The other day a friend of mine said “your blog is really interesting…but don’t you think calling it Fresno Zionism turns off a lot of possible readers?”

That’s the idea, of course. Not to turn off possible readers, that is, but to take ownership of the concept of Zionism from those who use it as a term of abuse.

The most usual complaint is that it’s racism or colonialism. Zionism, however, is not the view that Jews are better than Arabs, or that Jews have the right to displace Arabs. It is the view that Jews, like Arabs, have the right to a homeland and to self-determination.

An accurate reading of history teaches us that the state of Israel was founded justly and that the bad situation of the Palestinians is primarily the fault of the Arab nations. I’m not going to argue the details here. I do want to say that a remarkable industry has developed (mostly since 1967) to try to prove the opposite; an industry so passionate, so massive and so well-funded that it’s possibly not obvious to some that it’s entirely false. Jimmy Carter’s book is just the latest product of the anti-Israel industry.

Recently I saw a pretty girl wearing one of those T-shirts that say “This is what a Zionist looks like”. What I’m struggling to do is in effect to say “This is a Zionist point of view” (not the Zionist point of view, a Zionist point of view).

Israel is in as much or more danger today than in 1948. The anti-Zionist forces are strong, numerous, and better organized than before. But no matter what they do, they cannot change historical truth. The Arab theory of truth seems to be that whatever would support their political goals has to be true; so they can say that there was no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem or that Israel started the wars of 1948 and 1967, or that the Mossad brought down the WTC.

So another definition of Zionism could be this: it’s a belief in the true story of the Jews in the Middle East. And this story tells us that justice demands the continued existence of the Jewish state.

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2 Responses to “Zionism”

  1. Kathie Crawford says:

    Your friend’s comment reminds me of the time I lectured on Zionism in my Western Civ class. After class a young woman student came up to me and rather shyly asked if it was actually all right to use the words “Jew” and “Jewish.”

    Your blog is very interesting!

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    An interesting point was made yesterday by David Brooks in the ‘New York Times.’ He had just come from a meeting with Arab intellectuals. A short time ago they had some thought about what might possibly be wrong with Arab society, why it has failed in so many ways in the task of modernization. However Brooks found that they have bought heavily into the Walt- Mearsheimer thesis . In other words its ‘blame the other’ again. Once again it’s the Jews, and Israel which are responsible for all the evils of the Arab world. If only it weren’t for AIPAC and the Zionists everything which just be hunky- dory between Iran and Saudi Arabia, within Iraq, within Egypt, and Syria, and every other Arab nation.
    Here again then is an example of how the new Anti- Israel and anti-Zionist forces are promoting not peace in the Middle East, but continued rejection and hostility.
    I agree with Vic Rosenthal that Israel is now very much endangered. The new alliance of the Radical Right, the Islamic Fundamentalist Right, the Neo- Nazi Right with the Radical Left is of course the absolute height of hypocrisy and absurdity. But these two radical wrong-headed, anti- democratic forces combine in their effort to destroy the Jewish state- the one democracy in the Middle East, and the one state there which has and will continue to make major contributions to mankind.