By Gilad Atzmon
Every PSC campaigner I have ever spoken to admits to me that only very few Palestinians find interest in the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. In fact, the statement by Machover provides the reason. According to Machover, those amongst the Palestinians who fail to see that anti-Semitism is the problem are nothing but reactionary, as only the ‘Progressive’ Palestinians acknowledge that anti-Semitism is indeed a problem. Let me tell you, the Palestinians I know do not like it when Machover or anyone else calls them reactionaries just because they are not that concerned with anti-Semitism. Reading Machover, it is rather clear that such views serve as a body shield for Jewish secular collectivism and the Zio-centric historical narrative. If to be honest, there is not much reason for any Palestinian to join a movement predominated by the obsession with anti-Semitism.
May I tell you, I am not an historian. I am academically trained as a philosopher and particularly as a continental one. I am interested in the notion of essence. For me to attack Zionism is to aim towards a thorough realisation of the essence of Zionism. To a certain extent I am indeed an essentialist. This is pretty worrying for those who try to reduce the discourse into positivistic exchange regarding numbers and historical facts. I am interested in the spirit of Zionism. I’m concerned about that which transforms the Israelis and their supporters into ethically blind killing machines.
You may have heard of the book I am holding in my hand. Probably, it’s the ultimate Zionist tract: Alan Dershowitz’s The Case For Israel. I don’t know whether any of you have ever considered reading this banal not to say idiotic text. I did, it fell into my hands a few days ago.
Shockingly enough, this book is structured as a beginner’s guide for the Zionist enthusiast, a kind of "Israel for Dummies". It teaches the nationalist Jew how to be an advocate and defend the ‘case of Israel’. We know already that Norman Finkelstein has managed to prove beyond doubt that the text is academically a farce. Yet, there is something revealing in this text.
The book is a set of deconstructions of ‘the anti-Zionist argument’. It starts with the heaviest ideological and moral accusation against Israel and it gets lighter, more historical and forensic as you progress.
Dershowitz launches with the ‘million Shekels’ question "Is Israel a Colonial, Imperialist State?" To a certain degree Dershowitz manages to tackle the question. He asks, "if it is indeed a colonial state, what flag does it serve?" Fair enough, I say, he may be right. I myself do not regard Zionism as a colonial adventure. However, hang on for a second, Mr. Dershowitz. It seems you might be getting off the hook easily here. Our problem with Israel has nothing to do with its colonial characteristics. Our problems with the ‘Jews Only State’ have something to do with its racist, expansionist and nationalist qualities. Our problems with Israel have something to do with it being a Fascist State supported by the vast majority of Jewish people around the world.
Now if you, Scottish activists stop for a second, ask yourselves why Dershowitz starts his book tackling the colonial aspect of Israel rather than facing its Fascist characteristics. My answer is simple. We are afraid to admit that Israel is indeed a Fascist State. It is predominantly the politically correct groups that furnish Dershowitz with a Zionist fig leaf. In fact, it is the Jewish gatekeepers on the left who have managed to reduce Zionism merely into a colonial adventure. Why did they do it? I can think of two reasons:
1. If Israel, the ‘Jews Only State’ is wrong for being a racially orientated adventure, then ‘Jews for peace’, ‘Jews against Zionism’, ‘Jewish Socialists’, ‘Jews Sans Frontieres’ etc. are all wrong for the very same reason (being a racially orientated adventure).
2. To regard the Israeli Palestinian conflict as a colonial dispute is to make sure it fits nicely into their notion of working class politics. May I suggest that a universal working class vision of Israel implies that the Jewish State is nothing but a Fascist experiment.
I would use this opportunity and appeal to our friends amongst the Jewish socialists and other Jewish solidarity groups. I would ask them to clear the stage willingly, and to re-join as ordinary human beings. The Palestinian Solidarity movement is craving for a change. It needs open gates rather than gatekeepers. It yearns for an open and dynamic discourse. The Palestinians on the ground have realised it already. They democratically elected an alternative vision of their future. Isn’t it about time we support the Palestinians for what they are rather than expecting them to fit into our worldview?
-From a talk for the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in Edinburgh.
-Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His recent CD, Exile, was named the year’s best jazz CD by the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org