Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why are there anti-Israel Jews

A recent article in the Jerusalem Post looked at the critical attitude towards Israel of some prominent Jews, in particular, Noam Chomsky, Bernie Saunders and George Soros. The article considered the question of hatred and love, but did not touch of the unease many felt in the face of Zionism. If you saw yourself as an emancipated member of a secular, liberal society, Jewish nationalism was anathema. You were an America or Hungarian, or for that matter international stateless intellectual and your Jewishness was merely incidental to who you were. For those of us who experienced the vast disillusionment with the secular, liberal society that we were part of, those of us who felt betrayed by friends, neighbours and compatriots, our Zionist creed was non-negotiable. We were identified with Judaism, we were Jewish and this is how the rest of the world saw us. Facing antisemitism was the natural fate of Jews and confronting this hatred was incumbent on all Jews. Israel and Zionism will be there when the world turns on the comfortable broad minded liberals like Chomsky, Saunders and Soros who will be perceived as the enemies of the societies they live in, the eternal other who can be blamed for the ills of facing their world. As a Zionist I have to accept that there will be Jewish ganevim, there will be Jews whom I don't like, and Israeli politicians whose policies I don't agree with. I don't have to place Israel on a pedestal as a country superior to others, I don't have to attribute to my fellow Jews qualities superior to all other people. If Israel is to be a state like all other states in the community of nations we have to apply the same yardstick as we do to all others. We must not presume that just because Jews hold a special religious role among the myriad of beliefs  that they are in any way on a higher plain. The fact that the Zionist adventure turned into such a successful state, with all its shortcomings and limitations, is akin to a miracle and beyond all expectations of the original founders and dreamers. That like Jews today, the original founders and dreamers could not agree among themselves is part of this amazing story.