Zionism — the assertion that Jews have a right to violently establish and maintain an ethno-religious state in the homeland and at the expense of the Palestinian people — was, at least in the United States, a mainstream belief with support across the political spectrum.
In recent years, that consensus has crumbled. Palestinians have led the global BDS movement that highlights how Zionism violates the rights of all Palestinians, and younger generations of Americans, including Jews, are turning away from an ideology that is more and more openly aligned with the most reactionary, right-wing and white supremacist forces. Similar changes are happening all over the world. Though Zionism is on the retreat ideologically, Israel retains immense power and impunity.
What will it take to change this apparent stalemate, and shift the balance towards liberation for Palestinians? Ali Abunimah, Nada Elia and Phil Weiss discussed this topic yesterday in an online event sponsored by Haymarket Books, Electronic Intifada, and Mondoweiss.
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The discussion centered on Abunimah’s view that we have entered a period when delegitimization of the Jewish state is expanding. The Electronic Intifada editor said that the Black-led movement against racism globally is hastening that process. Nada Elia observed that just as Palestinians have given the world the words “hummus,” “sumud” and “intifada,” they have led the discussion of anti-Zionism; and today on the left it is important to embrace Palestinian human rights, a position that was daring a few years ago.
Our own Phil Weiss observed that the Peter Beinart defection is causing a panic among liberal Zionists, who must dismiss him or pound him. Zionism is having a “discursive collapse,” even if occupation and discrimination are stronger than ever in the supposed Jewish homeland.
Read and watch Ali Abunimah’s Hampshire College speech referenced in the discussion.