Sunday, September 26, 2010

The paradox of Jewish power

M. Shahid Alam spells it all out rather clearly in "Zionist Dialectics" (my emphasis in red; read the whole thing, especially the predictions of disaster for the West caused by its foolish support of the shitty little country):
"How did the Jewish colons in Palestine succeed in creating an exclusionary colonial settler state in the middle of the twentieth century, and continue to grow with support from a surrogate mother country, while the French colons in Algeria, the Italians in Libya or the British colons in Kenya had to give up their colonial projects?

The answer to this question is simple. The white colons in Algeria, Libya, or Kenya simply did not have enough influence over the mother country - over France, Italy, and Britain - to overrule what the elites in the mother country had decided was in their interest: to pull out of their colonies. The Jewish colons in Palestine had more power than the white colons in Algeria, Libya, and Kenya. Where did their power come from?

The success of Jewish colons in Palestine and the failure of the colons in Algeria, Libya, or Kenya is a paradox. The French, Italian, and British settlers had a natural mother country, a country of origin, with whose people they shared an ethnic bond. The Jewish colons in Palestine did not have a natural mother country, a powerful Jewish state to support their colonial project. Yet, their colonizing project succeeded, and they drove out the Palestinians to create a nearly pure Jewish state in Palestine. The Jewish colons did not pull off this feat on their own; they succeeded because of their ability to recruit the greatest Western powers, and many others besides, to support their colonial project. Somehow, the Zionists turned what could well have been a fatal deficiency for their colonial project - the absence of a natural mother country - into their greatest asset. They gained the freedom to pick and choose their mother country.

How did the Zionists bring this about? The Jews were not a majority in any country, but there existed a Jewish minority in nearly every Western country. In itself, the presence of Jewish minorities could not have been a source of strength; a weak Jewish minority in any country could do little to help their coreligionists in another country. What made the Jewish minorities different was that they carried a weight that far outweighed their numbers. Over the course of the nineteenth century, they had become an important, often vital, part of the financial, industrial, commercial, and intellectual elites in several of the most important Western countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Moreover, the most prominent members of these elites had cultivated ties with each other across national boundaries.

Once these Jewish elites, spread across the key Western countries, had decided to support the Zionist project, they would become a force in global politics. On the one hand, this would tempt the great powers to support Zionism, if this could buy them the help of the Jewish communities, based in a rival or friendly power, to push their host country in a desirable direction. Conversely, once the Zionists recognized this tendency, they too would seek to win support for their cause by offering the support of Jewish communities in key Western countries. It would be in their interest to exaggerate the results that Jewish communities in this or that country might be able to deliver. During periods of intense conflicts - such as World War I - when the fate of nations hung in the balance, the competition for Zionist support became more intense than ever. This placed the Zionists in a strong position to trade their favors for the commitment of the great powers to their goals. In September 1917, this competition persuaded Britain, at a difficult moment in the execution of its war, to throw its support behind the Zionist project.

The Zionists continue to market their colonial project as a haven for Jews, fleeing anti-Semitic persecution. This is misleading. Overwhelmingly, Jews fleeing persecution in Europe have stayed away from this ‘haven’ when alternatives were available. On the contrary, the Zionists were counting on support from the anti-Semites to propel their nationalist-cum-colonial project. They were counting on anti-Semitic persecution to send Jewish colons to Palestine; and they were counting on the European anti-Semite’s desire to be rid of Jews to recruit Western powers to support their colonial project in Palestine. Zionism was primarily a nationalist movement, whose origins predated the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the late nineteenth century. Even then, most Jews sought to combat anti-Semitism through assimilation, Jewish autonomism, and socialist revolutions. When forced to emigrate, they overwhelmingly preferred destinations outside Palestine. The fortunes of Zionism improved only when most Western countries closed their doors to Jewish immigrants. When these doors were closing in the early 1900s, it was little opposed by the Jewish diaspora, whose leadership now identified increasingly with Zionist goals. Little pressure too was applied to reopen these doors before the 1960s."
and:
"The secret of Zionist success, then, lies in the manner in which it overcame the chief flaw in its design: it did not have a natural mother country to support its colonial project. By winning over the Jews in the Western diaspora, and galvanizing them to use their wealth, intellect, and activism to promote Zionist causes, the Zionists succeeded in substituting the West for the missing natural mother country. Over time, nearly every major Western country (including the Soviet Union) has offered critical help in the creation, survival and success of Israel. Most importantly, the two greatest Western powers, Britain and the United States, successively, have placed their military might squarely behind the Zionist project despite the damage that this inflicted on their vital interests in the Middle East."
blog comments powered by Disqus