by Philip Weiss, published on Mondoweiss, May 31, 2022
Recent events in Israel have left many American Jews despairing about their community’s adherence to Zionism. The wanton killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh… the mobs of Jewish youths crying “Death to Arabs” in Jerusalem… Jewish government officials threatening Palestinians with “another Nakba” and spouting hateful replacement theory about Arabs…
And still, American Jewish leaders tell us that to be Jewish is to be Zionist, and anti-Zionism is antisemitism. And our mainstream press is respectful of this position and does not promote anti-Zionist views.
What a shock then to open ‘Haaretz’ yesterday and today and see two articles attacking Israeli Zionism, and urging the world to take action. The words the authors use about Israel’s unending shifts to the right are scathing. Contemporary Zionism is a “Jewish mutation,” Amira Hass writes in despair. Zionism was a “naive mistake,” writes B. Michael, and it has created a “small, arrogant, violent, wicked nation.”
The tragedy is that these moral appeals don’t appear in the American press, to galvanize peace-loving Americans including many Jews. Imagine trying to get “Jewish mutation” into an American paper– you couldn’t.
Hass’s piece today is titled, “Will Someone Finally Say Israel Has Lost It?” She says that the messianic side of Israelis society, nurtured for decades as a violent expansionist tool by the secularist founders of Israel, has now taken over and it’s just a matter of time before they are the majority in the Israeli parliament.
We saw this in the terrifying flag dance in Jerusalem on Sunday. Today, they are 50,000 wearing white shirts who marched in the heart of Palestinian Jerusalem. Yesterday they marched in Hebron and fulfilled there the vision of emptying it of Palestinians. Tomorrow they will be 100,000.
The violent outposts of the shepherds are also a registered patent of this holy white aesthetic. And as was confirmed by their patron, Ze’ev Hever from the colonizing movement Amana, these outposts have taken over a Palestinian space twice as large as the area of the lands the built-up settlements stole. How much will they succeed in stealing tomorrow?…
Today it is 2,600 dancing, pious Jews who went up on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. They have managed to expropriate almost completely the Ibrahim Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs from the Palestinian public. Tomorrow they will be 7,000. How many of them will sign a petition to build the Third Temple? And when will they have a democratic majority in the Knesset?
Hass calls on the world to act– against the “Jewish mutation” of Israel, in which all Israel’s Jewish citizens are complicit.
Is there now in all the world’s countries a single responsible adult who will say openly: “The hell with it, this Jewish mutation that is developing there in the Middle East – in other words, the State of Israel – has lost it. Freaked out, lost its mind, gone crazy. Because of its military, nuclear and high-tech power, combined with all the religious fervor, because of its alliance with the United States, this needs to worry us. Very much so.
Yesterday’s article by B. Michael, “It’s time for us Jews to go back into exile,” is even more anti-Zionist. It says that Jews should not be the majority in a nation and seek to rule others, but resume our traditional role as a minority.
We’re really terrible at being a “nation.” We very quickly become as stupid, violent and greedy as most of the other nations of the world, and within a short time we brought destruction and exile on ourselves. Only there, in exile, do we regain the sense we lost and resume being a people that survives.
Apparently, being a majority doesn’t suit us – ruling, running an army and a state. We’re good at being a minority.
Michael’s piece is reminiscent of Sylvain Cypel’s 2021 book on the moral and civilizational cost to Jews worldwide of supporting the “thug nation.” Michael:
[The Jewish nation is] the growth of another shoot from the Jewish tree that does harm to everyone around it. A rotten, poisonous brother of the Zealots, the Sicarii, Rabbi Akiva’s blind students and Simon bar Kochba’s foolish disciples. They ought to be called Jew-oids. They’re like Jews who took the trivial and wicked parts of Judaism and turned it into the essence.
Imagine trying to get that phrase into an American newspaper: Israeli “Jew-oids” have taken the “wicked parts of Judaism and turned it into the essence.”
Or calling Israel “a small, arrogant, violent, wicked ‘nation.’”
And that’s how we got to where we are – a small, arrogant, violent, wicked “nation.” A little fish in a little pond and an ally to pariahs. The visionary whose efforts led to the state’s creation, were he to rise from his grave and see the results of his vision, would jump back in his coffin and demand that his bones be taken back to Vienna.
B. Michael is as desperate about the political future as Amira Hass is.
There is no longer any escape from this morass. Seventy-five years of racism and violence have thoroughly corrupted the Israeli electorate. No sane government will be elected here anymore. Consequently, there’s no choice but to admit that Zionism was a naïve mistake and to go into exile again to regain our strength and refresh our values.
“No sane government will be elected here anymore.” Yes, ask your liberal Zionist friends what hope they have for the Israeli political future when even their best hope is spouting racist ideology. If you are Jewish, let B. Michael and Amira Hass inspire you with the moral legacy of our tradition, and give you freedom to say what you see before your eyes.
*Featured Image: Jewish children at the Jerusalem flag march yesterday, photographed by ActiveStills.org; this video was widely distributed on twitter. Screenshot.
Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.