Things Are Falling Apart

The centre cannot hold as a blood-dimmed tide is loosed upon Gaza

Sunday 15 February 2009, by Joel Kovel

It’s sixty years and counting since the
founding of the State of Israel, and
nothing seems to change, except
for the worse. The torment of the
Palestinian people is unending—as
is the massive control of the United
States by Zionist lobbies, the passive
yet deadly acquiescence of other
Western democracies, the corruption
of compliant Arab states, and, above
all, the ever-mounting brutalization
of Israel. All these forces are locked
together into a nightmarish embrace
that sows despair among people of
good will.

The Zionist project once commanded
the respect and sympathy of much
of the world. It marched under
the banner of socialism and as a
national liberation movement, and
was shielded from criticism by the
evocation of Nazi horrors against the
Jews of Europe. Some discerning
people saw the fatal flaw in Zionism,
that being predicated upon ethnic
purity, it required forcible elimination
of the indigenous population from its “Promised Land.” But their dissent
was swamped by the tidal wave of
sympathy for the plight of Jews.

That was then. As Israel has
degenerated into nihilism, its ugliness
can no longer be hidden from the
world. This is a sea change. The Gaza
atrocities did more than annihilate a great portion of Palestinian society,
it also fractured Zionism’s project
for the seamless integration of
Jews everywhere with the State of
Israel. The charge of “anti-semitism”
hurled against critics of Israel has
been the glue that held together
this bond. But how can this claim
be sustained when Jews have taken
part in nonviolent occupations of
Israeli consulates throughout North
America? How can it answer the
voice of Michael Warschawski,
Polish-born Israeli?

Together with tens of thousands of
other Jews, from Canada to Great
Britain, from Australia to Germany,
we are warning you: don’t dare to
speak in our names, because we
will run after you, even, if needed,
to the hell of war-criminals, and stuff
your words down your throat until
you ask for forgiveness for having
mixed us up with your crimes. We,
and not you, are the children of Mala
Zimetbaum and Marek Edelman, of
Mordechai Anilevicz and Stephane
Hessel, and we are conveying their
message to humankind for custody
in the hands of the Gaza resistance
fighters: “We are fighting for our
freedom and yours, for our pride
and yours, for our human, social and
national dignity and yours.” (Appeal
of the Warsaw Ghetto to the world,
Passover 1943)

The rupture is written in Zionism’s
unfolding—because Zionism is not,
as we have been led to believe, the
valid national aspiration of the Jewish
people, but a malignant cult that has
defiled the legacy of Judaism and
the hallowed names of its martyrs.
It is time to place this realization
before the world as a foundation
for struggle against the murderous
Israeli regime.

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