Herzl's "pardoning" of anti-Semitism reflected a core assumption of Zionism--a belief that all non-Jews are anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism is "like a psychic affliction, it is hereditary and as a disease has been incurable for 2,000 years," wrote Leo Pinsker, a Zionist contemporary of Herzl.5 If persecution or death awaited Jews who tried to assimilate into largely Gentile societies, then the only solution to the "Jewish problem" would be the physical separation of Jews and non-Jews. It followed that only a Jewish state could provide a haven from persecution. On this point, the Zionists and anti-Semites converged. Both believed Jews to be a "foreign" presence in Gentile society. And both believed that Gentile society would be better off without Jews.
The Bund opposed political Zionism, but it accommodated to Jewish nationalism. Because of this, Lenin and other Russian revolutionaries engaged in fierce polemics with Bund leaders. In the 1903 founding congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), Bund leaders argued for the official right to represent and to speak for Jewish workers inside the broader Russian socialist movement. Lenin and prominent Jewish socialists such as Martov and Trotsky opposed the Bund. Lenin argued the Bund was wrong to "legitimize Jewish isolation, by propagating the idea of a Jewish 'nation'". Socialists' task was "not to segregate nations, but to unite the workers of all nations," Lenin later wrote. "Our banner does not carry the slogan 'national culture' but international culture."
We cannot give any compensation for Palestine, neither to the Palestinians nor to other Arabs. Therefore, a voluntary agreement is inconceivable. All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population. Therefore, it can continue and develop only under the shield of force which comprises an Iron Wall which the local population can never break through. This is our Arab policy. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy.18
Jabotinsky posed the first major challenge to the dominance in mainstream Zionism of the ideology of "Labor Zionism." Labor Zionism, which traced its roots to the Eastern European Poale Zion movement in the early 1900s, dominated all of the major institutions of Zionism and of the yishuv, the Jewish settler community in Palestine. If the Bund represented socialists who caved in to nationalism, the Labor Zionists represented nationalists who used socialist-sounding rhetoric to win supporters away from genuine socialist parties.
Kibbutzim also restricted membership to Jews only. Kibbutz land was defined as being the possession of "the nation," which in pre-state and Israeli law was defined as being the property of the "Jewish people." Therefore, no Arab can hope to join a kibbutz. What is more, in the pre-state period, kibbutzim served as forward military bases in the strategic plan of Zionist settlement. The "strategic consideration which had underlain the plan of Zionist settlement, decided, in large measure, the fate of many regions of the country" because Haganah militia detachments attacked Palestinians from kibbutz bases.21
Zionists purchased land--and a foothold in Palestine--from absentee Arab landowners in the 1920s. Later, in the 1930s, rich Palestinians sold their land to Zionists. Individual Jewish "pioneers" didn't buy the land. Zionist organizations like the Jewish National Fund bought land to provide a foundation for Jewish settlement in the country. Zionists drove Palestinian peasants off their land, forcing them into destitution. British authorities assured the Zionists privileged access to water and other essential resources.
After establishing themselves in Palestine, the Zionists proceeded to set up a separate Jewish economy and government under the noses of British mandate authorities. They called their economic policy "the conquest of Jewish land and labor," a flowery description for expelling the Palestinians from the country's economic life. Under the slogan, "Jewish land, Jewish labor, Jewish produce," the Histadrut, the kibbutzim and the moshavim (agricultural cooperatives) proceeded to drive Palestinians out of their jobs and their livelihoods. Histadrut members acted as goon squads against Palestinians:
While the Nazis willingly dickered with Zionist leaders throughout the 1930s and 1940s, they made sure to kill every communist, socialist or Jewish resistance fighter they could get their hands on.27
In 1949, a kibbutz welcomed members of the "socialist" Hashomer Hatzair from the U.S. and Canada to colonize a Palestinian village seized in 1948. One of the kibbutz's first acts was razing the village's mosque. A Hashomer member wrote in his/her diary: "It had to be done. It would have been useless to preserve this symbol of a population which showed itself to be, when one views the thing factually and unsentimentally, our hardened enemies whom we have no intention of permitting to return. It's now a mass of ruins, and yet most of us agree it's better this way. The hovels, the filth, the medieval atmosphere--it's gone now for the most part. Bring on the bulldozers and let's plant trees."31
Zionism promised national awakening and fraternal solidarity; it has produced a society of increasing inequality and of racist discrimination and cultural oppression. Zionism promised independence; it has produced a society in which the Prime Minister must periodically affirm to the people that the existence of the nation depends on the delivery of fifty or a hundred Phantom jets from the United States.... Zionism promised physical security to the Jews; Israel is the most dangerous place on earth today for a Jew, and it will remain so as long as Israeli-Jewish society retains its colonial character and its function as an instrument of imperialism.32
Zionism and the Holocaust
During Israel's many wars with the Arab states, Israeli leaders accused Arab states of desiring a "new Holocaust." Leading Zionists regularly called critics of the Israeli state's repression of the Palestinians "anti-Semites," likening them to the Nazi murderers of 6 million Jews. Zionists consciously use this sort of emotional blackmail to silence any critics of Israeli policies. "I repress the urge to shout 'Shut up, already' in the White House press room when [former Israeli Prime Minister] Menachem Begin toasts an American president with a 15-minute lecture on the meaning of the Holocaust," said a Holocaust survivor and supporter of peace with the Palestinians. "Must every thought of compromise conjure up the threat of appeasement at Munich?"33