Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte,
murdered by Zionists in 1948
The suggestion by Atlanta Jewish Times publisher Andrew Adler that the Mossad assassinate Barack Obama has been justly condemned by many Jewish voices, including Commentary magazine and the Anti-Defamation League. I like Abraham Foxman’s statement, I wish he were this forthright about Islamphobia:
Irresponsible rhetoric metastasizes into more dangerous rhetoric. The ideas expressed in Mr. Adler’s column reflect some of the extremist rhetoric that unfortunately exists — even in some segments of our community — that maliciously labels President Obama as an ‘enemy of the Jewish people.’ Mr. Adler’s lack of judgment as a publisher, editor and columnist raises serious questions as to whether he’s fit to run a newspaper.
As Foxman notes, the embarrassment of Adler is that he is actually representative. Adler is or was a Jewish leader. His late mother was big in Hadassah and Jewish Federations.
So I want to make two claims on Adler. The first is that he epitomizes a type that some say does not exist: Israel-firsters in American Jewish life. Chemi Shalev in Haaretz:
It is ironic that Adler’s despicable diatribe comes against the backdrop of a fierce blogosphere debate that flared up yesterday about the term “Israel-firsters” and whether it is a legitimate critique or an anti-Semitic slur. Adler, for his part, has provided an example of a sub-specie of “Israel-firsters” that have not only lost track of where their loyalties lie, but have gone off the tracks altogether.
Yossi Gurvitz at +972 echoes the point:
He showed us that there are, in fact, American Jews who are “Israel-firsters”, that is, people who put the interests of Israel ahead of their own country. In Adler’s case, to the point of supporting the assassination of his own duly-elected president – which skirts very closely to treason. The fact that there is a debate on this issue – that such people exist – is silly to the extreme and assumes we are people with no sense of history. To put it in one word: Pollard.
The second claim is that Adler represents a murderous streak in Zionism. Of course many nationalist ideologies have murderous streaks– fair enough– but if you look at the history of Zionism, assassination has regularly proved an effective tool for guiding the collective in rightwing direction. As I wrote here, “Bang Bang You’re Rightwing!”
Five murders that have made a difference, some of them international:
1, Jacob de Haan, a Dutch Jewish journalist, was killed in Jerusalem in 1924 apparently because he was an anti-Zionist who wanted to talk to Arabs.
2, Chaim Arlosoroff was murdered in Tel Aviv in 1933. Arlosoroff had antagonized the rightwing Zionists by speaking respectfully of Arab nationalism and by deploring the rightwingers’ focus on Jerusalem as making “out of an issue which has never been at the centre of our world a new idol.” Rightwingers are widely believed to have killed him, consolidating Israel’s ultimate path towards a “garrison state,” as Arlosoroff’s biographer has said.
3, Lord Moyne, the British minister of state in Cairo, was killed by the Stern Gang in 1944, for limiting Jewish emigration to Palestine.
4, Folke Bernadotte was a Swedish diplomat appointed by the U.N. to work out the Partition of Palestine following the hostilities of 1948. He was killed by the Stern Gang in September 1948 in Jerusalem. The murder is highly significant politically for two reasons: Bernadotte wanted to extraterritorialize Jerusalem, and this never happened; Yitzhak Shamir was said to have had a hand in the murder and he later became prime minister of Israel.
5, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in Tel Aviv in 1995 by an extremist who opposed the Oslo plans to give up West Bank lands for peace. The murder happened during a period of incitement against Rabin, including statements by Benjamin Netanyahu.
The last two murders especially have had huge political consequences. Clinton said that Rabin’s murder was a huge setback to the peace process; it achieved its goal. But all these murders have had political efficacy: they have empowered ultra-Zionism over more dovish strains, they have caused anti-Zionists to fear for their lives.
I am sure Andrew Adler was bloviating and that his apology is sincere. But any thoughtful analysis of his hideous comments must ask, Where did these ideas come from? They come straight out of rightwing Zionism.