Racism made in the USA

An uneasy ceasefire

AT PENPOINT

The world has won what it seems to think is a splendid victory. It has persuaded Israel to accept a ceasefire in Gaza. The way the process works is that the Palestinians release some of those they took captive on October 7, in exchange for the Israelis releasing Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails. As expected, the process did not run smoothly. The first exchange, due on Thursday, occurred on Friday. The exchange which was supposed to happen on Saturday, started only on Saturday evening, when Hamas released 17 hostages. The Isaelis responded on Sunday with the release of 39 Palestinians.

What is to happen when Hamas runs out of captives to release. To borrow a phrase much in vogue in current Pakistani politics, there isn’t a level playing field. It may not be of much comfort to PTI supporters, but they are in the company of the Palestinians rather than the Israelis.  The Israelis have not been able to clear Gaza City as they would have wished. There are some indications that the task is beyond the Israeli Defense Forces.

At the same time, the rhetoric coming out of Israel is twofold: it calls for genocide, and it says that the Palestinians are not human, and therefore not to be treated in a humanitarian fashion. It is eerie, but Israeli TV has played a song, sung by a chorus of four little girls, which says that there will only be a rest, a return, after the enemy’s land has been levelled.

October 7 was obviously a great shock. However, the rhetoric of revenge emerging from Israel might well be that dealing with a slave rebellion, and here one gets a clue to the racist nature of Zionism and the current Israeli attack on Gaza.

The Palestinians are not exactly slaves, but the economic relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians is definitely that of masters and servants. The low-paying low-prestige jobs that Israelis refuse to take are left to Palestinians desperate for work, any work. Zionists seems to have brought this racism over from the USA, from which so many Israelis have originated.

Israel has been a client-state of the USA, and provides it a base in the oil-rich Middle East. Its support comes because American Jews have been active in politics generally in both parties, and while partisan differences exist, there is a bipartisan consensus on support for Israel. This support is extraordinary, extending to Israel being the only country with which the USA allows dual nationality.

At present, the Palestinians have suffered extreme damage, but Israel has not yet been able to uproot Hamas. So long as it does not do so, it will not be able to claim victory. Unfortunately, that requires more violence.

Then there are the Christian Zionists, mostly Evangelicals, in the USA, who believe the Second Coming will be preceded by the founding of a Zionist state. As the Evangelicals increased in infuence in the Republican Party, so did the Zionists. Similarly, the Zionists had made themselves part of the eft, because in one version, Jews were victims of racism, and thus were allied with African Americans.

As a matter of fact, a lot of Russian and Ukrainian Jews first went to the USA, and then migrated to Israel. Not only were the Russian and Ukrainian Jews numerous, but Russian pogroms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had provided an impetus to Zionism. One result has been that US citizens were among the hostages taken by Hamas.

Apart from the racism brought over from the USA, which was essentially anti-African, the founding myth of Israel involved the displacement of Palestinians from their land, and their replacement by Jews. This meant discriminating against Arabs by East European Jews. One manifestation of this was the discrimination faced by the Falashas when they were brought to Israel as an example of how the Israeli state would ensure the Right of Return for all Jews. The Falashas were a small community of Jews in Ethiopia. Like Jews everywhere, they had taken on the visual characteristics of the majority community, and looked more like their original Ethiopian hosts and nothing at all like the Russian- and Ukrainian-origin Israelis they found themselves amongst.

They faced immediate and extreme discrimination, worse than that faced by Arab Jews, who found they were treated quite badly by the Ashkenazim, or European-origin Jews. This parallels the discrimination meted out to Jews and African Americans in the USA, which is no longer state-sanctioned, but which is practised underground. The Netanyahu government is right-of-centre and thus tends to the sort of racism, including antisemitism, practised by Republicans in the USA or Tories in the UK.

Though themselves victims of racism, Israelis do not seem to have learnt. Instead, they have used their state to perpetuate the same sort of discrimination. Similarly with the Holocaust, wshich was the first attempt at ethnic cleansing. Instead of working to prevent it, Israel and the Zionists seem to have chosen the Palestinians as victims. There was one attempt in 1948, when there wasn’t a prior excuse like October 7, when Zionists either massacred or expelled Palestinians from their land, and took over most of Palestine to form Israel. Now the second attempt is being made.

How have the victrims become guilty of the same crime? The flaw can be sought in the Zionist enterprise. Zionism sought to convert the Jews from what they were, a wandering people, into another nation. They were a little late on the scene, for by the time of the Zionist Congresses at the end of the 19th century, the German and Italian nations had come into being. The Zionists sought Palestine from the Ottoman Caliph Abdul Hameed II, but he quite huffily refused. Then came World War I, and the Sykes-Picot agreement, when France and the UK agreed on a division of the Middle East, as well as the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Germany meanwhile saw the rise of the Nazi party, which blamed its defeat on the ”stab in the back’ alledgedly dealt by the Jews. When the Nazis came to ower, they began a persecution of Jews, an introduction of laws of racial purity, which led Jews to begin migrating from Germany. They started going to Palestine, where they hoped to overturn the Palestinian majority there/

This got the Palestinians worried. They were under European rule for the first time since Salahuddin Ayubi had reconquered it from the Crusaders, and now the British wished to set up a Jewish state when they left. Palestinians were agitated, and this was the time when the Grand Mufti of Palestine visited India,, and was hosted, among others, by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It is because of this that it can be said that Pakistan’s support for the Palestine cause predates the creation of Pakistan.

The Zionists present this episode as one more in the Jewish people’s struggle for survival. However, this conceals the almost uncanny resemblance to the suppression of a slave rebellion that it has, with the Israelis behaving as the white ‘massa’ in his brutal attempt to suppress it.

The extension of the ceasefire only brings nearer the question of what happens when Hamas runs out of hostages.

At present, the Palestinians have suffered extreme damage, but Israel has not yet been able to uproot Hamas. So long as it does not do so, it will not be able to claim victory. Unfortunately, that requires more violence.

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