Powered by WebAds

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zionism has a place in the 21st century

The Sunday Los Angeles Times' second assault on Zionism comes from a different direction. It comes from the radical Left that believes that the entire idea of a Jewish state - one in which it never believed in any event - is passe, and that the entire State of Israel should be turned into a 'binational state' with 'equal rights for Jews and Arabs.'

I'm not going to respond to this article's historical arguments - I wrote about most of them here. But I do want to respond to Ben Ehrenreich's points about the future of the Jewish state.
Israeli policies have rendered the once apparently inevitable two-state solution less and less feasible. Years of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have methodically diminished the viability of a Palestinian state. Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has even refused to endorse the idea of an independent Palestinian state, which suggests an immediate future of more of the same: more settlements, more punitive assaults.
The 'two-state solution' was never inevitable and no Israeli policies have rendered it 'less and less feasible.' As has been pointed out many times, were the 'solution' to the 'Palestinian problem' so obvious as people like Ehrenreich think it is, the problem would have been solved long ago. But the solution is not obvious. The 'Palestinians' and the Arab countries (and not just the 'radicals' as Ehrenreich claims) will never accept a Jewish presence of any kind in the Jewish homeland amidst all those Muslim Arab countries. Not even on 0.6% of the landmass extending from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.
Opposing Zionism is neither anti-Semitic nor particularly radical. It requires only that we take our own values seriously and no longer, as the book of Amos has it, "turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground."
Opposing Zionism is anti-Semitic, at least when it is opposed by non-Jews (when Jews oppose Zionism that's sometimes a separate issue). If there were no Jewish state, the situation of Jews in places like the Former Soviet Union, Venezuela and France (from which hundreds of Jews have immigrated in the last few years) would be far bleaker than it is already.
Establishing a secular, pluralist, democratic government in Israel and Palestine would of course mean the abandonment of the Zionist dream. It might also mean the only salvation for the Jewish ideals of justice that date back to Jeremiah.
Abandonment of the Zionist dream - and particularly of the Law of Return that goes with it - would mean that Jews who suffer from anti-Semitism would have no place to go. As to "Jewish ideals of justice," Ehrenreich wouldn't know them if they slapped him across the face: From his article it's obvious that the God he worships is Liberalism.


At 9:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - there are Orthodox Jews who are Zionist - like the HaRav and Rabbi Shlomo Teitchal and they saw no contradiction between being faithful to Torah and building a Jewish civilization in Eretz Israel. Secular Zionism is all but dead as an ideology. So do you see yourself as a Zionist in the National Religious sense or if you don't, then what does Zionism mean to you as a Jew? Since I don't think Israeli can ever be separate as an identity from being a Jew. What place then does Zionism hold for you in the 21st Century?


Post a Comment

<< Home