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Zionist Extremists at Canada’s National Gallery – Passing the Hat for Israeli Imperialism

Passing the Hat for Israeli Imperialism

by Morgan Duchesney



Zionist Extremists at Canada’s National Gallery – Passing the Hat for Israeli Imperialism


Morgan Duchesney, Ottawa


May 14, 2013


Canada’s National Gallery recently hosted the annual Negev Dinner to raise money for the expansionist and more extreme form of Zionism; perhaps the irony of its “limited seating availability” message was lost on prospective guests. I refer to the Jewish National Fund’s 107 year old policy of accumulating land in Israel and limiting its occupation to Jewish Israelis even if the land had originally been owned by dispossessed Palestinians. I somehow doubt if the Gallery’s management would be willing to officially host a similar fund-raising dinner to help displaced Palestinians retrieve some of their stolen farms and olive groves. Beyond that fact is another irony; the idea that the dinner’s declared purpose is to “support research and development stations in the Negev desert.” Since the Negev is the site of Israel’s ultra-secret Dimona nuclear research facility is it reasonable to suggest that the publicly-subsidized National Gallery may be supporting the expansion of Israel’s nuclear arsenal while Israel hypocritically opposes Iran’s alleged attempts to develop atomic weapons.


The November 20, 2012 dinner also honored John Baird, Canada’s foreign minister and vociferous supporter of all things Israeli. On his last visit to Israel, this gentile politician was accompanied by a Rabbi as he alternately glad-handed Israeli luminaries and issued stern lectures to the Palestinians who had recently dared to take their territorial grievances to the United Nations rather than dealing directly with their powerful Israeli opponents. The strangeness of a Canadian politician being accompanied by a religious official on a state visit seems to have been lost on most Canadians.


A friend once remarked that I used the term Zionism as a default pejorative. I replied that he was correct and explained that while the form extreme form of expansionist Zionism has been a major success for the world’s Jews; it has been a total disaster for the Palestinian inhabitants of Israel and its occupied territories. That being said, a home for the Jews does not have to mean no home for the Palestinians-balance is essential. Traditionally, Zionism is presented from the perspective of its dominant beneficiaries rather than its subordinate victims. This imbalance de-legitimizes the noble idea of a secure state for Europe’s persecuted Jews.  My objection to Zionism lies not with its public goals but with its demonstrated methodology, which remains “…exclusionary, discriminatory [and] colonialist.” 


The absolute brilliance with which Zionism has managed to legitimize itself globally is genuinely impressive. However, its inherent racism still hides securely behind walls of eloquent rationalization and Holocaust-shaming tactics. The roots of Zionism’s normalized anti-Arab discrimination lies in its emulation of a European imperialist/colonialist mentality that permitted “…Europeans to view non-Europeans as inferior, marginal and irrelevant.” Zionism’s genius continues to be its ability not merely to rationalize its blatant racism but also to delegitimize and even remove the Palestinian perspective from public consideration.


Canada’s corporate media reflect,”…how deeply-ingrained are the anomalous, imperialist perspectives basic to Zionism.” For example, a local Ottawa radio host recently claimed, “There was never a country called Palestine,” when challenged by a pro-Palestinian caller and an evangelical broadcaster excused the Naqba by claiming the Palestinians were crude custodians of Palestine so the more “cultured” European Jews were justified in forcing them out and claiming their land. Supplementing this perspective are the rationalizations of Christian Zionists and those hawkish pundits who admire the “cowboy” Israelis for taming a wilderness full of people they still consider godless savages.


While planning their future State of Israel, founding Zionists like Theodor Herzl eagerly adopted the European view that the non-European world was virgin territory available for seizure and occupation. The Arab occupants of Ottoman Palestine, for example; were considered a mere nuisance to be removed, “…discreetly and circumspectly.” Or, if this were not possible,”…the small class of [Arab] landowners could be ‘had for a price’, as indeed they were.” So, perhaps the greatest failings of these non-people; Palestine’s agrarian population; were their lack of organized resistance to Jewish immigration and their failure to overthrow their corrupt Arab landlords. Hardly crime enough to justify their current condition where, “…there is an unmistakable coincidence between the experiences of Palestinian Arabs at the hands of Zionism and the experiences of those black, yellow and brown people who were described as inferior and subhuman by 19th Century imperialists.”


Critics of Israeli government policy are frequently dismissed as Anti-Semites by those who refuse to acknowledge the legitimate grievances of the Palestinians. This broad slur is both inaccurate and misleading. Anti-Semitism is commonly understood to describe comments or behavior harmful to Jewish people but since both Arabs and the descendants of the ancient Hebrews are Semites; it is both fair and accurate to expand the concept of anti-Semitism to include comments and behavior harmful to Arabic people as well. This commonality even has the potential to unite Arab and Jew in mutual defense against whatever powers might be ranged against them.


To further clarify: all Israeli Jews are not necessarily Semites. Arabs are Semites but Israeli Jews come from all over the world, especially Europe and the U.S. Many of these naturalized Israelis have no biological link to their new homeland but enjoy rights superior to native born Palestinians who have lived in Israel for generations as second and third class citizens.


The Oxford dictionary defines Semitic peoples as both Hebrews and Arabs but defines anti-Semitic only as hostility to Jews. That being said, Hebrew is a Semitic language and the descendants of the ancient Hebrews are Semites. Therefore, while popular and emotionally-potent; the term anti-Semitism is probably not the best word to describe the persecution of Jewish people. It is, however; a convenient tool for discouraging and muting legitimate criticism of Israeli state policy.


Perhaps anti-Zionist would be a better term to describe opposition to the darker conduct of Israel’s government. Unfortunately, while militant Zionist extremists continue to oppose the idea of a  Palestinian state in the West Bank, one thing is certain: early 20th century Zionism’s lofty contempt for and active hostility towards the native Arabs of what was then called Palestine created conditions guaranteed to ensure a future of endless conflict. However, the situation is not yet beyond salvation. The Israeli population must continue to “…confront the terrible social and political injustice done the native Palestinians…” and act in solidarity with them to pressure Israel’s political leaders to reject Zionism’s destructive philosophy and embrace the Palestinians as equals in a shared land defined by the spirit of reconciliation rather than the violence and division fostered by the existing Statist religiosity.


I support the notion of a bi-national state where Palestinians and Israelis live together as equals under the same laws. Bi-nationalism is inevitable because Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have mainly destroyed any realistic chance of a separate Palestinian state.  It is essential that peace activists on both sides dare to meet and cooperate with their so-called enemies in an effort to end the long trauma of Palestine and commence the healing process.

Author Bio: Morgan Duchesney is an Ottawa writer and Karate instructor. His political philosophy has appeared in the Media Co-op, Canadian Charger, Muslim Link, Ottawa Citizen, Tone, Adbusters, Humanist Perspectives and the Peace and Environment News.



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