Zionism deserves redemption

Uzi Darwiche/ Contributing Writer 

Gaza, Israel, Settlements, West Bank, Palestinians; when you hear any one of these words, what’s the first thing you think of?

Most of us would probably begin thinking of war, riots and terrorism, right?

But each of these titles are more than just words. They have meaning to amazing individuals on both sides of the fence.

Take it from me. I have been to Palestinian camps and I have spent time in Israel.

I’ve listened to beautiful people on the Arab side and the Israeli side. I chose to call myself a Zionist not because of my Jewish heritage since I am also half Arab; rather it was an educated decision.

People often blame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the ideals of Zionism, and in fact, it was the United Nations which labeled Zionism as a form of racism in 1975.

Since then, the word has become synonymous with the terms “colonialism, racism, apartheid and terrorist regime.”

I recall a conversation on the matter with a Lebanese friend.

When I asked them if they could define Zionism for me, they did not know how to respond.

It is clear to me that most people have no idea what Zionism really is. They only know what they hear via media sound bites.

Please allow me to enlighten you with the simple answer.

Zionism is, “the movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl and was later led by Chaim Weizmann,” according to Google Dictionary.

In a nutshell, Zionism is simply the belief that the Jewish people deserve a national homeland of their own, just like any other people – and yes, including the Palestinian people.

If you believe that Jews have the right to their own country just like the Palestinians or anyone else in the world, congratulations, you are a Zionist.

My point is, Zionism is not racism in any way.

It is an ancient dream of an exiled people to one day return to their homeland and escape antisemitism and the crushing persecutions our people were subjected to for nearly two millennia.

“Zionism to me is a liberation movement, identity, security, and the idea that Jews have a real home. It is not an anti-Palestinian movement,” said Meyer Grunberg, president of Shalom at FIU.

“It came in response to the pseudo-equality granted to Jews. After the Holocaust, the world finally woke up to the real dangers of antisemitism. The idea of self-defense took on a whole new meaning. Thanks to Israel and Zionism, the phrase Never Again has never been truer.”

Every year at the Passover table our grandparents sang of the prophetic return to Zion.

Jews are just as indigenous to the Middle East as Arabs, Druze, Kurds and other groups of people.

To say Israel does not have a legitimate right is to deny Jews a homeland, now that is racist.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo retrieved from Flickr.

Be the first to comment on "Zionism deserves redemption"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.