Putting My Cards on the Table
This is going to be a very difficult post to write. I realise that I am about to make myself very unpopular, but I am becoming fed up with the fact that everybody assumes that I, and countless other "diaspora" Jews, am something that I am not. It is time to come out of the closet and declare for one and all that I am not a Zionist. I am not even a Non-Zionist, whatever that is. If I have to be completely and dangerously honest, I am an anti-Zionist. I feel no connection to the State of Israel and I detest the fact that it is referred to in the media as the Jewish State. It is not a Jewish State, it is a Zionist State, and they are by no means the same thing.
I utilised the inverted commas above (in referring to myself as a "diaspora" Jew) because I do not believe in the existence of this curious phenomenon. A diaspora? Since when? Since 1948, to be perfectly honest, when the Israeli nation unofficially declared itself to be the centre of the Jewish world. It is not, nor has it ever been, the centre of the Jewish world. Palestine (in the classical sense), which is a great deal larger than the present political entity known as Israel, has always been a focal point for Jews around the world. There is nonetheless not so much as a single halakha that mandates living in Palestine. Why the sudden shift?
This is indeed a good question, for the Zionist movement was not born of the tragedy referred to as the Holocaust. Zionism was born of the emancipation, which is a most curious phenomenon for never in history have the Jews required it less. Indeed, Jews in South America and in Russia may desire the freedom granted to them in Israel today, but they would also no doubt relish the freedom that is granted Jews in Australia - a land of truly equal opportunity. Israel is, too, a land of equal opportunity, but only in the Orwellian sense. There, all are equal (although some are certainly more equal than others).
Israel is not only deserving of the epithet "apartheid state" for both their barbarous treatment of the Palestinians and for the second-class status awarded to Israeli Arabs, but they have effectively committed a cultural genocide against Jews from all around the world. No longer do the beautiful traditions of the Eastern Jews (the עדות מזרח) exist; no more the minhagim of the Yemenites, Moroccans, Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians nor Ethiopians. All cultures have been equally erased and replaced by the single hegemonic culture of European Judaism.
In many respects, I do believe that the declaration of a state was the single worst thing to have happened to the Jewish people. It is a populist form of messianism, one that perceives salvation in the form of a secular political entity. The erstwhile conception that salvation lies with God and good deeds has become a relic of a bearded past. The old Jew, incinerated in Auschwitz, has been replaced by the new Jew: muscular and energetic, bearing an AK-47 and eking out a living in his ancestral home, while battling evils of Biblical proportion.
Is this a viable representation of life in Israel? Or is it merely a bastardisation of Biblical texts; a reappropriation of classical rabbinic dogma in a thoroughly secular light? I vote steadfastly for the latter and, while I do feel an emotional attachment to Israel, it rests solely upon the time that I have spent there. I have friends in Israel, and there are places that I truly love. I wish no harm to come upon it or its citizens, but that is as far as my feelings for it go. My ancestors are European and I am an Australian: can I really buy into the lie that Israel is my "homeland"?
Around the world, Israel has created an equation in the minds of intelligent people that Judaism = Zionism, and woe betide any fool who dares to publicly question Israel's actions! The one dogma held dear by secular Jews is that criticism of Israel is tantamount to anti-semitism (as though Israel bears the flame for Judaism around the world and sets the global standard) and a Jew who commits so heinous a crime is clearly a "self-hater". Well, here is one self-appreciating Jew who has nothing to do with Zionism.