Leftist organizations managed to bring a total of 2,000 (two thousand!) participants to their rally Saturday; that is, a little fewer than the number of guests in the wedding of an average yeshiva boy. Indeed, on the surface it may seem as though this is not a large number, yet if we look at the overall leftist camp, 2,000 may represent a huge percentage of it. Meanwhile, we saw another innovation Saturday: The number of groups that participated in the rally was larger than the number of actual participants at the display.
It appears that the main effort undertaken by organizers of the display (which was mistakenly referred to as “protest”) was to focus on demonizing the settlements. The messages they conveyed suffered from little contemplation, absence of logic, and dishonesty.
According to participants, the settlements are the root of all evil. They are the only reason why the Middle East does not look or behave like Disneyland. How simple. After all, before the establishment of settlements like Alon Moreh, the Mufti was running for the job of Zionist Congress chairman, and in 1929 Hebron celebrated the first hummus Olympics. Meanwhile, the massacre at Maaleh Akravim was apparently carried out by separatist aboriginals. What a pity that the settlers arrived and spoiled the idyll.
As long as the radical left continues to lie to itself this way, its objective won’t be achieved. The goal of the leftists in Saturday’s rally was to shift the leftist ideology back towards the center of the political spectrum and to draw the Left-Center camp that turned rightist along with reality. However, the means chosen by leftist leaders contradict their own interest.
First, portraying the radical Left as “Zionist Left” did not contribute to the credibility of speakers at the rally. For example, according to Achinoam Nini, Jerusalem should be the capital of two peoples. So partitioning our capital is about Zionism? Meanwhile, one of the event’s organizers lyrically stated that “Zionists are not settlers, pigs, and racists.” If this is the “Zionist Left,” what then is the delusional Left?
What about social justice?In addition, ironically enough, the Zionist Left’s efforts focus on averting the Jewish right to settle across Jerusalem. Of course, this ethnically based distinction is not “apartheid” – after all, we are dealing with Jewish settlers who are racist and “fascist.”
However, one cannot have it both ways. Those who object to Jews residing in Zion are not deserving of being called “Zionists,” period. I’m not going as far as claiming that the leftists “forgot what it means to be Jewish,” as one political leader once famously whispered. Yet many of Saturday’s protestors certainly forgot that Zionism views the state as Jewish. Aspiring for a “state of all its citizens” on the ruins of the Jewish State is not Zionism.
On top of this, I would expect organizations that refer to themselves as “leftist” to deal with a few more issues besides the settlements. Social justice, for example. I do realize that some leftists work for the sake of human rights, and hence I will try to focus my point: Social justice that is not only reserved to Arabic speakers, foreign workers, and Sudanese. For example, how about mortgage victims? Gaza evacuees still stuck in mobile homes? Social workers and teachers who barely surpass the line of poverty? Well, no way.
After all, the leftist camp in Israel is mostly made up of elites and well-established individuals. For these people, there is no urgency in protesting on behalf of the weak.
As one who espouses humanistic values, I would like to see a real Zionist Left in Israel. A leftist camp that resembles the historic Mapai party more than it does the Adalah organization; a leftist camp that will also sanctify matters of education and welfare and not only the industry of hatred towards settlers.
To my regret, the “Zionist Left” forgot what it means to be Zionist. Even worse than that – it forget what it means to be leftist.