Zionism, Israel, Racism/Apartheid

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq
Associate Professor of Economics and Finance
Upper Iowa University

[This series originally appeared in Shetubondhon in April 2001.]


Part I: Apartheid

This article is in response to the initial, thought-provoking comments of Mr. Rahfat Hussain on my statement identifying Zionism as a racist ideology. This was promptly followed by well-written comments of Mr. S. Munir Islam and feedback from others. Mr. Hussain and Mr. Islam were not quite happy about equating Zionism with racism. I believe that their stance is based on sincere motivation, and thus informative discussion can mutually enrich us. If I have been incorrect in my statement, I can be persuaded to change my views. But what I have seen so far does not fall in that category.

Before I deal with the issue of whether "Zionism is racism" or not, let me clarify a few of my pertinent feelings and premises.

1. Racism is wrong, whoever has any trace of it.

2. If I hold the opinion that Zionism is racism, this is notwithstanding the fact that had this been during the Nazi, I hope that I would be among those who would be voices of conscience to be on the side of those who were victims of one of the worst genocides in human history. After all, there is another fraternity that as a Muslim I never forget. I have brothers and sisters in Islam, but I also have brothers and sisters in humanity, who come from all backgrounds.

3. My statement in regard to racist ideology was explicitly about Zionism, not Judaism. Although the very idea that Jews are the "chosen people of God" not based on distinctiveness in terms of some principles or ideals, but based on "race" - the children of Israel (Jacob, or the Prophet Yaqub), is one of the deep rooted sources of the problem. Yet, my observation was not about Judaism as there are many Jews who do not believe in Zionism and they are also fully aware about the racist nature of Zionism. There are Jews who are staunch opponents of apartheid. "Although South African Jews were among the most courageous opponents of apartheid, Israel was one of the few countries which did not protest the policy." Please read citation #6 written by an Israeli in Jerusalem Post. [Would anyone like to (need to) guess why Israel did not protest the South African apartheid?]

Now, before I deal with the notion that Zionism is a racist ideology, I want to deal with the part that Israel, a direct product of the world Zionist movement, is an apartheid. First, the notion presented by some of the authors on Shetubondhon that Israel is not an apartheid is erroneous. Also, the impression that ALL Israeli citizens, including the Arabs, are accorded equal rights and status as citizens of Israel is most unfortunate. Indeed, I am somewhat surprised at this in the face of such information that is well-known to the rest of the world, including the non-Muslim world. Apartheid does not exist in a vacuum and without a racist foundation.

In dispelling the notion about Israel not being apartheid, I present to the forum several citations - all from non-Muslim sources - for your reading. If you believe that it is not an apartheid, you should read these. If you believe that it is an apartheid, your opinion should be an informed opinion. The first one is a complete article, "Israel's Apartheid" from a French author. The additional citations are from: (1) Christian Science Monitor; (2) another Christian source in Australia; (3) A Jewish author published in the leading newspaper of Israel, Ha'aretz; (4) An article from the Washington Report, (5) an article from The Guardian, and more.

Without putting forward my own views, I hope this presentation would put to rest whether Israel is an apartheid or not. Israeli apartheid is actually worse and its impact is far greater and more perilous. Unlike the apartheid of South Africa, this Israeli apartheid actually has created a Diaspora of Palestinian Arabs. Also unlike the apartheid of South Africa, the Diaspora created by the Israeli apartheid has destabilized the entire region and it remains on the hottest spots for international tension.

Before we think about solving the problems related to Israel and Palestine, we better know the problem accurately and adequately. Otherwise many well-intentioned thought might turn out as vacuous emotionalism.

I will deal with the racism aspect in the next part. I write with the full awareness that I could be wrong - as I am fallible. Therefore, any persuasive information or views can help me change or modify my views, as I have publicly done several times in the past. Of course, my own research may help improve my views and stance as well.

1. Heading toward apartheid in Israel
By Richard C. Hottelet Christian Science Monitor
[http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/2000/11/28/fp11s1-csm.shtml]

2. APARTHEID in Israel
http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/maps1.htm

3. Apartheid Laws in Israel - The Art of The Obfuscatory Formulation
Excerpts from an article by Uzi Ornan, published the Israeli daily Ha'aretz 17 May 1991 ( Hebrew )
http://codoh.com/zionweb/ziondark/zionrac03.html

4. Israel Prepares The Ground for An Apartheid Autonomy in The Territories
by Frank Collins (Washington Report)
http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/1095/9510010.htm 

5. Doves of War: Those who feel 'disappointed' by the Palestinians should try facing a rifle with a stone
by Jeremy Hardy  from the Guardian of London
http://www.commondreams.org/views/102100-101.htm

6. "Put our moral house in order" by an Israeli in Jerusalem Post [http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/02/17/Opinion/Opinion.2810.html]

7. Israeli Apartheid And Terrorism
by Edward Herman
http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/may94herman.htm

8. The Specter of Peace: U.S. Diplomacy and Israeli Apartheid
by Alan Shihadeh in MIT based Newspaper
http://www.mit.edu:8001/activities/thistle/v9/9.07/5specter.html

9. Christians say non-violence is the key to struggle against Israeli "apartheid"
by Alexa Smith [Presbyterian News Service]
http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/01084.htm


Part II: Racism

To set things in context, I respectfully disagreed with Dr. Sen's juxtaposing Islam and Zionism. In that response, I drew attention to Zionism as a racist political ideology, to which Mr. Rahfat Hussain, disturbed by his "sense of fairness", vehemently disagreed, saying: 

"Even an intellectual such as Dr. Farooq is not above making biased comments, as is evident by his declaration that Zionism is a racist ideology. What gave him the right to interpret Zionism in such a fashion? The Jews think of Zionism as a Jewish Liberation movement, to establish a Jewish homeland. Is this self determination to be considered racist? Are we to believe that the Jews hate all other races? Has Dr. Farooq been subjected to Jewish racism or Zionism, personally? I would like to know the answer to that. Or is Dr. Farooq, interpreting blindly, what so many Muslims do, that Zionism is Islam's worst enemy? It is precisely these kinds of statements that reduces the credibility of otherwise highly credible intellectuals." [emphases are mine]

Mr. Munir Islam also lent support to Mr. Hussain's position: "However, there is NO 'official' position in Zionism's core ideology that supports race-based segregation.  Consequently, one can not call it a racist 'ideology' and be correct."

I am not sure that Zionism has an "official" position, and I am not sure that such an official position is pertinent, but Mr. Munir's position stands grossly in contradiction to Zionism's well-documented history and the history of Israel as it has unfolded. I am somewhat dumbfounded by such statement, where the best scenario to explain such statement is that the authors really have not done their homework. I would like to address this somewhat substantively because what happens around the Israeli-Palestinian issues does reverberate in the streets of Bangladesh as well. Most importantly, of course, it is a human issue of justice and peace that can affect the whole world.

Before rendering such a hasty and categorical judgment on me about "bias", "blind" interpretation, and worse, it might have been proper to pose the question to me, if I had really any credible basis for making such statement. Indeed, in both messages of Mr. Hussain, there are so many statements that represent a fundamental disconnect between the reality and perception. I hope this posting would help address some of those aspects.

Since Mr. Hussain wrote, driven by his "sense of fairness", I would not be surprised if the perception of the issue in question somewhat changes after this exchange - as the "sense of fairness" is a vital reflection of our conscience.  It was suggested that Israel is not an apartheid and Zionism is not racism. I was disappointed because, notwithstanding (a) the misunderstood excesses of some segment of the Palestinian struggle, (b) the failure of the Arabism, and (c) the disintegration of the Muslim world, how easily one can attempt to make a case about Zionism not being racism - and making a justification for the Zionist entity.

Before dealing with the aspect that Zionism and racism are inseparable, I want clarify a few important premises.

(1) Zionism and Judaism are not the same thing. As such, criticism of Zionism should not be equated with an adversarial position against the Jews, who are my brothers in humanity.

(2) Regardless of the reasons, it is a fact that Jews generally have been terribly persecuted throughout history. Like all other human beings or a group of people, Jews have a right to nationhood and statehood - a place they can call their home.

(3) Regardless of how things have evolved since 1947, when the Israeli statehood was superimposed on the map of the middle east and the Muslim world, except those who are puritan ideologues or dogmatics, it is simply simplistic and even irresponsible to think or suggest any solution that does not take into account the altered realities or any solution that rests on the premise of merely annihilation or liquidation of the other side. [The problem with the Palestinian side - like any defeated, subjugated, disinherited, dispossessed people - is that their approach and response are often based on frustration and desperation and some of them "talk", sometimes loudly and publicly, about such liquidation or annihilation. On the contrary, Israel, a Zionist entity, is systematically and persistently carrying out slowly but quietly the process of liquidation and annihilation.]

(4) Those who really seek solution can't merely talk about the rights and claims - eternal or temporal - of one side. Rather, the rights and claims are reciprocal, and anyone who has even the least concern about the deep-rooted conflict must do his/her homework to first have the "basic" (I repeat, the "basic") knowledge and understanding of the problem. Without recognizing and understanding the racist nature and foundation of Zionism, the product of which is Israel, one can't really appreciate the complexity of the issue - even though now it is not a one-sided problem any longer.

(5) The main focus of this part is to drive the point home that Zionism is inherently RACIST and this is such a widely recognized issue that it is not my declaration. Rather ignorance about this matter indicates a major problem. In presenting some pertinent information, I have deliberately avoided any reference to any Muslim, Palestinian or Arab source.

(6) In this particular message, I have provided reference mainly to The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace, an important eye-opening, thoroughly-researched and documented book by Alfred Lilienthal, a well-known Jewish author. Each of the reference I have cited from Lilienthal is fully referenced to the original sources in his book. If one reads one book on the history of Zionism and Israel and the problem of Palestine, this 800+ book is a MUST. If Mr. Hussain and Mr. Munir haven't already read this (and a few other I have cited as part of a short bibliography), I strongly recommend that these materials. Now let me turn to the issue of racism vis-ŕ-vis Zionism.

"The early 19th century Jewish settlements in Palestine were completely nonnationalist in motivation. Political Zionism, spurred by the writings of Moses Hess (Rome and Jerusalem, 1862) and Leo Pinsker (Auto-Emancipation, 1882) and the inspired, dedicated leadership of Theodore Herzl, did not succeed in winning wide support among the Jews and Europe or America. The 9,000 Jews whom Sir Moses Montefiore found in Palestine on his first visit in 1837 had barely reached 50,000 at the turn of the century." [Lilienthal, p. 11]

Theodore Herzl is considered to be the father of Zionism. The understanding of his thought and vision is crucial to understanding of both Zionism and Israel. "Israel's founder, Theodore Herzl, ... had written in his Diaries: 'We must expropriate gently the private property on the estates assigned to us. We should try to spirit the penniless Arab population across the borders by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country.'" [Lilienthal, p. 104]

It was the vision and perspective of Herzl that shaped the racist foundation of Israel as reflected in the words of two Israeli prime ministers. "'Israel is the country of the Jews and only of the Jews,' David Ben-Gurion told ... Golda Meir declared to the Knesset: 'I want a Jewish state with a decisive Jewish majority which cannot change overnight.'" [Lilienthal, p. 104]

From a scanty Jewish presence in Palestine to turn into a Jewish majority country was not a small feat. Ben-Gurion and Meir were keenly aware of the challenge, but by hook or crook, they were determined to bring the dream of Herzl to fruition. Mr. Hussain's statement "there is no proof that Palestine existed as a sovereign Arab nation" is actually a non sequitur. It is irrelevant whether Palestian existed as a "sovereign Arab nation". Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain - none of these was a sovereign Arab nation either. But, if Mr. Hussain invoked the non-consequential argument of non-existing Palestinian sovereign nation, Zionist/Israeli leaders were much more smart. They did not even acknowledge that there was any people called Palestinians living in Palestine.

"There is no such thing as a Palestinian people... It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist." -- Golda Meir Statement to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969. [Would Mr. Hussain or Mr. Munir care to explain any of these statements? Remember that these are not isolated people from any fringe group. Rather they were democratically elected by the majority people of the state of Israel.]

Indeed, these Zionist leaders were puzzled as to how they could facilitate the Palestinian people's return to the occupied territory. They would be very happy to make this possible, except there was only one problem. There was no Palestinian people! None other than Golda Meir revealed the problem peace-loving Israel was facing: "How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to." [Lilienthal, p. 146] These are the same people who were survivors of one of the worst human tragedies in history: the holocaust. But even Hitler did not commit holocaust while denying the existence of Jews in Germany. Or, would Mr. Hussain contend otherwise, and I would be glad to stand corrected? Reading Mr. Hussain's messages one might get the impression that Israel is really victim here, as there was no sovereign Palestinian state and establishing the Zionist state in Palestinian really did/does not create any moral or practical - or at least, no serious - problem.

Indeed, if we could simply persuade (or delude?) ourselves in thinking that Palestinian people did not exist, we can probably go back and sleep better.

Indeed, Zionism's dream to establish a Jewish homeland never took into consideration that there were already "human" beings inhabiting that place. Thus, came the candid admission and admonition from, Judah Magnes, the first president of the Hebrew University, during the bitter conflict prior to the creation of Israel: "We seem to have thought of everything - except the Arabs ..." [Lilienthal, p. 150]

Seeing how the people of Palestine were being wrongfully, unjustly and brutally dispossessed, one of the first settlers, Moshe Smilansky, "expressed deep disappointment at the neglect of the indigenous population. ... 'Where are you, Jews? Why do we not at least pay compensation with a generous hand to these miserable people? ... Did a single Jewish farmer raise hand in the Parliament in opposition to a law that deprived Arab peasants of the land? How solitary does sit the Jewish conscience in the city of Jerusalem!" [Lilienthal, p. 150] Seeing the unmasking face of Zionism, even a Zionist philosopher Ahad Ha-am lamented, "If this be the messiah, then I do not wish to see his coming." [Lilienthal, p. 150]

In case, anyone had or have misgivings about Zionism, or his understanding is based on mere "impressions" without doing any homework, or there is a notion that anything coming from Muslims must be "biased" and based on "blind" interpretation, Yoram Bar Porath, a Jewish writier, echoing the prime ministers of Israel, bluntly put it: "It is the duty of the Israeli leaders to explain to the public with clarity and courage a number of facts that have been submerged with the passage of time. The first of these is the fact that there is no Zionism, settlement, or Jewish State without eviction of the Arabs and expropriation of their lands." [Lilienthal, p. 113]

The primary dreamer of Zionism (tied to Israel as part of the dream), Herzl and others created an impression to the world outside that Palestine was really a barren land. There were a few people, but the do not really mind "welcoming" us. They perpetuated one of the worst myths: "Palestine is a land without people, and the the Jews are a people without a land." What a perfect match! Has there really been such a racism that denied the existed of its inhabitants altogether? It wasn't the case even in South Africa.

Hoodwinked by the Zionist propaganda, many Jews and Zionists (and many Zionist Jews), the "people without a land", started migrating to this "land without people". But many of them got a rude awakening. "... Discovery of the other occupants of Palestine, the 93 percent indigenous populace, came a rude shock to the early settlers. Max Nordau, one of Theodore Herzl's closest associates, came crying to him (Herzl) one day in 1897, 'But there are Arabs in Palestine. I did not know that!'" [Lilienthal, p. 147]

But some of these people were either conscientious or simply they did not want to get entangled with the evolving, long-lasting conflict. But the policy-makers were not of the same type. Joseph Weitz, one-time head of the Jewish Agency Colonization Department, who wrote: "Between ourselves, it must be clear that there is no room in this country for both peoples. The only solution is Eretz Israel ...  without Arabs, and there is no other way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries - to transfer all of them - not one village, not one tribe should be left." [Lilienthal, p. 151.]

By the way, the dispossession of the Palestinian people must not be made so easy. After all, while they would be made to move, there were a few useful things they could do. As told in his Diaries, the father of Zionism (Herzl) envisioned some specially useful role of the indigenous populace. "If we move into a region where there are wild animals to which the Jews are not accustomed - big snakes, etc. - I shall use the natives, prior to giving them employment in the transit countries, for the extermination of these animals." He would also have had the "natives drain the swamps" inasmuch as they were "accustomed to the fever". [Lilienthal, p. 151]

Did I declare that Zionism is a racist ideology? Was I biased in making this connection? Have I interpreted this "blindly"? Let the author(s) help me and the readers understand better. Even the conscientious Jews knows and are publicly on record regarding the connection between Zionism/Israel and racism. I will deal with that in another part.

Before anyone rendering judgment of "bias" and "blind interpretation", I invite them to read the following material.

Recommended readings as STARTERS:

1. Alfred Lilienthal. The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace? (New York: Middle East Perspective, 1979] [Must reading; 872 pages; long book, but every page is worth reading, as I have found out myself]

2. "For Jews Only: Racism Inside Israel" An Interview with Phyllis Bennis [From Colorline magazine on issues of Race, Culture, Action; http://www.arc.org/C_Lines/CLArchive/story_web00_04.html]

3. David Fromkin. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (Morrow/Avon; 1990; 635 pages. A MUST reading - page by page; Jewish author)

4. Rev. Thomas F. Stransky. A Catholic View of Zionism and the State of Israel (http://198.62.75.1/www1/ofm/mag/MAen9901.html; the author is Rector of Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies, Jerusalem)

5. Henry Maitles. 'Arabs were driven into exile', SOCIALIST REVIEW (November 2000; http://www.callnetuk.com/home/socrev1text/pubs/sr246/maitles.htm ]

6. Pejman Novin. "Zionist ideology equal to colonialist expansionism" [UCLA Daily Bruin, 4/29/97; http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/DB/issues/97/04.29/view.novin.html ]

7. Norton Mezvinsky. "Rabbi Elmer Berger, 1908-1996." [Washington Report; http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/1196/9611025.htm; Rabbi Berger also wrote "Why I am a non-Zionist" to expose the racist nature of the Zionist ideology.]

8. Israel Shahak. "Analysis of Israeli policies: the priority of the ideological factor" [http://abbc.com/historia/zionism/shahak154.html; The author is a professor emeritus of Hebrew University]

9.  Stefan Goranov, "Racism: A Basic Principle of Zionism" in ZIONISM AND RACISM. Proceedings of an International Symposium. THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION. New Brunswick. North American, 1979. 262p.]


Part III: Human Rights

There is just so voluminous, well-documented information for someone to be better informed about the interconnection between Zionism, Israel and racism that one only needs to scratch the bare surface to develop some good understanding of the pertinent issues. However, there is no substitute for conscientious due diligence. It is also important to keep in mind that as human beings we must have the "sense of fairness" so that we stand against wrongs done by ANYONE and for those who are wronged, regardless of who they are. Just like people should have stood against the Nazi regime and the genocide it committed, it is important to stand for non-partisan fairness in understanding and dealing with the Israel-Palestinian conflict. [I am limiting the scope of the problem here, because the actual issue is much larger due to the religious dimension, such as the control of Jerusalem.]

Instead of looking for clauses in any "official" declaration of Zionism, one might read the writings of its founder Theodore Herzl. His vision was faithfully materialized in the Zionist state of Israel, where Israeli Army's Chief of Staff could publicly state: "We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel .... Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours ... When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do will be to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle." -- Israeli Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan (Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot 4/13/83, NYTimes 4/14/83) http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=22&x_article=766.

For those who want to understand the Zionist foundation of the racist apartheid of Israel, instead of turning to Palestinian/Arab/Muslim sources, it is more appetizing to turn to those who are the voices of conscience within the Jewish people. In this context, for example, we should be familiar with the life, thought, works and struggle of Dr. Israel Shahak. He is a professor emeritus of Organic Chemistry at Hebrew University and survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp of Germany during the second world war. More importantly, he chaired the Israel League for Human and Civil Rights. "Citing laws and regulation in force in Israel and known to everyone due to their rigorous enforcement, he contended that 'the State of Israel is a RACIST state in the full meaning of this term because people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin ... one who is not a Jew is discriminated against, only because he is not a Jew.' Starting with the right to live to dwell, or to open a business in the place of his choice, Shahak dissected racism in Israel as it is today:

Most of the land in Israel belongs to or is administered by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which forbids non-Jews to dwell or to open a business, and sometimes even to work on its lands only because they are not Jews! Such policy not only enjoys here perfect legality (in contrast to a similar discrimination against the Jews which is illegal in most countries of the world), but is supported by all the instruments of the Israeli rule. In such a manner many whole towns were created in Israel, which are as the phrase goes "clean of Arabs" and this legally, or rather as we should say "clean of Gentiles (goyim)." In other towns, like Upper Nazareth, only one special quarters is "devoted" to the dwelling of Arabs. Any attempt of an Arab to buy or to rent a flat from a Jew is opposed openly and legally by all the branches of the government (the Ministry of Housing, Municipality, etc.) and also by the illegal opposition of the Jewish inhabitants, which is nevertheless supported by the Israeli police. I can only remind you that nobody opposes an operation of the sale or the rental of a flat in Nazareth, if the buyer or the lessee is a Jew, which means, according to the racist definition of this word employed legally in Israel, a human being who can prove that his mother, his grandmother, his great-grandmother and the grandmother of his grandmother were Jewish. If he can prove this, such an operation becomes all right all of a sudden and nobody opposes it, neither the government nor the inhabitants. There is opposition only if the mother of the buyer is not Jewish.

Shahak pointed out that Muhammad Ma'aruf, an Israeli citizen  from the village of Dir-el-Assad, tried to open a factory in Carmiel but was prohibited from doing so because that town was 'out of bounds' to non-Jews and he had to build outside the 'pure' boundaries. However, a Jew may dwell or open a business in any place of his choice, but only because his mother was a Jew; right is denied to those whose mother was not Jewish.

This discrimination did not stem from any 'security' reasons. It is imposed on ALL non-Jews, including those who have served in the Israeli army and may have been wounded. [note: This should clear up the misunderstanding or misperception that the problem of discrimination is fundamentally "religious" as argued by Mr. Hussain, as opposed to racial based on racism. No, my friends, Israeli racism and apartheid, based on Zionism, targets Palestinian Arabs of all origin: Muslims, Christians, Druze, and so on.] Ma'aruf, a Druze, and all his family 'were obliged to serve a compulsory service in the Israeli Defense Force, just as Jews are. But he has not the right given to every Jew to dwell in Carmiel.'  And as Shahak notes, 'a Jewish thief or robber or murderer, who has completed his sentence, has the right to dwell in Carmiel. But a goy, a Druze, a Circassian, a Bedouin, or a Christian cannot dwell in Carmiel because he happened to be born to the 'incorrect' mother.'

In the eyes of this civil rights defender, the worst racists in Israel are the kibbutzim who will not accept into membership an Israeli citizen who is not a Jew 'even in cases where a daughter of a kibbutzim has fallen in love with one of its hired non-Jewish workers. Any discrimination of that kind, if it is inflicted on Jews in other countries, encounters - and rightly so - the shout of 'anti-Semitism' ... the Zionist State of Israel does exactly the same thing as anti-Semites attempt - usually without success - to do in other countries.'

According to the teachings of the Israeli Ministry of Education, Jewish pupils from kindergarten on are taught the concept of the 'Salvation of the Land': Land is 'saved' when it is transferred to Jewish ownership. Personnel  of the Jewish Nation Fund, with 'the most forceful support of the Israeli government and especially of its 'security arms', are employed continually in 'saving' land both in Israel and in the occupied territories."

Shahak, remembering his concentration camp experience, angrily writes: 'Pay attention, please: Because I am a Jew, I am allowed to lease orchards for picking or marketing, but an Arab, only because he is an Arab, is forbidden this!' [Lilienthal, pp. 127-129, quoting Shahak, 'The Racist Nature of Zionism and of the Zionist State of Israel,' Pi-Ha-Aton (weekly student paper, Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Nov. 3, 1975]

I present these information, still with an open mind. If there are compelling information to change my mind and assertion, I WILL.

Now scattered observations on several comments of Mr. Hussain.

"The Jews think of Zionism as a Jewish Liberation  movement, to establish a Jewish homeland."

As I have already corroborated, there are many Jews do not believe in Zionism because it was more than a movement for a Jewish homeland. It was a plan to create a Diaspora of the native people and establish a homeland that would be an apartheid. After experiencing how Israel was created and how the state conducted itself, many Jews became disillusioned and stood for justice, condemning Zionism and its inherently racist dimension.

"Is this self determination to be considered racist?"

No. Absolutely not. Racism is not related to the pursuit of self-determination. Racism relates to the race-based vision for an exclusivist state, where the 90% of existing population would not even live as second class citizens. Rather, the resulting state would be cleansed of any "impurity" - not just Muslim Arabs, but ALL NON-JEWS.

"Are we to believe that the Jews hate all other races?"

This question could not be related to anything I have originally asserted. Indeed, there are many conscientious Jews who believe in the principle of justice and fairness of all, and I have documented it already.

"Has Dr. Farooq been subjected to Jewish racism or Zionism, personally?"

No, not like the way Palestinians are treated as sub-humans in the "only democracy of the Middle East". Indeed, this question is also non sequitur. Did people have to live under South African apartheid to know or assess whether there was apartheid in South Africa? Did someone had to live in East Pakistan during March-Dec. 1971 to be informed that there was a genocide going on?

Regardless, I have some indirect taste of the Zionist influence. Almost 20 years ago, soon after coming to this country, I was attending University of Central Florida. While at UCF I got involved in an exchange in the university's daily student news paper, where someone was singing the litany of the glorious history of tolerance of the Jewish people. As soon as my first letter was published - in a truncated form - I was publicly besieged by others and from personal attack to misinformation, nothing was spared. But when I sent my rejoinder, it was denied the light of the day, without giving any explanation, except sending me a note that they won't be able to publish it. That was my first taste of the "freedom of expression" in the U.S. media. Things have improved somewhat since then.

"Or is Dr. Farooq, interpreting blindly, what so many Muslims do, that Zionism is Islam's worst enemy?"

I can't speak for others. But I have a feeling that worst adversaries of Islam are probably those Muslims (a) who believe that Islam is an inherited faith, (b) who have become so faith-centered that they have forgotten and abandoned the universalistic perspective of Islam that they are not for themselves, but for the humanity (3/Ale Imran/110); (c) who have forgotten or abandoned the principle of Islam that there is no superiority of Arabs over non-Arabs, Europeans over non-Europeans, Asians over Africans, whites over non-whites, or Bangalis over non-Bangalis. Unfortunately, there are now traces of racism in some parts of the Muslim world, where, for example, in Saudi Arabia - an anathema to Islam - non-Arabs (I mean, non-western, non-Arabs) are treated inferior to the Arabs.

"Throughout the ages, the Palestinians never bothered or were incapable of setting up their own nation, let alone demanding it. Suddenly, when in 1948, they are faced with a Jewish influx, the Palestinians feel that they have been robbed of a non-existent nation. Everything is open to interpretation, there is no absolute in this situation."

One just need to read one book A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin ( a Jewish author) to overcome such naiveté. "Everything is open to interpretation, there is no absolute in this situation"? If everything is open to interpretation - not even some things that can be objectively determined on the basis of fact, then I am afraid, I have absolutely no comment on such statement.

"Both the Arabs and the Jews are one and the same race, that is they are Semites."

Another example of naive understanding of the problem. Yes, it is very true that the Arabs and Jews are one and the same race, and they are all Semites. However, does Mr. Hussain not know or did he not care to note that despite the fact that they are all Semites, anti-Semitism exclusively applies to only the Jews? How can that be? Why the Arabs are not covered by it? Otherwise, if Arabs are included, the Zionists could be described as anti-Semitic as Arabs are Semites too. Indeed, exclusive use of the expression "anti-semitism" for Jews is another example of Zionist racism. It is noteworthy that anti-semitism was used by the Zionists as a formidable tool to create sympathy for the establishment of the Zionist state by a "people without a land" in a "land without people".

My reflections here are limited to the issue of racism as it relates to Zionism. As far as solving the current conflict, that is a much more complex and difficult issue. However, any serious intention to see any positive difference in this regard must be based on understanding and appreciation of the reality.

Additional readings:

1. For Jews Only: Racism Inside Israel - An Interview with Phyllis Bennis
[From Colorline magazine on issues of Race, Culture, Action;
http://www.arc.org/C_Lines/CLArchive/story_web00_04.html]

2. Stefan Goranov, "Racism: A Basic Principle of Zionism" in ZIONISM AND RACISM. Proceedings of an International Symposium. THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION. New Brunswick. North American, 1979. 262p.]


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