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"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

If Zionism isn’t racism, then what is it?

Posted by minsky on September 24, 2007

A burden.


In this month’s Commentary Hillel slaughters Avraham. Some of you will applaud Halkin, because you’ll find Avraham Burg’s statements nothing short of inflammatory.

I happen to think otherwise. This is Hillel sacrificing Avraham, because I share Avraham Burg’s opinion that the state of Israel is in danger of extinction, due to the stultifying nature of Zionism. Halkin is a careerist, Burg a handy pray in his crosshairs.

I believe the nature or Zionism is best expressed in Isreal, the culmination of a Zionist political project best characterized as an unwieldy theocratic pseudo-state, walking the thin line between Medieval European apartheid and pre-Civil Rights American segregation. Zionism is a worn-coat which has outgrown its owner, and because Israel lacks a post-Zionist ideology of the state, it is increasingly looking like a straight-jacket containing the spasms of a nut-case.

I am not against the Israeli state, nor against its continued creation, nourishment, and development. I merely believe that Zionism is now an obstacle to Israel’s future.

Rather than picking on pious Jews, Amanpour should have focused on Zionists, when discussing Fundamentalism and the Middle East. Similar to Radical Moslems and Evangelical Christians, Zionism has transformed itself from a radical movement with liberational overtones, into a calcified reactionary dogma. No longer capable of relying on the force of logic, Zionism and the Isreali state is increasingly reliant on the force of arms, rhetoric, and passion.

For Diaspora Jews, Zionism pushes us to take sides between morality and piety, vs blatant oppression, dispossession, and destruction of international law. It is neither Hallakhic nor Jewish.

I resent what I see as Zionisms unchallenged status in the official Jewish community across America, and community policies. Be it in Synagogues, Federations, Foundations, or lobbies. Why does the book Myth and Fact have to be given to bar-mitzva kids, Palestinians relentlessly portrayed as irrational lunatics?

I am tired with Zionism distorting fine young Jewish minds when campus Hillel’s urge us to take a stand for Israel, and tell us what to call a wall, who is guilty of the New-Anti Semitism, or read Mark Twain’s travel memoirs if and only if to prove to our credulous neurons that even if Palestinians existed, there were too few to legitimise any present claim to Cannanite land.

I applaud Avraham Burg, and I want something to replace Zionism. A post-Zionism, that will give Israel a new political vitality, and stop pushing Jews world-over, into morally repugnant corners. For this to happen, we must first let go of Zionism, and see it for what it is, a 19th century European Nationalist notion, not only contrary to Torah, but a dangerous idol in its stead.


35 Responses to “If Zionism isn’t racism, then what is it?”

  1. What said

    This is such crap. Tisk Tisk Tisk. Minsky, if you continue to post crap like this article, and the blog owner lets this stuff go out, then I may just stop reading this blog.

  2. yaman said

    this is unusually forward looking for oy-bay… no wonder the threats of a boycott! if it happens, maybe you should consider jewschool, it appears to be more open. cheers.

  3. AaronfromWG said

    Zionism to Jews is no different than French who believe France should be a French country with an official language and gov’t, recognized holidays and customs(they made the English word “email” illegal.) Why should Jewish sovereignty(Zionism) be any different than French, Japanese or Peruvian sovereignty. Minsky, I don’t believe you are antisemitic but you have been infected by the rest of the world’s camouflaged antisemitism. I know, I know. You can disagree with Israeli policy but when you don’t believe Jews have a right to sovereignty like all other groups of people than you have crossed the line into antisemitism.

  4. minsky said

    Re: AaronfromWG-
    I do not question Israel’s right to exist, nor its right to sovereignty, but I know why you think I do. We’ll get to this.

    Re: What-
    Like Islamic radicals, you are calling for censorship. Like them, you are insecure. It would be a pity for you to leave this blog because of your insecurity. Rest assured I am not here to exploit it. I take what I say seriously, and I will treat your opinion with equal respect.

    Re: Yaman-
    Why? I wont leave. I don’t need Jewschool, I need you. I want to talk to those who are Zionists, or believe in the doctrine.

    To Aaron’s arguments:
    You know I am not anything close to a traditional leftist in the sense most people use the term. My need to attack Zionism as a doctrine does not come from some acute sense of guilt or self-denial of my ethnic or religious roots, nor from some disproportional sympathy for the Other, in this case the Palestinian. I dont subscribe to David and Goliath analogies, nor do I think the law must always favor the weeker, even if the weeker is wrong.

    My problem with Zionism, is that it threatens me as a Jew. First, because I resent its power over Jewish youth. I see more Zionism than Torah, and this offends my moral sense. Second, I blame Zionism for the rise of the “new anti-semitism”, and ruining the Jewish image.

    Zionism is the number one threat to Israeli sovereignty. Zionism as a core identity of American Jewry, is a threat to that identity. If a myopic doctrine comes to define the sense of who you are, then you run the danger of running yourself into the next pole, wall, or obstacle – because you are myopic.

    Zionism is anti-sovereign, in as much as it is based on nationalist 19th century European notions of sovereignty; notions leading to WWI and WWII. Zionism will lead to conflict which will empty Israel out from bellow. A Jewish state on paper, not in deed.

    The greatest threat to Israel today, is its inability to abandon a state model which can apply law discriminately, institutionalise this discrimination, and define its sovereignty on this basis. Such sovereignty is short lived.

  5. Oyster said


    Don’t get so excited. Have you read what Minsky has written about Islam and Antisemitism? That might make him gauche for JewSchool. You know that they link to us, right?

    As one can tell from those previous posts, Minsky is neither an Antisemite nor an Islamofascist sympathizer. Now I know that Minsky’s posts have rocked the boat in the past, but Oy Bay doesn’t censor its writers. We have a crazy diversity of viewpoints among our writing staff: hardcore Reform to hardcore Orthodox, Israelis and Russians, those who want Peace Now, and those who want Bibi back.


    A more thorough ‘Fisking’ is in the works. 🙂 Stay tuned.

  6. ArchAngelinAmerica said

    I must start out by saying that I pretty much completely disagree with Minsky on this topic. That being said…

    Isn’t the whole point of a blog like Oy-Bay to allow a variety of opinion pieces? The great thing about this site is that it covers a variety of topics from a variety of perspectives. Maybe its time for the pro-Zionists among us to say somehting though rather than just responding (as we have been recently).


    I must confess that I am not an expert on the details of political or historical Zionism. I don’t tend to get caught up in the more theoretical arguments about this(or any other) topic. As I understand it though, Zionism is simply the belief that there should be a nation-state of Jewish character in the land that historically comprised Israel. I don’t see how that is destructive to Jews or Israelis or Muslims or Arabs…Unless you happen to believe that Jews are dirty filth ridden infidels who must be drowned in The Lake or The Sea lest they pollute a millimeter of (once) Islamic soil. (I will ignore the ultra-Orthodox and the
    Socialist anti-Zionist positions for the time being, though I acknowledge their existence.) I don’t hear any calls for an end to outright Theocracy in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Or tacit theocracy in numerous other nations. And Jews are linked as a people by more than religion and ritual. I don’t see why the Jewish State is such a problem (or even an anomally.)

  7. Arthur said


    Then why do you attack Zionism? I dont see an answer to this anywhere. Zionism is in my mind not really a political movement and only if you consider that Zionism is a political movement does one need to have a replacement.

    Zionism is the want/need to return to Zion – nothing more and nothing less. The fact the the so called leaders of Israel today are not Zionists or particularly Zionistic and wish to whittle away Zion for their own personal gain is problematic. But please do not confuse the curroption of the leadaers in israel today with the need for something “post Zionistic”. Zionism is was and always will be relevant, it is the people running the country that need to be modified.

  8. minsky said

    Saudi Arabia should not only be called to abolish its Theocracy, it should be abolished as a state. There is nothing more odious and historically repugnant, than America’s alliance with the kingdom.

    But Saudi Arabia and Israel are irrelevant comparisons, as is Iran. Israel doesn’t brand itself among such kind. So lets not put it in the bag.

    I am sorry to say, Zionism is not just a sympathy with the notion of an Israeli state. If it were, what have we to talk about?

    1) Zionism is a European political ideology, whose fundamental assumption is fundamentally incompatible with Judaism, with Torah. For anyone who has missed this central point, I have nothing to add. If you pursue the Torah, and try to be a Zionist, you will detract from Torah (unfortunatelly, the impact on Zionism is not the inverse).

    I stand with Setmer, and yes, Neturei Karta. Both have been shamelessly caricatured and marginalized.

    2) Sympathizing with Zionism, has ramifications on Israeli political life, and Jewish political life. If you have this sympathy because you project upon Zionism what you think it is, rather than studying what it is, you run the risk of being led by the tip of your nose- I am saying you are being led off a cliff.

    3)Zionisms roots are counter to Torah, and if their fruit were only the end of Israel, this would be perfectly acceptable from a Torah perspective. However, the fruit of Zionism will be the sacrifice of Jewish life – everywhere. Why? Because nationalist ideology cannot, by definition, lead anywhere else. It leads to war.

    Avraham Burg has dual citizenship, and encourages every Israeli to have it – this way when Israel flops, we can minimize the fallout.

    4) Zionism will fail because it had a failed political vision from the very start.

  9. AaronfromWG said

    You stand with Satmar thats fine but Neturei Karta celebrate when Israelis are killed and support suicide bombers. Think before you write such idiotic trash. I don’t believe in censorship but I do believe you should use your brain when writing in a public forum.

    Secondly, Torah and Zionism are not Mutually exclusive. You say this repeatedly and then do not back it up with an explanation.

    Thirdly, I agree Torah should be #1 in Jewish Life.

    You say “Zionism is the number one threat to Israeli sovereignty. ” Wrong! Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism and the Worlds unwillingness to deal with Iran are the top threats to Israeli Sovereignty.

    I don’t like Saudi Arabia 1 bit, but why should they abolish their theocracy with an almost entirely religious population? The population there that doesn’t support the Gov’t is even more religious.

  10. minsky said

    Where and when has Neturei Karta praised suicide bombers? If you believe that then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Your intellectual fiber indicates you’ll buy. I also don’t believe in censorship, but maybe you shouldn’t write at all if what you write is representative of your cognitive abilities.

    I’d prefer not to get personal, but I can. I hope you understand this, and next time restrain yourself so we can stick to the subject, and not perjoratives. You may not like Neturei Karta, you are welcome to back up your claims with proof, but don’t attack me personally. Worse comes to worse, attack them.


    Neturei Karta were the only Jews to participate in Iran’s Holocaust Denial conference, and to denounce it. Neturei Karta got up close and personal with Farakhan, and actually mellowed his anti-semitism.

    I believe Torah and Zionism can be compatible, but they are not at present. There can be forms of Zionism, that develop beyond the nationalist framework, and offer Jews a moraly sustainable position on Israel.

    First of all, Zionism is a secular state building agenda based on Nurenburg principels of the right of return. This is a historical fact, witnessed by the present Chasidus position on the state of Israel, and dare I say, significant minorities among the Orthodox. This incontrovertible fact was formulated in all Zionist Congresses preceeding and following the creation of the state of Israel. Declared Chasidus and minority Orthodox positions attest to this. I don’t imagine you need me to document something as common knowledge as this?

    Second of all, In as much as Zionism directly or indirectly asks us to sacarifice traditional values of Jewish morality, it undermines Torah. Our morality is Torah based, it is in the TOrah, and a creation of the Torah, and there is no end, that can justify its sacrifice. Our Jewish sense of right and wrong is derivative of our relationship to the Torah.

    Now if this Jewish sense is adulterated by secular nationalist ideology to the point where it is no longer relevant, then there is a problem here. It is not possible to balance the crimes of Zionism with the moral values of the Torah, and those who accept such values.

    We can decry Palestinian actions, we can characterize them and call them what they are- barbaric, illegal, outrageous, medi-evil, but this does not white-wash the crimes of Zionists and the state of Isreal as Zionists conceive it.

    Let me ask you a simple question. What kind of future does Zionism offer a) Israel, and b) the Jewish diaspora, in light of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

    Nothing. And that’s the point. You want to hold on to a an empty rhetorical vision, which doesnt’ promise even the slightest solution to the present impasse. This inability to move beyond, is precisely why we are headed downhill. The offshoot is the so called new Anti-semitism and Anti-Zionism, for which Zionists are directly responsible, hence it is their direct fault that Isreal’s future is threatened. It is their fault to move beyond the impasse, and offer a vision of an Isreali future, that is to blamed. Those who limit us with their limited thoughts, will pay the price of their inflexibility. Unfortunatelly, so will those who failed to push them out of the way.

  11. minsky said

    As for Saudi Arabia, I am sorry to see that you can condone a state responsible for 9/11, bankrolling terrorist left and right, which can openly segregate freeway usage, forbid women from driving, and proclaim itself the caretaker of Islams holiest shrines! Why naturally, why would I be upset over America’s alliance with such a state? Silly me.

  12. Who is Minsky said

    Minsky- You have lost all credibility with me.

    Oy-bay- I know you don’t want to censor your contributors. But you also have to consider the health of the blog, the product you are putting out, and the Oy Bay brand. You may want to consider who you give platforms to and who says things “in your name”.

    If I had a blog/newspaper/magazine I wouldn’t want someone writing this trash on it. You should be more careful who you let write for you, this Minsky is uniformed, and an embarrassment.

  13. AaronfromWG said

    Neturei Karta rabbi on Arafat’s payroll but you think they don’t condone terrorism?

  14. Oyster said


    The ‘fisking’ that I promised:

    Halkin is a careerist

    If Halkin, as a writer, is a ‘careerist’, then what does that make
    Burg, the politician? A civic hero?

    unwieldy theocratic pseudo-state

    Rhetoric alarm! Long phrase with delegitimizing terms and
    hyperbole. And not followed up with a defense of such a phrase. Israel
    is not a theocracy by any stretch of the imagination. If it were, then
    it would punch a big gaping hole in your thesis that Zionism is
    trampling upon the Torah. The realpolitik of Israel is that it was
    eventually established by a socialist group of Zionists, headed by
    Ben-Gurion (not a rabbi, btw).

    For Diaspora Jews, Zionism pushes us to take sides between morality
    and piety, vs blatant oppression, dispossession, and destruction of
    international law. It is neither Hallakhic nor Jewish.

    Once again, it would be nice if you cited specifics in proportion to
    the vociferousness of your claims. And once again, you can’t at once
    be ‘a theocracy’ and yet ‘neither Hallakhic nor Jewish’.

    I resent what I see as Zionisms unchallenged status in the official
    Jewish community across America, and community policies.

    I also lament that there isn’t more of a fiesty and engaging Zionist
    dialogue among American Jews. Nowadays, you’re lucky if you get a
    young Jew to know what Zionism is!

    You have made abundantly clear you disgust with Zionism. Now, care to
    present an alternative? Does your ambiguous Anti- or Non- Zionism have
    answers that the doltish Zionists have been too obtuse to recognize? I
    am patiently awaiting the Post-Zionist ‘messiah’ that you are selling.

    I blame Zionism for the rise of the “new anti-semitism”, and ruining the Jewish image.

    Most people parse the phrase ‘new anti-semitism’ to mean Antisemitism
    in Europe that stems from Muslim immigrants, not from ‘old’ Christian
    / fascist Antisemitism. In that regard, there’s no news there. There
    has been Muslim Antisemitism long before Herzl drew his first breath.

    Zionism as a core identity of American Jewry, is a threat to that

    Anything short of an authentic yiddishekeit in the head of a
    young Jew is a threat to Jewish identity, whether the books of Herzl
    or MTV. So the fault isn’t that they are getting a Zionist education,
    its only problematic if that’s the *only* education that they’re
    getting towards a Jewish identity.

    Zionism is a European political ideology, whose fundamental
    assumption is fundamentally incompatible with Judaism, with Torah.

    There are many a Religious Zionist who would take umbrage with
    that. Roughly half of the religious Jews in Israel consider themselves
    Zionists (National Religious Party). Rabbis from Kook to Carlebach
    were (and are) Zionists. The ‘pious Jews’ that you lament as being
    pilloried by Amanpour? Mostly religious Zionists (as is most of the
    settler movement).

    If you have this sympathy because you project upon Zionism what you
    think it is, rather than studying what it is, you run the risk of
    being led by the tip of your nose- I am saying you are being led off a

    Ah, a call for education! I strongly encourage everyone here to read
    ‘The Zionist Idea’, edited by Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg. A classic reader
    on Zionism. Minsky, perhaps we can form a book club? 😉

    Zionisms roots are counter to Torah.

    You repeat this idea several times in your writings. Care to explain
    why? I have no problem with you stating an idea that runs counter to
    the thinking of the vast majority of Jews, but I will ask you to
    defend it.

    Neturei Karta were the only Jews to participate in Iran\u2019s
    Holocaust Denial conference, and to denounce it.

    Neturei Karta participated in Iran’s Holocaust Denial Conference;
    rubbing shoulders with David Duke and his ilk. No matter what cover
    story they give, the bottom line is that they were adeptly manipulated
    by the conference to give them “cover” from the charge of Antisemitism.

    Neturei Karta is so extreme in their hatred of Israel that they were blind to see how they were being manipulated.
    But the rest of the Anti- & Non- Zionist religious Jewish
    community did. Even Satmar joined in a joint statement distancing
    themselves from and excommunicating NK. You see, Satmar knows how to
    be Anti-Zionist without selling themselves out to those who hate Jews
    just to be media whores. That’s why the rest of the community turned
    on them, because they were seen hugging & kissing the likes of

    A choice quote from an
    written from around the time of the conference:

    The hareidi religious Eida Hareidit, an anti-Zionist Jerusalem-based council of Hassidic courts and other hareidi religious groups – including the Neturei Karta – was equally harsh in its response to the group’s actions.

    In a sharply-worded editorial published Thursday, the Ha’Eida
    newspaper said, “That tiny group of wierdos is liable to incite hatred
    against hareidim.”

    That should be sufficient fisking for now. More to come later…

  15. minsky said

    Naturally, from the start I was looking for the opportunity to present my arguments against Zionism. I didn’t expect so many censorious responses to my post. Perhaps naively, I anticipated questions, or at least statements of belief contrary to min, so I could share my answers.

    The strong wording of my post was deliberately polemical. Anyone familiar with my posts should have been able to discern this.

    I am looking for debate on the motion, and I presented my take as clearly, and one- sidedly, as I could.

    Thank you for taking me up on this Oyster. You have me second guessing myself.. I thought Zionism was something everyone here understood, and adhered to. They clearly act as adeherent, but they don’t know to what! Naturally, this is sad. Maybe someone should post on the virtues of Zionism, in order to educate us? I now honestly regret having takien the initiative from the negative position that I have. If you don’t convince me I am wrong about Zionism Oyster, then I will have to do it myself in some upcoming posts 😉

    For now, I will stick with the lot I have drawn:

    Neturei Karta-
    I stand by my support of this group. Their cooperation with Arafat? Who here has the details to judge? If you want me to believe your arguments, give me the details. It is my understanding that serving in a Palestinian Authority, created cooperatively with the Israeli state, under a nobel Prize laureate, doesn’t amount to crime by association. On numerous occasions, Neturei Karta have denounced terrorism and suicide bombers, and have made no calls for a violent end to the state of Isreal. They have expressed their opposition to the Zionist regime. Their participation in a conference questioning the place of the Holocaust in modern history, was noble. They were the only group to condemn it in-person in Teheran, unlike some armchair commentators sitting safe in suburbian paradises.

    Neturei Karta is painful proof of what I witness here on this blog. In response to my post, people react emotionally, they do not read, nor think. How else do you explain why besides Oyster, no one seems to have understood my call for a stronger, more viable Israel?

    Neturei Karta has been used wholeheartedly by Zionists to caricature and lambast legitimate Torah criticism, capitalising on credulous emotion, and ignorance. I am of the tradition that we listen to those who dissent, before we pigeon-hole them into the margins. I do this with Islamists, I can do it for Zionists, I can do it for the Black Panthers and KKK. It is pitiable that so many here, cannot share in this spirit. It is counter to the democratic sense. Thinking outside the box, requires you listen to those beyond its vertices.


    My support of Neturei Karta, and a slew of other critics of Zionism and what they dub as the Zionist Regime, is based on an interpreation of history and Torah, evidently censored, discouraged, and vilified in the mainstream community. Hence the arguments I am about to present, are unlikely to exite anyne here. Still:

    Zionism is a historical fallacy, because of its flawed assumption about Jewish identity.

    1) The right of return because of 1/4 Jewish ancestry, is modeled on Nuremberg Nazi laws. This is a historic fact, with historical ramifications. It is contrary to the Hallakhic definition of Jews. Disgusting in its implication, we as Jews have come to be defined by our enemies, by vermin of the earth. Our Torah imperative is Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, but the “we” is not the “we” of the Torah, but the “we” as defined by Hitler, for whome sanctity takes the form of funeral pires!

    2) Appart from being defined by our enemies, we have assumed a national-liberation ideal, a falsehood directly responsible for half the Nazi attrocities of this century, fascist attrocities, and two World Wars.

    3) The Torah is a divine document, and if you stray from such basic mitzvot which define a Jew, and accept secular, culturaly determined definitions, you stray from the Torah, onto the path of falsehood. What if not Zionism is this path? Who, if not Zionists, have forced this definition of ourselves upon us?

    This criticism has been formulated many times by religious Jews. In response, Zionists of religious stripes reared their heads, accepting a ludicrous moral compromise: grant Jews the right of return on the basis of Nazi laws, but forbid their marriage, internment, and a slew of other civil rights, on the basis of Hallakha!

    Translate this into real life: come and die for us, just don’t expect a decent burrial. Come and work for us, but you have to get married in Cyprus. It leads to politics of immigration promoted through mass conversions in Ethiopia and Nigeria, deliberate destabilisation of communities abroad, and four-tier segregation in the land of Isreal. Ask me about it, in case you don’t see four.


    My reference to theocratic. I called Isreal an unwieldlly theocratic pseudo-state. Maybe I should have called it a pseudo-theocratic state instead. Zionist policy vis a vis their Orthodox brethren have two historical phases:

    a) ostracise and convert Torah to Zionism
    b) entrap Torah through immigration

    The first was good as long as most aliot avowed socialism and the Orthodox were numerically insignificant. When the secularists alyas pettered out, the Zionists negotiated with Chareidi, granting them concesions in Israeli politics, by making room for Halakha. This led to the present Chareidi position, which does not condone the Zionist imperial enterprise, but which stands by the state of Isreal on the grounds of its large Jewish population.

    That is, by the way, a very large minority (40%) chareidi position, not to mention the explicit majority position of Chasidim.

    I call this casuistry, and is an entrapment of Torah in a secular cage, it is a ludicrous moral compromise, thanks to which some of you here can’t make out whats right from whats wrong, and can’t tell an unwieldly pseudo-theocratic state, from the likes of Saudi Arabia.

    You ask me for alternatives. I have one, its called Torah, and anti-Zionism Torah.

    The Zionists, and obviously those who carry their banner, have done the following:

    1) neglected Jewish communities worldwide, by manipulating our identity towards Israel. They have warped our understanding of what it is to be Jewish, and exaggerated the importance of a physical Isreal.

    2) Thay are so successful in this manipuatlion, that they manage to shake us down in diaspora for money, and idiological support, without so much as giving us any say in Isreali policies. Its not just taxation without representation, it is daylight robbery.

    3) Zionists are the chief beneficiaries of the new-antisemitism created and stimulated it, have framed the national discourse through it, and then coped out of their own responsibility for it. If this isn’t pulling wool over ones eyes… I guess it isn’t, because the eyes here are wide shut.

    4) My central accusation against Zionists is that they have transformed Torah into a political tool of their Nuremburg agenda. They have undermined Torah as a source of moral conduct, and judgement. For most of you here, Torah is just a cultural artefact of your Nuremburg identity. You use it to explain your support for Isreal, but strangely, not your total absence of care for other Jewish communities. You quote it in reference to Isreali occupation policy, yet strangely, not in support of its Palestinian victims. You refer to Torah when speaking of your religion, which then you use to speak of your ethnicity, with which you then ratioalise the existance of Isreal. Yet you can’t speak of Torah when speaking of the creation of this state, the populating (past continuous tense) of its borders, nor the dispossession of its owners.

    You don’t smell the fish when the only way to read Torah is in keeping with convenience? Political, Zionist convenience? What kind of Jew can read the Torah in a manner which amounts to ignoring its entire message?

    Who, I ask, has brought us this Jew, and who I ask has slaughtered the Torah so? It is a Nuremburg Jew, and it is a Torah as an artifact of Nuremburg Jews.

  16. AaronfromWG said

    From reading your last post I think we’re arguing about 2 different things. There are more than 1 type of Zionism. I don’t condone a bunch of anti-religious socialists who thought they could produce their paradise at the expense of other Jews. The Zionism I support is not one that says if your grandfather was Jewish than what the hey come on in. I believe in a Zionism more akin with traditional Judaism. The Zionism you understand is not the same as the one I support.

  17. minsky said

    Then how do you read your Torah?

  18. AaronfromWG said

    You have not explained the contradiction between Torah and Zionism in the broad sense of the term.

  19. Rich said


    I’m not sure what the word Zionism means to you. It’s so loaded these days I scarcely want to touch it, bit since I label myself a Zionist I suppose I have to.

    I don’t think Zionism Per Se is what’s threatening Israel. But Zionism comes in many flavors. There is the Zionism of AIPAC, the Settlers, and the Christian Right, which is militaristic and expansionist. Motives vary. AIPAC members probably have a lot of Smith and Wesson, Boeing and Caterpillar stock, and anything that keeps Israel buying M-16’s, F-16’s, and Bulldozers is good for their “money-frog.” Settlers and the Christian Right seem all about immanentizing the eschaton. In each case the motive virtually guarantees war without end. That should be a non-starter.

    But the basic nugget of Zionism, for me, is the notion of a people safe in its land. That means working for peace with the neighbors, and having the strength to make them want it too. Both morally and militarily.

    Right now, reading the news from Israel makes me want to klop the heads of both parties. The problem is not Zionism, but zionisms. Different visions, some lovely and utopian, some repugnant on their face, of what Israel should be.

    The most frightening sentiment is the notion that the creation of medinat yisrael is the “beginning of the flowering of our redemption,” because this is the ideology that leads to both expansionism and separatism.

  20. minsky said

    Thank you, I learned a new word “eschaton”, and I really like your perspective, which differs from my own, and at first strikes me as perhaps even better.

    You make the observation, which I find fascinating, that eschatology, rather than nationalism and politics of the body, lead to expansionism and separatism. Food for thought.

    We should remember history. Words don’t change meaning because we want them to. The likes of AIPAC do determine Zionisms present content largely in keeping with history.

    Your understanding of Zionism, while benign, while positive, is easily exploited by such institutions.

    Obviously, no one holding an ideology dear, is willing to accept the notion that their ideology is evil, i.e. a cause rather than an effect of conflict. No one in their right mind, not a Nazi or a Jihadi terrorist, believes himself an envoy of Evil -of Satan- no matter how much the White House claims to the contrary. Simon LeVay believed that the Devil is the trully Divine, and that it us who serve Satan when we read Torah, Koran, Bible (a somewhat dated idea, mind you). For him the Good was Evil, and the Evil, Good. Not very intellectual.

    If you identify as Zionist, when faced with the facts of Zionist fallacies, you will
    a) justify them
    b) deny them,
    or c) say “wait, I am a different Zionist”.

    You will not be able to accept that the ideology you may hold dear, is a cause of conflict. In all three scenarios, it is the result (justification).

    Perhaps what you are doing Rich, is saying “I accept that Zionism can be bad… but not my kind”. I.e. what I believe, the version I hold dear, is not the bad one.

    The trouble is we don’t really know that.
    In so far as you alter the traditional meaning of Zionism, and replace it with one of convenience you are different. In so far as your Zionism does not produce differentiated results either ideationally or practically, you aren’t different.

    I can’t know which holds true in your case. You say your ideology is “condusive to peace” This is the default, we all say it. But ask yourself, in as much as your thought is not differentiated, does it really? This begs details. I fear, that you may just find that your ideology is not Zionism in any sense commonly used, that you’ve been sold the PR line, without any content.

    We have all been sold the shill that Zionism is a Santa’s elf colony hard at work for Peace. Who if not the Zionists, are the peaceniks here? Yes, Zionism is peace through negotiations for the sake of a Jewish home — on paper.

    In practice, historical facts reveal that force, Peace through force, through war, through conquest, is the crux of Zionism. Your benign definition runs the danger of whitewash.

    Because, what is the Zionist definition of a Jew?
    -Come and die, we will evaluate later if you can buried with other “Jews.” (Nuremburg)

    What is their notion of a home?
    Suddenly! Out of the blue, the winged Torah appears! Torah as a convenient political tool. Zionism 2.0 (Religious), rears its head.

    Does eschatology usher destruction? Certainly. It is the form of present Evangelical Zionism. Does nationalism, and identity politics usher in destruction, certainly, in the form of Zionism, either 1.0, or 2.0.


    The subjection of the Torah to a political interpretation is a corruption of the Torah. I wasn’t clear enough in my criticism above, but if you reread it, you fit into the second phase Zionists, and what is said of Zionists effect on Torah, applies to you – judging mostly by your initial reactions.

    Lets limit our discussion strictly to Torah, and begin with this:

    As a religious Zionist, how do you interpret the following Principle of the faith from Maimonides, extracted from the Oral Law (which is the Torah, or isn’t it?)

    Principle XII. The era of the Messiah

    And this is to believe that in truth that he will come and that you should be waiting for him even though he delays in coming. And you should not calculate times for him to come, or to look in the verses of Tanach to see when he should come…. And he who doubts or diminishes the greatness of the Messiah is a denier in all the Torah for it testifies to the Messiah explicitly in the portion of Bilam and the portion of


    I realize, that far from debating political ideologies, we are debating identity. It is a deeper question than I imagined. While I dislike Zionism, I now see that in a sad way, our alternatives are few. I obviously subscribe to such an alternative, but I didn’t know just how radically different it was. We don’t even share basic premises, nor understanding of the Torah, so how can we possible discuss different worlds. We should perhaps, just debate the identity.

  21. minsky said

    sorry, didn’t intend to make it all bold, not the disclaimer

  22. Oyster said


    There is the Zionism of AIPAC, the Settlers, and the Christian
    Right, which is militaristic and expansionist.

    You couldn’t be more wrong, Rich. AIPAC is only as Zionist as the
    government of Israel is Zionist. They don’t uphold a particular brand
    of Zionism when they lobby, as the Zionist Organization of America
    (ZOA) does. Whatever the the current government of Israel supports,
    whether it be settlements under both Labor and Likud governments, or
    support for the Oslo Accords in the early 90’s, AIPAC always supports
    the Israeli position. Contrast that with ZOA, which because it is a
    supporter of a particular view of Zionism, at times supports or
    doesn’t support the actions of the State of Israel. So you trying to
    tar & feather AIPAC as a right-wing organization falls flat.

    The most frightening sentiment is the notion that the creation of
    medinat yisrael is the “beginning of the flowering of our
    redemption,” because this is the ideology that leads to both
    expansionism and separatism.

    That’s a nice claim, but there’s no logical connection. Creating a
    Jewish state does not by definition mean expansionism after its
    creation. As for ‘separatism’, I’m not sure what you mean.

  23. Oyster said


    I like your ruminations on the rhetoric of ideological
    dodging. Reminiscent of the distance that Leftists in the US worked
    furiously to make between them and the USSR after the horrors of the
    Stalinist purges came to light, you claim that Rich & others (perhaps
    including me) dodge taking responsibility for being Zionists when you
    attack Zionism.

    It is easy to proclaim people’s irresponsibility to an ideal when you
    are the sole arbiter of who believes in what, and you yourself refuse
    to disclose your own ideological views. You don’t like Zionism, yet
    you support a strong Israel. So what do you actually stand for? What is
    your ‘Post-Zionism’ all about? If you refuse to illustrate what
    exactly you have in mind when you proclaim Zionism to be so inferior,
    then the credibility of your stance seems to fade. Sunshine, after
    all, is often the best medicine.

    You keep on bringing up the Israeli Law of Return. I
    provide the link to allow people to get some background on this
    law. First off, the whole “any grandchild of a Jew” clause was a much
    later addition, being approved as an amendment to the law in 1970. The
    oft-stated motivation is that while religious Jews know the fine
    points of the “who-is-a-Jew” debate, Antisemites aren’t as picky. As
    an act of Tzedek, Israel provides a safe-haven for those persecuted by

    But Israel doesn’t proclaim these people as Jews, just as Israeli
    citizens. Last I checked, there’s no problem with there being Israeli
    citizens that are not Jewish. Just ask all the Israeli Arabs that
    stayed in the Israeli state after 1948. So please, enough with the
    ‘Nuremberg’ rhetoric. Israel in this matter makes a distinction
    between the civil status of an individual, versus the religious
    status (in direct contrast to your claims of theocracy, which you have
    conveniently avoided explaining despite my request).

    As for your evocation of Maimonides to denounce Zionism, it is a real
    stretch to imply that this quotation backs up your position. Has any
    Zionist government of Israel proclaimed the imminent arrival of the
    Messiah? No. Have they worked to rebuild the Temple? No. In fact, the
    State of Israel works very hard to keep lunatics from trying to
    destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in their crazed bid to
    hasten the arrival of the Messianic Age.

    Maimonides himself eventually moved to Israel. If it is permissible
    for Maimonides to live in Israel, then it is permissible for other
    Jews to live there, too.

    Your quotation looks like it was prematurely truncated. Was there more
    to it?

  24. minsky said

    So because bigots are not picky you accept their right to define a Jew?

    Islamists call anyone collaborating with the West and Isreal, a Jew.

    Welcome to Israel?

    No, because Israel accepts only Nazi definition of Anti-Semitic persecution.


    1970 was not the year Nuremburg resurfaced. The law was interpreted on a Nuremburg basis since its 1950 passage by the Knesset. The 1970 amendment arose out of religious challanges to this reading!

    Yes, this is about Nuremburg. Read the full text of the Law of Return. 1/4 Jewish you get status of Oleh, which assumes Jewishness, as defined before the 1970 amendment. As for spouses, please look up the word Rassenschande and the year 1935.


    Two important points. Citizenship implies nationality. As far as Nationality and Religion are fused in Isreal, the distinction between Oleh mischling, and Oleh proper, is immaterial. As far as discrimination and Zionism 2.0 are concerned, mischling introduces you to legal schitzophrenia.


    Speaking of schitzophrenia, and Zionism.

    Who granted Israel its first de jure recognition at the UN? Who armed it to the hilt in its clensing of the Palestinians, making the Declaration a Possibility?

    -Stalin, nearly six months before Truman. While Americans enforced UK initiated and UN mandated embargos on Isreali arm imports, Czechoslovakia – under direct orders from Stalin, did otherwise.

    That’s Zionism. Anything goes. Initially Left-wing, secularist, Nuremburg defined Jews in the USSR, later in the USA. The Chareidi sat on the sidelines, for obvious religious reasons. Today, tangled mess, half-truths, feverish zelotry and blinders.

    Of course, Stalin isn’t emphasized in history books, afterall who would want to be in bed with Satan? Zionism. It will get in bed with anyone. Hence AIPAC, arrogating our sentiment, money, and energy, for Stalin’s bastard child.


    Rambam was a Muslim by that time he briefly settled in Israel, if he hadn’t converted, he would have been dead, and had never made the journey. So what you are really asking is if Rambam could visit Isreal by converting to Islam, should we make any laws forbiding Muslims from the right of return? 😉

    The 12th principle clearly implies that if you hasten the days of Meshiachs coming, you reject Torah. The quote was aimed at Aron, and a direct shot accross the bow of Zionism 2.0

    Chareidi Zionists, accept that we are living in Messianic times, hence Isreal is acceptable.


    Each one of them is “a denier in all the Torah”, according to Maimonides.


    My own ideology, is expressed by this New York Times Magazine about Lev Leviev.


    Zionists are oblivious, and entirely useless for Jews in the Diaspora. Compared to the likes of Lev Leviev and Lubavich Chabad, they are insignificant. Leviev, and Chabad, accept the state of Isreal because Halakhic-Jews actually live there, not because of Zionisms need for a “Jew- Safehouse”. They will be active in Isreal for Jews sake, not the state, or nation-state of Isreal’s sake.

    Contrary to Zionists, I have an ideological commitment to World Jewry. Zionism has annuled this commitment, due to its Nuremburg inspired cult of the Fatherland and the JudischeVolk.

    My vision is one of Strong global Jewish communities, which gets American money sittings of its two cheeked-ass of Itself and Israel. Second, to modernise Israel, move it beyond Nuremburg, and disregard entirely its Jewish nature, while supporting its committed Jewish communities. That is to say, support the Jews living there, not by ceding control of the state burocracy, but by supporting their religious life.

    This way we can abandon racist policies of population promotion, discriminatory law against Sabras, and secularists, and everything else that comes with the schitzophrenia of redefining jews according to Nuremburg laws in pursuit of Nazi notions of a nation state.

  25. minsky said

    Here is the crux of the identity matter, expressed by someone, who I am in no way endorsing, but who puts it precisely

    The 3 millennium Jewish humanitarian tradition is the greatest contribution of the
    Jewish people to humanity – but is a tradition that is still being horribly violated by
    racist Zionism both in the Middle East and in Western countries such as Australia,
    UK, Canada and the US – countries in which the Israel Lobby has had a corrosive
    effect on societal humanist values e.g. the horrendous, “terror hysteria”-driven, Nazistyle violations of our Western human and civil rights.
    (Gideon Polya)

  26. minsky said

    Here is an example of the central postulates of Zionism, negating Jewish religious identity:

    “Even an act of conversion cannot relieve the Jew of the enormous pressure of German anti-Semitism. The Germans hate the religion of the Jews less than they hate their race – they hate the peculiar faith of the Jews, less than their peculiar noses.” (Moses Hess, from the World Zionist Organization Website)

    Read the rest of the article and assuming you know Torah, tell me honestly it isn’t a perversion of the Torah?

  27. minsky said

    To Bay Area Isreali.

    In response to your comments on sukkot post.

    I will repeat to you, what I will say to anyone who speaks of violence.

    Its wrong. Electronic punch, ok (in as much as its joke, not real threat)

    Real violence, or its threat, is wrong. Even in retaliation. Violence does not legitimize violence. It is legally acceptable only as a recourse to cease violence being perpetrated. Retaliation, does not qualify.

    That said.

    I welcome you to contribute to the debate about Zionism. I have my positions, which I have an absolute right to have. I even have the right to persuade anyone of it. You have tbis right too. A perfect right to disagree, and persuade me. Please do.

    I am only happy to hear what you have to say. There is nothing worse than being in tow to a philosophy or ideology, that you haven’t reviewed, or inspected. Please persuade me, that I have not inspected sufficiently my anti-Zionist position.

  28. bay area Israeli said


    I accept your invitation: I feel it is a MITZVA to correct a mistaken Jew who might, god forbid, do immense harm to his own people. Pls send me a link to your blog/post.

  29. bay area Israeli said

    Strange, I see my comment already in the anti-Zionist arena. Very well.

    I will start by refuting you claim about violence. “right and wrong” are relative terms.
    I believe retaliation is necessary, as it was shown (“mathematically”) in game theory to be necessary for strategy to be “genetically stable”.

    So, if you want your population to survive, it must retaliate against violence. I guess this also makes it “right” (otherwise we wouldn’t have anyone to define what’s right and what’s wrong).

    As for the “punch” comment, don’t worry, I’m hardly the man to commit a crime. Nevertheless, you must be aware that in your propaganda you harm me personally. I may not get an academic position in Israel because of you. Further, I have done nothing to you, or the Palestinians for that matter, to deserve this. For this I have reason to be angry, very angry at people like you.

    I’ll now read your post, which I’m sure is the usual historically-challenged stuff I see alot, and respond.

  30. bay area Israeli said


    First as to Burg, he is a despicable person who speaks of pacifism and on the other side tries to use his political connections to buy a weapons factory. He stood on trial for some corruption charge, in which the judge wrote in his statement that his behavior is immoral and inappropriate by any standards. I hope that convinces you he is the lowest of the low, if not the fact of his words now, less than ten years after holding the highest position in the Zionist organization. He makes me sick, let’s not discuss him anymore.

    As for your title, racism carries lots of negative tones with it, try to ignore these in the following. Zionism is racism, but the positive flavor. It is the realization that the Jewish nation deserves a country of its own. Yes, that means that this country does not belong to other nations, Palestinians or Zulu. I a perfect world, I would be against it, but what to do, it is a necessity, as history as proven many times.

    Most Zionists are not zealous as you imply. On the contrary, most are atheists.

  31. minsky said

    I dont have a blog. This is it- the post in question.


    I dont need Burg to be a pacifist. I don’t promote pacifism. Violence, as such, must be used to stop violence. This is the nature of the game.

    Speaking of games. The equilibria to which you refer, are a peculiar mix of Maynard Smith and Ronald Fisher. The latter being a eugenist, basking in the need to promote a better human race through breeding. Really, a Galtonite of sorts.

    In game theories of retaliation, I am not familiar with any postulate allowing for frivolous or inspired revenge. Rather, always in keeping with the overall pursuit of peace.

    So either we are not speaking about the same theory, or we don’t understand it the same way. Send me a link about it, just in case.

    Regardless of his moral character, Burg is right about the unworkability of Israel’s present arrangement.

    About Right or wrong. We have a Jewish ethic, or don’t we?

    Zionism compromised it.

    Zionists have convinced us that the end justifices the means, and that if we don’t support their project, we corrupt our Jewish identity, and we threaten Jews.

    You bought this line.

    If there is anyone who puts you in danger, it is Zionists, and your adherence to Zionism. The blind obedience to to means rather than goals. Who sold you the lie that you can be an Israeli, without being a Jew, and that you can be a Jew, just by being Israeli? Zionists.

    You put yourself in danger, as long as you reject Jewish ethics, and believe that just by being born somewhere or with some lineage, you are entitled to something.

    Jewish ethics isn’t about being, it is about striving to be. Viz Moshe, and forget the lies the Zionists sold you.



    Did I once say Zionism was racist? I put it as a question. The association with Nuremburg laws, is a fact. I can’t be blamed for it, nor should I be censored from stating it.

    If the association is negative, blame those who made it. Blame the Zionists.

    As for racism, the word is a dud. About as much a dud as the “new anti-semitism”.

    I can, if you are really interested, dig into the record, and post quote upon quote and even some studies, of the consciousness underpinning Zionism, and Nazism. There are so many Nazi’s who thought Zionism was a great idea, it will make your head spin. Equally, there were Zionists who approved of Nazisms nationalist logic, of a pure state based on race, and agreed on the basic premise “that to each his own.”

    The ties here, ties that bind, are undeniable.

    They are unfortunately codified in Israeli law.


    Of course, this doesn’t mean, that Zionism is Nazism. I never implied this! Many ideologies share common roots. Slavery is both condoned and abolished by Judeo-Christian theology. So the real question is what does it matter, if we define Jews on the basis of Nuremberg laws?

    My answer-

    It matters in as much as it
    1) forces a misinterpretation of the Torah and Judaism (Jewish ethics, responsibility)
    2) drags us into ethically untenable positions
    3) Corrodes and mutilates what being a Jew is about.


    What we are debating is does the fact that Zionism choses to redefine the Jew in purely ethnic terms impact Jewish conduct?

    I say it does.

  32. bay area Israeli said

    I’ll quote Irshad Manji “Israel gives an edge to a specific minority that has faced historical injustice. In that sense, the Jewish state is an affirmative action polity. Liberals should love it.”

    I like her characterization, Zionism is “affirmative action” rather than racism. I also strongly recommend you read her book.

    A general point: seems your criticism is mainly academic/idealists, you’re not referring to any particular incident. I don’t want to argue about the definitions of Zionism and so forth, it is pointless in my opinion. The important part is Zionism de-facto – the creation and survival of the state of Israel as a Jewish state.

    I don’t know about you, but I feel much safer with this country alive an well as it is, with the Jewish identity. I think you should to, who knows, maybe some of your grandparents thought otherwise and are no longer with us.

    Saying that Zionism corrodes Jewish ethics and so forth is ridiculous. A set of ideas does not corrode anything, it is just out there and anyone can accept it or not. Lucky for me, many people accept Zionism and make it work (and I don’t think that many of them are any less ethical than you).

    At some point I see you’re comparing Zionism to Nazism. This is very distasteful, provocative and pointless. If you have criticism say it. Obviously the connotations are very different (unless you want to accuse Zionists of similar crimes, in which case I’m done visiting this web page).
    Please state your arguments without needless provocations.

    PS. Forget the violence/retaliation part, this is really not the issue (nevertheless, if you want to learn more search the web for evolutionary game theory, prisoners dilemma etc. No one can make the projection from math to politics. Still, it makes lot of intuitive sense that a good strategy retaliates and there is some science to support it).

  33. “Violence, as such, must be used to stop violence.”

    I would rephrase violence as a righteous anger.
    Modern Jews seem to have forgotten what that is.

    “I’ll quote Irshad Manji “Israel gives an edge to a specific minority that has faced historical injustice. In that sense, the Jewish state is an affirmative action polity. Liberals should love it.””

    We have diamonds in our own backyard. Why turn to our mortal enemies for wisdom?

    Regarding comparison to Nazis: Nazi spells out as German National Socialist Party. Secular Zionists are nothing more than the Jewish version of a Socialist party. As any Socialist dictatorship, it does not allow for a dissenting opinion. That’s why in Israel, any Jew speaking up for Torah values that differ from the crimes being committed by Israel’s government, are political prisoners. Israel is a police state where you are only free to talk about injustices toward Arabs. Jewish rights and aspirations are ignored, ridiculed.

  34. minsky said

    Saying that Zionism corrodes Jewish ethics and so forth is ridiculous. A set of ideas does not corrode anything, it is just out there and anyone can accept it or not.

    You are obviously a physicist, or simlar hard science. Please re-state the above in regards to the ideas of Nazism, Islamism, Communism, or anyone living with a “bias”.

    Lucky for me, many people accept Zionism and make it work (and I don’t think that many of them are any less ethical than you).

    You are lucky, others are not – both tripped over the same stone.

    My ethics. I think compromises on issues like the Armenian genocide, are sick. The causes are clearly ideological. Some love working with the Turks, some have moral qualms. Personally, I will not judge any of the individuals, just a collective ideology. It’s fairer, no?


    Comparisons to Nazism, and Zionism. Please, a comparsion is absolutely legitimate. Comparing means both finding commonalities and differences. As an academic, will you judge the approach, simply because you fear the conclusions? Rest assured, its a foregone conclusion, that the differences far outweigh the commonalities, of which, there ara a few.

    Maoz points one out. I mentioned Nuremberg, because its a fact. Complain to the Knesset.

    Other than that, I dislike Palestinian anti-Zionist rallies, where swastikas are displayed alongside magen david and Israel’s flag.

  35. Oy Bay! said

    […] on San Francisco Art Gallery Cens…steve on San Francisco Art Gallery Cens…minsky on If Zionism isn’t racism,…lchaimlover on The Protocols of the Elders of…AaronfromWG on San Francisco Art Gallery […]

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