Collaborators in the Campus War against Israel and the Jews: Howard Zinn


Boston University historian and Professor Emeritus of Political Science Howard Zinn is the author of more than twenty books, most notably A People’s History of the United States (1980). Painting America as a nation whose chief contributions to humanity consist of repression, racism, imperialism, and genocide, this Marxist tract ranks among the best-selling history books of all time. A devoted admirer of Mao’s China (which he calls “the closest thing, in the long history of that ancient country, to a people’s government”) and Castro’s Cuba (which he says “had no bloody record of suppression”), Zinn takes a much darker view not only of America, but also of America’s closest ally in the Middle East, Israel.

According to Zinn, Israel’s creation in 1948 “meant the dispossession of the Arab majority that lived on that land,” and led to “the occupation and subjugation of several million Palestinians” — a situation that “we would today call ‘ethnic cleansing.’”

Zinn recalls that “after the Six-Day War of 1967 and Israel’s occupation of territories seized in that war (the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the Sinai peninsula),” although he himself is a Jew he nonetheless  “began to see Israel not simply as a beleaguered little nation surrounded by hostile Arab states, but as an expansionist power.” The fact that the new territories Israel gained not as the result of its own aggression, but in a war of self-defense against a massive invasion by the armies of three Arab states — Egypt, Syria and Jordan — that were seeking to annihilate it did not factor into Zinn’s new view of the Middle East.

With regard to the ongoing Mideast conflict today, Zinn places most of the blame for what he terms “the cycle of violence” on Israel’s allegedly provocative and unjustified use of disproportionate force: “a rock-throwing [Palestinian] intifada met by [Israeli] over-reaction in the form of broken bones and destroyed homes; [Palestinian] suicide bombers killing innocent Jews followed by [Israeli] bombings which killed ten times as many innocent Arabs.”

According to Zinn, Israeli society is filled with deep-seated “xenophobia, militarism, [and] expansionism.”  He seeks Jewish precedents to buttress his hardcore anti Israel views:

“Some of the wisest Jews of our time — Einstein, Martin Buber — warned of the consequences of a Jewish state. Einstein wrote, at the very inception of Israel: ‘My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain….’”

In this confused formulation, by upholding its right to exist as a Jewish homeland in the face of genocidal enemies, Israel somehow compromises its “essence.”

Zinn laments that “in the occupied territories … a million and more Palestinians live under a cruel military occupation, while our [U.S.] government supplies Israel with high-tech weapons.” His objection to U.S. aid to Israel has motivated him to endorse divestment campaigns aimed at companies that contribute in any way to Israel’s efforts to curb the violence of Palestinian terrorists — or as Zinn sees them, freedom fighters.

In February of this year, when Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts became the first American college or university to divest its financial holdings in U.S.-based companies because of their alleged role in promoting Israeli injustices against Palestinians, Zinn endorsed the measure along with such figures as Noam Chomsky (who has called Israel “virtually a U.S. military base” founded “on the principle of discrimination”); Rashid Khalidi (who contends that Israel’s very existence is “at the expense of the Palestinians” and “fails to meet the most important requirement: justice”); Rep. Cynthia McKinney (who once quipped that “the Israeli occupation of all territories must end, including Congress”); and Ilan Pappe (who has openly expressed support for the Palestinian terror group Hamas “in its resistance against the Israeli occupation”).

Just last month, Zinn was one of 59 clients of the multi-billion-dollar financial services and retirement firm TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, College Retirement Equities Fund) to sign a letter calling on the Fund to divest the $257,000 in stocks it held in the company Africa-Israel. Zinn objected to Africa-Israel’s role in funding the construction of Israeli settlements located in disputed territories in or near the West Bank. He was again joined in signing the letter by professors Noam Chomsky; George Bisharat (who complains that greedy Zionists “stole Palestine” from its rightful owners); Joel Beinin (who says that the first Palestinian Intifada of 1988-92 was actually “a strike for peace”); and Juan Cole (who says Israelis “insist on occupying a people whom they do not wish to absorb, but only to steal from”).

Zinn’s view of the Middle East conflict is part of his view of his own profession as an “engaged” historian who wants his writing and his teaching of history “to be a part of social struggle”; a “political act” by someone who is “a part of history and not just a recorder and teacher.”

Articles in Frontpage’s Collaborators series:

Joel Beinin

Mark LeVine

Neve Gordon

Norman Finkelstein

Tony Judt

Michael Lerner

Marc H. Ellis

  • armaros

    The list at the end should also include Richard Silversteen

  • dominiqueaudibert

    So, is America a nation whose chief contributions to humanity consist of repression, racism, imperialism, and genocide? I don't think so. Democracy and human rights are two of the things that describe America

    • mystic

      By definition, the absence of habeus corpus by itself cannot exist in a democracy.
      You are describing America before 9/11. Read Naomi Wolf's "The End of America' (written in 2007) in which every single one of the ten requirements for a dictatorship have already been fulfilled.

  • swathdiver

    So Comrade Zinn, what was the human condition before the United States of America? Which country introduced freedom and prosperity to every corner of the World?

    Socialism in ANY form is immoral and EVIL!

  • scorea

    Why are you mentioned Sosialism in ANY form is immoral and evil? what do you mean?

  • billmorgenstein

    Zinn represents the worst of the Self Hating Cowardly Jews who find this obscene hatred the only way to get ahead in their academic world.

    The shame of this is simply overbearing!

  • antifascist18

    Zinn, what an a-s-s.

    He “regrets” bombing Nazis who slaughtered his relatives during the Holocaust, but he has never regretted his CPUSA membership back then.

    As for being an reknown Historian, gimme a break. Some of “People's History” does reveal things that are shameful, and would provide Bonzo H. Obama grist, but it still doesn't take away from the fact that this country, despite Zinn and Bonzo is still the “Last, Best Hope of Mankind”.

    Zinn, a poster boy for self-hatred.

  • Robert Wargas

    What's amazing is that Zinn's book read almost like a parody of every left-wing rant you've ever heard. I dare say there's not one original thought in _A People's History of the United States_. The book could have been one-page long, and it would have read as such:

    “The United States is evil, and unless you are a woman, minority, or radical socialist, you have contributed to that evil.”

    The end.

  • swathdiver


    Under socialism, the “worker” exists to serve the needs of the State. The worker is not deemed smart enough to make their own decisions, government must make them instead. As such, socialism doesn't believe in private property.

    Such a belief runs contrary to human nature. All people desire Liberty, to make their own decisions, determine their own destiny and believe in private property.

    Our rights are inalienable, they come from God, not man. God gave man the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

  • Robert Wargas

    By proclaiming that workers are “exploited,” socialists give themselves the right to do pretty much anything in the name of “liberating” them. As the commenter above said, this means that individuals' choices are overridden in the name of “liberation.”

    It's as if I said to you, “I think your marriage is exploitative,” and then proceeded to kill your spouse in order to “liberate” you. Interfering in others' decisions, even if you think they're “exploitative,” leads to disaster.

  • DonD33

    What is it about so called intellectuals who must take the outrageous view in order to prove their “superior” intelligence. The institutions of higher learning are hotbeds of this form of pseudo intellectualism and they get entirely too much attention, no doubt integral to their intentions, sub conscience or otherwise. Unfortunately they spread this manure on the fertile minds of our future “paragons” of government and industry and take great pride that it flies in the face of all conventional wisdom; which is why they only acquire positions of influence outside of academia by lies of omission, obfuscation, innuendo and demonization.

  • Judith Rickks

    Richard SIlverstein is of course a self-hating Jewish anti-Semite and pro-terror Neo-Nazi but he is little more than an unemployed blabbermouth with a blog, and not really worthy of FPM attention

  • antifascist18

    Howard Zinn, like George Soros – just another “Jew” for Hitler.

    Case Closed.

  • antifascist18

    and that includes all those JINO Dems in Congress and in the current administration who suck up to the anti-semitic pew sitting Palestinian cheerleader and Fox News crybaby, especially the Graysons, Giffords, Weiners, Wexlers, and Waxman types.

  • anarcho-zionist

    Howard Zinn is dead, as of 01/27/2010.

  • Patrick Butler

    Zinn's comment about Cuba is a classic case of taking part of a larger commentary out of context. Here is the complete version of the story from page 657 in a discussion of the Clinton Years

    "Human rights clearly came second to business profit in U.S. foreign policy. When the international group Human Rights Watch issued its 1996 annual report, the New York Times (December 5, 1996) summarized its findings:

    The organization strongly criticized many powerful nations, particularly the United States, accusing them of failing to press governments in China, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia to improve human rights for fear of losing access to lucrative markets.

    This criticism was borne out by the Clinton Administration's bizarre approach to two nations, China and Cuba, both of which considered themselves "communist." China had massacred protesting students in Beijing in 1991 and put dissenters in prison. Yet the United States continued to give China economic aid and certain trade privileges ("most favored nation" status) for the sake of U.S. business interests.

    Cuba had imprisoned critics of the regime, but had no bloody record of suppression as did communist China or other governments in the world that received U.S. aid.

  • AntiFascist18

    Thank goodness this cunt is dead…like his boyfriend Stalin.

  • Ruth

    Do any of you people know that many of the original Zionists who came to Palestine were Socialists? You might want to read some history.