Zionism is the ideology that dispossessed the Palestinians of their traditional territory. It is the ideology that nuclearized the Middle East.
It is the ideology whose lobby gained inordinate sway over the world superpower through manipulating the US electoral process (former BBC and ITN correspondent Alan Hart says Jewish Americans account for three percent or less of the US population but nearly 50 percent of campaign funds; result: Americans have a choice between two pro-Zionist parties).
It is the ideology that foments instability and wars in the Middle East. Perhaps, most importantly, Zionism is an ideology that attacks the heart and soul of justice and humanity. It is an attack that, on some level, affects all people. That is why Zionism must be met head on: to institute genuine justice and restore the humanity of all peoples.
Hart has the credentials to tackle the subject of Zionism (specifically, political Zionism: that a certain collection of non-native people has a, purportedly, God-given right to a particular piece of real estate that overrides the rights of Indigenous Palestinians) having worked for over three decades covering history unfolding in the Middle East. Much of his experience is first hand. The False Messiah is volume one of, what is planned to be, a three or four volume series Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.
Disseminating information that challenges the immensely influential Zionist bloc is difficult. Hart wrote, “… all in the UK were too frightened to publish this book out of fear of offending Zionism too much and being falsely accused of promoting anti-Semitism.” Here Hart exposes the absurd inversion of morality: Zionists accuse defenders of Palestinian human rights as being racist against the abuser of Palestinian human rights!
Hart identifies it as a smear tactic and a phony one since Arabs are Semites.
That the morality of Zionism is challengeable was keenly illustrated by an exchange between Hart and erstwhile Israeli prime minister Golda Meir. Hart queried Meir on-air: “You are saying that if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and even the whole world down with it?”
Meir’s prompt response: “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
How do Zionists get away with crimes against humanity? Hart points to the suffering Zionists experienced in the WWII Holocaust. To this an obvious question arises: does victimization give the victims the right to victimize another people?
Paulo Freire in his opus Pedagogy of the Oppressed warned that oppression creates a recycling dynamic that dehumanizes not only the oppressed people but also the oppressor. Hart touches on this dynamic.
Zionism and Judaism
Hart has to cover a lot of ground. He points out that Zionism is not Judaism. Hart describes Zionism as “brutal and cruel [behaviors], driven by self-righteousness of an extraordinary kind, without regard for international law and human rights conventions” which “makes a mockery of the moral values and ethical values of Judaism.”
Hart does not delve deeply into these moral and ethical values of Judaism, but he leaves this reader with the impression that Judaism is an principled faith. However, the laws and morality underlying many religions are often interpreted variously. The late Israel Shahak, a chemistry professor and social justice activist, in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years rued that classical Judaism had been subverted toward profit and Jewish supremacism. I submit that much as no people should be seen as a monolith neither should a religion be regarded as a monolith.
The Legitimacy of a Jewish Claim to the Holy Land
Hart reasons that there is no legitimacy to Israel’s claim to a “right to exist.” Moreover, the Jewish claim to the Holy Land does not hold up under scrutiny.
The bloodlines of the majority of Israeli Jews do not tie them with the Holy Land. Ashkenazim stem from eastern and central Europe and are converts to Judaism. Hart cites the work of Joseph Reinach, Alfred Lilienthal, Arthur Koestler, and Shlomo Sand in outlining this case. The refutation of Jewishness as an ethnicity is important because, quoting Sand, “…it encourages a segregation that separates Jews from non-Jews” that allows Zionists to claim Israel as a Jewish state.
Furthermore, writes Hart, the Mizrahim (Semitic Jews indigenous to the Middle East) were strongly opposed to Zionism.
Hart focuses on two different sets of Jews: Haskala Jews who sought to make the place they lived their home and Zionist Jews who strive to separate Jews and Gentiles. Haskala Jews see themselves threatened by a backlash to crimes committed by Zionist Jews.
Hart paints a picture of early Zionist history and the roles of early Zionist figures such as Zionism’s “founding father,” Theodr Herzl, key lobbyist, Chaim Weizmann, and the financier of Zionism, Lionel de Rothschild.
Hart details the collaboration of Britain with the Zionists from Arthur Balfour whose letter provided a pretext to dispossess Arabs. The chicanery was such that Britain reneged on its promise to recognize the sovereignty of its WWI Arab allies. Britain, writes Hart, laid the foundations for a Zionist takeover: “Without the British presence Zionism could not have entrenched itself in Palestine. On their own the Palestinians could have pushed the Zionists out.”
Britain went so far as to declare war on the Palestinians and assassinate Palestinian leaders.
All along the way, Zionist Jews were opposed by Haskala Jews who, as history shows, always lost out. After WWII, the Holocaust card was effective at backing down Haskala Jews.
Yet, Zionism has also flourished among Jews living abroad. Citing humanist Lilienthal: the migrating Jews carried a “nation complex” within them. According to Hart, this “made many of them susceptible to Zionism’s nationalist propaganda.”
Later, Zionists such as Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, and Vladimir Jabotinsky would terrorize the British out of Mandate Palestine. Hart sources Ralph Schoenman on the Koening Memorandum that made transparent the Zionists’s plans for terrorism against Palestinians: “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
Israel today, Hart notes, defines legitimate Palestinian resistance as terrorism. The author holds, “… all peoples have the right to use all means including violence to resist occupation.”
The US and Zionism
As Imperial Britain headed into decline, Imperial USA was ascending. The US would have a greater role in the Middle East.
Hart lauds US president Woodrow Wilson, “a real, towering statesman, a true giant among men.” Woodrow was apparently hamstrung on Palestine by his lobbying for the League of Nations. Hart blames “Imperial Britain-and-Zionism and their allies in [the US] Congress and the media; with … France” for screwing Wilson on Palestine.
Hart presents many “what if” scenarios. For example, he quotes British official John Hope Simpson: “Had the Jewish authorities been content with the original object of settlement in Palestine – a Jewish life without oppression and persecution in accordance with Jewish customs – the national home would have presented no difficulty.”
Or what if president Franklin Roosevelt had not died when he did? Hart speculates that Roosevelt would have rejected a Jewish state in Palestine.
Hart identifies influential Zionist agents in the White House, among others, David K. Niles. Although Truman is depicted as a president who grappled with the Zionist lobby, he had a vulnerability exploitable by Zionists.
Biting the Hand that Feeds
Ends would justify the means for Zionists. Even though Britain had set the stage for Jewish immigration to Palestine, even though Britain was at war with Nazi Germany — Zionists sought out a possible collaboration with Britain’s wartime enemy and an enemy to Jews. Hart sources Marxist writer Lenni Brenner who disclosed the Zionist negotiations with Nazi Germany. Zionists were dedicated to thwarting Jewish immigration to elsewhere than Palestine and were even willing to sacrifice Jewish lives to realize the goal of a Jewish state in Palestine.
And it was Jewish terrorism that forced Britain out of Palestine.
Zionism and Terrorism
The Zionist plan was to drive the British out, then drive the Palestinians out. Hart relates the strategy of the man who would become Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, for keeping all the land: creating facts-on-the-ground. The problem with this strategy is that if old facts-on-the-ground can be erased to establish new ones, what is to stop new facts-on-the-ground from being created again?
The methods for creating these facts-on-the-ground were incredibly gruesome. The massacre at Deir Yassin is a historical testament to Zionist war crimes – “in its own tiny way it was another holocaust.” The village was a “soft and easy target”; “the butchers of Deir Yassin” killed 254 victims, mainly the elderly, women, and children. One-hundred-and-forty-five women were killed, 35 of them pregnant. Many were raped before being killed.
Hart quotes Mordechai Nisan of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem: “Without terror it is unlikely that Jewish independence would have been achieved when it was.” [emphasis added by Hart]
Abdul Khader, portrayed as a respected Palestinian resistance leader, died the day after the Deir Yassin Massacre. Gloom set in on the Palestinian side. Deir Yassin had its intended effect, sowing fear in the hearts of Palestinians, and the expulsion was underway.
Arab and International Complicity with Zionism
The Palestinians did not just have to deal with British treachery, they “were at the mercy of the Arab League” who at British insistence kept the Palestinians unarmed, much as the illegal sealing of Gaza’s borders today and control of the West Bank borders keeps Palestinians unarmed under brutal occupation and creeping dispossession.
Hart wonders: what if the Arab regimes of the time had sought an alliance with Stalin to defeat Zionism? He speculates that Truman might have had to stand up to Zionism.
Hart points out that the United Nations General Assembly, in defiance of its own charter which calls for respect for the principle of self-determination, would, aided by Zionist manipulation (disinformation, bribery, threats), decree an illegal partition of Mandate Palestine. Not only was the partition illegal, he argues, it was also unfair. Jews would receive 56.4 percent of the land while being 33 percent of the population and owning only 5.67 percent of the land. The valuable coastal and fertile areas were in Jewish hands while mountainous, infertile areas were left to the Palestinians. Hart calls it “a proposal for injustice on a massive scale.”
In the end, Truman capitulated to Zionism and recognized the partition. Truman had been subjected to “a political hit-squad of 26 pro-Zionist U.S. Senators” beholden to Jewish votes and money.
Truman’s secretary of state George Marshall resisted Zionism, putting “America’s national interests first and, to the limit of the possible within that context, doing what was legally and morally right.” Joining Marshall in opposition was US secretary of defense James Vincent Forrestal who might have been the most steadfast opponent of the corrupting influence of Jewish money on the Democratic Party had he not, according to Hart, died under suspicious circumstances. Nonetheless, the Zionists had access to a more influential actor on Truman.
Hart takes a sympathetic slant toward Truman, noting he had kept the Zionist lobby at bay until it discovered his Achilles heel: his good friend Eddie Jacobson, a non-Zionist Jew. Through Jacobson, Zionists could reach Truman.
It appears that Truman, although much irked by the selfishness of the Zionist lobby, bore much of the responsibility for opening the door to the influence of money from lobbyists. Grant F. Smith in his book America’s Defense Line supports this view: “The historical record reveals how Truman’s policy on the Palestine question became heavily influenced by his need for campaign contributions…” Smith credits Truman with starting a “competition to see who was more ‘pro-Israel’” among US presidential candidates. Smith presents evidence that Truman was swayed by “massive funds” for his 1948 presidential campaign raised with the help of arch-Zionist Abraham J. Feinberg.
The Brazilian pedagogue Freire theoretically described — without referring to it –what underlies the Zionist-Palestinian dynamic: that of the oppressor and the oppressed. Freire argued that oppression and the struggle of liberation from oppression are both oppressing. Oppression, he contends, is necrophilic. “Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in ‘changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation that oppresses them.’”
To overcome the oppressor-oppressed dynamic, the oppressed must see themselves as agents of change. Revolution requires solidarity, and this, said Freire, is achieved through love — affirmation of one’s humanity. The act of rebellion by the oppressed is a gesture of love. The desire to be human saves oppressors from their own dehumanization caused by oppressing other humans.
“It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors,” wrote Freire.
Many Haskala Jews believe that liberation for all Jews will come from Palestinians achieving their liberation.
This looks like the direction Hart is heading with his Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews series. Volume One: The False Messiah is an important reference on what has transpired in the lead up to and formation of the Jewish State by Zionists. He brings valuable first-hand perspective, such as what lay behind Meir’s statement that there were no Palestinian people.
Hart gives a human face to some of the historical protagonists, portraying them not merely as actors but delving into the character of the persons. It is as if Hart seeks to humanize some of the persons who capitulated to Zionism.
However, there is no reason that evil should always appear in the guise of a demon. Humans come in all shades. Evil acts are evil despite the appearance of the evil-doer. Yes, it is probably much easier to perpetrate evil acts in cherubic rather that demonic guise, but why play to such stereotypes?
Hart’s book is a good act, a brave act for someone from British state media. He says he has to live with himself, and it is obvious this book comes from a place of integrity. Volume One: The False Messiah augurs well for the rest of the series.