Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: one-state solution

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Trump, Zionism and Antisemitism

Von Dr. phil. Clemens Heni, 22. Februar 2017

Times of Israel (Blogs)

Several Jewish and non-Jewish NGOs, scholars, activists, bloggers and authors believe, the Trump administration will fight antisemitism and will be helpful both for Jews and Israel.

Their derealization of sexism is shocking enough. But no surprise either.

Let’s have a look at Trump, antisemitism and Zionism alone.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) argues that Trump might consider strong anti-BDS legislation. The Simon Wiesenthal Center prayed for Trump at the inauguration and the Louis D. Brandeis Center  is hopeful that Trump will be fighting antisemitism, too.

Journalist Benjamin Weinthal (Jerusalem Post) and his colleague from SPME, Asaf Romirowsky, claim:

In late December, with just weeks left in his administration, former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a shot in the arm to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, or BDS. Obama instructed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, to abstain instead of vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution rebuking Israeli settlement activity.

Resolution 2334 deems Israel’s presence in disputed territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be illicit. Combined five days later with a didactic anti-Israel speech from Secretary of State John Kerry, the resolution administered a body blow to Israel’s brand.

The Middle East Forum’s (MEF) director Greg Roman attacks the resolution 2334, which is no surprise, but still lacks a scholarly analysis of the resolution. The Simon Wiesenthal Center puts the Obama Administration on place one of their “Top-Ten worst global antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents 2016”:

The most stunning 2016 UN attack on Israel was facilitated by President Obama when the US abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction.

What says United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 from December 2016?

Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.

That is not antisemitic. On the contrary, the UNSC again reaffirms the very existence of Israel!

John Kerry’s speech was even clearer and very pro-Zionist:

This is an issue which I’ve worked on intensely during my time as Secretary of State for one simple reason: because the two state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors.

This is exactly the position of leading Zionist scholars in the field, such as Fania Oz-Salzberger, Yedidia Z. Stern, Gadi Taub, Ruth Gavison or Anita Shapira, at least in my reading of their book “The Israeli Nation-State” from 2014, which I just translated into German (with my colleague Dr. Michael Kreutz) and published the book (456 pages) this week.

John Kerry wanted to “ensure” that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Period.

However, the self-declared pro-Israel establishment in the US or Germany, runs riot against resolution 2334 and the Obama administration. Now they embrace Trump, more or less.

Even Kenneth Marcus from the Louis D. Brandeis Center, known for thoughtful analysis and scholarship in antisemitism, rejects any analysis of the very specific way Trump fueled antisemitism in the last 15 months or longer. Marcus rather obfuscates the very new climate in the US after the election of Trump and says:

“In today’s heated political climate Marcus said anti-Semitism is rampant in both pro-Trump supporters and anti-Trump groups, among others, and should not be attributed to one source.“

It is not news that leftists are anti-Zionist, for example, but it is news that the neo-Nazi Alt Right is now sitting in the White House (Steve Bannon, Breitbart). And the unbelievable increase of antisemitic incidents in the US has very close connection to the extrem right and not to the left. Neo-Nazis have been emboldened by Trump, no doubt about this.

Marcus concludes (this is from a report about a talk he gave) and even sees Trump as a possible ally:

“The Trump Administration could be another factor in the battle against anti-Semitism. (…) Marcus credited the Trump campaign for issuing a statement expressing concern about campus anti-Semitism, and for comments indicating that the Department of Justice would address university suppression of Jewish pro-Israel speech. Marcus doesn’t know if any of this will translate into policy, but he’s hopeful.“

Crediting Trump – unbelievable.

Then, those in the pro-Israel camp who defame Kerry should listen to a single speech by Iranian President Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in order to learn how an anti-Israel speech sounds like. Then, they should listen to John Kerry’s speech about resolution 2334 and rethink their unprofessional remarks that Kerry‘s speech was a “didactic anti-Israel speech” as Weinthal and Romirowsky frame it.

If it is anti-Israel to support the Jewish and democratic state of Israel and to be against religious and nationalist fanaticism and the settlements, read: to be for a two-state solution, than most Israelis and Jews in the US and worldwide are anti-Israel.

Palestinian rejectionism is a huge problem, of course, ever since 1947 and before.

But Israeli fanaticism is also a huge problem, just listen to the six Shin Bet directors between 1980 and 2011, who are interviewed in the Oscar nominated film “The Gatekeepers” by Dror Moreh in 2012, featuring Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, Yuval Diskin, Carmi Gillon, Yaakov Peri, Avraham Shalom. They emphasize that the Palestinians are not just terrorists. They are political subjects and need political acceptance by Israel (and of course, vice versa, but that is NOT news).

We need a political solution, not a military solution, that is their message – and thesse former Shin Bet directors from 1980 through 2011 might know more about the Palestinians and how to fight terrorism and how not and what is good or bad for Israel than American or European activists.

But there are also those Israeli fanatics in the 1990s, including Benjamin Netanyahu, to be sure, who agitated against Yitzhak Rabin, as the film shows, until Rabin was killed, November 4, 1995. How does Israel look like today?

A Question to all those American and other Trump supporters: Is it a sign of a particular pro-Jewish approach to omit the mentioning of Jews as the only victims of the Shoah on Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2017? Historian Deborah Lipstadt called Trump’s statement a “softcore Holocaust denial.”

Finally, and most importantly, if it is pro-Israel to destroy the Jewish state and to invoke or mention (as a result of stupidity, thoughtlessness or by intention) the “one-state solution” as President Trump did during his shocking and embarrassing press conference with Netanyahu on February 15, 2017, then things are turned upside down. Trump and his folks will call it “alternative facts.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.  (Laughter.)  I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.  I can live with either one.“

No problem for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) or the Louis D. Brandeis Center and their allies?

David Horowitz from the Times of Israel concludes:

“And yet, by allowing Trump’s talk of a possible single entity between river and sea to pass without contradiction, Netanyahu himself dealt a stinging, public blow to the Israel we are living in today. For if our prime minister is unwilling to speak up, loudly and clearly, in defense of a Jewish, democratic Israel within internationally recognized borders, who else will? Certainly not President Donald Trump.”

©ClemensHeni

Haaretz embraces Trump, Arendt and the one-state solution

Von Dr. phil. Clemens heni, 17. Februar 2017

Times of Israel (Blogs)

In an article in Haaretz, February 16, 2017, Chemi Shalev invokes Hannah Arendt and her bestselling study “Origins of Totalitarianism.” Arendt introduced the highly problematic concept of “totalitarianism” in 1951, an extremely unhelpful concept, today dedicated to equate left and right, Nazis and Communists. Shalev shares her equation of right and left:

“To create the ‘artificially fabricated insanity’ on which they depend, the Nazis produced hatred of Jews, and the Communists enemies of the people, creating common ground for isolated individuals and giving them a new, unifying ‘self-definition.’”

As all know in Israel, Arendt was among the worst commentators on the Eichmann trial. In Germany, this is among the reasons, people like her so much, by the way.

Most importantly for us today is Arendt’s obsessive anti-Zionism as early as in the mid-1940s. Her article “Zionism reconsidered” from 1945 was a blast to the political Zionist movement, just months after the Shoah ended.

Among the worst things, a scholar can do, is comparing her to Critical Theory, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse etc. (I never understood why my colleague Lars Rensmann, also a political scientist, embraces the analogy or relationship of Arendt and Critical Theory, although we know that both detested each other, Critical Theory Arendt and Arendt Critical Theory, for many reasons. However, it is highly fashionable topic in academia, to be sure, regardless if it is relevant or not.)

Critical Theory was Marxist and pro-Israel, despite the difficulties Horkheimer had with the Jewish STATE.

Arendt, though, was against political Zionism, she favored a “binational” solution. Like Trump!

Trump just said two days ago at the press conference with Netanyahu in the White House, he is fine with a ” two-state solution OR a one-state solution.”

Shockingly, Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev is in favor of Arendt as a forerunner of Trump in that respect — while using Arendt as a critic of Trump’s mob-elite relationship:

Trump’s most ludicrous moment of the evening, of course, came when he uttered his “one state, two state, whatever” formula, which sounded like a ham-handed effort to fulfill a request from the Prime Minister’s Office not to complicate Netanyahu’s life with his coalition back home. One can understand Trump, for whom words are not cardinal and who can simply deny he ever said them or accuse the media of distorting them, even though they were broadcast on live TV. The rest of the world however, has no choice but to take Trump’s statements seriously, irresponsible as they were because he is, unbelievable as it remains, the president of the United States.

The irony is that talk of a one-state solution can also take one back to Arendt, whose early Zionism developed into ambivalence in her later years. Arendt supported a Jewish “homeland” in Palestine and was a great admirer of the social and cultural achievements of the pre-State Yishuv, which she saw as redesigning the modern Jew. But she also supported a one-state solution, as it is defined today, that is a binational Jewish-Arab state along the lines advocated by philosopher Martin Buber and Hebrew University president Judah Magnes, and who knows, because he really doesn’t care, Donald Trump as well.

Arendt would have been fine with that! Just re-read her “Zionism reconsidered” from 1945. Kurt Blumenfeld was furious about it, like his friend Gershom Scholem. Scholem once was a binational Zionist from the Brith Shalom group in the 1920s and early 1930s, but around 1936 Scholem had become a political Zionist, fighting on the rooftops of Jerusalem with a rifle in his hands, against the Arabs and Muslims who rejected Jews to have their own state.

Arendt never understood that shift of Scholem from cultural Zionism and binationalism to political Zionism.

On January 16, 1946, Scholem visited Kurt Blumenfeld at his home in Jerusalem. He gave him a copy of the Menorah Journal from fall 1945, with Arendt’s “Zionism Reconsidered” in it. Blumenfeld, one must know, was born in 1884 and more than 20 years older than Arendt (born 1906) and what we would call today a “cool” and vibrant person in Weimar Republic’s 1920s Zionist and Jewish circles. It was Blumenfeld, who motivated Arendt to deal with antisemitism and with Zionism in the first place, and he made Arendt familiar with cigars etc. Philosopher Hans Jonas wanted Arendt to join him for a talk Blumenfeld gave in Heidelberg in 1926, and at that event, Arendt met Blumenfeld for the first time.

The following day, January 17, 1946, Blumenfeld wrote a letter to his old friend Felix Rosenblüth, who became Israel’s first Minister of Justice (he gave himself a Hebrew name, of course, Pinhas Rosen). Blumenfeld was shocked about the tone of Arendt. Her “journalist superficiality” was not news to him, but still remarkable. Her anti-Zionism combined with her arrogance and disrespectful tone towards Zionists, battling for a Jewish state, was too much for Blumenfeld.[i] He broke with Arendt (but become affiliated with her again, just to get in trouble with her after Arendt’s publication on the Eichmann trial).

I dealt with Arendt and her political father, Kurt Blumenfeld, and the way Blumenfeld criticized her in 1946 in my book about “Critical Theory and Israel” (in German), as well as the pro-Israel stance of Critical Theorists Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Leo Löwenthal. Erich Fromm, though, also an early member of the Horkheimer circle of Critical Theorists in the 1930s, became an ardent anti-Zionist.

It is a truly bad idea to invoke Arendt and to promote Trump’s indifference towards Israel as a Jewish state – and his flirt, with a binational, non-Jewish state, the one-state solution. It is shocking that an American President publicly mentions the option of a “one-state solution.” That is anti-Zionism, whether from the left, who embraces the end of the Jewish state, or the right, who wants a one-state with no rights for the new Palestinian citizens.

The extreme right and the extreme left with join Chemi Shalev in his obsession with Arendt (Judith Butler is a long-time fan of Arendt, as is her friend Seyla Benhabib, I deal with that in my study on Critical Theory and Israel).

The one-state solution is anti-Zionist. As shown, even close allies of Arendt like her political father Kurt Blumenfeld, were shocked about her tone and anti-Zionist ideology in 1945/46.

Trump is a huge threat to Jews in America and to Israel. He made a soft-core denial of the Shoah on January 27, 2017, he rejects questions about rising antisemitic attacks on synagogues in America, he employs neo-Nazi allies such as Steve Bannon, and he invoked conspiracy myths every single day, and repeats lies, lies, lies. The Simon Wiesenthal Center or the German monthly Jüdische Rundschau and its publisher Rafael Korenzecher, as well as members of German-Israeli Friendship Society (like Nikoline Hansen from the Berlin-Brandenburg chapter) are supporters of Trump. They are smashing the pro-Israel camps in the US, and Europe. Or they will make the pro-Israel camp look like Trumpists. WTF.

To embrace Trumps one-state flirt and to compare him to Arendt is not an “irony,” as Haaretz’ Chemi Shalev believes. It is anti-Zionist ideology.

What we need is criticism of racism in Israel, of the religious fanatics, the settler movement, and the possibility of an annexation of the Westbank. That would result in the end of the Zionist dream and the Jewish state.

Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Trump will never learn that lesson, Arendt never tried to really learn it.

[i] The letter from Kurt Blumenfeld to Felix Rosenblüth from January 17, 1946, reads like follows: „Gestern abend war Gerhard Scholem bei mir mit der Herbstnummer des Menorah Journal. Bei dieser Gelegenheit lernte ich Hannahs Artikel ‚Zionism Recon­sid­er­ed‘ kennen. Da ich leicht dazu neige, in meiner Kritik über das Ziel zu schießen, wartete ich Scholems Meinung ab. Sie war noch schärfer und gering­schätziger. (…) Ich be­daure meinen Brief an Hannah.[i] Nicht etwa, weil dieser Artikel ein unerträgliches Misch­masch einer in diesen Dingen Halbgebildeten ist, sondern weil sich dort Charakter­züge enthüllen, die mich schon einmal veranlaßt haben, meine Beziehungen zu Hannah abzubrechen. Dieses Mal kommt alles noch deutlicher und unschöner zum Ausdruck. Daß sie uns Sektierer nennt, ist mir unwichtig. Die Ignoranz in zionist­ischen Dingen (wobei ich nicht nur an die Bemerkung über ‚General Zionists‘ denke, die einem ernsten Forscher nicht passieren dürfen), überrascht mich auch nicht, da ich Hannahs journalistische Oberflächlichkeit und Voreiligkeit zur Genüge kenne. Furchtbar ist die Minderwertigkeit, die sich in ihren menschlichen Bewertungen manifestiert. Ein völlig unbeteiligter, herzloser Mensch, der über eine Chuzpe verfügt, zu der er nicht das geringste Recht hat, schreibt hier über unter schwersten Bedingungen sich entwickelndes Leben, über das sie sich durch Hörensagen verschnörkelte Begriffe gebildet hat. (…) Der Artikel im Menorah Journal enthüllt für mich sehr stark eine psychopathische Seite in Hannahs Wesen. Es ist ein bis zum Aberwitz übersteigertes Ressentiment zu fühlen; die sonderbare, mit Heftigkeit geführte Kontroverse, ob Judenhaß dauern oder verschwinden wird, ist dafür besonders bezeichnend. Für Hannahs menschliche Situation, nicht nur für ihre politische, ist es notwendig, das Verschwinden des Antisemitismus zu prognostizieren. Im zionistischen Bewußtsein Palästinas spielt übrigens der Judenhaß im Galuth keine entscheidende Rolle. (…) Ich würde sogar Hannahs Antizionismus noch mit Gelassenheit hinnehmen, wenn ich über die Gehässigkeit und Gemeinheit der Darstellung hinwegkommen könnte. Ich kann es nicht.“ (Kurt Blumenfeld (1976): Im Kampf um den Zionismus. Briefe aus fünf Jahrzehnten. Herausgegeben von Miriam Sambursky und Jochanan Ginat, Stutt­gart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 197–98).

©ClemensHeni

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