In his latest column, Uri Avery writes:
If one speaks in Israel of “Zionism”, one means “not Arab”. A “Zionist” state means a state in which non-Jewish citizens cannot be full partners. Eighty percent of Israel’s citizens (the Jews) are telling the other twenty percent (the Arabs): the state belongs to us, not to you.
The state constructs settlements in the occupied territories because it is Zionist. It builds in East Jerusalem because it is Zionist. It discriminates against its Arab citizens in almost every field because it is Zionist. It mistreats African refugees who manage to reach its borders because it is Zionist. There is no dastardly act that cannot be wrapped in the Zionist flag. If Dr. Samuel Johnson were living in Israel today, he would say “Zionism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.
The “Zionist Left” is also waving this flag in order to show how patriotic it is. In the past, it used it mainly to keep its distance from the radical left, which was fighting against the occupation and for the two-state solution. Nowadays, after the “Zionist Left” has itself adopted this program, it continues to wave the Zionist flag in order to differentiate itself from the “Arab” parties (including the Communist Party, 90% of whose voters are Arab).
In the name of Zionism, the “Zionist Left” continues to reject any possibility of including the Arab parties in a future government coalition. This is an act of self-mutilation, since it prevents in advance any possibility of the “Left” returning to power. That’s simple arithmetic. As a result, the “Zionist Left” has practically disappeared.
As for Zionism and Diasporics, Zionism is, admittedly, to implanted Diasporics, a sort of stolen stature. It is like hyphenated Americans who don’t even speak their ancestral tongue x 1000. There is much guilt for the ever adaptive, ever trying to “fit in” Diasporic driving him (often late in life) to seek some stature by sort of standing on a chair like Zionism and paying for it with cash and occasional public outpouring of fealty. But, of course, such Zionism gets you expertly extorted by the Israeli officials for whom extorting Diasporics is a specialty. Yet, it is a symbiosis and no one is forced to do it; proof is how many Diasporics are beginning to detach from the current extremist Zionist expansionism now running Israel. What is essential is not to confuse Zionism’s identity for Jews with Israel and Israeli patriotism. The latter is because you are Israeli, not because you are a Jew. We hyphenated Americans do feel affinity to our roots, but then we don’t undermine our adopted homeland for the sake of the other side of the hyphen; same, I’m very sure, for most Zionists I know…they feel free to criticize. Though it may not seem like it to some, it is the same with most Jews when push comes to shove. But to speak of a “Jewish” homeland instead of an “Israeli” homeland (Jewish or not) is to invite trouble for Diasporics long after they voted with their feet by NOT moving there. I only plead the case of not imposing on a Jew by faith the nationalist secular obligation to Israel that makes him a “security risk” in his own homeland where his loyalties lie despite all his strong affection for Israel as an ethnic identity figure. So I would conclude that it is totally acceptable for a Diaspora “Zionist” to decry Likud expansionism in concurrence with the American security interests implied by Gen. Petraeus and still be as attached to Israel like any other “Zionist.” Besides this, there are many very religious Jews who consider Israel a Biblical abomination or a moral one based on its policies. Would they be deemed less “Jewish” than Zionists?