Photo: Hagai Nativ
Martin Sherman
Photo: Hagai Nativ

Post-Zionism’s fatal flaw

If Israel is not Zionist, it won’t be Jewish; if it’s not Jewish it won’t be democratic

In my understanding, the concept "Post Zionism" is - at the ideological level - a demand for democratization of the state - i. e. a call for a liberal democratic state in the Western mode.

Prof. Uri Ram -- from "The Anti Zionist Congress" Israel Radio (Reshet Bet) 27-4-2008


This quote from one of the leaders of the post-Zionist school in Israeli academia is representative of the moral hypocrisy, intellectual shallowness and pompousness, and grossly misplaced self-righteousness that characterize the adherents of this self- contradictory philosophy.


For it takes only the most elementary analytical skill to identify the glaring flaw in the logic of post–Zionist positions which - allegedly in the name of enlightened liberal values - call for the conversion of Israel from a "Jewish State" to a "state of all its citizens." It requires no extraordinary intellect to grasp the fact that should such a change indeed take place, the resulting realities would in fact be the exact antithesis of the values invoked for making it.


Indeed, it is not difficult to foresee the inevitable chain of events that such a move would trigger. First, the significance of a simple but far-reaching truth must be recognized: If Israel is indeed defined as a "Jewish state," there is a valid rationale and a viable justification for the existence of an entire range of elements that characterize the conduct of national and public life in the country, such as: the Star of David on the Flag; the "Menora" candelabrum as the state emblem; the words of the national anthem that refer to the "yearning of the Jewish soul"; and the status of Hebrew as the dominant vehicle of communication between the citizens of the state. The same is true for a considerable body of "Judeo-centric" legislation such as the Law of Return granting any Jew immediate citizenship on immigrating to Israel.


However, should Israel be re-defined as a "state of all its citizens,” there will be no valid rationale or viable justification for any of these features. As an inevitable consequence, there will neither be rhyme nor reason why any Jew (apart from those ultra-devout few who regard living in the Holy Land a religious command) would choose to live their life in a "non-Jewish Israel" rather than in any other "state of all its citizens" where the rigors of daily life are less demanding and less stressful. No Jew (apart from the handful of ultra-pious souls who believe in the divine sanctity of the Land of Israel) would insist on living their life in a country, where instead of the blue Star of David, the national flag displays stripes – whether vertical or horizontal – of different colors even if these include nostalgic tinges of blue and white.


Continual erosion of Jewish population

Accordingly, not only would there be a dramatic increase in the number of Jews who leave the country (and who of course no longer will be called "Yordim" but merely "emigrants",) but also an almost total termination of the number of Jews arriving here. After all, if Israel in not a Jewish state, there will be absolutely no motivation for, nor reason, why highly educated, highly skilled and highly trained Jews from across the developed world should aspire to make their homes here - not scientists, not doctors, not engineers not entrepreneurs, not academics.


There would be no mass "aliyah" from lands where Jews were oppressed and sought safe haven in the Jewish state. Obviously the extraordinary phenomenon of the huge inflow of Jewry from the former USSR, with is huge contribution to every aspect of life in the country, would be inconceivable if Israel became just another "state of all its citizens" on the fringes of a desert at the gateway to the Levant.


Moreover, if Israel became a state of all its citizens, there would be little grounds for preventing the massive influx of migrants from neighboring lands from pouring into the country – whether to fulfill the "right of return" or merely to make a better living – since, initially, the chances of finding a more lucrative livelihood would still be higher here rather than there.


Inevitably, these processes will bring about a continual erosion of the Jewish population. As the composition of the population in the land becomes similar to that in the other states of the region, there is no reason to suppose that the realities that prevails in it will not also become similar to those prevailing in those states – including the level of economic development, standard of living and lifestyle, status of women, nature of the regime, and the liberties it allows those living under it. It is difficult to imagine that even the post-Zionists, with their bias and selective view of the world, are unaware of the fact that that in the entire Arab world - from Casablanca to Kuwait - there is no semblance of any "liberal democratic state in the Western mode" for which they allegedly yearn with such passion.


Indeed, in view of the stark contrast between their declared objectives and the nature of the realities that the endeavor to achieve that objective is likely to create; in light of manifest contradiction between their purported aspirations and the consequences likely to result from the pursuit of those aspirations, it is difficult to determine whether the post-Zionists are motivated by nastiness or naiveté; whether they are being mean-spirited or only feeble-minded.


However, whatever the explanation may be, all those genuinely desirous of "liberal democratic state in the Western mode" in this neck of the woods must recognize a basic inescapable truth: If Israel is not Zionist, it will not be Jewish; if it is not Jewish it will not be democratic.


פרסום ראשון: 08.11.08, 12:00
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