Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Weekly Fromm: Erich Fromm on Zionism


For our first ‘Weekly Fromm’ of 2009, I thought it appropriate, in the light of events in Gaza, to post the thoughts of the great man on Zionism from 1959:

It is often said that the Arabs fled, that they left the country voluntarily, and that they therefore bear the responsibility for losing their property and their land. It is true that in history there are some instances — in Rome and in France during the Revolutions when enemies of the state were proscribed and their property confiscated.

In general international law, the principle holds true that no citizen loses his property or his rights of citizenship; and the citizenship right is de facto a right to which the Arabs in Israel have much more legitimacy than the [European] Jews. Just because the Arabs fled? Since when is that punishable by confiscation of property and by being barred from returning to the land on which a people's forefathers have lived for generations? Thus, the claim of the Jews to the land of Israel cannot be a realistic political claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers had lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse.

No doubt if Fromm were alive today and expressed such opinions he would be denounced as an ’anti-semite’, even though he was Jewish.

15 comments:

Dan, portsmouth said...

Excellent choice. spot on comments, still valid after 58 years for one reason, that its correct.

Julianstown said...

Another quote from Fromm:

"..I always felt that the reason why people are so passive towards the dangers of war lies in the fact that the majority just do not love life. I thought that to appeal to their love of life rather than to their love of peace or to their fear of war might have more impact."

Pau said...

What is the point I wonder of posting a comment from a Jew that is anti Israeli? There are of course plenty of Jews who are anti - Israeli and plenty who are not and all sorts of shades and colours between extreme views at both ends. So what?

Why not post some anti Israeli comments from Arabs; or the type of Islamists who the unthinking left (Galloway, SWP)are so happy to be in bed with. [Funny that, none of this unthinking left would ever want to live in a country ruled by Hamas or Hezbollah now would they].

Perhaps then you would be uncomfortable with the astonishing hateful invective against Jews that would be revealed?

Look, it would assist if some of these seemingly hostile to Jews posters on here would actually state their position in relation to Hamas and other terrorist action against the Israelis; or do they think that all action including suicide bombs is legitimate resistance action. If so then I imagine some of these people have never left their bedrooms or got beyond listening to early Clash albums and think they are a right on revolutionary!!

Paul D said...

Israel has announced a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza. Let us hope that feelings that have run so high on this blog can now start to settle down and for meaningful and positive argument to take place. Let us hope every decent person on here wants peace for all people living in the Middle East; Israelis and Arabs alike.

Charlie Marks said...

Wise words from Fromm. I am also a fan of the great man, having read a few of his books.

Say Neil, is it not odd that the humanitarian intervention brigade are silent on the situation in Gaza? (Okay, Brown has pledged naval support... but to enforce the blockade rather then repel the IDF's invasion force!)

Anonymous said...

Even 2000 years ago when they first invaded the area, the land was inhabited since ages of the same people they tries to wipe out today...

Considering the fact that 90% of todays jewry and almost all jews in israel are decendants to the Kahzars in what we today call Georgia who mass-converted to judaism, is redicolous to claim Palestine as their place of origin, they should go for southern Caucasus.

The jews from 2000 years ago still in Palestine converted too ,mostly, and are now the same Muslims and Christians the "israelis" are trying to etnically cleanse, it´s surreal to say the least...

Paul D said...

Neil Clark,

I think you really must insist on people putting a name on instead of all these'anonymous'who often make sweeping untrue claims without having anything to back them up with.

As a matter of fact this 'most Jews today are descended from the Khazars'is an urban myth. It is simply not true. DNA testing on Jews worldwide has shown that the majority of Jews existing today can be traced back to the Middle East.

Further, to suggest that most Jews in the Middle East converted to Christianity and Islam is simply also not true. Obviously there were conversions to Christianity as of course what became the Christian religion started off as a breakaway Jewish sect(but after Paul according to the Gospels the early Christians preached to the gentiles as well).

However, Judaism as it is known and largely practised today came about and was established by the great Rabbinic acadamies in the early centuries AD in what is now Israel as well of course in centres such as Babylon (modern day Iraq).

This poster is also ignoring the fact of all the pre existing Middle Eastern Jews many of whom were kicked out of their Arab homelands in the 2oth Century. Do these posters ever register complaint at that land displacement and ethnic cleansing.

Then what about the illegal occupation of much of the British Mandate by Jordan (previously Transjordan)? Do these posters know that Jordan occupied the West Bank prior to 1967. And tell me what sort of life did they give to the poor Palestinian Arabs living within their midst? You can guess. And did the Jordanians ever try to establish a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank prior to 1967. I don't think so. I wonder why?

Paul D said...

Just to point out the further ignorance of anonymous poster at 7.55 am, Jews didn't suddenly turn up in what is now Israel 2000 years ago.

Leaving the Bible out of it completely, there was a historical Israel and Judea for hundreds of years up to AD 70 when the second temple was destroyed by the Romans. During this period the Jews sometimes ran their own country (eg under the Hasmoneam /Maccabean dynasty)and at other times were a protectorate or province.

Paul D said...

Neil,

I think you really must insist on people putting a name on instead of all these'anonymous'who often make sweeping untrue claims without having anything to back them up with.

As a matter of fact this 'most Jews today are descended from the Khazars'is an urban myth. It is simply not true. DNA testing on Jews worldwide has shown that the majority of Jews existing today can be traced back to the Middle East.

Further, to suggest that most Jews in the Middle East converted to Christianity and Islam is simply also not true. Obviously there were conversions to Christianity as of course what became the Christian religion started off as a breakaway Jewish sect(but after Paul according to the Gospels the early Christians preached to the gentiles as well).

However, Judaism as it is known and largely practised today came about and was established by the great Rabbinic acadamies in the early centuries AD in what is now Israel as well of course in centres such as Babylon (modern day Iraq).

This poster is also ignoring the fact of all the pre existing Middle Eastern Jews many of whom were kicked out of their Arab homelands in the 2oth Century. Do these posters ever register complaint at that land displacement and ethnic cleansing.

Then what about the illegal occupation of much of the British Mandate by Jordan (previously Transjordan)? Do these posters know that Jordan occupied the West Bank prior to 1967. And tell me what sort of life did they give to the poor Palestinian Arabs living within their midst? You can guess. And did the Jordanians ever try to establish a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank prior to 1967. I don't think so. I wonder why?

jock mctrousers said...

" This poster is also ignoring the fact of all the pre existing Middle Eastern Jews many of whom were kicked out of their Arab homelands in the 2oth Century. Do these posters ever register complaint at that land displacement and ethnic cleansing."

The jews who were in Morocco and Iran are still there. In the cases of Egypt and Iraq, the largest jewish populations, the Israeli secret services had to resort to false flag terrorism to encourage the jews to leave, 1. set the Iraqis and Egyptians against their jewish communities, and 2. to convince the jewish communities they were at risk - the 'Lavon affair' is a well-known example. John Cooley ( author of 'Unholy Wars', the best account of the CIA's creation of the jihad movement in Afghanistan), in his book ' an Alliance against Babylon' gives a good account of these false flag operations, and also a good account of Jordan and the Palestinians. Algeria was under French occupation and involved in a bloody civil war. That leaves Libya and Tunisia, which were small countries with small jewish populations - I rather think that these jewish populations might have resented the Israeli behaviour which stirred up hostility and distrust towards them, and, in fact, they were and are treated appallingly, as 3rd class citizens ( after Euro-Americans and Russians) within the Israeli hierarchy. But I certainly support their right of return - do you?

" Then what about the illegal occupation of much of the British Mandate by Jordan (previously Transjordan)? Do these posters know that Jordan occupied the West Bank prior to 1967. "

Yes, I've mentioned this previously. The Arab countries had agreed a treaty binding them to intervene, should the jews breach the UN resolution which required that neither party do anything to prejudice the outcome of the final partition agreement. The jews breached this by a unilateral declaration of independence, and by their genocidal assault on and expulsion of, the Palestinians. The Arab states, having been under colonial occupation for 150+ years, and only having been independent for 1 or 2 years, had no professional armies, trained, experienced officers, or adequate armaments. None, of these armies, with one exception, ever attempted or intended to enter the area allotted for the jewish state. The exception was Jordan's Arab Legion, trained in the last years of the mandate by Sir John Glubb; this was the only effective fighting force - this briefly entered West Jerusalem to attempt to prevent a massacre, and held it briefly, then withdrew and held the West Bank, then annexing the West Bank and E. Jerusalem to Jordan. This annexation was certainly of doubtful legality, but, given the circumstances, was not unacceptable to the Palestinians as at least a temporary expedient, and may be the best future for the West Bank and E. Jerusalem.

" what sort of life did they give to the poor Palestinian Arabs living within their midst? You can guess. And did the Jordanians ever try to establish a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank prior to 1967. "

Well, what sort of life did they give to the poor Jordanians? And who were 'they', anyway? Answer: the Hashemite dynasty, imposed by the British on Jordan and Iraq, because they were considered dependable servants of neo -colonialism. Of course, they had to make occasional concessions to the popular will, but genuine mechanisms for democracy were and are non-existent. Palestinians were and are a majority of the Jordanian population. With the annexation of the West Bank, that became a large majority. If there had been genuine democracy, the PLO, rather than the Hashemites, would have ruled Jordan - this led to clashes and civil war, culminating in 'Black September', when the US/UK-backed Hashemites expelled the PLO. So there's you answer: the fledgling Jordanian state had its own problems, much more substantial than, for instance, Britain's N. Ireland problem, which still isn't sorted out after 90 years.

If there had been any genuine mechanism for expressing the Palestinian will, and they had called for the Jordanians to leave the West Bank, then you might have a point, but, as all observers agree, the only truly democratic elections ever held in the Arab world were the ones in which the Palestinians elected Hamas as their government - and it appears you have a problem with that.

Neal said...

Neil,

I do not see the point from your quote. The issue today is not refugees but, rather, their offspring. So, his point is rather beside the point.

Moreover, the reason that many actual refugees - not their offspring who do not have any reasonable claim - were not allowed into Israel was that the Arab side took the view that they wanted to destroy Israel. And, the refugees appeared to sympathize with that view. That, after all, is why the UN, in UN 194, added two requirements for a refugee to return. Quoting the resolution: refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date

Hence, the refugees must not only want to return but they must also be willing to live at peace with their neighbors.

The Israelis believed - and, as the record shows, correctly believed - that there was no willingness by a great many of the refugees to live at peace with the Israelis.

It might be added that, in fact, Israel did allow a very large number of refugees to return. However, Israel screened out people who expressed an interest where it appeared there was no interest in living at peace with the Israelis.

neil craig said...

I agree that Israel should not have been created where it was & that this was done as a way for Europeans to salve their consciences at the expense of Palestinians. Hitler's original plan to ressttle European Jews in Madagascar might have been kinder to all concerned, including the Jews. Nonetheless we are where we are & Israel has built an admirable country out of desert.

"If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers had lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse"

If Fromm today said that this also applied to arabs whose forefathers (admitedly less than 2,000 years ago) had lived in Israel he would be denounced as pro-Israeli.

Neil I second Paul's point about the anonymii posting personal insults & quite obvious Nazi lies. I do not object to reasonable anonymii points or indeed to lies & insults by those who identify themselves such as Dan & who can thus be replied to. The combination is improper & leaves the only responsibility for such lies with yourself.

Anonymous said...

Good for Fromm...Note that while the zioniss demand restitution of their property, they refuse the same to the palestinians.

and from Paul D:
'I think you really must insist on people putting a name on instead of all these'anonymous'who often make sweeping untrue claims without having anything to back them up with.

Whats the 'D' stand for?

Brian
'

neil craig said...

"The jews who were in Morocco and Iran are still there."

Untrue. I was on holiday in Tangier once. Historicaly the city was run by a council of the faiths living there & there was an entire Jewish quarter. No Jews there now. The fact is that the number of Jewish refugees from Islamic countries amounted to 600,000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_lands exceeding the number of Palestinain refugees.

Anonymous said...

I realize that this is an old thread so I am not sure if you still look at the comments section here.

I am a post-graduate MA student of Anthropology currently writing my dissertation about moral imagination in Israel.

It's a little hard to summarize it in this context but I am very interested in the excerpt from Fromm that you posted and would appreciate it if you could refer me to the source from which it was taken, as I would like to cite it and haven't been able to locate it.

Many thanks,
O.