American foreign policy American Jews Far left Israel Zionism

The price of demonization

Some wise words from Cecilie Surasky about this little experiment here:

I personally find the whole Zionism/anti-Zionism litmus test both distasteful, often offensive, and certainly odd. It’s odd and to me artificial because the definitions are so slippery, the understanding of Zionisms so superficial.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a discussion about Zionism with someone in which it wasn’t apparent we were making completely different assumptions. Further, many of us who care about the topic of Zionism are in a relationship of engagement, exploration, questioning, and learning.

Instead, the McCarthyite tendencies– on both the left and right–force people to pick a fixed ideology as their identity, and pin it down like a moth on a display board. Clearly, both sides use it as a proxy test to check for anti-Semitism, or anti-Arabism.

Right on. To clarify: the reason I’ve brought up the Z-word from time to time is not to get into predictable arguments about what happened in 1948 or 1936 or 1898. Those arguments never get anywhere.

The reason is that I am trying to show that people who accept some of Zionism’s premises –or at least understand why those premises were accepted by Jews before and soon after the Holocaust– are not necessarily immoral demons or apologists for the brutal treatment of Palestinians. That is how they are being depicted on much of the blogosphere and on campus.

This demonization creates vast chasms between people who don’t even realize how many principles they share. Until something is done about it, it will be impossible to think about thinking about creating a political bloc that has a fighting chance to change America’s Middle East policies.

Comments are closed.