Muslim Press has conducted an interview with Lenni Brenner, author of ‘Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators’, to discuss the Zionist regime and its influence over the world, and also the relationship between the Nazis and the Zionists.
The following is the second part of this interview:
Muslim Press: How do you analyze the influence of Jewish donors over US Democrats and Republicans? Has it been tilted towards Republicans in the recent years?
Lenni Brenner: Campaign contributions from rich Jews are a crucial factor behind Democratic and Republican pro-Israel policies. There is no official ethnic or religious breakdown of election donations, but there are estimates by respected observers.
Ron Kampeas is the Washington bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Zionist movement’s equivalent of Reuters News Agency. On June 7, 2011, JTA ran his article “Democrats launch major pro-Obama pushback among Jews.”
He explained that “Where the Jews stand on Obama matters not just because of the Jewish vote… but also because of Jewish money…. estimates over the years have reckoned that Jewish donors provide between one-third and two-thirds of the party’s money.”
Today most Jews, rich, middle class or poor, are Democrats. Scholars estimate that today’s Jews are between 2.2 and 2.6 percent of the U.S. population but they are America’s richest ethnic or religious community. In 2014, 173 of the country’s 536 billionaires were Jews.
Not all Jewish billionaire donors are Democrats and not all Democratic billionaires think the same re Israel. Tom Steyer is the party’s biggest donor. His father was a non-practicing Jew and there is no sign that he is interested in Israel. His issue is climate change. Most of the rich older generation is pro-Israel regardless of its policies but George Soros defines himself as a non-Zionist and funds some Palestinian organizations. Some wealthy Jewish elders supported Obama against Netanyahu re the Iran nuclear pact while others backed Netanyahu.
Obama, Hillary Clinton and the congressional Democrats know that a growing percentage of young Democrats, Jew and gentile, is increasingly critical of Israel, yet they will continue to arm Israel, etc. Their pandering to Israel is based on two considerations:
They fear rightwing Jewish billionaire Democrats will go over to the Republicans if they become hostile to Israel and they will lose their election donations.
They believe most Democratic critics of Israel, Jew and gentile, will continue voting for them against the Republicans as the lesser of two evils.
A minority of rich Jews have always been Republicans. Their number increased over the Netanyahu-Obama Iran nuclear deal battle. Israel’s Prime Minister was for Republican Mitt Romney against Obama in the 2012 U.S. election. In 2016 however he is silent. Many Republican Jews won’t vote for Donald Trump but not because of his Israel/Palestine politics. They are shocked by his non-stop political eccentricity.
Sheldon Adelson is the 8th wealthiest American. His prime issue is Israel. He gave the Republicans $100 million dollars in 2012, making him the biggest election donor in America’s history. This spring he pledged to give Trump another $100 million but, as of now, he hasn’t given him any money. Pro-Zionist billionaire Paul Singer never stops denouncing Trump.
MP: As someone who was born into a Jewish family, what can you say about the anti-Zionist Jews? Are there many? How much influence do they have over US policies toward Israel?
Lenni Brenner: Before the holocaust the vast majority of American Jews were non-Zionist. The holocaust made pro-Zionists out of the generation that is now Jewry’s elders but the younger generations are moving towards non-Zionism and a small but growing minority is explicitly anti-Zionist.
Sociologically, American Jewry is very different from Israel. Orthodox Judaism is Israel’s state religion but only 10% of America’s Jews are Orthodox. About 18% identify with a denomination known as Conservative Judaism. Over 35% are members of another denomination called Reform Judaism.
In Orthodox synagogues, women must sit separately from men and only men can be rabbis. In Conservative and Reform synagogues women sit with men and can become rabbis. Reform even has openly Lesbian rabbis. An additional 30% of U.S. Jews do not identify with any Jewish denomination.
Conservative and Reform American migrants to Israel are granted citizenship but few Israelis identify as Conservative (2%) or Reform (3%). They have public synagogues but their rabbis, male or female, can’t perform legally recognized marriages.
The discrimination against their rabbis is a prime reason why the vast majority of young U.S. Conservatives and Reformers reject the notion that they should settle in the Zionist state.
The percentage of American Jews marrying gentiles has grown for decades. Now at least 58% of all Jews (71% of non-Orthodox Jews) born in 1981 or later have married non-Jews in secular state marriages or in so-called interfaith ceremonies performed by rabbis. Some children of mixed married couples are raised as religious Jews, others as Christians, some as both, some as atheists. Many of the atheists and some of the Christians call themselves “ethnic Jews.”
Although Israeli law accepts all marriages legally performed in America, identical purely secular or interfaith Israeli marriages are not recognized. Be sure that the vast majority of American children of such marriages won’t emigrate to a country that doesn’t allow them to marry via ceremonies that they are the offspring of.
The growing criticism of Israel by Jews and gentiles was vividly expressed in the recent battle for the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination. Proclaiming himself a “democratic socialist,” and denouncing America’s growing economic inequality, Bernard Sanders (always called ‘Bernie’), an independent Senator from Vermont, only identified as a Democrat to compete for the 2016 nomination yet he received millions of votes before losing to Hillary Clinton.
A Jew, born in 1941, Bernie doesn’t regularly attend a synagogue but says he believes in God in an non-traditional manner: "I think everyone believes in God in their own ways." His wife is a Catholic.
In 1963 he volunteered at a socialist kibbutz in Israel but now is very critical of the Jewish state: “I spent many months on a kibbutz on Israel, so I know something about Israel…. Israel has got to be defended, has a right to exist, but you cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people.”
Bernie gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine:
“I believe in a two-state solution, where Israel has security and the Palestinians have a state of their own,” he said. “The United States has got to work with the Palestinian people in improving their standard of living, which is now a disaster, and has been made much worse since the war in Gaza.”
He was asked about the harsh Netanyahu-Obama relationship in 2015: “Well, I gotta tell you, I am not a great fan of President (sic)Netanyahu”.... “I did not attend the speech that he gave before the joint session of Congress. I think it was opportunistic. I think he was using it as part of his campaign for re-election. I think he was being used or did use the Republicans to go behind the president’s back. And I think in that region, sadly on both sides, I don’t think we have the kind of leadership that we need.”
Bernie says that his “long-term hope is that instead of pouring so much military aid into Israel … we can provide more economic aid to help improve the standard of living of the people in that area.”
In 2016 Bernie asked “Is anybody happy in this room or feel good about the kind of civilian deaths we’ve seen in Gaza? The answer is no,” Bernie told a crowd in Vermont. “Has Israel overreacted? Have they bombed UN facilities? The answer is yes. That is terribly, terribly wrong in my mind.”
The April 16, 2016 New York Times explained that
“Chiding Israel, Sanders Highlights Jewish Split…. Protesting Israel’s policies and advocating boycotts to pressure its government are practically electives for liberal college students furious about the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank….
A Pew Research Center poll in 2014 about violence in Gaza found that Americans under 30 were more likely to blame Israel than to blame Hamas, though half blamed both or did not have an opinion….
Younger Jews’ waning support for Israel in its dealings with Palestinians may not be so surprising. Unlike their parents and grandparents, who grew up when Jews were still reeling from the Holocaust, they know Israel primarily as a powerful nation rather than an existential necessity. Andy Bachman, a… rabbi, said the energetic applause at Mr. Sanders’s criticism of Israel…. “was proof of a major crisis in the Jewish community that no major Jewish organization has resolved or figured out to handle”….
Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a growing grass-roots organization that advocates pressuring Israel with the threat of boycotts, released a statement calling Mr. Sanders’s remarks “heartening” and added, “Today showed that the movement for Palestinian rights is shifting the discourse at the highest political levels.”
Bernie’s campaign did develop a left shift within the Democrats but when he finally lost the party nomination he told his supporters to vote for Clinton against Trump in November. Most will vote for her as the lesser of two evils but thousands have broken with him and the Democrats.
Many of Bernie’s ex-supporters say that they will vote for Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. She was born into a Reform Jewish family but is now an agnostic.
She has issued a “Statement on US Foreign Policy, Palestine-Israel, and BDS”:
“The Jill Stein campaign calls for ending support for governments committing war crimes and massive human rights violations, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.
It supports the BDS movement as a peaceful, nonviolent set of actions organized by civil society across the world aimed to end Israeli apartheid, occupation, war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses….
With regard to Israel, the United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law. Instead of allying with the courageous proponents of peace and human rights within Palestine and Israel, our government has rewarded consistent abusers of human rights.
Therefore, the Stein campaign calls for ending military and economic support for the Israeli government while it is committing war crimes and defying international law….
Consistency in U.S. policy regarding human rights and international law will begin, but not end, with Palestine and Israel. I will apply this same approach to other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, among others.
Finally, we call for establishment of a Palestine and Israel Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the vehicle for shifting from an era of US support of human rights and international law violations to one based on justice and truth bringing all parties together as equals to seek workable solutions.”
Stein ran for President in 2012. She got 469,627 votes, 0.36% of the national vote. This year a pre-election poll show her getting 4% nationally and she could do better by election day in November. If so, she will establish the GP as a potential mass American socialist party with a firm hostility to Israel and bipartisan Washington’s weapons support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
After November the Greens can develop into a larger party by organizing street demonstrations on all the issues that Bernie stood for in the Democratic primaries, including opposition to Israel’s repression of the Palestinians. That will lead many of his present young Jewish and gentile supporters to break with him and the Democrats to vote Green in the 2018 Congressional election. That election could see a full scale public conflict between elderly Democratic and Republican rightwing pro-Zionist moneybags and a substantial number of young Jewish leftist Greens.
MP: What’s your take on the pro-Palestinian movement? What do you expect of this movement to achieve in the future?
Lenni Brenner: The American pro-Palestinian solidarity campaign will continue gaining strength, but what it ultimately achieves will be determined by how the liberation cause in Palestine (pre-1967 Israel, the West Bank and Gaza) evolves. For the movement here to win, it
must be able to point to a mass organization there with a viable strategy for defeating Zionism. As of now, ethnic Palestinians haven’t produced a ‘two-state’ organization with a real program for attaining a Palestinian state side by side with Israel.
Palestinians have won many Americans to their side by documenting “Israeli apartheid,” equating Israel to the racist South African regime replaced by the African National Congress government. But they have not created their own Palestinian National Congress.
No competent observer believes the ethnic Palestinians can militarily defeat and replace the Zionist state. It can only be vanquished politically and only by a binational equivalent of the ANC and a world movement in solidarity with such a PNC.
The ANC started as a Black movement. Communists and other White sympathizers began collaborating with it and, even before it came to power, it already proudly included White and Asian members. Today a minority of Jewish Israelis vigorously work for full rights for Palestinians. Progressive Palestinian Arabs should recruit them into a binational PNC.
The first tasks of a binational PAC must be
1 - Organizing a discussion leading up to a proposed constitution of a binational Palestine/Israel, guaranteeing full legal equality for ethnic Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews, equal rights for all religions, secular marriage and divorce laws (particularly important for the significant atheist minority of both Arabs and Israelis), equal rights for women, etc.
Such a draft constitution in the PNC literature aiming to educate both ethnicities would serve to draw their youths away from fanatics hostile to those beyond their ethnic community or religious sect.
2 - The development of disciplinary rules for all PNC activities. For example, street demonstrations must be peaceful and strictly monitored.
Peaceful demos for equal ethnic rights would win the approval of the world public. But if a small group within the PNC’s ranks broke out of such a demo to attack either their group’s ‘bad’ ethnicity or the Israeli police, world opinion might decide that the PNC is just another ‘terrorist’ group.
In the 1960s, the major American anti-Vietnam war movement stationed monitors among our marchers who would stop such fanatic breakouts before they gave the police an excuse to attack our peaceful demos. The PNC should learn to do likewise.
These are some of the tasks required so the PNC could become a movement capable of mobilizing progressives of both ethnic communities to politically isolate the Zionist police state in the eyes of America and the world.
Lenni Brenner is an American Trotskyist writer. In the 1960s, Brenner was a prominent civil rights activist and a prominent opponent of the Vietnam War. He is the author of ‘Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators’, in which he argued that many Zionist leaders collaborated with fascism, particularly Nazi Germany in order to build up the Jewish presence in Palestine.