The line 'the grassroots spirit of the first Intifada' refers to the original Palestinian uprising which started in 1988. It is regarded as more positive than the second Intifada of October 2000, because it had a class perspective, involved mass strikes by Palestinian workers (whom the Israeli economy still needed in 1988, but not in 2000), did not involve 'martyrs' killing themselves and innocent Israelis, and was not run by corrupt politicians and Islamic fascists.
One might object to any group in the category "Ethnic group X against Y", but "Jews Against Zionism" isn't at all exclusive. "Jews Against Zionism" is a positive development, and this is a timely and powerful intervention.
The actions of the Israeli state have actually made us more vulnerable as Jews, as shown by the rise of anti-Jewish attacks. And in a telling twist, congregation members of a strongly anti-Zionist Stoke Newington synagogue have stated that Zionist militants are likely to be responsible for a spate of threats and attacks against them.
As Jews we are supposedly obliged to support a permanent state of war and hold a laughable 'right' to 'return' to a land many of us have never seen. But as people descended from the murdered of the Nazi genocide and countless pogroms - and who but for a few decades whould have been murdered for being Jewish and for other 'crimes' too - we reject Zionism and all it entails.
Zionism is the predicatable outcome of worldwide nationalism, colonialism and statism. Born at a time when the world was being carved up and the European nation-state system consolidated, Zionism is the accomplice of Western power and a scourge of the Palestinians. The Zionist alliance with power and tyranny does not make it the guardian of the Jews. It has always collaborated with racists and murderers to further its colonisation of Palestine.
On the contrary, we support those who seek to overthrow 'their own' governments and leaders. We support struggles witht the potential to undermine the state and capitalism. The 300-plus Israeli soldiers who have refused to fight, Palestinians resisting in the grassroots spirit of the first Intifada, the international activists who are spreading both their own and Palestinian struggles are positive developments. While beyond the Middle East, from Argentina to Genova, from Woomera to Campsfield, a new world is trying to express itself.
This did not change when the Jews were being exterminated. The Stern Gang sought an "anti-imperialist" alliance with the Nazis, stating "Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true [read: Zionist] national aspirations of the Jewish people". A foul pact was made to save 600 select Budapest Jews at the expense of 800,000 others; members of Zionist youth organisations, the "best biological material" as the Nazi Eichmann put it, were saved in exchange for "quiet and order" in the camps.
Zionism has always been concerned not with opposing anti-Semitism, but with coming to an arrangement with it. Even amidst the genocide of the Jews, it placed the colonial project before the masses of Jewish people.
The founders of Zionism rejected the possibility of overcoming anti-Semitism through popular struggle and social revolution. Moses Hess, Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann chose the side of state power, class domination and exploitative rule. They fully understood that the cultivation of anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews were the work of the very ruling class from whom they sought favour.
In seeking the sponsorship of the anti-Semites themselves, they revealed several motives: the worship of power with which they associated strength; an illusion of ending Jewish 'weakness' and vulnerability and the state of being perpetual outsiders.
This sensiblity was a short step to assimilating the values and ideas of the Jew-haters themselves. The Jews, the Zionists wrote, were indeed an undisciplined, subversive, dissident people, worthy of the scorn they had earned. The Zionists catered shamelessly to racist Jew-hatred; their literature is full of the most poisonous stereotypes. This worked in tandem with the anti-Semitic desire to be rid of a group of people long radicalised by persecution who swelled the ranks of many revolutionary movements.
The racism and oppression shown by the Israeli state is not unusual. The historical betrayals of Zionism are not unique: they are common to all forms of nationalism. Our anti-Zionism is based on opposition to all states, all borders and nations; to all the rulers and exploiters of the world.
For a global Intifada and an end to all borders!
The facts in this flyer can all be found in
www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/ - Zionism in the Age of the Dictators by Lenni Brenner, a scrupulously-researched history exposing how Zionism has always worked hand-in-hand with anti-Semites.