Mailbag: Opposing Zionism not antisemitic

Mailbag: Opposing Zionism not antisemitic

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Rachel Peck’s critique of Phyllis Bennis’ article on Zionism is typical of Zionists who assert their beliefs as facts. If anti-Zionism is antisemitism, then Ms. Bennis, a Jewish board member of Jewish Voice for Peace, is antisemitic. JVP, which after years of discussion recently declared itself to be anti-Zionist, is an organization with 60 chapters and hundreds of thousands of supporters across the U.S., many with friends and families in Israel. Are they all antisemitic? Would she say the same about Miko Peled, the anti-Zionist son of an Israeli war hero and grandson of a signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence? Asserting that all “real” Jews are Zionists is itself bigoted.

Anti-Zionism doesn’t mean wanting to push Jewish Israelis into the sea. It means believing that a religious claim to a land occupied for centuries by Muslims, Christians and Jews living in peace doesn’t justify privileging immigrant Jews and their progeny over the surviving indigenous residents of Israel/Palestine. A “Jewish state” can never be a democracy. If Israel wanted democracy, it would repeal the Jewish Law of “Return,” obey international law by letting families of those dispossessed in 1948 return and write a constitution that guarantees equal rights to all citizens.

That’s the essence of a “one-state solution.” It’s the only solution possible now that Israel has rejected the possibility of a two-state solution by its continued colonization of the West Bank and Jerusalem in the face of united international opposition, save for the United States.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Albany

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