Coming out… as a Zionist was not an easy decision. Friends walked away, some faster than others, but most walked away. They would call themselves pro-Palestinian, not even knowing what that meant.
For the record, I say Yes, to the innocent Palestinian people who have not been brainwashed, but No to the Palestinian leadership who refuse to do anything to help their people. And No, to those who would deny Israel’s right to exist.
With all the anti-Zionist talk going on, it seems only right to talk about the facts and not the ongoing false narrative. Linda Sarsour, co-leader of the Women’s March, said “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” Another leader of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory, had the audacity to call the land of Israel “a human rights violation.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Both of these leaders refuse to denounce Louis Farrakhan for his blatant anti-Semitism, misogyny and bigotry. They have chosen to be silent. Sarsour is a forceful speaker, but she is leading her followers astray.
Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, is not about peace. It has aligned itself with BDS, which is known for its connections to Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. They have vowed the destruction of the state of Israel. When they chant, “From the River to the Sea”, they are chanting the obliteration of Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. But not everyone knows that.
Let me be clear,
I am a feminist and I am a Zionist.
I am a progressive woman and I am a Zionist.
I believe in resistance but for the right reasons and yes, I am a Zionist.
I am a fighter for freedom and I am a Zionist.
I am a Christian and I am a Zionist.
I am many things, but I will always be a Zionist.
And I will gladly stand next to others who are Zionists, even when I think their politics are askew, and I do not agree with them! When I stand back and look at the big picture, I know why I am a Zionist. It is the embrace by the Jewish people of a land given to them more than 3000 years ago. They are returning home. No longer will they need to yearn for Zion. No longer will they ache to escape foreign lands in order to sing the songs of Zion. This is Israel, a land created for the Jewish people within which to love, laugh, sing and live. This is also a land that welcomes the stranger and the foreigner, the immigrant, as long as they do not deny the existence of Israel and commit terrorist acts.
It is not “right-wing” to be a Zionist. We come from many places, but we are called to see beyond ourselves and look at Zionism through Jewish eyes that comprehend the gravity of what is at stake today.
But before you put me in a box, let me explain a few things to you. Let me answer a question you may not be asking. What is Zionism, anyway? It is the national freedom movement of the Jewish people, religious or not. The land of Zion has been in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people since the very beginning. It is an ancient hope of returning to the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.
The idea of the national rebirth of Israel was forged in the heart of Theodore Herzl. In 1886, he put into words the dreams of Jewish people scattered throughout the world. He said, “If you will it, it is no dream.” His vision was not unrealizable, it was prophetic. He didn’t live to see this prophetic statement come true, but he made the request to be buried in Israel after it was formed. And that is where he was laid to rest, near the Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem. The Zionist movement brought forth the rebirth of Israel, and for that we are thankful.
Anti-Zionists lack the courage and scope of vision to get past their prejudice. Anti-Zionists are in truth anti-Semites. They stumble over their inability to discern… I long for the day when those who claim they are anti-Zionist, will be given discernment and perspective. I will not give up on them, but I do pray their epiphany comes soon.