The demand by some that critics of Israel’s policies and practices stop using the term “Zionism” is a scarcely veiled and rather illiterate attempt to close down discussion on the very real issues of justice and human rights in Palestine. The definition of Zionism that is advanced by way of argument sounds reasonable But it is deceitful. To claim that Zionism is simply about the right of Jews to a safe and secure home ignores the reality that it has been achieved by the ethnic cleansing of the original population, the Palestinians. No one with a grasp of European history should deny that European Jewry at the end of the 19th century had every justification in wanting somewhere safe to live. But, if emigration Palestine was, for them, the journey to security, for Palestinians it was a European colonialist invasion.
The point must be made that it is not Judaism, nor Jews, nor Palestinians, nor Muslims that is in the dock; it is Zionism. Not because of what Zionism claims to represent but because of what Zionism actually is. There are many critics of socialism because of what happened in Stalin’s Russia and many critics of capitalism because of what happens in Europe. Reasonable critics would, I believe, accept that demonising those two perspectives because of the behaviour of extremists is as nonsensical as blaming all Muslims for the actions of IS, all Christians for the the Rwanda genocides and all Jews for the behaviour of Zionists. Zionism does not equate to Judaism and using any other term simply makes comprehension of the problems more difficult than it already is.
Simply, if, as it is claimed, Zionism is the reasonable desire of (some) Jews for their own ‘Jewish nation’ in Palestine then it surely must be obvious that Zionism required and requires non-Jews living in Palestine to be expelled (or live as second-class semi-citizens). Support that if you will but don’t profess the moral high ground, don’t pretend to be non-racist and please do not insult the crucified and risen Jesus by calling yourself Christian.
I shall continue to be anti-Zionism – although NOT anti-Zionist – and if that costs me jail time, I’ll be in good company!