Forget Glenn Beck. The Conspiracy Theory Award of the Week goes to Carlo Strenger (residing psych chief of the ward that is Ha’aretz) for reminding us no less than three times in the span of 792 words that Israel’s new enemy is INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE.
For Strenger, support for a Jewish presence in the West Bank means subscribing to the same type of “Political Messianism” that motivates Ahmadinejad to prepare for the 12th Imam. Forget the logic of national defense; if you want so much as a Jewish toe in the sand beyond the Green Line, your entire political outlook is governed by the vision of inevitable apocalypse.
(Oh, and you hate Palestinians, but that’s a given. Anyone who isn’t a Leftist hates the Palestinians.)
There was a time in history when even the left of the left-wing of Jewish politics fought for the Jewish right to live in Israel. So, why, roughly 100 years later, is Israel’s left wing now arguing so vehemently against Jews living in Israel?
Part of it has to do with the philosophy of the Socialist-Zionist movement. The historical roots of Israel’s Left Wing lay in Poale Zion, a Marxist-Jewish movement established in Russia in the early 1900’s under the leadership of Ber Borochov. The key to understanding Leftist ideology is in the 1906 Poale Zion Platform, in which Borochov writes:
“Our ultimate aim, our maximum program, is socialism…Our immediate aim, our minimum program, is Zionism.”
Borochov took Marxism to the national level, arguing that the class struggle was not just based in economics, but in nationalism. For Borochov, the Oppressor/Oppressed dynamic of Marxism translated into: Gentile Nations=Oppressors/Jewish Diaspora Populations=Oppressed. As long as Jews remained a minority subject to the whims of the nations, they could never control the means of production; therefore, a true working-class revolution could never take place. For Borochov and the Poale Zion, the answer to the uprising of the proletariat was simple: Give the Jews their own land and they will start the greatest international workers’ revolution ever.
It is a pretty simple theory, and Borochov was quick to answer some prevailing questions, like:
Q. What if you don’t want to be a farmer, and you’d rather own a business instead?
A. Jews were only forced into capitalism because they were not permitted to own land. Since the only “productive” labor, according to Marx, is basic industry and agriculture, Jewish business owners and professionals are performing “non-productive” tasks that leave them “subject to the whim” of their gentile counterparts. Zionism will solve all of this by bringing the Jew back to the land where they can take on “more productive occupations.”
Q. What about the Arabs currently living in Palestine? According to Borochov’s theory, shouldn’t they have nationalistic inclinations, too?
A. Jews and Arabs shared the same proletarian interests and would fight side-by-side in the inevitable revolution.
Ironically, Borochov’s theory of national Marxism accurately predicted the uprising of Nazism in Germany and the establishment of the gulag government in Russia, resulting in the extermination of millions of European and Russian Jews. His starry-eyed vision of Socialist Zionism, however, neglected some painfully obvious facts about advances in technology and business, Arab nationalism and anti-Semitism, and human nature.
Yet, understanding Borochov’s concept of nationalism gives us a clear comprehension of the Jewish Left’s anti-Zionism today. Borochov’s nationalism had nothing to do with patriotism. In fact, to the Marxist Zionist, patriotism was a farce used by the State to control the working classes. Nationalism was an ideological tool used to control land and means of production. The morons were the ones who were tricked into viewing “nationalism and patriotism as a holy imperative.” The realists are the ones who are willing to accept that nationalism is a subjective matter defined by class interests.
Therefore, if Zionism was purely the means to a Socialist end, it is only logical that Israel became the “Oppressor” as soon as its politics ceased to concede to the “Oppressed” proletariat interest in working class revolution. It is even easier for Leftists to apply Borochov’s theory to settlers living in the West Bank. To Borochov’s Left wing, these Israelis simply mask their desire to control the land and wield power over the Palestinian proletariat with their religious convictions which, at best, are mere exhibitions of blind, pointless faith.
What an easy way to write off roughly 300,000 Israeli amidst over 2 million Palestinians. Although this interpretation of Borochov’s theory doesn’t hold any historical water in relation to the history of Gaza and the West Bank, it does have incredible power in both international politics and media: Just ask the 8,600 Israelis who are former residents of the Gaza Strip.
Borochov’s nationalism is why Ha’aretz writers like Carlo Strenger and Bradley Burston willingly bow to “international pressure,” while clamoring for “some of my people, just this once, to learn to shut the hell up,” so “the people of Egypt [can] show us how it’s done.”
“The State regime is intimately associated with some one class,” Borochov argues. Strenger follows suit, declaring that Netanyahu has done too little, too late, while Burston purely imitates, declaring the national-religious movement to be “…the settlement aristocracy—the plaid-flannel power behind the throne”.
For Borochov, “The chief protagonists of national freedom are …always the progressive elements among the people and among the intelligentsia.” The “genuine nationalism,” of progressives “…is not deluded by the sham of national unity; it has a clear comprehension of the class-character of society,” and its goal is to establish “…a normal work-place and base of struggle for the proletariat.” In other words, “national freedom” is really freedom from a national identity; it is merely a willingness to sacrifice national unity at the altar of class interests.
Borochov’s theory is why Ha’aretz writers like Burston can still advocate for “a new Israel” while being so passionately anti-Israeli; it is why Strenger can blame a minority of Israelis in the West Bank—not radical Islam’s anti-Semitism or the egging on of the United Nations—for “the reality that international pressure will soon exact a heavy price that we all want to prevent.” For the modern-day disciples of Borochov, the progressive nationalists if you will, a national defeat is essential for international unity.
“The revolution,” Burston writes, “will be waged in cyberspace and in the city streets, in occupied areas and in Israel proper, in American synagogues and, in the end, the entire Jewish world.”
At heart, Borochov was an unabashed believer in the ideology of the same man who once wrote, “The emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.” When ideologues like Strenger and Burston clamor for revolution, I wonder: What exactly do they want to be freed from?