Friday, February 22, 2008

The Zionist Revolution

People today generally do not view Zionism as a revolutionary effort. But to describe Zionism as anything less than a complete revolution is to entirely miss the full significance of modern times. In fact, the Zionist Revolution is larger in scope than any other in history and eclipses all upheavals since Israel’s liberation from Egypt. While the American, French, Russian, Chinese and Iranian revolutions certainly had great impacts on the course of human history, these were upheavals made by people living within their own borders. It was their own local landscapes which they unearthed and ploughed over in order to reform their class structures, economic patterns or systems of government.

Like the American Revolution, the Zionist Revolution succeeded in liberating a country from the mighty British Empire. And this was no small achievement for the Jewish people who, only three years earlier, were being systematically butchered by the millions in Europe. Freedom was won in blood and fire by heroic young fighters willing to give their lives so that future generation would see a Hebrew flag over Jerusalem. But aside from this near impossible feat, the Zionist Revolution also had – and still has – several more seemingly unattainable tasks to accomplish. The ingathering of a scattered nation from numerous lands to one single country has been pulled off at times against hopeless odds – and often against the wishes of not only the rulers of lands holding us captive but also unfriendly foreign governments controlling our borders. It is unheard of in human history for a nation exiled and dispersed for nearly two thousand years to ingather and reunite in its original native land. And the Jewish nation is achieving this remarkable feat even now as the Land of Israel is steadily becoming the Earth’s largest Jewish community and Jews from around the world are returning home each year.

In addition to physically ingathering a scattered nation, the Zionist Revolution has begun to weld the Children of Israel together from all the lands of our dispersion and give us a single language after nearly two thousand years. The revival of Hebrew as a vernacular used in the marketplace, military, industry and public school, constitutes a revolution in itself the magnitude of which has yet to be appreciated. From ancient Biblical sources and prayers, a new language has emerged fully equipped to meet the needs of everyday life and modern nationhood. Other peoples have vainly attempted to revive their extinct traditional tongues. But the Hebrew nation in our homeland speaks and creates in our own ancient language.

There is also the socio-economic Zionist Revolution. Exiled from our country, the Jewish people had neither a genuine working class nor a proper farming class to develop a modern economy under harsh soil and difficult climatic conditions. But the Jewish nation became builders and laborers and farmers almost overnight, making the desert bloom and building a modern working society. And perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the Zionist Revolution is the revival of Jewish military prowess. After an enormously long absence from the stage of history, Hebrew fighting forces began to reappear. Exclusively Jewish units courageously battled through two world wars. There were bold ghetto fighters in German occupied Europe and fearless resistance movements in British controlled Palestine. Jewish heroism reemerged against the backdrop of Nazi horrors and British occupation. The Hebrew nation – finally refusing to be annihilated – stunned the world as we drove out the British Empire, held off seven Arab armies and then liberated our heartland in six miraculous days.

And last but certainly not least is the elemental goal of establishing a utopian society meant to serve as a light unto nations – a national example of morality and virtue that will inspire mankind towards genuine peace. This goal, perhaps the greatest objective of the Zionist Revolution, is what tugs at the Jewish soul and innately drives many well meaning Jews to support policies dangerous to the survival of our people. Israel’s ultimate national mission is to bestow a great blessing on all of humanity. But this cannot be achieved through placing our nation in peril or relinquishing our claim to any portion of our country. Only once the international community acknowledges our legal, moral and historic rights to live freely in our ancestral homeland can we begin to fulfill our unique role among the nations. Our father Jacob was forced to fight all night and only in the morning did his opponent recognize him as Israel. When those wishing to destroy us are finally neutralized, even they will have appreciation for our contributions to mankind. Within Israel there is no inherent contradiction between humanism and nationalism. In fact, the lofty goals of universal peace can best be achieved through the realization of Jewish national aspirations – the dreams of two thousand years that are coming to fruition against colossal opposition from nearly every direction.

When we step back and grasp Zionism’s enormous scope, there can be no denying its explicitly revolutionary character. And there is still so much yet to achieve. The Jewish nation today faces a potential nuclear threat from the east, immense pressure to shrink our borders from the west and increasing challenges to the very legitimacy of our state. Instead of downplaying Zionism’s radical essence we must employ it and direct it towards reigniting the fire that once drove Jewish teenagers to drain malaria filled swamps, fight wars of liberation and make the desert bloom. The revolutionary spark that stirred our youth to become builders and farmers and fighters in our land can surely lead them to take up the cause of Jewish liberation in our own times. By utilizing the full scope and immeasurable beauty of the Zionist Revolution, we can educate our children to see themselves as participants in the great historic drama unfolding in our days.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Back in late 1999, the World Trade Organization convened in Seattle for their Ministerial Conference with the aim of launching a new millennial round of trade negotiations that would expand their global monopolies and further exploit laborers around the world. Deciding to finally take a stand against injustice, I traveled with some friends to Seattle and hooked up with other groups in a youthful attempt to shut down the conference. After years of helplessly spinning our wheels, this was the first time we had managed to properly organize. Anti-globalization activists from all across America were there numbering (according to the most modest estimates) over forty thousand angry protestors. Not only did we shut down the conference but we even shut down downtown Seattle. In order to regain control of the situation, the police were forced to resort to tear gas and rubber bullets. Although delayed, the WTO conference did take place. But the anti-globalization movement was born and through what the press dubbed the “Battle of Seattle” we drew the public’s attention to the immorality of globalization.

Over the next couple of years our opposition gained steam and grew into a potent impediment to the ruling elite and their global agenda. And many of us were quickly discovering that theories previously espoused by only conspiracy weirdoes were in fact partially true and that economic globalization was only one element of a greater political agenda reshaping the entire world. It turns out that within most Western governments today there is a hidden oligarchy directing foreign policy. And all major media outlets have meticulously fed its agenda to the public.

But following the Battle of Seattle, the establishment was faced for the first time with opposition that they couldn’t dismiss as eccentric conspiracy nuts. Although there might have been a few oddballs in the movements that were now cooperating against the global capitalist machine, most of us were young idealists who looked good on camera and spoke articulately when interviewed. And we were drawing serious media attention to the globalization issue all over the world.

I like to think that the establishment panicked a little before thwarting our success. I picture them wearily chain smoking together at wee hours of the morning in fancy hotels trying to figure out how to neutralize our efforts. But neutralize they did.

2002 started out as a good year for our cause. We held large scale demonstrations in New York and followed them up six weeks later in Barcelona. We were gearing up for an April protest against the G8 in Washington. But something happened at that event (or in the planning stages just before) that took the anti-globalization movement off track and completely spoiled everything we had accomplished until then. The demonstration was hijacked by activists I had never seen before and was transformed predominantly into a demonstration against Israel. Instead of targeting the G8 as we had planned, the activists called for a “global intifada” to protest what they called Israeli atrocities. I vainly tried to point out that Israel was not even part of the G8 but was shouted down and accused of supporting Zionist crimes.

The question that has bothered me ever since that April 20th demonstration has been why the anti-globalization movement was redirected against Israel. Was the Jewish state chosen at random as an issue to divert our attention or was the establishment trying to kill two birds with one stone? A major goal of political globalization is to eliminate the existence of small countries and replace them with large continent blocks (such as the European Union) that will eventually grow to connect and engulf the world under a centralized authority. The State of Israel, a small Jewish nation-state, sits uncomfortably and inconsistently amongst hostile Arab regimes bent on her destruction. So long as Israel continues to exist, globalization’s inroads into the Middle East will be limited (not because the Israeli government tries to obstruct the globalist agenda but simply because Israel’s existence prevents the region from becoming homogenized). To make matters worse, many power brokers in Washington DC and New York have lucrative oil interests dependent on placating Arab leaders.

After researching the recent political history of the Middle East I discovered that since the beginning of the 1990s, the international community – led by the United States – has worked to aggressively extract territorial concessions from Israel. While these concessions have been marketed to the world as returning land to a disenfranchised Palestinian Arab nation, any objective researcher can see that no Palestinian nation ever existed and certainly never held sovereignty over territory now controlled by Israel. The global elite simply want to shrink and weaken Israel into a position of either extreme dependency on foreign powers or physical annihilation due to indefensible borders. When former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir stood firm against former US President George H.W. Bush, Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker III successfully exerted themselves to oust Shamir from office and replace him with Yitzhak Rabin (a leader they perceived as weaker and more controllable). Since then every Israeli Prime Minister has behaved as a vassal for foreign powers. At least half of the Israeli public has been convinced by a clever media campaign that territorial concessions to Arab enemies are in the country’s national interest. If Israel were to refuse to capitulate at any point, the West might embargo trade and weapons to the Jewish state. But by submitting to international pressure, Israel has put her very existence at risk.

Contrary to what many would have us believe, the struggle for “greater Israel” is not a neo-conservative or rightist cause but actually the front line today in the battle against globalization. By fanning the flames of animosity and hatred in the Middle East, Western governments have spent decades exacerbating the Arab-Israeli conflict, victimizing both populations as oil and weapons industries increase their profits. As a political organizer who has fought for human justice all my life, I urge my fellow activists to combat globalization by defending the State of Israel’s basic right to live securely in full borders. Grassroots organizations must emerge throughout the United States to exert compelling moral pressure on America’s political leadership that will decelerate the Western capitalist machine and save Israel from destabilization. Globalization today undermines the environment, labor rights, national sovereignty, local businesses, and the cultures of indigenous peoples. The State of Israel has been viciously maligned by the corporate media establishment in order to legitimize Western attempts to shrink its borders and blunt its ability to deter outside aggression. Those of us who truly oppose injustice can kill two birds with one stone by halting globalization in the Middle East through opposing America’s current attempts to shrink Israel.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Revolutionary Zionism

Zionism is the national liberation movement of the ancient Jewish people. Since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Jewish nation has incessantly struggled for liberation and redemption on our native soil. According to ancient legend, the Messiah was born on the day the Temple was destroyed – the Messiah being the figure that redeems Israel from the exile to our land, restores us to sovereignty over our borders and rebuilds the Temple in our capital city, Jerusalem. The very moment that the Temple was razed, the national struggle for redemption was born. While this deep yearning for freedom has raged for thousands of years in Israel’s national soul, it was only given concrete expression with the activist wing of the Zionist movement. Zionism – the national, practical inclination towards liberation and redemption – is the external manifestation of Israel’s ancient spiritual yearnings, while the latter is the light and soul of the former.

The Zionist Freedom Alliance respects the values and contributions of the major Zionist streams of the past. Revisionist, Socialist and Religious Zionism have all played vital roles in the Zionist Revolution (sometimes consciously but often subconsciously). ZFA adheres to the vision of Revolutionary Zionism, a vision we see as both transcending and including modern thinkers, ideologies and Zionist sub-sects. The Zionist Revolution aims to realize five goals:

  1. The liberation of the Land of Israel from foreign rule so that the Jewish nation can attain sovereignty over our borders and self determination in the whole of our ancestral homeland.
  2. The revival of the Hebrew language as an everyday vernacular to be used in every field and area of society.
  3. The ingathering of Israel’s exiles – essentially the mass relocation of the scattered Jewish people back to one central location – the Land of Israel.
  4. The rebuilding of Israel’s Temple in Jerusalem to signify full Jewish liberation and redemption. Because Israel’s drive for liberation began with the destruction of our Temple by the Romans, the Jewish people can never achieve full independence without its rebuilding over Jerusalem.
  5. The establishment of a utopian society based on Jewish ethics and prophetic justice. Such a society will ensure that all are treated fairly and that no person within the society remains hungry or unemployed. This virtuous society will set an example of morality to the entire world and lead all of mankind towards a better collective future.

While not every Zionist leader or thinker – now or in the past – has been cognitively aware of these five aims, the goals remain the underlying objective of the Zionist Revolution and the spiritual force thrusting the Jewish nation forward. History is often greater than the individual characters participating within and Zionism’s ultimate aim cannot be dependent on the numerous ideologies of its various performers.

ZFA activists view ourselves as participants in history. We accept that we are both fully responsible and entirely capable of driving the Zionist Revolution forward. We esteem all revolutionary Zionists who continue to struggle towards these noble objectives and encourage the other Zionist movements to join in our campaign.

Does Israel lack Freedom?

Are the Jewish people free? Is the State of Israel truly independent? On the surface one might think so. In 1948, Jewish militants succeeded in liberating our country from British rule. A Jewish state was declared and we fought tooth and nail to defend our land from the seven Arab armies who attacked us as the British departed (many British soldiers lagged behind to help Trans-Jordan and Egypt against the Jews). But let’s look at the following:

- Israel has not stopped fighting for our freedom. The War of Independence is still waging as nearly the entire region surrounding the State of Israel are overtly determined to erase it. Every war over the last 59 years has been a battle in the larger war for Israel’s independence.

- After 59 years of statehood, Israel still does not enjoy internationally recognized borders. Not one nation recognizes Israel’s right to the entire territory between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River (1/4 of the land allocated by the League of Nations to be a Jewish homeland).

- In the early 1990s, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir stood strong against international pressure to shrink Israel’s borders, United States President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker III interfered in the Israeli political system to remove Shamir from office and replace him with someone more pliable to Western interests. Since then, every Israeli leader has seen himself as a vassal ruler for foreign powers rather than as the leader of an independent country.

- Many Israelis view their country’s survival as being economically, diplomatically, and militarily dependent on foreign powers.

- Not one nation recognizes Israel’s right to Jerusalem as her capital city. Not one foreign embassy stands in Jerusalem today.

- Israeli leaders frequently justify unpopular and dangerous policies to the public by stating that Israel must acquiesce to the demands of the international community.

The truth is that whatever small degree of sovereignty Israel still exercises is most often used to placate the outside world. The State of Israel has potential independence – a government, army, recognized statehood (without recognized borders) but the Jews lack true freedom so long as we behave like a banana republic while at the same time being in a position of existential danger. The combination is just no good. Welcome to the blog.