I understand how you feel
Reader comment on item: Zionism's Bleak Present
Submitted by Ken Besig (Israel), Oct 11, 2007 at 08:45
I understand how you feel about the apparent demise of Zionism, Dr. Pipes, since I was a Zionist myself for many years and now see myself more as a Jewish nationalist.
Zionism as the Jewish national movement may well have served it's purpose, the establishment of a financially and militarily powerful Jewish State of Israel. Israel is still incomplete and faces many security and spiritual problems, but Israel is without any doubt the homeland and place of refuge for all the Jews in the world.
I am a Viet Nam war veteran and once had occasion to read a book written by another veteran who actually returned to Viet Nam in the late 90's for personal reasons. To make a long story short, in Viet Nam he runs into a young American woman working as a sales rep for a large company who explains to him that while to him, and to me and many of us from that period, Viet Nam will always be a War, but for her, born in the 1980's, Viet Nam is just another country.
Dr. Pipes, you and I and many other Jews personally remember quite well the Six Day War, tragically, the Yom Kippur War, the great Entebbe rescue, along with all the other battles, terror attacks, and trials the State of Israel has successfully faced.
Most Israeli youth and certainly the vast majority of American Jews and their children know little or nothing of the real existential dangers Israel faced in the past and only know of a militarily and financially powerful Israel with it's huge and beautiful beaches and tourist hotels.
There are even American and Israeli Jews who claim to see Israel as a fascist and apartheid state which oppresses not just the Palestinians but Israeli Jews too. Indeed, most American Jews have not and probably will never even bother to visit Israel and while it may mean something special to them one way or another, to them Israel is just another country while to me it is my heart and soul.
You mention Avram Burg, the anti Israel offspring of one of the most important political families in this country. Mr. Burg was raised in a wealthy and influential family, enjoyed the best educational facilities and social surroundings Israel had to offer, and yet, truly despicably, now spends most of his time bashing and slandering the same Israel which gave him so much, and doing it as a citizen of France for God's sake! Now is this a sign of Israeli and Zionist weakness that Israel could so badly fail one so important citizen, or is it a sign of strength that we can produce such individuals and grow even stronger in spite of them?
While it is true that many Israelis, especially those considered or who consider themselves the intellectual and political elite, identify with the moribund European Left, there are far more of us who identify with our own country and it's values and even on the Israeli Left one can find strident nationalists.
As an Israeli Zionist and nationalist, living and working in Israel for the past 25 years, I can assure that Israel is a real country, a real sovereign nation with one of the best and most moral military and security forces in the world, we have a really vibrant and powerful economy, an educated and pretty well informed citizenry, and a political elite just as corrupt and dirty as any other democracy in the world. We are also the spiritual and moral light to the nations, just as the Jewish Prophets predicted, and the homeland and place of refuge for every and any Jew.
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (113) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes