Note: Part I will lay out the foundation of my support for Israel. Reading this will serve as context for every future post I make on the subject!
For the past twenty years I have worked on social justice issues in the U.S. I have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to social justice and equity for all people. Thus, many of my friends and colleagues are surprised to find out about my support for Israel. I do not share those beliefs openly with colleagues, because it is not central to my everyday job (I work on poverty issues in the U.S.). The only time I offer up my opinion is when others go first. I know that supporting Israel is frowned upon in progressive circles. However, I think that it is a perfectly progressive value. This belief is built on a set of foundational ideas:
- Israel is the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, whence they were exiled.
- In every place in which they have lived, Jews were/are treated as foreigners, or tolerated as a lower class of people.
- Zionism, as an idea, is a 2,000+ year old belief that Jews have the right to live in their ancient homeland as a nation — a right that was taken from them by force.
- Opposing the idea of Zionism is, literally, to oppose the right of the Jewish people to live, as a nation, in their ancient homeland, and thus it leads to Antisemitism.
- Antisemitism predates the re-birth of the nation of Israel by more than one thousand years.
- Opposing Israel (I mean, its very existence) is to advocate for the annihilation of an entire people.
- Unwavering support for the continued existence of Israel doesn’t equate to unwavering support for the Israeli government. I support the nation of Israel, but will offer constructive criticism when I see fit.
This is my Zionism. Every opinion I hold on the issue of Israel is built on this foundation.
(to be continued)