Subject: Re: Ken, Henry, Zionism

David Quarter davidquarter at
Fri May 23 19:34:44 MDT 2003

 Mike Friedman wrote:

 I don't think you can conflate a popularly
> conceived "right to exist" with espousal of Zionism. >>>>

David's response:

  I don't think it's a 'popularly conceived right to exist'  that's being
supported here. I think it's a particular state built upon the
dispossion of an indigenous population and based upon a
racialist/religious notion of citizenry. When a Jewish person says: I
support Israel's right to exist, (s)he is  not referring to some
abstract Israel.

 Mike Friedman wrote:
I don't disagree
> that acceptance of Zionism, per se, is widespread among some
> of the Jewish community and that it currently surpasses any
> tendency in importance, but most Jews I know (not on the left)
> buy into the precepts of Zionism: i.e., racial exclusivity,
> dispossession of the Palestinians, etc.>>>>

David's response:

The *most jews* i know -- secular, well-educated, liberal -- accept
Israel's (the living and breathing!) right to exist. They also become
extremely hostile if someone comes along and questions "this
right" or criticizes Israel's overall policies. And they become even
more defensive when that someone happens to be non-Jewish.

One way to look at  the question of whether most Jews support
Zionism is to consider the position of the extreme left wing of
Zionism on the right of return -- for example, Uri Avenery's (spelling)
position. Uri Avenery is someone many Jews in the peace camp
both in Israel and abroad (e.g, in Palestinian solidarity groups)
revere and look up to. And what is his position on the right of
return? Last I read it was that the Palestinians should have no such
right! In his words, it would bring about another form of ethnic
cleansing to allow the Palestinian refugees back into the pre-47
borders. While there is obviously a wide spectrum of views held by
Jews who support Zionism -- both in Israel and abroad, I think that
the fundamental point here is that the leading voice of even the
extreme left of Zionism continues to favour the notion of the
exclusive state.

In terms of Jews not "buying into the precepts of Zionism" --
obviously most Jews, who express even an inkling of support for
Israel, are not going to come out in the open and say that they
support Israel's racialist notion of citizenry or that they support the
dispossession of the Palestinians or that they support the
bulldozing of Palestinian homes or the shooting of the rock-
throwing Palestinian children. It's just like most white parents
wouldn't come out in the open and say that they wou;dn't want their
children marrying a black person or that they rather not live around
peopel of colour. Just as more liberal bigots keep their opinions on
racial exclusion hidden from the public, you will generally find more
open diplays of affection for Israel amongst the most die Zionists
(be they Jewish or not).

When the Zionist liberal does speak up,  it will be ambiguously or
in neutral terms: "I'm against all sorts of violence and I hope the
Israelis and Palestinians can learn learn to coexist peacefully...I
support the Palestinian's right to have a state, but I oppose the
extreme anti-semitism of the Palestinian leadership and the suicide
bombings " Some zionist Jews might even voice harsh criticism of
Israel's policies: "down with the occupation". Yet, is that then to
say that if you reject some aspect of Zionism, that you reject
Zionism outright? That you then reject the notion of the exclusive
state? Does criticizing capitalism mean you reject the private
ownership of the means of the production?


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