[Buddha-l] One Buddhist's perspective on Zionism

Dan Lusthaus dlusthau at mailer.fsu.edu
Fri May 20 01:15:34 MDT 2005

Richard is to be commended for offering a clear statement on his admittedly
hastily hobbled together thoughts on Zionism. After some cursory research he
confirms the characterization of his position that he initially denied.

I wrote in response to the initial use of the term Zionism by Richard:

"Time to wash away the brainwashing, my friend. Or are
Jews alone supposed to practice the nonattachment to geography that
everybody else gives lip service to but never follows (including certain
neue mexicanische leuten)? [Jews] should rely on the largesse of the
and Muslim nations in which they've been dispersed (even while having
maintained a continuous presence in the Land)? We have two thousand years of
data to see how that thought experiment worked out."

Richard's latest post reveals that this is indeed exactly his position, and
he is apparently willing to continue that thought experiment for another two
thousand years, or however long, despite all the accrued data to date.

As that famous exponent of the theory of samsara, George Santayana, wrote:
Those ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it.

There is much relevant history that could be brought to bear here, but one
slice should be sufficient. The antinationalism theory Richard proffers was
even more articulately propounded by Karl Marx himself, who offered it when
precisely the question of Jewish political rights and the possibility of
Jewish statehood were posed to him. Communism, he declared, would make such
a solution unnecessary, since all people will join hands, etc., etc. Moses
Hess, considered the father of Zionist Socialism and a colleague of Marx and
Engels [he introduced Marx to socialism, and infoplease states: "He was
responsible for converting Engels to communism, and he early introduced Marx
to social and economic problems"], rebuked him, pointing out how flawed that
theory was, insisting only Jewish sovereignty will guarantee rights for
Jews. One only has to be aware of how Jews were treated in the Soviet Union,
or examine why several years ago the PRC would only let an international
museum exhibit on Einstein be shown in China if all mention of Einstein's
Jewishness was expunged (the exhibit was designed to highlight that), to
figure out whether Marx or Hess was right. (we needn't even go into how
Germany and much of Europe weighed in on that debate in the last century,
much less Yasutani, et al.)

Since all good Buddhists who offer their opinions as Buddhists like to be as
well informed as possible, reading up on the exchanges between Marx and Hess
is highly recommended.

Dan Lusthaus

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