What does this word mean to you? What feelings does it evoke? Do you care about Zionism? Are you pro-Israel, but are bashful in using the word “Zionist” to describe yourself? Are you a critic of Israeli policies, support Israel’s right to exist, but the word “Zionist” does not resonate with you? Are you an unabashed Zionist, who uses the word openly to describe your worldview? Are you a supporter of the Palestinians? Are you a Diaspora Jew or an Israeli Jew? Are you Orthodox or secular or Reform or Conservative or “just Jewish?” Are you not Jewish at all but are interested as to what the all commotion is about?
Then this blog is for you.
Thinking about a mission statement for this blog, particularly for this first entry, has been difficult. The topic is so deep and broad that writing the first entry turned out to be far more involved than I originally thought. Even coming up with a name and look for the blog took me weeks of internal debate that included feedback from friends and colleagues. I drove my wife crazy.
What I hope to accomplish with this blog is four-fold:
- Encourage open discussion on the meaning of Zionism today.
- Test the edges, not dictate them, of what Gil Troy calls “Big Tent Zionism” (“Endorsing Big Tent Zionism demonstrates our latitude to debate particular Israeli policies while agreeing on Israel’s right to exist.”)
- Engage a younger generation in an open inviting discourse on Israel, Zionism and Jewish identity in today’s world.
- Challenge Zionism’s detractors, and to offer strong argumentation – my own and others – to their claims and charges.
Over time the subjects I’ll cover will range from Diaspora – Israeli relations, Jewish identity and the politics it generates, antisemitism, the Palestinian – Israeli – Arab conflict, Islam and Islamism (two very different things), peace, Jewish unity and disunity, the role of Holocaust memorializing in Israeli and Diaspora politics.
And that is just for starters.
I invite you to participate. I’ll publish all civil comments including those with which I disagree, even strongly. Comments containing ad hominem attacks will find no place here, however. I may engage in some discussion with you, or just let your comment stand. A non-response to a comment is not agreement, just a non-response. I’ll take seriously all seriously-minded feedback.
If you are interested in serious and respectful discourse then this is the place for you. If, however, you are looking for an argument for the sake of an argument, this is not going to satisfy you. But, I do have a great Monty Python skit just for you.
So, here we go!