Over the past year, the Israel Lobby especially in the UK has mounted its high horse about the issue of comparing Zionism to Nazism. Calling any such comparison antisemitic, it has accepted as a given that the charge is a fabrication on the order of the Christian blood libel. Tony Greenstein, myself and others have countered that the comparison is indeed historically factual and accurate (though I’ve also warned that such comparisons must be made carefully, rather than as a bludgeon to equate Israel with Nazism).
Ken Livingstone, who offered a rather provocative version of the claim, got himself suspended from the UK Labour Party as a result. Similarly, Jackie Walker, a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn who is herself Jewish, was threatened with expulsion for correctly noting that Jews profited from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Most recently, Moshe Machover, the founder of the Israeli anti-Zionist Party, Matzpen, found himself expelled from the Party for arguing along the same lines.
Luckily, I don’t belong to any party that could or would expel me. It’s one of the reasons that I’m allergic to participating in membership or leadership roles in most organizations (and possibly why they’re averse to having me).
A Jewish studies graduate student earlier today pointed me to a fascinating study of pre-WWII Jabotinsky Zionism and its impact on latter-day Israeli politics. As most of you will know, Israel’s current extreme-rightist government is an ideological heir of Jabotinsky. Much of its garrison state militancy, hatred of Arabs, and urge for territorial aggrandizement stems from Jabotinskyean Zionism. Further, it’s adulation of the powerful strongman leader and its dog-whistle dalliance with outright fascist discourse all harken back to lessons learned from Jabotinsky.
This toxic romance with fascist ideals on both the Zionist left and right has led us to where we are now. It has led to an Israeli state which worships power and military might. A state which finds moral values and international law not just expendable, but inimical to the national interest. A state which upholds the supremacy of Jews over non-Jewish citizens.