Monday, June 11, 2007

Equality, Not Zionism, Will Save Israel

"On the same day that we learn that Norman Finkelstein has been denied tenure at De Paul University largely because of an aggressive campaign by Israel supporters to silence the (to them) menacing figure of a Jew, son of a Holocaust survivor, as combatively anti-Zionist as Finkelstein is, it is with great pleasure that I welcome Antony Loewenstein as a guest contributor. Antony is a generation younger than me, but he’s further evidence of the fact that the efforts of the nationalists to police Jewish identity in a way that enforces a narrow Zionism are failing — despite their victory over Finkelstein. The sweet smell of Jewish dissent is suddenly everywhere in the air, most recently last week when Avram Burg released his new book, renouncing Zionism and warning of its dangerous consequences for his Judaism and his humanity — it’s not exactly every day that a former Speaker of the Knesset turns around and rejects the very principle of a “Jewish State.” I have a long posting of my own on this in the works. In the mean time, please give Antony Loewenstein a resounding Rootless Cosmopolitan welcome!" -- Tony Karon

Guest post:

By Anthony Loewenstein

"As an Australian anti-Zionist Jew writing about Israel/Palestine, the rules of the game are made clear to me on an almost daily basis. All Jews must support the “Jewish State,” no matter what. Any action carried out by the state is defensible, justified and moral. Any public criticism of Israel will be assumed to be anti-Semitic; if Israel is to be criticized at all, it should only be in hushed tones and in private. Dare to challenge these rules, and you can expect to be bombarded with hate-mail, death-threats and public abuse, invariably from fellow Jews......

I write as I do because I believe it to be the truth, not because of the associated controversy or fame. As an atheist Jew, I struggle with my identity only so far as I wonder how my religion has been hijacked by a militaristic and exclusionary ideology.

Israelis are not Nazis, but I wonder, as Harvard academic Sara Roy, herself a child of Holocaust survivors, put it , how have children of the Holocaust ended up as brutal occupiers and oppressors? And why do so few Jews speak out against it?"

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