A letter to a Zionist friend
July 3, 1999
Among the distinguished individuals who knew that Zionism was a danger to the United States, to Judaism and to the Middle East were: Rep. Julius Kahn of California, ; Rabbi Henry Berkowitz, founder of the Chautauqua Society; Prof. Morris Jastrow, internationally respected professor of linguistics (UofP) who presented a petition at Versailles opposing Zionism which was signed by over 290 prominent Jewish individuals including Rabbi Henry Cohen, Rabbi Isaac Landman, Ambassador Henry Morgenthau; and later on such distinguished Jewish Americans as Adolph Ochs, Arthur Hayes Sulzberger, Rabbi Isaac Landman, Rabbi M.N.R. Cohen, Rabbi Elmer Berger, Lessing Rosenwald, Alfred M. Lillienthal, Moshe Menuhin, Yehudi Menuhin, and those of the present including but not limited to: Benjamin Beit Hallani, Israel Shahak, Lea Tsemel, Felicia Langer, I.F. Stone, Noam Chomsky, Benjamin Joseph, Cheryl Rubenberg, Roselle Tekiner, Norton Mezvinsky, Norman Finkelstein, Naeim Giladi, Deena Hurwitz, Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom, Gabi Nitzan-Ginsberg, Marcello Wechsler, Michel "Mikado" Warschawski, Elias Davidsson and others of the new generation.
An apartheid state that presumes to speak for all the worlds Jews, without their consent, are passing from the scene. The trauma of the Nazi genocide against the Jews and others blinded your generation to think of Jews as "eternal victims", conferring thereby on Jews, the right to subjugate another people who had done them no harm.
The trauma somehow conferred this "right" to seek out third parties such as Great Britain, The League of Nations, The United States, The United Nations, to assist in displacing the native inhabitants by a settler colonial enterprise that will ultimately be doomed to failure, either from it's own internal anomalies or from natural demographics.
The Crusader State lasted a mere 88 years. That gives Israel 37 more years to get it's act together, so that no more Jews will die for a false ideology; So that Israel-Palestine will become a land for all of it's inhabitants, under justice and democratic principles, and not some supranational state for "The Jewish People".
Michael Lerner, recently ordained, has written in the Spring issue of Tikkun in 1998 that "Zionism...like all false gods has failed to satisfy the spiritual hunger [of Jews]. If many Jews turn away from Judaism today; Israel has played no small part in that process. Judaism may be one of Israel's most important casualties." He concludes that "for much of the past fifty years, the real object of worship of much of the Jewish people has been Isreal and Zionism".
Once Judaism collapsed into this ultra-nationalist philosophy, those who insisted that Jews must address the pain of the victims of Zionism somehow became seen as "self-hating" or "traitors".
Those who dared to critique Israel's past and present policies, all of which are based on Zionism (whether from the right or left is immaterial), on moral grounds have been forced to go outside the bounds of the organized Jewish community. The "Jewish political correctness", which has turned many of these people off from Judaism, is the attitude that any serious criticism of Israel is some sort of sacrilege and a manifestation of that individuals psychological dysfunction.
You cannot hold back history and you cannot hold back justice. Israel as it is currently constituted is decidedly "un-Jewish". That is because Zionism, (and here I speak of the political variety, not the transcendental religious Zionism of Asher Ginsberg) is nothing more than a mirror image of 19th Century European racism and anti-semitism, combined with the theory that non-European people are less than worthy of self-determination, and needed the civilizing influence of Europe "for their own good".
Judaism does not preach this. Judaism does not seek oppression and domination, but Zionism does.
I am on the board of advisors of a combined Jewish-Gentile peace group known as Deir Yassin Remembered, which uses the massacre which occurred in that Arab peasant village on 4/9/48 as a symbol of what all people, including Jews are capable of, when they are blinded by their own jingoism and xenophobia. Our goal is a true and just settlement of the Israel-Palestine problem, not some "bantustan" or "indian reservation" for the Palestinians of the West Bank, as the Oslo "peace process" predicated from the beginning. Thus, I and many other Jews, reject absolutely, everything you stand for in this regard, and seek not to destroy Jews, but to ressurect tikkun olam, which was the hallmark of Judaism, which is now, with the focus on a legally constituted Jewish State which treats all others as second class citizens, honored more in the breach. My name is a corruption of my given Hebrew name of Ze'ev, which as you know, means wolf. I like the name. It fits because like wolves, Jews like myself absolutely refuse to become extinct.
For as long as it takes, we will stay out in the wilderness if necessary and bare witness to this egregious wrong committed in the name of Jews, and howl incessantly.
You may be the west coast representative of American Friends for a Safe Israel, but what you fail to realize is through your actions, you are not making Israel safe.
Israel is ironically, the one place in the world, where more Jews are now being killed simply for the fact that they are Jews, than anywhere else in the world.
This is not based on some Nazi ideology or racist tendencies, but on the fact that the oppressed have been maltreated for over a half century, and view Jews as oppressors, whose yoke must be thrown off.
What is sad is that many of these people, who unfortunately resort to violence to achieve their goals, will not make a distinction between Israel worshippers and Jews who want nothing to do with the Zionist project. I can't blame them, because the only Jews they've encountered in their experiences are those who behave so un-Jewishly.
Do you remember Walt Kelly's famous Pogo cartoon in which Pogo says "We have met the enemy, and they are us"?
I have no doubts in my mind that Zionism will pass from the scene as a viable philosophy for Jews to follow; it has already begun. For the most part, the vast majority of Jews in North America, are not paying heed to the entreaties of those such as Edgar Bronfman, who set up programs to establish a Zionist nexus between Jewish youth of North America and those of Israel.
Inspite of the shrill cries from those with large mouths but meager representation such as Morton Klein, the historical revisionist of the Zionist Organization of America, Jews as a whole are not buying in, they are sadly, opting out.
This is not the fault of Judaism, it is the fault of the cooptation of Judaism by an exclusivist philosophy which runs counter to the current zeitgeist. I am encouraged by the knowledge that most people are possessed of the good common sense not to follow ideologues who would presume to lead them to their own destruction.