism demanded by Yahweh is a degraded imitation of that inclusive monotheism toward which all the wisdoms of the ancient world converged by affirming the fundamental unity of all gods. As Egyptologist Jan Assmann emphasizes, the polytheisms of the great civilizations were cosmotheisms, insofar as the gods, among other functions, form the organic body of the world. Such a conception naturally led to a form of inclusive or convergent monotheism, compatible with polytheism: all gods are one, as the cosmos is one.[19] The notion of the unity of the divine realm naturally connects with the notion of a supreme God, creator of heaven and earth, enthroned atop a hierarchy of deities emanating from him—a concept familiar to Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, and most ancient philosophers. The exclusive and revolutionary monotheism that the Yahwist priests crafted for their own benefit is of a totally different kind: it is, in fact, the exact opposite of the inclusive and evolutionary monotheism of neighboring peoples.

From the historical perspective, it is not the Creator of the Universe who decided, at some point, to become the god of Israel; rather, it is the god of Israel who, at some point, was declared the Creator of the Universe by the Levites and their scribes. The Jewish conception of Yahweh parallels that historical process: for the Jews, Yahweh is primarily the god of Jews, and secondarily the Creator of the Universe. This is what Maurice Samuel kindly tried to tell us in You Gentiles(1924): “In the heart of any pious Jew, God is a Jew.” “We [Jews] and God grew up together,” that is why “we need a world of our own, a God-world, which it is not in your nature to build.”[20]

And so the paradoxical nature of Yahweh is, in reality, a deception. The idea that the Heavenly Father of humankind, somewhere in the second millennium BCE, chose a particular people and ordered them to dispossess and slaughter other peoples is, any way we look at it, an outrageous absurdity. The fact that billions of people have believed it for thousands of years makes no difference. Or rather, that is the problem: many peoples throughout history have believed themselves to have been chosen by God, but only the Jews have managed to convince others that they have. That has turned this outrageous absurdity into the most devastating idea in world history.

The deceptive nature of biblical monotheism is the key to understanding traditional Jewish attitude to universalism. For the Jewish conception of God is reflected in the Jewish conception of Humanity. Just like their tribal god speaks of himself—through his prophets—as the God of humankind, Jewish communitarian thinkers speak of Jewishness as the essence of humanity: Judaism constitutes a “particularism that conditions universality” so that “there is an obvious equation between Israel and the Universal”; in other words, “Israel equals humanity” (Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism, 1990).[21] It is almost always in reference to their Jewishness that such opinion makers, who are often ardent Zionists, proclaim themselves universalists: see for example how Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a German Zionist who in 1934 had applauded the Nazi state for being “built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race,” declared in 1963, as chairman of the American Jewish Congress, that he supported the African-American civil rights movement “as a Jew.”[22] “Jewish universalism” is a contradiction in terms and therefore necessarily deceptive. It is self-deception in the case of most Jews, who believe what they have been taught by their representative elites ever since the Haskalah: that there is no contradiction in being a tribalist at home and a universalist in the street—provided that, in each of their universalist stand, they do not lose sight of the important question: “Yes, but is it good for the Jews?”[23] Of course, there are many remarkable exceptions: Jews who have broken through the mental “Jewish prison” (as Jewish journalist Jean Daniel calls it)[24] to reach for some universal truths. I call it the genius of the escapee.

Ultimately, the deceptive nature of both biblical monotheism and Jewish universalism is a key to unraveling the Zionist paradox: nationalism and internationalism go hand in hand in Israel’s destiny, because Israel is, fundamentally, a biblical and therefore universal project. For the Jewish cognitive elites who determine Jewish public opinion to a large extent, the New World Order is an ancient et eternal idea. It is Israel’s destiny carved in the Bible. It is inherent to Jewishness.

  1. Nahum Goldmann, Le Paradoxe juif. Conversations en français avec Léon Abramowicz, Stock, 1976 (archive.org)p. 9. 
  2. Nahum Goldmann, Le Paradoxe juif, op. cit., p. 6, 31. 
  3. Alison Weir, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, 2014, k. 3280–94. 
  4. Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics, Zero Books, 2011, pp. 21, 70. 
  5. Gal Beckerman, Jewish Daily Forward, January 6, 2006, quoted in Stephen Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, Enigma Edition, 2008, p. 26. 
  6. Leo Strauss, “Why We Remain Jews,” in Shadia Drury, Leo Strauss and the American Right, St. Martin’s Press, 1999, pp. 31–43. 
  7. Quoted in Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism, Praeger, 1998, kindle edition 2013k. 5463–68. 
  8. Dan Kurzman, Ben-Gurion, Prophet of Fire, Touchstone, 1983, pp. 17–22. 
  9. As he declared before the Knesset in 1956, quoted in Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, Pluto Press, 1994, p. 10. 
  10. David Ben-Gurion and Amram Duchovny, David Ben-Gurion, In His Own Words, Fleet Press Corp., 1969, p. 116 
  11. All Bible quotes are taken from the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible, which has not altered the divine name YHWH into “the Lord,” as most other English translations have done for unscholarly reasons. 
  12. Official website: http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/declaration.php. 
  13. Kaufmnann Kohler, Jewish Theology, Systematically and Historically Considered, Macmillan, 1918 (www.gutenberg.org), p. 290. 
  14. Alfred Nossig, Integrales Judentum, Interterritorialer Verlag, 1922, pp. 1–5 (on http://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de/item/DXCTNNZZ3INPTI2S3MYPGLQOFR3XSW22). 
  15. Most translations use a uppercase for the “God of Israel”, and a lowercase for other national gods, but ancient Hebrew does not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters, so here, and in further quotes, I have used a lowercase g for all national gods, including Israel’s, and reserved the uppercase G for the One supreme God. 
  16. See also Psalms 89:7. 
  17. Jean Soler, Qui est Dieu?, Éditions de Fallois, 2012, pp. 12–17, 33–37. 
  18. Norman Habel, Yahweh Versus Baal: A Conflict of Religious Cultures, Bookman Associates, 1964, p. 41. 
  19. Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, Harvard University Press, 1998, p. 3.  
  20. Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles, New York, 1924 (archive.org), pp. 74–75, 155. 
  21. Online on monoskop.org/images/6/68/Levinas_Emmanuel_Difficult_Freedom_Essays_on_Judaism_1997.pdf. 
  22. Prinz’s pro-Nazi statements from his 1934 bookWir Juden are quoted in Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, Pluto Press, 1994, p. 86. Prinz’ introduction to King’s “I have a dream” speech on August 28, 1963, beginning with “I speak to you as an American Jew,” is at http://www.joachimprinz.com/images/mow.mp3. 
  23. Jonny Geller made this paradigmatic question the title of his humorous book Yes, But Is It Good for the Jews? Bloomsbury, 2006. 
  24. Jean Daniel, La Prison juive. Humeurs et méditations d’un témoin, Odile Jacob, 2003

How Zionist is the New World Order

by Laurent Guyénot for the Saker Blog

Laurent Guyénot is the author of From Yahweh to Zion: Jealous God, Chosen People, Promised Land … Clash of Civilizations, 2018.  ($30 shipping included from Sifting and Winnowing, POB 221, Lone Rock, WI 53556).

The Zionist paradox

Jewishness is full of paradoxes. For example, remarked Nahum Goldmann, founder and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress: “Even today it is hardly possible to say whether to be a Jew consists first of belonging to a people or practicing a religion, or the two together” (The Jewish Paradox, 1976)[1]. The answer has always depended on the circumstances. Another paradox is the relationship of Jewishness to both tribalism and universalism: Israelis, “the most separatist people in the world,” in Goldmann’s words again, “have the great weakness of thinking that the whole world revolves around them.”[2]

This great weakness is, of course, a great strength, and so is the ambiguity of Jewishness. It has served Israel—a secular “Jewish state”— very well. Theodor Herzl thought of Zionism on the model of European nationalistic movements, lobbying for the right of the Jews to become a nation among nations. But everyone can see now that Israel is no ordinary nation. It never was and never will be. It is the paradoxical nation.

Part of the ambiguity comes from the very name Israel, which already had a twofold meaning before 1948: it referred to an ancient kingdom supposedly founded in the first millennium BCE, and destroyed by the Romans in the first century CE. But for the following two thousand years, Israel was also a common designation for the Jewish community worldwide, “international Jewry” as some call it. That was the meaning of “Israel”, for example, when the British Daily Express of March 24, 1933 printed on its front page: “The whole of Israel throughout the world is united in declaring an economic and financial war on Germany.”[3] The members of Israel were then called Israelites interchangeably with Jews. Although quite contradictory in terms, the two notions (national Israel and international Israel) have been conflated by the 1948 Law of Return, which made every Israelite of the globe a virtual Israeli.

Today, Zionism has shifted into a kind of meta-Zionism where the greatest number of the Israeli elite—including individuals with no stamped Israeli citizenship but a profound loyalty to the Jewish state—reside outside Israel. Some of them hold key positions in state administrations, particularly in the United States. As Gilad Atzmon remarks, “there is no geographical center to the Zionist endeavor. It is hard to determine where Zionist decisions are made”; “the Israelis colonize Palestine and the Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilize lobbies by recruiting international support.”[4]The neoconservatives—“an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim,” as correctly assessed the Jewish Daily Forward[5] — are the most influential group of Diaspora Jews dedicated to Israel. They are no conservatives in the traditional sense, but rather crypto-Likudniks posturing as American patriots in order to align US foreign and military policies with the Greater Israel agenda—high-level sayanim, so to speak (read John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2008).

Their mentor Leo Strauss, in his 1962 lecture “Why We Remain Jews,” declared himself an ardent supporter of the State of Israel but rejected the idea that Israel as a nation should be contained within borders; Israel, he argued, must retain her specificity, which is to be everywhere.[6] Indeed, this paradoxical nature of Israel is vital to its existence: although its stated purpose is to welcome all the Jews of the world, the state of Israel would collapse if it achieved this goal. It is unsustainable without the support of international Jewry. Therefore, Israel needs every Jew of the world to define his/her Jewishness as loyalty to Israel. Ever since 1967, the hearts of an increasing number of American Jews began to beat secretly, and then more and more openly, for Israel. Reform Judaism, which had originally declared itself to be exclusively religious and opposed to Zionism, soon rationalized this new situation by a 1976 resolution affirming: “The State of Israel and the Diaspora, in fruitful dialogue, can show how a People transcends nationalism while affirming it, thus establishing an example for humanity.”[7]

How do they both affirm and transcend nationalism? The biblical way. The Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, is the unalterable prototype of Jewish history: everything that follows the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom has to be biblical—the Holocaust, for example. Inevitably, Jewish nationalism, or patriotic love for Israel, resonates with the destiny of Israel as outlined in the Bible: “Yahweh your God will raise you higher than every other nation in the world” (Deuteronomy 28:1). Every nation is a narration, and Israel’s narrative pattern is cast into the Hebrew Bible. To love Israel is to love Israel’s biblical story, no matter of how mythical it is. And through biblical prophecy, the vision of the past becomes the vision the future: Solomon’s empire will come to pass.

That is why Zionism was never an ordinary form of nationalism, nor can Israel ever be a “nation like others.” The paradoxical nature of Israel is best embodied by its founding father Ben-Gurion: a secular Jew who saw himself as a new Joshua,[8] hoped for “the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon,”[9] and prophesized that Jerusalem will be “the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah.”[10] Let us be fair and assume that Ben-Gurion was simply referring to Isaiah’s prophecy that “the Law will issue from Zion” and that Yahweh will “judge between the nations and arbitrate between many peoples” (2:3-4), not to the Second Isaiah’s prophecy that Israel “will feed on the wealth of nations” (61:6), and that nations who do not serve Israel “will be utterly destroyed” (60:12).[11] Ben-Gurion’s vision lives on: a 2003 “Jerusalem Summit” attended by three acting Israeli ministers including Benjamin Netanyahu and many American neoconservatives including Richard Perle, affirmed that “one of the objectives of Israel’s divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets.”[12] Zionists have always been in love with the Bible.

Such are the geopolitical implications of the Jewish paradox: Zionism cannot be a mere nationalistic aspiration, as long as it claims to be Jewish, for “Jewish” means “biblical”. And more than two thousand years ago, the ancient prophets had bent over the cradle of Israel to predestine it as “a nation above other nations.” Israel carries in its biblical genes the plan for a world order headquartered in Jerusalem. I’m not talking about a secret conspiracy here: the Jewish plan to rule the world has been plainly outlined in the global bestseller for more than two thousand years. If most people in the Christian world don’t see it, it is because it is right under their nose. Christians claim that the Jews don’t read their Bible correctly, or that they got their Zionism from the Talmud or the Kabbalah. Both claims are pitiful attempts to exonerate the Old Testament from the Zionist catastrophe: the Hebrew Bible was written by Jews for the Jews, and I have never heard a Zionist quote the Talmud or the Kabbalah, whereas they quote the Bible every day.

The prophetic spirit that inspired Isaiah long ago has been very active since the beginning of the 20th century. It spoke through religious leaders like Kaufmann Kohler, a leading figure of American Reformed Judaism, who wrote in his major work on Jewish Theology (New York, 1918) that “Israel, the suffering Messiah of the centuries, shall at the end of days become the triumphant Messiah of the nations.”[13] And it spoke through secular thinkers like Alfred Nossig, a Zionist who collaborated with the Gestapo in the Warsaw ghetto for the emigration of selected Jews to Palestine, who wrote in his Integrales Judentum (Berlin, 1922):

“The Jewish community is more than a people in the modern political sense of the word. It is the repository of a historically global mission, I would say even a cosmic one, entrusted to it by its founders Noah and Abraham, Jacob and Moses. [. . .] The primordial conception of our ancestors was to found not a tribe but a world order destined to guide humanity in its development.”[14]

The Feuerbachan approach

The paradoxical nature of Jewishness (combining separatism and universalism), which is reflected in the ambiguous nature of Zionism (combining nationalism and internationalism), is ultimately linked to the Jewish conception of God. Is the biblical Yahweh the national god of Israel or the universal God of humankind? Let’s search for an answer into the Book of Ezra, the paradigmatic episode for the Jewish colonization of Palestine. It begins with an edict of the Persian king Cyrus, which says:

Yahweh, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. […] Let [every Jew] go up to Jerusalem, in Judah, and build the Temple of Yahweh, the God of Israel, who is the God in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2–3).

Here Cyrus speaks in the name of “the God of Heaven” while authorizing the Judean exiles to build a temple to “the God of Israel […] the God in Jerusalem.” We understand that both phrases refer to the same God, called Yahweh in both instances, but the duality is significant. It is repeated in the Persian edict authorizing the second wave of return. It is now Artaxerxes, “king of kings,” who switches from the “God of Heaven” to “your God” or “the God of Israel who resides in Jerusalem” when addressing Ezra (7:12–15). The phrase “God of Heaven” appears one more time in the book of Ezra, and that is again in the edict of another Persian king: Darius confirms Cyrus’s edict and recommends that the Israelites “may offer sacrifices acceptable to the God of Heaven and pray for the life of the [Persian] king and his sons” (6:10). Elsewhere the book of Ezra only refers to the “God of Israel” (four times), “Yahweh, the God of your fathers” (once), and “our God” (ten times). In other words, according to the author of the book of Ezra, only the kings of Persia see Yahweh as “the God of Heaven” (a fiction, of course: for Persians, the God of Heaven meant Ahura Mazda) while for the Jews he is primarily the “God of Israel”. That is the deepest secret of Judaism, and the key to Jews’ relationship to universalism and to the nations: success rests on their ability to make Gentiles believe that the national god of Israel residing in the Jerusalem Temple is the God of Heaven who happens to have a preference for Israel.

The misunderstanding led to a public scandal in 167 CE, when the Hellenistic emperor Antiochos IV dedicated the temple in Jerusalem to Zeus Olympios, the supreme God. He was simply expressing the idea that Yahweh and Zeus were two names for the supreme cosmic God, the Heavenly father of all mankind. But the Jewish Maccabees who led the rebellion against him knew better: Yahweh may be the Supreme God, but He is Jewish. Only Jews are intimate with Him, and any way the Pagans worship Him is an abomination.

So is Yahweh God, or just the god of Israel? Why should we care? Well, let’s call it the Feuerbachan approach to the Jewish question. In his famous work The Essence of Christianity (1841), which was to influence greatly Karl Marx, Ludwig Feuerbach sees the universal God as “the deified and objectified spiritual essence of man”: theology is anthropology in disguise, and “The consciousness of God is the self-consciousness of man.” But if we regard the biblical Yahweh as a creation of Jews alone, rather than humanity at large, then we can consider him as a personification of the national character of the Jewish people—or, more correctly, a reflexion of the mentality of the Jewish elite who invented Yahweh.

It is known to biblical scholars that, in the oldest strata of the Bible, Yahweh appears as a national, ethnic god, not the supreme God of the Universe. “For all peoples go forward, each in the name of its god, while we go forward in the name of Yahweh our god for ever and ever” (Micah 4:5)[15]. “I am the god of your ancestors,” Yahweh says to Moses (Exodus 3:6), who is then mandated to declare to his people, “Yahweh, the god of your ancestors, has appeared to me,” urging them to talk to Pharaoh in the name of “Yahweh, the god of the Hebrews” (3:16–18). The Hebrews chant after the miracle of the Red Sea engulfing Pharaoh and his army, “Yahweh, who is like you, majestic in sanctity, among the gods?” (15:11).[16] And in Canaan, a Hebrew chief declares to an enemy king: “Will you not keep as your possession whatever Chemosh, your god, has given you? And, just the same, we shall keep as ours whatever Yahweh our god has given us, to inherit from those who were before us!” (Judges 11:24).[17] In all these verses, Yahweh is an ethnic or national god among others.

What sets him apart from other tribal gods of his kind is possessive exclusivism: “You shall have no other gods to rival me” (Exodus 20:3); “I shall set you apart from all these peoples, for you to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26). This is the justification for strict endogamy: it is forbidden to marry one’s children to a non-Jew, “for your son would be seduced from following me into serving other gods” (Deuteronomy 7:4).

Yahweh is known as “the Jealous One” (Exodus 20:5 and 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, and 6:15). But jealousy is an euphemism for outright sociopathy, because what Yahweh demands from his people is not just exclusivity of worship, but the destruction of their neighbors’ shrines: “Tear down their altars, smash their standing-stones, cut down their sacred poles and burn their idols” (Deuteronomy 7:5). Judean kings are judged on the unique criterion of their obedience to that precept. Hezekiah, whose disastrous policy of confrontation with Assyria led to a shrinking of the country, is praised for having done “what Yahweh regards as right,” namely abolishing the “high places” (2 Kings 18:3–4). His son Manasseh, whose 50-year reign is known to historians as a time of peace and prosperity, is blamed for having done “what is displeasing to Yahweh, copying the disgusting practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the Israelites” (2 Kings 21:2). Manasseh’s son Amon is no better. Josiah, on the other hand, proved worthy of his great-great-grandfather Hezekiah, by removing from the temple “all the cult objects which had been made for Baal, Asherah and the whole array of heaven. […] He exterminated the spurious priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed and who offered sacrifice on the high places, in the towns of Judah and the neighborhood of Jerusalem; also those who offered sacrifice to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations and the whole array of heaven” (2 Kings 23:4–5).

It is ironic that Yahweh, originally a minor tribal god, should compete with the great Baal for the status of supreme God, as when Elijah challenges 450 prophets of Baal in a holocaust contest, which ends up with the slaughter of them all (1Kings 18). In ancient Syria, Baal Shamem, the “Heavenly Lord,” was identified as the God of Heaven and honored by all peoples except the Jews.[18] The goddess Asherah, whom Yahweh loathed even more, was the Great Divine Mother worshipped throughout the Middle East. In Mesopotamia, she went under the name of Ishtar, while in the Hellenistic era, she was assimilated to the Egyptian goddess Isis. The Hebrews themselves called her “Queen of Heaven” and turned to her in times of trouble, to the dismay of their priest and prophet Jeremiah, who threatened them with Yahweh’s exterminating wrath (Jeremiah 44).

Historians of religion tell us that Yahweh was still a national god at a time when the notion of a supreme God was widespread. When and how the Levites declared the god of Israel to be the true and only God is not entirely settled, but it is generally admitted that it happened shortly before the time of Ezra, when the Book of Genesis was composed (with much borrowing from Mesopotamian and Persian myths). The process is easy to imagine, for it follows the cognitive logic of a narcissistic sociopath among the community of gods: from the commandment of exclusive worship and the destruction of other gods’ shrines, it is a small step to the denial of the very existence of other gods; and if Yahweh is the only existing god, he must be “The God.”

A curious story about King Hezekiah can serve as an illustration of this process. The Assyrian king threatens Hezekiah in the following manner, explicitly identifying Yahweh as the national god of Israel:

“Do not let your god on whom you are relying deceive you with the promise: ‘Jerusalem will not fall into the king of Assyria’s clutches’ […] Did the gods of the nations whom my ancestors devastated save them?”

Hezekiah then goes up to the Temple and offers the following prayer:

“It is true, Yahweh, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but human artifacts—wood and stone—and hence they have destroyed them. But now, Yahweh our god, save us from his clutches, I beg you, and let all the kingdoms of the world know that you alone are God, Yahweh” (2 Kings 19:10–19).

So here we witness how Yahweh was promoted from the status of a national god to that of universal God by the prayer of a devout king. In response to that prayer, according to the biblical story, “the angel of Yahweh went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp,” then struck their king by the hand of his sons (19:35–37). Pure fiction: the Assyrian annals tell us that in reality, Hezekiah paid tribute to the Assyrian king. Which proves that Hezekiah’s claim was deceptive.

Conclusion

The exclusive monotheism demanded by Yahweh is a degraded imitation of that inclusive monotheism toward which all the wisdoms of the ancient world converged by affirming the fundamental unity of all gods. As Egyptologist Jan Assmann emphasizes, the polytheisms of the great civilizations were cosmotheisms, insofar as the gods, among other functions, form the organic body of the world. Such a conception naturally led to a form of inclusive or convergent monotheism, compatible with polytheism: all gods are one, as the cosmos is one.[19] The notion of the unity of the divine realm naturally connects with the notion of a supreme God, creator of heaven and earth, enthroned atop a hierarchy of deities emanating from him—a concept familiar to Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, and most ancient philosophers. The exclusive and revolutionary monotheism that the Yahwist priests crafted for their own benefit is of a totally different kind: it is, in fact, the exact opposite of the inclusive and evolutionary monotheism of neighboring peoples.

From the historical perspective, it is not the Creator of the Universe who decided, at some point, to become the god of Israel; rather, it is the god of Israel who, at some point, was declared the Creator of the Universe by the Levites and their scribes. The Jewish conception of Yahweh parallels that historical process: for the Jews, Yahweh is primarily the god of Jews, and secondarily the Creator of the Universe. This is what Maurice Samuel kindly tried to tell us in You Gentiles (1924): “In the heart of any pious Jew, God is a Jew.” “We [Jews] and God grew up together,” that is why “we need a world of our own, a God-world, which it is not in your nature to build.”[20]

And so the paradoxical nature of Yahweh is, in reality, a deception. The idea that the Heavenly Father of humankind, somewhere in the second millennium BCE, chose a particular people and ordered them to dispossess and slaughter other peoples is, any way we look at it, an outrageous absurdity. The fact that billions of people have believed it for thousands of years makes no difference. Or rather, that is the problem: many peoples throughout history have believed themselves to have been chosen by God, but only the Jews have managed to convince others that they have. That has turned this outrageous absurdity into the most devastating idea in world history.

The deceptive nature of biblical monotheism is the key to understanding traditional Jewish attitude to universalism. For the Jewish conception of God is reflected in the Jewish conception of Humanity. Just like their tribal god speaks of himself—through his prophets—as the God of humankind, Jewish communitarian thinkers speak of Jewishness as the essence of humanity: Judaism constitutes a “particularism that conditions universality” so that “there is an obvious equation between Israel and the Universal”; in other words, “Israel equals humanity” (Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism, 1990).[21] It is almost always in reference to their Jewishness that such opinion makers, who are often ardent Zionists, proclaim themselves universalists: see for example how Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a German Zionist who in 1934 had applauded the Nazi state for being “built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race,” declared in 1963, as chairman of the American Jewish Congress, that he supported the African-American civil rights movement “as a Jew.”[22] “Jewish universalism” is a contradiction in terms and therefore necessarily deceptive. It is self-deception in the case of most Jews, who believe what they have been taught by their representative elites ever since the Haskalah: that there is no contradiction in being a tribalist at home and a universalist in the street—provided that, in each of their universalist stand, they do not lose sight of the important question: “Yes, but is it good for the Jews?”[23] Of course, there are many remarkable exceptions: Jews who have broken through the mental “Jewish prison” (as Jewish journalist Jean Daniel calls it)[24] to reach for some universal truths. I call it the genius of the escapee.

Ultimately, the deceptive nature of both biblical monotheism and Jewish universalism is a key to unraveling the Zionist paradox: nationalism and internationalism go hand in hand in Israel’s destiny, because Israel is, fundamentally, a biblical and therefore universal project. For the Jewish cognitive elites who determine Jewish public opinion to a large extent, the New World Order is an ancient et eternal idea. It is Israel’s destiny carved in the Bible. It is inherent to Jewishness.

  1. Nahum Goldmann, Le Paradoxe juif. Conversations en français avec Léon Abramowicz, Stock, 1976 (archive.org)p. 9. 
  2. Nahum Goldmann, Le Paradoxe juif, op. cit., p. 6, 31. 
  3. Alison Weir, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, 2014, k. 3280–94. 
  4. Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics, Zero Books, 2011, pp. 21, 70. 
  5. Gal Beckerman, Jewish Daily Forward, January 6, 2006, quoted in Stephen Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, Enigma Edition, 2008, p. 26. 
  6. Leo Strauss, “Why We Remain Jews,” in Shadia Drury, Leo Strauss and the American Right, St. Martin’s Press, 1999, pp. 31–43. 
  7. Quoted in Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism, Praeger, 1998, kindle edition 2013k. 5463–68. 
  8. Dan Kurzman, Ben-Gurion, Prophet of Fire, Touchstone, 1983, pp. 17–22. 
  9. As he declared before the Knesset in 1956, quoted in Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, Pluto Press, 1994, p. 10. 
  10. David Ben-Gurion and Amram Duchovny, David Ben-Gurion, In His Own Words, Fleet Press Corp., 1969, p. 116 
  11. All Bible quotes are taken from the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible, which has not altered the divine name YHWH into “the Lord,” as most other English translations have done for unscholarly reasons. 
  12. Official website: http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/declaration.php. 
  13. Kaufmnann Kohler, Jewish Theology, Systematically and Historically Considered, Macmillan, 1918 (www.gutenberg.org), p. 290. 
  14. Alfred Nossig, Integrales Judentum, Interterritorialer Verlag, 1922, pp. 1–5 (on http://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de/item/DXCTNNZZ3INPTI2S3MYPGLQOFR3XSW22). 
  15. Most translations use a uppercase for the “God of Israel”, and a lowercase for other national gods, but ancient Hebrew does not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters, so here, and in further quotes, I have used a lowercase g for all national gods, including Israel’s, and reserved the uppercase G for the One supreme God. 
  16. See also Psalms 89:7. 
  17. Jean Soler, Qui est Dieu?, Éditions de Fallois, 2012, pp. 12–17, 33–37. 
  18. Norman Habel, Yahweh Versus Baal: A Conflict of Religious Cultures, Bookman Associates, 1964, p. 41. 
  19. Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, Harvard University Press, 1998, p. 3.  
  20. Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles, New York, 1924 (archive.org), pp. 74–75, 155. 
  21. Online on monoskop.org/images/6/68/Levinas_Emmanuel_Difficult_Freedom_Essays_on_Judaism_1997.pdf. 
  22. Prinz’s pro-Nazi statements from his 1934 bookWir Juden are quoted in Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, Pluto Press, 1994, p. 86. Prinz’ introduction to King’s “I have a dream” speech on August 28, 1963, beginning with “I speak to you as an American Jew,” is at http://www.joachimprinz.com/images/mow.mp3. 
  23. Jonny Geller made this paradigmatic question the title of his humorous book Yes, But Is It Good for the Jews? Bloomsbury, 2006. 
  24. Jean Daniel, La Prison juive. Humeurs et méditations d’un témoin, Odile Jacob, 2003. 
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