The reason I’m staunchly antizionist, among many other reasons, is that Zionism is a mere political ideology. It doesn’t define Judaism, it can never supersede our culture.
We existed as a distinct ethnic and religious culture for a millenia before Zionism and we’ll continue to exist for millenias after. My entire identity is not bound to a single political ideology and the sinister quality of its nature is that somehow we’ve bought into the idea that that’s precisely what we need to do in order to define our Jewishness.
Zionism is about two centuries old. We have thousands of years of experiences, philosophy, struggle, and survival that a single ideology could never seek to sum up or contain. And the fact that so many seek to distill it down to a movement that’s barely into it’s third century of existence is poison to the vastness of our people. I refuse to participate in the bottlenecking of our culture.
The fact that there are so many of my own people who discard me from my own community daily because I argue loudly and aggressively as to the nature of Zionism is testament to its flawed design. The fact that so many young Jews in particular find themselves excluded from their synagogues, their campus Hillel’s, their own families, simply for dissenting on political ideology, that somehow to not be Zionist is to not be Jewish is the most malicious form of internalized antisemitism we have ever faced as a people.
When I argue with a fellow Jew about their beliefs in Zionism never do I deny their Judaism, and yet I find them denying mine. Worse, I have been asked to provide “proof” of my Jewishness in such arguments. How can we as a people expect to grow and change and find our self-determination if we reduce ourselves down to paranoid followers of political ideology?
The history of Zionism is nuanced, complicated, and based heavily as a way to overcome antisemitism of that I cannot deny, nor would I. But does it work? Has it saved us? Will it forward our liberation? We’re Jews. We must question. The fact that many of us have been silenced is the very antithesis of our way. There’s so much to the history and its far reaching effects that I won’t even attempt to parse it out in one essay on the internet.
But I certainly will not let you all pretend as if antizionist Jews do not exist, are not loud and vocally and fiercely proud of their Judaism. I wouldn’t let goyim pretend they own the conversation on antizionsim when such arguments were first made by Jews at the time of Zionism’s formation. So why on earth would I let my fellow Jews cover their eyes and pretend they can’t see me either?