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jon s

An Israeli history teacher,long-time activist on the Israeli Left.

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  • What's wrong with colonialism?
    • Avigail,
      Thank you for your response, which was at least courteous, without the personal insults so prevalent on this forum.
      Just to reciprocate with some personal background: I was born in the US( though my father and grandfather were born in Jerusalem), grew up in Tel Aviv, served in the IDF as a medic.I live in Beersheva and teach History and Civics .
      I asked about your use of the term "cult", and looked up the definition. From your answer I understand that in your view "cult " applies to Zionism (the political movement ), Israel (the state and most of its population) and the Jewish people, three partially overlapping "cults". It seems to me that your choice of the term is just a way to use a term with negative connotations. One could easily use the same "cultish " characteristics you mention to describe the various anti-Israel organizations which have also developed their own terminology are also constantly on the lookout for deviants and enemies and so forth.
      But let's move beyond the terminology: you've abandoned all three: Zionism (the idea and the practice), Israel (leaving and renouncing your citizenship) and your Jewish identity ( which is the abandonment most difficult for me to understand, seems to me to be a case of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"). Did you sever all ties with your family and friends and local institutions? Do you ever visit? Do you ever find yourself missing the Hanukkah candles or Shavuot cheesecakes or a favorite falafel place ? Ever find yourself singing Shlomo Artzi or Meir Bannai or Tislam in the shower or when driving on the highway? I note that you've chosen to keep your name, an illustrious name in Jewish history. I'm not trying to provoke, just trying to understand how such a total renunciation works.
      For myself, I dislike fanaticism. The people who see complex issues in black and white, Israel always evil, the Arabs and Palestinians always innocent (or the other way around, like the Israeli extreme Right…)I always try to understand different viewpoints and narratives, I see nuances and shades of gray. We've seen the consequences of the fanatical mind-set: totalitarianism and terrorism, violence and misery. Not for me.
      So I prefer not to be alienated from our people's identity, heritage and culture. I prefer to stay here ,to do my modest part in the good fight, for peace and social justice and democracy and not to desert from the battlefield.
      There are more points that I disagree with: Why is Jewish culture by definition chauvinistic and xenophobic? Yes, that tendency obviously exists, but our rich culture also includes the opposite, universalist and humanist values. And I certainly don't believe that we have more rights than anyone else or that we have a monopoly on suffering.

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