While Fighting Culturally, Two Liberals Ignore Political Economy

Comments on Joseph Massad and Gilad Atzmon on Aspects of Arab-Zionist Conflict


Adel Samara

The following are comments on an interesting intellectual argument between a native and polite Palestinian liberal academic and an arrogant Zionist settler, musician and liberal as well. The Palestinian is polite and shy despite of the fact that his position is genuine, while the Zionist is aggressive despite of the fact that he is settler.

Their approach concentrates the on cultural factor away from historical material causes of the Arab Zionist conflict.

Considering the historical material approach, I am not blaming liberals for ignoring it, taking into consideration that “Marxists, Lucas, Goresh…etc) maintained only the cultural approach and not to mention the collusion of Frankfurt School in the same one dimensional analysis.

As long as the argument of both goes back to several centuries, this doesn’t negate the fact that their weakness is neglecting historical materialist approach, i.e. ignoring the political economy approach for analysis.

Both writers discuss Zionism only through its relationship with Judaism and the mutual relationship between both issues without considering that Zionism was not a Jewish creation and/or that the importance of Zionism is based on material more than cultural motives.

Recalling Lenin’s position on the Bund, might provoke both of them especially Atzmon.  Lenin was the most critical to the cultural approach of the Bund’s demand for cultural self-determination for three reasons:

First: Raising the slogan of cultural-national autonomy leads to splitting the nation apart, and therefore destroying the unity of the proletariat within them.

Second: Lenin saw that the intermingling of nations and their assimilation was a progressive step, while turning away from that is a step backwards. He criticized those who “cry out to heaven against assimilation.”

Third: Lenin did not regard the ‘non-territorial cultural independence’ advocated by the Bund and the other Jewish parties as advantageous, practical, or feasible.

Lenin’s approach to the Bund is rather significant and should be reflected upon. Using his sharp political common sense, Lenin doubted the ethical and political grounds of the right of Jews to self-determination, as much as the Bund demanded that Jews should be treated as a national identity like other nationals. Lenin’s answer was strictly simple: “Sorry guys, but you aren’t. You are not a national minority just for the reason that you are not attached to a piece of geography.”

I can imagine here that Atzmon’s response against Lenin: O.k. guys, now, we are on a piece of land occupied by force. If he chooses this response he will stand openly beside Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion and Netanyahu. This is the undeclared discourse in Atzmon‘s response to Massad.

Massad starts reading Martin Luther (1483-1546) as the first who showed political and theological interest in the Jews, and crowned the Jews as the real inherits “extension lineage of  ancient/old Jewish Torah tribes in an Anthropological casuistry never based on a scientific base, if that is possible? This Luther’s position was before he turns against them. Massad did not try to go beyond the cultural dimension to the materialist one.

It is worth to note that the Zionization of English elite in time of Henry VIII, especially in 1534 when he crowned himself on Evangelical Church, the position which expanded to allow the Jews to return to England in 1655 ending their expulsion by Edward the first 1290.

By the end of 16th century, Jews flood from the Catholic world where the first national bank in history was established (The Bank of Holland 1604). (see Muhamd Weld El-Mai, Kanaan Review no., 113, April 2010)

Since 1600, the East Indian companies of Holland and England established which marked the competition between mercantile capitalism in the two countries. The two countries showed deep inclination towards Jews which crystallized in Prince Orange of Holland and later Oliver Cromwell of England to attract the Jews motivated by Jewish financial power. Cromwell allowed Jewish merchants to live in London in a step to strengthen England in its conflict with Holland.(see I.Wallerstein,The Modern World-System, Vol. II. P. 78).

The point here is that Luther’s casuistry was coined in parallel with the development and contradiction between mercantile capitalist regimes in Holland and England which is the decisive factor that orients policies and relationships of all western European states with Jews since that time.  The cultural factor was there all the time and is present now as well. It is used and exaggerated, but was never the main factor. I might call here Willy Brenner’s participation in the clash between Massad and Atzmon when he said that German policy towards “Israel” never is a continuation of Hitler’s policy, but Brenner agrees with Massad’s  confirmation  that Germany assists, supports and arms “Israel” until today. What concerns us Arabs is that Germany is still part of our enemies until today. This support is 99 percent material, not cultural or even moral as many pretend.

European support of Zionist white settler colonialism of Palestine moved from one state to another, but none of them had changed its mind to stand against or at least neutral. That is why this support continues in all stages of the center of capitalism towards countries of the periphery: mercantile, colonialism, Imperialism and globalism. It started before Zionism, during Zionism to the Zionist Ashkenazi Regime (ZAR) of today.

This opens the discussion to another point Atzmon raised against Massad argument which is that ZAR lack of a mother country in comparison to all other settler colonial regimes. But, without reminding Atzmon that the Jews have nearly one hundred mother states/nations/homelands, he must remember that the settlers in Canada are from two mothers, Britain and France. As for the ZAR, it has the largest mother which is the core capitalist countries, the center. It is at least the mother in terms of source of the bulk of settlers and material support for its permanent infant that still is fed through the “umbilical cord”. (see Adel Samara, the Zionist Ashkenazi Regime, in Kana’an no. 142, 2010).

What might explain my belief that each settler in Palestine still maintains his original citizenship and gave it to his children this is what a couple of French Jews told me in 1978 in a taxi from Haifa to Jerusalem. Atzmon for sure knew that most of the marine commanders, radar technicians, first leaders of infantry,  pilots of Jet fighter, artillery shooters, eyes surgeons…etc in 1948 war are not Jews but volunteers  (Machals) who came from countries of core capitalist system. It must be noted that existence of those settlers in Palestine does not negate or transcend their national origins. Let’s remember here that most of core capitalist regimes, Socialist International and even the “socialist camp” supported the creation of ZAR in both 1947 UN resolution for the partition of Palestine and recognized the regime 1948.

Atzmon ignores all these facts and negates that the European origin of the Jewish settlers in Palestine. The points here is that Massad meant indirectly and politely that when a real solution takes place for the conflict (the liberation of Palestine. AS), some, or many of European Jews might leave to Europe as their motherland, i.e. Bavaria in a smooth and voluntary manner as the French settlers did in Algeria and who were there from (1830s till 1962) because they could never bear to live with “backward” Arabs despite of the fact that the new regime was socialist, or it might be because it is socialist.

Unfortunately, the liberal, linguistic philosopher Noam Chomsky stands firmly against one state solution seeing it against the Jews. He supported his argument with the believing that in case of real defeat of the ZAR, it will use nuclear bombs. Chomsky recalls Samson’s myth “Over my hand over my enemies’ head”!

But why does Atzmon oppose any discussion on the origin of European Jews who occupy Palestine? I found no answer but to accuse him that he believes that the white European Jews are the direct lineage of the old Jews before 3000 years. He stands beside the ZAR which calls us to start any negotiations from the present moment which states that: “Israel” is a fact by force and let’s discusses a solution which does not question the settler’s occupation of 78% of Palestine 1948 or even the land which occupied 1967. This is what was accepted by Arafat and Abbas, but not by Arab and Palestinian people. Atzmon must understand that Palestine is the land of Palestinians on the one hand, and that the world and regional developments show that imperialism is in decline albeit it is gradual. Unfortunately, the musician trenched in Herzl’s pretend: “The miserable Jews are carrying non-Semite seeds from England who inject it in America, that is why the Jewish “people” must leave Europe to restore his “national sovereignty “ in Palestine or Argentina”.

The question is: what is the meaning and right of a sovereign nationalism for human beings who were never a nation on their own land? Does it mean that this “nation” is a settler one as long as it is choosing one of four places to occupy: Palestine, Argentina, Uganda or Sinai? What other than the imperialist center which enabled them to choose and settle/occupy? As long as Herzl is choosing one of four, in a market consumption manner, he had indirectly proved that there is no real relationship, lineage, extension between the old Jews in the East and the white European Jews of the 20th century. Moreover, it is a confirmation that what oriented the Jewish settlers to choose Palestine was never the cultural factor, but the economic/material one because Arab Homeland is very attractive for imperialist interests which were there even before mercantilism.  If Atzmon goes back again to Herzl’s little book “The Jewish State” he will find more in support of my argument.

Atzmon is trying to challenge Massad’s point that Palestinians consider Jewish settlers in Palestine Europeans based on his belief that the Palestinians disagree with Massad. It seems that Atzmon only knew the Palestinians who internalize defeat especially the normalizers and those involved in many NGOs.

One might argue that too much concentration on the goal of non-Semites to evict Jews from Europe on a racist base and that Jews are not Europeans is a worthless argument because non-Semite are more motivated by European imperialists to trap Jews in Palestine and to use them as a watch-dog for imperialist interests in the region as long as they, the Jews, have no other choice but to be in a permanent conflict with the natives. This was the case of the Paris Commune deportees to Algeria who diverted to be very extremist racists.

Massad falls into a miserable comparison when he criticize the US for not having a monument for the native (Red Indians victims or the native African Americans), while have a too much monuments for the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Is it rational that the white European settlers in America will even think of that? For example, will Netanyahu build a monument for the Palestinian victims by the ZAR!

It is not proved what Massad deduces that Hollocoast targeted most of Jews who for assimilation? This reminds us of the al-Qaeda and Wahabi I.D or sect killings in Syria today. It is irony enough that both the core capitalist countries and ZAR support this massacre.