Monday, May 10, 2004

Israel is not all about abusing Palestinian rights, you know
A powerful early childhood memory of mine is of my mother yanking me out of our local branch of a national chain of maternity, baby, and children’s merchandise, muttering, as she marched me down the road away from the store, that we certainly wouldn’t be going there again.

I had been busy minding my own little business, wandering around the said establishment, being suitably seen and not heard, as was expected in those days of little English girls with golden curls and pretty, frilly dresses, while my mother did her shopping.

Something had been said, in the store, something that had caused my mother to be very much offended. I’m not sure what it was, only that it was something about Jews. I don’t even know if it was directed towards us personally.

Not long after that occurrence, we were living in a different world, a world of strong smells, blinding sunshine, and deep shadows. Frilly dresses were no longer part of my life, nor were anti-Semitic remarks.

* * * *

I’m so relieved to have finally solved the anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism equation for myself (anti-Zionism = selective anti-Semitism). This has been bothering me for quite a while.

For a Jew living in Israel, anti-Semitism is a very fuzzy-brain inducing concept, because we rarely experience it here personally, and even if we do, it’s more likely we’ll regard it as an amusing curiosity than as a threat. This is probably why Israelis abroad are sometimes insensitive to subtle anti-Semitic nuances.

We certainly don’t have the opportunity to meet any real live anti-Zionists very often, as strange as this may seem. I think that if we did, the far left self-flagellation crowd here would probably be even smaller than it currently is.

It was perhaps relevant to talk of anti-Zionism eighty years ago, before Israel existed, or even sixty years ago. But now that Israel has been a fait accompli for the last fifty-six years, in spite of repeated attempts to destroy it using various methods, and not to mention the fact that three generations of Israelis, and more, have nowhere to “go back to”, to talk of the illegitimacy of its very existence is ludicrous, it’s a joke. People live here, real people, people who have never lived anywhere else.

And the idea that Israelis and Palestinians can live together in some sort of united, secular state in peace, in the foreseeable future, as opposed to a two-state solution, is completely unrealistic and can mainly serve as an indicator of the naivety of those who suggest such an idea, and their ignorance of the state of affairs here.

If I understand correctly, anti-Zionists, out of their belief that Jews have no right of self-determination (here or anywhere else), would like to see a cancellation of what they see as the historic aberration that is the State of Israel. But such a cancellation is clearly no more than a fantasy solution, an imaginary miracle cure to all of the world’s ills, a magical fairy path leading to everlasting World Peace.

I am an Israeli. Yes, I was born somewhere else, I speak excellent English and have in my possession, besides my Israeli passport, a much coveted EU passport. But I grew up here. I have lived here all my life, besides early childhood. I know no other existence. Put me anywhere else in the world, and I will be an exile, a refugee. This is my home.

Unlike me, most Israelis, including my very own Bish, do not speak excellent English* and do not have foreign passports. This is the only place in the world where they belong. This is their home.

Anti-Zionists don’t seem to realize, or care, that abolishing the State of Israel, should that be possible at all (and it isn’t), would leave five and a half million people homeless.

Anti-Zionists don’t seem to realize, or care, that abolishing the State of Israel, would create terrible suffering and misery, and it would probably not even alleviate all the suffering of the Palestinian people (at least part of which is self-inflicted, and will continue to be so, until they learn to take responsibility for their fate, regardless of Israel). It certainly would not contribute in any way to World Peace. It could very well be seriously detrimental to World Peace.

* Of course you speak excellent English, Bish dear, I was just trying to make a point.

Afterthought: I’d like to point out that when I talk of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism I am talking of Western anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. As I see it, Arab, Muslim and Palestinian hatred of Jews and unwillingness to accept the State of Israel is something completely different. I can’t explain this feeling of mine offhand. This is a subject for another post. I’ll get round to it (if I finally got round to tackling the anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism question, anything is possible).