There’s a lot of panicky talk about Us Zionists in this piece up at The Current, a Jewish affairs magazine published by Columbia University students. The Current’s mission: “With content that ranges from art reviews and humor essays to bold political analysis, The Current is widely regarded as the Columbia home for exciting, original undergraduate writing.” Emphasis mine. Does this qualify? David Fine, editor:
Zionism must again be taught as a vision, viable long before the Holocaust came around. It must be understood that Israel is not an apology for six million Jewish deaths. It must be understood that Israel is the result of a dream for democratic self-determination. It must be understood that Zionism can exist separate from militant millennialism or revanchism. The central question of why the Jews deserve a democratic nation of their own must be discussed—and answered. Essentially, we need a return to Zionism 101.
How best to make Zionism 101 an everyday reality? Digestible, over arching goals are easy but implementation can be hard. Thankfully for people thinking and writing about Jewish issues—the Jeffrey Goldbergs, Peter Beinarts, and Daniel Gordises of the world—change can come in three important ways:
- If you’re a Zionist, write about why. Present your own brand and refer to it often.
- Engage in more debates, in real life. Stop charging exorbitant honoraria (you know who you are) to come to college campuses and gift the youth with your pearls of wisdom. If you believe in what you say then you should be content with a small fee and a big deliverable when you impregnate someone with a great idea.
- Develop a “great books” list that makes up the core of Zionist thinking. Disenchanted with university courses on Zionism and Israel? Craft your own and use the democratizing power of the Internet to disseminate them. (Hell, start a virtual reading club.)
What if you don’t believe this? What if you don’t believe that Jewish national self-determination is any more meaningful than Marcus Garvey talking about the black nation? And if you’re a young person, isn’t this yesterday’s papers?