Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 19 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/2/17

Israel as a Russian-Soviet invention

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Eric Walberg
Become a Fan
  (13 fans)
Israel's ancestors are many
Israel's ancestors are many
(Image by Gilad Atzmon)
  Details   DMCA
Reading Rabkin's What is Modern Israel (2016), you can only marvel that Israel continues to exist at all, given its unending criminal behaviour, from the 1920s, while it was still just a dream, until the present, the only change being in the details, the full-scale wars of expansion giving way to smaller-scale invasions of occupied territories and Gaza (there's no more land to conquer), and ever new bureaucratic torture techniques intended to drive the Palestinians either crazy or into voluntary exile. Even the latter, a soft version of the 1948 ethnic cleansing, is made difficult, as the Palestinians can only leave via Jordan, at the mercy of Israel. Why does the world, especially the US, which could bring Israel to heel overnight, let the horror continue?

Rabkin delves deep into the Russian Yiddish roots of Israel and brings together many startling facts that suggest there was a much better option for Palestine and the Jews, one that was scuttled by secular Jewish fanatics inspired by their experiences before and after the Russian revolution. What is Modern Israel is packed with fascinating quotes and historical tidbits. Some of Rabkin's insights from his book and a lively podcast interview.

*He decries the use of 'holocaust' in depicting the tragedy of WWII, as it is a religious symbol, and the deaths were hardly a burnt offering to some god. Rabkin uses 'genocide'. He also insists that it is not the "Jewish lobby" and "Jewish state", but the Zionist lobby/state, as most Jews are not Zionists, certainly not approving of Israel's bombings, invasions, and illegal settlements. The lesson of the genocide for Zionists was 'be strong and kill and hound suspected antisemites.' For Rabkin, it is the opposite: a rejection of Zionism and Israel as a Jewish state.

*Israel is a stark example of demodernization, something that is happening around the world in different ways, as a reaction to the weakness of secular multiculturalism. Marshall McLuhan just uses 'tribal' to describe the larger 'global village' return to 'oral' cultures, which as in preliterate society, were tribal "politically engaged, emotionally charged, tightly woven".** But demodernization is effective to juxtapose the wildly modern nature of Israel as a opposed to what I call postmodern states in the current geopolitical order. It still has an independent foreign policy, like the US, and unlike Canada and Europe. Combine this 20th-century Jewish racist form of premodern tribalism with high tech, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Russian-Soviet connection

*The Russian (and Polish) shtetl/ghetto life of Jews morphed into the ghetto mentality and the reality of Israel. Israel is one big (really, small) ghetto, a fragile one plagued by enemies within (not the Arabs, but rather the various religious and secular factions) surrounded by equally implacable enemies. Brrrr.

*The violence of the Russian revolutionary traditions both before and after the 1917 revolution saw Jews at the forefront of the social upheaval and transformation. Jews suffered the most as a group from discrimination in Tsarist Russia, but at the same time, largely embraced the secularization process, which saw the weakening of religion as the foundation of social life. They partook of the anarchist assassinations of political leaders, including Tsar Alexander II, and Nicolas II. Stalin's deportations of Tatars, Chechens and others during WWII were a template for Jabotkinsky's project to rid Palestine of its natives. Though Stalin turned against Israel in 1948, he looms large in Israeli history.

*Rabkin compares the artificial creation of a new capital for Russia under Peter the Great, St Petersburg, to Israel's creation of a new capital, Tel Aviv, and the construction of a new state, as built on slave labour and without regard to the environment or traditions. Critics of both projects forewarned of the unviability of these ambitious schemes.

*Jewishness as fashioned after the creation of Israel is largely a Russian/Soviet secular nationality, with little regard to Jewish spiritual traditions. This was not a problem in the Soviet Union, where all religion was suppressed, and where Jews were given completely equality with other 'nationalities' and even encouraged to express their Jewishness, to the extent of creating an autonomous Jewish republic, Birobaidjan. It was in virtually uninhabited Siberia, which meant no natives were 'cleansed', but had the draw back that Jews, preferring urban European-style lives, refused to take up the offer. So Israel is actually the second 'homeland' of Jews.

Ben Gurion wrote an ode to Lenin, and Begin was an NKVD agent. Israel is a Russian/communist Jewish creation, despite the fact that once Soviet military aid was no longer necessary, Israel dropped its intimate links with the Soviet Union. (Eat crow, Stalin.) All the prime ministers have been Russian. They despise the Mazrahi Arab Jews (let alone the Arab Muslims).

Israel's postwar twins

Rabkin could have gone a step farther to see how other news states being born in 1948 were faring. The partition of the Raj into India Pakistan in 1947 was one of the worst nightmares of the 20th century, thanks to the British. Instead of one (socialist) secular state, Britain relied on a Machiavellian 'divide and conquer' to scuttle any socialism and to keep the two warring states beholden to it. Indefinitely, as it turns out. And the permanent state of war between India and Pakistan led directly to the US meddling that gave rise to al-Qaeda and now ISIS.

Yugoslavia, like Israel in 1948, broke ties with Stalin, both for their national independence and independent building of socialism. Both paths were supported by the US as keystones to its Cold War Great Game strategy, but they quickly diverged. Yugoslavia distanced itself from the US and made peace with the reformist Khrushchev, staying true to its socialist principles. Israel increasingly abandoned the romance of communism, symbolized by the kibbutz, embedding itself in the US-dominated imperial order as the enemy of socialism.

Yugoslavia was genuinely socialist, which meant a nonracist society, where the formerly hostile Slavs, Croats, et al, lived in peace, integrating as a society in economic and social terms, while maintaining their ethnic identities. When the socialist bloc collapsed, Yugoslavia descended into civil war. Israel's ethnic time bomb still ticks, but can't avoid a collapsed at some point, its blatant racist identity ensuring it will never be fully accepted by the rest of the world.

Yes, Israel was a creation of the British imperial strategists in the 19th-20th centuries. But the way Israel looks is much more Russian-Soviet than British, even as the kibbutzim disappear. Israel is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and awaits some kind of Yugoslav denouement. This warning forces the world to push Israel to avoid the Yugoslav scenario, and agree to a sensible resolution in line with the international order.

*Soviet Jews who came en masse after 1990 easily assimilated in Israel because of their acceptance of the state of Israel as largely secular, and much like other western states. They were used to a state with a heavy hand and not much opposed to treating the 'brown' natives as second class. They were white and brought their secular racism with them. I argue that the Soviet Jews were a mixed blessing to Israel, bringing many who were not even Jews and in any case far more interested in going to the US/Canada, opting for an Israeli passport merely as a way out.

In fairness to the Soviet Union, 'browns' were treated equally with 'whites', the latter including Jews. In fact, this was resented by those lurking 'white' Russian racists, who saw/see themselves as superior. The weak racism of Soviet life was not anti-Jewish (until Israel fomented unrest and pressured the West to push the Soviet Union to allow its Jews to emigrate). On the contrary, the subtle racism of Jews as the 'chosen people', a tribe unto itself, is in line with traditional white racism, and accounts today for the extreme racism that Muslims encounter in Israel today, as well as Israel's flirtation with the European neo-fascists.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Eric Walberg Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Eric writes for Al-Ahram Weekly and PressTV. He specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs. His "Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games", "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization" and "Canada (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Timelines 2000-2010: US, Europe, Latin America, Africa&Asia

ISIS and the Taliban: Writing on the wall for Afghanistan

Timeline 2000-2010: Middle East

Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

Tab Hunter: American culture's hat trick

Euro crisis: Prison of nations

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend