Zionism's Dominant Position Within Jewry

The fact that within certain Jewish communities, particularly those in Europe and the U.S.A., zionism holds a hegemonic position, does not render the notion of 'collective responsibility' for zionism any less anti-semitic. This is not simply because, even within these communities, there are countless Jews who are not zionists. More important is the fact that the anti-semitism of the 'collective guilt of Jews' is based on the bizarre premise that non-Jews cannot be zionists or supporters of zionism. Indeed in a political sense, Jewish people are the least significant, the least powerful, advocates of zionism, since zionism is hegemonic throughout the body politic of all Western imperialism. There is no major political party which does not provide it with its backing.

The creation of Israel was naturally impossible without Jewish struggle within Palestine, irrespective of outside help (which if anywhere came from Eastern Europe). However, the continued existence of Israel is due neither to its own resources nor to the help of diaspora Jewry. It is due to the political, economic and military support of the U.S.A. and its allies. There is a supreme historical irony present here. For two millennia Jewish people have been held collectively accountable for the action of any one Jew. This is simply one consequence of the theory of the world Jewish conspiracy to which zionism was a political response. Yet it is the hegemonic position of zionism within some Jewish communities which is today being invoked in order to 'prove' the conspiracy theory and to hold all Jews collectively liable. A frequent example is the way in which the full spectrum of political opinion refers to the 'Jewish lobby' in the U.S.A. as somehow controlling the foreign policy of the most powerful country in the world.

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