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The New International, March 1943

Karl Minter

Whither Zionism? Whither Jewry? – II

Discussion Notes on the Theology of Zionism


From New International, Vol.IX No.3, March 1943, pp.82-87.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

 

We shall briefly analyze Zionism in the light of the historical analysis of the Jewish problem hitherto indicated. Before explaining the historical origin of Zionism, let us classify it as a movement purely on the basis of its general theoretical premises. There are definite difficulties here, since in the Zionist movement not only are all classes in Jewry represented, but various ideologies which reflect, more or less clearly, their class positions as well. But since the World Zionist Organization is a bourgeois organization, certain general features, i.e., unalterable theoretical premises, dominate all shades of Zionist ideology.

The concept of Jewish nationhood is quite logically linked up to Zionism. Yet, debate as to the exactness and applicability of the term “nation” to the Jews is sheer idleness. A sociological definition only assumes political significance according to the interpretation of the function, importance, cohesiveness, etc., of the designated institution, association, custom, or whatever else has been assigned by the definition. For example, the class struggle was not discovered by Marx, but its all-pervasive influence, its significance in the interpretation of history, and the sharply drawn lines marking off one class from another are the interpretations that he attached to the concept of class. Therein lies the original contribution of his theory.

As part of Zionist theory, Jewish nationality implies a basically unassimilable nature of the Jews. Insofar as these arguments are toned down, they are expressed in the form of the undesirability of Jewish assimilation, which would mean a loss of Jewish contributions to mankind. These are nothing but inverted arguments of the anti-Semites. Where charges against the exclusiveness of the Jewish group are made, the ardent Zionist proudly raises his head in defiance, points out the “truth” of past charges by accusing Jewry of even trying to assimilate, unflinchingly emphasizes his uniqueness in history and in a spiteful tone answers: “Jews have always been unable to assimilate. There is something distinctive in the Jew. We are proud of that. The greater the efforts to exterminate us physically or as a nation, the more dogmatically shall we reaffirm our faith in Jewish survival.” That this is nothing but inverted anti-Semitism is clearly borne out by the fact that Zionists (the American assimilationist Zionists excepted) frown upon non-Jewish influences on Jewish life, and, without exception, oppose all intermarriage between Jew and Gentile. Even the socialist Zionists would draw a line here. You ask: Why? Equality of mankind is all right as ... an ideal, but ... (this “but” always differentiates the revolutionist and the centrist) the others don’t want to. After all, there is still anti-Semitism, and really it’s ... well ... unethical. No, unesthetic. “Unesthetic” is indeed a fitting term. [1]

The de facto premises of Zionist philosophy are the unassimilability of the Jews and the idea of Jewish survival in the absolute sense. These premises, although by no means written into the political program of Zionism, are nevertheless everywhere an underlying factor. Among the bourgeois Zionists, the uniqueness of Jewish past, the progressive character of Jewish faith 2,000 years ago, etc., are stressed; the socialist Zionists are forced to resort to the theories of Otto Bauer on cultural autonomy, although it does not mean complete acceptance of Bauer’s interpretation of the Jewish question. It should be added that limited acceptance of cultural autonomy is not in contradiction to an acceptance of the theories of Ber Borochov (to be treated later) but serves to complement him in stressing the necessity of cultural survival. In fact, all socialist Zionists – with the exception of tiny sections of the small (and semi-Stalinist) Left Poale Zion – have rejected the purely political approach of Borochov to the Jewish problem, substituting and diluting its only good points with the “liquidating” program of the Austro-Marxists.

For that reason let me recall briefly the criticism of such a program. It by no means leads to the road of revolutionary, anti-status quo nationalism. Whoever sees the main element of national oppression in suppression of local culture fails to understand the economic background of such suppression. Schools and language are to be assigned to each nation. Yet the achievement of such concessions, should it be possible without the revolutionary overthrow of the oppressing bourgeoisie, would by no means eliminate the causes of the suppression. The minority will still be economically exploited and new forms of “cultural” (sic) oppression will go with it. To really eliminate economic exploitation it is necessary to unite both the proletariat of the exploiter country and the exploited. It is here where cultural autonomy hinders this unity by creating new barriers. The medium toward the freeing of nationalities now works paradoxically against it.

In final comment on the “premises,” let me mention that assimilation is not only possible but that it accompanied the Jewish community throughout the ages. Arthur Ruppin, leading contemporary Jewish sociologist, in his book The Jews Today (1909) gives detailed statistical material on the assimilation of the Jews. In his book Jews and the Modern World (1934) additional material is contained. The question of assimilation in circles which have taken the trouble to carry on serious research is simply not disputed. Assimilation stands as an uncontroverted fact in Jewish history. Should you fail to be convinced by Ruppin, look at the recent arrivals of Jews in this country from Germany, Austria, France, etc.

Thus, behind Zionism there lurks the unscientific racial theory (in veiled form, to be sure) supported by the completely false statement of non-assimilability. [2] On the political front we are faced with a purely reformist nationalism based on reformist precepts. Yet it is not sufficient to tear apart the lofty ideology behind Zionism; it is necessary to uncover the social forces that gave rise to such a movement and to evaluate and sift those factors that turn Zionism into a reformist, sometimes religious, sometimes chauvinist, movement. It should be remembered that Zionism is the outcome of a most convulsive progressive social struggle, of which past Jewish history has been so rich. Such an admission would be too much for some of their respectable associates. But it is of utmost importance to analyze the social milieu and motivation of modern Zionism.

Alongside the gradual oxidation of the beams that upheld the balance of the feudal structure which expresses itself in a series of violent outbursts, there occurred a parallel, perhaps somewhat more imperceptible, decomposition within the frail and morbid structure that held together Jewish life. What the French Revolution and the ensuing movement tried to achieve for the liberation of Europe, the Emancipation Movement among the Jews, as part of the former, aimed to attain for the Jews. They were sucked into the maelstrom of capitalism. The isolating process that had guided their history for the four or five preceding centuries was not only brought to an abrupt halt, but it was actually reversed.

Capitalism served to give new life to the dormant forces of feudalism. Whatever could not be reawakened was unscrupulously destroyed.

The Jews’ international connections, their past financial and commercial experience, their undiminished respect for learning the sciences, the arts, philosophy, etc., made them an element that, though not utilized to the fullest during the decline of feudalism, was of inestimable value to the full development of a capitalist economy. They supplied more than their normal share of philosophers, bankers, revolutionaries, scientists and writers. The Jews, as I outlined before, were ideally adapted to the growing needs of capitalism.
 

Individual and Group in Jewish Life

Yet there existed a peculiar paradox between the Jewish group and the Jewish individual. The Jews as a group still formed a segregated unit, segregated not only by the sinister powers of the Dark Ages, but also by following practices of worship that served merely to strengthen and perpetuate this distinction. This doubly reinforced segregation, influenced by environment and tradition, is what kept the Jewish group together and what explains the miracle of its survival. What contrast and bitter conflict between the group and the individual, between the general and the specific!

It is this observation that caused Marx to solve the dialectical conflict by the assertion that:

The Jew has emancipated himself in Jewish fashion, not only by taking to himself financial power, but by virtue of the fact that with and without his cooperation, money has become a world power, and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves in so far as Christians have become Jews.

This leads him to a solution: “The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.” The conflict is solved in the realm of general social emancipation, in revolutionizing practice that would make the practical, real everyday Jew impossible. Marx here very definitely means by Judaism the general psychology that motivates the real Jew in daily practice.

Upon closer examination it will be seen that Marx, as a Jew who had abandoned Judaism and who looked with a certain superiority upon those still embracing the Jewish faith, accurately pictured the bourgeois German Jew, though by no means did he proffer an all-inclusive picture of world Jewry.

It was in a similar vein that Kautsky in 1914 wrote:

The spiritual giants produced by modern Judaism could bring their forces into action only after they had burst the fetters of Judaism ... The Jews have become an eminently revolutionary factor, while Judaism is a reactionary factor. (Are the Jews a Race? pp.245-246.)

In 1844, Marx still saw a close connection between the bourgeois revolution and the attainment of democracy. At the same time he recognized the incompleteness of bourgeois democracy and knew that full emancipation from “Judaism” could only be achieved in a form of society which eliminated the causes that create the modern everyday Jewish cult, “money and egoism.” With Marx, it was a question of participation in the revolutionary struggle of the epoch. Judaism he saw as an obstacle, as an isolating factor. Hence he was viciously opposed to the continuation of a Jewish group.

Kautsky comes to the same conclusion, but in a very different manner. After probing into the scientific precepts of anti-Semitism, he comes to the conclusion that it is unwarranted and that there is no real good reason why the Jewish group should continue to exist at all. The synthesis between the general emancipation of mankind and the emancipation of the Jew, which runs clearly through Marx’s treatise, is completely absent from Kautsky, for the latter hoped for the gradual extension of democracy under capitalism, which would emancipate the Jew. Kautsky was nothing more than an ordinary assimilationist who believed that anti-Semitism could be refuted scientifically!
 

Moses Hess and the Jewish Problem

There was another prominent figure who tried to solve the complex of the Jewish individual and group. This was Moses Hess, a one-time collaborator of Karl Marx. In essence, when stripped of its philosophic cloak, his teaching amounts to the following: the Jewish culture is primarily historic and genetic; the Greek culture natural and “materialistic.” During the Middle Ages Jews had a mission: to spread the genetic world view; today that mission is a fallacy. The Jews must seek regeneration through national survival, and after the solution of the “last nationality question” mankind will proceed to a synthesis between the two cults. Instead of realizing Jewish emancipation through the social emancipation of mankind, the emancipation of mankind is attained through the national regeneration of the Jews.

Hess to a certain extent understands dynamics, but he bases himself upon metaphysical concepts of race, nationality, etc. In letter 6 of Rome and Jerusalem, there is contained the profound statement: “Not the teaching, the race forms life.” This enhances my previous statement that Zionism, similarly to anti-Semitism, is based on racial concepts. There are few Zionists familiar with Hess who do not ascribe to him a depth and completeness of understanding to be found in no other Zionist writer.

It is idle to refute Hess, but we shall show how he was a product of Jewish emancipation. Greatly perturbed by the anti-Jewish demonstrations and the blood accusations in the 1840’s in Damascus, he combined defense of Jewish rights with national feeling. Yes, the survival of the Jewish nation is more important to him than the well-being of the individual Jew. Jews, according to Hess, cannot become workers, because to return on foreign soil means to break with Jewish faith. (Ibid., Letter 12.) For Jews to participate in the general regeneration of mankind from the Middle Ages, the rigidity of their institutional structure had to be broken. Since Jews no longer constituted a separate economic category, it meant inviting assimilation. The only way to prevent this was to concentrate Jews on their own soil whence, as a unit, they could participate in the process of capitalist upbuilding. In other words, where Marx solved the group-individual paradox by revolutionary action, Hess solved it by quarantining the nation.

Nothing could stem the rising tide of assimilation; the outlook for capitalism was too rosy. Hess remained virtually forgotten for fifty years, while reform Judaism made headway.

*****

It is a law that capitalism cannot and does not develop evenly. The law of the uneven development of capitalism is reflected in politics. In Russia, the bourgeoisie rather than venture forth on the basis of its own political program preferred to shield itself behind the feudal armor of the Czar. Capitalism here had become politically reactionary long before it had ever conquered political power. Similarly in Poland no such thing as a political revolution was ever attempted by the bourgeoisie. In the earlier national uprisings, the nobility had been the dominant class. Since the World War an alliance has been formed between the nobility and the bourgeoisie, the former being forced to participate to an ever-increasing extent in industry.

Before Jews ever set foot in Russia the clergy was already strongly entrenched there. In Poland they became linked with the feudal lords and became one of the pillars of their support. Hence, ever since the fifteenth century the Polish bourgeoisie has been the carrier of anti-Semitism.

“Moreover, whereas in Western Europe the Jewish bourgeoisie constituted only a small percentage of the entire class ... the Jewish townspeople in Poland were numerically stronger than the Christian inhabitants of the towns.” [3]

The upper bourgeoisie, because of the keenness of competition, the lateness of its arrival on the world market, the low absorptive capacity of the internal market as a result of the impoverishment of the peasantry, never was in a position to advocate liberation for the whole bourgeoisie. Sections of it had to be sacrificed so that the bourgeoisie as a class could realize sufficient profits for its own survival.

Russian policy after the start of the partition of Poland was to grant certain privileges to Jews as it did to other financial and commercial groups. With the growing protest of the native bourgeoisie, the Jews were finally herded into a restricted area known as the Pale. The concentration of the Jews, emphasized by the establishment of the Pale and their historical background had results not to be found in Western Europe: the existence of a sizable impoverished class of Jewish proletarians and totally impoverished artisans who had never known what political freedom meant. Equality, hence, was sought through the creation of a healthy Jewish nation, and such a theory became plausible because concentration had as its inevitable result a partial stemming of the tide of assimilation. It created certain definite cults and customs peculiar only to the Jewish community, and these tendencies were strengthened because of the recent successes of the general national movement. Whereas in Western Europe capitalism, along with the Emancipation Movement, sealed the fate of orthodox Judaism, in Eastern Europe the desire for emancipation could find expression only through the Jewish community.

Zionism first became a popular movement when the hopes that the Jews had pinned upon Czar Alexander II were ruthlessly shattered by his assassination and when waves of pogroms followed it. Shortly afterward the first wave of immigration to Palestine was under way. It is no coincidence that Zionism at that time received its great impetus when the hopes of an immediate political revolution in Russia were dimmed. Zionism had been acclaimed by individuals before, but only under the above conditions could it assume the expression of a mass movement.

****

We have to a certain extent indulged in a criticism of the theoretical (philosophical) premises of Zionist ideology. To present an outline summarizing the political aspects of Zionism is now in place. Zionist politics in the diaspora, Zionist politics in Palestine, and Zionism in world politics show that they are interlinked.

The practical political propaganda of Zionism in the diaspora is based on two appeals: the suffering of Jews under the iron heel of Nazi-inspired persecution and the need to solve the Jewish problem in the specific country. Both are problems that have to be dealt with seriously in any Jewish political movement. To solve these problems, though, necessitates, the organization of the Jewish people into a mass movement with a transitional program based upon immediate needs. This would mean the politicalization of the Jewish masses, and this Zionism can never do.

The World Zionist Organization is a bourgeois organization despite the representation of delegates from the working class parties. Just as a bourgeois parliament does not become a coalition government of all classes because a delegate of a working class party is elected to it, so the character of the Zionist organization is not changed because it condescends to listen, every now and then, to a socialist delegate. Behind the de jure government there always lurks a de facto government. What motivates the cooperation of “all classes” within the WZO is the universal recognition that Palestine must be built up with the aid of private capital. The co-operation within the WZO is thus conditioned by the strength of private capital, a strength that is so powerful that it can noticeably advance or impede the colonization. The combined crisis of an over-expanded orange production and political clashes with the Arabs in 1936 caused a noticeable drop in the number of immigrants and a lowering of capital deposits in Palestine. Here the real nature of the WZO stood out in bold relief (we exclude for the moment the influence exercised at the foundation of the WZO by the House of Rothschild and Baron de Hirsch)

The ensuing policy of the National Funds was to help private capital get on its feet by making credits available to them on easy terms, by renting out land to private entrepreneurs. While the collectives waited for years for land on which to settle, enterprises with National Funds were started to procure cheap raw materials for private undertakings. The joint-purchase scheme has been in effect since 1939 and provides for purchases by the Hemnutah, Ltd. (Trust Co. of the KKL) with the joint funds of private capital and its own capital. This facilitates land purchase on the part of private interests at a time when conditions of purchase are favorable, and favorable conditions of purchase can always be attained by a large body such as JNF without the least guarantee that the tracts thus purchased will not be sold at higher prices when land prices rise. JNF thus practically puts the stamp of approval on speculation.

There is also provided, within a certain period, that the private partner of the joint-purchase scheme can turn over his land to the JNF at cost price. This seems to permit a method of safeguarding “national” capital against private capital; yet on the contrary, JNF becomes more closely linked with private capital and the land in the hands of these private investors (obtained on favorable terms with the help of national capital) strengthens their bargaining power against JNF.

These instances can be multiplied many times. Furthermore, the policies of JNF are not merely a product of the crisis; what was once common practice has now been intensified. In a publication before the crisis, Granovsky, the land expert of the JNF, complains:

The ... proclaimed principles of land policy (acquisition of land for the Jewish people as a whole – K.M.) have until now by no means been executed. Much more the contrary is the case, because since the inauguration of the Jewish colonizing work on a larger scale in Palestine much has happened and still happens, which stands in crass contrast to these principles. Although the Zionist Organization has in repeated resolutions of its authoritative bodies recognized in principle the priority of national acquisition of land, there were for instance considerable funds diverted from the Zionist funds to private land purchasing companies, even in view of the danger that the interests of national land policy were impaired through it. To cite another instance: the Zionist banks grant credits to companies or individual landowners, without thereby posing any conditions which might guarantee the interests of national land policy. (Granovsky: Land and Settlement in Palestine.)
 

The Role of Philanthropy

As usual, it is through the financial channels that vested interests make their inroads. Yet, a significant portion of the capital comes from small contributors. But this latter fact does not change the situation one iota. Who owns the stocks in the modern corporation and who plays them on the stock market, manipulates their value, and conducts the general business of the corporation? Certainly not one and the same person. It is one of the distinct features of capitalist economy that it enables a few to gamble with the lives and possessions of the many. And think how much more profitable it is to risk other people’s money in gambling for riches. Indeed, “he who risks nothing, wins all.”

We shall prove the infiltration of vested interest by concrete instances and we shall mention names. For years now the door of Zionist funds have been left wide open for philanthropists. The Joint Distributing Committee, the United Jewish Appeal, into which the United Palestine Appeal was once temporarily merged, the similarity in personalities that sit on the directorates of the Jewish Congress and the Zionist Organization of America, all show the infiltration of philanthropic elements into Zionist politics.

It is not philanthropy as such that is obnoxious, but philanthropy can never be the basis for a political mass movement. In fact, it diverts attention from politics and dulls the political consciousness of the masses. Yet there is some philanthropy that is sincerely disinterested even though it can never transcend the bounds of our present class society.

Jewish philanthropy has made considerable profit on its investments. It is most obvious in the following Joint Survey Commission. A leading German Zionist is not afraid to point out that:

... the struggle of the Palestinian bourgeoisie and in Zionism against the influence of the workers on the reconstruction of the land becomes ever more violent. While writing these lines, the report of the Palestine Joint-Survey Commission (Control Commission for Palestine), whose chairman is Lord Melchet (the former Sir Alfred Mond) and of which the bankers, Felix Warburg, New York, and Wasserman, Berlin, are members, has been published. These representatives of Jewish bourgeoisie in America and Europe make their co-operation in the Jewish colonization work dependent upon the renunciation of all principles which have been carried into it by the working class. (Preuss: Die Jüdische Arbeiterschaft in Palestina. Aufgabe and Werk)

Couple this with the inauguration of the settlement work by Rothschild and you shall have an unbroken chain of controlling Jewish financiers.

The Palestinian proletariat, the only progressive force within Zionism, was already in 1929, deprived of its political voice in Zionist politics. It was in that year that the Jewish Agency was formed to administer Jewish politics, control immigration certificates and “a variety of other questions of an administrative or fiscal order.” In this plot, political power. which had formerly been vested in the WZO, was shared with various representatives of philanthropic groups. Here the Jewish working class was always assured of defeat in advance. Capable of putting up at least a semblance of struggle in the WZO, it could never withstand the combined onslaught of the philanthropists and bourgeois Zionists in an executive body of this character. After all, the cooperation of the capitalists was needed. Hence, the proletariat had to climb on the bandwagon and, as usual, the deal was justified on grounds of expediency.

The presence of Ben-Gurion, leader of Mapai (reformist labor party which in Palestine today is in revolt against its right wing leadership) no more influences the policy of this body than Bevin’s presence in the British War Cabinet influences that body’s colonial policy. On the contrary, being the Agency’s mouthpiece he is often singled out for criticism, and rightfully so, since the Agency is the most outspokenly reactionary body in Zionist politics.

We shall now explain why the bourgeois leadership of the WZO cannot resort to the politicalization of the Jewish masses. The Jewish bourgeoisie in the diaspora is constantly fearing a wave of anti-Semitism. Here the supposed character of Zionist “nationalism” enters. The bourgeoisie, in the face of growing local anti-Semitism, seeks to divert the stream of immigration into harmless channels. [4]

”Because of this, the four million American Jews have not only collected money for Palestine, but an additional $15,000,000 for Russia, where the Soviet government in various sections has settled Jews in national groups as farmers and agricultural workers.” [5] (Stechert: Palestine Report of a Non-Jew, p.150.)

Herzl, in addition, suggests Zionism as a cure for Jewish socialist intellectuals who are unable to find employment. This brings us to an important characteristic in Zionism, proletarian Zionism not excluded. Zionism feeds upon the disillusionment of the Jewish masses in emancipation and socialism. Herzl wanted to ship Jewish socialists away in order not to provoke criticism or revolution; he was afraid of socialism. Proletarian Zionists despair in the revolution. They often concede that revolution might solve some problems, but in the meantime, they declare, they have to look out for themselves. In its original form, it was expounded by Borochov who also tried to put the nationalist movement on a class basis.
 

The Views of Borochov

Theoretically, Borochov falls flat. Proletarian Zionists use him, justify their Zionism through him, rather than follow the course he advocated. Yet he is easy to refute. He takes for granted the division of society into classes. But prior to the existence of classes, a national economic organism must exist. Hence the national struggle and common national interests exist prior to, and are more basic, than the division of society into classes. Then he clearly scrutinizes the various classes in relation to the territory and comes to the conclusion that there is no nationalism of a people but only the nationalism of classes. Thus Borochov ends up in a contradiction. Classes can arise only after the existence of an economic organism, while nationalism, the struggle for the territory which provides its basis, can only occur on the basis of class interest in the territory.

The trouble with Borochov is that he tries to go into teleology. Instead of treating the national movement in the same way as one is forced to treat rising dasses, i.e., as existing and trying to explain what motivated them, he treats it as a categorical social phenomena whose very existence he must explain. In reality national movements were part of rising capitalist classes and the significance of the nation as an economic organism derives its significance from the capitalist organization of society. Nevertheless, there is much in his analysis that is valuable, and his conclusion remains valid, even though generalized and hence often distorted, that “only the proletariat can carry on a genuine national struggle.” Yet, Borochov himself is responsible for the distortion since he never broke with his left-Menshevik concepts.

Even though he perceives national interest as conditioned by a class viewpoint, his concept of nationhood and the relation between oppressor and oppressed nations is merely liberal. He tried to justify the slogan of self-determination on economic grounds. After the attainment of national demands the class struggle can commence, for “It is the purpose of these demands to assure the nation normal conditions of production and to assure the proletariat of a normal base for its labor and class struggle.” (Nationalism and the Class Struggle) Borochov thus makes impossible international unity, since he considers the struggle against the foreign worker, who transcends the barriers set up by the bourgeoisie of one country in order to seek work, as progressive, and the native worker as only defending his “strategic base.” He means, however, not the struggle to bring the wages of the two workers on a par but the struggle for national exclusion. (In a more practical discussion Borochov rescinds this view, thus refuting, in practice, one of his theoretical premises.) Further, Borochov knows nothing of the law of uneven and combined development. Like Martov, he sees the proletariat proceed from one task, solving it, and passing on to the next task. Hence he cannot conceive of social emancipation without first achieving national emancipation. But under capitalism such emancipation will never be achieved for a large number of countries. Thus, history would logically develop into a net of national struggles with the international proletariat never having the opportunity to solve the social question.

Borochov, like Kautsky, believes in the growth of democracy in the universal application of self-determination for the world, and free immigration under capitalism. These myths are today destroyed. He thought that the dominant forces underlying Jewish immigration would lead the workers to Palestine. He failed to reckon with a modern imperialism that would slam the gates of Palestine in the face of refugees so as not to compromise its colonial interests. Nevertheless, he is about the only Zionist who ever tried to combine and integrate the daily needs of the Jewish worker with a program of Zionism.

It is interesting to note that Borochov, in the latter period of his life, no longer relied upon the practical needs of the workers to explain his Zionism. Greater stress was put upon emotionalism in the Poale Zion, on the desire to see the Jewish nation rehabilitated as a nation. In other words, on irrational cultural grounds. The same trend can be noted in the modern Zionist movement. The illusion of a free and democratic capitalism ruthlessly destroyed by the advent of German fascism in Europe also awoke the Zionist movement. The futility of Zionism in a ruthlessly unfriendly social order is gradually being realized.

A leaflet of the French Zionist underground movement shows, despite its democratic-Stalinist orientation, the following trend. It urges class solidarity with the oppressed French workers against the Nazi oppressor. National and social emancipation are here linked together. Despite vagueness, it is clear from the text that national liberation is conceived of only in a new world order. Whether that new world order is represented by Soviet Russia, the democracies or socialism is not clearly indicated. For precisely that reason it is probably a type of liberalism represented by the left wing liberals and by the Stalinists. I have had similar oral information regarding the Polish Zionists.

What is significant here is not the revolutionary socialist content in the leaflet, but the recognition that the realization of Zionism is dependent not upon the self-sacrifice, or “sty-chic” processes, or philanthropic enterprises of Jewry, but upon the international situation. Hence in the future, the division among Zionists will more and more take on the same features that mark class divisions all over the world because it will be the world social order upon which the realization of Zionism will depend. The realization of Zionism will also mean liberation from Britain, for remember, by Poale Zionism, under “political and territorial autonomy,” Borochov meant independence from the “step-mother” country.

In America the recognition of the growing interdependence between a revival of the stagnant world order and Zionism is cleverly diverted into clamor for a Jewish army. How Jews fighting in separate units rather than as part of the British army will aid European Jewry is beyond us. Yet it is based on the bourgeois Zionist concept of bargaining. A Jewish army, the Weitzman hope, will, after the war, increase the moral claim of the Jews to Palestine. The futility of such a program is to be found in the noticeable lack of success in the last war and, thus far, in this war. The American dean of the University of Cairo not long ago explained the reasons behind the refusal of a Jewish army. It is deemed undesirable in view of Arab sentiments. Instead of unity with the Arabs, Zionism will gladly remain tools of the British policy of divide et impera policy. There are many other aspects to this program, but to analyze them all is beyond the scope of this little essay.

We have already summarized Marx, Kautsky and Bauer, and the Marxian Zionist, Borochov, on the Jewish problem. (In the way of a general analysis of the history of the Jewish problem, the approach of this essay owes a great deal to Borochov.) Lenin contributed little that was original in this field; he relied on Kautsky. The large Jewish Socialist Party, the Bund, is, in ideology, based on the theories of Otto Bauer, which have already been criticized.

[Concluded in next issue]

 
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Notes

1. Lest malicious readers deliberately misunderstand the above allusion: by opposition to mixed marriages the feelings of individuals who abhor such an act are not designated. What is meant is the opposition on principle as applying to all who are Jews by birth. This irrational opposition, which its advocates have applied to all, is closely reminiscent of Hitler’s concept of Rassenschande.

2. The Zionists as a rule regard anti-Semitism as a result of existing national and cultural disparities between the Jews and the traditional anti-Jewish bias of the non-Jewish world, which thus, according to the theory of racial anti-Semitism, consciously or unconsciously defends itself against alien influence. (Valentin: Anti-Semitism – Historically and Critically Examined, p.10.)

3. Mahler: Anti-Semitism in Poland, an Essay on Anti-Semitism, 1942. He quotes a Polish source showing that by the close of the eighteenth century the Jewish town population was 600,000 as compared with 500,000 non-Jews.

4. But on the basis of propaganda for European Jewry, American Zionism can never become a mass movement. As long as the bourgeoisie remains at the helm, its propaganda will not be directed with any considerable force on the Jewish problem in America.

5. Yet by its very nature, by the force on which it relies (capital), by its perspective – Palestine as a solution to all specific Jewish problems under capitalism – by its leadership, the Zionist movement is a status quo movement. An anti-capitalist or revolutionary approach to the national problem can never be realized through the Zionist movement.

 
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