I Have a Voice

The UK Labour Party has been rocked to its core in recent months as the Antisemitism scandal continually makes national headlines, however as many Jewish people know only too well, Antisemitism on the left is nothing new.

Whereas some may seek to blame the Israel lobby for manufacturing this crisis and others may try to deny it altogether, there is undeniably an issue with Antisemitism on the left, and the scale of this problem is blatantly obvious, disturbingly prevalent, and must be addressed.

Antisemitism is evolving. Once brazen and bold, more often than not it now hides under the guise of anti-Zionism, conflating concerns over Israeli policy with questions of Israel’s legitimacy. This has created a situation whereby Jewish people feel the need to justify their politics when it comes to Israel in order to be heard and taken seriously.

The term ‘Zionism’ has been stolen. It has been transformed into a synonym for Palestinian oppression in a disingenuous move that is both perverse and deeply troubling. Those who oppose Israel’s existence have hijacked the Zionist discourse, rebranding it to embody a certain perception of current Israeli policy. This is part of the problem. Zionism is simply an expression of the right Jewish people to self-determination, a right afforded to all peoples and enshrined within international law.

To deny Jewish people exclusively of this right is Antisemitism, plain and simple.

Yet somehow there seems to be room for confusion.

Any person who claims that expressing disapproval of the Israeli government or their policies is Antisemitic by default is simply trivialising Jewish oppression, however this does not detract from the fact that this criticism so often ends in the delegitimisation of the state in its entirety, and with it the Jewish right to self-determination. And this is where the line is crossed: this is Antisemitism.

A Jewish person’s views of Israel should not enhance or diminish the relevance of their voice, and I will not apologise for my politics in order just to be heard.

The Israeli government does not embody Zionism, cannot claim to speak on behalf of all Zionists, and does not hold a monopoly on what it means to identify with this belief. It is a sad state of affairs when hatred of the state of Israel is so deeply embedded into the ideology of many on the left, that this distinction is no longer apparent.

The actions of the Israeli government, be they right or wrong, moral or immoral, do not diminish the right of the Jewish people to a homeland. To suggest otherwise is Antisemitic.

I have a voice, and I will not be silenced in defending my right to self-determination.

I am a Zionist Jew, and this does not lessen the validity of what I have to say.

About the Author
Joshua studies at the University of Nottingham. He is involved in Jsoc, the National Union of Students and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
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