Zionism is not a dirty word. Let us reclaim the narrative

Anti-Zionism is antisemitism, plain and simple

Anyone who swims in the murky waters of the internet and the lower reaches of social media will have come across anti-Israel “activists” – antisemites by any other name – who take great delight in calling anyone who defends Israel a “Zionist”, as if that were a dirty word.  They also cannot fathom that not only rightists are Zionists. To them, only extreme right-wing crazies could be Zionists.  They also use the word “hasbara” as if it is some dastardly Jewish, oops, I mean Zionist plot to fool the world, instead of its simple meaning of “explanation”; its common usage meaning “public diplomacy” representing Israel to the world.

It is therefore both enlightening and morale-boosting to come across  the following articles which explain what being a Zionist means; what Israelis thinks of those who hate Israel and who wilfully impute the worst possible motives to anything Israel does, even when it sends aid to disaster zones; and the lastly demonstrates the utter stupidity of the anti-Israel activists.

Firstly, a little late for Independence Day but forever relevant, here is Yair Lapid, whom no one could accuse of being a rightist, telling the world “I am a Zionist“. I’m only going to quote a couple of excerpts but read it all:

I am a Zionist.

I believe in our right for this land. The people who were persecuted for no reason throughout history have a right to a state of their own plus a free F-16 from the manufacturer. Every display of anti-Semitism from London to Mumbai hurts me, yet deep inside I’m thinking that Jews who choose to live abroad fail to understand something very basic about this world. The State of Israel was not established so that the anti-Semites will disappear, but rather, so we can tell them to get lost.

I am a Zionist.

I was fired at in Lebanon, a Katyusha rockets missed me by a few feet in Kiryat Shmona, missiles landed near my home during the first Gulf War, I was in Sderot when the Color Red anti-rocket alert system was activated, terrorists blew themselves up not too far from my parents’ house, and my children stayed in a bomb shelter before they even knew how to pronounce their own name, clinging to a grandmother who arrived here from Poland to escape death. Yet nonetheless, I always felt fortunate to be living here, and I don’t really feel good anywhere else.

I am a Zionist.

I sometimes look around me and become filled with pride, because I live better than a billion Indians, 1.3 billion Chinese, the entire African continent, more than 250 million Indonesians, and also better than the Thais, the Filipinos, the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the entire Muslim world, with the exception of the Sultan of Brunei. I live in a country under siege that has no natural resources, yet nonetheless the traffic lights always work and we have high-speed connection to the Internet.

I am a Zionist.

I do not only hold on to the rights of our forefathers, but also to the duty of the sons. The people who established this state lived and worked under much worse conditions than I have to face, yet nonetheless they did not make do with mere survival. They also attempted to establish a better, wiser, more humane, and more moral state here. They were willing to die for this cause, and I try to live for its sake.

The one point that Lapid does not make, or not clearly enough, is that Zionism is the political expression of the Jewish desire to return to its natural homeland. It was not born in ghettos or mellahs or in persecution, but it is ingrained within our religious essence. However this does not detract from the beauty of Lapid’s words.

Next we have Haviv Rettig Gur, a leading journalist with the Times of Israel and previously with the Jerusalem Post, who confronts the antisemitic goons who cannot abide the fact that Israel is capable of doing anything good. Some of them have been accusing Israel of going to Nepal to harvest organs, to distract from its “war crimes” or to rescue only Israelis, and other libels.  In a short, refreshing blog post, Gur tells them: “Israel doesn’t care what you think”:

Here’s the thing: Israel is an entire country, with all the complicated impulses and competing agendas of any human society. It is perfectly capable of being involved in two completely different things at once, of being angelic in one arena and terrible in another, just like every other country. The IDF doesn’t go to Nepal to avoid the Palestinian issue. It goes because Israelis have honed emergency medicine into an art form, and because the IDF has never quite shed its founding culture of adventurousness, and, above all, because there are people out there who desperately need help.

Those who see in every good news from Israel “hasbara” (propaganda) are missing the single most important fact you can know about Israel — that it isn’t a political campaign begging for your vote. It is a nation. With two million schoolchildren, dozens of cities, its own cinema scene and a language spoken nowhere else in the world. It doesn’t go away if it loses some imaginary popularity contest. And as with any human society, it offers an endless stream of failures and successes that will let you “prove” any narrative you want.

So go ahead and hate Israel. Or love it. It doesn’t really matter. The reality of Israel isn’t affected by whatever story might be playing out in your imagination.

Like so many of my fellow Israelis, I’m desperately proud of our countrymen who are saving lives today in Nepal. And also like them, I don’t give a damn what the global chattering classes think about it.

What I like about Rettig Gur’s piece is that it puts all the anti-Israel hate into perspective. Really, what difference does it make in practical terms that people hate us or impute such evil motives to us? Let them hate us! Let them be eaten up by their own hate. We will carry on doing what is right, and correcting whatever is wrong in our own society without any help from the outside.

And lastly, here (in the Australian Financial Review) is a very funny but perspicacious look at the anti-Israel industry, as seen by Rowan Dean an Australian journalist visiting the region: Don’t worry Israel, our MPs are mates with the Palestinians too:

Monday: Arrived at Lod Airport, after circling around to avoid being blasted out of the sky by IS, Hamas, Hezbollah, and a bunch of other peace-loving friends of the Palestinian People’s Struggle to Wipe The Perfidious Jew Off The Face Off The Earth Praise Be To Allah. Grabbed some duty-frees and headed into downtown Tel Aviv. Looks just like Surfers Paradise meets Surry Hills. Cool hipsters and hot chicks everywhere. Grabbed a quick beer and a burger, bought some fab new apps and software and …

Oops! Time to go to Palestine. Drove into downtown Ramallah. Looks like Mogadishu meets the Mudgee tip. Litter everywhere. Armed guards and machine gun-wielding Mafiosi types wandering around everywhere, too. Try to grab a quick beer, but, er …

 Oops! Gotta get back to Israel. Meet some scientists who invented the smartphone industry, or all the cool stuff like Viber and Waze. Plus they invented all this bionic stuff that helps paraplegics and things that stop crib deaths and things that cure …

Yikes! Gotta get back to Palestine. Meet a bunch of dudes who invented the grievance industry. They explain how Israel has been oppressing them for decades. I ask them in what way exactly and they explain, “by existing”.

Next. Head up to the Palestinian bit that sits on top of the Temple Mount, only you’re not allowed to call it that up here, you have to call it the al-Aqsa Mosque. Lucky I’m not Jewish, coz Jews aren’t allowed in. (Er, isn’t that racist?)

OK, OK, I’m coming! Back on the bus and a quick trip to Sderot, this little town in the desert. Crazy architecture! Every house has a huge concrete bomb shelter in the front garden, every bus-stop doubles as a bomb shelter, even the kiddies playground doubles as a bomb shelter. Cool! I ask people how come they stay here when they’re only ever 15 seconds from being annihilated and they say that it’s their home and they love it. Fair enough.

Off to Gaza! Wow. Crazy architecture. Every hospital doubles as a rocket-launching pad, every kiddies playground doubles as a missile silo! Far out! I ask people how come they stay here and they explain that Hamas will shoot them if they try to leave. Fair point.

Quick smart! Back to Israel. Go to the funky Knesset Parliament building. Time to discuss politics! Oh boy! None of them agree on anything! They all argue like crazy about the best way to achieve peace (that’s democracy, I guess) and how to make the two-state solution work. Everyone agrees a Palestinian state is fine, as long as they stop trying to kill Jews. Fair point.

Back to Ramallah. Weirdly, in the middle of all the rubbish and filth there are these incredibly opulent buildings that look like massive McMansions on steroids! Turns out they all belong to the Palestinian Authority dudes and were built with all that United Nations billions! How cool is that! We go to this marble-clad ballroom in this building that looks like a Gold Coast hotel. Time to discuss politics! Oh boy. The dude explains that the only way there can be peace is if there are two states: one called Palestine, which has no Jews in it, and the other called Whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it, as long as there are “only a handful” of Jews in it. Huh? Sounds, um, a tad unreasonable.

I found myself nodding in agreement, laughing out loud and groaning with recognition at the crazy picture that Dean paints of our country and our neighbours.

And that is the reality of life in Israel and being a Zionist – if you don’t laugh, you cry. Or sometimes you do both at the same time.

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26 Responses to Zionism is not a dirty word. Let us reclaim the narrative

  1. cba says:

    Those are 3 wonderful columns!

    I also recommend the “Win-Win” flowcharts created by the brilliant PreOccupied Territory:

    There are 4 of them in the series at the moment, but I’m sure (sadly) there’ll be more.

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Re Gur: and nor should Israelis give a damn what the haters think. Perhaps if they really cared about the future of the Palestinians instead of treating them as the objects of history (and thus, wittingly(?) infantilising them), there would be pressure of the correct sort to create the appropriate mind-set among the leaders of the PNA so that the 2-state solution would happen.

    As the Israeli PA where I volunteer said, (I paraphrase), “we [the Israelis] can sit here for a very long time and survive. How long can they survive without a solution and without coming to terms with our longevity?”

    • anneinpt says:

      Your Israeli friend is absolutely correct. Sadly however the Palestinians are of the same mindset. They have said quite publicly that it’s just a matter of time until the Jews pack up and leave if the Arabs make the Israelis’ lives miserable enough. They saw it during the Crusades when the Christians left (after several hundred years admittedly) and they expect to see it again. This is where the defeatists among us play into their hands. The Arabs read these reactions and think their dreams are coming true.

      Both sides are trying to outwait and outwit each other.

      Although lately, with the Arab spring-that-wasn’t, some Arab leaders, even amongst the Palestinians, appear to be waking up to reality. Just see how many Arab journalists and public figures have admitted that Israel isn’t their worst problem and/or what they can learn from Israel. Who knows where this new mindset might lead.

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        “This is where the defeatists among us play into their hands. The Arabs read these reactions and think their dreams are coming true.” I don’t think that there are as many “defeatists” among the Israelis as you fear, Anne. Remember, even Tipi Livni, arch “leftist”, was in the inner, war, cabinet during Protective Edge. The Palestinian hopefuls/wishful thinkers can inflate the number of “defeatists” as much as they like, it doesn’t actually increase the total.

        Indeed, even that section of the family that would be defined as “leftist” says that Israel should just withdraw from the West Bank (or whatever you want to call it). BUT, they continue, flatten anything that moves the moment a single rocket comes over the new, de facto, border.

        That’s hardly “defeatism”!

  3. Maxim Rudoi says:

    You are right. I would also add that Zionism is a liberation movement of Jewish people just like Palestinian liberation movement. Palestinians don’t get it and think they are the only ones who deserve freedom in the land of Israel/Palestine. All kinds of left-wing/nazi/racist activists together with self-hating Jews (they are the best in this disgusting activity) try to label Zionism as something bad, unhuman, hateful or at least right-wing. And Palestinians gladly believe it because it helps to justify their barbaric attacks against Jews. One thing they are right about is “people who started a liberation movement have always won” but they make a big mistake applying this only to themselves while ignoring the fact the same sentence applies also to Jews in Israel. This can only prolong our conflict.

    • anneinpt says:

      Maxim, Excellent point about liberation movements always winning – and the Palestinians forgetting that Zionism is also a liberation movement.

      I think the Palestinians actually do “get it” about Zionism – and davka because of that, because of their fear that we will win, they connived together with the Israel-haters, even Jewish ones (especially Jewish ones) to promote the idea that Zionism is bad, evil, something that must be defeated. And of course the world, that cannot forgive the Jews for surviving and winning, eagerly colludes.

      The idea that Zionism is evil I think sprang from the KGB who wanted to defeat the Zionist movement. The hard left around the world jumped on the bandwagon.

      • Maxim Rudoi says:

        Hi Anne. You are right the original idea to equate Zionism with racism was forged in the Soviet Union in 1970s. Their main goal was not even to destroy Israel but to paint it as bad and unattractive destination for Russian Jews to stop them from leaving USSR in order to move to Israel. Again the authors of this idea were a few self-hating Russian Jews who considered themselves not Jews but “Soviet people”. I wonder if you ask them now they will probably regret doing this.

  4. thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

    After growing up in a very “pro-Israel” household, I have now finally come to the place where I can no longer conflate the concepts of “anti-Semitism” with “anti-Zionism”. anti-Semitism is a hatred for Jewish people, i.e., racism, while anti-Zionism is a response to a political agenda. Is the Jewish identity is truly so absolutely inseparable from the “promised Land”? Was that really the entirety of God’s intentions when He called Abraham out of Ur? Was that the grand summation of his plans, to create a chosen people who would have exclusive rights to a particular piece of real estate, and defend themselves with superior military might against all outsiders, and live better than all their middle eastern neighbors with working traffic lights and high-speed internet?

    I mean, “free F-16 fighters from the manufacturer”? Did I read that correctly?

    • Anti-Zionism is the denial of the right to live as a free people in our own land. Yet the people who would deny us that right are falling over themselves to grant it to the “Palestinians” (who aren’t and never have been, a people), and to just about every tribe on the face of the earth, with one exception – the Jewish people. Some of them even go so far as to claim we aren’t a people, only a religion. So yes, antisemitism is racism. In fact, it is the oldest form of racism known to man.

      • anneinpt says:

        Thank you for your reply Shimona. I’d missed the above comment and haven’t yet replied to him.

        You’ve summed up the essence of anti-Zionism and antisemitism very concisely. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    • anneinpt says:

      “truth”, you ask if the Jewish identity is truly so absolutely inseparable from the “promised Land. Well, yes, it is. Since Jews pray for the return to Zion (i.e. Israel) 3 times a day, and since we pray towards Jerusalem, and since even in our Grace after Meals we praise the Land of Israel and ask for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, then I think we can safely say that that Jewish identity is intricately tied up with the promised land – and that is Israel, not New York or London or anywhere else.

      I would add that there are dozens of laws in the Torah which relate only to the land of Israel and which cannot be kept outside of Israel, for example Shmitta, the fallow 7th year in which are at the moment, tithes, first fruits…

      You ask: “Was that really the entirety of God’s intentions when He called Abraham out of Ur?”. G-d told Abraham to go up to Israel where G-d would make him into a great nation, a holy nation. It’s a bit hard to fulfill the “great nation” part without the “going to Israel” part.

      “to create a chosen people” – does the idea of Jewish chosenness bother you? Remember, it’s not the Jews who claim to the the chosen people. It’s G-d who claimed that Jews as His chosen people. A subtle difference, but a difference all the same.

      Keep in mind too that “chosen people” does not mean that we consider ourselves superior to others. It means that we were chosen by G-d to spread ethical monotheism and to keep His commandments.

      “who would have exclusive rights to a particular piece of real estate” – yep. That’s part of the “go up to Israel, Abraham” section. Again, nowhere does it say that other nations cannot live in Israel. But they have to live in peace with us or leave. Just like in any other country really. It seems that only Israel is not allowed to ask its non-citizens to live in peace.

      “and defend themselves with superior military might against all outsiders”. Why does the idea of Israel defending itself with superior military might bother you? Does the idea of any other country defending itself with superior military might bother you? Why is Israel the only country in the world that is demanded to reduce its firepower in order to give its enemies an even chance? That makes no sense militarily, morally or historically. Not to mention logically.

      “with working traffic lights and high-speed internet?” – again, if our enemies, or our semi-friendly neighbours can’t manage to get their countries into working order, why is that our problem? Why do you consider it a moral problem for Israel? Please address these questions to the countries in question. Why don’t you start with Bashar Assad and ask him how much money he could save by not bombing his own citizens and investing the money it cost him to buy chemical weapons and instead build a hi-speed internet and working traffic lights. Then move on to Hezbollah in Lebanon. I’m very curious to know the answer.

      “I mean, “free F-16 fighters from the manufacturer”? Did I read that correctly?”
      Do you not get irony or humour?

      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

        Well, a bit of “full disclosure” is probably in order here. I should say that I am in fact a Christian, believing that Jesus was and is the prophesied Messiah, and so naturally there are admittedly a number of ways that my perspective on things like the Abrahamic covenant and such are going to be rather different.

        For instance, you said, “G-d told Abraham to go up to Israel where G-d would make him into a great nation, a holy nation. It’s a bit hard to fulfill the “great nation” part without the “going to Israel” part…”

        True, but was Abraham’s arrival onto the soil of Canaan the thing which suddenly made him a “holy nation”, or is “being holy” a matter of personal action, belief, or rather, true Faith…?

        “Keep in mind too that “chosen people” does not mean that we consider ourselves superior to others. It means that we were chosen by G-d to spread ethical monotheism and to keep His commandments.”

        And is it actually possible to keep all of His commandments? Was that the real purpose of the Mosaic Law? Was it given to the Hebrews so that they might truly keep it, to the fullest of the letter? Or did the Law serve to show how incapable mankind was, how fallen we really are, and in need of an ever-lasting atonement…?

        Ultimately, I’d say that Zionism (whether being defended by Jews or Christians) begs the question of WHY G-d would set out to make Abraham into a nation of people, in order to “spread ethical mono-theism” and teach people to “keep His commandments”, in such a manner that is predicated upon perpetual militarism..? I’m not saying that God doesn’t use warfare for His own purposes, but in the end, is the underlying motivation to truly reveal the person and nature of a Holy God to the rest of the world, or one that is driven by a self-preserving “bunker mentality”, where God Himself is not the ultimate protector and defender of His chosen, but instead protection and safety is found in human devices, military strength, and political fortitude..?

        Is the nation of Israel today truly first and foremost driven by the same love, devotion and obedience to the Creator that Abraham had…?

        • cba says:

          StrangerThanFiction, let me point out that the State of Israel is not a theocracy, and it also includes many citizens (over 20%, in fact) who are not Jewish. So your last sentence is, frankly, irrelevant.

          But as Anne referred to above, it is indisputable that the Jewish people developed their national identity in this place. Those who try to deny the Jewish connection to this land (and sadly, they are many) are either uninformed or motivated by something other than kindly feelings towards Jews (to put it mildly).

          • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

            Indeed, the State of Israel is not a theocracy… I would say that therein alone lies a great deal more worthy of exploration. 😉

            I would agree that it is “indisputable” that the Jewish people developed their national identity in this place, and that obviously there is a “Jewish connection” to this land. However, equally indisputable is the “God connection” to this identity as well. I find it of immense interest that so much of the time, conversations such as these typically begin with mentions of God and his choosing of Abraham and Jacob etc, but then as the conversation progresses, God is reduced to little more than a footnote, and the only main factors in the discussion left revolve around the people, and the Land… (how does that work exactly?) To start out by saying that God is ultimately the reason for Israel existing as both a people, and a nation/state, but then turn around and claim that the person of God is largely “irrelevant” to the matter, seems incredibly illogical to me…

            I have no unkind feelings towards Jewish people. I am not “anti-Semitic” either in racial or political terms. If indeed God’s purposes for creating a chosen people was to spread “ethical mono-theism” to the rest of the world (i.e., people such as myself) then how could it be that my questions involving God in the creation/purpose of Israel could be regarded as “irrelevant”…?

            • cba says:

              You’re conflating several issues here. I’ll try to unravel them but I have some other things to do this evening and won’t be able to devote a lot of time to it.

              First of all, the fact is that the State of Israel exists right now, and has done for nearly 7 decades. It’s a flourishing democracy (not perfect, of course, any more than the USA or Britain or Canada or Sweden or Switzerland is perfect), and it’s achieved and is continuing to achieve remarkable things both technological and humanitarian, in a very difficult neighbourhood and under highly challenging conditions.

              So all attempts to call its validity into question are nothing more than thinly disguised Jew-hatred. Unless those doing the calling are against ALL nation-states, in which case I simply consider them misguided.

              As for the “logic” of establishing the world’s only Jewish-majority state in this neighbourhood as opposed to Uruguay, Uganda, or any other spot… well, where else makes sense?

              There are those of us (such as Anne and myself) for whom the religious component of the Land of Israel is very significant. (This applies to many Christian Israelis too, of course.) There are other Jewish (or Christian) Israelis for whom the religious aspect is less significant (or not significant at all) but for whom the history of the region has great significance. Then there are still others (Jewish or not) who don’t necessarily feel a religious or historical connection to the land but… it’s their home!

              For me, seeing how the seasons here are SO appropriate for the festivals we celebrate at those times is a huge part of my joy at living here. But I accept that not every Israeli feels the same way. And that’s OK. I have my reasons for loving my country, and they have theirs.

              I have other things I have to do now so won’t be able to respond again tonight.

              • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

                Well, respond when you get the chance, I’m free pretty much whenever. Much of what you have just said is not anything new to me, but obviously I am pushing back against a fair amount of these assumptions, as I do not believe it to be a “conflation” whatsoever.

                What I DO believe is a massive conflation is to equate “questioning Israel’s validity” with “nothing more than thinly disguised Jew-hatred. Simply put, this is nothing more than blatant propaganda with no solid logic behind it.

                Like I said before, you and I are admittedly coming at many of these issues from very different perspectives. You talk about how the seasons in Israel are so appropriate for celebrating the Jewish festivals, my perspective on things like the festivals is that they were all designed by God to embody spiritual truths which are far bigger and deeper than the one-dimensional concept of some annual ritual. The same thing applies to virtually everything in the Torah from the perspective of someone who embraces Jesus as THE messiah, for both Jews and gentiles. I believe the only true Israel is the spiritual Israel, God’s eternal kingdom, and so anything re-created here on earth is nothing more than a poor substitute in the end.

                Jesus died and rose again, to give eternal LIFE and eternal citizenship in His Kingdom, first for the Jew, and then or the gentile. So, regardless of what else you might think about my stance, it makes absolutely no sense to accuse me of “hating Jews”, because I simply don’t. I love Jewish people, along with all other people, and desire for them to truly KNOW the Creator and Redeemer, and enter into His Kingdom as the “first fruits”, the “natural olive branches”…

                Kind of bizarre to accuse someone of hatred if they believe you are worthy of eternal life in God’s kingdom, able to sit down on God’s own lap on His throne and bask in His love, no…?

                • cba says:

                  OK, just running back quickly before bed.

                  I now understand what your purpose is in posting here.

                  I also believe I’m worthy of eternal life in God’s kingdom. In the religion I espouse, God doesn’t condemn good people to eternal damnation because they worship Him the “wrong” way. I know that your religion believes otherwise, and that you believe the greatest gift you can give non-believers is the gift of having the same belief as you.

                  Believe what you like.

                  I’m certainly going to continue believing what I like. I’ve had this conversation many, many times with people who are trying to convert me and I no longer have the patience to engage. In short, I have no further interest in continuing a conversation dedicated to getting me to abandon my faith.

                  God bless, and have a good life.

                  • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

                    ” In the religion I espouse, God doesn’t condemn good people to eternal damnation because they worship Him the “wrong” way.”

                    I don’t know what you personally believe, but from my own study and experiences within Judaism on the whole, I’d have to say that ironically that is very much a central idea to what is largely understood to be the purposes of Jewish tradition/religion. It’s all about the rituals/observances themselves, rather than the question of what deeper spiritual realities the ritual/observances were originally intended by God to encapsulate…

                  • anneinpt says:

                    I have just caught up on this conversation from overseas and to be honest, I find it pointless. You will not convince us, and we will not convince you.

                    To be honest I’m not even going to bother to try.

                    I just find it offensive that you feel you can deign to let us know from the “heights” of your own morality what you see as the central purpose and/or role of the Jewish religion.

                    Since cba and I are observant Jews, and you are neither Jewish nor observant, I do not see how you can see fit to pronounce on anything concerning our religion.

                    By your very answers, particularly this last one above where you declare that “it is all about rituals/observances” rather than spiritual belief, you display your utter ignorance of Judaism, Jewish nationality and and Jewish peoplehood. It is apparent that no amount of explaining or clarification is going to convince you or persuade you, and you are not going to leave off until you persuade us, which is going to be precisely never.

                    I do not take kindly to Jew-baiting or pointless discussions of a religious nature which exceed simple curiosity about the other.

                    Therefore this discussion is now closed.

                  • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

                    “Jew-baiting”….? “pointless discussions of a religious nature which exceed simple curiosity about the other”…?

                    How can topics such as religion, the true identity of God, etc., be discussed without “exceeding simple curiosity”? It’s a question of ultimate Truth, is it not? Why are you angry because I come out in the open, declare my own beliefs, and show myself willing to discuss any and all related questions?

                    If nothing else, I’d say this exchange highlights a very glaring irony, in that to start with, the basis for the defending Zionism and the state of Israel is ultimately pointed back to God and His covenant with Abraham, but then when I try to delve into discussion of that foundational matter instead of talking modern politics, the door gets slammed shut…(?)

                  • anneinpt says:

                    This blog post was about reclaiming the term Zionism for ourselves. It was about reclaiming the Zionist narrative and disallowing turning the word Zionism into a dirty word.

                    You have hijacked the discussion and turned it into a theological discussion, and from there into a medieval debate where, in your point of view, if the Jews don’t keep every. single. one. of the 613 mitzvot then we aren’t worthy of either being called Jews or being classified as the Chosen People or being “allowed” to claim the Land of Israel for ourselves.

                    Well, like we are reclaiming Zionism for ourselves, we are reclaiming Judaism for ourselves, and will not allow someone who has no understanding of what Judaism is about, and shows no willingness to learn from our explanations or admit that maybe – just maybe – we might know a smidgen more than you about OUR OWN RELIGION – to determine for us what is the proper way to be Jewish and/or Zionist.

                    Someone who uses our religion as a battering ram to defame us or our right to Israel or Zionism, all the while claiming to be defending us, is a Jew baiter in my view. You want to draw us into a pointless discussion of the merits of our religion and I will not allow this.

                    You have your own website to discuss whatever you like.

        • Maxim Rudoi says:

          Let me join the discussion. You posed a good question:

          You wrote: “I’m not saying that God doesn’t use warfare for His own purposes, but in the end, is the underlying motivation to truly reveal the person and nature of a Holy God to the rest of the world, or one that is driven by a self-preserving “bunker mentality”, where God Himself is not the ultimate protector and defender of His chosen, but instead protection and safety is found in human devices, military strength, and political fortitude..?”

          It’s indeed the Creator of the Universe who ultimately protects Israel and we can see it many times in these days. He does it in many ways. He gave inspiration to Israeli inventors to create protective weapon systems like Iron Dome. He helped these systems to intercept rockets not by 70-80% rate as their inventors optimistically estimated but by 90% rate. He diverted most of the not intercepted rockets to open areas or to buildings that were just left by their residents. Thus He minimized a possible death toll of thousands of rockets to a few people. This is a true miracle of G-d that happened right in front of our eyes. It’s intended by Him to show to the world how He loves and protects us His people. Of course we are not perfect people and thus we don’t fully trust Him for our protection. We try to protect ourselves in every possible way. This is our mentality which can be understood only if somebody has a history of many defenseless generations who lived under constant fear of death and persecution. A whole history of Israel which is being attacked from every direction by multitudes of modern barbarians also didn’t help to change our “bunker mentality”. Maybe it was His intention for us after all. (this is only a possibility as I don’t know for sure). Anyway as a matter of fact, despite of our mentality of relying on ourselves G-d is still our ultimate protector and defender. I can give you numerous evidences of that.

          • anneinpt says:

            Maxim, thank you for an excellent reply and rebuttal.

            I can’t STAND when people accuse us of having a bunker mentality, as if we have no reason. I also can’t stand it when people accuse us of not believing in G-d enough. These people, whether malicious or well-intentioned, have never heard of the Rabbinic saying “It is forbidden to rely on miracles”.

            In fact you described all the miracles that have happened to us very clearly. But we took the first step towards those miracles, as you said so very well.

            • cba says:

              Well, I know that I get very irritated with people who say to me, “Here’s what your religion stands for and what your religious practices mean,” ignoring any response to the contrary from actual practitioners, and then continue, “And here’s why MY religion is The Truth about the correct way to practice YOUR religion. Oh, and I’m only telling you this because I love you and I want you to stop making the mistake of following your own religion and start following mine instead.”

              As you well know, Anne, having witnessed it, I’m more than happy to discuss my religion with anyone who is interested. That is, who is interested in listening to what a real Jew has to say about Judaism (and maybe in the process learning a little about the origins of their own religion). But I have zero interest in wasting more time than I have to with someone who merely sets up straw men and then knocks them down in an effort to convince me he has the “ultimate Truth” about Life, the Universe, and Everything. (BTW, you know what the gematria for גוגל is, don’t you? LOL, Douglas Adams was a genius!)

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