Zionists, the same God who made you made Palestinians

Palestinians have no army, no navy and no air force, but like any people under a 41-year-occupation, they long to be free. The recent aggression by Zionist Israel against Palestinian Gaza was designed to kill this spirit of liberation. It failed miserably.

Palestinians are the victims of a violent, European colonial ideology in which every /Jew/ has a "birthright" to settle in the land of the Palestinians. Even after the recent slaughter, "post-Gaza Zionists" still market Israel as a "Jewish democracy," a fancy name for the world’s only racist democracy.

The root of the problem is less political than it is religious; namely, the refusal of Zionists to accept the fact that the same God who made them made the native Palestinians. Even though not all Zionists are religious, all claim to defend the rights of members of a given religion, Judaism.

Zionists agree with the classical belief that Jews had once been chosen to lead the world, but it is no longer important whether Jews believe that the choosing was done by God or by the unique Jewish national genius.

Moses Hess (1812-1875), the first Zionist thinker, spoke mystically of new transcendent values that were to issue from a restored Zion (a religious idea) and of a new Jewish nation to act as the guardian of the crossroads of three continents and be the teacher of the somnolent peoples of the East. In other words, the Jew is to play the general who leads the /mission civilisatrice/ of an expanding West.

This last concept is quite close to Theodore Herzl’s dream of a Jewish Switzerland in Palestine, which was to be the model creation of his aristocratic liberalism. The same essential doctrine was preached by Ben-Yehudah, who laboured to transform Hebrew from a "Holy Tongue" to a significant modern language, and by Borochov, for whom Zionism is a necessary state-building preamble to the creation of the arena in which the Jewish sector of the international class struggle would take place.

Such state building, though, did not necessarily imply the creation of Israel. In the very first pamphlet ever published by the American Zionist Federation (1898) we read: "[Zionism] does not mean that all Jews must return to Palestine."

In a 1915 speech in New York, Louis D. Brandeis, future chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, proclaimed the need for American Jews to embrace the Zionist ideal: "Loyalty to America demands rather that each American Jew become a Zionist. For only through the ennobling effect of its strivings can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our great inheritance… We must protect America and ourselves from demoralization, which has to some extent already set in among American Jews."

Zionist Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) wrote: "It is a grave error to be insensitive to the distinctive unity of the Jewish spirit… This error is the source of the attempt to sever the national from the religious element of Judaism. Such a division would falsify both our nationalism and our religion… No matter what they [the secular nationalists] may think, the particular element of the Jewish spirit that they may make their own, being rooted in the total life of our people, must inevitably contain every aspect of its ethos… Once this truth is established, our opponents will ultimately have to realize that they were wasting their efforts. The values they attempted to banish were nonetheless present, if only in an attenuated and distorted form, in their theories…"

Reform Judaism denies that absolute obedience to the traditional commandments was possible in the light of the obligations imposed by equal citizenship or that it was intellectually defensible before the bar of rational criticism of the religious heritage.

Therefore, Reform Judaism defined the religion of the Jew as an ethical creed, the moral heritage of the Bible. The traditional hope for the return to Zion could not be allowed to remain in the liturgy as even a pious dream, for its presence might call into question the unqualified loyalty of the Jew to the state. That hope was replaced by the doctrine of the "mission of Israel," the belief that the Jews had been dispersed in the world by a beneficent Providence to act as teachers and guides toward the ideals of justice and righteousness revealed in the Bible.

Ten years after the creation of the Jewish state on Palestinian land Arthur Hertzberg wrote in his book "The Zionist Idea": "Predictions about the future are obviously dangerous. Yet I cannot doubt that as it confronts the far more complicated world of the next century Jewish thought will evolve both "messianic" and "defensive" theories. It is even more certain that Israel and the Diaspora will continue to wrestle with the demon, the "situation," and the angel, the sense of "chosenness," of the Jew."

Palestinians will continue to be the victims of the Zionist ideology as long as most Jews in the world believe in it, and agree with its main tenant: the same God who made them did not made the native Palestinians. It is sad but true.