The violent implantation of the exclusionary settler-colonial entity called Israel into Palestine and the heart of the Arab and Muslim world almost 70 years ago is redolent of the European genocidal colonisation of Asia and Africa, the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand.
The creation of Israel, from the rib of terrorism, has used and continues to utilize Zionism as its foundational ideology. Developed in 1896 by an atheistic Austrian Jew, Theodore Herzl, it is an ethnic-cleansing, racist, colonial ideology. Its main goal was the establishment of Greater Israel in the heart of the Muslim East, extending from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq, as a Jewish-only homeland for what is termed the “Jewish People.”
The racism of political Zionism is a perfectly coherent system that inspires all the laws and practices of the State of Israel. It has meant and still means ethnic cleansing, regular massacres, bombardment of civilian populations, wars of aggression against every neighboring Arab state, dispossession, exile, systematic racism, and apartheid.
All the essential features of apartheid — exclusivity, inequality, separation, control, dependency, violations of human rights, and sufferings — are an integral part of the Zionist entity. A recent report (March 2017) by two eminent professors, Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to investigate Israeli practices toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole.” It stated that Israel is in violation of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (article 3), the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which lists apartheid as a crime against humanity (articles 7(1)(j) and (2)(h)). This affirms previous resolutions taken by the Organization of African Unity and the Non-Aligned Countries that called Zionism “a racist and imperialist ideology.”
Professor Shahid Alam, author of Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism, depicts how the Zionist Project, without any territory and scattered across many regions and countries, was welded into an Israeli nation through shared religious traditions connected to Judaism.
Most Jews experiencing anti-Semitism, and with no attachment to Palestine, preferred moving to more prosperous countries in Western Europe, or the US, South Africa, and Australia. Zionists exploited the rampant European anti-Semitism, in effect wanting Jews out of Europe, to facilitate a Jewish nationalism and establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Fortuitously, restricted Jewish immigration to the West, the Balfour Declaration, and the Nazi persecution enabled the Zionist colonising project.
Zionists deftly leveraged Western powers to their cause, who felt that they had made amends for their history of anti-Semitism; and also finally paid back the Arabs and Turks for their “conquest” of Christian lands. Evangelical Christians looked upon the birth of Israel as the fulfillment of end-time prophecies, and have subsequently become the largest and most fanatical partisans of Israel.
With a massive infusion of financial and military help of coerced pro-Zionist Western heads of states, with Britain, US, Russia, France and Germany, they were able to accomplish this colonial project by establishing the State of Israel on occupied Palestinian land after the genocide and ethnic-cleansing of the majority of Palestinian Arabs.
Significant for the Zionist Project was the disintegration of the Ottoman Sultanate resulting in its losing European territories in the 19th century and its Arab territories after WWI. They were divided up among the British, French, and the Zionists, and a clutch of oil-rich protectorates. As a result, when the Muslim world emerged out of the colonial era, it had been politically fragmented and divided into some 40 states, none with the potential to serve as a core state. This fragmentation was most striking in Islam’s Arab heartland.
The Zionists have distorted and misrepresented the history of the region established by Islam over the past 1,400 years. They sought to overturn the demography of Palestine and insert a European presence in the heart of the Islamic realm, and to serve as the forward base for Western powers intent on domination of the heartland of Islam, meaning the regions in which Muslims are culturally dominant, not specifically with the religion of Islam.
In 1895, Theodore Herzl wrote in his diary, “We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying employment in our country… the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly.”
He also wrote that the Jewish community could be “part of a wall of defense for Europe in Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism.” The Zionists skillfully leveraged the power of the very peoples who hated the Jews. Europe would be rid of the Jews if it established a Jewish settler-colonial state in Palestine. It served as imperialist Europe’s, and later America’s, outpost in the Arab world.
The Zionists, through their hasbara (propaganda) manipulations of the corporate media and powerful lobby groups, contended that their project was closely aligned with the strategic interests of Western powers.
The Zionists realized that in order to succeed in their colonial enterprise and maintain the support of the West, they would have to create an adversary common to both the West and the Jews. Only a Jewish state waging wars in the Muslim East could “energize the West’s crusader mentality, its evangelical zeal, its dreams of end times, its imperial ambitions.”
Thus they have stoked rampant Islamophobia, propagating that Islam is a problem; that Muslims are terrorists; that they have failed to modernize; that they hate America for what it is, that is, its freedom, its progress and promise of democracy.
In order to establish a lasting hegemony, Israel demands unconditional recognition from its Arab neighbors. It has mobilized the United States behind a scheme to balkanize the Muslim East into ethnic, sectarian, and religious micro-states, a new system of client states that would facilitate Israel’s long-term hegemony over the region.
Surveys in 15 European countries reveal that more than 65% consider Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. The Zionist ideology underpinning the state, manifested by apartheid, colonization, a strangulating siege, ethnic cleansing, and state terror, needs to be dismantled for justice and global peace to prevail.
Will the Muslim world be smashed into a collection of micro-states along ethnic, sectarian, and tribal lines allied to and dependent on the US and Israel for their survival? Or will the Muslims oppose this new “civilizing mission” and regain the freedom to shape their destiny in ways that allow the integral Qur’anic society — just, inclusive, creative, seeking knowledge, taking the balanced path — to once again enrich our common human sojourn on earth?
Dr. Firoz Osman is an executive member of the Media Review Network, an advocacy group based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the co-author of Why Israel? The Anatomy of Zionist Apartheid — A South African Perspective.