Abstract: Samira Quraishy reviews Alan Hart’s courageous 2 volumes discussing what he states is the primary source of anti-Semitism in the world today – Zionism and the state of Israel.
In today’s world of democracy and free speech, of globalisation and universalism, of Western hypocrisy and interference, there is a voice echoing slowly but surely amongst the morally aware. The voice of freedom, of justice, of realisation-realisation that one cannot sit back and witness daily atrocities in areas of the world that the Western powers deem to be insignificant.
Palestine is one such land, one such people who have been oppressed for over half a century. Alan Hart’s epic two volume book extensively charts a history of the land as has never before been seen. Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews is a complete re-write of the accepted history of the on-going conflict in Palestine and sets out to debunk the myths that have been oozing out of Israel since its creation.
Hart, a former Middle East correspondent for ITN and BBC Panorama presenter, dedicated five years of his life researching this subject and provides a different view of history, untainted by Zionist propaganda and myths.
From the outset, Hart emphatically establishes that there is a significant difference between Zionism and Judaism. The Zionism that is used in the title refers to the political theology of Zionism that is in stark contrast to the spiritual form of Zionism.
This extensive two volume work maps out in detail the birth of the Zionist state and analyses the key events that have lead to the on-going destruction and abuse of human rights. Two central and related themes that are apparent throughout are:
1. That Israel is its own worst enemy and the greatest threat to peace for its people, its region and the World. One vivid incident which sums up this theme is a BBC Panorama interview with Mother Israel, Golda Meir, when she was Israel’s prime minister. At a point Hart interrupted her to say:
“ ‘Prime Minister, I want to be sure that I understand what you are saying…You are saying that if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it?’ Without the shortest of pauses for reflection, and in the gravel voice that could charm or intimidate American presidents according to need, Golda replied, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.” (p. xii)
2. The reason as to why the Arab and wider Muslim world is ‘an explosion of frustration and despair’ biding its time.
These two themes are constantly alluded to and are some of the reasons why Hart decided a re-write of accepted history was in order. Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews was written with two thoughts in mind. One questioning who will be able to stop the ‘Armageddon’ that he predicts will be between the Zionists and the Arab/Muslim world; second, asking ‘What can be done, and by whom, to prevent the sleeping giant of Anti-Semitism, now stirring, from waking up with sufficient vigour to go on a rampage again?’. The latter can be neatly depicted by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving and respected Director of Military Intelligence, who warned:
‘Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of this misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.’
Hart’s readable account of history, his obvious erudite analysis and his ability in bringing the factual conflict to life on the page ensures the readers interest is unwavering throughout. His passion and empathy with both sides is apparent. For the Jews, the ‘unspeakable fear’ of another Holocaust due to Zionist manipulation and tyranny; and for the Arabs and Muslims, the anger and humiliation they are feeling everyday that Palestine is being torn apart and trampled upon.
The epilogue, in volume two entitled ‘The Jews as the Light Unto Nations’ ends with a final appeal to the Jewish community to rise up and stand firm against the Zionists, as only they can destroy the cancer from within:
If the Jews of the diaspora can summon up the will and the courage to make common cause with the forces of reason in Israel before it is too late for us all, a very great prize awaits them. By demonstrating that right can triumph over might, and that there is a place for morality in politics, they would become the light unto nations. It is a prize available to no other people on earth because of the uniqueness of the suffering of the Jewish people. Perhaps that is the real point of the idea of the Jews as Chosen People… Chosen to endure unique suffering and, having endured it, to show the rest of us that creating a better and more just world is not a mission impossible (p. 423)