Recently, a documentary called History Undercover: Attack on the USS Liberty, finally aired on the History Channel, after being delayed twice. The documentary detailed the experiences and stories of the surviving crew-members of the reconnaissance ship, the USS Liberty, who said that their ship, which was in international waters at the time, was deliberately bombed by air and torpedoed by sea, by Israel, during the six-day war in which Israel captured the Golan Heights in contravention of the UN brokered cease-fire. 34 American crewmen died, and over a hundred were wounded. Following the attack, there was an intense cover-up by the US government and refusal to investigate, after accepting Israels apology for the error. If the United States, despite having lost its own men to an ally, has stilled covered up this incident at the behest of Israel, and the history program was delayed from being aired twice, it doesnt come as a surprise that the United States would defend Israel yet once again.
As the US-UN proposals deadlock nears the deadline for the upcoming UN Conference on Racism, Intolerance and Related Xenophobia, the US media continues to be over-saturated with justifications for Washingtons stubborn attitude. But the truth is, while the US still refuses to apologize for centuries of racism and slavery in its own history, Washington is also condoning the racism of its staunchest ally, Israel. Upon Israels request, the United States refuses to agree to wording that equates Zionism to racism. The wording of the charter isnt a propaganda tool that Arab nations are throwing about, as the US corporate media would have one believe. In fact, most of the worlds countries have accepted that Zionism is tantamount to racism. Interestingly enough, Zionist leaders themselves call this anti-semitism, a charge often thrown about to ward off critics of Israels apartheid-like policies towards Palestinians.
Already, Israel is hard at work trying to rebuild its image in the face of international condemnation. Prime Minister Sharon, indicted for war crimes in Belgium, has hired a New York PR firm, Howard J. Rubenstein Associates, to improve its image. In fact, the Jerusalem Post reported that Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Public Affairs Gideon Meir, has said that Israel intends to conduct a back-to-basics campaign in the US. So, already public opinion makers (and die-hard, loyal protectors of Israel) such as columnists Thomas Friedman, William Safire, (New York Times) or Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post), are hard at work doing the image-building, and PR work that Israel has always relied on the US to do for her.
In a recent Washington Post op-ed, that cited neither statistic nor historical fact to support any of his arguments, columnist George Will stated, Zionism, an especially defensible nationalism, holds that Jews, having had a uniquely hazardous history, deserve a common future. George Will who hides behind calling Zionism Jewish pride, is as wrong as David Duke who calls his organization one committed to White pride. Besides, as for being uniquely hazardous, what of the indigenous tribes in the Americas who no longer exist because of extermination by Europeans? What about the systematic rape camps (the first in human history) set up in Yugoslavia during Milosevich's ethnic cleansing? What about the extermination of hundreds of millions of black slaves? Genocide and holocaust cannot, and should not, be monopolized by one group only, when history has indicated otherwise, and Israel would be better off to heed the words of holocaust survivors themselves when they said, Never again. Besides, what George Will is implying is that it is ok to be a Jewish supremacist because of the historical atrocities visited upon the Jews of Europe. Interestingly enough, Wills words especially defensible and uniquely hazardous history do not apply to any other group.
The truth is, Zionism did at first, emerge in response to anti-Semitism in Europe in the late 19th century, as a politically secular movement whose goal was the liberation of Jews from persecution. However, Zionist ideology also implied the separation and transfer (or expulsion) of the Arabs, by envisioning the spirit[ing of] the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country, in the words of Zionisms founder Theodore Herzl.
Zionism then, is the colonialist ideology that brought the state of Israel into existence by expropriating the land of indigenous Arab population as its own. Furthermore, it was European settlers, not native Jews, who came to the Middle East, claiming the land as their own. Zionism has become a form of Jewish nationalism that preaches Jewish superiority, excludes non-Jews, and is responsible for todays political, racial, and economic apartheid of Israelis and Palestinians. Besides, as many Rabbis and Jews attest to, Zionism has no more of a place in Judaism, than does the Taliban ideology in Islam, or the exclusivist claims of RSS and Hindutva in Hindu sacred texts or history. Zionisms impact upon the Jewish elite in America has been so vociferous and influential, however, that anyone (including Jews) who criticizes Israeli policy (which is in contravention of international law and has been condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Btslem, Peace Now, and others), is accused of anti-semitism.
However hard they try, Zionists cannot deny (but only try to justify) that Israel today is a religiously exclusive stateeven though the majority of Israeli Jews dont consider themselves religiouswhere non-Jews are second class citizens. In addition, the Palestinians of the occupied territories, who, under the pretext of security and as legitimized by the Peace Process, (a farce that had initially long excluded Palestinians) are locked into disconnected and crowded bantustans on their own land (from which the vast majority of its natural resources, such as water, has been given to Israel under the Oslo Accords) provide Israel with its cheap slave-like labor. All this accurately fits the description of an apartheid state. Yet Zionists project the Jews made the desert bloom image of Israel, and with the help of U.S. media, drill into the worlds minds an Israel that is a model state imbibing the ideals of democratic equality and justice, while totally ignoring the mistreatment of Palestinians by Israel, (and even the mistreatment of native and Oriental Jews by European ones).
Reknown Zionists in Israels history have stopped at nothing to expand Israel, sometimes on the basis of biblical claims, and have exploited, dispossessed, and suppressed an entire Arab population to do so. David Ben-Gurion, Israels first Prime Minister, told the World Council of Poale Zion in Tel Aviv, in 1938 The boundaries of Zionist aspiration include Southern Lebanon, Southern Syria, todays Jordan, all of Cis-Jordan (The West Bank), and the Sinai. In fact Ben-Gurion was so adamant about the future of Israel, he was once quoted as saying, If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel. Meanwhile, some Zionists refused to even acknowledge the existence of their victims, such as Golda Meir, Israels Prime who once told the The London Sunday Times, There is no such thing as a Palestinian people... It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist. Menachim Begin, Israels Defense Minister, called Palestinians, beasts walking on tow legs, Israeli Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan said as recently as 1983 that the only good Arab is a dead Arab adding that When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle. Also in 1983, Chairman Helibrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, mayor of Tel Aviv, has said, We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves. Well, how? Israel Koenig answered that by saying, We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population. While criticizing Arab countries who have not absorbed the Palestinians with much sympathy, Israel continues to dispossess them and refuses to give them equal status as minorities in the state of Israel. Despite the atrocities committed under Zionism, the US is not willing to concede that Zionism is, at root, a conscious war of extermination and expropriation against a native civilian population; the ideology is racist at its core. In fact, the US has made it abundantly clear that it absolutely refuses to agree to this equation on the UN convention charter. In response, some Arab leaders and representatives have been forced (or have rather succumbed) to remove clauses that pointedly criticize Zionism. Not only is truth being curtailed by the US, but it is also dictating censorship of such truths.
Meanwhile, the blame by Israel and its supporters for the Zionisms resulting displaced Palestinian refugees, who today number a staggering 4 million, however, has been laid upon the Arab states for not absorbing them. But, as human rights groups, international observers, and the UN has seen repeatedly, is that Israels problems with the Palestinians stem from denying them not only their share in the land, but also their own Palestinian national identity, rather than a general Arab one; ironically, these are the very rights the Zionists ask of the world for the Jews. Ultimately, the story is that of the persecuted becoming the persecutors. To realize how much Zionism has perverted the Jewish religion for political ends and given Israel little credence, one only has to remember Rabbi Yaacov Perins famous words in his eulogy at the funeral of terrorist Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who opened fire in a mosque while Palestinians were praying: One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish! fingernail.
Sarah Waheed is a freelance writer and media contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN), in Chicago, Illinois.