Leading Israel-Palestine journalist Max Blumenthal spoke at the University of Glasgow on 27 February 2015. He was invited for Israeli Apartheid Week 2015, the 11th annual commemoration of this week of action.
In a segment in his larger presentation, Blumenthal addressed the ways in which Zionism exploits anti-Semitism, the ways in which Zionism even makes anti-Semitism worse, and the ways in which Zionism even maintains a cozy relationship with anti-Semitism (transcript below).
There’s no Jewish consensus on Zionism, but these figures [Israeli politicians such as Prime Minister Netanyahu] claim to act in the name of all Jews. And it’s incredibly dangerous.
If anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, then Zionism is Judaism. Who else says that? Anti-Semites. Because it’s anti-Semites—real anti-Semites, and they exist—who seek to implicate all of the Jews in the world in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
It’s anti-Semites who claim, contrary to the central underpinning idea of the BDS movement, that the source of the crisis in Israel-Palestine is Judaism, is the Jewish religion and the Jewish people, and not colonialism.
We believe here, those of us who support BDS, who support Palestine solidarity, that the problem is colonialism, and that, if Chinese people had come to enact a project of colonialism in historic Palestine, Palestinians would have resisted them as well. And they would have adopted, potentially, Sinophobic attitudes, because the people who were colonizing them, dispossessing them, moving them from their homes, were claiming to act on behalf of all Chinese people.
I mean, that’s not happening, but that’s what would have happened. That’s what happens in any case where you witness settler colonialism. It’s my understanding that Native Americans who live on reservations aren’t particularly fond of the white man. But we don’t run international campaigns to demonize them as anti-white; it’s kind of understood.
So, this is the situation. It’s more dangerous than we think it is. Because anti-Semitism exists, one danger of this kind of demagogic exploitation of the anti-Semite label—attacking people like me as “anti-Semites” because of my opinion on the political project of Zionism—is that actual anti-Semites can start to wear this label as a badge of honor and claim persecution because those who are exploiting it have negated it and sapped it of all meaning.
And we do see that happening. We do see anti-Semites who have been rejected by the Palestine solidarity movement, like Gilad Atzmon, wear this as a badge of honor, as they insight against Jews. That’s the danger.
I don’t think that the hardcore Zionists really care that they’re putting Jewish life in danger in the diaspora. They don’t care that they are destabilizing Jewish life.
One of their nightmares, one of their biggest fears, is the absence of anti-Semitism. Because without anti-Semitism in the West, there is no political justification for the Zionist project which is supposed to exist as a sanctuary from anti-Semitism.
So, in so many ways, they’re acting in a de facto coalition with anti-Semites.
Netanyanhu, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, has shown up in Europe repeatedly in the last few months. He shows up every time there is a terrorist attack on Jewish targets in Europe. First, after the kosher supermarket in the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, then after the attack on a Jewish target in Copenhagen.
And what does Netanyahu do? He doesn’t call for people of these cities to mobilize together and show solidarity with Jews, to unite against all forms of racism. He calls for all Jews to leave Europe. He calls for a Judenrein Europe, just as anti-Semites do.
He says come to Israel; it’s your only home. Come to this wonderful place where I’m telling Israeli citizens that we’re on the verge of being conquered by ISIS, and on the verge of a nuclear holocaust at the hands of Iran. Come take safety here and leave Europe. He’s insulting the Danish legacy of protecting its Jewish population against anti-Semitism and fascism, and he’s insulting the French Republic when he comes there and tells all of the French Jews to leave.
But this is the essence of Zionism … ever since the days of Herzl.