Originally Posted by Eugene
And frankly, I don't care about Zionism or anti-Zionism because I have divorced myself from religious sentiment in the matter.
So did the early Zionists; the people pushing for Jewish self-determination were largely secular Europeans tired of the endless progroms and discrimation and persecution in Christian Europe.
They were also leftists, believing that only through farming and labor could the Jewish people finally become self-sufficient. Though the strength of that movemet has faded, many young American Jews (and others) still travel to Israel for a stint on a kibbutz. (The spa at the Dead Sea is even a kibbutz: Ein-Gedi.) The idea is to plant, to stay put.
In fact, it is only in the last generation that orthodox Jews have accepted the reality of the Jewish state, but only then because they realized it was politically expedient to do so. Add to these some crazy American cousins from Brooklyn and you get a more national zionism that plants Jewish settlements in an attempt to grab as much land as possible.
Anyone familiar with Israeli politics knows how precarious every government there is because of all the various parties. No one party can ever garner enough votes to rule alone, so the government is always made up of a coalition so fragile that a handful of members can bolt and bring it down.
The one thing, however, that unites them all is dealing with any threat to the state's existence. Normally, the scenes in the Knesset make the British House of Commons look like a tea party; but, lob a rocket over the border into Israel, and you'll find a nation united with the knowledge that no one else will defend them. This
recent article in the NY Times sums it up well.
Originally Posted by Eugene
I have more cultural sympathy with Jewish people, but my Jewish friends are Americans, not Israelis.
Yes, but they are still Jews, and they and their allies fight for Israel because they know, if the chips are down, there is a place for them. They may not live there (60% of the world's Jews do not), but they (and Israel) reserve the right for them to go there. It's the ultimate peace of mind...the ultimate "in case of emergency, break glass".
Once a month, Dash has a gig singing at a North Shore synagogue for the sabbath service. I often go along because a) it's different, cool, interesting, and beautiful and b) I do loves me some Jews.
(A trip to Israel in the late 80s, and an adulthood spent largely in Manhattan and South Florida will do that.) And, mind you, this is a reformed and very liberal congregation...hardly a bunch of neo-con hawks, but their solidarity with the Jewish state (Israeli politics aside) is unbreakable. It's not about politics; it's about family
This is a rambling post...sorry. I guess my main point is: don't conflate zionism with religious fervor. What's happening in the Middle East is more complex than "mere" religious differences.