Thursday, June 19, 2008

Explaining my Zionism

A guest post by TikunOlam

"Just arrived and I am as amused as ever to see TO playing cheerleader for Israel. Her children aren't likely to marry Jews. Her grandchildren won't be Jewish. Isn't it obvious her crazy-ass love for Israel is just some kind of overcompensation? Why is she wasting her time? None of her descendants are likely to care about Jews or the Jewish state, anyway.
The Elephant in the Room 06.19.08 - 8:50 pm # "

Well, sometimes trolls trigger ideas for posts. So here is my attempt at explaining my Zionism.

My particular brand of Zionism comes directly from my view that history has taught us that Jews are always at risk of genocide when living in lands controlled by others. Israel was established to fit a need, a need for the very survival of Jewish lives. I believe to the bottom of my toes, that Israel – as a Jewish state, is necessary in this time in history, today, not just in 1948, to exist, in order to ensure that Jews have a place to go if and when they are threatened in other lands. Words cannot convey how deeply I appreciate the sacrifice of those who live in Israel to ensure that I have this place to go.

I also greatly appreciate the Americans that ensure that America is a safe place for me to be too. I am grateful for the Americans ending WWII and grateful to America for allowing what little was left of my family to emigrate to this great country too.

And I do not deny that what comes with Israel is a set of very complicated problems that should have been better addressed and should be better addressed. I want peace. I want all humans to have rights and dignity and freedom. But I do not believe that we should ever compromise the safety of Jewish lives, lives that have been throughout history compromised by everyone else, in order to provide that freedom to others. I would love to see Israel extend those rights to anyone in her borders if and when she is safe. I will always defend Israel’s right to defend herself and fight her enemies (though I agree with DB and many other critics that the current policies in Israel need to be vastly improved) in order to survive.

I do put Jewish lives over lives of others. Not because I believe that Jews are inherently superior (sorry Chaim), but rather, because “Im Ayn Ani Li Me Li?” – Jews are my family (even if some want to disown me) – and my family comes first. That is not a religious notion. That is my instinct. I protect my family first. No one else will ever put Jewish lives first. No one. Period. They never have and they never will. And no one, outside of other Jews, cares if I believe in god or if my children intermarry. As long as we are Jews according to the non-Jews, we are Jews. Hitler saw it that way. History teaches us that he was not the first. One needs to look no further than Iran to see that Hitler is also not the last.

So I hope we continue to be safe here in the US. I love my home and I love this country. I hope we continue to enjoy the benefits of living in the US indefinitely. But I am going to learn my lesson from history and yes, maybe even allow myself to continue to be brainwashed by my fourth grade teachers, when I say that supporting Israel as a Jewish state is an essential way to ensure “Never Again." That there are Jews who are anywhere from apathetic to scornful of Israel scares the heck out of me.

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