2016 06 – the Fate of Israel

Zionism’s Suicidal Militancy: A Discussion Article

by Gwydion M. Williams

Brezhnev’s 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia caused the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1989-91.  It prevented the sort of reforms that let Communist China flourish.

The British Empire doomed itself in the 1930s when a Tory opposition led by Winston Churchill prevented Dominion status for India, which Gandhi would have settled for.

Future historians may say that not implementing the Oslo Accords in a way acceptable to Palestinians doomed Israel.  That and the crazy policy of knocking over secular Arab dictatorships, which began in 1991 with the First Gulf War.  Saddam Hussein might have settled for a writing-off of the debts he ran up in his failed war against Iran, in which he tried to do the West’s work against the first wave of Islamic militancy.  But Western leaders saw it as a wonderful opportunity to transform the Arab World into a collection of docile pro-Western regimes governed by Western-style mutli-party parliaments.  This foolishness continues in Syria, despite its massive failure.  Implacable anti-Western Islamist movements grow increasingly strong: they were marginal in 1991.  But fools return to their folly like a dog returning to its vomit.

Israeli Governments, most of them right-wing, played covert but significant part in the process.  Most Israelis are typical colonialists – they sometimes have vast amounts of knowledge about the people they rule, but very little understanding.  They can’t afford to understand, because then they’d have to see themselves as no better than the other side.  A few do see it, as did some brave souls within the British Empire and other empires. Too few to change the suicidal militancy of the majority.

And in Britain?  Just before the May Local Elections, there was an astonishing wave of claims of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party.  Followed by a remarkable silence when it turned out that the voters had ignored it – Labour outside of Scotland lost very few seats and less than the Tories lost.  It’s like the old story of the boy who called wolf – a scare story used too often loses its power, and may fail even when the danger becomes real.

Jews exist as many small minorities and one aggressive state that has been doing ‘ethnic cleansing’ since 1947 on what it sees as its own Holy Land.  To reject the ethnic cleansing whoever’s doing it is quite different from being hostile to the local Jewish minority, or to Jews in general.

Broad hostility to Jews does of course exist, including extreme forms like attacks on Jewish cemeteries.  But Labour has always been the main force for general inclusiveness, giving relative security to Jews.  Tories play around with prejudice to win votes, while also admitting rich Jews to the elite.  Tories are the party that keeps racism alive, just as the US Republicans have been since the 1960s.  (Though both parties try to have it both ways in their quest for votes.)

Racism against one group can very easily extends to anyone who isn’t ‘one of us’.  Jews used to play an heroic part in anti-racism: some still do, but less than before.

Labour’s crime was that Corbyn as party leader had sympathy for the Palestinians.  The idea was that Labour would suffer an electoral disaster, after which the anti-Corbyn majority of MPs would remove him.  I never saw as feasible – a clear majority of party members would have backed Corbyn regardless, while a spoof like refusing to re-nominate him would have split the party and consigned the anti-Corbyn wing to the same fate as the SDP in the 1980s.  Never the less, some apparently clever people were part of it.  Some even stuck to the agreed line after it was clear that the only Labour major failure was in Scotland, where Labour had distanced itself from Corbyn and remained resolutely to the right of the Scottish Nationalists.

It is of course possible that a wrecked Labour Party would have been a welcome outcome.  I’d suppose that most of the anti-Corbyn MPs have just failed to understand the new reality.  But they could expect a secure personal future if they lose their seats, just so long as they have acted as loyal servants of the elite.

So Labour has been attacked as anti-Semitic.  It’s a dangerous game.  There is a potential for a right-wing movement among the white working class that’s anti-Jewish but not sentimentally attached to Hitler and the Nazis.  Even, just possibly, one that could bridge the gap with British Muslims by saying that British Muslims are OK but no more immigrants, including those from Eastern Europe.

So far, groups like the National Front and ‘British National Party’ that tried to tap into this feeling have been wrecked by the revelation of their neo-Nazi core.  By a conviction that Hitler was a misunderstood genius, even though fascism and similar movements were becoming the norm when he came to power in 1933.  Even though he caused the deaths of at least seven million non-Jewish Germans, and lost far more ethnic-German territory than the unjust Versailles Treaty had taken.  To imitate Hitler is to imitate someone with some gifts but far more foolishness.  And fondness for Hitler goes flatly against the gut instincts of the people that such movements need.  But one can’t count on the Far Right remaining stupid.

The nature of mainstream English right-wing nationalism was understood by UKIP – which of course is not anti-Jewish, though it has somehow become bitterly anti-Scottish.  It has worked with some odd allies within the European parliament, but insisted on a clear break with neo-Nazi views.  But parties to the right of the Tories have so far come in waves and burnt out.  If there is a decisive rejection of Brexit – anything like the 55 to 37 extreme shown by one recent poll,[1] they might fall apart and leave the field open to something else.  There has so far been no one clever enough to tap into anti-Jewish feelings while also being clearly hostile to Hitler, and also with the skills to put together a popular movement of the ignorantly resentful.  Hopefully it will never happen, but that is hopeful.

Those May local elections also saw the failure of an extremely dirty campaign by Zac Goldsmith as Tory candidate for London Mayor.  If there are anti-Jewish prejudices within the society, there are much stronger and more blatant anti-Muslim sentiments.  He tried to tap into them.  This is of course another suicidal impulse – Muslims are not going to stop being Muslims, but there is a reasonable case within Muslim tradition for rejecting the violent Islamic hard-liners.  But most Muslims within Europe have reacted to hostility by becoming firmer in their assertion of Islamic traditions.  And the West has nurtured an extreme interpretation of Islam favoured by Saudi Arabia, so long as those preaching it do not follow through the logic of their creed and become overtly anti-Western.  But since that is the logic, it’s hardly surprising that a lot of individuals follow it through, even while the Saudi princely government remains a bunch of hypocrites who do nicely out of Western friendship.  The suppressed 28 pages of a US report into the attack on the Two Towers apparently shows links between Saudi government workers and al-Qaeda.[2]

Are Jews discriminated against?  If there were ethnic and religious quotas for MPs, there would be twenty-eight Muslim MPs and three Jewish MPs.[3]  In fact there are 13 Muslim MPs, more than ever before.[4]  (8 women, and overall 9 Labour, 3 Tory and a Scottish Nationalist.)  There are nineteen Jewish MPs,[5] 11 Tory and 8 Labour, in line with the greater number of Tory MPs.

British Jews have earned the advantages they have.  Won it in the face of widespread bias against them.  Jews tend to be clever, hard-working and value education.  Ashkenazi Jews have an average IQ 10% higher than the norm, which also means a much greater number of individuals with extremely high IQs:

“While only about 2% of the U.S. population is of full Ashkenazi Jewish descent, 27% of United States Nobel prize winners in the 20th century, 25% of Fields Medal winners, 25% of ACM Turing Award winners, 9 out of the 19 world chess champions, and a quarter of Westinghouse Science Talent Search winners have either full or partial Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.”[6]

Also more than a quarter of German winners of the scientific Nobel Prizes, before Hitler drove them out and enriched Britain and the USA with their talents.  Jews do tend to succeed by being smarter, and of course it gets resented.  But it’s an error to see hostility to Jews as anything unique.

There’s a fascinating book called World On Fire by Amy Chua.  Born in the USA, but her parents came from the rich and privileged Chinese minority in the Philippines.  (She also has a Jewish husband.)  Best known for Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, but World On Fire is vastly more interesting.[7] She points to a global phenomenon of ‘market minorities, with Jews in Europe and Europe’s offshoots just one example.

Amy Chua comes from a small Chinese group called the Hoklo.  Another similar group, the Hakka, has been even more remarkable among other Chinese.  Lee Kwan Yew, creator of Singapore’s success, came from a Hakka family.  So did the founder of Taiping, a radical 19th century creed based loosely on Christianity that came close to overthrowing Imperial China and had points in common with Chinese Communism.  Deng Xiaoping is also sometimes called a Hakka, though his daughter’s biography says it’s just one version of family’s origins.[8]  Regardless, Hakka are not sharply separated from other Chinese.  Lee Kwan Yew didn’t speak the distinctive Hakka language and he promoted Standard Chinese (Mandarin) as one of four official languages for Singapore.

All market minorities are at risk at times of social tension.  There is an interesting film called Half of a Yellow Sun dealing with violence against the highly successful and entrepreneurial Igbo people (Ibos) within Nigeria.

For Jews, they used to be at particular risk because Europe based its morality on Christianity: the continued existence of Jews who’d ignored the message of Jesus was a theological embarrassment.  It was also common before World War Two for many Catholics and some Protestant to denounce Jews as ‘Christ-killers’: crucifixion was a Roman punishment seen as blasphemous by religious Jews, but that didn’t stop it.

Currently, Zionism serves as an irritant for Jews outside of Israel.  On almost all issues, individual Jews are found on both sides and there is nothing that could sensibly be called Jewish politics.  But the vast majority of Jews do support Israel.  Accept the foolish policy of taking too much of the West Bank territories that Jordan took in 1947 and Israel conquered in 1967 in the Six-Day War.  It is of course ‘Judea and Samaria’, territory of vast historic and religious significance to Jews.  But it’s also home to Palestinians, and important to Muslims everywhere.

Israel failed to get an agreement with Yasser Arafat because they took too much.  Asked him to accept a set of fragmented territories equivalent to the Bantustans that White South Africa once tried imposing on Africans.

There are less than 15 million Jews globally, 6.4 million in Israel. There are 1.57 billion Muslims: in the long run this has to count for more.  And it might not be all that long a long run.  Hilary Clinton follows the standard pro-Israel line: Trump is vastly less predictable.  He’s so far been acceptably pro-Israel, but has switched very quickly on other topics.  He’s anti-Muslim, but might suddenly say ‘it’s not out fight’.  His electoral base is people who don’t much like Jews, though other prejudices currently take priority.

In watching Israel and Islam, I fear I’m watching a car-crash in slow motion.  A disaster slowly unfolding and bound to get worse.  If a better ending is possible, it would have to come from the left.  But the chances are bad.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum#2016

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/obama-administration-set-to-release-secret-28-pages-from-911-report-a6999696.html

[3] 269,568 Jews, 0.43%, according to the 2011 census.   2,786,635 Muslims, 4.41%.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_Kingdom#Religion

[4] http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/uk/uk-record-13-muslim-mps-elected-8-of-them-women/

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_Jewish_politicians#1974-

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi_Jewish_intelligence

[7] https://gwydionwilliams.com/history-and-philosophy/market-minorities-across-the-world/

[8] Deng Maomao, Deng Xiaoping: my father, HarperCollins 1995, page 16

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