hi just wanna ask u, as a lebanese muslim, what defense do u have if any, for israel's invasion of palestine. i agree completely that Jewish ppl deserve a homeland just as any one else does but to invade an already existing and developed nation is cruel. i know ur not 100% pro-israel but i just want to hear ur side bc u don't seem to extremely support either israel/palestine. also, im antizionist but i fail to see how this makes me antisemitic? i have nothing against jewish ppl, just israel. ty
OK. I’m going to break this down a bit because there’s are many components to your ask and some of them are contradictory.
1. Agreeing that the Jewish people deserve a homeland is a form of Zionism. I’m frustrated by the term “anti-zionist” for a number of reasons, especially considering very few people who use the term seem to actually know what Zionism even is, or what it sounds like to most Jews.
2. Many far right Jew haters use the term “Zionist” interchangeably with Jew and many anti-zionists who are predominantly concerned with the plight of the Palestinians end up buying into all sorts of antisemitic ideas because they’re sold as “anti-zionist.” This is incredibly dangerous to us as it allows antisemitism to be transmitted under a different label and far too few anti-zionists bother to challenge these ideas, allowing them to spread. This is dangerous for Jews and it makes it harder for us to take anti-zionists seriously when they say they aren’t antisemitic.
3. As far as Israel is concerned the circumstances are complicated and too many people try to simplify it by acting like either the Palestinians don’t exist as a people, which is wrong, or that the Jews were pure colonialist invaders which is equally wrong. This drives me nuts. So I’m going to have to break this down a bit.
Most of the challenges I see to Zionism as practiced by Herzl and Ben Gurion are cherry picked and largely irrelevant to the cause’s necessity. Had there not been multiple waves of refugees, I probably wouldn’t support what they were doing. I also wouldn’t exist. Let me break this down a bit.
British Mandate Palestine’s Jewish Population DOUBLED between 1933 and 1939. The reason for this is twofold.
1. Nazi Germany came into existence, took over neighboring countries and began their steady process of destroying Jewish rights and safety. We all know where that led.
2. Britain, who was controlling Palestine at the time, kept immigration there open when most other countries, including the British mainland and the USA were closed. History has proven that they did, indeed, save their lives by fleeing there.
In 1939, the White Paper, in response to Palestinian protests and revolts, severely restricted Jewish immigration to British Mandate Palestine, left Jews with almost nowhere to run, right when WWII was beginning and the worst effects of Nazism were about to be felt.
Now here’s my question. Would you bar Jews fleeing Nazism from entering the country? Knowing what we know now? Knowing that nowhere else was taking them in?
Jewish immigration to Palestine slowed to a trickle during the Holocaust and Jews were literally trapped in Nazi occupied Europe and North Africa. 6 million died. This is historical fact.
After the Holocaust, the survivors who tried to go home faced pogroms, yet were barred from immigrating. They were forced to live in refugee camps. Again, no country made a significant effort to let them in. The USA wouldn’t until 1949 until AFTER Israel’s founding. My grandparents came to the USA because of the Refugee act of 1949. For survivors before 1949, it was Israel, pogroms or homelessness.
The next major wave of immigration to Israel were Jews in the Middle East and North Africa who were driven out of their own countries for being “Zionists” regardless of whether or not they actually were Zionists. These Jews actually form a majority of Israel’s current population. They were driven out and Israel took them in. What alternative did they have?
Finally Jews from the USSR and Ethiopia were facing brutal, systemic oppression and they came to Israel to live safely and freely among their own people, options they didn’t have elsewhere.
Now, here is my problem. Much of the rhetoric and tactics employed by anti-zionists don’t just demonize the Israeli government or state, but Israeli people, the majority of whom are Israeli because they were fleeing for their lives and safety. This is thrown in the garbage bin in favor of throwing out false equivalencies to the Boers or the British Empire. There is a level of hatred thrown at average Israeli Jewish citizens I don’t see thrown at the residents of any other country that is guilty of comparable crimes. I don’t recall seeing people damning Russian actors for being Russian the way I see Gal Gadot being damned for being Israeli. I personally live in the United States, a country built on slavery and genocide, and I don’t see instant hate the way Israeli Jews do. And, had circumstances been even slightly different, my grandparents would’ve moved to Israel instead of the USA after the Holocaust and they would’ve suddenly been treated as evil.
I don’t particularly care at this point about a one or two state solution, though I oppose the idea of annexation as being suggested by the Settler movement because it would result in genuine apartheid. What I do care about is fostering a reality where Jews and Palestinians can live side-by-side as neighbors either in neighboring countries or in the same countries and that will be impossible so long as demonization of Israeli Jews remains a major part of the pro-Palestine movement. How do you expect Jews and Palestinians to live as neighbors when they are taught to hate each other and are egged on by foreigners?
Peace of any sort can’t happen until people actually want peace and the current environment is so grotesquely driven by hatred and demonization that I don’t see any solution as viable until we see major changes in how it’s discussed. But when Israeli voices, even moderate and liberal ones, are shut up, that is impossible. You can’t make peace with people you refuse to even talk to. This has to stop.