Response to Ken Bob's Piece at Forward.com
My Rosh Machaneh of Machaneh Bonim (camp director at a Habonim movement leadership camp that was in Hunter, New York that I attended in 1975) and current president of Ameinu (the new name of the Labor Zionist Alliance) wrote an opinion piece for the Forward. The following is my response. I have posted it as a comment on the Forward.com last night but it appears comments might not be working there at the current time.
Ken Bob makes two points:
- Progressive Zionists should be speaking up more.
- JVP doesn't have the right to participate in the Jewish communal dialogue about the Middle East. "It is ludicrous to suggest that one can be involved in the Jewish communal discourse about the future of the Middle East without having an opinion on whether Israel should exist."
I certainly agree with Ken's first point. It is his second point I take issue with.
I can't help but note the irony that progressive Zionists are against a loyalty oath in Israel but are willing to shut out Jewish voices from the American dialog based on a lack of ideological credentials.
I am a JVP supporter. I'm on the JVP's new Rabbinical Council. I support a two-state solution. I'm also a Zionist.
At JVP I'm happy to join forces with others who have different ideologies from me but who want to change Israel's course to bring justice to the Palestinians.
In my case my motivations to change Israel start with a love of Israel. I'm a follower of Gideon Levy of Ha'aretz who titled his Nov. 7, 2010 article, Dear American Jews, if you love Israel, criticize it.
I'm ashamed to be a Zionist and a Jew when the prime minister of Israel comes to the US to trade conditional/partial/time-limited settlement freezes for F-16s and written promises while West Bank Palestinians don't even have access to their own water (see Ha'aretz Nov. 23, 2010 A new way to embitter Palestinian lives).
I'm ashamed to be an American whose government entertains and encourages such swaps when we should be making demands of Israel to make concessions in the service of justice.
I'm ashamed to be a Zionist and a Jew when Israel perpetrated Operation Cast Lead by responding to evil with greater evil.
Being ashamed is not an act of self-hatred. It is a feeling which comes from pride and self-respect.
I recommend to readers to visit the Jewish Voice for Peace web site and read their commitments in full.