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October 10, 2017 1:48 pm

Israel and its History Under Siege

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avatar by Jerold Auerbach


Thomas Suárez. Photo: CAA.

Of the publishing of anti-Israel books there is no end. According to London-based writer and musician Thomas Suárez, Israel is “a racially predicated state” based on “blood descent” that is “consistent with the Nazi definition of a Jew.” His State of Terror (2017) is a vitriolic diatribe against Zionism and Israel for its “expropriation of land and labor” and “brutal ethnic cleansing,” a “continuing injustice” aligning it with “all settler-colonial projects” that share “the need to dehumanize those it seeks to displace or subordinate.”

Ever since the Balfour Declaration in 1917, in Suárez’s fanciful concoction of history, Zionism made “ethnic cleansing of non-Jewish Palestinians . . . integral to their plans.” Palestine became an “overt settler project” under the League of Nations mandate, which encouraged the fusion of “archaeology, divine right, the collective Western subconscious, and genetics” into what eventually became the “settler state” of Israel. “Like fascist-era Germany,” Suárez continues, “Israel defined Jews as a race (blood descent).” He exonerates Palestinian terrorism as “a reaction to Zionist ethnic subjugation and expropriation of land, resources and labor.”

Relying primarily on an array of hostile British government sources to bolster his indictment, Suárez provides a tedious recounting of every Irgun and Lehi attack during and after the World War II years. It seems never to occur to him that his primary source base might have had an anti-Zionist bias. British government officials in London were hardly neutral as they confronted the imminent loss, no less to Jews, of an important Middle East base. For reasons that he does not explore, 100,000 British troops in Palestine were “impotent against Zionist terror.”

Suárez finds American counterparts to strengthen his anti-Zionist diatribe. The American Council for Judaism, a tiny group of wealthy Reform Jews frightened lest Zionism provoke accusations of dual loyalty, was appalled lest “a racial-nationalist Jewish State in Palestine” create a “self-imposed ghetto.” The New York Times, the journalistic pillar of Reform anti-Zionism under publishers Adolph S. Ochs and his son-in-law Arthur Hays Sulzberger, embraced the council’s slander that “the whole Zionist community is allied in spirit with the [Jewish] terrorists.”

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For Suárez the Zionist goal was nothing less than “the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.” Israel “exploited the Holocaust to shield the state against criticism of its own racial-nationalist policies and expansionism.” Its crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population were “Jewry’s crimes, thus ‘justifying’ and perpetually regenerating the very anti-Semitism that Zionism depends upon.” In his telling, the UN partition vote for a two-state solution in 1947 was “capitulation to Zionist terrorism.”

In Suárez’s perversion of history, Zionists “echoed Nazi behavior,” coercing and indoctrinating Jewish survivors and kidnapping Jewish orphans as they “coopted” the Holocaust “to commingle safe haven for Jews with a settler ethnocracy in Palestine.” Relying on “psychological terror” (and rape) to encourage the “ethnic cleansing” of “nearly a million Palestinians” — a grossly exaggerated number of refugees — Israel became the “ethnically predicated settler state in Palestine.” It “owes its very existence to its wholesale theft of the Palestinians’ worldly possessions.” Nor, according to Suárez, did Israeli culpability stop there. Its “uprooting of Middle Eastern and North African Jews from their homelands” mirrored its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Suárez’s indictment ends with the 1956 Sinai conflict. By then, he claims, Israel “had fully established its techniques of expansion and racial cleansing that continue to serve it today.” Among its enduring sins: “expropriation and squandering of the moral weight of historic anti-Semitism and the Holocaust”; “dehumanization of the Palestinians”; and “seduction of its Jewish population with the perks of blood privilege.” Sixty years later, he writes, “the psyche and inertia of a settler movement determined to ‘regain’ a ‘racially pure’ land to which it claims messianic entitlement” remains “ever-constant.” Consequently, he concludes, “ever-present, untenable injustice remains” the distinguishing characteristic of “a settler state based on claims of genetic entitlement.”

Appropriately, Suárez’s book conspicuously displays a laudatory blurb from Ilan Pappé, the renegade Israeli historian in British exile who advocated Israel’s elimination and replacement by a single Jewish-Arab state. They are partners in the relentless delegitimization of Israel, now a century after British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour reported cabinet approval for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” State of Terror reveals a state of mind that cannot comprehend the return of Jews to their biblical homeland to build what remains the solitary democratic state in the Middle East.

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