To read Dan’s original post, click here.
To read Dean Holo’s response, click here.
In response to Dr. Holo’s, assertion that many in my generation do not identify with the foundational Zionist claim, I ask why should we be? I’m not entirely certain to whom Dr. Holo believes we should be addressing “our Zionist assertions with sufficient confidence, information and conviction.”
The world’s most prominent anti-Zionists—those who reject the foundational Zionist claim—are not amongst the ranks of those with whom we find ourselves arguing about Israel on a regular basis; rather, they reside in Tehran and Cairo and Riyadh and Ramallah. And the folks in those towns are not going to be convinced of the foundational Zionist claim any time soon.
Instead, the key aspects of the current political conversation in the West surrounding Israel are the peace process with the Palestinians, the continued occupation of the West Bank, and the appropriate response to the Iranian nuclear program. While the Palestinians, Iranians, and the other nations of the Arab and Muslim world may continue to question Israel’s right to exist, they are not party to our Western debates.
In New York and Berkeley and Amsterdam and Paris, I don’t believe that most people question Israel’s right to exist as must as they question Israel’s many misguided political and military decisions. And they are further skeptical as to Israel’s continued insistence that it is in constant existential peril. Instead, they see an Israel with the strongest military in its region and a burgeoning—if inequitable—economy.
The fact of the matter is that the Jewish state that was dreamed of for centuries is a fact. A fact on holy ground. Most of us accept, embrace, and even cherish this reality. Our challenge then is to ensure that the state founded on this holy ground continues to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, a country that lives up to the lofty ideals that the first Zionists imagined this place could embody.
Israel exists. Perhaps I’m naïve, but I don’t see that changing any time soon. Thus we must look towards its future, not back at its past.
Dan Ross is a first year student at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.