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Zionism is White Supremacy

Picture of Dayvon Love

Dayvon Love

Director of Public Policy
Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle

The defining feature of the past 500 years of human history has been the violent, exploitative, and genocidal project of European domination of the world. The normalization of this system of white supremacy is carried out by characterizing white people’s oppressive acts as mistakes by otherwise morally righteous people. Additionally, they amplify narratives that render the people that they oppress as inherently violent and immoral in order to justify their oppressive actions. For example, the American Revolutionary War is characterized as a fight against British tyranny. Not much mention that they were fighting over stolen land and that they were both practicing chattel slavery, but Nat Turner’s 1831 rebellion is demonized as violent and extreme. This societal hypocrisy normalizes the violence carried out by white people and renders non-white people’s use of violence in response to our oppression as evidence of some immoral passion for destruction.

Aimé Césaire in his book, “Discourse on Colonialism,” described the Jewish holocaust as the result of the boomerang effect of European colonialism. What Jewish people experienced during WWII is white people doing to other white people what they had been doing for centuries to non-white people. Some Jewish people would take issue with this frame because it makes the atrocity of the holocaust appear less exceptional. This is exactly the problem. Large scale violence against white people in a white supremacist society is deemed exceptional. The Belgian Free State genocide of Africans in the Congo 20 years earlier is not exceptional, it’s just one example. The point is, white people get to make their suffering central in ways that absolve them from being held accountable for the violence they perpetuate against others. So anytime someone criticizes Israel, they are deemed antisemitic and the holocaust is referenced to center Jewish suffering. If anyone points out the activities of Zionist organizations that do harm to other communities, it is considered antisemitic, and again, their suffering is centered. This is the result of the Zionist movement, which in its own founding documents considered European countries engaged in colonialism as its brethren. This movement has chosen to form its political ideology around being an accomplice to white supremacy. 

Institutions and people that have a Zionist worldview often promote and espouse perspectives that uphold the system of white supremacy. Bobby Zirkin, who is a Zionist and former Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee was a notorious promoter of sentence enhancements and Governor Hogan’s tough on crime agenda. Councilman Isaac Schiefler is a Zionist, and ran an entirely white slate for the Democratic Party State Central Committee in the majority Black 41st legislative district of Maryland in 2022. 

Howard Friedman, former Chair of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and currently serves as a board member of Sinclair broadcasting, is described on GuruFocus as overseeing the strategic direction of the company. Fox 45’s advocacy to roll back criminal justice reform that aims to protect Black people from the violence of the system is the kind of strategic focus that upholds the system of white supremacy. It’s not a coincidence that the network has spent most of 2023 demonizing Senator Jill Carter, who is the fiercest advocate for Black Liberation in the Maryland General Assembly.

The resolution that was proposed on 12/4/2023 by Councilman Schiefler to condemn Hamas’ 10/7/23 attack on Israel is an attempt to make the suffering of white people central and to promote a narrative that characterizes Palestinians (non-white people) as having an inherent passion for destruction. It advances a narrative that makes violence against white people exceptional and normalizes violence against non-white people. 

The past and ongoing violence against Palestinians is collateral damage, in other words, normalized. Just like the violence of the criminal justice system against Black people in this society is normalized. The profiteering off of the suffering of Black people is normalized. Societal violence against immigrants is normalized. And those of us who fight against the normalized oppression of this society are considered extremists. This allows those who uphold the system of white supremacy to position themselves as fighters for justice, while avoiding accountability for the violence that they are complicit with. Councilman Schiefler’s resolution allows him to appear to be a fighter for justice, while obscuring the ways that Israel and his own political behavior upholds the system of white supremacy.

Zionists have been able to use the power that emerges from their proximity to the system of white supremacy, to curate what are deemed legitimate leftists’ positions. For instance, someone who believes that the way that the state of Israel was established is problematic is deemed a supporter of killing Jewish people. A person can believe that Israel was established illegitimately, while also not wanting to murder Jewish people. This is not a difficult concept, but Zionists would like for people to believe that these notions go hand in hand in order to deflect from the violence they perpetuate. Those of us who believe that Israel’s establishment and continued occupation of Palestine is an extension of US imperialism and global white supremacy, tend to be folks who have leftist beliefs that are outside of the American political mainstream. People who are advocates against the US empire, opponents of US foreign policy, supporters of radical redistribution of wealth, and opponents of the US police state are legitimate political positions, who would likely view Israel as an extension of US colonialism. 

The position that Bobby Zirkin took on his appearance on WBAL radio on 12/7/2023 demonstrates that Zionists are using people’s opposition to Israeli/US policy as a way to push back against the work that is pushing the Democratic Party in Maryland further left than the white supremacist establishment would like. 

It is important that Black people do not allow Zionists to dictate to us what are legitimate positions for Black people to take toward Black Liberation. Whether it is their support for rolling back criminal justice reform, targeting elected officials with an explicit Black Liberation perspective or imposing its beliefs on Israel onto our community, we have to be clear that if we are complicit with the Zionist agenda, we are being complicit with the system of white supremacy.

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