The Alternative to Zionism

Zionism has seen the expropriation, colonisation and dispersion of the Palestinian people. This obviously has to be opposed. One such necessary form of opposition is solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. However, it is wilful blindness to imagine that this will, in any way, undermine the social roots of zionism, because zionism was an attempted liberation struggle by the Jewish people. It was an attempt by Jews to free themselves from the noose of anti-semitism, at a time when no other way was apparently possible. Deutscher has written that:

"for the remnants of European Jewry (is it only for them?) the Jewish state has become an historic necessity" (Deutscher The Non Jewish Jew).

For zionists to believe that such a state is no longer necessary, it is vital to attack that which necessitated it—namely anti-semitism. When confronted by the spectacle of an arsonist firing a person's home, it is not morally justifiable for a passive observer to blame that person for jumping—even if s/he lands on a complete stranger. Certainly the stranger may be justifiably aggrieved—and with equal certainty cannot be expected to take responsibility for a fire they did not create. However, if no other homes are to be burned then the arsonist must be stopped. Moreover, isolated householders cannot be expected to do this unaided. As long as passers-by remain observers then the sorry saga will continue. The analogy with the triangle of the anti-semite, the Jew and the Palestinian is obvious. The onus for resisting anti-semitism cannot be on Jews alone. Wherever there is anti-semitism the socialist and labour movements have to oppose it. Unfortunately these movements have, all too often, been either passive or complicit.

¹KOR—Intellectual group Influential with Solidarity in Poland

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