Saturday, August 26, 2017

2697. Birds of a Feather: White Supremacy and Zionism

By Nada Elia, Middle East Eye, August 24, 2017
The Israel flag and the Confederate-battle flag hung outside a house in Wise County, Virginia, 2016 (Chris Arnade / Twitter)
A Confederate flag appeared in an apartment window in Manhattan’s East Village in New York City last week, and the neighbors were outraged. A few pelted it with stones, calling it a hate crime. Many said it did not belong in such a diverse city.
What few seem to have noticed is that the flag was raised right alongside an Israeli flag, sharing the same window. Clearly, the unnamed occupant understood the similar ideologies behind white supremacy and the state of Israel, which hinges on government-sanctioned Jewish supremacy. 
The New York resident displaying both flags is not alone. One image that has gone viral on social media, after being first posted on Twitter by a Chris Arnade, shows a house in a rural setting also flying a Confederate flag just above the Israeli flag.
But the reasoning behind the linking of the two symbols - white supremacy and Zionism - is far from torturous. The two are not strange bedfellows, but rather natural allies. Both represent a desire to establish and maintain a homogeneous society that posits itself as superior, more advanced, more civilized than the “others” who are, unfortunately, within its midst, a “demographic threat” to be contained through border walls and stricter immigration law. American fascism, then, is holding up a mirror to Zionism.
Richard Spencer, the de facto leader of the “alt-right” white supremacist movement in the US, lucidly articulated that argument when he answered a reporter on Israel’s Channel 2, who asked him about the chants of “blood and soil” which his followers were declaiming at the Charlottesville rally in Virginia earlier this month.
Spencer explained that, logically, Zionists should “respect” his views: “... an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. Just like you want a secure homeland in Israel".
You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. Just like you want a secure homeland in Israel
- Richard Spencer
This was not the first time Spencer has compared his supremacist views with Zionism. In December 2016, he argued with a rabbi that Israel does not accommodate diversity.
“You come here with a message of radical exclusion. My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion, as embodied by Torah,” Rabbi Matt Rosenberg of Texas A&M University told Spencer, before offering: “Would you sit down and study Torah with me and learn love?” 
"Do you really want radical inclusion into the State of Israel?” Spencer replied. “Jews exist precisely because you did not assimilate to the gentiles… I respect that about you. I want my people to have that same sense of themselves.” Rosenberg was left speechless, unable to effectively rebuke Spencer.
Capitalising on this understanding of similar ideologies, a website actually sells friendship pins with the Confederate flag and the Israeli flag crossing over.

Anti everyone 

This is not to suggest that fascists, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists “like” Jews. There is no misinterpreting or minimising the hateful anti-Semitism of blood-curdling chants such as “Jews will not replace us.” Indeed, racists tend to dislike anyone and everyone who is not from their community, and white supremacists, in particular, are not only anti-Semitic but also, obviously, anti-Black, anti-indigenous, anti-Latina, Islamophobes, homophobic and misogynist. 
The “national history” fascist rallies celebrate is one of the dispossessions of the Indigenous people of this continent, alongside the enslavement of African Americans. The immigrants they would have their government deport come mostly from Latin America, as well as the Arab and Muslim world. Yes, racist whites are once again proudly proclaiming their heinous anti-Semitism. But with their embrace of Israel, they are also, indirectly, confirming that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are completely different worldviews.
One, anti-Semitism, is a blanket, indiscriminate hatred of people simply for who they are, by accident of birth. The other, anti-Zionism, is grounded in the political conviction that a system of racial supremacy is wrong, regardless of who is engaging in it. Indeed, anti-Zionists fully understand that, with tens of thousands of churches in the US and around the globe supporting Israel, there are actually more Christian than Jewish Zionists in the world. Many of those Christian Zionists are also white supremacists.
Americans are speaking of a “moment of revelation,” one in which the historical undercurrent of white supremacy is surfacing again because it is sanctioned by the present administration. Such a “moment” of revelation has been happening for many years in Israel, whose government is embracing ever more discriminatory measures, leading the UN to name the law of the land for what it is: apartheid, a crime against humanity. It is imperative to expose and denounce both. 
Nada Elia is a Diaspora Palestinian writer and political commentator, currently working on her second book, Who You Callin' "Demographic Threat?" Notes from the Global Intifada. A professor of Gender and Global Studies (retired), she is a member of the steering collective of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)

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