Debate over Zionism essentially forbidden in Canada, but not in Israel

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Max Bialystock
Debate over Zionism essentially forbidden in Canada, but not in Israel

Prof Yaakov Rabkin wrote in the Canadian Jewish News:

 http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15689&Itemid=86

Dissent, diversity better tolerated

To question Zionism or the State of Israel used to touch off profound hostility. A recent report on Bernard Avishai’s lecture at the Montreal Jewish Public Library (“Israel should be a ‘Hebrew republic,’ Avishai says,” CJN, Oct. 16) suggests that the hostility is subsiding. A few years ago, he published a book decrying Zionism. This time, he proposes to transform the Zionist state into a state of all its citizens, an idea that is commonplace in Israel, but that shocks many mainstream Jews here in Canada.
Those of us who have had the privilege to teach and do research in Israel appreciate the candidness of Israel’s intellectual circles. Back in Canada, many of us long in vain for such debate within the Jewish community. Whether he is right or wrong, it is significant that Avishai’s arguments are now being heard.
This has not always been the case. Jews advocating alternatives to the Zionist structure of the State of Israel used to be shunned, besmirched and accused of denying “Israel’s right to exist,” and a prelude to another Holocaust. Israeli Jews who are opponents of government policies have been shunned in our community. A few years ago, one of Israel’s most prominent journalists, Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz, and a former aide to the current president of Israel, could not find a Jewish venue in Montreal and had to speak in a bar.
Avishai’s lecture and its coverage in this newspaper suggest that intolerance to Jewish dissent is declining. This shows a new sense of responsibility that many Jews feel for their brethren in Israel. Some of us believe that only power can ensure Jewish future, while others find this belief to be at variance with the very nature of our heritage, but we all share a profound concern for what Israel is and does and, no less importantly, for the fate of our community here in Canada. The reception of Avishai’s anti-Zionist ideas shows that our community has matured enough to appreciate diversity and dissent.
Yakov Rabkin
Montreal

Lord Palmerston

Chomsky has noted that like a lot of diaspora communities, North American Jews are often more fanatical when it comes to Israel than Israelis are.

Unionist

Thanks very much for posting this, Max.

Here is the original CJN article reporting on Avishai's speech:

[url=http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15533&It... should be a ‘Hebrew republic,' Avishai says[/url]

I should get onto the Jewish Public Library's mailing list, if they're going to have lectures like this!

 

Star Spangled C...

Lord Palmerston wrote:
Chomsky has noted that like a lot of diaspora communities, North American Jews are often more fanatical when it comes to Israel than Israelis are.

 

Yeah, cause they don't have to live with teh consequences of the policies that they advocate. It won't be their backyards being hit by rockets and the buses that tehy ride being bombed.

Just like it's pretty easy for Bush and Cheney to call for a surge in Iraq and send more and more troups on more and more dangerous missions. They and their families are all safe and sound back in Washington.

CMOT Dibbler

Tell me my friend, what's worse? Maintaining Israel as an unstable Jewish state in which messianic religious fanatics control government policy, and a resentful Arab minority is ground beneath the wheel of the state, or a secular state which respects the rights of all its citizens, where no one runs the risk of being blown up because of their ethnicity. Besides, the current situation is very bad for Jewish culture. How can Israel be a strong outpost of Jewish culture when many Jews are frightened to settle there? How can the full range of Jewish thought and experience be presented in a state that fetishizes Judaism and cowers before Kahanist rabbis? A two state solution will end the occupation, but it will not put an end to these serious problems within Israel proper.

Takes more than combat gear to make a man Takes more than license for a gun Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can A gentleman will walk but never run -Sting, an englishman in new york

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Sigamos cantando juntos
a toda la humanidad.
Que el canto es una paloma
que vuela para encontrar.
Estalla y abre sus alas
para volar y volar.
Mi canto es un canto libre.
-Victor Jara

Good points, CMOT, although I don't think "star-spangled" was actually defending the North American "Israel hawks"

CMOT Dibbler

Sorry Star Spangled.Embarassed

Takes more than combat gear to make a man Takes more than license for a gun Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can A gentleman will walk but never run -Sting, an englishman in new york

Lord Palmerston

There seems to be slowly but surely an opening of the debate on the question of Zionism.  It's been pointed out here that younger non-Orthodox Jews are much less "Zionist" than their parents.  Of course that has also led to Zionist groups become more fanatical as they aren't as influential as they used to be.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
Barkat, 49, swept to victory on a hardline ticket rejecting the cession to
the Palestinians of any part of occupied Arab east Jerusalem as part of a peace
deal.

The successful businessman with a penchant for natty suits faces an uphill
battle in a city struggling with rampant poverty, massive debt and a growing gap
between Jewish and Palestinian neighbourhoods.

"This victory belongs to all those who love and appreciate our incredible
city, the eternal capital of the Jewish people," Barkat told supporters in a
victory speech at his campaign headquarters.

"The victory belongs to right and left, religious and secular, Jews and
Arabs."

A former member of caretaker Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert
's Kadima, Barkat prides himself on having quit the centrist party
after "exposing" what he said was a "plan to divide Jerusalem."

His hardline stance won him the backing of the city's religious right-wing
parties which represent a hefty part of Jerusalem's population of 700,000.

He promised to build new Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem, which the
Palestinians want as the capital of their promised state, saying it was
essential to provide affordable housing to stem the exodus of young Jews.

But he insisted there was "no necessary contradiction" between his
determination to expand Jewish settlements and his pledge to serve all the
city's residents, including the 250,000 Arabs who overwhelmingly boycotted the
election.

"As someone who believes in a united Jerusalem I am more committed to helping
people in east Jerusalem to improve their quality of life," he said.

"I believe that in building a united Jerusalem, everyone wins. There is no
successful example of a split city in the world especially if we want to develop
Jerusalem as a tourist site."

The vast majority of Jerusalem's Jewish population considers Israel's
designation of the city as its "eternal and undivided capital" a sacred mantra,
even though it is rejected by the international community.

World governments and and the Palestinians have criticised Israel for
continuing Jewish settlement activity in the east of the city, as well as the
rest of the occupied West Bank, seeing it as a major stumbling block to
peace.

 "I see the big picture for Jerusalem," said Barkat, who says his role model
is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

CMOT Dibbler

 


Quote:
Chomsky has noted that like a lot of diaspora communities, North American Jews are often more fanatical when it comes to Israel than Israelis are.


 

I think that it might be a specifically North American phenomenon. When Sharon asked every Jew in France to move to Israel, the grand Rabbi of Paris told him to take a flying fuck at himself.

Takes more than combat gear to make a man Takes more than license for a gun Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can A gentleman will walk but never run -Sting, An Englishman in New York

Unionist

CMOT Dibbler wrote:
I think that it might be a specifically North American phenomenon. When
Sharon asked every Jew in France to move to Israel, the grand Rabbi of
Paris told him to take a flying fuck at himself.

And what makes you think North American Jews have any interest in moving to Israel?

I looked at the numbers in a babble thread a few months back. There must be 10 Israelis who have migrated to Canada for every Canadian that went the other way. It's a shame those old threads are gone.

Max Bialystock

They don't. Back in the 50 60s and 70s it wasn't uncommon for leftwing Jews from North America to go to Israel. Almost all of the migrants now are Orthodox zealots.

Not even most of our so-called Zionist leaders have any attention of living there, who as Star-Spangled Canadian points out, can sit here comfortably while Israelis and Palestinians alike suffer from the genocidal policies they support.

ETA: The CJC of course wants other Jews to go to Israel. I remember them blocking the efforts of Russian Jews who lived in Israel who wanted to come to Canada.  Of course news of their hypocrisy is nothing new.

CMOT Dibbler

 

Quote:

And what makes you think North American Jews have any interest in moving to Israel?

I looked at the numbers in a babble thread a few months back. There must be 10 Israelis who have migrated to Canada for every Canadian that went the other way. It's a shame those old threads are gone.

 

 

My point was that Jewish North Americans are more defensive about, and have more of there identity invested in, Israel then other diaspora communities., not that they all wanted to move there. I relize that it's a dumb statement to make. I don't have much to back it up.   

Takes more than combat gear to make a man Takes more than license for a gun Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can A gentleman will walk but never run -Sting, An Englishman in New York