TYT Network: “Israel has a stranglehold on our government and media”

The evolutionary process began with Stalin’s anti-Jewish purges, the first examples of how anti-Semitism, hatred of the Jew, could easily take the shape of anti-Zionism, hatred of the Zionist. Jimmy Dore and Michelle Goldberg are the most recent.

Joe Duenas

OpEds Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Philippe Petain
Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Philippe Petain

On December 3rd, Jimmy Dore, comedian and contributor to the Young Turks Network, published a YouTube video of his response to the firing of Marc Lamont Hill.  Like Marc Lamont Hill, Jimmy Dore has an extensive history of expressing virulent anti-Zionism, with the worst example being this video entitled, “CNN Fires Contributor for Telling Truth About Israel”.  

The video begins with Mr. Dore presenting a fabricated history of the establishment of Israel. He claims that there was a sovereign nation of Palestine in 1948, that the nation was partitioned by the UN so the Jews could have a homeland, the partition required that 700,000 Palestinians be pushed out of their “country”, and now Israel is an apartheid state.  

Dore then launches into an emotional and sputtering rant. His main thesis is that the “establishment” media, like CNN, suppresses the real narrative in Palestine because being pro-Israel “pays more”. Perhaps to provide an example of reliable media, Dore uses a clip from TRT, which is the Turkish state-funded news channel.  For the majority of the segment, Dore presents himself as an anti-Israel truth-teller, as a fearless crusader standing up to the international oppressors. Though they may silence other honest and good voices like Marc Lamont Hill, they will never silence him. And who are these international oppressors? Well according to Dore, “Israel has such a stranglehold on our government and our media”.

Four days later On December 7th, Michelle Goldberg printed an op-ed in the New York Times that argued that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not the same thing.  The article contains a number of dubious claims, some of which are offensive (she claims that labeling anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic is a “sleight of hand”) but overall, technically she is right.  anti-Zionism is not exactly equal to anti-Semitism. A more appropriate statement would be that anti-Zionism is an evolution of anti-Semitism.  It looks and sounds different, as does the religious judeophobia of the middle ages and the racist anti-Semitism of the nazis, but though the language is different, the substance remains the same: the Jew is evil, the Jew is the source of all of our misfortune, the Jew is conspiring to undermine all that is good.  See the Jimmy Dore video for examples.

The evolution of anti-Semitism to anti-Zionism isn’t a social theory nor is it conjecture.  It’s not based on some post-structural, critical theoretical hypotheses riddled with nonsensical code words and dogmatic jargon.  Furthermore, equating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is not a ploy to silence criticism of Israel nor a way of intimidating people into showing support for Israel (a highly offensive assertion).  The connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is absolutely evident in the history of the twentieth century.

Let’s start at the beginning.  In May of 1948, the Zionist vision was realized when Israel declared its independence.  The first country to recognize Israel de jure was the Soviet Union, which viewed the new Jewish state as a potentially useful geopolitical force in the middle east, mostly because they believed that an independent Israel would help diminish the dwindling British imperial presence in the region.  That’s right, Israel was viewed as a weapon to combat imperialism by the Soviets (as opposed to the modern leftist distortion of Israel as a bastion of imperialism and racism). Ties between the Soviet Union and Israel were warm in those first months of the Jewish state, so much so, that when Israel needed arms to defend herself in the War of Independence, she turned to the Soviet satellite state, Czechoslovakia, who came through with shipments of weapons.

By October of 1948, the relationship would begin to deteriorate.   The breakdown of relations coincided with the Jewish high holidays and a visit to the historic Moscow Choral Synagogue by the first Israeli ambassador to the Soviet Union, Golda Meyerson (later known as Golda Meir).  The young ambassador had expected a large showing of about two-thousand people, but to her surprise, when she arrived she was greeted by a jubilant gathering of approximately fifty-thousand people.

The Soviet Jews clamored to see, and if possible even meet, the official visiting from the Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.  These Russian Jews, who were well-acquainted with state-sponsored oppression, saw in Golda Meyerson the fulfillment of a two-thousand year yearning, a yearning that took place under a perpetual burden of persecution and marginalization.  On that day, Golda Meyerson was a symbolic figure representing the realization of a dream that stretched for millennia. They cried out, cheered, and prayed with the young ambassador. Golda Meir would never forget the experience, writing “These decent, courageous Jews came in order to be with us, express their feeling of kinship and celebrate the establishment of the State of Israel”.

The outpouring of support for the Israeli ambassador illustrates the hope and optimism that the state of Israel inspired in Jews all over the world, especially in Russia and Eastern Europe.  At the same time, the Soviet authorities viewed this public display for a foreign official as a betrayal, a threat and something that needed to be quashed immediately. Two months after Meyerson’s visit, Stalin would make the Soviet Jews pay for their disloyalty, but since Leninist propaganda had always condemned anti-Semitism, Stalin needed another justification for destroying the Jews and Jewish identity.

In January of 1949 the backlash began.  Members of the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee, a Soviet propaganda tool created during World War 2, were arrested and charged with being “Jewish nationalists”.  They were tortured, forced to sign false confessions, then shot. In late 1952, Rudolf Slansky, general secretary of the Czechoslovakian communist party, was put on trial with thirteen other party members, eleven of which were Jews, for partaking in a “Zionist conspiracy” among other charges.  Almost all of them were executed with some receiving life sentences.

In 1953, Stalin cooked up an absurd plot in which Jewish doctor’s were trying to kill high-ranking Soviet officials. On December 1st, 1952 Stalin called an emergency meeting of the Central Committee, which produced a written declaration addressing the “Doctor’s Plot” that was published on December 4th.  Some of Stalin’s statements during the meeting didn’t make the final written declaration. In one instance Stalin stated, “Every Jew-nationalist is an agent of American intelligence. The Jewish-nationalists think that the USA has saved their nation. They consider themselves obligated to the Americans. Among the doctors are many Jewish-nationalists”.   

On January 13th, 1953, Pravda, the official publication of the Soviet Union, presented Stalin’s “Doctor’s Plot” to the Soviet public in a newspaper article.  It read:

“They were recruited by a branch-office of American intelligence -- the international Jewish bourgeois-nationalist organization called ‘Joint’. The filthy face of this Zionist spy organization, covering up their vicious actions under the mask of kindness, is now completely revealed.”

It continued:

“Unmasking the gang of poisoner-doctors struck a blow against the international Jewish Zionist organization. Now all can see what sort of philanthropists and ‘friends of peace’ hid beneath the sign-board of ‘Joint.’”

“Joint” here refers to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee which is a relief organization for Jews and non-Jews alike, but in Soviet Propaganda, the “Joint” is the manifestation of the Jewish cabal illustrated in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The “Doctor’s Plot” fabrication led to the arrest and torture of hundreds of people and was intended to lead to a grand show trial of Jewish doctors, but before it can reach its Stalinist finale, Stalin would die and his plot would unwind.  All of the falsely accused were exonerated and whoever was still alive was released from prison.

Stalin’s anti-Jewish purges present the first examples of how anti-Semitism, hatred of the Jew, could easily take the shape of anti-Zionism, hatred of the Zionist.  To Stalin, the United States was the embodiment of evil and the greatest threat to the Soviet Union. By connecting “Jew-nationalists” to the Americans, he marked the Jews as subversive traitorous enemies that must be exposed and destroyed.  This is the basic essence of judeophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism etc. The Jew (or Zionist) is attached to whatever is perceived to be evil, and fear of the perceived evil generates paranoia, thus the hidden hand of the Jew (or Zionist) can be seen everywhere.  This generates the all-too-common anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. See the Jimmy Dore video for examples.

To Stalin and Michelle Goldberg at the New York Times, these Jewish purges were not anti-Semitic.  They were merely anti-Zionist. They weren’t aimed at Jews, they were aimed at “Jew-Nationalists”. Ms. Goldberg talks about sleight of hand in her article, and how ironic that the real sleight of hand is illustrated by the anti-Zionist-not-anti-Semite, Josef Stalin.  Apparently, the demonization of Jews is perfectly acceptable as long the target is “Jew-nationalists” (Zionists).

The fraudulent anti-Zionist campaigns manufactured by Stalin would be repudiated by subsequent Soviet leaders, but as the Cold War expanded, anti-Zionism would increasingly become a common theme in Soviet propaganda.   The Middle East, like most of the rest of the world, would be a stage for the conflict between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies. Starting in 1955, with an arms deal between the Soviet Union and Nasser’s Egypt, the Soviet Union established a close military alliance with the Arab states.  Israel, after the anti-Zionist purges waged by Stalin, moved towards the Western democracies.

After the 1967 war, which ended in humiliation for the Soviet-armed Arab states, the propaganda war against Israel intensified.  Soviet propaganda attempted to depict Israel as the enemy of international socialism; they presented the middle east conflict, not as a conflict between ethno-religious groups over territory, but as a conflict between progressive-minded Arab states and an imperial and counter-revolutionary Jewish state.  Israel was defamed as racist, reactionary and very often compared to the Nazis.

Like Stalin in 1953, the Soviet propaganda machine post-67 attempted to link Israel and Zionism to the ideological enemy of leftist internationalism. In Soviet propaganda Israel became synonymous with nationalism, racism and imperialism, concepts antithetical to international socialism.  In doing so, the Soviets made it a moral imperative to oppose and attack Israel. Israel wasn’t merely an enemy state, Israel was the vanguard of counter-revolution, the bulwark to human progress and the embodiment of wickedness.

Soviet books like “Beware! Zionism!” and “Judaism Without Embellishment” gave crude anti-Semitic tropes an anti-Zionist makeover.  Zionism was depicted as an international conspiracy seeking to dominate the world through manipulation and with control of the banks, media and governments.  The Zionists were viewed as the overlords of western capitalism, imperialism and fascism. In 1975 the Soviets sponsored UN general assembly resolution 3379 that labeled Zionism as racist.  It would be revoked in 1991, the year the Soviet Union was dissolved. In 1964 the PLO published its national charter; after the ‘67 war, a provision, most likely directed by the Soviets, was added which stated,

“Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for liberation and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods.”

Through aggressive propaganda the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc made Jewish nationalism the scapegoat of the international left.  In the 19th century the “Jew” was viewed as the enemy of tradition and the engineers of an international conspiracy of liberalism.  In 2018, the “Zionist” is viewed as the international oppressor and the enemy of leftist revolution.

See the Jimmy Dore video for examples.