Home > Israel > Professor says ‘Zionism’ often mislabeled in debates

Professor says ‘Zionism’ often mislabeled in debates

HAIFA (Press Release)–“Zionism has one meaning: The establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, with an emphasis on the establishment of a state,” said renowned Israeli author Prof. A. B. Yehoshua at a conference at the University of Haifa that discussed “What is Zionism in the 21st Century?”.

Prof. Yehoshua opened his talk with criticism of current public discourse: “Zionism has become like ketchup – spread on everything. If you pull down strongholds – you’ve betrayed Zionism; if you’ve harmed Palestinians – you’ve betrayed Zionism. These are all important matters, but have nothing to do with the concept of Zionism. As soon as we blur the concept, we shoot ourselves in the foot and turn Zionism into a slingshot being thrown between political camps,” he said.

Zionism at its outset was a platform for different and sometimes conflicting world-views, he explained, and as it is not one particular world-view it cannot be considered an ideology. “Zionism was the remedy for one ailment: the Diaspora; the Jewish people cleaving to other peoples. The meaning of Zionism is our becoming normal, letting go of the Diaspora disease.”

Prof. Yehoshua added that since the State of Israel was established, the only expression of Zionism has been in the Law of Return: Anyone agreeing with it is Zionist, and anyone opposing it is not. “The U.N. did not grant a state to the 600,000 Jews living in the country in 1948, but to the entire Jewish people. Therefore, the Law of Return is an integral part of the Mandate given to us with the establishment of the state. As such, it is an ethical law and no one can say today that it can or ought to be done away with,” he added.

During the talk, Prof. Yehoshua also related to the tension between Israel and the Diaspora, claiming that Israel is the only place in the world where Judaism is total and not partial. “Zionism created the only place in the world where Jews govern Jews, and therefore every decision that we make and our every act are part of our total Jewish identity.”

He concluded with a vision for the future that seems quite realistic: “Even when human colonies will be living in space, there will be Jews amongst them; and they too will pray for ‘Next year in Jerusalem’; a Jewish Agency emissary will be sent to them, and he too will probably stay there after,” he concluded.

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Preceding provided by the University of Haifa

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