It's time to discuss Zionism in the media

2013-05-11 15:43

It's time to discuss Zionism in the media. For often Zionism is equated with Judaism which it's not as Zionists would have people believe,often lumping any critique of Zionism under the rubric of anti semitism. The media started discussing apartheid and broke it down to its crude elements and it was only then did public opinion turn the tide that heralded apartheid's downfall.

I don't believe that the media , in SA at least practices double standards which is indefensible, but absent any critique or discussion of Zionism it is typical of a standard of censorship in our country's journalism.

SA media are not talking to their readers about Zionism. They are not even attempting to describe the ideology that lies at the heart of the problem in Israel and Palestine. The media are never shy with their audiences about other movements of a religious character, from evangelism to opposition to stem-cell research to radical Islam. So why should they not be honest with them about Zionism?

We know more about that nebulous entity referred to as Al Qaeda than we know about Zionism.

What is Zionism? If you are an avid reader you will learn that it is a 115-year-old Jewish political movement that spearheaded the founding of Jewish state in Palestine because Jews were unsafe in Europe having been victims of a nazi inspired pogrom referred to as the Holocaust.

Many people conveniently duck any discussion about it saying that this is too complicated a concept to explain. Norman Finkelstein,author of 'Beyond Chutzpah', once joked that Zionism might as well be a hairspray and it’s irrelevant to any discussion that seeks to find a sustainable solution to the Palestinian imbroglio.

I don’t think so. Beliefs are very important; and South Africans have a right to know why so many Jews believe in the need for Israel at a time when this concept is warping every attempt to find and achieve peace in the Middle East. This is what I believe.

I also believe that the media refuses to explore the Zionist issue because it would involve a lot of squeamish self-interrogation as well as charges of anti-semitism on the part of Jews.

Imagine the Daily News having guest columnists belonging to the Jewish religion explaining what Zionism means to them. The acknowledgment of righteous Jewish views , I suspect, would make a lot of Jews uncomfortable, so the conversation is verboten.

But so long as these beliefs are not examined, and Israel and its supporters continue to play such a prominent role in shaping the contours of any discussion about Israel/Palestine, absent any discussion is bad for Jews. It allows people who are justifiably angry over US foreign policy for instance,to believe that all Jews support Israel, or suspect that Jews disguise their dual loyalty with misleading prescriptions often anchoring their discussion on the Holocaust.

I think all of us, especially Jews should be openly debating these matters; but they won’t till the belief question is raised by the mainstream media. There are signs that the ice is imperceptibly melting.

Zionism was a response that came out of the real condition of Jews in Europe in the late 19th and 20th centuries. What was it like being a Jew in Europe is very much relevant and germane to any discussion of what it is like being a Muslim post 911.

I am an SAfrindian victim of a nefarious racist ideology dubbed apartheid. In my lifetime Zionism has been a dangerous ideology for Palestinians and for the wider Middle East. Zionism has endorsed the Iron Wall strategy of militancy on Israel’s ever-moving borders. Zionism has created a new Sparta, just as the author of "Eichmann in Jerusalem,A Report on the Banality of Evil", Hannah Arendt predicted that it would in 1948 when she saw that Israel was born in war, and saw the purging of Palestinian refugees from the Jewish state to be.

The sooner we have this conversation, the greater diversity and understanding we will see in the greater SA community.We can form a strong and united bond and isolate Israel for human rights violations and , just as it happened to the Afrikaners, pressure Israelis it jettison a rabidly militant nationalist racist ideology that is only getting them deeper in the quicksand of a growing international public opinion.

Public discussion is what presaged the beginning of the end of apartheid. South Africans across the racial divide bravely wrote op-eds and rebuttals against apartheid with many sacrificing their lives and careers in the process. Imagine if they remained silent in the face of an odious form of an evil

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay

@jazlaw24

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