April 02, 2013

David Aaronovitch: I'm not a zionist but....

David Aaronovitch used to be a Communist Party member.  Now he tends to support everything the CP opposes, war, imperialism, capitalism, etc.  Of course the CP was quite ambiguous on the question of zionism; opposing it before and during WWII and supporting it at the crucial time 1947-9.  This means that David Aaronovitch has never quite got the hang of zionism.  There's evidence of this in an Aaro piece in the Jewish Chronicle from a few weeks back:
As I have also written here, I am not a Zionist. I do not believe in the desirability of Jews to go to Israel, or myself feel any extraordinary affinity with Israel.
But I understand why people do, and that - of course - makes me a Zionist. You must be one, I'm told, because you support Israel's right to exist; you must be one because you deny the Palestinian right of return; you must be one because you refused to condemn Israel's attack on Hizbollah, you must be one because you supported the Iraq war, which of course was in Israel's interests.
Being a non-Zionist who is continually accused of being a Zionist by anti-Zionists, I therefore read of the decision of the Zionist Federation to, in effect, declare Yachad (an organisation that believes itself to be Zionist) as non-Zionist, with something approaching incredulity.
Now when it comes to calling Aaronovitch a zionist there is quite a lot to go on. The smearing of anti-zionists is something of a stock-in-trade for him. You're not allowed to criticise Israel if you work, as Aaro does, for Rupert Murdoch.  And of course, the JC, chaired, as it is, by Anthony Julius, is the main zionist mouthpiece in the UK.  He's certainly smeared me in the past and he had to make a donation to Friends of Bir Zeit University over the smearing of Tony Greenstein on his Times blog.

But look at his reasoning here.
I am not a Zionist. I do not believe in the desirability of Jews to go to Israel, or myself feel any extraordinary affinity with Israel.
But even Theodore Herzl didn't go live in Palestine and he had many Jewish friends, none of whom were encouraged by him to go live in what became Israel.  Hitler, on the other, did encourage Jews to go to Palestine until war made it impossible.  So according to Aaro logic, Hitler was a zionist and Herzl wasn't.

I wouldn't normally call someone who acquiesces to the so-called two state solution a zionist but someone who positively supports the idea of a state in Palestine specifically for Jews I do call a zionist.

Now logically if you support Jewish rule in occupied Palestine that means there must always be a nationally viable Jewish population in Palestine so supporting Jewish statehood certainly implies that you want Jews to go there.  Also, concerning yourself over the ethno-religious composition of a country's population would suggest a certain affinity with the state imposing ethno-religious supremacy in that country.  But far be it from Aaro to let truth and logic get in the way of obfuscation.

Self-contradiction is no problem either.  The I-am-not-a-zionist-but..,. piece is about his support for one UK based zionist group, Yachad, and his criticism of another, The Zionist Federation UK (ZFUK - really - to insiders).  Now clearly the fact that there are at least two self-described zionist groups in the UK shows that the desirability of Jews in general to go to Israel is not the crux of zionism.  There would be no Jews in self-described zionist groups outside of occupied Palestine.  Did Aaro really not consider this?  Ah, it's the affinity thing.

Maybe Jewish zionists have more emotional commitment to zionism than non-Jewish zionists.  Perhaps Aaro is more careerist than zionist and maybe that's why he comes across to others as a zionist.  Certainly zionists like him.  Murdoch employs Aaro and so does the JC?  He's a career zionist.  What's for them not to like?


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