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Reading on, & thinking about, Zionism

by Dave Riley

Catching up with the Palestinian/Zionist axis isn't easy in the middle of a war, especially if you are starting from scratch. But this short pamphlet by Resistance Books should get you going:

The Palestinian Struggle, Zionism and Anti-<span class=

The Palestinian Struggle, Zionism and Anti-Semitism

The pamphlet should be available at any Resistance Bookstall. There's also a lot more stuff you can plough through. I recommend:
There are two key issues you need to get your head around:
  1. Israel's so called "right to exist" .
  2. Two state versus one secular state perspectives for Palestine.
It also helps to have a working knowledge of the history of Zionism.

I was reviewing some of the literature on the web in regard to this and I think it needs to be pointed out that the Marxist perspective on ant-Semitism and Zionism is based on an attempt to understand the material and economic roots of racism.

I think this is important. While any number of people can have biases and intolerances, racism as a political and social phenomenon has to have a material cause -- there has to be something tangible in it for the racists.

If there is racism in Australia against Aborigines(which of course there is), that racism is a product of the ideological and social means deployed to0 divest them of their land. Like the racism of Zionism it is engineered to justify a colonial settler state.

The new wave of Islamophobia is a consciously constructed attitude embodied in the military and political aims of Bush's War on Terror. It helps ever so much to hate people if you intend to kill them (and steal their natural assets).

But more generally, on the divide and conquer scenario, racism tries to formalise economic discrimination -- either to justify what you have and they haven't; to protect what you have, against the have nots; or to rationalise the act of you taking what they have away from them.

Cuba , for instance, has been described as a society that uprooted racism. However, the return of economic disparity following the Special Period and the fact that a number of white Cubans have relatives in Miami who send back money (and the exodus from Cuba after 1959 has been an overwhelming white exodus), has led to the beginnings of a division along racial (and economic) lines in Cuba that has not been seen for decades. 15% of the Cuban population is of black slave ancestry.

Racism is not essentially a nefarious virus in the mind of human kind that festers there. You do get that argument in regard to anti-Semitism or racism towards black people. And often you get that card played as a means to guilt trip people even within anti-racist movements. That doesn't mean that some people aren't always culturally and ideologically racist -- but racism as a political tool deployed on large scale is something else again.

Tom Wolfe , no radical by any means, nonetheless caught the semblance of that in his brutal satirical essay Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (read text here) -- and the term I know of for that guilt tripping phenomenon is "Black Panthering".

There is this misnomer advanced that people become actively engaged in anti-racism campaigns in order to purge their own psyche or that they suffer a fatal flaw of unresolved 'white guilt'.

That's not necessarily the case. This is why the Marxist understanding of ideological questions is so important in regard to comprehending what is at stake in any anti-racist campaign because it begs the question of how do you get rid of racism (or anti-Semitism for that matter) once and for all.

I forget which of the above Zionism references advances the notion, but I think it's in Leon. The argument is advanced, quite correctly I think, that Zionism as an ideological current became an option because socialism (the 'socialism' of Stalin) failed (to destroy anti-Semitism). That's important because it underscores the complication that becoming a racist in regard to another group of people is not a product of being 'bad'. It is, instead, a response so often to ' a good idea at the time.' Humans, are despite themselves or their own personal intentions, flotsam in history.

And in regard to the rise of Zionism after the Second Wold War and the establishment of the state of Israel -- all these factors, some opportunistic, some overbearing -- like the Holocaust and the fact that most countries closed their borders to Jewish refugees -- fostered the creation of this modern day colonial settler state. Of course the needs of imperialism had a lot to do with it too as Israel's trump card was its role as the US proxy in the Middle East.



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