Seth Caplan

A Letter to Antizionist Jews

An Open Letter to the Antizionist Jews:

There is a distorted privilege on which your beliefs are built, that is rooted in the comfort of growing up in the Diaspora. Your world is one in which you have not ever seen the existential need for Israel. But the reality is, we have one people, one land.

I wager that the vast majority of the Antizionist Jews:

  1. Come from Ashkenazi backgrounds.
  2. Did not have grandparents in concentration camps just 78 years ago.
  3. Are not orthodox/do not wear religious garb.
  4. Were raised in elite American urban areas like New York, Boston, or LA.

An Antizionist has not felt the suffering recently like our North African and Middle Eastern counterparts, or even that of Jews living outside elite urban areas here in the US.

As an Ashkenazi Jew myself, I feel immense shame in knowing that many American Jews who are white-passing are willing to use that to disavow their Zionist beliefs to be accepted into certain political circles in America at the expense of the Israeli majority who is primarily made up of Jews of color.

You will never know the need for our country of Israel because, for far too long, American Jews have felt the need to pass as “good Jews.” Since our arrival in America Jews have felt the need to Americanize to appease the right, and now we are being asked to give up our most valuable cultural, ethnic, and religious asset, and only safe ground in the entire world to appease the left.

A common political theory that I am reminded of during times of extremism in our political sphere is the horseshoe theory. The horseshoe theory declares that the far-left and far-right, rather than being opposites on the political spectrum, are in fact the same, analogous to the ends of a horseshoe. The horseshoe effect is happening right before our eyes due to the political extremism in the current geo-political climate. The left is becoming the right, and the left is stripping our people of their tribal heritage and whitewashing us to appease their political agenda, just as the right has done to us for decades. They are all the same, and if you can’t recognize the similarities, I urge you to read up on the horseshoe effect because it has never been more apparent in our political arena than presently. The horseshoe effect is likely responsible for the growing trend of Antizionism not just within the Jewish community, but the population at large.

Suppose you believe Israel is not integral to our people and perhaps you have been influenced by the horseshoe effect. In that case, I do not see you as a traitor but as misguided and easily bent and influenced by the pressures of life as a Jew in America or in any country where we are forced to assimilate, for that matter. You have failed to adequately read the Torah, listen to the stories of your grandparents, read about the suffering of Jews without Israel beyond the Holocaust, or understand the broader ethno-religious significance of the land of Israel to our tribe and have thus traded your blood and indigenous homeland for that of the Western political agenda that aims to minimize the Jewish identity and shrink us from both ends of the political spectrum until our people no longer exist.

You have not understood what it is like to live under Muslim rule as a Jew. Ask your Persian, Syrian, and Iraqi friends for their family’s stories. See where they were forced to flee. Did America open its doors during the Farhud to the 300,000 Iraqi Jews forced to leave their country within a matter of months? Absolutely not. But you know whose door was open and waiting? Israel. And you know whose door will be open for you, Antizionist Jew, when the time comes for you or your offspring’s forced migration from wherever you live in the Diaspora? Israel.

This disturbing trend of Antizionist Jews not only makes me question the longevity of a Jewish future but makes me question American Jewry’s education of our fragile place in this country. Did you forget that quotas on the number of Jews allowed to immigrate to the US existed well in the 1950s? Or maybe the US refused involvement in World War II until 1941 despite the mass extermination of our people for two whole years? Did you miss the blood libel that our congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar committed on Jews, accusing our collective government of the death of several hundred Palestinians despite no neutral reporting or fact-checking taking place? Do you think those swastikas being drawn all over our most progressive American cities are solely created by right-wingers? Or perhaps you forgot about the Colleyville Synagogue hostage crisis? The list goes on, but we will never be entirely safe nor protected in America, no matter the reigning political party.

Most Jews can agree that the situation of the Israeli government is flawed; however, what no Jew should stand behind is the Antizionist belief that we as a people do not have the right to our homeland that has been continuously inhabited by Jews since 2000 B.C.E, despite the control of the land being stolen from our people for the last two millennia. We can oppose the elected government, but we should never be forced to question our right to self-determination on our rightful land.

When the next mass Jewish casualty on American soil occurs, and you feel safe due to your white-passing appearance, your Sephardic and Mizrahi counterparts will likely not be granted the same privilege. These groups of Jews carry the weight of recent trauma on their backs; I beg you to think where you could go other than this country to feel protected and celebrated for your identity. I can guarantee things in America will continue to decay for Jews. I know the story of my people in Europe. Many Jews held positions high up in society filled with fiscal success and integration into the community at large. But we as a people know that things can quickly turn for us at a moment’s notice, and we will be forced to face the choice between fleeing to safety or death. Does this sound extreme? It should. Because it is the frightening reality we face.

Our community is rooted in togetherness and mutual suffering. If you are willing to give up your people and our collective hope for a future without our indigenous homeland back in our hands where it belongs, I urge you to think about what you are willing to prioritize before that of your tribe, and where some of these self-loathing feelings come from. Think deeply about the pressures from both sides of the political spectrum to whiten yourself at the expense of your community. Without Israel, the perpetual suffering of Jews will only continue to snowball. That is a promise.

About the Author
Seth Caplan is an attorney based in San Diego, California. His studies in law, Middle Eastern studies, and political science have armed him with a passion for showing the world the truth of Israel and uniting the Jewish Community to strengthen and propel us forward.
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