Zionism means the belief that the Jews have the right to self determination and sovereignty over their ancient homeland. If you replace “Jews” with any other group of people traditionally marginalized in the Western world, the Left is inclined to agree with that statement. Treating Zionism differently is pure Antisemitism, I don’t care what your excuse is.
I am a Labour Zionist and Libertarian-Socialist, that means I wish Israel (like every other nation) was a Proletarian Direct Democracy. I absolutely consider the Israeli State’s handling of the Palestinian situation in both Gaza and the West Bank to be horrendous.
But I do not support a Two State Solution because that would be the Sudetenland all over again. Until we have a Global Communist Utopia the Jews need a state that is their own, and I feel the same about other Marginalized groups like the Kurds and the Druze who I feel Israel should give the Golan Heights to. The Palestinians already have a State, it’s Jordan, they are over 80% of the population of Jordan, the British Mandate originally covered both Israel and Jordan, Jordan was pealed off to be the Muslim State. And that’s just one of many Arab states, the Arabs are not a people lacking Nations where they are the privileged ethnic group.
Calling Zionism Colonialism is backwards because it’s actually if anything Decolonization, it was the Colonialism of Ancient Empires that removed the Jews from their homeland and placed Geco-Roman Christian and Muslim populations and places of worship there.
There is a common perception out there that it is anachronistic to use the term “Colonialism” to describe the actions of any pre-1942 Empires. Rome especially tends to be popularly depicted as always simply invading and conquering people with no high minded excuses at all. This is very Modernist bias, the notion that it took till the Renaissance for Imperialism to ever start trying to disguise itself as something more benevolent.
What supposedly separates Colonialism from other forms of Imperialism is the claim that it’s simply so, founding colonies in new lands but leaving the local populations to govern themselves while we trade and peacefully coexist with them. But of course peaceful coexistence always eventually turned out to be a sham. Well guess what, that is how Rome operated in some parts of their Empire, especially in Judea.
Cities like Caesarea Martiima were the colonies while the Jews had carefully controlled nominal self rule via the Sanhedrin, Priesthood and the Herodian monarchs. In time even those were taken away over the course of various failed Rebellions, and after the Bar Kochba Revolt Hadrian banned them from even setting foot in Jerusalem and rebuilt that city as a Roman colony. And the Christian Emperors maintained that policy throughout their rule over Jerusalem. However the Jews always had some presence within the borders of Modern Israel, especially in the Galilee, there Jewish Rebellions against Christian Roman rule in Israel
The Qurran is actually a Zionist text, Muhammad never intended his Arab State to extend beyond Arabia. But while Umar and the other early Caliphs after him were violating Muhammad’s intent in their conquests, they still at first by and large let the local populations govern themselves, especially the Jews and Christians in Judea. It was Umar who in fact allowed the Jews to finally return to Jerusalem after being denied access for five centuries of Roman rule. The earliest references to Muslim presence on the Temple Mount I believe can be interpreted as Muslims actually allowing the Jews to worship on the former site of The Temple.
It was under Abd Al-Malik this began to change. He began building the Dome of The Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque while Mecca was under the control of Rebels as an alternative to Mecca. The modern notions that they are the third and fourth Holiest sites in Islam after Mecca and Medina (too Shiites they’re not even that highly ranked being topped by several sites in Iraq) is later cultural white washing of the actual origins of those structures. That said I do not believe the actual proper site of Solomon’s Temple is either of those locations so a Third Temple can peacefully coexist with them.
Anti-Zionists either Pretend Israel had no Jewish presence between the Bar-Kochba Revolt and the First Aliyah in the early 1880s. Or as I saw on Tumblr recently will claim that “before the Zionist came Muslims, Jews and Christians all lived peaceful together in Jerusalem”, that is literally a PreLapsarian Utopia fantasy, Leftists should no better then to make such claims, in any other context we’d call it out as being an element of Fascism.
Karl Marx himself, who wasn’t a Zionist, debunks that fanciful claim in a piece he wrote in relation to the Cimrean War in 1854.
“the sedentary population of Jerusalem numbers about 15,500 souls, of whom 4,000 are Mussulmans and 8,000 Jews. The Mussulmans, forming about a fourth part of the whole, and consisting of Turks, Arabs and Moors, are, of course, the masters in every respect, as they are in no way affected with the weakness of their Government at Constantinople. Nothing equals the misery and the sufferings of the Jews at Jerusalem, inhabiting the most filthy quarter of the town, called hareth-el-yahoud, the quarter of dirt, between the Zion and the Moriah, where their synagogues are situated – the constant objects of Mussulman oppression and intolerance, insulted by the Greeks, persecuted by the Latins, and living only upon the scanty alms transmitted by their European brethren. ”
Mark Twain would later confirm that Jews were over half the Population of Jerusalem already well before the First Aliyah. And they had presence in more than just Jerusalem, also in Tiberias in the Galilee and down in Hebron.
In the early 1880s it wasn’t just Jews migrating to Israel, increased waves of migration of Muslims to this region from other Ottoman lands also started then, under Imperial encouragement. So a good deal of the Muslim population of the region can’t even claim to back to the original Arab Conquests.
The origins of the Zionist movement are very Socialist, with Moses Hess being a pre-Marx Socialist and the author of one of the first modern Zionist texts in 1862. Later two Labour Zionist parties would be founded during the truly modern Zionist movement, one Marxist the other non-Marxist, theory were the most popular parties well into the Cold War. The earliest Zionist settlements were Communes. One important Labour Zionist was Albert Einstein.
The association with Britain is the main basis for calling it Colonialism, everything else Britain was doing at this time was Colonialism at its worst after all, and their influence is largely why Israel was founded as a Capitalist state despite the Socialist parties overwhelming popularity. However the Jews under the British Mandate never truly felt that the British authorities were actually on their side. They used the mandate as an excuse to continue controlling the region during a period when old fashioned Colonialism was waning in popularity. It took the outcry of Jewish sympathy in the wake of the Holocaust to make them take it seriously.
Plenty of Arabs and Muslims in the region at the time supported Zionism, like Sharif of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali and his son, the King Feisal of Hijaz and then of Iraq, as well as As'ad Shukeiri, a Muslim scholar ('alim) of the Acre area, the mayor of Haifa, Hassan Bey Shukri and Sheikh Musa Hadeib.
But more important than those figures who you could dismiss as privileged collaborators with the British, is the support Zionism had and still has from some certain entire Muslim communities in Israel, the kind who would still be just as marginalized under a Palestinian State as they are under a Jewish one. The Negev Bedouins who are in fact the oldest Arab population west of Jordan, the Druze who are often not counted as Muslims but I consider them essentially an offshoot of the Shia, and Circasian Muslims who migrated to Israel as refugees in the 1800s to escape the Genocide that was being carried out agaisnt them by Tzarist Russia, so under circumstances similar to the Jews.
That’s the thing, the Arab Nationalists opposing Jewish migration to the region during the 1880s through 40s are to me just the same as European Nationalists refusing Jewish Refugees. It’s the same Xenophobia and Antisemitism that was going on in Europe, only here in Islamic dressing rather then Christian.
Now some Right Wing defenders of Zionism on the Internet talk a bit too much about the Arab Nationalists who colluded with the Nazis during WWII, Amin al-Husseini is not solely responsible for giving the Nazis the idea to do the Holocaust, that was Hitler’s stated goal from Mein Kamf and anything that was pragmatically holding him back form it became irrelevant when the War started. And they will often ignore the Muslims and Arabs who fought on the Allies side of the War, but the important fact here is that the Muslims who sided agaisnt the Nazis were the same ones who supported Zionism.
Most of the Arab Nationalist leaders who allied with Nazi Germany did so just as begrudgingly as Mussolini, they knew Hitler was just using them and didn’t actually care much about what happens in the Middle East at all. But not Amin al-Hussein, he was given the Honorary Aryan status and actually helped SS Leader Harun el-Raschid Hintersatz organize Muslim SS units in Bosnia, he was a true Arab Nazi, and the Fatah party which controls the Palestinian Authority reveres him to this day. And during the 50s and 60s he had the backing of Nasser.
Stalin supported Zionism between the end of the War and 1948, then stopped, I feel he simply gave up on Israel having a Communist Revolution too quickly. However the USSR did not truly start backing Arab Nationalists till after Stalin, it began with Khrushchev's alliance with Nasser. Nasser was a member of the Young Egypt Party also called the Green Shirts who were Egypt’s openly pro Fascist and pro Nazi party of the 1930s. He also employed surviving SS Officers including Johann von Leers, Otto Skorzeny and Leopold Gleim as key advisors. Leers and Skorzeny were already important even before the Nazi regime fell. Khrushchev is a a figure even many Tankies don’t like, TheFinnishBolshevik has argued he had Stalin murdered. Nasser had banned Egypt’s Communist Party and Khrushchev asked Nasser to legalize them again but he refused, and Krushchev kept the alliance anyway. Nasser used quasi Socialist rhetoric that a lot of modern “Anti-imperialist” MLs like Caleb Maupin fall for, but this was no more legit Socialism than the National Socialist Workers Party. François Genoud was the Nazi Regime’s swiss banker who spent his post war life financing both Neonazis and nominally Left Wing Arab Nationalists, openly standing by his support of Hitler till he died in the 1990s.
It is my thesis that the truest Nazis are those for whom the Anti-Semitism is their main driving motivation, everything else is in service of that. During the first half of the 20th Century Antisemitism and Anti-Communism frequently went together because many Jews as a marginalized group were inclined towards Communism. Some people were Anti-Communists because they were Antisemitic, and some were Antisemitic because they were Anti-Communist. But during the 1950s as it became clear that Israel and the Soviet Union were going to be on opposing sides of the Cold War, this began to shift. Otto Ernst Remer was a former high ranking Nazi Official who in the 1950s lead a Neonazi Party in West Germany called the Socialist Reich Party that was financed by the USSR.
In the United States two men who literally worked for the SD during the War and became Neonazi leaders after the War developed ties to Remer, Leers, Skorzeny and Amin al-Husseini and began arguing that USSR was not controlled by Jews anymore thanks to Stalin and Khrushchev's purges and that the Far Right and Far Left should work together against their common enemies of Israel and the United States, they considered American Style Capitalist society far worse and more degenerate than the Authoritarianism of Stalinist Russia. They were H. Keith Thompson and Francis Parker Yockey, there is evidence Yockey possibly traveled to Russia and even spoke with Soviet leaders. In the US their brand of Nazism didn’t catch on, The American Right is over all more Anti-Communist then Anitsemitic, so George Lincoln Rockwell’s firmly anti-Communist American Nazi Party was more popular, but in Europe Yockey’s approach was very influence including on Alexander Dugin.
That is the origin of the NazBol Vortex, but the modern Anarchists, LibComs and Breadtubers who oppose the NazBols still keep falling for the Anti-Zionist propaganda they popularized.
Nazis of the Rockwell variety were still too Anti-Semitic to support Israel, they generally tried to convince people that Israel was secretly actually with the Soviets. And yeah Socialist parties were popular in Israel, but after the developments of the 50s none of them were ever Tankies.