Netanyahu’s Brand of Tolerance for Anti-Semitism Goes Back 120 Years

The Israeli prime minister’s ease with neo-Nazism and revisionist Holocaust history are not as surprising as they might seem, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a soft spot for rightwing authoritarians.  This is no surprise since Netanyahu is a rightwing authoritarian himself, one who sees Israel as an old-fashioned ethno-state in which Jewish national aspirations are the only ones that count – as his support for last year’s “Nation-State Law” makes clear. 

But what may come as a surprise is that he also has a soft spot for rightwing authoritarians with a pronounced anti-Semitic streak.  Last July, he welcomed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to Israel even though Urban has led a

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Wikimedia)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Wikimedia)

campaign to rehabilitate Miklos Horthy, the pro-Axis dictator who sent hundreds of thousands of Jews to death camps and bragged, I have been an anti-Semite throughout my life.”  Two months later, he welcomed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who once compared himself to Hitler, saying, “There are three million drug addicts [in the Philippines].  I’d be happy to slaughter them.” 

He issued a joint statement with Polish Premier Mateusz Morawiecki lauding Poland’s wartime efforts to alert the world to the Nazi death camps, a statement that Israel’s own Yad Vashem Holocaust museum later repudiated on the grounds that it “contains highly problematic wording that contradicts existing and accepted historical knowledge in this field.”  His government has also supplied weapons to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion fighting pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine.

So what’s the explanation?  If Netanyahu is a hawk’s hawk when it comes to enemies of the Jewish state, then doesn’t it follow that he should be no less militant when it comes to enemies of the Jews? 

The answer is, no, it doesn’t, for the simple reason that Zionism’s attitude toward anti-Semitism is more ambiguous than people realize.  Theodore Herzl, the Viennese journalist who founded modern Zionism, made this clear in the 1890s.  Rather than combatting anti-Semitism, he argued that Jews should accept it as an ineradicable fact of life.  Instead of opposing it, they should make use of it as a lever with which to pry their co-religionists loose from western society so that they would move to Palestine. As he put it in “The Jewish State,” the 1896 manifesto that put modern Zionism on the map:

“Great exertions will hardly be necessary to spur on the [emigration] movement.  Anti-Semites provide the requisite impetus.  They need only do what they did before, and then they will create a desire to emigrate where it did not previously exist, and strengthen it where it existed before.” 

Theodor Herzl en route to Israel aboard a ship in 1898. (Wikimedia)

Theodor Herzl en route to Israel aboard a ship in 1898. (Wikimedia)

Herzl’s goal was twofold: to provide Jews with a homeland and to win over non-Jews by removing an irritant from their midst.  Jews, he wrote, “continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as it does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now rapidly becoming Socialists.”  The more radical they become, the more Christian society would close ranks against them.  The solution was to provide them with a homeland of their own so they would cease subverting someone else’s.

 “They will pray for me in the synagogues, and in the churches as well,” Herzl confided to his diary.  Not only would Jews liberate themselves, but they would be liberating Christians too, “liberating them from us.”

Zionism’s DNA

Modern observers might dismiss such ideas as ancient history since they date to more than 120 years ago.  But they have become part of Zionism’s DNA.  Instead of battling anti-Semites, the movement has repeatedly followed Herzl’s advice by emulating them and adopting their techniques for their own purposes.

In the 1920s, Jews were thus shocked when Zionist settlers organized a movement to drive out Arab workers in Palestine.  The reason is that it was all too similar to anti-Semitic nationalists in Poland who were seeking to drive out Polish Jews.  An immigrant socialist complained in the Jewish Daily Forward, according to the historian Yaacov N. Goldstein, that the “conquest of labor” campaign“sends shudders through the Jewish workers in the Diaspora countries because the gentiles could try out this principle against the Jewish workers….”  Said another: “How do we react when the reactionary chauvinists in Poland fight for their ‘conquest of labor,’ meaning prevention of Jews working in Polish industrial and commercial enterprises?  How do we respond to the ‘conquest of labor’ of the Romanians?”

In the 1930s, a growing rightwing Zionist movement latched onto Benito Mussolini for much the same reason – because he wished to purify Italy just as they wished to purify Palestine.  With Mussolini’s permission, a rightwing Zionist leader named Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky opened a training school in Civitavecchia, some 40 miles west of Rome.  According to the Marxist historian Lenni Brenner, this is how an Italian Zionist newspaper described the opening ceremonies:

 “The order – ‘Attention!’  A triple chant ordered by the squad’s commanding officer – ‘Viva L’Italia! Viva Il Re!  Viva Il Duce!’ resounded, followed by the benediction which rabbi Aldo Lattes invoked in Italian and Hebrew for God, the king, and Il Duce…. ‘Giovinezza’ [the Fascist Party anthem] was sung with much enthusiasm….”

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, Germany, ca. June 1940 (Flickr)

Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in Munich, ca. June 1940. (Flickr)

Mussolini praised Jabotinsky as a good fascist in 1935 while Abba Ahimeir, a leader of the Palestinian branch of Jabotinsky’s “Revisionist” movement, wrote a regular newspaper column entitled “Diary of a Fascist.” Ahimeir’s editor was Benzion Netanyahu, father of the current prime minister, who would later become Jabotinsky’s personal assistant.  In Poland, the leader of the Revisionists was a young man named Mieczslaw Biegun, better known by the Hebrew name Menachem Begin, who would serve as Israeli prime minister from 1977 to 1983.

When Begin embarked on a U.S. speaking tour in 1948, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook, and some two dozen other Jewish intellectuals sent a letter to the The New York Times denouncing his movement as “akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties,” one that “preache[s] an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.”

Given this rich history of fascism, it’s no surprise 70 years later that Netanyahu would enjoy hobnobbing with a new generation of rightwing strong men (including new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro) or that he would look the other way when it comes to the anti-Semitism of the Polish government, which last year made it a crime to say that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust, or of Orban’s campaign against international financier George Soros.  Indeed, it’s no surprise that Netanyahu’s 26-year-old son Yair would join in the fun by posting an anti-Semitic cartoon on Facebook showing George Soros directing a conspiracy against his father.

“Is this what the kid hears at home?” wondered former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who was also targeted by the cartoon.  But not everyone was displeased.  “Welcome to the club, Yair – absolutely amazing, wow, just wow,” tweeted Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Declared the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website: “Yair Netanyahu is a total bro.  Next he’s going to call for gassings.”

Role Model for Xenophobes

What’s a little anti-Semitism among friends?  Netanyahu’s devotion to Jewish ethnic purity has meanwhile turned him into a role model for xenophobes the world over.  So has his hostility to refugees.  Last March, he declared that illegal African migrants are “much worse” than terrorists, adding: “How could we assure a Jewish and democratic state with 50,000 and then 100,000 and 150,000 migrants a year?  After a million, 1.5 million, one could close up shop.  But we have not closed down. We built a fence and at the same time, with concern for security needs, we are making a major investment in infrastructures.” This is the same fence that Donald Trump now points to as his model for his Mexican wall.

Thanks to such attitudes at the top, Israel has seen an upsurge of racial violence.  In 2014, an Israeli stabbed a baby three times in the head, telling police: “They said that a black baby, blacks in general, are terrorists.”  A few months later, a mob shot and beat to death an African refugee named Haltom Zarhum in the southern city of Beer Sheva. A year after that, two Israeli teenagers beat to death an African refugee named Babikir Ali Adham-Abdo in a suburb of Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu, of course, will reply that he was nowhere near the scene of the crime.  But the more Zionism’s true colors come out, the more such atrocities are likely to occur.

It must be stressed that the problem with Jewish nationalism lies not with the first half of the term but the second.  Nationalism in general suffers from a similar combination of chauvinism and separatism. Examples are rife.  Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is a well-known anti-Semite who last summer inveighed against “Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.” His ideological predecessor, Marcus Garvey, whose back-to-Africa movement in the 1920s had curious parallels with Zionism, repeatedly provoked black leftists of the day by speaking out in favor of Jim Crow and meeting with a Ku Klux Klan leader named Edward Young Clarke in Atlanta.

 “I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together,” he wrote.  “I like honesty and fair play.  You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every white man is a Klansman as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned, and there is no use lying.”

Garvey’s dark side was forgotten in the 1960s when he emerged as a hero of the Black Power movement.  Zionism’s dark side was similarly forgotten after the Six Day War in 1967 when it emerged as a favorite ally of the United States.  Thereafter, anyone who tried to bring up the love affair with fascism was ostracized by neo-conservatives, many of them Jewish, who increasingly dominated intellectual discourse. 

But with ethno-chauvinism now staging a powerful comeback, Zionism’s far-right past has returned to haunt it — and the rest of the world as well. 

Daniel Lazare is the author of “The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy” (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics.  He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nationto Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at

39 comments for “Netanyahu’s Brand of Tolerance for Anti-Semitism Goes Back 120 Years

  1. Al Sheeber
    February 4, 2019 at 11:58

    The good news, the author is RIP! Scurrilous and very selective reporting is the tradecraft of Disinformatzya peddlers…Good student of Mearsheimer and his associates, Howard Zinn, Chomsky, & Co…

  2. GMC
    February 4, 2019 at 04:34

    What I find absolutely Crazy is that the Zio Bolsheviks, funded by NY – London – Berlin – Brussels – Zurich were the ones who funded the Soviet Communism. At the sametime, but years later, after infiltrating the USG , they { Fed Reserve} fund the US in their drive to fight the Communism that THEY created decades earlier. This should have waved a Huge Red Flag – somewhere in Washington and every State Capital in the US of A. Maybe ” McCarthyism” was the cover-up ! Just like Russia Phobia is the newest – Cover-up. Spacibo Consortium

  3. John
    February 3, 2019 at 08:15

    I’m kind of surprised the author left out the famous Herzl quote “Anti-Semites will be our closest friends, and Anti-Semitic nations our closest allies” from page 19 of the original publication of his Diaries (apparently edited out of later editions).

    NaZionism is so insidiously evil.

  4. DH Fabian
    February 1, 2019 at 16:32

    The Israeli perspective remains disappeared from the media. The most basic points: Israel is a tiny country, roughly the size of New Jersey. It’s the sole Jewish nation, and Jews are, indeed, indigenous to that bit of land, formerly known as Palestine, renamed Israel when it regained independence in 1948. It’s the sole Jewish nation, some 1% of the Mideast, with the remaining 99% owned by the various Arab countries, some of which seek a 100% “pure” Moslem Mideast. Each of these Arab nations is armed to the teeth by China, Russia, and the US. In spite of this, Israel remains determined to survive.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain
      February 3, 2019 at 20:26

      Lunatic mendacity and arrogance, such as this, allied to the Zionazi state’s hyper-aggression and love of murder and destruction, will ensure Israel’s destruction, not its survival.

      • OlyaPola
        February 4, 2019 at 13:46


        Ensure is a function of surity : a concept best left to opponents.

        Why not consider facilitate?


        Lunacy is defined by some as “deviation from the norm”.

        However non-deviation from the norm precludes transcendence.

        Why not consider “perhaps following a different practice predicated upon a different purpose”?


        Words are sometimes used to obfuscate through framing.

        Why not consider “hubris”?


        Words are catalysts to encourage emotional response facilitating displacement/obfuscation.

        Why not consider ceasing resort to labels – resort to empty vessel that others can fill with their own connotations? : a technique often used by the opponents.

    • February 4, 2019 at 07:33

      This is totally revisionist crap! It’s based on narrative from some religious screed. Still it does not entitle Israel to engage in ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine of the indigenous Palestinians. The Palestinians are not from the “various Arab countries”. There is no logic to the Israeli policy of granting citizenship to Jews who move to Israel from, say, the U.S. but denies same to the Palestinians who were expelled by the Zionists who founded Israel. BTW, your thesis is not only riddled with falsehoods, it is ethically bankrupt. Your lack of empathy for the Palestinians is very revealing. Also, the fact that some of the”…Arab countries seek a 100% “pure” Moslem Mideast” has nothing to do with the plight and problem of Palestinians. This argument is just downright spurious.

      Also, I find it incredible that you actually read the Consortium News!

  5. Tom
    February 1, 2019 at 13:55

    WHO do we think she worked for?……..the USA?

    The Mess that Nuland Made

    Exclusive: Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland engineered Ukraine’s “regime change” in early 2014 without weighing the likely chaos and consequences. Now, as neo-Nazis turn their guns on the government, it’s hard to see how anyone can clean up the mess that Nuland made, writes Robert Parry.

    Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine

    Human rights activists petition the court to cease Israeli arms exports to Ukraine since some of these weapons reach neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine’s security forces

  6. February 1, 2019 at 11:58

    Interesting article.

    I believe Netanyahu is a man just consumed by the need to be in authority, at the center, and really nothing else matters.

    He’s certainly not an idealist of any kind. Rhetoric about Israel and the past is just that, rhetoric. He embraces and promotes anything which can yield him power or secure his power.

    That is exactly what Donald Trump does in office, and it is the way Trump most resembles Hitler. Hitler embraced some policies and ideas from even socialists if they could work for him, despite his native inclination of being a kind of corporatist, Darwinist right-winger.

    Netanyahu worships power. Israel was his opportunity to have and enjoy it. The odd system of political parties in Israel gives him the opportunity to retain power through coalitions without ever being elected directly. The leverage of the minor extreme parties with whom he forges power-sharing agreements keeps Israel’s policies off to the extreme right consistently.

    Exercising authority, for some people, gives them satisfactions not unlike sex does for ordinary people. It resembles almost a form of psychopathy. Certainly, it always involves extremely narcissistic personalities, like Trump’s or Hitler’s.

    As we know, psychopaths will tell elaborate lies to help entrap their victims. They’ll do it with a smile on their faces because it is innately pleasurable for them to manipulate others. The smiles are mistaken by others for charm.

    Apart from our own many observations during his years of power, we have it on the best authority that Netanyahu almost cannot speak the truth.

    Some years ago, Presidents Obama and Sarkozy were caught in a off-mic exchange about Netanyahu’s lying. Sarkozy said you can’t believe anything the man says, and went on to say how he dreads even talking with him. Obama agreed, and added something to the effect, you should worry, I have to talk to the guy every day.

    That last also gave us amazing insight as to the expectations of an Israeli leader in having access to America’s President. No other leader in the world, even leaders of really consequential countries, talks to the President daily. The President’s own cabinet members don’t.

    There is also the reality that Israel has always cozied up to strongman figures in neighboring states. People like Egypt’s Mubarak or the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia keep their people under control and they share a surprising number of aims with Israel.

    Contrary to its tiresome rhetoric about being the Mideast’s only democracy, Israel has always dreaded the rise of democracy in any of its neighbors. In every instance from Morsi in Egypt to the election of Hamas, Israel has reacted very negatively.

    In this sense, Israel has been a major player in suppressing democracy in its neighbors. Of course, Israel is not itself, in any meaningful sense, a democracy. Half the people under its control have no votes and no rights and do not want to even be under Israel’s control.

    As far as its actual citizens, you can only become an Israeli if you have a Jewish heritage as accepted by Israeli rabbinical authority. There is a sizable number of Palestinians with citizenship, but their status was a complete accident of the terrors of 1948, and prominent Israelis never stop speaking against them, suggesting mass expulsions and special laws. As it is, their citizenship, by virtue of various administrative rules, is a kind of second-class citizenship. Netanyahu has generously referred to them as a ticking time bomb inside Israel.

    Readers may enjoy this essay of some years back:

    • February 1, 2019 at 18:11

      Thanks for this analysis. In a less incisive and coherent way, Ive generally thought the same.

  7. dbw
    February 1, 2019 at 11:46

    Another great (to the extent of nuclear-weapon secrets sharing and testing) brotherly nation to Israel:

    In April 1976, John Vorster, president of the then-racist apartheid regime of South Africa, paid an official state visit to Israel, where he was given the red-carpet treatment.

    Israeli television showed him on his first day, visiting the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. At an official state banquet held for Vorster, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin toasted the “ideals shared by Israel and South Africa.”

    Why was an outspoken member of a Nazi militia in South Africa during the Second World War and a leading member of the party that crafted official apartheid policies in South Africa being feted in Israel?

    A statement in the South African government’s yearbook made two years after Vorster’s visit provides an answer: “Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: they are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples.”

  8. Mike Perry
    February 1, 2019 at 11:43

    ” The Sorrow And The Pity “~ (Marcel Ophuls, 1968, 252 minutes or 4.2 hours)
    The film was made for television but deemed unfit for broadcast because of the truths it told of the Establishment’s collaboration with the Nazis. When Charles de Gaulle was informed that the film contained some “unpleasant truths,” he is said to have supported the films suppression by replying, “France does not needs truths; France needs hope..” .. Therefore, the film was not finally aired in France until 1981. It definitely makes the point that some of the Estblishment will put their own wealth, before all else. (… and, that it was predominately the “socialist” who made up the mythic French “resistance”.

    ” Hotel Terminus: The Life And Times Of Klaus Barbie “~ (Marcel Ophuls, 1988, 267 minutes or 4.45 hours)
    It was also made for television to be timed with the trial of Barbie in France. (.. and it of course, found next to no air time with the Owner Media.) (..But, it did win an academy award..( .. Among other things in the film, Marcel interviewed several former CIA agents who talk openly about allying with former Nazi war criminals about how they were initially assigned to Eastern Europe, and then eventually to South America; as well.

    (.. now, related to Daniel’s topic..)
    Marcel, he is in his 90’s now, but he was planning for doing this film about 5 years ago:

  9. vinnieoh
    February 1, 2019 at 09:56

    Thank you Mr. Lazare for putting historical meat on the bones of the comment I posted to the piece about Gantz.

    One thought or meme that I didn’t include in that earlier post but which I often ponder is this: the diaspora(s), the result of the dissolution of the old Hebrew homeland, so resisted and persecuted in their adoptive lands, were never the less witness to the unfolding history of nationalism based around ethnic and cultural exclusion (tribalism by any other name) and became jealous. Embedded within that maelstrom but excluded from it, and becoming hardened in their symbiotic insularity.

    How might today’s reality be different if the ancient Hebrew homeland had not dissolved and the Jewish people gone through this convulsion of nationalism providing them with autonomy and agency in parallel with and concurrent with the rest of western civilization?

    And, it must seem a fitting and delicious revenge, this mass refugee exodus of Muslims into Europe – this new diaspora – engineered by Zionist hatred and allied with an unscrupulous barbaric behemoth.

    • Dunderhead
      February 1, 2019 at 19:10

      Sorry to pop your bubble but most of the ancient Israelis stayed put, overtime and invasion most of them converted to Christianity and then later Islam in some state Jewish, they all lived in peace generally speaking, certainly better than the constant European bloodbath which was basically just a wildly tribal as it was the last wilderness peoples at least in the old world. the Palestinians are direct descendents of the ancient Israelis in Canaanites, even David Ben-Gurion new that you better do some more studying because it’s way more interesting than you’re giving credit.

      • vinnieoh
        February 2, 2019 at 11:11

        I’m not a historian and whatever theorizing I do I’m just trying to understand what is happening now. It’s plausible to me that many Jews did stay in whatever region was known as ancient Israel, and if as you say many converted to Christianity and then to Islam that seems to prove that ancient Israel did dissolve as a coherent people organized around their faith/ethnicity.

        We know that it was European Jews that established the modern state of Israel and nothing you hinted at negates the theory (not fact) of what I said above. Just using the numbers purported as fact (I understand there is controversy and dissent concerning these) 6m Jews were exterminated by the Nazis which represented (again using the often quoted numbers) about a third of European Jews at that point in time (or , for a total of approx. 18m.) Regardless of the actual numbers of Hebrew migrants into Eurasia in what is referred to as the diaspora, you have to admit that these are not insignificant numbers.

        I don’t have any bubbles to pop, and I’m just trying to understand what’s happening now. If anything I’ve said or theorized turns out to be total bs I’ll be the first to admit it. It doesn’t do a person any good to cling to ideas and theories that have no basis in fact or leads finally to a better understanding, and I can’t count the times I’ve had to jettison things I believed were true when previously unknown (to me) facts proved otherwise.

        There was a documentary produced by PBS in 2003 “The Journey of Man” explaining the migration of homo sapiens out of Africa some 40k-60k years ago and how this migration was responsible for populating the entire planet. It was/is based on the use of genetic markers to advance this theory. Somewhat dated now it must accommodate subsequent facts concerning Neanderthal interbreeding as well as with another hominid (now extinct) in SE Asia. What always fascinated me about this story is how, if true (and I have accepted that it is,) in such a brief time we (humanity) have come to not recognize each other as a single race. As these people moved further and further, some chose to stay at points along the way and some continued to answer the call to go further, to continue to explore and subsequently populate the entire planet. Those that stayed put at points along the way developed “tribal” identities and through the centuries of environmental acclimation developed physical traits that appeared to make them seem different to those dropping out of the trek at other points of different environmental climates.

        Do I need to point out how this relates to the subject of this discussion? The migration of Jews out of Israel happened at a much later date in human history and after homo sapiens had differentiated into distinct ethnicities. The Jews that traveled into Eurasia, despite largely retaining an ethnic insularity, nonetheless absorbed much of what was evolving in that region philosophically, technically, and politically. The European Jews of modern Israel now speak of Palestinians (their close genetic relatives) as primitives, incapable of embracing modernity, of being mired in a progress rejecting past. Just as the Europeans arriving in the New World regarded the indigenous populations.

        By all means, educate me. I’m not being snarky or sarcastic. There is much I don’t know or understand.

        • Dunderhead
          February 2, 2019 at 21:37

          Pardon, perhaps on being overly moral but I just don’t see how this is going to work out in the end for all of the different factions. I appreciate your sense of irony but I can’t see this as anything other been destructive to the people of Israel as well as the rest of the region, the west is running out of steam and this is going to end badly for everyone if some people can’t decide to make peace.

          The likelihood that such a large and vocal part of the Jewish Diaspora may have been of European Origins particularly when that particular community tends to be ultra violent towards the Palestinians kind of makes it well ironically anti-Semitic, I’m getting to feel the world could use a little less irony, just sometimes, Anyway your comment was excellent by the way and you sound way smarter than me, best.

          • vinnieoh
            February 3, 2019 at 09:58

            I agree with everything you said. I don’t see how it ends well either. I know it’s cliché, but I don’t see how peace emerges without justice being part of the mix. That’s what prompted me to say that the establishment of modern Israel was fatally flawed. As for being smarter; some days I think I’m a genius, some days I’m sure I’m a moron. The truth is I’m just like many people trying to understand, and make sense of why everything seems so fubar. Peace.

        • John
          February 3, 2019 at 08:04

          The best actual research on this topic has been done by Schlomo Sand, with his books such as The Invention Of The Jewish People.

          The truth is, there was no Diaspora. Judaism was, prior to the Modern era, an evangelical religion. There were communities of people who converted to Judaism all over the Roman and Persian Empires, but these communities were made up of people local to the area they were in.

          After the Bar Kochba revolt, the Roman’s killed all the Jews in Palestine (thus the story if Masada). Romans NEVER exiled rebellious peoples, they slaughtered them.

          As they did not take part in the revolt (or sided with the Romans), Jewish communities outside of Palestine were left intact by the Romans. These communities of people who were local to where they lived, but had converted to Judaism, over time, became mythologized into the “diaspora”.

          Judaism was a religion, not an ethnicity. The idea of Judaism as an ethnicity, or anything other than a religion, is an ahistorical concept that dates back to the rise of Nationalism in the 19th century.

          I’m summarizing Sand’s work from memory here, so I may have mistakenly misrepresented a minor detail or two, but the broad outline is accurate. As far as I know, noone has yet been able to find any flaws In his research, and they have tried.

          • vinnieoh
            February 3, 2019 at 10:14

            John: Thank you for pointing me towards that researcher. If true it would seem to show how myth or manufactured history can seed ongoing misunderstanding, of which then I’ve just spewed several days worth of nonsense. I’ll follow up on your lead.

          • merp
            February 3, 2019 at 20:49

            Also Israel Shahak is another solid Jewish Historian..
            “Israel Shahak was a resident of the Warsaw Ghetto and a survivor of Bergen-Belsen. He arrived in Palestine in 1945 and lived there until his death in 2001. He was an outspoken critic of the state of Israel and a human rights activist.”
            Shahak’s book- Jewish History, Jewish Religion:
            The Weight of Three Thousand Years

          • Dunderhead
            February 3, 2019 at 21:08

            John, thank you for the info, I will definitely be checking that out.

          • vinnieoh
            February 5, 2019 at 09:20

            John: So I read the Wikipedia entries for both Shlomo Sand and “The Invention of the Jewish People.” I know that many dismiss wiki outright, but I have found it to be a good first reference (and I continue to donate money to its operation.) The entry on his book seemed fair and balanced (put down that rotten tomato) as it presented most sides of the issues and controversy his work and ideas have stirred.

            Found it useful on many levels, the first being personal. I could see where all of my suspicions, inklings, and theorizing come from or originate. The author of this article – Mr. Lazare – reviewed his book and is quoted there (panned it to the point of utter dismissal.)

            I consider myself a rational skeptic or a scientific skeptic so to the thesis of Mr. Sand’s book, for me it comes down to evidence. So, when looking at historical evidence, here is the first consideration: are historical records for that period uncharacteristically sparse, or in other words, are there holes or blanks generally in ALL information relating to that period in time? IF NOT, then not finding evidence for a migration would seem to support Sand’s claims. The next question is, do other responsible historical researchers concur with his assessment, i.e. no evidence of a migration?

            The other question of evidence relates to the fairly new field of genetic traceability, the use of genetic markers to trace lines of heredity. Here one might think that the weight of evidence would be conclusive either one way or the other, but the wiki entry shows this not to be the case. Apparently we have a long way to go before the use of this type of genetic research is refined enough to present such evidence as absolutely conclusive.

            Finally, despite my earlier post I find that I wasn’t exactly spouting nonsense, but seem to be mired firmly in the mainstream debate concerning Jews/Israel, both historic and contemporary. It’s interesting that I should have absorbed much of this sort of by osmosis, and arrived at many of the points along the way without being aware of these works or these proponents. Thanks again for the reference, it was extremely informative.

    • Skip Scott
      February 5, 2019 at 07:33

      Vinnie, Dunderhead, & John-

      Thanks for this thread. The main reason I come to CN is to get educated. The articles and comment threads like this one are gems.

  10. February 1, 2019 at 09:27

    It has always been a hope of many that the Jews themselves will reject the dominance of Zionism/nationalism, that they will recognize the benefits to them and humanity of a truly multi-cultural Israel/Palestine. The Jewish Voice for Peace is an example of such an aspiration at the present time. I’m sure there are other organizations and individuals who feel the same way.That a multicultural Israel/Palestine is inevitable may be true, but to save a lot of pain, better sooner than later.

    Good article about Zionist pragmatism and there are others, among them dealing with Hitler in the 1930’s to increase emigration from Germany to Palestine.

      February 1, 2019 at 18:41

      In addition to Jewish Voice for Peace, see these web sites:

      Jews for Justice for Palestinians

      Combatants for Peace

      Breaking the Silence

    • John
      February 3, 2019 at 08:07

      The younger generation of Jews seems to be waking up. Right now, more young Jews are leaving Israel for the US and Germany and elsewhere than are immigrating into Israel.

  11. Sally Snyder
    February 1, 2019 at 08:49

    Here is a state-by-state look at how state level governments are trying to protect Israel’s interests:

    It is a fascinating exercise to look at the lengths that American legislators of all parties at both state and federal levels are willing to take to defend Israel and punish American individuals and businesses that speak against the pro-Israel narrative.

  12. Ma Laoshi
    February 1, 2019 at 04:10

    Hungarian, Serb, jewish, Ukrainian, and most notoriously of course German enthnonationalism/ultranationalism all have very similar origins in time and space. Somehow we’ve however been potty-trained to endorse one, and only one, of these as somehow democratic and holy. But Zionism and the state constructed on top of it are not healthy constructs. Seems we’re condemned to rediscover this wheel over and over again when confronted with the consequences, and yet nothing ever changes.

  13. OlyaPola
    February 1, 2019 at 03:21

    “Netanyahu’s Brand of Tolerance for Anti-Semitism Goes Back 120 Years”

    “The Israeli prime minister’s ease with neo-Nazism and revisionist Holocaust history are not as surprising as they might seem, writes Daniel Lazare.”

    Words are catalysts of connotations encouraging/facilitating all to “invest” them with emotional reaction/meaning to serve purposes – Mr. Karl Leuger recognised such opportunities and usages by his remark – “I decide who is a Jew”.

    Some “Zionists” have consistently sought to conflate “Semitism” with “Jewishness” to facilitate their settler colonial ambitions.

    From the 1960’s onwards some “Zionists” have consistently sought to conflate “Holocaust” with “Jewishness” and “Semitism” to facilitate their settler colonial ambitions .

    From the 1960’s onwards “Israel” has increased its resort to coercion both internally and externally to facilitate its settler colonial ambitions not shared by all “Israelis”, or “Jews” or “Semites”.

    This increasing resort to coercion was/is a function of previous resorts to coercion both internally and externally to facilitate their settler ambitions and included an attempted metamorphosis of “smart” from an analogue of wise to “smart” being an analogue of well-dressed, shiny shoes, brushed teeth, and glowing smile, as in Mr. Netanyahu’s case.

    Some of the well-dressed, shiny shoes genus hold that ends justify the means, but the wise understand that means condition ends affording them opportunities to transcend the efforts of some of the well-dressed, shiny shoes genus despite a Yiddish observation:

    May you be blessed with wise friends and stupid enemies.

    The observation was likely framed in binaries given that perception is a function of experience, continued immersion in binary framing facilitating iterations of similar experiences.

  14. Tom Kath
    January 31, 2019 at 23:12

    Yes, I remember Netanyahu’s very public statement that “Hitler didn’t want to kill the Jews, he wanted to expel the Jews!”, leaving Merkel looking as though she had just wet herself.
    We must also consider the difference between RACE and CULTURE. I believe there is a great appetite for cultural purity, since it is culture that determines VALUES.
    Race on the other hand is only a small step away from species, and I think most people more or less insist on species purity.

    • Clive
      February 1, 2019 at 09:42

      It’s a pity that Daniel Lazare doesn’t seem to understand the difference between Zionist culture and “Zionism’s DNA”, but, unfortunately the word, “DNA” seems to have become widely misused to mean the same as ‘culture’, nowadays. I blame E.O. Wilson and sociobiology, and, more especially, Richard Dawkins, for that. But, otherwise this article seems to be a fairly accurate critique of Netanyahu’s style of politics

      • Rob
        February 1, 2019 at 12:52

        Oh, come on now. You know that Lazare is using the term “DNA” colloquially, not technically. He means that mainstream zionist thinking has always included, either implicitly or explicitly, an ethnocentricity that is not far removed from that of rank anti-semites. Zionists have cynically made use of anti-semitism to forward their goal of creating an ethno-religious Jewish state, which was, in fact, opposed by a large majority of Jews worldwide prior to the founding of the State of Israel.

        • Dunderhead
          February 1, 2019 at 18:32

          That’s really true, I’ve read a bit of Isaac Bashevis Singer, prior to the second world war he was very much against the Zionist project.

      • Dunderhead
        February 1, 2019 at 18:57

        Sheldon Richman of the liberty Institute did a great article on this about three or four months back which basically traced the genetics of Ashkenazi Jews compared to oriental Jews, those that have bloodlines more associated with the people of ancient Israelites, it’s really quite interesting, I’m going to guess Lazare has seen that or material like it because it’s been around for a while the concept of conjecture and genetics in this subject, specifically the Ashkenazi population is originally from Western Anatolia, the Ashkenazi are likely converts, this was traced down to a particular king of that region sometime I’m going to guess after the Christian era during the Roman era but it’s been a while since I read that so that last bit maybe off, that being said, the implications that one of the major Jewish ethnic groups may have little to no direct lineage with the ancient Israelites and in fact are European, not to mention the obvious dilution of a bloodline that has spent a large part of the last thousand years or so in both eastern and western Europe, kind of puts a whole different spin on Western imperialism.

    • Rob
      February 1, 2019 at 12:30

      If you read current scientific thinking on the subject, you will learn that “race” is a purely social construct, not a biologic category. Hence, race is not a “small step away from species,” it is a million light years removed. And what is species purity? Species are, by definition, pure. New species appear through evolution by natural selection. Interspecies sex does occur, but the offspring are almost always infertile.

      • Clive
        February 1, 2019 at 19:33

        I do read some current scientific thinking on the subject, both in molecular biology and neurobiology literature. Anyone who does read current scientific thinking should know that, even if we can agree (as I do) that there may be some degree of biological determinism of hormones and emotions that may influence culture and behaviour, etc., there is a lot more to biology than just DNA, both in terms of molecular and cellular mechanisms, and in terms of neuroplasticity, which seems to be largely epigenetic and influenced more by sensation and experience. Then, of course, there are all of the cultural and environmental influences as well.

        But, even if Lazare was “using the term DNA colloquially”, wouldn’t it be better if he didn’t do so, Especially in the context of an article about racism?

  15. Dunderhead
    January 31, 2019 at 20:02

    Lazare you knocked it out of the park man, Great article! The problem is most folks that are woke to this tend to be conservative or worldly liberal and are tired of swimming upstream, you sum up a very decent chunk of the history quite nicely hopefully more regular folks get hip to this before things go even further worse.

  16. January 31, 2019 at 19:47

    The world is big enough and time moves just slowly enough that idiot ethno nationalists can avoid seeing and having to think about the implications of their chosen position. Taken to the extreme, as that is being done in a number of places, ethno nationalism, or ethno pluralism (which I believe is the same thing) sees believers viewing all ethnicities except their own as inferior and mixing with them a crime, since it could lead to marriages that pollute the pure blood. Once all of the idiot ethno nationalists have completely given themselves over to this darkness and once this darkness has spread to all fascist lands (pretty much the whole world these days), Let’s see how much tourism there is. Like honor among thieves, until the thieves attack each other, racism and racial superiority dogma will glue together the world’s various racist groupings, until the glue fails.

    Also, I don’t see nationalism as automatically evil. The Corporatocracy, however, does. Give people the illusion of nation States and local leadership responsive to the voters who elect them, and hopefully they won’t notice that we have world, fascist, government and that the ruling party is the United States, specifically the corporate component of the ruling class there.

    • Paora
      February 2, 2019 at 23:23

      Good point, I think it’s the ‘State’ in ‘Nation-State’ that the emerging Global ruling class has a problem with. Modern States may have emerged as the executive committee of the local ruling class, but they proved too vulnerable to democratic intervention by the popular classes. By evacuating all meaningful political decisions to the ‘Global’ level (whether to Supranational political structures or ‘The Market’), the State is emptied of its social and economic content.

      What is left is behind is ‘the Nation’ as a plaything for ethnonationalists, who pose no real threat to the global ruling class. They are however a convenient stick with which to beat anyone who advocates reinstating popular sovereignty and strengthening the State. Any party advocating restrictions on migration as a part of a comprehensive package of economic measures to reimpose state control over the economy (capital controls, nationalizations, tariffs etc), can be accused by the global NGO complex of being fellow travellers of Bibi Netanyahu and Victor Orban.

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