Renouncing Judaism: Zionism Harms Jews And Non-Jews Alike
23 September 2014
By Stephen Lendman
Decades of Israeli high crimes against peace are
reason enough for all Jews for justice to do it.
Shlomo Sand for one.
On October 10, he headlined his London Guardian
commentary " 'I wish to resign and cease considering
myself a Jew.' " More on this below.
Zionism harms Jews and non-Jews alike. Its roots date
from the late 19th century. In his book titled
"Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic
State in Israel/Palestine," Joel Kovel said:
Zionism seeks "the restoration of tribalism in the
guise of a modern, highly militarized and aggressive
It "cut Jews off from (their) history…It "led to a
fateful identity of interests with antisemitism the
only thing that united them."
It "fell into the ways of imperialist expansion and
militarism…(It) show(s) signs of the fascist
If you accept "the idea of a Jewish state," you mix
its twin notions of "particularism (and)
exceptionalism…" They're "the bane of Judaism…"
They give "racism an objective, enduring,
institutionalized and obdurate character."
Doing so turns Israel "into a machine for the
manufacture of human rights abuses…"
Three former prime ministers were former terrorists.
Menachem Begin (1977 - 83), Yitzhak Shamir (1983 - 84
and 1986 - 92), and Ariel Sharon (2001 - 06) dispelled
the illusion of Israeli democracy, morality and
respect for rule of law principles.
Today's "world would be a far better place without
Zionism('s) corrosive effects," Kovel stresses.
Shlomo Sand believes Zionist historiography turns
truth on its head. Jews alone are entitled to Israel,
According to Sand, it's not their historical right.
Not earlier. Not now.
Calling Israel a Jewish state is like saying America
is an exclusive Anglo-Protestant one, he says.
Organized Judaism opposed Zionism until Hitler, he
explains. It feared what's now Israel would replace
Talmudic ideology is against collective holy land
emigration. Against the notion that it's God's will to
What God giveth, God taketh away. Eretz Israel (the
land of Israel) theologically isn't a homeland, Sand
Nor is Christianity or Islam. Religions don't have
them. Sand hopes Western nations will pressure Israel
End its longstanding obdurate character. Its
militarized occupation. Its racist ideology. Its
democracy in name only.
Its separate and unequal principles. Its persecution
of Palestinians and Arab/Israeli citizens.
Sand supports a two-state solution. One based on
pre-June 1967 borders. With most settlers removed.
Living side-by-side on separate land in peace.
Without acknowledging Nakba reality, resolving
Israeli/Palestinian conflict isn't possible, he
History can't be changed, he says. It can be
corrected. Democracy and Jewish exclusivity can't
co-exist. They're incompatible.
Peace requires new thinking. The alternative is
permanent conflict. It affects Jews and Muslims alike.
Sand's writings dispel myths most Jewish children are
taught. Biblical nonsense about wandering the earth
Enslaved, oppressed and tormented for centuries.
Nonsensically believing God gave Eretz Israel to Jews
Rubbish proclaiming "A land without people for a
people without land."
If Judaism is a religion, not a people, how can a
Jewish state be justified, Sand believes?
Claiming otherwise justifies the unjustifiable. It
spurns Palestinian self-determination. It does so to
Understanding Zionism is essential. Its reliance on
repression, violence and dispossession. Its belief in
Jewish exclusivity, privilege and exceptionalism.
Jewish ethnocracy with predetermined structural
inequalities. Institutionalized racism at its
Judaization/Israelification and de-Arabization to
preserve Jewish character. Democracy is pure fantasy.
A convenient illusion.
In November 2004, the late Michael Mandel said:
"Israel's West Bank and Gaza settlements are war
crimes in Canada."
"Under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War
Crimes Act 2000, c. 24, Israel's settlements in
territories taken in the June 1967 war constitute war
crimes punishable in Canada."
Mandel cited Section 8, paragraph 2 of the Rome
Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)."
"It prohibits "(t)he transfer, directly or indirectly,
by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian
population into the territory it occupies, or the
deportation or transfer of all or parts of the
population of the occupied territory within or outside
Israel isn't party to Rome Statute law. Under Canadian
law it's irrelevant. Grave breaches constitute war
Israel and America are criminally liable. According to
Mandel, "Israel denies it" irresponsibly.
It's "an Occupying Power (under provisions) of the
Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute, and the Canadian
Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act."
Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Accountability is
long overdue. Sand's commentary explained why he
He "never (was) a genuinely secular Jew," he said. Its
"existence is based on a hollow and ethnocentric view
of the world."
He "stubbornly remained" Jewish most of his life. He
"accepted this identity on account of persecutions and
murderers, crimes and their victims."
He now recognizes the error of his ways. He "resign(ed)
and cease(d) considering (himself) a Jew."
He's unconcerned about what others think of him. Less
so what "antisemitic idiots think."
In light of 20th century tragedies, he's "determined
no longer to be a small minority in an exclusive club
that others have neither the possibility nor the
qualifications to join."
He wants his "future and that of (his) children (to
be) guided by universal, open and generous
His beliefs run counter to dominant Jewish thinking.
It's "oriented towards ethnocentrism."
He lives "in one of the most racist societies in the
western world. (It's) deep within the spirit of
(Israeli) laws," norms, standards and practices.
It's taught in schools. From childhood through
doctoral studies. Israeli and Western MSM spread it.
"(A)bove all and most dreadful," Israeli racists "in
no way (feel) obliged to apologize," says Sand.
"This absence of a need for self-justification has
made Israel a particularly prized reference point for
many movements of the far right throughout the world,
movements whose past history of antisemitism is only
too well known."
Living "in such a society (is) increasingly
intolerable," he says. At the same time, it's hard
imagining home elsewhere.
He can't undo his heritage. He's "part of the
cultural, linguistic and even conceptual production of
the Zionist enterprise."
For better or worse, he's an Israeli. He isn't proud
to admit it. He's often ashamed.
Especially witnessing militarized occupation. Its
defenseless victims. They're not Israel's "chosen
Early in life he hoped Palestinian Israelis one day
could "feel as much at home in Tel Aviv" as Jewish
Americans feel in New York or other major US cities.
Living side-by-side with Israeli Jews in peace. Today
he knows otherwise.
Zionists view equality as an attack on Jewish
character, the state of Israel and anti-Semitism.
"Most important, Sand believes, is "put(ting) forward
ideas on changing Israel's identity policy…"
"(F)reeing ourselves from the accursed and
interminable occupation that is leading us on the road
Ending generations of separate and unequal. Abandoning
long discredited policies. Lawless ones making Israel
a pariah state.
Increasingly, things look too late, Sand believes. "(A)ll
seems already lost…(S)erious approach(es) (to)
political solution(s) (are) deadlocked."
Israel can't shake its colonial mentality. Its
unjustifiable right to dominate another people.
Its refusal to accept 1948 borders. To obey core
"Does this mean I, too, must abandon hope," Sand
asked? He "inhabit(s) a deep contradiction," he said.
He "feel(s) like an exile in the face of the growing
Jewish ethnicisation that surrounds" him.
When traveling abroad, he looks forward to returning
home. He meets people with "no interest in
understanding what being Israeli means to" him.
His deep homeland attachment fuels pessimism he feels
towards it. He's despondent about today's conditions.
What he fears ahead.
At the same time, he's not "completely fatalistic." He
believes if humanity survived 20th wars without
nuclear armageddon, "anything is possible, even in the
"As a scion of the persecuted who emerged from the
European hell of the 1940s without having abandoned
the hope of a better life, (he) did not receive
permission from the frightened archangel of history to
abdicate and despair."
"Which is why, in order to hasten a different
tomorrow, and whatever (his) detractors say, (he)
shall continue to write," he says.
His Guardian piece is an edited extract from his book
titled "How I Stopped Being a Jew." On October 14,
he'll discuss it at SOAS, University of London.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as
editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in
Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen
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