Introduction to Zionism

The Israeli FlagMost 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…

( / 17.09.2011)

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