Tim Wise on Zionism

Someone sent me this quote from an article by Tim Wise,Anti-Semitism, Real and Imagined: Judaism, Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine.”

Zionism’s problem is not that it is Jewish nationalism, per se, but rather a form of ethnic supremacy. And more than that: a form of European supremacy to boot. After all, there were Jews who had remained in and around Palestine for millennia, without substantial conflict withtheir Arab and Muslim neighbors. Likewise, many Jews lived under Muslim rule in the Ottoman Empire, where they received a generally warm or at least neutral reception–far better indeed than at the hands of Christian Europe, which expelled them from one place after another.

These Jews, unlike the European Jews who sought to displace said Arabs from their land, lived there peacefully and sought no grand designs for “Greater Israel.” They did not create Zionism, nor lead the charge for the development of a Jewish state. For that, it took a decidedly Western, European and frankly white Jewish community. The Jews who were most indigenous to the land of Israel, or those of Africa, or the rest of Asia Minor — in short those who were most directly Semitic language group peoples — were never the problem. Nor indeed was their faith. A decidedly colonial mentality, itself an outgrowth of European thought and culture from the late 1800s forward, was the fuel for the Zionist fire. Zionism’s problem is that it is a form of white supremacy and Western domination.

In short, Zionism as just another form of White evil. This certainly establishes Wise’s bona fides as an anti-Zionist Jew, but I am still suspicious that his attitudes are just another form of anti-White strategizing among Diaspora Jews. Self-deception?

It is certainly true that Zionism was the creation of European Jews and that at its beginnings it was closely tied intellectually to European racial nationalism. As I noted in Ch. 5 of Separation and Its Discontents:

Important Jewish intellectuals [in the late 19th century and well into the 20th century] developed Volkischeideologies as well as racialist, exclusivist views, which, like those of their adversaries, were no longer phrased in religious terms but rather in [the] … language of evolutionary biology. These intellectuals had a very clear conception of themselves as racially distinct and as a superior race (intellectually and especially morally), one that had a redemptive mission to the German people and other gentiles. As expected by social identity theory, while the Germans tended to emphasize negative traits of the Jewish outgroup, the Jewish intellectuals often conceptualized their continued separatism in moral and altruistic terms.

The result was that anti-Semites and zealous Jews, including Zionists, often had very similar racialist, nationalist views of Judaism toward the end of the 19th century and thereafter (Katz 1986b, 144). Zionism and anti-Semitism were mirror-images: “in the course of their histories up to the present day it has looked as if they might not only be reacting to one another but be capable of evolving identical objectives and even cooperating in their realization” (Katz 1979, 51). Nicosia (1985) provides a long list of German intellectuals and anti-Semitic leaders from the early 19th century through the Weimar period who accepted Zionism as a possible solution to the Jewish question in Germany, including Johann Gottleib Fichte, Konstantin Frantz, Wilhelm Marr, Adolf Stoecker. All conceptualized Judaism as a nation apart and as a separate “race.”

What had changed for Jews was not the reality that they were a closed racial and national group. The charge that Jews were a state within a state was common among Enlightenment intellectuals. What had changed was that the (temporary) triumph of Darwinism had changed the language of racial separatism so that Jews were no longer seen as a religious state within a state but as a racially exclusive strategizing group often in competition with the ethnic majority. Zionism then became a logical solution to the problem of chronic conflict between Jews and non-Jews. Jews would simply leave Europe. Indeed, Zionists cooperated with the National Socialist government in the 1930s to get Jews out of Germany to Palestine.

This strand of racial Zionism continues as a prominent ideology within Israel, particularly with the intellectual descendants of Vladimir Jabotinsky. And, as Geoffrey Wheatcroft has pointed out, at the present time Israel “is governed by [Jabotinsky’s] conscious heirs.”

The problem isn’t ethnic nationalism, and ethnic nationalism is certainly not restricted to White people. Ethnic conflict is apparent as well throughout the developing world, and will likely lead to more partitioning and nation-creation. As Jerry Z. Mullerhas noted, ethnostates are the norm, and “In areas where that separation has not yet occurred, politics is apt to remain ugly.” Ethnostates have a number of advantages besides the lack of chronic ethnically based conflict over everything from political power to affirmative action. As noted by Frank Salter, because of closer ties of kinship and culture, ethnically homogeneous societies are more likely to be open to redistributive policies such as social welfare and health care.  Sociologists such as Robert Putnam have also shown that ethnic homogeneity is associated with greater trust of others and greater political participation.

The problem is that Western societies have embarked on a public policy project in which the ethnonationalism of White people is officially proscribed as an unadulterated evil.  Everyone else’s ethnonationalism is just fine. And at the risk of repeating myself, the organized Jewish community has adopted a strategy of rationalizing and promoting even extreme forms of racial Zionism in Israel while being a pillar of multiculturalism and massive non-White immigration in the West. What’s good for the Jews and all that.

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