7 March 2012
Ynet Op-ed: Zionism will only cease being demonized when West stops to demonise colonialism
If I didn’t know any better I’d think the following Op-ed piece from the rightwing Israeli news source Ynet was another Yes Men spoof but it’s for real. I decided finally to publish the opinion in its entirety (if in a somewhat fragmented form) for it reveals the insane irrationality that underpins Zionism as the only ‘defender of the Jewish people’ (aside that is from its benefactor the US).
I don’t know who Rafael Castro is but surely no relation of Fidel’s? In any case, I thought long and hard before posting this attempt at revising the traditional view of anti-semitism being the same as being anti-Israeli and it’s obvious why: it doesn’t work. Hauling out the ‘Holocaust’ every time Israel behaves like the Nazis did, which is pretty often, is well past its sell-by date. A ‘new’ tack is required. I’ve got it: let’s not beat about the bush; bring back open, naked colonialism, after all isn’t this what Israel is?
Rafael Castro Published:03.06.12, 18:04 / Israel Opinion
It is a curious paradox that despite its many achievements in all fields, [Israel] has yet to craft a convincing strategy to combat anti-Zionism. One of the reasons for this is that the roots of this phenomenon have been misdiagnosed.
Leftist anti-Zionism is not bred by anti-Semitism. The secular intelligentsia that supports Palestinians abhors Christian anti-Semitism and Nazi racism. Their favorite thinkers are Jewish intellectuals like Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Noam Chomsky. These anti-Zionists gladly rally against neo-Nazis and have no qualms about socializing with or marrying Jews.
It parallels another revisionist idea that in fact underpins the entire neo-liberal agenda, namely that (colonial) Empires are not that bad and even if they are, they are necessary and better than anything the ‘natives’ have cf: Niall Ferguson, Robert Cooper et al. Civilization (read capitalism), with all its faults has ‘civilised’ the world, well most of it.
Contrast this to the genuine anti-Semitism of pro-Israel evangelical Christians who believe that Jews are doomed to burn in hell or of xenophobic politicians who court Zionists to wage war against Islam, and we understand why the roots of anti-Zionism are usually not to be found in anti-Semitism. More crucially, the remedy prescribed to anti-Semites must not be prescribed to anti-Zionists. Anti-Semitism can be effectively fought by showing documentaries and films on the Holocaust. But how do anti-Zionists react to claims that Jews after the Holocaust need a national homeland? They either question why Jews should get a state if the Gypsies did not get one or claim that Nazis – not Arabs – murdered Jews and that therefore a Jewish homeland in Palestine is immoral. Not taking note of these objections only helps Holocaust education fuel the libel that Jews use the Holocaust as a pretext to oppress Arabs.
Okay, Castro agrees that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, again because conflating the two hasn’t worked. In fact it’s backfired badly, leading some to question whether the Holocaust actually happened (note here the reference to the ‘Gypsy’ Holocaust that claimed the lives of perhaps three million Roma across Europe and who are, to this day discriminated against in ‘civilised’ Europe). So how does Castro “take note” of these obvious contradictions?
Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you because Castro doesn’t! He sidesteps addressing these obvious contradictions (e.g. why did the Jews of Europe need a home faraway on somebody else’s land in the Middle East?) and instead moves on to the meat of his argument.
What about Arab prosperity?
The root of anti-Zionism must be sought elsewhere – in anti-colonialism. The belief that colonialism was an absolute evil is so deeply engrained in the contemporary Western psyche that all enterprises bearing any parallels to it are automatically censored. This explains why people whose heroes are Bolivar and Gandhi instinctively side with the Palestinians.
Right on! Now here speaks the white man, no matter what his colour and surprisingly, he actually speaks the truth. Yes, that’s why we support the Palestinian people, because a bunch of racist colonialists took their land. The problem according to Castro is that we won’t accept that it’s good to take someone else’s land, especially if they are not white. it’s also an admission that Israel is a colonial, settler state. Job done. (I’m sure Mr. Castro really didn’t think this through properly.)
To these people, claims that God promised the Land of Israel to the Jews reek of religious fanaticism. To make the argument that Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East invites allegations that it pursues apartheid policies. To counter all these claims is time-consuming and requires a taste for nuances. But why should anyone trade nuances for the facile certainty that colonialism is inherently evil?
Brilliant!! Yes, Israel not only reeks of religious fanaticism, it appears to thrive on it. But finally, Castro admits that we are not sufficiently “nuanced” or indeed have the time to trade nuances and neatly sidesteps his own contradictions. Another job done.
Zionism will only cease being demonized in the politically correct corners of the West once our schools and film industry cease to demonize colonialism. The politically correct depiction of the colonialist as a racist and covetous brute must give space to the majority of well-meaning administrators that helped build roads, schools, and hospitals for the natives.
Get in touch with Niall Ferguson (see above).
It must be shown that colonialists administered law and justice far more fairly than most pre-colonial chieftains or post-colonial despots. It must be taught that human development indicators plummeted in the majority of African and Asian countries following independence.
Now here Castro reveals the bankruptcy of his argument with yet more ‘the white man knows best’ nonsense.
Once an honest discussion about colonialism is tabled, hostility to Zionism will wane in leftist circles. Not because they will shed the belief that Zionism is a form of colonialism, but because it will be possible for them to appreciate the merits of Zionism.
Indeed, the unprecedented peace and prosperity that Arabs enjoy in Israel and enjoyed in Judea and Samaria prior to the Oslo Accords is perhaps the best evidence of the morality of Zionism. Yet nowadays this reality cannot be trumpeted. Why? Because it might imply that Palestinians flourish wherever they are not ruled by fellow Arabs. And in a world where self-determination is still viewed as the ultimate good, this is a sacrilegious truth.
The final nail in Mr Castro’s coffin of colonialism. His final and only justification is that Arabs are ruled by white men in Israel and that’s why they are better off than when being ruled by Arabs but we’re just too ‘politically correct’ to admit it. But this has been a long-standing mantra of the Zionists; Arabs can’t rule themselves, they’re inherently incapable of being ‘civilised’ like what we are’, hence they need the ‘guiding hand’ of a wise white man and other racist claptrap. It’s exactly the same argument that was put forward by South Africa’s Apartheid regime. So I’m afraid Mr Castro’s plea falls on this deaf leftist’s ears.