I am so tired of Zionism. Not the concept itself – just the word: Zionism. Particularly since the election of the controversial Malia Bouattia as NUS president, who now represents the 7 million students of the UK (among them a considerable number of Jews and Zionists) all I hear is Zionist this, Zionist that. She described the University of Birmingham, which has the largest Jsoc in the country, as being a “Zionist outpost”. I got a call at work inquiring as to whether or not the Henry Jackson Society was a ‘Zionist Conspiracy’. Really now, come on.
I mean, what’s wrong with Zionism? After all, Zionism is simply the rather radical idea that the Jewish nation, like any other, should have their own country. Crazy, I know.
But of course – those paranoid individuals who buy into this Zionist conspiracy crap aren’t that keen on the Jews having their own country. It seems that it is the idea of a Jewish state itself rather than the circumstances of its existence that is objectionable to these people. After all, when a much smaller incarnation of modern Israel was first declared in 1948, it was immediately invaded by all of its neighbors.
When put into perspective it becomes really clear what the anti-Zionist rhetoric is about; it’s just antisemitism. Claiming that the only state of the Jewish people (now around for three quarters of a century) has no right to exist is denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination afforded to every nation in the UN charter. Why should the Jews, alone of all peoples, be denied these rights?
Funnily enough, the most virulent anti-Zionists are also the most vitriolic supporters of self-determination for Palestinian Arabs. Their prioritization of the right to self-determination becomes further warped when you look at the bigger picture. Malia Bouattia, again, led a coalition of members to reject a student motion at the NUS to condemn the Islamic State and express solidarity with the Kurds fighting against it (her reasoning being that said motion was ‘Islamophobic’).
How on earth can the right to self-determination of 5 million Arabs living in the Palestinian territories be prioritized over that of 6 million Jews in Israel or 40 million Kurds in Kurdistan? Bouattia has called for “resistance” against Israel from the Palestinians, as well as stating that non-violence is “not enough”. Yet a motion confirming solidarity with the Kurds who are forced at gunpoint to resort to armed resistance cannot be supported because of its Islamophobic nature. Surely someone else can see what’s going on here?
Although Bouattia twists the word ‘Zionist’, making it into a synonym for ‘Jewish’ in order to make her anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish people politically palatable, she is right about one thing; Zionism and Jewishness are not equivocal. I’m a Zionist because I support the right of the Jewish people to self-determination – just as I do for the Kurds, for the Arabs, and for any other nation that desires self-governance in a democratic way. You don’t have to be Jewish to do that. The obsessive denial of this right for the Jews alone that Bouattia and her contemporaries express is simple racism.
So really – I’m tired of hearing about Zionism. Any opposition to the idea – radical as it may be to some anti-Semites – that the Jewish people should have their own state is so 1948.