Saturday, June 14

Is Zionism good for Israel?

This is an open -ended question – perhaps a provocative question! Zionism is a movement promoting the return of Jews to Israel and rebuilding it. Today Zionism has lost its relevance. An ideology that is very much alive in the Diaspora can be found in the smoke-filled living rooms of wealthy Jewry, who do not even intend to make the move to Israel. They are the diamond-studded Zionists who are involved in lavish fund raising parties for causes that are often negative towards Israel’s well being. The sponsors are not aware of it due to naivety or burying their jewel-bedecked necks in the sand.

The causes that are supported by these souls are causes that are concerned with furthering Israel’s occupation and maintaining the racist right wing settler movements in the occupied territories. These settlers are imbued with a religious Zionist fanaticism that is bent on destroying Palestinian agricultural lands and forcing Palestinians out of their homes to make way for Jewish settlement. The diamond-studded Zionists of the US are supporting this insidious Zionism. This is the Zionism that the Palestinians view as mainstream and as a form of racism which undoubtedly it is.

The collection of funds at these Zionist extravaganza affairs in the US somehow portrays the opulence of the wealthy Jewish sympathizers of Israel. The “who’s who” in wealthy Zionist bodies seeks the honour and a photo opportunity to show their presence. They want press exposure at almost any price. While in Israel, there is almost no mention of World Zionist Congress activities in the local press. The average, secular Israeli is not concerned with Zionism which further proves its irrelevance today. People who need Zionism are Jews who seek an ideal identity with Israel. This is the Israel of their dreams. The reality is different.

These wealthy Zionists also use their money to influence Israeli politics. They give much money to Israeli political parties for their election campaigns. This is despicable! It has also created a problem with PM Ehud Olmert and his “godfather” Morris Talansky who had been giving money to him in the form of loans for his mayoral campaigns, luxury hotel bills, cigars and who knows what else. He footed the bills for Olmert’s high living expenses on his visits to the US.

Today wealthy American Zionists try to interfere in Israel’s internal affairs. Money talks, and much money talks incessantly. This is neither in Israel’s interests nor in the interests of peace with the Palestinians. Money could better serve the interests of peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbours. Instead of financing corrupt Israeli political parties, the funds could be diverted to encourage joint Israeli-Palestinian peace projects which are positive for both peoples who are unable to cease the cycle of violence. So much could be done to improve the standard of living of Palestinians including the creation of jobs. Instead, Zionist fundraising is used to perpetuate a society whose face is towards the continuation of the occupation rather than moving towards a two state solution or a binational state solution depending on what the people desire.

The more money that wealthy Zionists donate the more corruption in high places occurs. Many of these “charities” or “good causes” do not help Israel at all. They are a salve to the conscience of the armchair wealthy Zionists in the Diaspora. If the monies were channeled into improving the living standards of Palestinians in the occupied territories, extremist Palestinian terrorist groups would not have the fertilizer of hate to carry out terrorist activity. Funds should never be donated to partisan Israeli politics to maintain the high standard of living of party political hacks of which there is no shortage.

Most Zionists will disagree. They will say that it is the responsibility of the Arab states to help the Palestinians and alleviate their suffering. Reality does not allow money from Arab countries to enter Israel for the purpose of Palestinian rehabilitation. Israel is still technically at war with most of its Arab neighbours with the exception of Egypt and Jordan. It would not allow money from Arab countries to reach the Palestinians for fear that it would be used to promote terrorist activity. If this is the case, the onus lies on Israel to improve conditions for the Palestinians because they are the occupiers. In other words, the Palestinians under occupation have become Israel’s responsibility. Israel squandered much money on the occupation and encouraged illegal settlements at the expense of Palestinian suffering which deteriorated even further.

The fund raising activity of Diaspora Zionists does not even reach Israelis (Jewish and Arab citizens alike) who are poverty stricken or who are under stress. Is this kind of Zionism good for Israel?

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