Jewish enemies of Israel

Palestinians are seen by the contemporary left as the "cursed people of the earth", along with women, Blacks and homosexuals.

The Israeli policy towards Palestinians has long been criticised sharply by certain leftist elements around the world. The foremost argument levelled against Israel in this regard is that it is a nationalist regional power committing crimes against defenseless civilians with intent to exterminate them. Israelis are even being accused of genocide.

The left-wing nature of this narrative boils down to the fact that Israel is presented as a cruel exploiter, yet another incarnation of Western colonialism, while Palestinians, are one of many groups - along with women, Blacks, and homosexuals for example -- who are seen as belonging to the "cursed people of the earth".

This anti-Israel stance has been dubbed "left-wing anti-Semitism." And that, of course, is a pejorative term, which explains why left-wing people, when their position is sometimes described in such a way, always state that they are anti-Zionists, not anti-Semites. They maintain that they have nothing against Jews themselves, that what bothers them is Zionism, i.e. the nationalist ideology that formed the basis of Israeli statehood.

What adds flavor to the semantics is that among the "left-wing anti-Semites" can be found many people of Jewish nationality and Jewish origin. Moreover, they do not represent a singular political set of values. They may have significant differences on a range of issues. However, what these people do have in common is that they share a critical attitude towards Israel. And this, in the eyes of Israeli patriots, may appear as a manifestation of oikophobia.

What follows are seven different examples of "self-hating Jews", presented in quite random order. When looking at the activities of these people, it is worth considering whether anti-Israelism (anti-Zionism) is indeed the same as anti-Semitism.

Judith Butler:

Hamas and Hezbollah are progressive social movements
This American philosopher (born in 1956) recently gained fame as her 2006 speech at the University of California in Berkeley featured anew on the Internet. Back then, Butler had characterized Hamas and Hezbollah as progressive social movements that are part of the global left.

Her contention is shocking when it is remembered that these two organizations not only stand accused of terrorism (their goal is to annihilate Israel), but that they are also based on Islamic fundamentalist principles. Hamas and Hezbollah are calling for the establishment of sharia law in Muslim-majority societies, meaning that they seek to impose a system of legally sanctioned moral rigorism, which is clearly in conflict with the leftist emancipatory values celebrated by Butler.

     Judith Butler's views are revolutionary. To say that she is a feminist is an understatement. She revises feminism by subordinating it to gender theory. She considers the assumption that there are boundaries between the sexes to be false. For her, gender is a cultural fact, not a biological one.

Butler acts as an advocate for sexual minorities. She is a declared lesbian who lives in a same-sex relationship. It is therefore impossible to imagine that pious Muslims, driven by "sexism" and "homophobia", would recognize her as an authority.

It is worth noting that on October 13th this year, the philosopher stated her condemnation of the massacre committed by Hamas on Israeli civilians a week earlier, yet she made a point of separating this act of violence from the overall resistance of the Palestinian people to the Israeli state. The question remains: is it possible to separate one from the other? It is also worth adding that part of Judith Butler's family on her mother’s side died in the Holocaust.

Noam Chomsky:

Israel is ethnically cleansing Palestinians who have no way to defend themselves
Fot. EFE/David Fernández Dostawca: PAP/EFE
The famous, elderly American linguist, who was born in 1928, is renowned in his scientific field, and for his involvement in politics. He is a mentor of alter-globalists. He calls himself a "libertarian socialist". He condemns capitalism as a system in which he believes government is exercised by large corporations that shape the masses with the help of venal private media. According to Chomsky, it is they, and not the parties winning democratic elections, that are at the center of real power.

Chomsky sees American activity in the international arena as "imperialist", something he has began contesting during the Cold War. From a pacifist position, he opposed US participation in the Vietnam War. Then he tried to prove that the murders committed in Cambodia during Pol Pot's communist dictatorship were exaggerated by the American media in order to discredit the Khmer Rouge for the benefit of the White House.

Noam Chomsky's Jewishness didn't stop him from showing solidarity with Robert Faurisson, a French literary scholar who found himself in trouble because he denied the Holocaust (including the killing of Jews by Germans in gas chambers). The American linguist was not outraged by the "Auschwitz lie". He argued that in this situation freedom of speech simply needs to be protected.

Chomsky is one of the most recognizable antagonists of the state of Israel in the world. In 2012, he announced that by attacking the Gaza Strip, Israel was not so much fighting Hamas terrorism as ethnically cleansing the Palestinians, who, he said, had nothing and no way to defend themselves.

Zygmunt Bauman:

The wall around the occupied territories is like a wall around a ghetto
Fot. PAP/Maciej Kulczyński
The Polish sociologist (born 1925, died 2017) had a global reputation as an independent and courageous thinker. He was primarily famous as a penetrating critic of modernity and postmodernity, including his take on the cultural sources of totalitarian systems.

The events of March '68 forced him to emigrate [from Poland]. Eventually he settled in the U.K., in Leeds. There he functioned as a global dissident who, according to common belief, had fallen victim to the anti-Semitic campaign unleashed by the authorities of the Polish People's Republic. It was the perfect façade behind which to hide a shameful past.

The problem is that before Zygmunt Bauman came into conflict with the authorities of the People's Republic of Poland in the 1960s (his unearthing of more and more errors and distortions in real socialism), he had served in a number of state institutions during the Stalinist period. He had been a political officer in the Internal Security Corps and an agent of Military Information. This was a time when the communists had assessed and highly valued the young apparatchik's usefullness to the regime.

It is significant that Bauman never expressed remorse for this episode of his life. In a 2007 interview with "The Guardian", he said that communism was the best solution to Poland's problems after 1945, and he compared the soldiers of the anti-communist underground to de facto terrorists. One might therefore assume that the famous sociologist understood the ruthlessness of the Israeli state in combating Arab terrorism. However, it was completely different.

In 2011, Zygmunt Bauman stirred up a storm with statements he made in an interview with the Polish weekly "Polityka". Rhetorically, he asked: "What is the wall being built today [by Israel] around the [Palestinian] Occupied Territories, if not an attempt to outdo those who commissioned the wall around the Warsaw ghetto?" In this way, he cast the Palestinians as victims -- similar to the Jews in Warsaw under German occupation -- while at the same time comparing the Israeli state to the Third Reich.

In Bauman's case, however, this was nothing new. After leaving Poland, and before settling down in the U.K., the sociologist lived in Israel for a time. And he didn't like it. As befits a man of the internationalist Left, he denounced Zionism and accused Jews of using the memory of the Holocaust to advance their national interests.

Israel Shahak:

Judaism is a manifestation of racism

Jews and Arabs. This is not a simple story

Igor Janke and Piotr Semka talk about Israel.

see more
As in Bauman's case, the homeland of this chemistry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was Poland. Israel Shahak (1933-2001) survived the Warsaw ghetto, the German labor camp in Poniatowa and the German Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a child. In 1945 he emigrated to Palestine.

In addition to chemistry, he was passionate about history. He was a journalist in the low-circulation left-wing Israeli press.

According to "The Guardian", Shahak's views on Jewish-Arab relations were shaped while serving in the Israeli army in the second half of the 1960s. Shortly after the Six-Day War, he reportedly witnessed Israelis mistreating Palestinians, an incident that led him to conclude that Israel is not a democratic state.

Shahak saw the roots of Israeli policy in the Jewish religion, which he claimed was racist. For this belief, he cited the division into Jews and Goyim [Goy is the Yiddish word for non-Jew, in Hebrew, the plural of 'Goy' is Goyim], sanctioned by Judaism, favoring the former and degrading the latter.

Israel Shahak's opinions gained popularity around the world. In the USA, they were positively received by people as diverse as Gore Vidal, the famous writer known for his radical leftist beliefs (he wrote the introduction to one of Shahak’s books), and the right-wing politician and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke.

After Shahak's death, "The Independent" (not insignificantly -- a left-liberal newspaper) published an article describing him as a brave fighter for human rights. He was compared to the Old Testament prophets. These, as we know, were not listened to by their compatriots, because it is most difficult to be a prophet in your own home.

Naomi Klein:

Israeli men are misogynists
The Canadian journalist (born in 1970) inherited her penchant for social and political activity from family members who had been involved in many of the initiatives of the broadly understood Left in the USA and Canada. Like Noam Chomsky, she is one of the leading gurus of alter-globalization movements. Her views are aptly reflected in the title of the book she published in 2007: "The Shock Doctrine. The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”.

Klein harshly assesses the liberal rules of the game that are the driving force of globalization processes. In her eyes, capitalism is the cause of stratification in the world, namely the gap separating the rich North from the poor South. Arguably, the Canadian journalist is contesting that which was introduced to the Polish economy in 1989. It is no wonder that she was criticized by the Father of the Polish economic transformation, Leszek Balcerowicz.

Naomi Klein commented publicly on events in the Middle East when she was a 19-year-old student. In a text published in a student newspaper in Toronto, she called on the Israeli state to stop persecuting Palestinians. And she did it from a feminist perspective. She targeted Israeli men, whom she accused not only of racism, but also of misogyny. Her attitude roused the anger of students from the local Jewish community.

Since then, Klein has sided with the Palestinians against Israel. In 2009, when Israeli troops were conducting an operation in the Gaza Strip to eliminate Hamas, she supported the boycott of Israeli products. In her opinion, the method of economic struggle had already worked well before, in that it had helped bring about the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

Shlomo Sand:

Jewish national community does not exist
Fot. Geraint Lewis / Writer Pictures / Forum
Sand, professor of history at Tel Aviv University, was born in 1946 in Austria, the son of Polish communist Jews who survived the Holocaust and associated with left-wing Israeli groups.

Shlomo Sand became famous for his book "The Invention of the Jewish People". He put forward the thesis that, historically speaking, there is no such thing as a Jewish national community. He believes that we are dealing with a mythologization of history that ignores the fact that over the past two millennia, Judaism -- that is, the factor that has been constituting Jewishness over the centuries -- has been accepted around the world by various national groups, and in turn maintains that many modern Arabs in Israel are descendants of ancient Hebrews.

In his other book -- "How I Stopped Being a Jew" -- Sand rebels against Zionism. The historian states that this ideology took religious exclusivism from Judaism and gave it a secular character. According to Sand, Israelis are burdened by a colonial mentality. He sees the cure for it in their recognition of the fact that Israeli society is a multicultural melting pot -- just like in the USA and other Western countries. That's why Sand wants a "Palestinian-Israeli" to feel in Tel Aviv like a Jew in New York. Nevertheless, he realizes that this is a high bar.

Zionists accuse Sand of anti-Semitism because of his views.

Norman Finkelstein:

Jewish organizations instrumentalize the memory of the Holocaust
Fot. Wikimedia/ Zuhairali - Praca własna CC BY-SA 3.0
In 2001, the book "The Holocaust Industry" was published in Poland. It was a Polish translation of the famous work by the American historian and political scientist Norman Finkelstein (born 1953), who -- like Shlomo Sand -- is the son of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust.

At that time, there was a debate in Poland sparked by another book, "Neighbors" by Jan Tomasz Gross [Princeton University Press, 2022]. Put simply, the dispute concerned whether during the German occupation Poles and their nation turned out to be anti-Semites tainted by their complicity in the Holocaust. This accusation is the leitmotif of "Neighbors".

Gross's book was met with sharp opposition from Polish right-wing circles, which found it necessary not only to seek the truth, but also to simply defend the good name of Poles in the world. And then the "Holocaust Industry" turned out to be a book that supported the Polish right wing. Its author began to be portrayed as the "anti-Gross".

Finkelstein's book raises the problem of how Jewish organizations instrumentalize the memory of the Holocaust so that Jews around the world are perceived as a nation deserving special treatment, also to the benefit of Israel. The main thread of the book is the issue of financial claims made by these organizations against various entities (according to the author, unjustified) in seeking compensation for what the Third Reich did to the Jews.

It is significant, however, that Norman Finkelstein has nothing in common with the right wing in his worldview and politics. He is a man of the Left who appeals to universalism and condemns any form of nationalism, especially a Jewish one.

In "The Holocaust Industry" he equates what the Germans did to the Jews and the misfortunes that have historically befallen African Americans, Vietnamese and Palestinians (for which he blames the U.S. and Israel, of course). With this egalitarian approach, he violates the Jewish taboo of the belief that the Holocaust is unique. And if so, he commits blasphemy, which exposes him to the charge of anti-Semitism.

Political dimension of talent. Masters were forgiven for their involvement

Leni Riefenstahl was found to have merely “sympathized” with the Nazis, her cases were allowed to fall under the statute of limitations. She died in 2003, aged 101.

see more

So how should we interpret the anti-Zionism of left-wing intellectuals of Jewish nationality and Jewish origin? Is it veiled oikophobic anti-Semitism? Definitely not. Neither the Israeli state nor Jewish organizations operating in the diaspora are "sacred cows".

The point is that anti-Zionism does not exist in a vacuum. And if it is preached by the Jews themselves, this gives them credibility. Thus, they become fellow travellers ("poputchiki") of the real enemies of Israel and the Jewish nation. These include, for example, Islamic fundamentalist circles in Europe.

Another thing is that, paradoxically, when Jews rebel in the name of universalism, whether against Zionism or Judaism, the Jewish cultural code is reflected in their attitude. It is the idea of "tikkun olam" [concept referring to various forms of action intended to repair and improve the world] taken from Judaism. In its secular version, it made itself felt in more than one revolt in which Jews played significant roles -- even those who were assimilated and uprooted.

– Filip Memches

 TVP ЕЖЕНЕДЕЛЬНИК. Редакторы и авторы

–Translated by Agnieszka Rakoczy
Main photo: "Queer Jews for a Free Palestine". Demonstration with the participation of left-wing British Jews in London on October 21, 2023. Photo: Andy Soloman / Universal Images Group / Forum
See more
Civilization wydanie 22.12.2023 – 29.12.2023
To Siberia and Ukraine
Zaporizhzhia. A soldier in a bunker asked the priest for a rosary and to teach him how to make use of it.
Civilization wydanie 15.12.2023 – 22.12.2023
Climate sheikhs. Activists as window dressing
They can shout, for which they will be rewarded with applause
Civilization wydanie 15.12.2023 – 22.12.2023
The plane broke into four million pieces
Americans have been investigating the Lockerbie bombing for 35 years.
Civilization wydanie 15.12.2023 – 22.12.2023
German experiment: a paedophile is a child's best friend
Paedophiles received subsidies from the Berlin authorities for "taking care" of the boys.
Civilization wydanie 8.12.2023 – 15.12.2023
The mastery gene
The kid is not a racehorse.