Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reclaiming the Zionist Label

I think that this is very well written. I'm especially pleased that Bernstein covers the history of how 'Zionism' was used historically by the Soviets, and connects that with the history of the U.N. on the movement.

A few weeks ago, countering the anti-AIPAC protest, I listened with interest as they conducted an open 'people's microphone', a tactic borrowed from Occupy, where listeners repeat the speaker's words in unison, so that those farther away can hear. Originally adopted to substitute for a microphone, where none were available, it can also, of course, simply be a way of being annoying...sigh. What I realized that evening is that it can also serve as something of a gage of the crowd. One man was being faithfully repeated after as he declared that people don't like 'the occupation'. Not all Jews support 'the occupation'. Every phrase was repeated back. And then he said "Not even all Zionists support the occupation", and something odd happened. The microphone failed, as people couldn't bring themselves to repeat those words.

I don't know exactly what he meant by those words, but I do know why they faltered at that point--because "Zionist" has been effectively branded in the minds of anti-Israel activists to mean someone set in complete opposition to anything human, positive or progressive.

To lose pride in what Zionism is, and what it means, is to lose a great deal. In the coming year, I'd like to give some thought as to how to educate about the word and identity, and take it back from those who hate.

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