It is a shameful lie to make opposition to 47-year military rule an issue of supporters or traitors of Israel.
The war in Gaza yielded a large crop of articles about Liberal Zionism. Suddenly numerous authors felt an urgent need to reject, redefine, defend or deconstruct a term that the vast majority of Israelis have never heard of.
However, Israelis are familiar with the same basic concept, except they call it the “Zionist Left,” or national left. They embrace the label “Zionism,” but unlike diaspora-based writers, don’t spend too much time trying to define it. I can’t recall anything like the floodtide of English LibZi articles in the Hebrew press any time recently.
That doesn’t bother me; as I’ve written, the term Zionism in Israel today has become a shell gutted of meaning, intended primarily to delegimize anyone who is not one. Finance Minister Yair Lapid took this to new heights when, in reacting to a kerfuffle this week over the cost of Israel’s beloved junk-food chocolate pudding – labeled those who sparked the protest “post-Zionists” and “anti-Zionists.” He was reacting to the (literal? figurative?) name of their Facebook group “Move [lit., ‘make aliyah’ - ds] to Berlin!” where the price of a similar product is lower. I wonder if the authors of the English LibZi articles are aware of this particular iteration of the concept in modern Israel as they search their Zionist identities?
Therefore, what I find more troubling is not the meaning Zionism, but the lack of clarity about what it means to be on the left in Israel.
What do Israelis mean when they talk about the “Left”?
In a lengthy Haaretz feature article about the less-savory aspects of Yitzhak (Bougie) Herzog’s political past, I noticed that Israel’s opposition leader was quoted discussing the constellation within Israel that supported Ehud Barak in the 1999 elections: “This camp, the peace camp, which today they like to call Left…”
Whatever he was implying, I’ll take that as a step in the right direction. At least the person who is supposed to offer an alternative makes a rhetorical link between the Left and peace.
Otherwise, standing on a sidewalk in any given Israeli town, one might not know what many...Read More