Most Muslims are aware of Israel’s record of human rights abuses and wars of aggression. But how much do we know about Zionism – the political ideology driving Israel and its supporters?
This section examines how Zionism affects not only the Palestinians and the wider Middle East, but the entire Muslim Ummah – directly including British Muslims and explains why anti-Zionism is an urgent priority for us.
What is Zionism?
Zionism is a political ideology that began in late 19th Century Europe, which then grew into the movement that led to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Zionists support the development of Israel as a Jewish state.
Catastrophic consequences for the Palestinians
Although some early Zionists considered establishing a Jewish state in places such as Uganda, the Zionist movement focused on Palestine as the location for their new Jewish homeland. At the time that Zionists began to push this idea, Palestine had a Jewish population of only about 4% (The Demographic Development of Palestine, 1850–1882, Alexander Schölch).
The most obvious consequence of Zionism has been the ethnic cleansing and oppression of the Palestinians. At the creation of Israel 700,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pappe). Today there are over 5 million Palestinian refugees and the remaining Palestinian population lives under ongoing Israeli oppression.
A Racist Ideology
Israel defines itself as a state for the Jewish people, rather than a state for its citizens. Under Israel’s ‘Law of Return’ any Jew from any country has the right to move to Israel and become an Israeli. However, the Muslim and Christian Palestinian refugees who were born in what is now Israel are denied the right to return home.
Currently even though about 20% of Israel’s population is not Jewish, the Muslim and Christian Palestinians live as second-class citizens in their own country, with the Israeli state systematically discriminating and denying basic rights to non-Jews.
Zionism – a Threat to the Whole Ummah
Islam teaches Muslims to defend the rights of their brothers and sisters in the global Ummah. Israel’s leaders have not been blind to this fact. To safeguard Zionist ambitions Muslims must either be made to abandon the concept of Ummah and the practice of Jihad, or be kept in a state of powerlessness. Zionism is therefore a threat to all Muslims, not just Palestinians and Arabs.
Israel’s policies can be described as gaining political domination of the entire region, from Morocco to Pakistan, according to Israel Shahak’s account based on evidence from Hebrew language sources (Open Secrets, Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies). Israel has not only maintained a brutal military occupation of Palestine but has also launched numerous attacks on other Muslim countries.
The Power of the Zionist Lobby
In America, the UK and across Western capitals the Zionist lobby exerts a very powerful influence on government, media and other areas such as academia (They Dare to Speak Out, Paul Findley). Well-funded, well-organised Zionist organisations, along with Zionist individuals in positions of power, pursue Israel’s interests with a ruthless effectiveness. The impact on foreign policy and attitudes toward Muslims is devastating.
Zionism and Western Foreign Policy
Zionism drives an aggressive quest for dominance over the Arab and Muslim world, both directly by Israel, and through the Zionist Lobby’s influence over Western foreign policy. The Zionist Lobby pushed for the war on Iraq and then focused its sights on Iran (The Israel Lobby, Mearscheimer and Walt). Israel and the Zionist Lobby support oppressive undemocratic regimes and also promote policies to destabilise countries across the Muslim world, in order to advance Israel’s interests (Israel and the Clash of Civilisations, Jonathan Cook).
Zionism, Islamophobia and the Clash of Civilisations
Zionists, and in particular ‘neo-con’ Zionists, have successfully promoted the idea of a ‘Clash of Civilisations’, where Islam is portrayed as a threat to the West. This powerful concept is used to justify oppression against Muslims.
Zionists are aware of the potential threat to their ambitions if Muslim communities in countries like Britain were strong and influential enough to help bring about an ethical foreign policy that opposed Israeli oppression. It is therefore not surprising that the Zionist Lobby is using its influence to marginalise Muslims in the West. For instance Zionists in the media fuel Islamophobia, particularly targeting any Muslims who engage in pro-Palestinian activism.
The Urgent Priority of anti-Zionism
A failure to realise the urgent priority of anti-Zionism has chronically undermined the ability of Muslims to effectively tackle the many problems we face.
Many Muslims simply identify ‘The West’ as their enemy because they see the anti-Muslim policies of Western Governments. However, what most Muslims fail to realise is the role of the Zionist lobby in promoting anti-Muslim policies, even when these policies are against the real interests of countries like America and Britain.
Many Muslims also fail to realise that not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews. For instance Christian Zionism is extremely powerful in American politics, while there are Jewish anti-Zionists who have done much more to support the rights of Palestinians, than the vast majority of Muslims ever have.
Some Muslims question why we should focus on Zionism, when Palestine is just one of the many problems facing the Ummah. What they haven’t taken into account is that the Zionist lobby has a powerful influence on Western foreign policy and in fuelling Islamophobia, which makes it impossible to solve other problems without tackling the Zionist threat.
Anyone who discovers the full truth about Zionism and its impact on the world will have no doubts as to the urgent priority of anti-Zionism. The facts are openly available, if only we make the effort to know them…