Only a week ago, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recap Typo Endogan gave a speech in a United Nation conference, in which he compared Zionism directly with some of the most racist ideologies in the world: “We must consider—just like Zionism, anti-Semitism or fascism—Islamophobia as a crime against humanity”. This statement overtook his focus of the speech, which is to call for international cooperation in Syrian conflict, and drew the attention of the audience. Interestingly, the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Turkey as his first diplomatic visit one day after Erdogan made the statement. When I was searching for topic for this blog, I couldn’t help but notice the Kerry’s comment on Erdogan’s statement highlighted on the Middle East section of the Washington Post. I somehow felt that there are other reasons besides Kerry’s first diplomatic visit make this news important, so I did a simple research to see if there is any relation between Zionism and the U.S..
(Here is the video of the speech Erdogan gave in Vienna: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/28/heres-the-video-of-turkeys-prime-minister-comparing-zionism-to-fascism/)
Zionism, as we talk about in class, is the ideology that Jews should establish their own country. The State of Israel was built on this ideology with help from the British. However, the original habitants of the land, Arabians, were ignored when British made the decision. Other than this, the Holy City of Islam (actually, the Holy City of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) was put under Jewish control. These facts inevitably put the State of Israel the antagonist of most of the Arabic states, especially the so called the State of Palestine (independence recognized by the U.N. only half year ago). In 1970s, an Arab-Soviet-Third World bloc form Palestine Liberation Organization, which lobbied the United Nations to take actions on Israel. Alone with the fact that Israel’s position and some of its actions made the Middle East unrest, the U.N. adopted United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, which determined Zionism to be a form of racism and racial discrimination. Therefore, accusing Zionism to be in the same category with anti-Semitism and fascism is not the invention of Erdogan; it exists with a considerably long historical background.
The United States came under the spotlight in 1990s. After drastic debates, the U.S. decided to take the position to support abolition of Resolution 3397. Despite the reason that the U.S. often takes position to proliferate liberty and justice, the U.S. had great sympathy for the situation of Zionism in Israel. As Baruch Kimmerling talks about in his book Zionism and Territory, Jews faced the same situation, which Americans faced in their early stage of immigration. Both were seen to be immigrations to other people’s land, the U.S. naturally opposed the concept that land should be ruled by the original inhabitants, in this case, Arabians. Moreover, the Independent War shaped the Americans to become supporters of nationalistic movement, and it caused them to support Zionism, which can be seen as a particular form of nationalism. Therefore, the U.S. took the lead in revoking Resolution 3379. When the Soviet Union started to collapse, the U.S. finally took his chance. In 1991, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 4686 revoked Resolution 3379. According to this background, it is clear to see why the U.S. government critics Erdogan’s statement as being “objectionable”.
Apparently, the Arabic world would not want Israel to ally with the world’s greatest power, and it is still hoping to eliminate Jews from the Arabic or so called Islamic world. Even if those Arabic states want to take actions against the State of Israel, as Erdogan implies in his speech, the Islamic world is being underrepresented in the U.N.. The voice of Arabians are not being heard, and the power of controlling Middle East is in other big countries’ hands, so the only way to attack Israel would be to attack the fundamental ideology the state of Israel is built on. When putting Zionism into the same category with the world’s most evil ideology, fascism (as the majority defines), the State of Israel is automatically on the side of evil.
Although I often heard the phrase “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, I knew nothing of its background before I took this class (It seems that the Chinese government does not want anyone to understand this conflict due to its political strategy, and I am sometimes too lazy to do research). For me, I support the U.S.’s idea of religious freedom and its approval for Jews to rule the land, while I carry the deep-rooted Chinese traditional resentment to other ethnics’ controlling over our land. I do not know what position I should take in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I personally do not think that Zionism is racist or evil.