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Prof. Yakov Rabkin reads the riot act to Zionism in Galway

category galway | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Monday December 11, 2006 03:33author by JD - Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Report this post to the editors

"The rapprochement activities of the Jews who reject Zionism tend to undercut the image of an intrinsically evil enemy and to show that one can talk with the other side"

Prof. Yakov M. Rabkin, lecturer in contemporary Jewish history, Soviet history and the history of science at the University of Montreal since 1973 and practising Orthodox Jew, tonight laid bare the provenance of Zionism in Russia and voiced his opposition to it, full blown, in Israel

When Zionism, we were told, began to take root at the turn of the 20th century, most rabbinic authorities saw it as a dangerous tool to tear the Jews away from Torah and its commandments.
Prof. Yakov
Prof. Yakov

In the words of Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchek quoted by Prof. Yakov in another forum : “The Zionists do not drive Jews away from the Torah in order to get a state they need a state to drive Jews away from the Torah. Prof. Yakov admitted that numerically, the Judaic opposition to Zionism may seem negligible, but that Jewish history shows that rigorous minorities tend to prevail in the end.

The Professor pointed out that many religious Jews abhor Zionism and its overwillingness to resort to violence and some demonstrated against Israel's recent invasion of Lebanon and that Neturei Karta members prayed at Yassar Arafat's bedside, toured the Hezbollah's territory in Lebanon and met with the current Iranian president and regularly demonstrate alongside Palestinians against the very existence of the Zionist state eliciting virulent Zionist criticism.

Professor Rabkin admitted that present day nuclear armed Israel seems monolithic and unassailable but things change for the better and the relatively peaceful attenuation of the power of the Soviet Union was used as an example, also Leonard Cohen's inspiring : "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.”

Prof. Yakov is off to Brussels tomorrow where an audience of 400 awaits him, to boot, his book has already been translated into six languages with "another few on the way." It seems this sweet gentle man is the light Cohen speaks of ?.

Section of the assembly
Section of the assembly

The Prof. and Chairman of Galway IPSC, Richard Kimball
The Prof. and Chairman of Galway IPSC, Richard Kimball

Khaled from Palestine
Khaled from Palestine

Dan Cloonan is the new face
Dan Cloonan is the new face

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Mon Dec 11, 2006 13:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two meetings in Dublin, an AGM in the Teachers Club, a fundraiser lunch in the Chester Beatty and now a good meeting in Galway.......well done IPSC....keep up the good work and don't take any notice of the trolls. They're on the back foot and running scared.

author by Dali Lamapublication date Mon Dec 11, 2006 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought Ricard Kimball was on the run? There is a socialist case against Zionism, articulated by Jewish radicals since the early 1900s but really, the Jewish fundementalists who oppose Zionism for religious reasons represent nobody. This is just plain weird.

author by David L - IPSCpublication date Mon Dec 11, 2006 21:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dali Lama is right –there is a universalistic, human-rights argument against Zionism – something I’m also far more comfortable with.

However, there is a fairly solid particularistic Jewish religious case against Zionism – something which Zionists themselves find far more disturbing, as it undermines their claim to be speaking for anything other than a depressing little colonial state in the middle east.

Professor Rabkin is just presenting the point of view of the religious anti-Zionists.

His talk was interesting; most interesting was his account of the vicious response by Zionists to his book. They are essentially attacking him for daring to point out that there are actually quite a few religious Jews who are anti-Zionist. He characterised such Zionists as people for whom the torah has been replaced by the state of Israel as the centre of their belief system.

author by Coilínpublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 01:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dali Lama says:
"There is a socialist case against Zionism ..."

And then David L says:
"Dali Lama is right –there is a universalistic, human-rights argument against Zionism ... "

Is there such a thing as universalistic thinking? That is to say, is there some kind of thinking that is shared by everybody? If so, then by definition it must be shared by religious thinkers.

If socialist thinking is universalistic, does that mean that it can accommodate religious thinkers and people of a spiritual inclination within it?

Conversely, I wonder whether some religious thinkers might also consider their thinking to be universalistic? Even to the point where it could accommodate socialists who are - to the best of their knowledge - not engaged in any kind of spiritual activity?


author by redjade - {not a zionist, either}publication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 01:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'There is a socialist case against Zionism'

ehem! For much of the 20th century Zionism was often associated with Socialism - the Soviet Union was even one of the first countries to diplomatically recognise Israel, not America.

The history of Zionism is not as simplistic as is usually portrayed on this site. From much of the writing here one would think all Zionists in the 20th century were card-carrying members of Irgun! One shouldn't airbrush history too much for a 21st century audience.

Labor Zionism

History of the Jews in Russia and the Soviet Union

author by reply to redjadepublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry Redjade

you say that the USSr was one of the first countries to recognise Israel not the USA


The USA through President Truman recongised the state of Israel 15 minutes after the declaration of the State, against the advice of his own state department.

The US was the first country to recognise Israel

author by David L - IPSCpublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think we can agree with that the USSR was one of the first to recognise the partition of Palestine – its recognition and the arms that Israel received through Czechoslovakia were crucial. However this hardly makes Israel socialist any more than the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact made the partition of Poland a Socialist agreement.

There has indeed been a strong linkage between Zionism and Socialism. Unfortunately it was a rather exclusive type of socialism, recognisable to working class whites in South Africa, but to few others. You could call it National Socialism perhaps, or ethnic socialism, if that sounds a bit harsh.

Indeed Israel in its early years shared many of the corporatist features of European states in the 1930s (Note to trolls: I’m NOT saying Israel is like Nazi Germany. I’m including places like Sweden here.). The Histradut, the main union was seen more as an agent of the (Jewish) state and of capital formation, than as a representative of the (Jewish) workers in Israel/Palestine. There is more here:

What is for sure now, is that this tradition of labour Zionism is dead and that Israel is now one of the most neo-liberal countries in the world, despite all the competition. As Sharon said: (something like) if the choice is between a democratic state and an ethnically-based state, we won’t choose the democratic one. Or a socialist one either.

author by redjadepublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 13:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As typical of this topic, it is hard to quickly track down hard facts for one side or the other. I googled around to find good sourced material that offered a chronology who and when recognised Israel. It's probably out there somewhere, but I don't have the time at the moment.

Depending on the website one reads, it seems that either the USSR or the USA recognised Israel first either within minutes of each other or just by a few days. Either way, but the USSR and USA were eager to recognise it from the begining - even if for different reasons.

And no, I wouldn't say that the USSR was 'socialist' but the fact is, that at the time, millions of people did think it was.

As for David L explaining it away by saying the Labour socialism is dead today or that past Zionists that called themselves socialists were not really socialists - this is a bit of moving around the goal posts to suit one's arguments. Then, with a rhetorical slight of hand, suddenly people who called themselves socialists and zionists might even be Nazis! (suggesting that these jews, many of whom survived the holocaust, might be nazis - it is just so funny, isnt it?)

Throughout the 20th century there were people (and not all jews) who called themselves Zionists or pro-zionists that also called themselves socialists.

It is not difficult to understand why - many in labour movements around the world were jews and they were socialists. The chance of a homeland for the jews came into being, and they supported it. Considering the Holocaust it is not hard to understand why. And many other jews and non-jews were woo'd by the Kibbutz movements as a utopian ideal.

Martin Luther King even praised the creation of the state of Israel - and it is interesting that his family today has issued a condemnation of these past statements.

Hopefully we socialists (these days) are older and wiser. But considering the amount of support for groups like Hezbollah and Hamas from 'the Left' I doubt this. I am sure the next generation will look back and say 'geeez, how could they be so naive?' just as we say this today about socialist/labor zionists today.

My only point, originally, was that 'Zionism' was not just a project of the Right, but also of the Left - and we shouldn't rewrite history just because this makes us uncomfortable.

author by David L - IPSC (personal capacitypublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 16:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see your point now, Redjade, and it’s a fair one. I didn’t mean to pretend socialists had never supported Israel – merely that Israel had never been socialist, even though it did get a lot of support from socialists.

I don’t think that it’s moving the goalposts to point out that Zionist socialism was limited to an ethnic group or that it was predicated on ethnic cleansing.

True they weren’t the first socialists to be inconsistent, but what is wrong with pointing out their fairly glaring inconsistency. Equally, I think it’s fair to point out that this tradition is dead now, and no harm in that!

author by JD - IPSCpublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 20:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Robert Tait in today's Guardian under the provocative title : "Holocaust deniers gather in Iran for 'scientific' conference" admitted that a "group of radical anti-Zionist rabbis, Jews United Against Israel, who oppose a Jewish state on religious grounds were given a prominent role. Among them was Rabbi Ahron Cohen, a retired former lecturer at the Jewish religious college in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Rabbi Cohen acknowledged that the Holocaust had happened but said he saw nothing anti-semitic in Mr Ahmadinejad's comments".

What does it matter that David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Michele Renouf, a London-based associate of the British author David Irving, currently serving a jail sentence for Holocaust denial in Austria, amongst other ne'er-do-wells, are in Tehran. What matters or should matter is that Jews united Against Israel (or should that be Neturei Karta - Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism?) are there giving the lie to Olmert's crowing from atop the dunghill and if the conference is as portrayed in the hostile western media, then the courageous Orthodox Jews are certainly in the bull-pit bringing the Holocaust deniers to heel?.

Related Link:,,1969874,00.html
author by Pinchaspublication date Fri Dec 15, 2006 00:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is that what they call a mass meeting in Galway these days ?
What lovely pictures . I am really sorry I did nt go to make the numbers
What a great day for a discredited man -came 3000 miles to talk to a few mis fits with nothing better to do than peddle hate .
He ought to get back to Montreal and sort out the Vichy French in Quebec who also are great Jew haters . I hear he is met with stony indifference over there .
He like all you guys who support the Arab "NO SURRENDER " crowd cant see the wood for the trees . Peace is a two way thing . Use all the old mantras you want but facts are facts and you lot distort everything . Grow up for Gods sake !

author by Reneepublication date Fri Dec 15, 2006 02:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pinchas - spot on! Loved the pictures, and the captions...really tells all. :)

author by Richard Kimball Galway - IPSCpublication date Fri Dec 15, 2006 22:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is interesting to read the comments of those opposed to Dr. Rabkin. As a matter of interest he does not preach hate. I would have to say that he is a true supporter of every soul in Israel, whether they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

Certainly those who support the Zionist vision of Israel do not want to be remembered for inflicting gross violations of human rights against Palestinians in their quest to form a Jewish State. To those Zionists that read this note please study the history of the Northern Ireland conflict. There are lessons there that you can learn from. One key lesson is that who you believe to be your enemy can one day be your partner in peace.


author by F.D.Adampublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 16:21author email FrrankAdam at aol dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Till the 30's inclusive Zionism was admittedly a minority interest in the Jewish World - but always there in the Passover and Daily prayers. Again it depends on what you consider to be, "religion." There were long periods when Catholic Spain, Ireland and Poland, or Belgium, Italy and Hungary went to mass on Sunday and ate fish on Friday without politics demanding a nation state; but equally those nations - self defined by their Catholicism - eventually wanted and needed independent states of their own because their nation and religion had fused.

The restrictions on Jewish asylum seeking migration when they were primarily a prayer rite - Balfour Act in UK and Johnson Act in US, the failure of the 1938 Evian Conference to rescue the European Jews BEFORE the Holocaust, all gave Zionism the biggest ,"Told you so!" in history. One can be Jewish as a matter of study and prayer; but a lot of bigots will not leave us at that; so we need and are entitled to a state. Palestine Arabs ditto; but it is their problem, not Israel's, that they rejected the offers and opportunities (1937,1947, 49-67 and '67, '77, 2000)

Understandably the Jews of the late 40's were justifiably enraged and created Israel, mourning a third of their number who had been killed solely out of bigotry - not rebellion. Further if "modern" Europe could spasm into nationalist blood and bigotry, the Jews of the Arab World were justifiably afraid of anti-colonial nationalism there and left mostly for Israel. A point correlated by the Kielce pogrom in 1946 Poland, and the Sinn Fein Limerick riot.

Those who resent Zionism rescuing the bulk of the survivng Jews of the Old World should ask whether they are willing to take in the five and a third million Jews of Israel now? for the sake of the mirage that a Palestine [24th Arab] State will calm the Middle East?

If you are not willing to take in Israel's Jews, now - or then- you have proved Chaim Weizmann's quip that, "Anti -Zionists are Antisemites, but in their case they do not want Jews in Palestine."

Yours, Frank

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Sat Feb 17, 2007 14:19author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone 087.2178138Report this post to the editors

I am amazed to find that some Irish intellectuals and writers are still timid about protesting against incursions (let alone atrocities, loss of rights, and so on) committed by the Israel 'Defence' Force against Palestinians. I find this fearfulness almost everywhere. Irish writers defy long-demanded boycotts and attend Israeli-sponsored events in Jerusalem - while seemingly unmindful of the Israeli travel-ban exercised on some Palestinian poets a couple of years ago, who wanted to read their work in Dublin. The Israeli government for some time have had a policy strategy to finance and vigorously support a cultural programme in the West in an attempt to divert public attention away from the policies of that government towards the Palestinians; while at the same time destroying and erasing Palestinian culture. There is so much simmering terror amongst Irish intellectuals around the least notion of criticising Israel: yet Israel's spokesmen in Ireland still come out with tired comments about Ireland being anti-Israeli and unquestioningly pro-Palestinian! Finding a brave, defiant outspoken writer on this question in Ireland is like trying to find an honest politician at a tribunal. What has happened to us?

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Sat Feb 17, 2007 14:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Condy Rice, today in Baghdad, is quoted widely as being “rather worried” following the Hamas/Fatah Agreement that has been successfully concluded in Mecca. This is not only a serious but also a dangerous phenomenon…let us remember that Saudi Arabia, which was very instrumental in the successful outcome of the talks, is the USA’s most trusted ally in the region – after, of course, Israel.

This ‘worry’, echoed in Tel Aviv, emanates from the analysis that Hamas managed to extract much more than expected from the negotiations. In other words, both the Americans and the Israelis expected the Saudis to put much more pressure on Hamas, forcing it to concede much more to Abbas and Fatah.

The White House while being unwilling of criticising the Saudis, they seem to be very unhappy in accepting Hamas as integral part of the Palestinian status quo….as, incidentally, outlined by President Abbas, according to whom, “Hamas must be forthwith an essential part in any process of resolution of the Palestinian problem”!

While in the Bush political thinking, means and ends don’t necessarily correlate, the perceived breaking, or destabilising, of the link between Hamas and Iran as a result of the Mecca Agreement, does not seem to have fully satisfied the neo-con objectives.

Israel, on its part, sensing Washington’s discomfort, chose during the very day of the signature of the Agreement to lodge a provocative statement concerning the controversial ‘repair’ of the bridge near the Al Maghreb section of the Muslim Holy site of Al Quds…..hoping it would force Hamas, that has been fighting against this operation, to launch a third mass intifada type rebellion – thus nullifying the Agreement. Hamas did not fall into the trap and Israel decided to cancel this operation - designed to accommodate the presence of 300 Israeli commandos on the bridge overlooking the site.

Israeli politicians and military men are not too keen on the Mecca Agreement either. They do not believe that it would facilitate the launching of another war in the area. The Palestinian Agreement goes counter to the dominant Zionist dogma that Israel must continuously initiate and fight wars in order to guarantee its security. This was the issue behind Rabin’s assassination as he didn’t believe anymore that military means were the way forward for the Israeli State. In this context, we can expect the Israeli dominant elites to do anything in their power to engineer the failure of the Mecca Agreement.

Unless, of course, the USA and the EU could guarantee Israel that another war, against Iran this time, would be launched within the current year!!

The political line pursued by the triumvirate of USA, Israel and the European Union follows a very simple mathematical formula that determines where and how to play their cards and on what number to put their money. It is an identical policy with a slightly differentiated approach and without, necessarily, the need for co-ordination.

If we take as an example the recent moves by Saudi Arabia, and a number of other Arab countries, to negotiate and build economic bridges with Russia, we could argue that these moves, under the full encouragement by the EU, have one objective: To demonstrate to the Russians, who at the moment are Iran’s main nuclear allies, that they have little or nothing to fear and lose if the latter was attacked!

Let us remember that in the few months before the invasion of Afghanistan, the Americans requested the support of the Arab world and offered the (in)famous ‘Roadmap to Peace’ re: the Palestinian problem as a quid pro quo. Let us also remind ourselves that the roadmap was launched by Bush three days before his now historical announcement on the Abraham Lincoln battleship that the war in Iraq was over!!

What did Dick Cheney offer to the Saudis during his visit to that Kingdom at the end of last November and what did he ask in return? And why did Ali Larijani, one of the most conservative Iranian politicians, visited Mecca FOUR times in the last few weeks? What’s being cooked and who’s is going to pay the price?

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