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I have to agree (partly) with Bradley Burston of Ha'aretz.

A reader hiding behind the mask of anonymity wrote about the recent suicide bombing and Burston's column on it:

The REAL Mr. Burston surely would have blamed himself - and the rest of us - for today`s suicide bombing. Are you feeling ok, man?

The reader from Toronto, who would not give his name, is probably a certain well known Bundist from that city. His letter exposes the fallacy of those who insist that the "Israel lobby" is shutting up "legitimate criticism" of Israel. This is not legitimate criticism. Blaming Israel for Islamic Jihad suicide bombings is sick.

In reply, Burston has written the credo of Progressive Zionism, quoted below. It was as true in 1930 as it is today. It is time for us progressive Zionists to come out of the closet, as he wrote. We have to come out of the closet on both counts: Progressivism and Zionism. We are not just "pro-Israel." We are Zionists, but we won't ignore the existence of the Palestinians either.

So why do I only agree partly with Bradley Burston? The credo is right, but it was applied in the wrong place. Blaming Israel for Islamic Jihad suicide squad attacks is not just anti-Zionist. It is anti-morality and anti-common sense. It is depraved and degenerate, even if Zionism were totally wrong.

Here is an analogy. The Jewish Worker's Bund in Poland, like Burston's reader, were anti-Zionist. They insisted that they must stay in Poland despite the rising anti-Semitism, and that Zionism was wrong. Because of their ideology, they stayed in Poland. For the same reason, ultra-orthodox rabbis implored their followers not to leave Hungary and Poland for Palestine. Because of their religion, they stayed in Europe. Because of their nationality, which they denied, most of them were annihilated by the Nazis. If you give the wrong answer on that sort of history exam, it is bad for your health. History is a merciless sort of teacher. Were these misguided Jews to blame for the deeds of the Nazis? They were at fault for their error, which the anti-Zionist from Toronto perpetuates, but surely, they were morally blameless! What would we think of a Zionist who blamed these people for their tragic errors?

However, Burston's reply stands on its own, and it is worth quoting and remembering. He wrote:

I decided this week that it was time I outed myself.

I couldn't take it anymore. The sneaking around. The posturing, the covering up.

So this is me, coming out.

I've been this way for as long as I can remember. I kept quiet about it, but it was always there. Even before I knew myself what it was.

It colored my thinking. It affected my relationships. I couldn't talk to just anyone about this thing I was carrying inside.

Were I to come out with it, I thought to myself, I'd be asking to be lumped in with people who are routinely shunned, reviled, quarantined by polite society, spat at by the over-righteous, openly blamed for global ills.

You think, there'll be people who will never look at you, shake your hand, or smile at you quite the same way again.

Then again, there's only so long you can lie to your own heart.

So here it is.

I'm a Zionist.

Go ahead. Take your best shot.

There will be those, and they will be many, who will tell me that it is wrong to love this place, that I have no right to love it, and certainly none to claim it as mine. That by God's law, it will never be mine, it can never be mine.

There will be those who will tell me that it is wrong - in fact, impossible - to love this place and, at the same time, believe that it should be shared with another people who loves this place no less than we. That by God's law, it will never be theirs, it can never be theirs.

Perhaps they'll never want to speak to me again. Perhaps we'll both be better off.

Here's one thing they will not change:

I love this place. Even if it doesn't much care for me. I love it unconditionally. I see its flaws. It is a collection of scars and blemishes, bad behaviors and raw moods and tantrums, guilt trips and passive aggression and active aggression and denial. I don't care. It loves me, it loves me not. I love it nonetheless.

I love the way it looks and smells. Overexposed and overpowering.

I have been this way now, for as long as I can remember. I don't expect this to change materially for as long as I live.

In some ways I was raised to be this way, and in some ways I was raised to be anything but. Ways that no one will fully understand. My being this way hurts my family, old friends, the people I left behind to be this way. And yet, from this remove, I see that this is how it works for everyone, more or less. You must leave your family of origin to start a relationship, a family - a new one, from scratch.

One of the tough parts of being this way is the necessity of making it all up as you go along.

If I came out with it, I'd thought to myself, I'd be lumped in with extremists, people whose outrageous behavior and evident, even brutal, contempt for people unlike them makes an irrationally bad rap that much worse.

So if I'm already out, here's what I have to offer:

I believe that a Jewish country need not be racist. I believe that a Jewish country must not be racist.

I believe that Jews have every right to a state of their own, no less than the Palestinians. I believe that the Palestinians have every right to a state of their own, no less than the Jews.

I believe that if one side denies the other the right to a state, it does direct and permanent harm to both peoples.

I believe that in a world in which there are dozens of Islamic countries, some of which cannot abide the corporeal presence of the Jew, there is room for one Jewish one.

I believe that in a world in which the flags of 13 nations bear a cross, the flag of one nation can bear a Star of David.


I believe that a time will come when the sides will come to recognize what each has been saying to the other -- often in the worst possible ways -- for a lifetime now:

We're here. That's final. Get used to it.

"We're here." The refrain of the World War II Partisan song, "Mir zaynen do!" In Hebrew, "Anahnu Po." And "We are not leaving" - "Lo nelech mi po," a Zionist song of mandatory Palestine.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2007. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000340.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 2 Comments

You people are very, very sick and need some serious help. Let me see if I got this straight. Germans murdered 6 million Jews so it is the Palestinians who have to be cleansed from their land, destroyed at every opportunity and all this is done in the name of a German madman.

Is that it in a nutshell. Here is a newsflash for you lot.

You cannot win.

Marilyn, Thursday, March 1st

Too bad Bradley didn't do a count of the number of countries with crescent moons on their flags. I'd say they outnumber the countries with crosses on their flags by a large number.

Lynne T, Tuesday, February 6th

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