Thursday, October 15, 2009

Zionism and the Colonization of Language

by Roger Tucker

Part 1 - Misplaced Concreteness

Martin Luther famously said that "reason is the Devil's greatest whore." This fundamental insight into the subservience of the intellect to the emotions must be at the heart of any discussion of the manipulation of language to serve particular interests. In the ancient Hellenistic world this was well understood, giving rise to the numerous schools of Rhetoric that taught aspiring politicians and the like their art. Many centuries later, the Jesuits honed this knowledge and skill into a powerful instrument to combat the Reformation. In Renaissance Italy, Machiavelli schooled the powerful in this art of persuasion, combining it with other means of accomplishing one's ends that most people recognize as the modus operandi of the Mafia. As we know, the supreme practitioners of this craft nowadays are the Zionists, whose main purpose has been to pull off and sustain one of the most audacious real estate heists in history. In order to do so they had to colonize the consciousness of the West, something that could only be accomplished through a deliberate perversion and manipulation of language to serve their purpose.

As the purpose of this exercize is to discuss how language is used to distort rather than reveal the truth, with attention to the specific case of Zionism, we need to begin by defining our terms. So, let's start by asking who are the Zionists, as opposed to other collective terms such as "the Jews," or "the Israelis." These terms are often conflated, because they have overlapping boundaries, but they do have different referents. All of these terms are very slippery because they refer to abstractions, general categories rather than things that actually exist. When we say "a chair" we are referring to something non-specific that is presumably bounded by such a category, but if we say "that chair" we are referring to a particular object with all of its unique characteristics.

When we say "Zionists," who are we referring to? Jews who actively support Israel, passively support Israel, "Christians" eagerly awaiting the Rapture, complicit goyim like Dick Cheney, Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton, or what? It's an abstraction, a broad sweep of the brush that covers a lot of ground but is inherently vague. In linguistic terms such words have "fuzzy boundaries," as do all words that refer to classifications of things or people, as opposed to particular examples of such a class. Even Linnaean taxonomy, the effort to properly classify all living things, continues to evolve, with its categories constantly mutating. The misuse of language and the resulting confusion almost always starts with the solidifying of abstract concepts. Technically, this is referred to as "reification," or "misplaced concreteness," and it's as common as dirt.

To proceed with some definitions, let's start with "Zionism." Briefly, it is the collection of interlocking concepts, stories, rationalizations and myths that provided the intellectual foundation for establishing the State of Israel and since then has sustained it rhetorically. That is the nature and function of an "ideology," a conceptual framework that constitutes a particular political view. "Zionists," then, are people who have adopted that view, who believe (quite often for very different and conflicting reasons) that the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state was legitimate and that it continues to have a moral and legal right to exist.

The broad class of ideologies to which Zionism belongs is fascism, a term that is both widely used and misunderstood. Let us consider the meaning of the word "fascism." The dictionary definition doesn't help us much as it associates the word with the particular eruption of fascism in Europe in the 20th Century. But the fascisti of Mussolini's Italy and the Nazis of Hitler's Germany were manifesting a phenomenon that dates from the first attempts of human beings to figure out their place in the world, an effort which required the use of language. Language evolved as a means of distinguishing "this" from "that," the most basic function of communication. Certain sounds became associated with particular things, but these "things" were not really things; they were classes of things. Some of these classes of things referred to material objects, like stones and trees, or tigers and mammoths. Other utterances classified sensations, like hot and cold, soft and hard. Still others, probably the last to develop at this stage, expressed emotions such as like and dislike, want or don't want. But the most fundamental distinction was the one between "self" and "other," me and you. This was a necessary and very useful building block of language, but the unnecessary and mistaken solidification of these basic concepts has bedeviled humanity ever since.

Along with the differentiation between self and other came the natural extention of those constructs into "us" and "them." Again, the terms had enormous utility, but most of the confusion and conflict in human societies arises from the reification of these concepts. Misunderstood, solidified, they set one against the other and tribe against tribe, nation against nation. All of the great spiritual traditions, including the great Western tradition of secular humanism, each in their own way, point this out.

The solidified notion of self is referred to as "ego," the concept that oneself and others are independent, self-existing, continuous entities. This fundamental example of misplaced concreteness lies at the root of human suffering. Sigmund Freud made an audacious stab at unraveling the underlying cause of mental suffering, which he misidentified as infantile sexuality, but he famously acknowledged that the best that his method could accomplish was to return people to a state of ordinary, manageable neurosis. He just didn't look deeply enough. He was looking in the right place, the early stage of life during which the notion of ego arises and solidifies, but he didn't recognize it as a natural by-product of language acquisition. Without language there are no concepts, only feelings, and without concepts there is no way to make the distinction between self and other, and thus no self-consciousness. Once the notion of self solidifies into ego, it becomes possible to take the next step, which is to reify the notion of "us" as opposed to "them."

Our concern here is not with individual human psychology, but with the political phenomenon of fascism. If we don't understand fascism then we can't understand Zionism, of which it is a speciaI case, and to understand fascism we have to dig deep. It has been said that politics is what happens when two or more people get together. The primitive impulse that gives rise to fascism is what happens when two or more people form themselves into a group that first distinguishes itself from others and then asserts its dominance over them. In its everyday, innocuous manifestation, it is the mindset of sports fans rooting for "their" team. When this assertion comes with a full-blown ideology, an elaborate rationalization for exerting organized power over others, it has evolved into fascism. Fascism is group ego writ large, and it requires the creation of a group identity, so that we can distinguish between "us" and "them" in the first place. Street gangs are formed on the basis of geography; the notion of defending "our" turf from the kids from neighboring streets. There is a great variety of possible group identities. They can be generally classified based on factors like ethnicity, "race," nationality, language, religion, economic status, even gender. It starts, innocently enough, with identification with our immediate family, and spreads from there to kin, clan, neighborhood, tribe, nation and so forth. First and foremost it depends on the reification of the notion of "Us," the linguistic trap we have been discussing.

Normally we think of fascism as a phenomenon associated with the political right, but it is found equally on the left. The French Revolution depended on the emergence of a group identity among the underclass, "the people." That constituted the Us, which was then able to set itself against the aristocracy, who had long since lost their martial prowess, the original basis of their privileged position. Accordingly, they soon lost their heads. Karl Marx, updating those ideas to accommodate the conditions of the succeeding century, postulated the existence of a "working class," consisting of the people who worked in the rapidly proliferating industrial factories. This identification of a new tribe, purely an intellectual construct, required an opposing group, who were discovered to be the "owners of the means of production." Marx borrowed most of his intellectual furniture from his teacher Hegel, who had pioneered the notion of historical determinism to apotheosize the Prussian Junker state. Marxist musings, based on the "scientific" notion of dialectical materialism, then blossomed in the 20th Century into various mutations resulting in the Soviet Union, Communist China and various other instances of left-wing fascist states.

The etymology of the word "fascism" derives from the Etruscan language, ironically enough, a people who were conquered and more or less erased by the Romans, a settler-colonialist tribe from which Italian Fascismo drew its mythology and symbolism. It was initially depicted as a bound sheaf of wheat (fasces), symbolizing the bounty of the harvest, planted, tended and finally gathered by the tribal collective. As such, it has both a secular and a religious significance. The Romans then utilized it in the design of a staff of authority, embellished now with a naked blade, employed by those empowered to collect taxes and perform other services for the state. The image of the Roman fasces is a common motif in government sponsored design in a number of Western countries, particularly in the U.S. (I prefer my version to the one presented in the Wikipedia link, but the idea is clear enough either way).

Returning to the notions of Zionism, and now armed with an understanding of how tribal/group identification can turn nasty, we can take a closer look at the mixture of historical and mythological language that supports the infrastructure of this particular manifestation of fascism. Zionism developed among European Jews, starting in the late 19th Century, as an answer to "the Jewish Problem." The problem, boiled down to its essence, was that Jews were a generally distrusted and despised minority in all the European countries to which they had wandered, subjected to numerous restrictions on their freedom of activity, dispossession, random violence, and, something like 39 times, mass expulsion. What happened to Jews under the Third Reich, if that number is correct, was the 40th iteration of this understandably depressing pattern. It was the development of Zionism over a period of some 50 years up until the 1930's, the construction of a political movement to establish a Jewish homeland (presumably a place where they could only be tormented by one another), combined with the occurrence of the Shoah, which turned a rather outlandish, even laughable, scheme into a virulent reality, one that has become a grave danger to the continued existence of the human race, even more threatening than global warming, AIDS and so forth. Like the latter, it is a pandemic, but this one is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, and has demonstrated a totally ruthless propensity to destroy anyone perceived as "the enemy," no matter what the cost. When Israel is finally surrounded by nothing but enemies (all, by the way, of their own making) will be the time of greatest danger.

Who, then, were "the Jews," also known as "the Jewish People?" Because such classifications are abstractions, there can be no clearcut answer. On October 19th, the English translation of Israeli historian Shlomo Sand's book, 'The Invention of the Jewish People,' will (has - VS) become available. This book effectively demolishes the notion that there was any such thing until it was cobbled together about 150 years ago as the essential building block in the construction of the Zionist ideology. The notion of "the Jews" is derived from the linguistic misperception that we have been talking about, the solidification of an abstract generalization. The Nazis created a definition based on parentage, going back in some cases several generations. They themselves were under the impression that they were "Aryans," a wholly mythical people which, like the notion of the Jewish people was pretty much invented out of whole cloth. Much of the confusion about such things derived from attempts by students of the new discipline of anthropology in the 19th Century to establish the notion of "race," a term meant to separate all of humanity into specific ethnic groups for the purpose of analysis by academics under the impression that they were doing "science.". The idea of "race" was promptly solidified into something that actually exists and has bedeviled humanity ever since. So much for "social science," a vague and ever mutating set of academic disciplines replete with numerous examples of misplaced concreteness and usually gussied up with highly dubious statistics, mind-numbing jargon and elaborate grant proposals.

The Zionist ideology depends on the presumed existence of "the Jewish People," so the ideas are interlocked. However, many so-called Jews (like the author of this piece) are quite adamantly anti-Zionist, so it is obvious that the two ideas are not congruent. As the old syllogism goes, all dogs are animals, but not all animals are dogs. To complicate matters further, the majority of Zionists are not even Jews; the number of "Christian" Zionists is purported to be somewhere upwards of 50 million in the U.S. alone, far outnumbering the world population of "Jews" (however one chooses to define them). The whole thing gets quite surrealistic when "the Jews" try to define themselves. The State of Israel, deferring to the Israeli representatives of the equally non-existent "Jewish Religion," determined that a Jew is someone whose mother was a Jew. Simple enough, eh? But the ever lurking "demographic problem" forced this definition to mutate, so that now the Israelis, as in so much else, have simply imitated the Nazis, requiring that at least someone in the family, way back when, was Jewish. Logically, that would mean that all the Palestinians would instantly become legally Jewish, but that of course isn't going to happen. Instead, the definition includes only Europeans willing to claim Jewish ancestry (in practice, this meant many thousands of people from the former Soviet Union who made at least some vague claim to have "Jewish" antecedents. They could be relied upon to support the Zionist State and fight "the enemy," which was the whole point of the exercize.

When looked at linguistically, much of the fabric that constitutes the underlying rationale for their being a Jewish State in the first place simply falls apart, like the white suit" in that wonderful old film starring Alec Guiness. Much the same thing happened in South Africa, when the Afrikaaners, who interestingly enough, in their own tribal mythology thought of themselves as the Lost (or Thirteenth) Tribe of Israel, were forced to create legal distinctions between "White," "Colored," and "Black." Given those good old fuzzy boundaries, the Japanese (a First World people given to trading with anyone - kind of like the Chinese nowadays - and therefore seen as "friendly") were obligingly classified as "White." South Africa during Apartheid, like Nazi Germany, offers wonderful analogies and precedents regarding the problem of Israel, because it was so recent, and the situations are so similar, almost congruent. The whole Rube Goldberg contraption of Israel would instantly crumble if it had the same enemies as So. Africa then had, whose only consistent ally (other than Rhodesia, the neighboring white European supremacist state) was - guess who - the State of Israel - two peas in a pod. But at the time, the whole of the Western World, in its typically self-righteous and hypocritical way, was solidly unified against the Nationalists (they had no oil, no nuclear weapons, and no powerful allies), so the whole structure just collapsed (after a little prodding, but it didn't take that much - the handwriting was clearly on the wall). That an Israeli version of F.W. de Klerk will arise at just the right time seems unlikely, but one never knows.

One would think that the same thing would long ago have happened vis a vis the Western democracies and Israel, since Israel so closely resembles both Nazi Germany and Nationalist South Africa, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. The Zionists maneuvered their way into the halls of power in the West, and Israel effectively colonized the Empire. You've got to hand it to them; that was quite a trick. I strongly recommend Greg Felton's book, "The Host and the Parasite," for an excellent recap of how that came about (eBook available from the author for $18.95).

And who are "the Israelis?" The term is generally understood to refer to the residents of the State of Israel. They are a hodgepodge of people from all over the world who share the fuzzy characteristic of being "Jewish," except of course for the 20 percent of the hapless indigenous population who remain from the initial ethnic cleansing (the Nakba of 1948). The Jewish Israelis have little in common with one another but the mythical notion of belonging to a putative tribe, and now a sense of nationhood, as well as speaking a common language which was resurrected specifically for this purpose. The vast majority of them, or their recent forebears, were induced to immigrate through the machinations of the Zionists, initially a diverse group of European utopian idealists who self-identified as "Jews," the vast majority of whom felt no need to actually go there themselves. Prior to the 1940's, the Zionist enterprise had no attraction for most Jews in the West. In the meantime, the movement in Palestine was being effectively taken over by a small group of Eastern European terrorists who acquired the sobriquet of "political Zionists." Like the "Bolsheviks" in Russia (it is interesting, in terms of the perversion of language, that the Russian word means "the majority"), they were a small, single-minded group of opportunistic fanatics able to wrest control of a much larger but inchoate political movement that was unable to match them in zealotry, organization and ruthlessness. Interestingly, these people were the very Eastern European Jews who were utterly repellant to the cultivated Western European Jews, particularly the Viennese, who had invented Zionism in the first place.

The political Zionists and their descendents, whether Labor or Likud, have constituted the Israeli power elite and ruled the country since its inception in 1948. National office is reserved for those who have an unimpeachable terrorist resume or bloodline. These were the folks who lured European Jewish immigrants by playing on their understandable paranoia, as well as many thousands of Jews from the Islamic countries, where they had lived quite peaceably for centuries, through the use of agents provocateurs who were sent to stir up trouble between them and their neighbors. The marketing approach, using tactics to fit particular circumstances, was simple, "we're here to rescue you, come help to settle the Promised Land," reminiscent of the real estate speculators in the 19th Century who marketed the arid and unproductive plains of America, coincidentally already populated by innocent, indigenous people. Had it not been for the rise of Nazi Germany the whole misbegotten enterprise would have quickly dissolved into nothing more than a comical anecdote in the annals of history. The Nazis not only provided the enterprise with new life, but closely collaborated with the Zionists right up to the end of WWII . They were, after all, of a like mind.

It should be clear from the above that neither "the Jews" nor "the Israelis" are "the enemy." They are, by and large, ordinary folks who inadvertently got caught up in the appalling schemes of a small group of unscrupulous fanatics - they can mostly only be accused of guilt by association, although it is true that many Israelis, people indocrinated from birth by their power elite, have since then committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity and continue to do so on a daily basis. Nor are we speaking of the fuzzy category of people generally labeled "Zionists." Most of them are afflicted with an infectious mental disease, of which support for Israel is the primary symptom, but otherwise are for the most part perfectly decent people, albeit in a profound state of denial. We must be careful not to label people, even Zionists, as "the enemy," or as "evil," or we ensure a continuation of the same cycle of mindless violence. It is Zionism, a deadly fascist ideology, that is evil in the same sense that cancer is evil; it causes unnecessary harm to living beings and therefore must be eradicated. In Part II of this essay we will discuss the nature and etiology of the disease. Part III will consists of the specifics for a cure.

"The world is made out of stories, not atoms." - Muriel Rukeyser