Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Elephant in The Room: A Fresh Approach

Clearly in any discussion between Jews and Muslims, Israel /Palestine, “Zionism” vs. “Anti-Zionism” is the veritable elephant in the room. I have been contemplating how to approach that subject in a way that is going to be helpful, interesting and promote discussion rather than push everyone to their respective corners. Let me continue with that analogy for a second, the analogy of a room. Most rooms have 4 corners, so you are stuck with 4 possible positions to which to retreat. Imagine however an ever expanding geodesic dome (if you don’t know what that is, you should look it up) in which there are lots and lots of corners, representing a wide variety of potential opinions. If I can create that “space” (I am such a hippy huh?) then maybe we can avoid the solution-stifling rhetoric of “stand with us!” and “whose side are you on anyway?”

So here is the simple plan. Let me know what you think of “Zionism” (Whether you generally identify yourself as a "Zionist" or an "Anti-Zionist” or a "Non-Zionist" (even if you have some discomfort with those labels)in a paragraph in which you do three things.

1) Give your tightest most clear definition of what you mean by the term “Zionism”
2) Explain in personal terms, as if talking to a friend who actually cares what you think and feel, why you think or feel the way you do. How and why do you choose to identify yourself.
3) Give me a short demographic description of yourself - whatever you think folks need to know.
So I might say about myself, “50 years old married Jewish teacher, Interested in Breslov chassidus, living in the United States with grand children in Israel.”

I will then post your responses. Postings will be anonymous and will include only the demographics you provide.

Please invite others to send them to me as well. The more I have the better.

I think it will be a great exercise and a chance to see what real people really think.

Please post directly into the comments or send your comments to me at to repost for you.


  1. Rachel Barenblat wrote:

    To me, Zionism means support for the existence of a state which aspires to live out Judaism's highest ideals, in which secular and official time move according to Jewish rhythms, in some part of the land of Israel/Palestine. I identify as a Zionist because I believe that Israel's existence could (and should) be a blessing; and, I am a Zionist who also supports the existence of a free and prosperous and safe Palestinian state alongside the free and prosperous and safe Israeli state. While I have a complicated reaction to the notion that any piece of land is inherently extra-holy, I acknowledge that members of my religious tradition have maintained a spiritual connection to that place for two thousand-plus years. And it is also clear that Palestinian people have a spiritual connection to that place. In my mind, the best expression of my Zionism is my support for two states and for an end to the occupation which is hurting everyone involved (some physically, some spiritually, but I believe everyone is damaged by injustice). I am a Jewish American woman in my late 30s, ordained as a rabbi.

  2. To me, zionism is a disgusting racist bigoted ideology that suggests that one race or religious community has more right to a peice of land then another. It represents the oppression and control of the Palestinian people, and it is the reason for many issues in the middle east and the world as a whole. I believe that zionism has no place in judaism, and that the jews are not permitted to reform a jewish state Israel until the coming of their messiah. In the mean time, I am committed to a one state solution that provides for both the Jews and Arabs rights, and where they both get to elect a government for all as one nation, many faiths. I am a british muslim and I am 25 years old.