The Origins of Zionism and the State of Israel

May 21, 2018

When one stops to look into the actual historical roots of the conflict, one sees that it has absolutely nothing at all to do with Jews hating Muslims or visa versa. Rather one finds that the oppression, the national subjugation imposed on the Palestinian people, is the result of the capitalist-imperialist system.

The current state of Israel is the fruit of a European political movement known as zionism. Political zionism arose in Europe around the turn of the 20th century. At that time, the area in the Middle East now ruled by the state of Israel was Palestine, and had been inhabited and developed not only for hundreds but actually thousands of years by Palestinian people and their forebears. As far as religion is concerned, Palestine was the birthplace of three religions and was well-known as a land of religious tolerance in which Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together without antagonisms and contradictions between them.

Political zionism grew and gained its strength as a creature of Western colonialism. The founder of zionism was a man named Theodor Herzl, an Austrian ruling-class Jew. Herzl looked at the problem of persecution of Jews In Europe by various reactionary ruling classes, and concluded that Jews could never get along with others and could only cope with the inevitable persecution he forecast for them by separating themselves into an exclusive group and founding their own state.

The first thing that must be said about Herzl’s zionism is that it was in direct opposition to the long tradition of the Jewish laboring masses, who, scattered throughout Europe, had fought and won many battles against their persecution side-by-side with other laboring and oppressed people. The truth is that Herzl’s political zionism was a mirror image of the anti-Jewish ideology of those repressive ruling-class circles. Herzl actually stated that the Jew carries anti-Semitism with him in his knapsack. And in fact, political zionism won almost no support amongst the Jewish laboring classes and would have withered and died had it not gained the support of Western imperialism which was looking for ways to replace the Ottoman empire, become the colonial master of the Arab world, and suppress the national movements of the Arab masses.

With this international situation in mind, Herzl peddled his zionist project to all the biggest anti-Semites – to the Russian Czar, to the Turkish Sultan, to the British imperialists, suggesting to them that the establishment of a zionist colony in the Middle East could serve as a “rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism.” (Herzl, The Jewish State 1896).

The zionist vision of an exclusively Jewish state has always meant precisely a state “without Arabs.” Herzl had planned “to spirit the penniless population across the border” and Weizmann, when questioned about the future of Arabs in a zionist state, remarked: “What Arabs? They are hardly of any consequence.” But since an early system of land and trade frauds was not a sufficient means of emptying Palestine of its native inhabitants, the zionist project relied on terror to forcibly expropriate, exile and exterminate Palestinians.

Today the state of Israel has not only usurped the entire historic homeland and nation of Palestine but it has also officially annexed Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights. It has repeatedly declared its intention to annex the West Bank and Gaza, as well as hold onto its “security belt” in Lebanon. Today, in the West Bank, Israel is planning and calling for more settlements there just as it has recently perpetrated aerial bombardments inside Lebanon and Syria.

In the years since the establishment of the Israeli state, the zionist policy of genocide and dispersal of Palestinians has only intensified. After the 1947-48 war, the Israeli regime forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into exile, razing their homes and expropriating their lands. The same process has been carried out since 1967 in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Within a week after seizing these territories by force of arms, the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) declared its intention to annex the areas and has proceeded not only to kill and internally displace thousands upon thousands of Palestinians, but also to expropriate by military decree 70-80% of the land.

For its part, U.S. imperialism continues to author and organize the aggressive actions of Israeli zionism, providing it with all-around political, economic and military assistance – including advanced aircraft and missile systems.

In the Middle East, U.S.-sponsored Israeli aggression is a means to consolidate the position of U.S. imperialism while trampling on the rights of the Arab peoples.

Since the end of the savage Persian Gulf war, U.S. imperialism has advertised a phony “peace” process far and wide, even while it has worked feverishly to 1) expand its direct military presence in the region; 2) strengthen its alliances with various reactionary Arab regimes; and 3) further consolidate the positions of its “strategic ally,” the expansionist state of Israel. Over the last few years, U.S. imperialism has pre-positioned numerous tactical units equipped with heavy armor and supported by advanced fighter aircraft in the region, while permanently maintaining an armada of warships. The U.S. has signed new military pacts and alliances with several Arab regimes and repeatedly staged joint war games and “training exercises” with these regimes.

At the same time, U.S. imperialism has labelled anyone and everyone who opposes its “peace” initiatives – that is, who opposes U.S. domination of the region – as “rogues” and “terrorists.” For the Palestinian people, the U.S.-sponsored “autonomy” that has resulted, amounts to nothing more than reservation-like conditions. The Palestinians remain under the political domination and military rule of Israeli zionism, denied their inalienable national right to their own sovereign state.