Thursday, March 25, 2021

A world turned upside down: Zionism

Start with A world turned upside down:  the United States.

I'm 72 years old and I never expected to see such radical changes in my lifetime.  But the incredible changes that I've seen in the attitudes of some Jews toward Israel, the Jewish State--or perhaps Israel as the Jewish State--been shocking and disheartening, to say the least.

I've known for years that there were anti-Zionist Jews in the world.  I just never anticipated that some of them would turn out to be my friends.

Some Jews of younger generations, among them my anti-Zionist friends, look at the Jewish people and the State of Israel and see no threat to survival for either entity.  As someone once commented to me, "They think Jews are safe."  Why worry about an "escape hatch" when you don't think you'll ever need one?  Perhaps it's never registered with them that millions of lives might have been saved if the State of Israel had existed before the Holocaust.  But all they see is that David has become Goliath.  And some of them would rather kill Goliath than try to heal him.  To paraphrase an old saying from the Vietnam War era, "We had to destroy the country in order to save it."  American Jews accuse Israel of occupying a West Bank that doesn't belong to it.  What hypocrisy!  American Jews ourselves live on land stolen from Native Americans, and even the Native Americans aren't telling us to go back where we came from (as far as I know).  Why can't we try to help Israel become a more just country, instead of tearing it down?

As for Jews being safe, it took only a little encouragement from a hateful demagogue to bring out the antisemitism that was always lurking among the haters in the U.S.  What makes younger Jews think that Hitler couldn't happen here?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch-house, I can't participate in the Women's March because it's come under the influence of anti-Zionists, as if the existence of a Jewish State has anything to do with the Women's Movement.  And efforts to reform policing in the United States have been tied to problems with policing in Israel.  It seems to me that even local progressive politics gets connected, somehow, to the Jewish State.  In other words, it would appear that one must park one's Zionism, and perhaps, even one's Jewish identity, at the door in order to get involved in just about any social-justice cause.  Otherwise, you may risk getting sidetracked by arguments over Israel when you originally volunteered to work on, for example, getting more trees and flowers planted on local public property to help make a tiny dent in climate change.

And this is the world that I have to live in during my later years. 


Next up:  A world turned upside down:  Judaism


Related: My Wednesday, February 27, 2019 post, A word about Zionism, in response to an anti-Zionist Jew


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