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Letter From a Former Zionist Who Supports Justice for Palestine


World  (tags: former Zionists, activism, Palestinian human rights, illegal occupation of Palestine, Nakba, ethnic cleansing of Palestine, landtheft-annexatizionism, worldwide, zionism-racism, Zionist war crime, media, middle-east, news, palestine, usa, freedoms )

Jess
- 531 days ago - alternet.org
This is about choosing what's right. It's a broader struggle with humanity



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jess b (26)
Tuesday April 5, 2016, 9:58 pm
This is about choosing what's right. It's a broader struggle with humanity.

Speaking as a “former Zionist” is no longer strange. In fact, it’s become quite common within some Jewish circles. Yeah, it goes, I used to be a Zionist—a socialist Zionist; a two state Zionist; a Zionist who believed in giving back the occupied territories from ‘67, etc., etc., etc. But a Zionist. Self-determination for both peoples, two peoples/two states, like that. The Nakba? Didn’t enter into the conversation. Not a mention.

So now there are lots of us (former Zionists, that is) out there. Relieved that we are no longer stuck in this false sense of radicalism. Yeah, it seemed radical at the time—Marxist Zionism. National liberation movement, class struggle. True, it was on Palestinian land, but that fact didn’t enter the equation. Our identities fit the definition of oxymorons.

Speaking as a “former Zionist” is no longer strange. In fact, it’s become quite common within some Jewish circles. Yeah, it goes, I used to be a Zionist—a socialist Zionist; a two state Zionist; a Zionist who believed in giving back the occupied territories from ‘67, etc., etc., etc. But a Zionist. Self-determination for both peoples, two peoples/two states, like that. The Nakba? Didn’t enter into the conversation. Not a mention.

So now there are lots of us (former Zionists, that is) out there. Relieved that we are no longer stuck in this false sense of radicalism. Yeah, it seemed radical at the time—Marxist Zionism. National liberation movement, class struggle. True, it was on Palestinian land, but that fact didn’t enter the equation. Our identities fit the definition of oxymorons.

Gave that up, we say. Went through a process. For some of us, a long, not fun process. Emerged clear-headed, in support of the Palestinian-led movement for justice. For justice. For justice.







But, then, the right of return rears its head. Wait, we say, I support justice for Palestine, I know about the Nakba now. But, but, but, how can we get Israeli Jews to support the right of return? (That’s the first thing we think about.) It’s complicated, we say. It’s complicated. It’s complicated. What if…and what if…and what about…

The Israeli Jewish organization Zochrot addresses the right of return head-on. The right of return, not the I’m-doing-you-a-favor of return. Zochrot points out there’s lots of room in Palestine/Israel for everyone. Equal rights for all. Inroads being made among some Israeli Jews. Among some. Useful work.

But change is inevitable, with or without a gaggle of Israeli Jewish support. The movement grows. And grows. For justice. For justice. Global support for BDS, for ending apartheid, for equal rights for all, for the right to return home.

Oh no! The movement is getting too big, too strong. Huge amounts of money poured into trying to sabotage that growing (and growing more) movement. Accuse everyone, yes, everyone in it of being anti-Semites. Yeah, that should kill it. A temporary set-back for sure, but it won’t come close, not at all, to killing it.

Won’t kill it ‘cause Palestinians world-wide and supporters of justice across the globe are fighting, fighting with integrity, with passion, with compassion, with conviction. Fighting for Justice. Fighting for Justice.

So, yes, more Jews have left our fantasy notions of Zionism far behind, far behind, and joined the growing movement for justice. But let’s not get too self-satisfied. A positive development, for sure, but still lots of unlearning to do among us, within our communities.

Still a sense that the land is “ours” to “give away.” That we are doing good by supporting Palestine—like when white people think we are doing good by opening up “our” schools to families of color. It’s not just “progressive except Palestine,” by the way. “Progressive except public education” is the same phenomenon. Thinking that we will determine the parameters based on “generosity” when, in fact, those whose right it is to be there will prevail because it is their right (not your/our generosity) making it so. The “facts on the ground” will be exposed for the thievery they were and are.

For those of us who identify as part of a Jewish community (in one form or another), let’s not sit passively by, as so many already aren’t. Let’s do the work in our community(ies) while remembering we’re not the vanguard of the revolution. Let’s continue to participate in the broader struggle with humility. With humility. We have a lot to learn as we do this work together.
 

Sam H (410)
Tuesday April 5, 2016, 10:21 pm
This shows that there is hope even for someone whose past is tainted with Zionism!

Thanks Jess!
 

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday April 5, 2016, 10:29 pm
Like Sams comment
 

Evelyn B (62)
Wednesday April 6, 2016, 2:56 am
Thanks, Jess - yes, a letter to share widely ....

Sam - to be fair - there are quite a number of former Zionists working for justice for the Palestinians! Some are with JVP; some have left Israel and now move around in the US, Canada & elsewhere sharing what they have come to realise, provoking other Jews, Christian Zionists & others to question the political Zionist narrative.

Some have only taken half steps - very well described in this article ... can't quite let go of the idea that concessions to Palestinians are generosity rather than recognition of their rights (and past wrongs done to them).

Some have the Zionist narrative so engrained that their arguments for Palestinian rights are still coloured by deeply-rooted prejudices of which they are not even aware - although their flare-up reactions show the hyper-sensitivity of a part of their spirits that senses "wrong" but is blocked from looking honestly at what this "wrong" is.

A good article, that shows how people of integrity can find themselves having to take steps through each of the stages of moving away from engrained narrative to active drive to put right what is WRONG - to work for JUSTICE for the Palestinian people.

And for this honesty, they face vicious attitudes from those who can't, who don't want to step out of the comfort zone provided by political Zionism ("we are hated, we are always the victims, because we are Jews - so we must stick together uncritically, do what we have to do to remain safe in our ghetto of our own creation, and defend ourselves pro-actively because everyone out there hates us". Solidarity creates a sense of "safe zone".) It's bad enough that non-Jews shake the bars of the comfort zone ... but when Jews - let alone former Zionists - do so, it is intolerable & so levels of aggression & hate towards Jewish critics, Jewish voices for Justice for Palestinians are even more toxic than they are to non-Jews who dare to criticise and to support human rights for Palestinians.
 

jess b (26)
Wednesday April 6, 2016, 3:02 am
The crisis of Zionism deepens in America.

http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/the-crisis-of-zionism-deepens-in-america
 

Evelyn B (62)
Wednesday April 6, 2016, 3:05 am
In this context - something we can do to support action Jewish Voice for Peace: Please Thank Rep. Hank Johnson - because thanks to him "Senator Patrick Leahy, along with 10 Congressional representatives, has written to the State Department, urging them to investigate “gross violations of human rights” by Israel and Egypt. "
 

Sandra Penna (135)
Wednesday April 6, 2016, 7:08 am
thank you very much for sharing, Jess.
 

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday April 6, 2016, 8:13 am
Thx Jess. Actually the first sentence says it all and matters most: "Speaking as a “former Zionist” is no longer strange." That certainly is an excellent message in its own right!
And indeed, we've seen in the recent past occasions such as this one happening more frequently, which wasn't so much the case long before. Let the signs of hope grow and become a part of daily routine in Israel to counter what sadly, currently appears to be the mainstream
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday April 6, 2016, 9:04 am
So refreshing! thx Jess
 

Henriette M (154)
Wednesday April 6, 2016, 5:12 pm
Thanks Jess, there is hope in the horizon! Agree with the comments above! Thanks Jess.
 

ParsifalAWAY S (99)
Thursday April 7, 2016, 1:58 am

so Zionism is curable - what a pleasant message
 

Peggy B (36)
Thursday April 7, 2016, 10:07 am
Great article. Thanks for sharing.
 

Abo r (107)
Thursday April 7, 2016, 1:11 pm
Thanks jess b ..many of the Jew s know the truth and the real nustice I said before that love is the key for peace and peace will not exist without love and nustice ..thanks
 

Jonathan Harper (0)
Friday April 8, 2016, 4:54 am
Noted
 

Gabrielle C (0)
Saturday April 9, 2016, 10:43 am
What is a former Zionist?
 

Sam H (410)
Saturday April 9, 2016, 11:14 am
A person who is not anti-human anymore in spite of his or her tainted past!
 

jess b (26)
Saturday April 9, 2016, 2:09 pm
In other words, a person , who was once a Zionist - and is no longer....
 

Evelyn B (62)
Saturday April 9, 2016, 4:51 pm
I'd define it a little differently -

Someone who recognises that the politics of Zionism & the Zionist leaders have moved a long way from the Judaism principles that they respect (so step away from political Zionism).
 

Hilary S (65)
Saturday April 9, 2016, 7:37 pm
what's with all this zionist/ anti-zionist / former zionist preoccupation? no-one gets their knickers in a knot about being iranist/ anti-iranist/ former iranist, indiaphile/ indiaphobe/ former indiaphile etc. and for that matter even islamist/ anti-islamist/ former islamist barely makes a ripple these days.

for goodness sake, look somewhere else for your pre-occupations and to focus your rage, otherwise you come across as pure and simply anti-semitic.
 

Danuta W (1255)
Monday April 11, 2016, 4:43 am
noted
 

jess b (26)
Saturday April 16, 2016, 12:51 am
Enduring Roots: Over a Century of Resistance to the Jewish National Fund.

This 40-minute documentary chronicles stories of al-Nakba survivors, interviews with their descendants about the case of refugee return, and current and growing resistance to the ongoing colonization of Palestine by the Jewish National Fund.

https://vimeo.com/87827360
 
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