Forwarded from Mohammad Alam

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Sep 10 19:13:58 MDT 2002

[Crde. Proyect, please forward to list, the NEU mail service has decided
to go "under construction" for the next few days. Thanks]

Joel Kovel's article is an excellent and critical first step towards
grasping the true nature of Zionism, its historical trajectory,
opportunist bent, and above all the nature of the Israeli state itself.
My father subscribes to Tikkun, but I am quite surprised to see a piece
like this printed in a magazine in which, if I'm not mistaken, most
writers cling to one form of Zionism or another.

The key feature of this article is the recognition that Zionism itself
is imbued with an anti-Semitic bent: Zionists viciously attack Jews
critical of Israel and have transformed a history of suffering into a
powerful insecurity complex to justify the transmission of this
suffering onto others. I think Professor Neumann of Tufts University on
CP said it best in his particular phrasing of this concept.

Koel also recognizes without equivocation that Israel does not view or
treat Palestinians as humans, but as a "cancerous threat" in need of
"chemotherapy" or "amputation" in the words of the IDF's new army chief,
who has adopted a neo-Nazi attitude towards the colonized. Koel also
points out that the racist character of Israel is embedded and confirmed
in "the core of Zionism", in its very social contract.

Absent from the article are "tactical" calls with various modifications
to an essentially tribalist outlook, such as ending or letting up on
this or that particular feature of the Israeli occupation, contingent
upon various conditions. I think Kovel effectively denounces this
approach implicitly by _explicitly_ underscoring the historical
connection of Zionism with racism and imperialism.

One possible shortcoming of this piece however is that its overall tone
or framework, while certainly making strong points in a logical manner,
assumes that the reader is well-informed of the underlying factual,
historical data of Israeli crimes, Zionist racism, settlement, and so
forth. But this is probably a tactical issue, as it is probably aimed at
the left and the Jewish left in particular, although reinforcing these
concepts and indictments with accompanying quotes, facts, and data
illustrating the barbarity of Israeli colonialism would have added more

Nevertheless, this is, in my opinion, definitely a must-read analysis of
a very important psychological-symbolic side of the conflict that has
received very poor and very little attention in the past.


Louis Proyect

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