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Zionist Extremism as Outcome of the Internal Dynamics of Judaism, Part 1 of 5|
Professor Kevin MacDonald
The Occidental Observer
The U.S. abstention on the UN resolution on West Bank settlements continues to reverberate. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech defending the U.S. position that included the following:
"The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements. The result is that policies of this government — which the prime minister himself just described as “more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history” — are leading in the opposite direction, toward one state."
Obviously, the U.S., along with the rest of the world, sees through the Israeli lies that it has been pursuing peace and a two-state solution in good faith — after nearly 50 years of occupation. But what I want to focus on is his statement that the current Israeli coalition has “an agenda driven by its most extreme elements.” This was too much for British PM Theresa May, whose spokesman responded that “We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.”
But of course, it’s quite possible that a government fall into the hands of fanatics, and that may well be a problem for the rest of the world, especially in the age of nuclear weapons. The fact that fanatics are in charge in Israel is particularly a problem for countries like the U.S. where the Israel Lobby commands so much political and media support, with the result that the U.S. has often been in the position of giving diplomatic and military support to a government run by fanatics. This has meant either actively caving into their pressure (e.g., the Iraq war, promoted by Israel, the Israel Lobby, and neocons in the Bush administration) or turning a blind eye to Israeli actions (as with the decades-0ld official U.S. condemnation of West Bank settlements while doing absolutely nothing to curtail their diplomatic and financial support of Israel).
In the case of Israel, I think that the fact that the government has taken over by extremists is entirely comprehensible in terms of an understanding of the internal dynamics of Judaism. The following are excerpts from an article I wrote for The Occidental Quarterly in 2003, “Zionism and the Internal Dynamics of Judaism.”
Zionism is an example of an important principle in Jewish history: At all the turning points, it is the more ethnocentric elements—one might term them the radicals—who have determined the direction of the Jewish community and eventually won the day.3 As recounted in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews who returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity energetically rid the community of those who had intermarried with the racially impure remnant left behind. Later, during the period of Greek dominance, there was a struggle between the pro-Greek assimilationists and the more committed Jews, who came to be known as Maccabeans.
"At that time there appeared in Israel a group of renegade Jews, who incited the people. “Let us enter into a covenant with the Gentiles round about,” they said, “because disaster upon disaster has overtaken us since we segregated ourselves from them.” The people thought this a good argument, and some of them in their enthusiasm went to the king and received authority to introduce non-Jewish laws and customs. They built a sports stadium in the gentile style in Jerusalem. They removed their marks of circumcision and repudiated the holy covenant. They intermarried with Gentiles, and abandoned themselves to evil ways.4"
The victory of the Maccabeans reestablished Jewish law and put an end to assimilation. The Book of Jubilees, written during this period, represents the epitome of ancient Jewish nationalism, in which God represents the national interests of the Jewish people in dominating all other peoples of the world:
"I am the God who created heaven and earth. I shall increase you, and multiply you exceedingly; and kings shall come from you and shall rule wherever the foot of the sons of man has trodden. I shall give to your seed all the earth which is under heaven, and they shall rule over all the nations according to their desire; and afterwards they shall draw the whole earth to themselves and shall inherit it forever.5"
A corollary of this is that throughout history in times of trouble there has been an upsurge in religious fundamentalism, mysticism, and messianism.6 For example, during the 1930s in Germany liberal Reform Jews became more conscious of their Jewish identity, increased their attendance at synagogue, and returned to more traditional observance (including a reintroduction of Hebrew). Many of them became Zionists.7 As I will discuss in the following, every crisis in Israel has resulted in an increase in Jewish identity and intense mobilization of support for Israel. Today the people who are being rooted out of the Jewish community are Jews living in the Diaspora who do not support the aims of the Likud Party in Israel. The overall argument here is that Zionism is an example of the trajectory of Jewish radicalism. The radical movement begins among the more committed segments of the Jewish community, then spreads and eventually becomes mainstream within the Jewish community; then the most extreme continue to push the envelope (e.g., the settlement movement on the West Bank), and other Jews eventually follow because the more extreme positions come to define the essence of Jewish identity. An important part of the dynamic is that Jewish radicalism tends to result in conflicts with non-Jews, with the result that Jews feel threatened, become more group-oriented, and close ranks against the enemy—an enemy seen as irrationally and incomprehensibly anti-Jewish. Jews who fail to go along with what is now a mainstream position are pushed out of the community, labeled “self-hating Jews” or worse, and relegated to impotence.
TABLE 1: JEWISH RADICALS EVENTUALLY TRIUMPH WITHIN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY: THE CASE OF ZIONISM
1. Zionism began among the more ethnocentric, committed segments of the Jewish community (1880s).
2. Then it spread and became mainstream within the Jewish community despite its riskiness (1940s). Supporting Zionism comes to define what being Jewish is.
3. Then the most extreme among the Zionists continued to push the envelop (e.g., the settlement movement on the West Bank; constant pressure on border areas in Israel).
4. Jewish radicalism tends to result in conflicts with non-Jews (e.g., the settlement movement); violence (e.g., Intifadas) and other expressions of antiJewish sentiment increase.
5. [As a result of these conflicts,] Jews in general feel threatened and close ranks against what they see as yet another violent, incomprehensible manifestation of the eternally violent hatred of Jews. This reaction is the result of psychological mechanisms of ethnocentrism: Moral particularism, self-deception, and social identity.
6. In the U.S., this effect is accentuated because committed, more intensely ethnocentric Jews dominate Jewish activist groups.
7. Jews who fail to go along with what is now a mainstream position are pushed out of the community, labeled “self-hating Jews” or worse, and relegated to impotence.
The origins of Zionism and other manifestations of the intense Jewish dynamism of the twentieth century lie in the Yiddish-speaking world of Eastern Europe in the early nineteenth century. Originally invited in by nobles as estate managers, toll farmers, bankers, and moneylenders, Jews in Poland expanded into commerce and then into artisanry, so that there came to be competition between Jews and non-Jewish butchers, bakers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, and tailors. This produced the typical resource-based anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior so common throughout Jewish history.8 Despite periodic restrictions and outbursts of hostility, Jews came to dominate the entire economy apart from agricultural labor and the nobility. Jews had an advantage in the competition in trade and artisanry because they were able to control the trade in raw materials and sell at lower prices to coethnics.9