In the wake of the attacks on Jewish graves in the old Jewish graveyard in Auckland a discussion erupted on Facebook about Zionism and one of my Facebook friends an otherwise well informed activist said she didn’t want to know more about Zionism. Here is what she said:
No. I don’t want to know more about Zionism, why? Because nothing productive ever comes from such knowledge, it doesn’t support Activism, and if anything, it incites hostility and separatism amongst those who don’t understand. Sometimes I think this is intentional.
Here is my response:
I grew up in post war Amsterdam. I grew up in a neighbourhood with a lot of practicing Jews, had a Jewish boyfriend at some stage and a lot of my youth was steeped in the memories and aftermath of the war years with a lot of Jews having lost a lot if not all off their family in the Genocide perpetrated on them just because they where Jewish .
Based on this horrific Genocide so we were told the Jews needed their own homeland and in order for them to achieve this they were justified to slowly but surely take over Palestine. Their slogan: An empty country for a people without a country!
My first inkling that all was not as we were told was when Palestinians started to hijack planes and I started to wonder why these people would protest the GOOD state of Israel? After all; Jews needed a a homeland surely?
In the summer of 1972 the Munich Olympic games took place but they derailed horribly when the Israeli team was taken hostage by a group of Palestinian “Terrorists”. 11 Israeli athletes were killed as well as 5 Palestinians and one German Policeman. I was 15 years old and the events took place about a days journey from where I lived.
It so happened that I was at the time studying at a high school with a high number of practising and secular Jews and so it was that I had a social science teacher who was the Rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Community. His name was Rabbi Soetendorp.
He was a great teacher and a great and fearless debater and he took the bull by the horns and brought this horrible event in the class room as a means of teaching us how to debate. He was also a staunch Zionist and in fact lived with his family for many years in Kibbutzim in Israel to help build up his new homeland.
Many Jews at the time would identify with Zionism and the right to have a country in which they could feel at home and safe and most people felt that it was the least we should support after the terrible things that had happened in Europe and since most of us didn’t really know much about Palestine and Jerusalem was the old city where the Jews came from it seemed poetic justice for them to be able to live there again.
But at the time of the Munich Massacre I was beginning to realise that Palestinians had been living in the area and that contrary to popular believe it hadn’t been an empty land just waiting for its long lost people. I had been looking at the 1968 Sinai invasion on TV and as much as possible in the brain of a 15 year old girl I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the whole Israel/Zionist angle and when Rabbi Soetendorp unleashed the Munich debate in his class room I tore into the arguments used by Zionists allowing them to claim evermore Palestinian land and I had the audacity to take the side of the Palestinian “Terrorists” who perished in Munich.
I expected a nil on my school report from the Rabbi but was blown away by the 9 which just under 10 is the highest accolade you can get in Holland. It showed me that debating controversial and hurtful subjects with people equally dedicated to truth and respect is not only possible but of the utmost importance and as an extra bonus I found out a while ago that his son, who later became the Rabbi for the Liberal Jewish community, had become like his father a fearless fighter for peace and reconciliation.
He and the institute for Peace and reconciliation are reaching out to Palestinians and they to him in and effort to mitigate the destruction and the hatred between the two peoples and while still a supporter of the state of Israel he does not see the Palestinians as mindless terrorists but as a wronged people who were entitled to their own state and the right to live as free and equal people.
So if anything it was Jews themselves who taught me to fearlessly go where no one dared to go and discuss difficult subjects. In fact it is a long history amongst Jews to debate anything and everything and I think Rabbi Soetendorp would have a little giggle if he could read my blog now. That 9 would still be mine, I’m sure!
The title of this post is about why we have to learn about Zionism and why not doing so is to invite Catastrophe and I would like to end this post with a video and a widening of the term Zionism.
To most people Zionism means the righteous activism required for the Jewish people to retake the land of Israel as their rightful property and to ask questions about that is equal to anti-Semitism.
But here is my thought on it: Zionism is a secular political movement started about a 130 years ago. It was initially promoted amongst Jews who by and large rejected the idea as a anathema to the idea that God had banned the Jews from owning their own country but which gathered pace after the horrors of WWII.
I know that there are plenty of background stories which point to the involvement of powerful banking interests but for the sake of time I don’t want to go there. The fact is that many Jews terrified of what befell them and their families were motivated not by malice but an honest craving for a new life and their own country and were willing to pick up what remained of their lives and move to Palestine to start Kibbutzim where they tried to build a socialistic, communal new Jewish paradise.
That is the Jewish side of Zionism but there is another much more sinister and powerful form of Zionism which if not exposed and brought to the fore might eventuate a cataclysmic series of events which could see a true Armageddon descent on the planet. In fact they are determined to do so in order to bring about the second coming of Jesus Christ and they are not joking!
Christian Zionism is a growing phenomenon and many rich and powerful born again Christian groups in the US promote and finance Israel and Zionism in order to arrange for one of the prerequisites for the second coming of Jesus Christ: the return of all the Jews to the land of Israel!
Here is a presentation of Reverend Doctor Stephen Sizer who details the dangers of this believe: