[Marxism] The myths of Zionism
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 5 07:56:08 MDT 2005
John Rose - The Myths of Zionism
The most recent demonstration in London, against the ongoing occupation of
Iraq once again showed that most of those who oppose the US and UK
adventures in the Middle East also oppose the persecution of the
Palestinian people by the Israeli State.
The huge anti-war demonstrations follow a tradition in this respect,
because the great European anti-capitalist protests, in Prague and Genoa,
closely followed by the European Social Forum events, also had numerous
Palestinian flags, banners and badges.
John Roses book is a fantastic introduction to the arguments and
historical basis for the existence of the Israeli state, and the consequent
oppression of the Palestinians. Israels existence is down to the ideology
of Zionism the belief that there should be a Jewish state which would
mean an end to the centuries of anti-Semitism and oppression that Jewish
people have faced. The appalling genocide of the holocaust was for many,
the final impetus for the creation of such a state.
Unfortunately, many of the assumptions and arguments in favour of Zionism
are, as John Rose points out, based on half-truths and myths. The biggest
lie, that Israel was a Land without people, for a people without land.
This myth has been returned to, time and time again. Rose quotes, Israeli
Prime Minister Peres in 1986,
The land to which they came, while indeed the Holy Land was desolate and
uninviting; a land that had been laid waste, thirsty for water, filled with
swamps and malaria, lacking in natural resources. And in the land itself
there lived another people; a people who neglected the land, but who lived
on it. Indeed the return to Zion was accompanied by ceaseless violent
clashes with the small Arab population
While Peres at least acknowledges the existence of the Arab population,
small is not the correct description of a people numbering at least
650,000. His description of their neglect of the land shows a level of
racism towards a people who had successfully farmed and lived on the land
The author is careful not to simply blame the Zionists for the current
situation he also points his finger at western imperialism and
colonialism for its role. Notorious anti-Semites like Winston Churchill
were quite happy to sponsor the aims of Zionism so that they could create a
Watch Dog country, to support British (and later US) aims in the Middle East.
Roses book also looks at much historical and archaeological data to back
his argument for a very different historical Israel, one far from the
biblical myths that Zionism often uses to justify Israels existence. He
documents how increasingly Israel archaeologists are finding it hard to
discover the land they expect to find. But he also shows how
historically, Jews and Arabs have lived together, often using the very
differences of their religions to strengthen their mutual society.
Rose ends on an optimistic, if controversial point. His optimism, is that
precisely because Jews and Arabs have lived together across the Middle East
in the past (and the not to distant past) they could do so in the future.
His controversy comes because he argues convincingly, that for this to
happen Zionism as an ideology must be discredited and removed, just as
apartheid was dismantled in South Africa.
If I can make one small criticism of this book, its simply to do with the
design. Two things are very annoying the references Rose cites are placed
within the text, making reading difficult and the sub-chapter headings are
often comical in their content, reading like stilted introductions to a
But these are minor criticisms in a book that will no doubt be a source of
impassioned debate and argument for many years.
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