Monday, January 12, 2009

On Anti-Zionism

First, perhaps most important: My feelings are not neutral about Zionism; I don't like it. I find that I think about it a lot and there is nothing I can really embrace in it outside of the Jewish pride and the historical significance of it and its visionary component. All these elements have lost their value: Zionism privileges Jews and justifies oppression, and this appalls me. Saying I'm anti-Zionist is a sincere expression of my pluralist, minority-respecting worldview. (Philip Weiss)
Ditto. If something makes you sick, you're anti-it. If you're not, you're confused. And if you understand Zionism and it doesn't make you sick, you're sick. (Mark Elf - JSF)

Second, Post-Zionist strikes me as an evasion. At this moment, Zionism reigns in historical Palestine and in American Jewry. To say you're a post-Zionist is like saying you're a post-Communist during the Stalin purges. You are tastefully separating yourself from the world, dainty as an English person drinking tea with their little finger separated from the teacup handle. Zionism is a very powerful force in world affairs, certainly Middle East and American society. It is not helpful to one's own thinking or to others who are trying to understand these matters to evade this fact or suggest that post-Zionism is actually a real factor in, say, the life of Gaza City. I urge my readers and others to take a stand if they find Zionist beliefs that so privilege 6 million Jews over 5-6 million non-Jews and that have entailed apartheid and ethnic cleansing a supportable ideology, especially in the age of our mutt [sic!] president-to-be.
That is the most important point. Zionism is a system of domination. It isn't over and you can't chose to be over it. You can choose to do your best to overthrow it, or you can chose to support it, or you can chose to forget about it and ignore it. But you can't make it a thing of the past by snapping your fingers. And I would add that you certainly don't have to call yourself a Zionist in order to acknowledge that, obviously, "Zionism's place in modern Jewish history" is (unfortunately) substantial, just as you don't need to wave a confederate flag in order to acknowledge that the U.S. was built with slave labor. (which is one reason why using words like 'mutt' here would not be my first choice).


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