Upon seeing many posts about an open letter from Jewish writers on Instagram, mainly posted by non Jewish influential voices I either know personally or know of, I was dismayed by the exclusive focus on Zionism while omitting references to Hamas, Nasrallah, or Iran’s government. The absence of these critical elements makes me question their understanding of the imminent danger we face. Despite my desire to concentrate on initiatives promoting hostage release efforts and other projects for unity between Arabs and Jews, I feel compelled to address their rhetoric. I find myself wondering why these Jewish writers and organizations like Jewish Voices For Peace fail to acknowledge our shared pursuit of peace. My heart longs for them to grasp the necessity of Zionism and join us in our co-existence endeavours. While I know my words will circulate among family and friends; perhaps one of the writers will read my words or even better, The “gossip girl xoxo” behind Jewish Voices For Peace and we will understand together, how we can better address all the challenges so many innocent civilians on all sides face. Semantics are a key, so here is my attempt to reply to the open letter from Jewish writers: ‘A Dangerous Conflation‘.
Dear Jewish Writers,
I write you this letter as a reply to yours, not as a warring one, but rather with a compassionate attempt to share some emotional concerns from one Jew to another. Mainly because I have seen your letter circulated amongst various non-Jewish and influential profiles in which they share it as a token and expression of the Jewish Voice.
I find myself deeply perplexed by a fundamental aspect of your argument. You state, “We reject antisemitism in all its forms, including when it masquerades as criticism of Zionism or Israel’s policies.” The Oxford definition of Zionism describes it as “a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.” How can Zionism be divorced from the vital task of safeguarding Jews, especially at a time when Jews across Europe and the US are removing mezuzot from their front doors and assessing their appearances for signs of Jewishness before stepping out?
Zionism embodies our collective aspiration to secure a future in a region where our people have resided for centuries, amidst a backdrop of hatred. However, your letter, along with other similar posts I’ve encountered, suggests a disturbing trend. In a world where antisemitism thrives, some individuals are succumbing to self-hate or fear, leading them to deny the necessity of Zionism.
I am curious if, in your extensive “studies”, you listened to Israelis (Jews, Muslims and Christians) and hundreds of people from around the world who survived the atrocities of October seventh? Did you read testimonies from family members of innocent civilians murdered or taken hostage? Why would you call for a release of the “Palestinian prisoners” who committed these inhumane crimes and perpetrated unspeakable horrors against our people? I appreciate your insights on hostage handovers, although it is also worth noting that such a deal isn’t currently on the table. Hamas initially proposed it as a delaying tactic and are not interested in such an exchange. It is very clear in recent interviews that they are interested in the full eradication of Israel. I am linking here an article from The Atlantic that clearly breaks down Hamas’s founding charter written in 1988 and revised in 2017. Bruce Hoffman writes that “The most relevant of the document’s 36 articles can be summarised within four main themes:
- 1) The complete destruction of Israel as an essential condition for the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of a theocratic state based on Islamic law (Sharia),
- 2) The need for both unrestrained and unceasing holy war (jihad) to attain the above objective,
- 3) The deliberate disdain for, and dismissal of, any negotiated resolution or political settlement of Jewish and Muslim claims to the Holy Land, and
- 4) The reinforcement of historical anti-Semitic tropes and calumnies married to sinister conspiracy theories.
Your appeal appears directed towards the “occupied” ones. Open letters advocating actions that are irrelevant or blatantly one-sided only exacerbate the situation.
Furthermore, I wonder why your letter consistently calls for a ceasefire and reflects on past incidents, yet overlooks a crucial aspect: the need for a clear and necessary future – a two-state solution with two new governments. Let’s not mince words; innocent lives in Israel and Gaza are being lost daily due to a terrorist organisation. As someone residing in Israel and actively participating in co-existence movements, I can attest that these tragic casualties are primarily linked to Iranian-backed terrorists. I find it perplexing that your letter doesn’t mention Hamas, a designated terrorist group, but emphasises Zionism repeatedly.
It is troubling to witness the constant association of anti-Semitism with the Palestinian cause. Numerous pro-Palestinian individuals exclusively reference your letter, perpetuating a format reminiscent of literary propaganda that fuelled the Holocaust. History has shown that a few influential voices can sway the masses. Your words, seemingly well-intentioned, unintentionally fuel anti-Semitism.
Future generations will study your letter in 2070, learning about the persistent rise of hatred towards the need for a Jewish state, even from within the Jewish community, and the relentless efforts to disqualify Zionism from its pure purpose.
I urge you to recognize that those of us engaged in the Palestinian cause can advocate for Palestinians, Zionists, Jews, and Arabs living in Israel and Gaza without compromising our humanitarian perspective. I say this with full compassion. In the words of another Jewish writer, Yuval Noah Harari, “ask yourself what kind of seeds you are spreading in the world?”
I implore you to broaden your perspective and acknowledge all humans as equals, refraining from using minority Jewish voices within an already minority religion to undermine the essence of Zionism and its existential value for Jews. It is crucial for all of our futures.
From one Jew to another.
Here’s to a time when the word peace is one of the past, because it exists in every corner of the world. You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Art made by JHONNY NÚÑEZ