|Progressive Calendar 08.21.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 16:41:09 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.21.09 1. Yard sale 8.21 6pm 2. Yard sale 8.22 8am 3. Peace walk 8.22 9am Cambridge MN 4. Community gardens 8.22 10am 5. Health/DFL?? 8.22 10am 6. Northtown vigil 8.22 2pm 7. Hard times/CTV 8.22 9pm 8. Stillwater vigil 8.23 1pm 9. Barter market 8.23 1pm 10. Dump Klobuchar 8.23 7pm 11. Harold Meyerson - Lincoln's prophecy for the GOP 12. Bob Supansic - Rifts in the Republican Party 13. M Shahid Alam - Zionism: an "abnormal" nationalism --------1 of 13-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: Yard sale 8.21 6pm Yard Sale: Drop off your donations to support the AWC Fri 8/21 @ 6 to 8pm @ Spirit of the Lakes Church, 2930 13th Ave S, Minneapolis* Looking for an excuse to clean out your closets, garage, basement, porch? Stop by on Friday night drop off your gently-used items, so they can find a new home with one of our Saturday yard sale shoppers. Feel free to spread the word to neighbors, co-workers and friends. VOLUNTEERS needed - help us sort and proce donated items. All proceeds will benefit the AWC. --------2 of 13-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: Yard sale 8.22 8am Yard Sale: Recycle and support the Anti-War Committee Sat 8/22 8am - 3pm @ Spirit of the Lakes Church, 2930 13th Ave S, Minneapolis* Come and buy items that have been donated from a lot of families in the movement and give them a new life! Find your "new" furniture, kids toys, clothes, etc. at our yard sale. Come shop and support peace. VOLUNTEERS needed - help staff the sale for an hour or two during the day (6am set up to 5pm clean up). All proceeds will benefit the AWC. --------3 of 13-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 8.22 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------4 of 13-------- From: Sean Gosiewski <sean [at] afors.org> Subject: Community gardens 8.22 10am Sat Aug 22 Twin Cities Parade of Community Gardens 10 to 2 http://www.gardeningmatters.org --------5 of 13-------- From: Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition <info [at] muhcc.org> Subject: Health/DFL?? 8.22 10am [Let the DFL know what the people think. Not that they care very much, but over time the people may ally and win... -ed] RALLY FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM SPONSORED BY ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA As Minnesotans, we know we need health insurance reform. We are sick of a few loud people dominating this debate. Please join Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Congressman Keith Ellison, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and State Representative Erin Murphy for a rally in support of health care reform this Saturday! The rally will be followed by a canvass, where we will hit the streets and talk to our friends and neighbors about the need for reform this year! SATURDAY, AUGUST 22nd 10:00am- 12:00 noon DFL State Headquarters 255 E Plato Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55107 Please RSVP online at: http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/healthcarecanvass/gpffy5 Questions?- E-mail ofaminnesota [at] dnc.org --------6 of 13-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 8.22 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------7 of 13-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Hard times/CTV 8.22 9pm Motivated Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow! Households with basic cable may watch. Sat., 8/22, 9pm and Tues, 8/25, 8am Jeremy Brecher - The Great Recession: Production for Use and Workers' Responses to Today's Hard Times Jeremy Brecher is an author/historian whose books include Strike!, Globalization From Below, and Gobal Village or Global Pillage. In this talk followed by a Q & A session, Brecher speaks around a theme of "production for use" for today's economic hard times and environmental challenges. (4/09) --------8 of 13-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 8.23 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------9 of 13-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Barter market 8.23 1pm The Midway Barter Market, every Sunday, 1-3 pm, boulevard in front of 1724 Englewood Ave. Barter Market on Wednesdays at SuperUSA are cancelled. Community Gathering and Exchange at the "Midway Barter Market"! Bring something to share if you can; we've seen CSA and urban farm produce, jam, bread, fruits, homemade candles and soap, jewelry, cassette tapes, clothes, anything that's in good condition that someone else may want. Labor exchanges are good too (i.e. I will fix your bike if you make me lunch). It's an informal gathering that's lots of fun, and you get to take home stuff you want that someone else has too much of. A folding chair and maybe a folding table are good to bring, or even just a blanket for the boulevard. Contact Nine at mightymidway [at] gmail.com or 651.319.2241 with questions, or Kathy at kathysphotos [at] mindspring.com or 651.645.1492. --------10 of 13-------- From: Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition <info [at] muhcc.org> Subject: Dump Klobuchar 8.23 7pm [ed head] [She is up next year, and it is time we all got together and replaced Inadequate Amy with someone halfway decent. That's best use of our time - find good candidates, and put one of them where Amy dithers/subverts now. -ed] SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR HOSTING A "TELE-TOWN HALL MEETING" ON HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM SUNDAY, August 23 at 7:00 P.M. central time What's at stake in this fight? - A public health insurance plan would provide a comprehensive, affordable health care plan as an alternative to private insurance. No surprise, the public health insurance option is facing fierce opposition from insurance companies seeking to protect their profits. Seventy-two percent of the American public supports being given the choice of a public health insurance plan. But Senator Klobuchar still isn't demanding that a public health insurance option be included. Just this week, Senator Klobuchar called for yet another private market health insurance plan, a "co-op", rather than a true public option. Sign up now! Go to Senator Klobuchar's web site at www.klobuchar.senate.gov There is a link to register at the top of the page. The deadline for registering for the call is Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:00pm, but it could fill up sooner. Plan your question! Few people will get a chance to speak, and speeches will likely be cut off. The tele-town hall will be held on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. Those who register will receive an automated reminder phone call on Friday evening and then a call on Sunday to be joined to the call. Make sure you are by your phone and ready to participate! --------11 of 13-------- End of the Republican Party - Two articles Two articles on the demise of the Republican Party 1. Lincoln's Prophecy for the GOP by Harold Meyerson  2. Rifts in the Republican Party by Bob Supansic  === Lincoln's Prophecy for the GOP By Harold Meyerson Thursday, August 20, 2009 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/19/AR2009081902901.html Sen. Charles Grassley was grumping as usual on MSNBC on Monday morning ("the government is a predator, not a competitor") when journalist Chuck Todd interrupted his rap with a serious question. If the Senate Finance Committee's bipartisan Gang of Six comes up with a compromise that you think is a good deal, Todd asked Grassley, "are you willing to be one of just three or four Republicans" to support that deal? No, Grassley answered immediately. "It isn't a good deal if I can't sell my product to more Republicans. We have to find a broad base of support within the Republican Party." Why, then, does Max Baucus, the committee's Democratic chairman, persist in the charade of bipartisan negotiations with Grassley? Does he - does anybody - really believe that a Republican Party so deeply invested in defeating President Obama's campaign for health-care reform is open to a scaled-down version that Obama can still claim as a victory? On Tuesday, the Republican Senate whip, Jon Kyl of Arizona, called Democrat Kent Conrad's proposal for cooperatives in lieu of a public option "a Trojan horse" for a government takeover of health care. Hard to find the green shoots of compromise in that response. Hard to believe, in fact, that they'll ever be found, given the increasing rigidity, insularity and extremism of today's Republican Party. The problem is that the GOP is no longer a truly national party in its geographical composition or its ideological breadth. Throughout U.S. history, our two major political parties have usually contained multitudes and contradicted themselves accordingly. For much of the 20th century, the Democrats were the party of the white South, the immigrant north and labor unions. The Republicans were the party of Wall Street bankers, Main Street merchants, professionals and Sun Belt cowboys. But today's Palinoidal Republicans have lost most of the professionals, much of Wall Street and an increasing chunk of suburbia. What they can claim is the allegiance of the white South and the almost entirely white, non-urban parts of the Mountain West. Of the 40 Republican members of the Senate, fully half - 20 - come from the old Confederacy, the Civil War border states where slavery was legal or Oklahoma, which politically is an extension of Texas without Texas's racial minorities. Ten others come from the Mountain West. The rest of the nation - that is, of course, most of the nation - has become an ever-smaller share of Republican ranks. All parties are home to distinct subcultures with distinct beliefs. What's different about today's GOP is that increasingly, it is home to just one, and a whole sector of the media - Fox News, talk radio - makes its money by emphasizing this subculture's sense of separateness, grievance and alarm, and by creating its own set of "facts." Asked in late July whether they believed Barack Obama was born in the United States, 93 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of independents said yes, but just 42 percent of Republicans agreed. Behind those numbers, 93 percent, 90 percent and 87 percent of Northeasterners, Midwesterners and Westerners, respectively, said yes, but just 47 percent of Southerners said they believed the president was born in this country. Obama, the Republican base is saying, personifies an America that is increasingly alien to them. It's multiracial, as they are not. It puts Sonia Sotomayor, who sure doesn't come from their America, on the Supreme Court. Increasingly, the Republicans have descended into white identity politics. Republican ideology has shrunk alongside its geography and demographics. Where once its view of the role of government ran the gamut from Rockefeller activism to Goldwater libertarianism, today the party largely adheres to the religiosity and the anti-statism of the white South. (In its ideological uniformity, today's GOP looks - O, the irony - more like a classic European party than an American one.) In short, the Republican Party with which Democrats could make deals no longer exists. The GOP is too narrow; the gap between the parties, too wide. Our politics are not those of the mid-20th century, when bipartisanship was fairly common. If anything, they're more like those of the mid-19th century, before the Civil War, when North and South combined only to make a house divided against itself - a conflict resolved not by compromise, but, as Lincoln predicted, by a nation then half-slave and half-free becoming "all one thing or all the other." Lincoln's prophecy still holds. Our current conflicts may be resolved only as the South becomes traditionally less Southern and more diverse - home to more Northern transplants and immigrants. That process was already at work in the 2008 elections, when Obama carried Virginia, North Carolina and Florida on the strength of those demographic shifts. As that process continues - perhaps only as it continues - the course of reform in America may run more smoothly. --------12 of 13-------- Rifts in the Republican Party Bob Supansic Portside It was an electoral debacle richly deserved. The Republicans marched behind George Bush in his paper hat, beating his little tin drum. Right off the cliff. But what appeared to the pundits as McCain's campaign "bungling" was in reality a deep structural rift in the Republican Party. Addressing a group of United Electrical Worker trade unionists 15 years ago, I said, "The Republican Party is coming apart from the bottom up." It is worth repeating, with some updating, what was already clear even then. A vertical split in the Republican Party had grown up directly out of the electoral coalition Reagan assembled in 1980. That coalition, a ramshackle affair, had four parts. Only one part of this coalition had a governing ideology respectable enough to be presented in public. First, there was the Republican wing of the ruling class which, for all its wealth and power, has never had many votes. Its neo-fascists heartily endorsed Reagan, whom they saw as a real vote-getter. But its conservatives watched their fair-haired boy, John B. Connally, spend $8 million to win only a single delegate in 1980. At the Convention, they tried to rein Reagan in by forcing Gerald Ford on him as a "co-President", an offer Reagan astutely declined. While the right wing of the ruling class has long dictated the country's governing program, it has been unable to provide a governing ideology: making themselves ever richer at the expense of the rest of us has for some reason never been a winner at the polls. Reagan, again astutely, never ran on "trickle down economics." Second, Reagan pulled in slices of working class Democrats through "wedge issues" - abortion, gun control, the death penalty, school prayer. This was, of course, completely cynical. The Republicans never intended to deliver on any of these issues; indeed, resolving them would send those voters back to the Democrats. Today, the old wedge issues are dying a slow, mean death from lack of oxygen and the new issues seem to have the shelf life of a You Tube video. Immigrant-bashing helped Republicans in some places and but completely backfired in others; gay marriage as a wedge issue already seems headed for the rocks. And all along, it was clear that these disconnected issues did not add up to a governing ideology. Third, building on Nixon's "Southern Strategy" Reagan turned the Republican Party into the nation's Great White Hope. Kicking off his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Reagan successfully turned the South into a monolithic, seemingly impregnable electoral bloc for the Republicans. But at a cost. The Holocaust followed by the Civil Rights movement turned racism into damaged goods; Republicans were forced to convey their racism with code words, winks, and nods. Today, no one outside the South thinks the South an acceptable model for the rest of country. (You may recall that a Civil War was fought over this issue.) The South may cling to its "traditional values" (wink, wink) and its ruling class is as ruthless as ever at maintaining its power, but the Confederacy is back on the defensive. The Obama campaign may have lanced a boil. Even in the Party's Southern bastion, some whites now realize for the first time that racism is not hegemonic among white people, that opportunities for effective, progressive, interracial alliances exist. Lastly, Reagan enlisted "born again" Christians in a crusade against the creeping secularization of society. This was ominous since it introduced grassroots activism into a Party that hadn't seen it in decades. Fifteen years ago, I noted that the only part of the Reagan coalition that had a governing ideology capable of actively mobilizing large numbers of people was the Christian Right. Dramatically, they had already taken over the Republican Party in Kansas, home state of the moderate Republican nominee in 1996, Senator Bob Dole. I closed by saying, "The day that the Republican Party becomes the party of the Christian Right is the day that it will be finished as a major party." Nothing that has happened in the last fifteen years has caused me to modify these views. Since then, two additional events have deepened the vertical split in the Republican Party. To re-elect George Bush in 2004, Karl Rove brought a new level of organization to the fundamentalist Christian wing of the Party. To elect himself in 2008, John McCain delivered it an attractive, charismatic leader in Governor Palin. Assuming she can avoid the pitfall of all right-wing politicians and keep her hand out of the cookie jar, Governor Palin promises to be around for a while. These developments created a self-isolating bloc within the Republican Party whose views scare and drive away voters outside its ranks and yet is large enough to hold a growing veto over Republican campaign platforms. It is an indigestible lump which the Republicans cannot succeed with and cannot succeed without. It has come to this: Arlen Specter, a "moderate Republican Senator" (a relative term if there ever was one) is ignominiously forced to return to the Democratic fold because he is 26 points behind among Pennsylvania Republicans. And can't win his party's primary after 29 years in the Senate. 1. Reconciling the secular wing of the Republican Party with the fundamentalist wing does not appear possible. I conclude this from the statements of the Republican leadership. 2. The fundamentalists have been able to capture the Republican Party machinery from the ground up. 3. If the fundamentalists are driven out of the Republican Party, what's left will not be competitive nationally. 4. If the secularists are driven out of the Republican Party, what's left will not be competitive nationally. Some talk of reviving Goldwater libertarianism as a new glue to hold all this together. But there already is a Libertarian Party - and Libertarians do not seem enthusiastic about joining a party dominated by Wall Street and the big corporations. And they are probably even less enchanted with the desire of the Christian Right to legislate morality for the rest of us. The Reagan electoral coalition has died an ignoble death. But the governing program which it enabled lives on. That program had its origins in the profound crisis of imperialism in the 1970s. The Reagan counter-revolution responded by reviving a fairy tale theory of political economy, so-called "neoliberalism". Republicans profess to love the study of history, especially in its bowdlerized, reassuring History Channel form. They might instead have read Karl Polanyi's "The Great Transformation", which showed how by 1860 Neoliberalism I was abandoned by the British ruling class as socially destabilizing and unworkable. When Neoliberalism II began breaking up on the rocks last fall, the Bush Administration did not see it coming, busy as they were manufacturing reality for the rest of us. The reason that capitalism will never collapse of its own accord is that given enough time and room for maneuver, capitalists will rewrite the rules to keep the game going. We are currently going though the latest round of rewriting the rules, the very act of which is driving a stake in the heart of neoliberalism as a governing program. The conservative wing of the Republican ruling class is now in a quandary: Where to go on Saturday night? Cheeks flushed with excitement - or is that rouge? - the Democratic Party beckons. POSTSCRIPT: With the advantage of hindsight, I would today add a fifth element to Reagan's electoral coalition: voter suppression. As the shortcomings of that slapdash coalition became more and more obvious, the Republican Party was forced to resort to ever more blatant efforts to disenfranchise large blocs of Democratic voters. What remains somewhat mysterious is the unwillingness of the Democratic Party to challenge these efforts. --------13 0f 13-------- Zionism: An "Abnormal" Nationalism By M. SHAHID ALAM CounterPunch August 21-23, 2009 "The ultimate goal...is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years. The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland". -Vladimir Dubnow, 1882 This singular fact has engendered a history of deepening conflicts between Israel - leading an alliance of Western states - and the Islamicate more generally. Jewish "nationalism" was abnormal for two reasons. It was homeless: it did not possess a homeland. The Jews of Europe were not a majority in, or even exercised control over, any territory that could become the basis of a Jewish state. We do not know of another nationalist movement in recent memory that started with such a land deficit - that is, without a homeland. Arguably, Jewish nationalism was without a nation too. The Jews were a religious aggregate, consisting of communities, scattered across many regions and countries, some only tenuously connected to others, but who shared the religious traditions derived from, or an identity connected to, Judaism. Over the centuries, Jews had been taught that a divinely appointed Messiah would restore them to Zion; but such a Messiah never appeared; or when he did, his failure to deliver "proved" that he was false. Indeed, while the Jews prayed for the appearance of the Messiah, they had no notion about when this might happen. In addition, since the nineteenth century, Reform Jews have interpreted their chosenness metaphorically. Max Nordau complained bitterly that for the Reform Jew, "the word Zion had just as little meaning as the word dispersion. He denies that there is a Jewish people and that he is a member of it". Since Zionism was a nationalism without a homeland or a nation, its protagonists would have to create both. To compensate for the first deficit, the Zionists would have to acquire a homeland: they would have to expropriate territory that belonged to another people. In other words, a homeless nationalism, of necessity, is a charter for conquest and - if it is exclusionary - for ethnic cleansing. At the same time, the Zionists would have to start creating a Jewish nation out of the heterogeneous Jewish colons they would assemble in their newly minted homeland. At the least, they would have to create a nucleus of Jews who were willing to settle in Palestine and committed to creating the infrastructure of a Jewish society and state in Palestine. For many years, this nucleus would be small, since, Jews, overwhelmingly, preferred assimilation and revolution in Europe to colonizing Palestine. A Jewish nation would begin to grow around this small nucleus only if the Zionists could demonstrate that their scheme was not a chimera. The passage of the Zionist plan - from chimera to reality - would be delivered by three events: imposition of tight immigration restrictions in most Western countries starting in the 1900s, the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and the rise to power of the Nazis in 1933. As a result, when European Jews began fleeing Nazi persecution, most of them had nowhere to go to but Palestine. In their bid to create a Jewish state in Palestine, the Zionists could not stop at half-measures. They could not - and did not wish to - introduce Jews as only one element in the demography of the conquered territory. The Zionists sought to establish a Jewish state in Palestine; this had always been their goal. Officially, they never acknowledge that the creation of a Jewish state would have to be preceded, accompanied, or followed by ethnic cleansing. Nevertheless, it is clear from the record now available that Zionists wanted nothing less than to make Palestine "as Jewish as England is English". If the Palestinians could not be bribed to leave, they would have to be forced out. The Zionists were determined to reenact in the middle of the twentieth century the exclusive settler colonialism of an earlier epoch. They were determined to repeat the supremacist history of the white colons in the Americas and Oceania. By the measure of any historical epoch, much less that of an age of decolonization, the Zionist project was radical in the fate it had planned for the Palestinians: their complete or near-complete displacement from Palestine. A project so daring, so radical, so anachronistic could only emerge from unlimited hubris, deep racial contempt for the Palestinians, and a conviction that the "primitive" Palestinians would prove to be utterly lacking in the capacity to resist their own dispossession. The Zionists faced another challenge. They had to convince Jews that they are a nation, a Jewish nation, who deserved more than any nation in the world - because of the much greater antiquity of Jews - to have their own state, a Jewish state in Palestine. It was the duty of Jews, therefore, to work for the creation of this Jewish state by supporting the Zionists, and, most importantly, by emigrating to Palestine. Most Jews in the developed Western countries had little interest in becoming Jewish pioneers in Palestine; their lives had improved greatly in the previous two or three generations and they did not anticipate any serious threats from anti-Semitism. The Jews in Eastern Europe did face serious threats to their lives and property from anti-Semites, but they too greatly preferred moving to safer and more prosperous countries in Western Europe, the Americas, South Africa, and Australia. Persuading Jews to move to Palestine was proving to be a far more difficult task than opening up Palestine to unlimited Jewish colonization. Zionism needed a stronger boost from anti-Semites than they had provided until the early 1930s. The Zionists always understood that their movement would have to be driven by Jewish fears of anti-Semitism. They were also quite sanguine that there would be no paucity of such assistance, especially from anti-Semites in Eastern Europe. Indeed, now that the Zionists had announced a political program to rid Europe of its Jews, would the anti-Semites retreat just when some Jews were implicitly asking for their assistance in their own evacuation from Europe? This was a match made in heaven for the anti-Semites. Once the Zionists had also brought the anti-Semites in messianic camouflage - the Christian Zionists - on board, this alliance became more broad-based and more enduring. Together, by creating and continuing to support Israel, these allies would lay the foundations of a deepening conflict against the Islamicate. Zionism was a grave assault on the history of the global resistance to imperialism that unfolded even as Jewish colons in Palestine laid the foundations of their colonial settler state. The Zionists sought to abolish the ground realities in the Middle East established by Islam over the previous thirteen hundred years. They sought to overturn the demography of Palestine, to insert a European presence in the heart of the Islamicate, and to serve as the forward base for Western powers intent on dominating the Middle East. The Zionists could succeed only by combining the forces of the Christian and Jewish West in an assault that would almost certainly be seen as a new, latter-day Crusade to marginalize the Islamicate peoples in the Middle East. It was delusional to assume that the Zionist challenge to the Islamicate would go unanswered. The Zionists had succeeded in imposing their Jewish state on the Islamicate because of the luck of timing - in addition to all the other factors that had favored them. The Islamicate was at its weakest in the decades following the destruction of the Ottoman Empire; even a greatly weakened Ottoman Empire had resisted for more than two decades Zionist pressures to grant them a charter to create a Jewish state in Palestine. The first wave of Arab resistance against Israel - led by secular nationalists from the nascent bourgeoisie classes- lacked the structures to wage a people's war. Taking advantage of this Arab weakness, Israel quickly dismantled the Arab nationalist movement, whose ruling classes began making compromises with Israel and its Western allies. This setback to the resistance was temporary. The Arab nationalist resistance would slowly be replaced by another that would draw upon Islamic roots; this return to indigenous ideas and structures would lay the foundations of a resistance that would be broader, deeper, many-layered, and more resilient than the one it would replace. The overarching ambitions of Israelto - establish its hegemony over the central lands of the Islamicate - would guarantee the emergence of this new response. The quick collapse of the Arab nationalist resistance in the face of Israeli victories ensured that the deeper Islamicate response would emerge sooner rather than later. As a result, Israel today confronts - now in alliance with Arab rulers - the entire Islamicate, a great mass of humanity, which is determined to overthrow this alliance. If one recalls that the Islamicate is now a global community, enjoying demographic dominance in a region that stretches from Mauritania to Mindanao - and now counts more than a billion and a half people, whose growth rate exceeds that of any other collectivity - one can easily begin to comprehend the eventual scale of this Islamicate resistance against the Zionist imposition. In the era preceding the rise of the Nazis, the Zionist idea - even from a Jewish standpoint - was an affront to more than two millennia of their own history. Jews had started migrating to the farthest points in the Mediterranean long before the second destruction of the Temple, where they settled down and converted many local peoples to the Jewish faith. Over time, conversions to Judaism established Jewish communities farther afield - beyond the Mediterranean world. In the 1890s, however, a small but determined cabal of European Jews proposed a plan to abrogate the history of global Jewish communities extending over millennia. They were determined to accomplish what the worst anti-Semites had failed to do: to empty Europe and the Middle East of their Jewish population and transport them to Palestine, a land to which they had a spiritual connection - just as Muslims in Bangladesh, Bosnia, and Burkina Faso are connected to Mecca and Medina - but to which their racial or historical connections were nonexistent or tenuous at best. Was the persecution of Jews in Europe before the 1890s sufficient cause to justify such a radical reordering of the human geography of the world's Jewish populations? A more ominous implication flowed from another peculiarity of Zionism. Unlike other white settlers, the Jewish colons lacked a natural mother country, a Jewish state that could support their colonization of Palestine. In the face of this deficiency, the career of any settler colonialism would have ended prematurely. Instead, because of the manner in which this deficit was overcome, the Zionists acquired the financial, political, and military support of much of the Western world. This was not the result of a conspiracy, but flowed from the peculiar position that Jews - at the end of the nineteenth century - had come to occupy in the imagination, geography, economy, and the polities of the Western world. The Zionists drew their primary support from the Western Jews, many of whom by the middle of the nineteenth century were members of the most influential segments of Western societies. Over time, as Western Jews gravitated to Zionism, their awesome financial and intellectual assets would become available to the Jewish colons in Palestine. The Jewish colons drew their leadership - in the areas of politics, the economy, industry, civilian and military technology, organization, propaganda, and science - from the pool of Europe's best. It can scarcely be doubted that the Jewish colons brought overwhelming advantages to their contest against the Palestinians and the neighboring Arabs. No other colonists, contemporaneous with the Zionists or in the nineteenth century, brought the same advantages to their enterprise vis-a-vis the natives. Pro-Zionist Western Jews would make a more critical contribution to the long-term success of Zionism. They would mobilize their resources - as well-placed members of the financial, intellectual, and cultural elites of Western societies.to make the case for Zionism, to silence criticism of Israel, and generate domestic political pressures to secure the support of Western powers for Israel. In other words, the Zionist ability to recruit Western allies depended critically upon the peculiar position that Jews held in the imagination, prejudices, history, geography, economy, and politics of Western societies. The Jews have always had a "special" relationship with the Christian West; they were special even as objects of Christian hatred. Judaism has always occupied the unenviable position of being a parent religion that was overtaken by a heresy. For many centuries, the Christians regarded the Jews, hitherto God's "chosen people," with disdain for rejecting Jesus. Nevertheless, they incorporated the Jewish scriptures into their own religious canon. This tension lies at the heart of Western ambivalence toward Jews; it is also one of the chief sources of the enduring hatred that Christians have directed toward the Jews. In addition, starting in the fifteenth century, the Protestants entered into a new relationship with Judaism and Jews. In many ways, the Protestants drew inspiration from the Hebrew bible, began to read its words literally, and paid greater attention to its prophesies about end times. The theology of the English Puritans, in particular, assigned a special role to the Jews in their eschatology. The Jews would have to gather in Jerusalem before the Second Coming of Jesus; later, this theology was taken up by the English Evangelicals who carried it to the United States. Over time, with the growing successes of (Jewish) Zionism, the Evangelicals slowly became its most ardent supporters in the United States. The obverse of the Evangelical's Zionism is a virulent hatred of Islam and Muslims. Most importantly, however, it was the entry of Jews into mainstream European society - mostly during the nineteenth century - that paved the way for Zionist influence over the politics of several key Western states. The Zionists very deftly used the Jewish presence in the ranks of European elites to set up a competition among the great Western powers - especially Britain, Germany, and France - to gain Jewish support in their wars with each other, and to undermine the radical movements in Europe that were also dominated by Jews. Starting with World War II, the pro-Zionist Jews would slowly build a network of organizations, develop their rhetoric, and take leadership positions in important sectors of American civil society until they had gained the ability to define the parameters within which the United States could operate in the Middle East. Serendipitously, it appears, pro-Zionist Jews also found, ready at hand, a rich assortment of negative energies in the West that they could harness to their own project. The convergence of their interests with that of the anti-Semites was perhaps the most propitious. The anti-Semites wanted the Jews out of Europe, and so did the Zionists. Anti-Semitism would also become the chief facilitator of the Jewish nationalism that the Zionists sought to create. In addition, the Zionists could muster support for their project by appealing to Western religious bigotry against Muslims as well as their racist bias against the Arabs as "inferior" non-whites. The Zionists would also argue that their project was closely aligned with the strategic interests of Western powers in the Middle East. This claim had lost its validity by the end of the nineteenth century, when Britain was firmly established in Egypt and it was the dominant power in the Indian Ocean. Indeed, the insertion of an exclusionary Jewish colonial settler state into the Islamicate geographical matrix was certain to provoke waves of resistance from the Muslim peoples. Western interests in the Islamicate were not positively aligned with the Zionist project. Yet, once Israel had been created, it would provoke anti-Western feelings in the Middle East, which, conveniently, the Zionists would deepen and offer as the rationale for supporting and arming Israel to protect Western interests against Arab and, later, Islamicate threats. Israel was the product of a partnership that seems unlikely at first blush, between Western Jews and the Christian West. It is the powerful alchemy of the Zionist idea that produced and sustained this partnership. The Zionist project to create a Jewish state in Palestine possessed the power to convert two historical antagonists, Jews and Gentiles, into allies united in a common imperialist enterprise against the Islamicate. At different times, the Zionists have harnessed all the negative energies of the West - its imperialism, anti-Semitism, Crusading zeal, anti-Islamic bigotry, and racism - and focused them on a new project, the creation of a surrogate Western state in the Islamicate heartland. At the same time, the West could derive considerable satisfaction from the success of the Zionist project. Western societies could take ownership of, and revel in, the triumphs of this colonial state as their own; they could congratulate themselves for helping "save" the Jewish people; they could feel they had made adequate amends for their history of anti-Semitism; they could feel they had finally paid back the Arabs and Turks for their conquests of Christian lands. Israel possessed a marvelous capacity to feed several of the West's egotistical needs. As a vehicle for facilitating Jewish entry into the stage of world history, the Zionist project was a stroke of brilliance. Since the Jews were influential, but without a state of their own, the Zionists were going to leverage Western power in their cause. As the Zionist plan would unfold, inflicting pain on the Islamicate, evoking Islamicate anger against the West and Jews, the complementarities between the two ancient adversaries would deepen, and, over time, new commonalities would be discovered or created between these two antagonist strains of Western history. In the United States, the Zionist movement would encourage Evangelical Christians - who looked upon the birth of Israel as the fulfillment of end-time prophecies - to become fanatic partisans of Israel. The West had hitherto traced its central ideas and institutions to Rome and Athens; in the wake of Zionist successes, it would be repackaged as a Judeo-Christian civilization, drawing its core principles, its inspiration from the Old Testament. This reframing would not only underscore the Jewish roots of the Western world: it would also make a point of emphasizing that Islam is the outsider, the eternal adversary opposed to both. Zionism owes its success solely to this unlikely partnership. The Zionists could not have created a Jewish state in Palestine by bribing the Ottomans into granting them a charter to colonize Palestine. Despite his offers of loans, investments, technology, and diplomatic expertise, Theodore Herzl was repeatedly rebuffed by the Ottoman Sultan. It is even less likely that the Zionists, at any time, could have mobilized a Jewish army to invade and occupy Palestine, against Ottoman and Arab opposition. The Zionist partnership with the West was indispensable for the creation of a Jewish state. This partnership was also fateful. It produced a powerful new dialectic, which has encouraged Israel - as the political center of the Jewish diaspora and the chief outpost of the West in the heart of the Islamic world - to become ever more aggressive in its designs against the Islamicate. In turn, a fragmented, weak and humiliated Islamicate, more resentful and determined after every defeat at the hands of Israel, has been driven to embrace increasingly radical ideas and methods to recover its dignity, wholeness, and power, and to seek to attain this recovery on the strength of Islamic ideas. This destabilizing dialectic has now brought the West itself into a direct confrontation against the Islamicate. This is the tragedy of Israel. It is a tragedy whose ominous consequences, including those that have yet to unfold, were contained in the very idea of an exclusive Jewish state in Palestine. M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism. He may be reached at alqalam02760 [at] yahoo.com. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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