Friday, May 28, 2010

"Jews As Zionists"

As soon as I saw this comment I knew I wanted to talk about it:

The original link. If you check out the thread you will see that T-Faz realized that he did not in fact know that "Zionists" meant, and admits that he was wrong. So I don't want anyone to get the impression that I have a problem with him personally.

That being said, this is exactly the kind of thinking which is so prevalent in the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist discourse today. As I mentioned earlier, one of the causes of anti-Semitism is the reaction of the outside world to Jewish nationalism (aka Zionism).  We see that demonstrated very clearly in the discussions on the Huffington Post: Jews who don't assert their national identity are fine and welcomed. Jews who do (or support those who do) are insulted and slandered in all kinds of colorful ways, including the use of old anti-Semitic myths.

In some ways this pattern is not new. As Prager and Telushkin have mentioned, Jews who renounced their beliefs and forsook their people were welcomed by the anti-Semites and no longer hated. In other words, the price of acceptance by the anti-Semites was everything Jewish in that person. Zionism has always been a part of Jewish identity, but it has now taken the place of the Jewish religion in the acid test of acceptance by anti-Semites. A Jew can still be a Jew and be accepted among the AZ Huffington Posters, but he can't be a "Zionist."

And of course, the AZ Huffington Posters will claim that they have legitimate reasons to hate Zionists and Zionism. They can't single out the Jews for denial of their rights without a reason for doing so. Of course the anti-Semites (and racists, bigots, etc) throughout history always claimed they were justified as well. On another level, the anti-Zionists are quick to claim that "not all Jews are Zionists," as if to imply that Zionism is not part of Judaism and always has been. They will wave anti-Zionists Jews like flags while ignoring that the vast majority of Jews (+95%) support Israel's existence, if not it's policies.

Jews, both on the Huffington Post and elsewhere, should not have to choose between supporting their fellow Jews and being the subject of hatred and bigotry, both Jew-specific and otherwise. The hallmark of a free society is that minorities need to be allowed to support themselves and their interests without facing hate. Hating someone for choosing to assert their difference is not much different from hating someone just for being different. Jews are a nation and must be allowed to assert their national identity without fear. Just like every other nation.


  1. I think it has to do with the shift in Zionism. It is increasingly becoming attractive to Orthodox and some haredi Jews even as leftist and liberal Jews abandon it. When the news is out Shas is morphing into a Zionist party, the writing is on the wall. And this transformation in Zionism is giving the Left further grounds to hate it even more.

  2. That's not a shift in Zionism, that's a shift in the Orthodox community. The reason leftists are fleeing Zionism is not because of any change in Zionism itself, but because the enemy narrative has embedded itself into leftist thought. Leftists (again, not liberals, but leftists) feel they must choose between Zionism and leftism: the leftists fleeing Zionists are leftists whose Zionism was never as strong as their leftism anyway.

    That being said, I think ethnic nationalism is on an upswing everywhere. Europeans are becoming increasingly frustrated not only with their growing Muslim minorities but with each other. These things are cyclical: everyone is all tolerant and lovely-dovey for a while, then realize they're actually not so tolerant and don't appreciate their resources being used for outsiders, so then xenophobia increases, outsiders leave, everyone feels bad and tries to be more tolerant... Not saying it's perfect, but at least it's a pattern.