Israel: “A Regime Of Jewish Supremacy”

By Rima Najjar

The criminal political reality of Israel has now been detailed in unambiguous language that pairs “Jewish” with “supremacy” by B’Tselem, the largest human rights organization within Israel itself: “One organizing principle lies at the base of a wide array of Israeli policies: advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group — Jews — over another — Palestinians.”

The slow, agonizing and ongoing transformation of Jerusalem into a predominantly Jewish city at the expense of its Palestinian Muslim and Christian inhabitants is perhaps the most dramatic example of how Israeli Jewish supremacist policies and practices manifest themselves, an anathema to the very soul of this magnificent city. But these structures are deeply embedded in every aspect of the Jewish state, as B’Tselem shows.

The B’Tselem position paper (released Jan 12, 2021) is creating the same kind of push-back that the report submitted by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in 2017 elicited from Israel and its allies. In that report too, the Israeli practices towards the Palestinian people were examined at length and the verdict was clear: “This report establishes, on the basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.”

B’Tselem is boldly declaring: “This is apartheid” and describing it even more boldly and explicitly as a regime of “Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

In the Falk and Tilley 74-page report, the term “supremacy” is not mentioned a single time. Great pains are taken in the report to reject the anticipated false accusation of anti-Semitism in the strongest terms.

The concern is that recognizing the reality of Jewish supremacy in Palestine-Israel (as Palestinians and other Arabs have done since 1948) would fuel anti-Semitism, especially in the current climate in the United States and elsewhere, by somehow tarring all Jews with the same brush. But as Tony Greenstein wrote in Al-Jazeera in 2019, “recognizing Israel as a Jewish supremacist state does not mean rejecting Jews or Judaism.”

Calling out the hatefulness, the bigotry and sense of entitlement of Jewish supremacy while at the same time disavowing anti-Semitism is often difficult to chart, but it is necessary to do so. Right now, the vigor and lengths to which many go in order to denounce anti-Semitism far outstrip efforts made to denounce Jewish supremacist policies in Israel. Academic terms like “colonialism,” “nationalism” and “political Zionism,” despite their usefulness in advocating for the Palestinians’ struggle for liberation, often end up inadvertently camouflaging the fascistic force that the term “supremacy” encapsulates.

Jewish supremacy and anti-Semitism must both be resisted at the same time. The only way to de-radicalize Jewish supremacists (many, like the Christian Evangelists who embrace Jewish supremacy in Palestine in the service of their own QAnon-like fantasies, are obviously not even Jewish) in Israel and abroad is by exposing them to the truth, the whole truth, about their beliefs/values and Israel as an apartheid Jewish state from the river to the sea and by giving them options, such as the option of one democratic state in Palestine-Israel.

Let’s call the existence of Israel as an apartheid Jewish supremacist state in Palestine for what it is — a crime against the Palestinian people, a Jewish-state Nakba (“catastrophe,” in reference to Israel’s brutal establishment in 1948 on 78% of Palestine); let’s be willing to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth in order to be able to effect a behavioral shift, if not in those in power, at least among Zionist Jews of conscience (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) across the world.

In 2019, S.I. Rosenbaum wrote an article for titled “A shocking number of Jews have become willing collaborators in white supremacy.” The truth is that even a larger number of Jews have always been willing collaborators in Jewish supremacy. And that ought to be shocking too.

Terms used to describe what occurred at the Capitol on January 6th in the United States have quickly evolved from “rally” to “protest” to “riot” to “insurrection.” Journalists are loudly acknowledging that a crime against the nation has occurred, and that’s how they are covering it now — as a crime, not as a political move. When journalists report on a crime, they are looking for accountability; they are not obliged to equalize reporting on the crime with reporting on the misrepresentations or lies about them offered by the criminal.

As a crime against humanity, the Israeli apartheid regime must not be an exception:

The prohibition of apartheid, which, as a crime against humanity, can admit no exceptions, flows from the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Strengthening that body of international law can only benefit all groups that have historically endured discrimination, domination and persecution, including Jews. (ESCWA report)

Apartheid is a crime, prohibited whether it is inspired by white supremacist ideology or a Jewish supremacist ideology. Both the ESCWA report and B’Tselem’s position paper have irrefutably demonstrated the existence and brutality of Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians.

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

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