Review of and thoughts regarding Benjamin Netanyahu’s Autobiography ‘Bibi: My Story’
Listening to ‘Bibi: My Story’ made me realize that Zionism is essentially another movement like Socialism, where many wonderful and bright people fooled themselves into a monumental error. I’ve felt like Zionism and resulting Israeli state as it currently functions has been a monumental error for a while, but the similarities to Socialism, not in the economic sense(which it had in its early history), but in the misguided-ideological-movement-sense did not become so clear as when learning about Bibi’s life and much he discusses. Just like Socialists were inadvertently and with the best of intentions fooled by the complexity of the social order and its evolution into believing that Central Planning was a great idea, so do Zionists due to complex issues leading to antisemitism and more has fooled them into the Zionist error. This error of course leads to more anti-Semitism which only helps fellow homo sapiens who have absorbed a ‘Jewish Identity’ to hunker down in the fallacies thus radiating more and more chaos as the history of Zionism/Israel/Palestine and WWII and so much more should help make obvious. Just like Socialism had its ‘great leaders’ who were seemingly destined to bring about the realization of the utopia, it is easy to see how Bibi sees himself likewise. For example, among last few lines he writes:
“Through three millennia we never gave up on our dream to live as a prosperous and free people in our homeland, the land of Zion. Having restored our independence, we cannot, we will not, let anyone bring an end to this miracle. When I look back on my childhood in Jerusalem with Yoni and Iddo, my years in America, my service in the Uint and my escapes from near death, I realize they were all somehow woven together to prepare me for my life’s mission.”
Just like very few people in the world had no idea what Socialism was and much less desire to live in a Socialist world in the mid 1800s, yet as Socialist mythology spread many clamored for it. The same applies to Zionism. Bibi is greatly mistaken in his first sentence. As he himself writes about, Zionism was originally seen by most Jews as a massive error and certainly not some “dream” shared by many. The rabbinical establishment in Munich, Germany, where Herzl wanted to hold the First Zionist Congress, strongly rejected the idea so the meeting was moved to Basle Switzerland(8/29–31/1897). They told him :
“Regarding nationality, we feel totally at one with our fellow Germans and therefore strive towards the realization of the spiritual and moral goals of our dear fatherland with an enthusiasm equaling theirs”
As Zionism was spreading gaining converts, many Jews were divided into the Zionists and anti-Zionists (“assimilationists”). Chaim Weizmann, the leading Zionist figure after Herzl’s death in 1904, lamented how “assimilated Jews” were “dead against Zionism” and identified Zionism (correctly IMHO) as “a primitive tribalism”:
“For assimilated Jews…They looked upon it…as a primitive tribalism. They felt themselves…called upon to “rescue” Judaism from Zionism…these people are dead against Zionism…Zionism is not meant for those people who have cut themselves adrift from Jewry…”
Of course! That rapidly increasing number of very well educated less-religious cosmopolitan “assimilated Jews” spread all over Europe-USA just wanted to be fellow human beings or equal world citizens free of ancient tribalisms-mysticisms-identities. Unfortunately, for very understandable reasons-factors for which nobody is to blame, like a rocket that is just about to reach orbit but runs out of fuel and comes crashing down to earth, Zionism would inadvertently pull Jews and all of Western Civilization back to an increasingly ethnocentric identity-worldview with disastrous consequences. The Zionist Jews began to tie their “identity” to a massive error and eventually reach the stage where we are today, where saying that Zionism and the Israeli state as it currently functions has been a massive error, essentially what most Jews in the late 1800s were wisely saying, is seen by many Jews today as antisemitic, and thus even as ‘hate speech’ which threatens to destroy the vital freedom of speech needed to properly discuss and overturn errors and myths. The parallels with Socialism are astounding. In the eventual Soviet and other Socialist states, defending private property and enterprise, which would have been ok in the mid 1800s, would see you labeled as some sinister Capitalist and punished.
The book helps one understand the vital role that Bibi’s father played in getting Zionists to focus on persuading top American politicians in all branches of government to see things their way. The sort of naive tribalism shines as Bibi treats everyone who sees things otherwise as some ‘antisemite’ without any real in-depth discussion on why they may feel the way they do. This is of course the same thing that happened with Socialist ideologues who had simple ideas with which to dismiss critics of their Socialist dream. It was very easy for Socialist ideologues to for example dismiss people defending freedom based on religious arguments like most Catholics. Here the Socialists could just dismiss them for being irrational and believing in religious myths. One can see how Bibi makes similar errors. It is easy for Bibi and Zionists to find clueless antisemites who fall for the usual antisemitic trope of believing that Jews are some secret sinister plotter who “invented” socialism and/or communism, killed Jesus, and so on, for him to dismiss criticisms of Zionism. So it is thus very understandable how Socialists/Communists and Zionists dismissed criticisms helping the ideology spread.
I was glad to see what a superb understanding of free markets Bibi has and the skillful way he managed to deal with countless complex political factors as he played a leading role transforming the Israeli economy from disastrous big-government-semi-socialism to far more privatization/Capitalism. There are many paragraphs about economics that were superbly written and in that sense Bibi has been one of most astute and beneficial world leaders of the last 30 years. But all of these wonderful achievements are incomparable to the immense suffering and eventual world war that his naive good vs. evil mindset which is the inevitable growth of his ‘Zionist Identity’ has and continues to bring about. I was very keen on paying attention to Bibi’s interactions with Putin and Russia since Bibi’s views on the matter given the good relations between Russia and Iran will probably play a leading role on whether mankind self-destroys via the final world war. Putin treats with respect Syria, Iran, and Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas clearly finds Russia to be a fairer negotiator for some kind of solution to the Israeli/Palestinian mess. And in simplistic tribalistic terms, which sadly totally pollutes Bibi’s mind, this simply means that Russia and Putin is some evil antisemitic entity. This is definitely in the cards. However, Bibi also mentions how much Putin respects the strong Jewish heritage in Russia, and I was glad to see how the Russian military and government is used to having good relations and communication with Israel when dealing with complex issues in the area. So there is also the probability that Bibi can actually have a less tribalistic attitude and actually help bring this conflict to an end.
So in brief conclusion. It is a superb book, but a very bright and capable person. My guess is that this book and how well it is selling and Bibi’s numerous great achievements in terms of the economy and more will guarantee that he remains PM till he gives it up. I can see how this book will bring him many more fans. But as with very bright and well-intentioned Socialist ideologues, Albert Einstein being the perfect example, Bibi’s talents are inadvertently taking mankind towards extinction. Yet somehow I believe that he can be reached.
For a brief yet succinct introduction to the root causes of Jew/Gentile misunderstandings please consider reading article bellow and also our flyer The Israeli/Palestinian conflict: A Brief Evolutionary Introduction and Free-Market Solution