By Gavin Lewis
Zionist Colonialism Vs The Post-War Consensus.
At just over the 52nd minute of the 1967 film thriller Funeral in Berlin’, a female character who’d been seducing British agent Harry Palmer (played by Michael Caine) confesses to be an Israeli spy. Palmer/Caine replies “So, you turn out to be a dedicated Zionist – a fanatic!”[i] Similarly in the first episode – ‘The Good Ones are All Dead’ – of the 1967 UK spy tv series ‘Callan’ the central character played by Edward Woodward is given the task of finding out if a foreign businessman was a former German officer and if so, handing him over to Israel’s Mossad. In the end, Callan/Woodward allows the businessman to commit suicide, because in all conscience he could not hand him over to the ‘extremists’ of Mossad.[ii]
These then, are just commonplace sentiments compatible with mass media consumption, expressed in post-war popular culture. However, eight years later in 1975 the United Nations would, reflecting such attitudes, vote in resolution 3379 to define Zionism as a form of racism.
In this post-war era, decolonization was the norm. Attempts to hang onto empire gained via eugenics-driven brutalities and notions of racial privilege only reminded westerners of the continuity between their imperialism and Nazi offenses. As a mixed consequence of humanitarian public sentiment, economic practicalities, and capitulation to anti-colonial uprisings, in 1947 some twenty years before the cited dramas, Britain returned India – an asset then consisting of a 390mil population – subsequently numerous other countries including Kenya, oil-powerhouse Nigeria, Uganda, also eventually Malaysia and Singapore, back to their peoples.
Among territories that gained independence from France were Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Mali resulting also in statehood for Senegal. Globally – and increasingly so in the US – there was revulsion at America’s offenses in the war in Vietnam. In the face of this decolonization and recognition of the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, to have a small cult of Zionist ‘fanatics’ – to re-use Michael Caine’s character’s term – marketing white colonial conquest and Apartheid domination as some sort of white-ethnic right was obviously offensive and jarring.
Significantly, it’s interesting to see with whom in this era Israel’s Zionist lobby was keeping strategically aligned and rhetorical company. Racist South Africa’s homicidal domestic repressions, including subsequently against Soweto’s children, were facilitated by the provision of Israel’s armament technology.[iii] Its Dutch Protestant Boers justified their Apartheid land seizure, similarly on the basis of religion, suggesting ‘this was the land promised in the Biblical book of Joshua’. White minority ruled Rhodesia cited WWII, suggesting a number of white owners of colonial farms may have fought in the Battle of Britain. Some of Rhodesia’s propaganda along these lines originated from the shadowy so-called “British Forces Friends of Rhodesia Association” claiming a supposed familial association with “kith and kin in Rhodesia.”[iv]
In an era of decolonization, global Freedom for Africa and Pan-Africanist campaigns, neither the invocation of religious fundamentalist notions of white privilege, of WWII sacrifice, or of dubious internal/external kinship, stood the test of time, in justifying colonial conquest and dominance in these white settler countries. Though since then, these narratives have still been periodically, unashamedly strategically fore-grounded, by the Zionist Israel lobby. By comparison to other western Protestant, Catholic et al, ethnoreligious or atheist groups, Israel’s ongoing demanded ‘Double White Privilege-Plus’ colonial exceptionalism, has been a continued feature of Zionist propaganda. To debunk this claimed privileged exceptionalism it’s worth recalling the roots of Zionism and just how unexceptional it is in terms of western racism’s broader history.
From 2014 onwards the Spanish government began the process of offering citizenship to western Jews, primarily from the former slave economies of South America and the Caribbean. Spain’s English language news outlet ‘The Local,’ stated there were “3.5 million Sephardic Jews,” – European Jews in origin – who were eligible [v], and this figure was repeated throughout the international media. By 2019 even the blatantly pro-Zionist UK Guardian was admitting to a take-up within this eligibility of 132,226.[vi] This Spanish citizenship offer was an apology, for a 15th C policy in which Spain made all its lands, including its colonial territories, exclusively Catholic.
This policy had two effects. Firstly, as the cited 3.5 million descendants demonstrate, it incentivized Jewish entry into the colonial slave economies of other nations. Secondly, for subsequent generations, it offered a potential racist template. If there could be exclusively white western Catholic colonial exploitation, then why not exclusively white Jewish conquest?
Undoubtedly also motivating this; the differences in success western Jews were permitted in global slave economies varied according to colonial national authority and local governorship. Dr. Karl Watson of the University of the West Indies has described how up until 1706, the British in Barbados restricted Jewish slave ownership to one per owner, resulting in late Jewish entry into its plantation slavery.[vii] By contrast Dr. Ralph Bennett has recorded Jewish slave trading in Portugal’s colony Brazil, being so profitable that Christian traders unsuccessfully tried to get it banned.[viii] The lack of stable continuity of economic conditions for traders between economies obviously helped further incentivize an ideology of copycat exclusive Jewish colonialism that became known as Zionism.
Regardless of Zionist fundamentalist mythology, Palestine had been an Arab state since the 7th C and therefore seemed an unobtainable target for colonialism. But enter ‘Zionism the Uganda Scheme’ into any internet search engine and you’ll find that like Christian colonialism, one of Zionism’s original targets for exclusive white ethnic land theft was Africa, and due to mislabelling, particularly parts of Kenya.
After around 1,300 years as an Arab state Palestine fell into British hands during WWI. The Balfour Agreement was signed in 1917 allocating settlement privileges to the Zionist lobby – this decades before the Nazis came to power. In essence as a white colonial ideology, and as the people and western popular culture of previous years have determined, there’s been no reason to regard Zionism as any more noble than Catholic, Protestant, or atheist forms of racist dominance. But there have been repeated subsequent attempts to re-generate Double White Privilege-Plus’ for it.
Israel’s Post-2014 Gaza Bombing, Re-marketing of Zionism.
In the summer of 2014, Israel bombarded Gaza with “6,000 airstrikes, 14,500 tank shells and 45,000 artillery shells unleashed between July 7 and Aug. 26”. According to UN figures Israel killed 2,252 Palestinians – 551 of these were children.[ix] Before the corpse of the last killed Palestinian child had cooled in its grave, the Campaign Against Ant-Semitism (CAA ) was launched designed to suggest Israel and its supporters were the real victims. Put simply, in the face of global outrage a massive media public relations campaign started, designed to invert the status of victim and aggressor – essentially remarketing racist-Zionism.
Press releases were sent to news organizations claiming criticism of Israel equated with an outbreak of supposedly domestic anti-semitism and therefore western Jews supposedly fearful of a widespread ‘lack of ethnic sensitivities’ were about to leave the UK. Veteran Zionist British actor Maureen Lipman unashamedly fronted part of this public relations operation, hypocritically, suggesting she might relocate to New York,[x] this within months of Black victim Eric Gardner having been killed in a police stranglehold in that city – so much for Lipman’s anti-racist ‘ethnic sensitivities’. The Jewish Chronicle represented apparent co-ordinated, mirroring misleading, pro-Israel public relations claims, made in Scotland.[xi]
Despite Ms. Lipman’s threatened protests to leave, the actor took a long-term job in the UK soap ‘Coronation Street’, and like most of her Zionist public relations colleagues continues in the UK, still applying pro-Israel leverage. Revealingly, critics of the socially and academically discredited BBC Panorama pro-Israel documentary ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic’ by John Ware, [xii] are now being legally threatened by his lawyer and Zionist pro-Israel activist Mark Lewis, who along with his wife, previously similarly falsely presented himself on the BBC’s Global News Channel’s ‘Victoria Derbyshire show’, misleadingly as simply a members of the general public, like Lipman, also supposedly in protest, just about to leave the country,.[xiii] John Ware’s supposed BBC impartiality is further in question because the treatment given to Muslim people-of-colour in his 2015 documentary ‘The Battle for British Islam’ was far more hostile than scrutiny free ride given to white Israel supporters in ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic’ (2019).
Manufacturing Double White Privilege-Plus.
By comparison, the UK media rarely asks or equivalently seems to care if Black-Britons might be forced from the country by racism. In contrast to the Double White Privilege-Plus Ms. Lipman enjoys, a few years later – and rather than doing public relations for a foreign colonial country – as part of the ongoing Black Lives Matter crisis, Black journalist Afua Hirsch complained of racism in Britain itself. Nick Ferrari her white rightwing interviewer on Rupert Murdoch’s half-owned Sky News tv, actually suggested if she didn’t like it, perhaps ‘leave the country’. Hirsch later tweeted “If you don’t like it here, LEAVE”. Which, I’m yet to hear said to a white British person.”[xiv]
Clearly in support of a racist-colonialist agenda, not only was the corporate media foregrounding institutionalized public relations misrepresentations, employing racist double-standards but consequently now, willing to portray Zionism as mainstream and respectable.
The biggest ideological onslaught in this vein was directed at the traditionally anti-colonial Labour Party. As part of this, media smears reported with performative horror that some Labour student activists were supposedly using terms like “filthy Zionist”[xv] or variants like ‘racist-Zionist’ or ‘racist-zio’.
Indicative of the Double White Privilege-Plus again being invoked here, imagine by comparison being told that you couldn’t refer to Protestant South African Apartheid supporters, or Rhodesian colonials equally contemptuously? Moreover, the United Nations definition of Zionism as a form of racism lasted 16 years. It was only finally overturned in 1991 by the massive leverage of the United States government, who still to this day have their own ongoing Black human rights crisis reaching back beyond the 19th C American Civil War. Pro-Israeli Zionism being institutionally approved by the US, is comparable to UK Fascist Oswald Mosley getting a character reference from Benito Mussolini, so hardly rubberstamps it.
In all subsequent media ideological engineering, all reference to Zionism as a historically defined form of white colonial racism has been deliberately obliterated. The BBC’s ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic’, program, simply remarketed Zionism, misleadingly as an ideology close to ‘Jewish sensitivities’. The same UK media, that spun as a supposed ‘positive’, Tony Blair as a white politician violently determining, what sort of societies the Black and Brown people of the world should be permitted to have, also as a monolith have acted on behalf of the Zionist lobby. Presumably, once the media regressed to supporting a global western 19th C racist-imperialist type model, then doing the propaganda for colonial middle-eastern Apartheid dominance, was not much of a stretch.
Perhaps it’s significant that in the Cold War era commentators, particularly in America, would refer to western rationalist dominance, as the Judeo-Christian tradition. Bloomberg was among a number of news outlets that noted that the descendants of 300,000 Muslims excluded from Spanish lands by the same exclusive Catholic participation decree, were by contrast, not now included in the same latter citizenship offer.[xvi]
In a traditional Judeo-Christian establishment rationalization, and apparently anticipating the inevitable subsequent brutal oppression of the Palestinians, Winston Churchill’s 1937 submission to the UK Peel Commission had even supported western Jewish settlement in Palestine as a continuity of the global white supremacy that had manifested itself in other colonies, victimizing other Indigenous peoples
“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the Black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” [xvii]
Clearly, Zionist Israel supporters now get media Double White Privilege-Plus in comparison to historical supporters of racist white settler Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa. They have consequently been media enabled to smear genuine anti-racist Jewish journalists and Jewish activist critics and of Israel, as anti-semites. They get the same advantageous Privilege-Plus in comparison to the racism of other white ethnic groups, and even specific racist individuals.
In 2020 white right-wing historian David Starkey was recorded saying that slavery wasn’t a real Holocaust and was then rightly condemned for his racism. Yet this, as activist Jackie Walker previously pointed out, is exactly the spin of the pro-Israel Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) website,[xviii] which cynically strategically, refuses to cite slavery or any of the white settler driven holocausts – African, Indian sub-continent, or Native American – that like Israel are a manifestation of globalized white colonialism (the only Black victims permitted HMD representation are mixed-race Germans, included though only to ideologically support the primacy of the white European Holocaust and therefore colonial Israel’s existence, plus Black-indigenous/Civil-War examples – Cambodia, Darfur, Rwanda, etc – are cited to sustain, ideological neoliberal rationalizations of the intrusions of, imperialist, supposedly ‘civilizing’, western ‘interventionism’).
Ironically, Starkey might possibly have taken shield behind the same Zionist Double White Privilege-Plus, if he’d claimed to be simply citing the HMD as his source? No UK news outlet reports the reality of HMD’s racist double-standards.
When Black mixed-race Jewish Jackie Walker substantiated her points about the HMD absenting slavery as a Holocaust, she cited Jewish prominence in the trade including the possible participation of her own white ancestors. However, attempting to absent itself from historical participation in the slavery/colonial gravy train, the Zionist lobby claimed again, as part of its hierarchy of victimhood, this was simply an anti-semitic slur, a lie of the worst sort, and the entire British media followed their lead in this.
Once more, it was only the Zionist lobby demanding Double White Privilege-Plus on the issue of slavery. There was no subsequent that sign raising this issue, bothered anti-racist Jews such as ‘Jewish Voices for Peace’, Jewish socialist-anarchist group ‘Jewdas’ and ‘Jewish Voice for Labour’, or that such groups were demanding exemption from citation on the issue. Most other white western ethnoreligious groups even offered repentance on the issue.
Unlike Israel’s Zionist lobby, Pope John Paul II apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in slavery thirty years earlier in 1985[xix] and again in 1992.[xx] The UK’s Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, had in 2006, apologized on behalf of the Protestant Church of England “for benefiting from the slave trade”[xxi] and again in 2020. The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States apologized in 1995 and in 2018 admitted to a history of ‘slaveholding’ and ‘deep racism’.[xxii]
To believe the lie that there was no Capitalist Jewish participation in slavery means turning a blind eye to the Jewish Museum in Jamaica, the tourist excursion of old Jewish sites of interest in Trinidad and Tobago, and doing the same to the ancient synagogues in Brazil fronted with plaques dating back to slavery. The countless number of Black people in the Caribbean and South America with – to use Muhammad Ali’s term – Jewish slave names will have to be ignored. Perhaps it will be necessary to pretend the reggae star Barrington Levy doesn’t exist, in case he is one of these. Given that Rastafarianism – with Ethiopia substituting for Israel and its shared ‘exile’ and ‘Zion’ tropes – is a mirror-cracked reflection of the religion of the old Jewish colonial class, this too will have to be censored. Musical culture like Desmond Decker’s ‘The Israelites’ single, and Bob Marley’s entire album ‘Exodus’ will have to go because they invoke Jewish mythology of bondage under the Pharaoh as a metaphor for the Black experience of servitude and exploitation.
Illustrative of the Double White Privilege-Plus hypocrisy employed, if you or your family were victims of Catholic sex abuse and subsequent Church cover-ups you maybe might be entitled to feel publicly resentful or phobic about Catholicism. By comparison, if you’re Black and your ancestors were owned by Jewish slave traders, you’d best keep quiet about it or be smeared as an anti-semite by the Zionist lobby, operating its pro-Israel hierarchy of victimhood. Obviously recognizing Zionist participation in the slavery/colonialism gravy-train is to undermine the dubious legitimacy of colonial Israel. Blatantly, most of the news outlets that smeared Jackie Walker as an anti-semite for mentioning Jewish participation in slave economics, did not later have a problem, contradictorily covering the Spanish Jewish citizenship offer.
Superseding words like ‘bias’, ‘prejudice’, ‘bigotry’, the term ‘racism’ was invented to describe structural based power relations and experiences of peoples who’d once been owned, lost their lands, original languages, culture, family structures, and were subsequently ghettoized away from financial and institutionalized power, in the lower reaches of western class systems. Against all logic of the term, the Zionist-Israel lobby has reached into our societies and via media platform privilege demanded, that in any dispute between members of a specific white ethnic group, and Black and/or indigenous peoples, more advantaged white people must always be classified as the victims. Now in defense of Israel, media outlets even propagandize the term ‘Black anti-semitism’ without explaining how in material terms, within western power hierarchies, this supposed ‘oppression?’ can possibly occur?
This tells us why Zionism, which also counts Black Jews, Indigenous middle-eastern Jews, among its victims and denounces as supposedly fake, the very identities of western anti-racist Jewish critics of Israel – like other forms of white supremacism – must always be opposed. Racism reaches out from within its invented borders and contaminates societies whose citizens aspire, to be genuinely multi-cultural.
– Gavin Lewis is a freelance Black-British mixed-race writer and academic. He has published in Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States on film, media, politics, cultural theory, race, and representation. He has taught critical theory and film and cultural studies at a number of British universities. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle
[i] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060437/ The notion of colonialism being old-fashioned or primitive is also alluded to during the course of the film, on occasions when characters critically refer to Israel’s “Eye for an Eye” ideology.
[ii] This first episode was also a reboot of the Pilot Drama ‘A Magnum for Schneider’ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061940/ Some this material was used as the basis for a feature film ‘Callan’ (1974) so presumably was not regarded as transgressive? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071270/
[iii] Israel Ambassador Alon Leil admitted “We created the South African arms industry,” says Liel. “They assisted us to develop all kinds of technology because they had a lot of money. When we were developing things together we usually gave the know-how and they gave the money. After 1976, there was a love affair between the security establishments of the two countries and their armies.”
[vii] ‘The Secret Jewish Histories of Rum’ draws on Watson’s research. Barbados has a slightly unusual history of slavery. For a period ending 1706 Jews were restricted to one slave per individual. So for a short period they were limited to indirect mercantile profiting from the slave economy. However, slavery lasted another 128 years after the restrictions were lifted, finally being abolished in 1834. “Many expelled Jews headed for Barbados. But while under Dutch rule they were allowed to own slaves and sugar plantations, under English law a Jew could only own one slave each. A major sugar plantation required hundreds of slaves to operate, and so the Jews who arrived in Barbados made money the old-fashioned way: as merchants and traders. Years later, in 1706, the restriction against Jews owning hundreds of slaves was lifted, and some Jews did end up owning their own sugar plantations. https://forward.com/food/380053/the-secret-jewish-history-of-rum/
Professor Carolyn Cooper of the University of the West Indies cited Watson’s research stating
“Historian Karl Watson notes that: “Barbados presented opportunities for trade. By the mid-17th century, it was quite apparent that the English experiment in creating colonies in the West Indies for the export of tropical crops was working exceptionally well in Barbados. These newcomers were well placed to exploit this burgeoning sugar economy as part of their extensive Sephardic trading network extending from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.” The Jewish exile in the Caribbean enabled the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and the migration of waves of indentured labourers from Europe and Asia. This is the other half of the Jamaican Jewish story that must be told.” http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120708/cleisure/cleisure3.html
[viii] “Christian businessmen were jealous of the success of the Jews, particularly in the lucrative slave trade, and more than once petitioned the government to limit Jewish trading practice. The government refused to take action: the business generated by the Jews was too important to the economy of the colony to be hindered in any way.” http://sefarad.org/lm/010/bresil.html
[x] One of Maureen Lipman’s many interviews https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/maureen-lipman-considering-leaving-the-uk-due-to-rise-in-anti-semitism-10007994.html
[xi] The same Public Relations story in Scotland https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/antisemitism-prompts-scottish-jews-to-consider-leaving-the-country-1.66804
[xii] Of the many critics, the academic based Media Reform Coalition offered a systemic analysis of the programme’s failures to follow even BBC broadcast guidelines. https://www.mediareform.org.uk/blog/bbc-panorama-on-anti-semitism-a-catalogue-of-reporting-failures
[xiii] The Zionist Lawyer Mark Lewis made the same false emigration claims on the BBC’s Victoria Darbyshire’s show. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-45201412 Yet he has continued to threaten critics of Israel in the UK with legal action and shows no signs of leaving the country. He is now also the lawyer of BBC journalist John Ware responsible for the discredited ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic’. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/panorama-jeremy-corbyn_uk_5f18589dc5b6296fbf3c6ae8?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmluZy5jb20v&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIny5BSYik2iippj5Jz4eNJ7yTbUYBzbxXevLfhQj38ZS4hhQG2-fJC9nNzYu0KELA0zjhzu_3qCG6Crw-lMkn2VvLUWSxoiPqy7ejS1wyGeU68ipl-sOnSJBSOBezaOll_GwUucFz1Aap_0W2Fk6AITihz0sbAMDZFYXtVqYoGR
[xvii] Churchill on Palestine and western colonialism “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” https://libquotes.com/winston-churchill/quote/lbk6q0u