ZioNation - Progressive Zionism and Israel Web Log

ZioNation home Archives Site map Policy Definitions FAQ timeline history documents Links Photos Contact

Articles and Reference

History of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
History of Anti-Semitism
History of Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Six Day War
War of Independence
Bible  Quotes
1948 Israel War of Independence Timeline Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism History
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Learn Hebrew
Israel Boycott?
Boycott Israel?
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Jew Hate
International Zionism
Commentary in Russian
Middle East
The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini
Albert Einstein
Palestine: Ethnic Cleansing
History Arab-Israeli Conflict
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com

Periodically, it is important to remind people what Zionism is, and what it is not. This should not be needed, except that the definition of Zionism has been eroded over time both by demonizers and well-wishers. Two articles deal with what Zionism is, and what Zionism is not. For the most part, they do not focus on the semantic definition of Zionism, but rather on a part of the operational definition: what it means and implies regarding peace with our Arab neighbors. It is only part of the operational definition of Zionism, which must include, and has included, a cultural revival and social revolution within the Jewish people, as well as Aliya to Israel.

The news of 600 new immigrants from France today is a much more important aspect of Zionism perhaps, then the boycott Israel movement of some misguided British unionists or the threats of genocidal lunatics in Tehran. In the past 18 months, about 4,000 French Jews have come to Israel from the smallish community of 500,000. About 3,000 will arrive this year. This is quite an achievement compared to the 3,000 immigrants contributed by American Jews ("we gave at the office"). That is really what Zionism is about. The news from France is very good for a change.

Contrary to the beliefs of many European journalists and academics, Zionism is not a Messianic religious movement, and Zionists are not all gun-wielding religious fanatics from Brooklyn who have settled in Hebron after evicting Arabs from the land. Many Jews from Brooklyn are still there. A lot of the ones who moved out moved to Los Angeles, Connecticut or LawnGuyLind (the place marked as "Long Island" on some outdated maps published, no doubt, before about 1960). Most of the Israelis living in the West Bank (marked as "Judea" and "Samaria" on some outdated maps published before 1948) were born either in the "West Bank" or within the borders of "Green Line" Israel. A lot of Jews from Brooklyn are people like Woody Allen and myself, who are not big fans of settlement in the West Bank or noted for our devotion to religious observance. Perhaps it is less pleasing to bigots to assert that the "West Bank" is filled with Zionist fanatics from Paris. Paris is chic, after all, while at least in the more benighted portions of Europe, Brooklyn, alas, still has the grungy image that was given to it by Damon Runyon and others. Brooklyn can be sold as a den of petty gangsters and uncouth religious fanatics. Fuhgeddaboudit. Most of those French Jews from the left bank and elsewhere are not settling in the "West Bank" either.

Contrary to the beliefs of some of Israel's overenthusiastic supporters, Zionism does not set the borders of the State of Israel or dictate that the Jewish people must have dominion over specific bits of real estate for theological reasons. King David apparently did not have dominion over Gaza and parts of Judea. If it was good enough for David, it's good enough for me. Of course, people who support Zionism are free to believe what they like, but that is not a necessary part of Zionism.

At the risk of boring many of you, I will repeat that Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. I didn't forget that I have written that many times, nor did I invent the phrase, but it bears repetition. The goal of Zionism is to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Israel, to gather most of the scattered members of the Jewish people to that national home, and to revive a modernized version of the ancient Hebrew culture. In short, to give to the Jewish people what is the birthright of every other nation: self-determination. Zionism requires peace for this goal. It is very difficult to get Jews from Brooklyn or Los Angeles to come here as long as there are people shooting at us and threatening to make a "world without Zionism." This, along with the traditional pacifist leanings of Jewish culture, explains the priority that peace is given by most Zionists.

Zionism has been subject to a great deal of criticism. Criticism is generally healthy, even if it is unpleasant, because it forces a movement to question itself and its methods. Perhaps that is why Zionism has been so successful until now. The Jewish people have also been subjected to a lot of criticism, and perhaps that has made us more competitive and adaptive. Zionism arose in part out of a rather merciless Jewish critique of the Jewish people.

There is a debate as to whether or not anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. The defenders of anti-Zionist views generally insist that they are only criticizing Israel, from the purest motives. This politically correct and humanitarian attitude to Israel is illustrated in the graphic below, a "criticism of Israel" which no doubt shows one of those Jewish Zionist Hebron settlers from Brooklyn who is sucking the blood of the oppressed Arabs.


The humanistic liberals who read the Independent and Counterpunch, along with Jimmy Carter, can judge if the above illustration of a "Zionist" is racist or not.

In any case, criticism and cartoons are not dangerous and do not really hurt anyone in themselves. If all that critics did was to write cartoons and critical articles, their activities would be helpful in shaping a more constructive vision of Zionism and a more adaptive Jewish culture. For example, it is certain that whatever muted criticism there has been of the human rights record of China, or its occupation Tibet, has been helpful to the Chinese society and people and has strengthened them rather than weakening them, by forcing the Chinese government and its citizens to examine themselves a bit more critically. A bit more of such criticism in the time of the progressive regime of Mao Tse Tung might have saved tens of millions of Chinese lives from that leader's schemes of "progress." Instead, most of the would-be critics were busy buying little red books and Mao posters. Perhaps if these critics would have voiced some honest analyses of what is going on in Palestinian society, the Palestinian Arabs would have benefitted as well. It is hard to see how throwing people off the roofs of buildings has benefitted Palestinian society. But such criticism is immediately labelled "finger pointing."

On the other hand, nobody is suggesting that the Chinese people should be driven out of China, or that China should be wiped off the map, or that the Palestinian Arabs should be scattered to the four winds for their sins. Likewise, though people criticize Saudi Arabia's human rights record and its racist Arab exclusivist citizenship laws, nobody is suggesting moving 20 million Americans or Africans to Saudi Arabia and turning it into a "secular democratic state" ruled by Americans or Africans. Anti-Zionists and so-called "critics" of Israel are doing more than writing and talking and drawing cartoons. Boycotts, divestment and other initiatives, as well as more expressive "criticisms" like suicide bombings, are aimed at destroying the state of Israel and Zionism. That is no longer legitimate, constructive criticism. The injustice of such campaigns is especially egregious in view of the failure of the same critics to even censure gross violations of rights such as those taking place in Sudan, China and Iran.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2007. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000405.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

Click to Reddit! Facebook Share

add to del.icio.us

Add to digg - digg it

Constructive comments, including corrections, are welcome. Do not use this space for spam, publishing articles, self promotion, racism, anti-Zionist propaganda or character defamation. Inappropriate comments will be deleted. See our Comment policy for details. By posting here, you agree to the Comment policy.


Please take our reader survey!

Our Sites

Zionism News Net
Zionism-Israel Pages
Brave Zionism
IsraŽl-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Our Blogs
Israel News
IMO Blog - IsraŽl & Midden-Oosten (NL)
Israel Like this, as if
Zionism News Net
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog
IsraŽl in de Media

Blog Roll:
Adam Holland
Blue Truth
CIF Watch
Contentious Centrist
Dutchblog Israel (NL/EN)
Harry's Place
Ignoble Experiment
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Jewish Issues Watchdog Meretz USA Weblog
Meryl Yourish
Middle East Analysis
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log
Modernity Blog
Pro Israel Bay Bloggers
Point of no return
Simply Jews
Something Something
Tempting Topical Topics
The Augean Stables
Unplugged Mike
Oy Bay! San Francisco Bay Area Jews
Vital Perspective
Israel Mon Amour
Liberty & Justice
On the Contrary
Magdeburger Chossid
Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.
Southern Wolf
Sharona's Week
Sanda & Israel
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Liberal for Israel

A Jew with a view
Realistic Dove
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
SEO for Everyone
Vision to Reality: The Reut Blog
Calev's Blog
Candidly speaking from Jerusalem
Dvar Dea
Ray Cook
Shimshon 9

Mark Halawa

This link space is 4 your blog - contact us!

Other Web sites and pages:

PeaceWatch Middle East Commentary Christians Standing With Israel
Zionism On the Web
Guide to Middle East, Zionism
Z-Word blog
Labor Zionism
Le Grand Mufti Husseini
The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin El Husseini
ZNN - Zionism News Network Middle East
Euston Manifesto
Jewish Blogging
Peace With Realism
Israel Facts (NL)
Space Shuttle Blog
Love Poems
At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum


Judaica: Jewish Gifts:

RSS V 1.0

RSS V 2.0

Help us improve - Please click here to take our reader survey

All entries copyright by the authors and or Zionism-Israel Information Center. Please forward materials by e-mail with URLS. Other uses by permission only.