By Daled Amos
You don’t have to be on social media long before you notice that it is full of people who refuse to let their lack of knowledge get in the way of their self-proclaimed expertise.
One of those topics everyone seems to enjoy sharing their opinion on, is Jews.
Lots of people on social media are only too happy to tell you that Jews are white, and not only benefit from “White Privilege,” but aren’t the ‘real’ Jews anyway.
Then there are the people on social media who will eagerly explain to you what antisemitism is — and isn’t, claiming that the term is overused and that it is not nearly as “systemic” as Islamophobia.
So it is not surprising to find people who will knowingly inform you not only that Zionism is racism — they will go even further, offering to enlighten you that Zionism has no real connection with Judaism anyway
Recently on Twitter, for example, you could find tweets informing you that
o my problem is that too many equate Judaism = Zionism
that’s where you get problems such as Louis Farrakhan and his supporters
o im not against Judaism,im with judaism against zionism
o If you think Zionism=Judaism you clearly know nothing about Judaism
But there was a time when Arabs made it clear that Zionism is part of Judaism.
In his book Emdat HaAravim B’SichSuch Yisrael-Arav, translated on the inside flyleaf as The Arabs’ Position In Their Conflict With Israel, Yehosofat Harkabi uses sources from political works, periodicals and broadcasts to get the Arab attitude towards Israel. It is based on his doctoral thesis, and was published in 1968, though he wrote the book the previous year, months before the Six-Day War broke out.
An English translation was published in 1972, and that is where translations in this post of the Hebrew are from, unless noted otherwise. (The translation abridges the original — and still manages to come out at over 500 pages.)
Chapter 4 of his book is dedicated to the Arab attitude towards Zionism — and Harkabi devotes section 5 of that chapter to Arab writers who saw an “Identification of Zionism and Judaism.”
Arab writers and leaders repeatedly emphasize that they bear no hostility to the Jews but only oppose the Zionists. However, this distinction is not maintained, and Zionism and Judaism are often used as synonyms, a denunciation of Zionism leading naturally to a denunciation of the Jews. It is not a matter of confusing “Jew,” Zionist” and Israeli” in the flow of speech or writing, in the same way as even Israelis do not always preserve the distinction; the identification is deliberate.
One expression of this tendency is the identification of Israeli and Jew as a figure in Arab caricatures, The Arabs draw the Israeli like a Jew in the anti-Semitic caricatures–a bearded figure with a large hooked nose. This image was already in existence before World War II ane was not created merely under Nazi influence.
Here is a typical example, from Al-Watan (Qatar), May 13, 2003, from the Tom Gross Media website:
|The U.S. and Israel are shown eating from two sides of an apple that represents “the Arab states”.|
But this identification of Zionism and Jews — which is often exploited to disparage Israel — was not always done on a purely derogatory level.
In section 2, “Judaism Was Always Zionist”, Harkabi describes a recognition by some Arab writers that
The prolonged ties of Jews with Palestine and the place of that country in the Jewish faith show that there is an organic bond between Zionism and Judaism.
Rushdi explains that Judaism is not only a faith like others, but “also a political movement”:
The bond between Judaism and Zionism is primordial, ever since Judaism and Zionism became coupled in the sense that one cannot be separated from the other, representing two sides of the one coin (1965, p. 19)
Obviously, Rushdi did his homework, because he goes on to write that the connection between Judaism and Zionism
…is clearly expressed in many provisions of Jewish law. In the Talmud it is stated that a Jew who leaves the Land of Israel cannot compel his wife to accompany him, and one who emigrates to the Land is entitled to divorce his wife if she refuses to come with him. There is also a similar doctrine in the Jewish faith which says that he who lives in the Land of Israel is forgiven by God for all his sins. (p. 20)
To illustrate the bond between Zionism and Judaism, Rushdi gives quotes from Solomon Schecter (“Wherever Zionists are active, there you will find Judaism alive and active” and “Judaism and Zionism cannot be separated from each other” [my translations]) and from Theodor Herzl (“The return to Zion must be preceded by the return to Judaism”)
Harkabi notes that Abdallah Al-Tal, an officer of the Arab Legion during the 1948 War, also sees that Zionism predates Herzl. He did his homework too, giving examples of earlier Zionists such as the Maccabees, Bar Kochba, David HaReuveni, Solomon Molcho, Shabtai Tzvi, the Sanhedrin during the time of Napoleon, Moses Montefiore, Baron Edmond de Rothschild and others.
Another Arab writer, a Dr. Nasr, doesn’t find Zionism ‘primordial,’ but doesn’t think it is recent and unrelated to Judaism either. He writes:
Zionism is really nothing but the national behavior of the Jew in his reaction to the nations throughout history as it has taken shape under the pressure of modern Western civilization.
Of course, some Arab writers see a conspiracy — not that Zionism is unrelated to Judaism, but rather the opposite: Jews have been trying to hide the connection between Judaism and Zionism, by deluding the world that Zionism is merely the actions of a small group.
According to Ahmad Shukeiri, the first Chairman of the PLO, the Zionist plan to rule over Israel is actually part of an old Jewish agenda. Originally, the Jewish infiltration of Israel was accomplished under the veil of religion, with the goal of establishing a religious center —
When the Zionist movement arose, under the direction of Dr. Herzl, they described it as a unique movement limited to a group of Jews, the Zionists. This was a well thought-out act to lead the nations opposed to them astray, a deception against the Arab world, so that they would not think the Zionist movement was a general Jewish movement. This is the source of the idle belief of many that the Zionist and the Jew are separate things when they are a single danger. [My translation]
Just don’t tell those experts on Twitter that they have fallen for the Zionist trap.