I am an anti-Zionist Zionist by Steve Cohen

I am an anti-Zionist Zionist because for forty years the Zionists have attacked me and beaten me up and ostracised me for being an anti-Zionist and the anti-Zionists have attacked me and beaten me up and ostracised me for being a Zionist.

I am an anti-Zionist because Zionism is racist
I am a Zionist because Zionism is anti-racist
Zionism is racist because it oppresses, depresses, represses and suppresses the Palestinians
Zionism is anti-racist because it is a response by Jews to the oppression, depression, repression and suppression of anti-semitism
Maybe it isn’t my response
Maybe my response is to slug it out here in Blighty and not the deserts of Judea
But this isn’t the 1930s
This isn’t the Holocaust hour
This isn’t no other way out hour
This isn’t the no other country in the world will offer refuge hour
This isn’t concentration camps round the corner hour

Anyhow which socialist guru invented the mantra that you always, invariably, timelessly, tirelessly fight for liberation in your country of birth?
Tell that to the escapee from Nazi Germany now living in old age in Jerusalem
Tell that to the next Iraqi refugee you see fighting for asylum in Manchester
(it’ll make an interesting defence campaign)

The Socialist Worker proclaims Zionism is racism
So I declaim myself an a Zionist
The Jewish Chronicle declaims anti-Zionism is racism
So I proclaim myself an anti-Zionist
I’m into declaiming and proclaiming and reclaiming language
And I’m the sole owner and archivist of the Biblical forerunner of Socialist Worker;

Red Herring. Special Edition:
“Children of Israel devestate Egyptian ecology, drain the Red Sea and lay claim to the whole of Canaan!
Peace of all known world threatened!
The Red Herring denounce the Mosaic misleadership as reactionary running dogs!
The Hebrew massses should break from this foul class collaboration!
Children, return across the desert and unite with your taskmasters against the Pharoic despotism!
Forward to the Asiatic mode of production!
Repeal the Ten Commandments!
Canaanite Minister of Information: confirms walls of Jericho still standing!
Joshua forced into hiding!
Solidarity with the Amorites, Hittites, Moabites and Midianites!”

And I treasure my biblical equivalent of the Jewish Chronicle: Jewish Shmatte.
Passover Colour Supplement and Property Development Special:
“The long march is over!
The Children of Israel walk free!
Story of Golden Calf revealed as a hoax!
Prime building sites still available in Sumaria!
Jewish scientist perfects way of genetically modifying manna from heaven!
Moses offers to negotiate with the Canaanites - but no recognition of their leadership until the book of Sharon comes to pass!
Aaron willing to perform the snake trick at barmitzvahs!
Build the blue boxes!
Beware the Assyrians!
Support the law of return to a place we’ve never been to before!
Everyone hates us!
Sail El Al!

I am an anti-Zionist Zionist
And like Isaac Deutscher I’m a non-Jewish Jew
I’m an irreligious Jew
I’m a Jew of very little faith
I have little faith in what passes for anti-Zionism
Which tells me that Israel, not the USA, is the meat of world imperialism
Which tells me it is Jewish finance, not the military industrial complex of the USA, that feeds Israel
Which tells me that the Board of Deputies is more powerful than the board of Boings
Which tells me that it is the Old Testament, not the old anti-semitism, that provides the text book recipe for Israel
Which tells me that as a Jew living in Prestwich I’m responsible for whatever is cooking in Petah Tikva
This is the anti-Zionism of fools
This is the anti-Zionist lobby
This is the Protocols of the Elders of Anti Zion

I’m a Jew of very little faith
And I have little faith in what passes for Zionism
Which tells me that Palestine was a land without people for a people without land
(which I guess was fifty per cent correct – just a pity about the other fifty)
Which tells me it can put a political damp course in the wailing wall
Which tells me it is prepared to accept a two state solution – as long as both states are Jewish
Which tells me that it can offer me a luxurious apartment in Netanya - with an en suite blood bath
Which tells me that Judaism equals tribalism equals a dead end. Very dead.

I am the Zionist who went to Palestine in 1933 and tried to form an alliance between the Jewish workers and Arab peasantry against the absentee Palestinian landlords, the right wing Zionist leadership and the British Mandate military occupation
It was a short stay
I am a minority Zionist
I am the anti-Zionist who doesn’t believe in one national secular state, who doesn’t believe in two theocratic states, who doesn’t believe in capitalist states
I’m for the no-state solution
Jews and Palestinians allowed to live wherever they want to live
From Jerusalam to Ghelum
I’m a lonely anti-Zionist
Not an orthodox Jew – but a paradox Jew
Whose political destination is JAFFA
Jews Against Fascism
Is there anyone else out there?

Yesterday I was an anti-Zionist Zionist
Today I’m a Zionist anti-Zionist
Either way it negates the negation
Of the tribal nation


I believe in the end of tribalism. Jews supporting Jews because they are Jews is wrong. Muslims supporting Muslims because they are Muslims is wrong. That is the road to the indoctrination of generation upon generation. That is the road to the massacre of the innocents at Sabra and Chatila. That is the road to suicide bombings. That is a never ending road.

I believe in the difference between right and wrong. I believe it was wrong for the anti-senites/the Nazis/the fascists to drive the Jews out of Europe. I believe it was wrong for the Jews/the Zionists/the Israelis to drive the Palestinians out of their homeland. I believe the first wrong can only explain but not excuse the latter wrong. I believe that the latter wrong cannot be excused or forgiven by a plea of diminished responsibility.

I believe in politics. I believe in the unbridgeable gap between the oppressed and the oppressor. I believe that right and wrong cannot be reconciled by prayer or good will. Wrong must be destroyed. The wrong of anti-semitism can only be destroyed by solidarity with the struggle of the Jews against fascism. The wrong of Palestinian dispossession can only be destroyed by solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinans against Israeli might.

I believe in the law of return for everyone who wants to live in Israel/Palestine. For Jews. For Palestinians. For everyone. That’s everyone that wants it. Until this equality is achieved I renounce my own right of return. It is not a right it is a wrong.

I believe there should be an unbridgeable gap between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. I believe anti-semites have crossed the bridge. I believe genuine anti-Zionism begins and ends with support for the Palestinians. I believe anti-semitism begins with, ends with and has in its middle an attack on Jews. On Jews as being all-powerful. On Jews as being all knowing. As Jews as being all over. On Jews as being extra rich. On Jews as being extraordinary. On Jews as being extra terrestrial. On Zionist Jews in Morocco as being responsible for Sabra . On anti-Zionist Jews in Tel Aviv as being responsible for Chatila. I believe in entering a plea of not guilty.

I believe there is no two state solution. A state for Jews and a state for Palestinians. One for you and one for me. Two exclusevist, theocratic, tribalist states do not create a bridgehead to peace but are a kosher and halal recipe for perpetual war and division. I believe there is no one state solution. A little Israel/Palestine in a big Middle East doesn’t make sense. I believe in a no state solution. Forward to the communist federation of Arabia! Put it this way – I believe Utopia’s better than Dante’s Inferno.

I believe that the very concept of a Jewish state is quite mad. The defining of a person as Jewish is itself difficult and problematic and is only resolved through Cohen’s First Law of Hyperdymanics (A real Jew is one who defies all rules – especially the rule defining who is a real Jew). Defining of a state as Jewish is meaningless. A state cannot have a Jewish mother. A state cannot go to shul. A state cannot eat kosher. A state cannot be circumcised.

I believe that the realization of this Credo will require a revolution. A revolution against the machers and the racists on each and every side of a many sided political conundrum.

I believe in Cohen’s Second Law of Hyperdymanics. Zionism is both racist and anti- racist. Therefore I proclaim myself an anti-Zionist Zionist

Steve Cohen

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© 1984 Steve Cohen, edited and produced by Libby Lawson and Erica Bunnan.
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