Unraveling the myths of Zionism

Zionism: Conflating religion with ethnicity and historical events to justify a colonial project

Growing up in New Zealand I was instilled with the standard Western narrative on modern Israel: This is an ethno-religious community driven from their Middle Eastern homeland in Roman times, persecuted during their long exile in Europe, merely reclaiming what is rightfully theirs.

Only as an adult did I begin to question this and read up on the subject. Firstly, there is the obvious fact that religion and ethnicity are not the same thing. Judaism is an ancient religion which spread far and wide. Its followers include many ethnicities, from Iranian and Arab to Ethiopian and European.

The ancient Israelites themselves do not appear to have been native to the Levant. Semitic tribes emerged from the Arabian Peninsula several thousand years ago, perhaps during a time of great climatic change. Some settled in Mesopotamia, mingling with the locals in the great empires of Akkad, Babylon and Assyria. Others included the Phoenicians of Lebanon.

The Israelites were distinctive only for the adoption of a monotheistic religion, Judaism, and this seems to be the only authentic link between the ancient kingdom and the modern Zionist colonial project.

Indeed, today’s Israelis claim that there are historical and religious sites in Palestine of great importance to them. But this is a medieval crusader mentality, surely. What of the historical and religious sites that are important to the Palestinians themselves?

Far from “a land without people,” Palestine had a Jewish population all along – living in relative harmony alongside a Muslim majority as well as a local Christian community. But they were Palestinians first and foremost and opposed Zionism – colonization by European Jews.

Although Sephardic Jews were welcomed by the Ottomans following the Spanish Inquisition, they seemed to have preferred the large metropolises of Constantinople, Selanik and Smyrna. Very few made their way down to Palestine. Even after the collapse of the empire, America was the popular destination.

My readings also assure me that one may convert to and renounce Judaism and that this is perfectly common practice, even required under certain Jewish Orthodox laws. But how can one convert to or renounce their race? Of course, the notion is preposterous.

The religion has been conflated with ethnicity to place it beyond reproach – and Zionism has been conflated with Judaism for the same reason. Westerners have thus been blackmailed into silence on the issue. But not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews. Far from it.

The idea that a community of people sat around in Europe for 2000 years waiting to get back to some ancient homeland in the Middle East is absurd. That’s not so different to the British claiming the right to colonize Africa on the grounds they had distant ancestry there! And in their case, at least, there would have been a grain of truth involved.

The original Zionist colonizers did not speak a Semitic language. They spoke Yiddish and other European dialects and were required to learn Hebrew. Semitic languages are not exclusive to Israel, of course. By far the biggest member of the group is Arabic with 420 million speakers worldwide (compared to 7 million Hebrew-speakers).

As for the so-called ‘wars’ Israel claims to have won, most were simply massacres instigated by the Zionists themselves. This includes the 1967 ‘Six Day War,’ after which Israel’s leaders openly conceded they had “made a choice” and attacked their neighbors by surprise. Much of the territory seized remains under occupation, including Syria’s Golan Heights, in violation of international law.

Israel’s bombing of densely populated residential areas in 2014 was a clear example of state terrorism. Almost 2000 people were killed, mostly civilians, about a quarter of them children. Hamas, meanwhile, killed mainly soldiers in response, only three civilians and no children. But we are supposed to believe it is they who are the terrorists!

The Zionist army bombed schools and hospitals, claiming they were being used to hide weapons caches. International observers found otherwise, however, and have also noted that it is the Israelis who use human shields, not the resistance. It would seem that everything Israel has accused the Palestinians of, it has in fact been guilty of itself.

Such are the multitudinous lies woven into the Western narrative. The Zionists are not a beleaguered ethnic group but the impostors and the aggressors. It is not their right to exist nor their right to defend themselves which is being denied – but the native Palestinians.’

This is the way things looked to me now, and for what it’s worth, much of what I have read on the issue has been penned by Israeli and Jewish authors.

(Source / 07.05.2020) 

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