Zionists threaten any hope of ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict

On May 10 this year, the Associated Student Inc. senate passed a resolution to divest ASI funds from companies profiting off the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Many of my friends who worked on the Divest Coalition and the senators who voted for the resolution were blacklisted online by Canary Mission, a website targeting pro-Palestinian activists.

This well-funded punishment campaign orchestrated by pro-Israel groups poses a threat to academic freedom on campuses and aims to reproduce settler-colonial narratives by erasing Palestinian identity altogether. The existence of a Palestinian national identity threatens the Israeli narrative of “a people without a land and a land without its people” in reference to early Jewish settlers in Palestine.

Palestine was never a land without her people. The original inhabitants were ethnically cleansed to create a jewish majority state.

The intimidation from Israeli lobbies such as Canary Mission and Stand With Us isn’t just limited to students, but extends to academics who have participated in divestment campaigns or have adopted a critical stance toward the Israeli occupation. On April 26th, Cal State University Fresno cancelled a search for professorship in Middle-Eastern Studies, which was named after late Edward Said, a prominent Palestinian literary critic known for his interest in postcolonial studies. Pressure from outside groups and individuals are attributed to the cancellation because anyone who fails to fanatically support Israel, such as Said, is labelled “anti-Semitic.” Middle-Eastern and Muslim students are falsely accused of being “terror-sympathizers.”

The Zionist movement was established in 1896 as a response to the historical persecution faced by Jews in Europe. It supported the establishment of a Jewish-state in Ottoman Palestine and the migration of Jews around the world to the future-state of Israel. The Ottoman Empire dissolved in the aftermath of WWI, and Palestine was delivered into British hands. In 1917, the Balfour declaration was signed by the British in an agreement with the Rothschilds, which supported the “establishment in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people.” Zionism caught on with the world’s jewry during WWII as a result of Nazi persecution of the jews. Jewish migration to Palestine increased, and the state of Israel was created in 1948 with fierce opposition from the region’s Arab population.

Zionism as a political movement is different from Judaism, which is a faith. From a Palestinian perspective, Zionism can be seen as inherently racist, ethnocentric and colonial. The atrocity of Zionism is that it uses the tragedy of Holocaust victims as a prop to bolster its manifest destiny agenda, conceived decades before Nazis even came to power.

When Zionists on campus say they want dialogue, what they actually want is hegemony.  Hegemony, a concept developed by Italian Marxist-theorist Antonio Gramsci, argues that the dominant group in power shapes the cultural life of the society through its values, beliefs and perceptions. They decide which ideas are acceptable and which are not.

The Israeli lobbies wield considerable influence in American politics, especially in foreign policy. These groups have convinced Americans that Israel’s national interests are indistinguishable from that of the United States. American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbies Congress to pass Israel-friendly policies, rewarding politicians who support Zionist agendas while punishing those who challenge them.

Israeli propaganda has infiltrated its way through our media, politics, educational institutions, corporations, NGOs, and churches. At Cal State Long Beach, I have seen Hillel and 49ers for Israel passing out pamphlets and booklets to students, which is basically propaganda from its foreign ministry.

The U.S. uses Israel to maintain its military dominance over the Middle East and gain access to the region’s vast natural resources, giving $3.8 billion in aid to Israel every year. Israel shares with U.S. its intelligence, weapons, military technology, surveillance technology, paramilitary tactics used by police departments against protesters and training for border patrol.

This makes Israel the world’s leading exporter of state-violence. SB.720, also known as “Israel Anti-Boycott Act, is a legislation pending approval in Congress which seeks to punish U.S. citizens and businesses who support boycotts against Israel with $1 million in fines and 20 years in prison. The audacity of the Israeli lobby knows no limits or bounds.

Another factor that is obscured in media coverage is the vastly unequal power-dynamic between the occupier and the occupied. This is not a conflict between two parties of equal strength. The brutal destruction and ethnic cleansing of Palestine is whitewashed through biblical stories of the “promised land” and the heroic exploits of Israeli leaders in its wars of expansion and conquest against the region’s Arab inhabitants.

No one speaks about the destruction of Palestinian villages by the Zionist militias, mass-expulsions of Palestinian people from their homelands, the siege which has turned Gaza into an “open-air prison,” as described by Noam Chomsky. The demolishing of Palestinian homes, walls separating Israel from Palestine, violent jewish settlers and the expanding settlements in the West Bank, they’re all in violation of international laws. Don’t Palestinians have a right to resist this unjust occupation?

There is a need for a strong anti-Zionist movement within the academia to counter the dominant narrative. Learn more about the Israeli apartheid. Start a Students for Justice in Palestine group or a Jewish Voice for Peace chapter on campus. Endorse the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement. Culturally boycott organizations which stifle academic freedom to advance Zionist agendas such as AIPAC, Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Community Relations Council, Christian United For Israel, Stand With U.S., Zionist Organization of America, Jewish National Fund, Israel’s embassies and consulates. Encourage pro-Palestinian students to pursue careers in the government and media.

Most importantly, refuse to submit to intimidation and hold Israel’s feet to fire.

Many of the changes envisioned are long-term rather than short-term. Until then, the U.S. and Israel continue to be two right-wing threats to world peace.


  1. Avatar
    Michael Gavenport

    This article is all over the place. Please work on transitions

  2. Avatar
    Nidhin Varghese

    I do not care if they come to campus to distribute Israeli propaganda. I am not denying them their freedom of speech. What is being pointed out in this article is how Zionism has emerged as a new form of McCarthyism. The zionists are actively silencing opposition to the criminal policies and actions of the apartheid state of Israel. They do this by adopting punitive measures towards anyone who refuse to accept their narrative. That is not fine regardless of which side it is coming from. The Israel-lobby have co-opted the strong arm of the state to punish those who speak out against Israel or chooses to boycott it.
    The city of Dickinson, TX is making those who apply for Hurricane relief sign a contract saying they will not engage in the boycotts of Israel as a condition to receiving monetary assistance. How is hurricane relief in Texas correlated with the state of Israel? Are the officials in Texas elected by Israeli voters or something? People keep asking “Why are you singling out Israel for condemnation?” The real question we should all be asking is “Why Israel is being chosen for special treatment?”

  3. Avatar
    Ken Waltzer

    WHy is Zionism inherently racist, ethnocentric, or colonialist? WHy different from Italian nationalism, which sought an Italian state during the Resorgimento? Why mention Rothschild? Is the writer anti-Semitic? Finally, why all the prattle abiut propaganda when the piece itself is filled t the rim with propaganda.

    • Avatar
      Nidhin Varghese

      Zionism cannot be compared to Italian nationalism or any of the anti-colonial nationalism(s) of the third world. From my limited understanding of Italian history, the Italian nationalists sought to integrate various regions of Italy into a single nation-state. Zionism on the other hand sought separatism not unification. The Zionists demanded a Jewish ethno-nationialist state in a region that historically had an Arab majority !! The existence of Israel as a Jewish state is contingent on the expulsion or erasure of Arab-Palestinians whom it still views as a demographic threat.
      I am not aware of Italian nationalists engaging in genocide against any one ethnic group with the aim of dispossessing them of their land. They simply sought to bring together existing people(s) whom they believed shared a common history and culture. Zionists colonized Palestine because they believed their ancestors lived there 3000 years ago. There is no historical or legal precedent for such an act as far as I am aware of. I brought up Rothschild to show that Balfour declaration was simply a contract between the British (who had no rights to give away the land in the first place) and Rothschilds drafted without the input of any local Arab leaders. Even when the Jews where moving there in large numbers, Palestinians did not have an inkling of the schemes the Zionists had in mind until it was too late. Zionism should be compared to white nationalism, which seeks to transform the United States into a predominantly white country after they have eliminated all people of color. Or to Nazi Germany which sought to create an Aryan-state by eliminating jews, slavs, gypsies and other “undesirables”.

  4. Avatar

    SJP and JVP have no interest in peace or the welfare of Palestinians. Their only goal is the destruction of the state of Israel. Palestinians are at the mercy of kleptocratic terrorist leaders who ruthlessly deny them any freedoms. Defending these leaders and claiming to fight for Palestinian autonomy is a creek and ironic joke at the Palestinian’s expense. Ask any Palestinian who is free to speak without retribution if he supports Hamas it the PA and you’ll learn the truth, the only truth.

  5. Avatar

    Well this was a weird rant. I don’t think the author should be so upset other groups pass out propaganda at CSULB when they are doing it through this opinion piece as well. That’s the whole free speech thing.

    I’m not pro or anti either side but I feel like the author is saying they don’t think Israel should exist- that’s really messed up. I hope Israel and Palestine can find a peaceful solution that addresses the problems of the past and gives both people a future.

    I don’t support this ‘all or nothing’ and ‘your either for us or against us’ type of rhetoric from either side.

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