Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jews Against Zionism

By Alex Kane

The indypendent

Judy Rebick has received death threats, been screamed at, and been labeled a “self-hating Jew” for her outspokenness on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

But that hasn’t stopped her participation in any of the many Jewish-led and supported actions during Israel’s latest incursion into the impoverished Gaza Strip in Palestine.

For people who embrace a progressive Jewish vision, Israel is against everything we believe in,” Rebick said. “They’re violating the Jewish tradition of progressive struggle, and their claim of being a victim is wrong.”

“[Israel] is the state that purports to be our homeland, and whether we feel that it is or not … its actions somehow reflect on Jews in general,” said Alisa Solomon, co-editor of Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and a contributing editor to the WBAI radio show “Beyond the Pale: Radical Jewish Culture and Politics.”“It’s a very dubious and dangerous collapse when ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ are conflated,” Solomon said. “Anti-Semites do it a lot, and unfortunately, powers of the Israeli state do it as well.”

Michael Letwin of New York City Labor Against the War supports terminating U.S. aid to Israel as well as a nascent divestment and sanctions movement against Israel modeled on the one that confronted apartheid South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. He says he lost the presidency of his union, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW Local 2325, in the year after 9/11 due to his anti-Zionist views. Still he insists it is crucial for progressive Jews to speak out despite the possible consequences. “It’s very hard to be an anti-Zionist in this country … but there is space,” he said. “And to the extent that we can open that space, and keep pushing the envelope, I think there’s more opportunity sometimes than we think there is.”

....“The simplest way to put it is to make an analogy between white-skinned people doing anti-racist work [with] Jews doing anti-Zionist work. … [Zionism] is a deadly form of racism based on a very specific identity,” Razowsky said.

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