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The Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre, Trump, and the Rise of Anti-Semitism

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From a Revolution Club member:

I thought the article about “The Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Anti-Semitism“ was really good, and important. In response to the argument that Trump can’t be anti-Semitic because he’s such a supporter of Israel, the article correctly points out that “this support has nothing to do with concern for Jewish people (much less Muslims!). No, it is grounded in the role Israel plays in the world for the U.S., in particular as a bastion for its domination of the Middle East as well as the Christian fanaticism of a section of Christian evangelicals—the Christian fascists of whom Mike Pence is a key leader.” And that this Christian fascist support for Israel is rooted in anti-Semitism. But I think there’s more to say on the relation between Israel and anti-Semitism, and why support for Israel is not at all inconsistent with anti-Semitism.

Historically, the Zionist movement in Europe arose as a response to anti-Semitism. But unlike the communists (of Jewish and non-Jewish descent) who fought to defeat anti-Semitism as part of the fight to abolish all forms of oppression and exploitation, and others who fought it out of their commitment to justice and equality, the Zionists basically accepted the permanence of anti-Semitism, capitulating to it in that sense—“I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-semitism,” Zionism founder Theodor Herzl wrote—and sought an escape. This, of course, aligned with the anti-Semitic sentiments of many who wanted the Jews out anyway... not unlike the many racists (Abraham Lincoln included) who supported “back to Africa” schemes for solving America’s “race problem.” Remember, before devising his “Final Solution,” Hitler initially planned to deport the Jews rather than exterminate them.

And for the Zionists, Hitler’s rise to power was seen as a confirmation of their view that Jewish integration into European society was hopeless. Rather than condemning and combating Nazism, many Zionist leaders saw it as an opportunity—a “fertile force,” as David Ben-Gurion put it—to encourage Jewish emigration to Palestine. While Jewish organizations in the U.S. and throughout the world were organizing boycotts of Hitler’s Germany, the Zionist settler-colonial forces in Palestine continued diplomatic and economic relations with Germany through the pre-war years. From 1933-1939, the Nazis and German Zionist leaders had a mutually beneficial “transfer agreement” to get Jews (particularly wealthy Jews and Zionists) out of Germany and into Palestine. During WW2, one Zionist paramilitary group, the “Stern Gang,” even offered to fight for the Nazis in exchange for the transfer of Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe to Palestine. In 1938, after the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) pogrom throughout Germany, when England was compelled to let in a few thousand Jewish refugees, David Ben-Gurion made the following statement:

If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.

Such was the concern of Israel’s “founding father” for the lives of the Jewish people as a whole.

The Zionists built their colonial project on two big lies: 1) that God promised the land to the Jews, and 2) that this was a “land without people for a people without land.” Their land-obsessed nationalism mimicked the “blood and soil” logic of their anti-Semitic persecutors.

The State of Israel was founded on the ashes of the terroristic destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages and ethnic cleansing of almost a million Palestinians from the territory, which could not have happened without the crucial role played by Zionist paramilitary forces, some of whom literally modeled themselves on Italian fascists. Here’s how Israeli historian Tom Segev describes the horrible irony of 100,000 Jews, mostly Holocaust survivors, taking over Palestinian homes:

Free people—Arabs—had gone into exile and become destitute refugees; destitute refugees—Jews—took the exiles’ places as a first step in their new lives as free people. One group lost all they had, while the other found everything they needed—tables, chairs, closets, pots, pans, plates, sometimes clothes, family albums, books, radios, and pets. Most of the immigrants broke into the abandoned Arab houses without direction, without order, without permission. For several months the country was caught up in a frenzy of take-what-you-can, first-come, first served.

Israel, which has been a Nakba (a catastrophe) for the Palestinian people since day 1, and an unrelenting nightmare ever since—all while pretending to be an enlightened democracy for all—is now resolving the inherent contradiction in a “democratic Jewish state” by throwing off the democratic façade (which was always very thin) and implementing open Jewish fascism. With the same logic of the Charlottesville Nazi chant, “the Jews will not replace us,” flipped and applied to Arabs, Israel’s new law declaring itself officially a “nation-state of the Jewish people” formalizes Jewish supremacy. Gaza turned into a giant concentration camp... repeated mass slaughters of Palestinians and the specter of mass “transfer” or even “final solutions”... the victims of Nazis, acting like Nazis. What a moral disaster!

And how did Israel’s leaders respond to the mass murder of 11 Jews in the Pittsburgh synagogue? Activists in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party circulated an email upholding the shooter’s rationale, blaming the synagogue for its involvement with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which the email said “encouraged immigration” and “acted against Trump,” thereby “encouraging anti-Semitism.” The main emissary from Israel that went to Pittsburgh after the shooting, Naftali Bennett, is a pro-Trump fascist notorious for whipping up a pogromist atmosphere against African migrants in Israel, who he calls “infiltrators” and accuses of spreading crime and rape (sound familiar?). The increasingly theocratic State of Israel’s “Chief Rabbi” refused to call the Tree of Life synagogue a “synagogue,” because it’s not the “Orthodox” branch of Judaism. Israel is proudly linked to fascist forces internationally—not only in the U.S. and now Brazil, but also more direct Nazi descendants in Hungary and Poland, for example—joining their chorus of anti-Semitic attacks on George Soros. For the Zionists, things have truly come full circle.

As Bob Avakian has pointed out, there have been two responses to the Holocaust—two meanings to the idea “never again.” One response is, never again should something like this happen to anyone. The other response is, never again should this happen to us, and on that basis anything we do to others is justified. Where the latter one leads is on full display in the State of Israel.


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