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Who is Zionism truly for?

By Victor Samoylenko

Contributor


I was born in Israel to immigrant Soviet parents. Despite being Jewish, my family was rejected by Israeli society. Unfortunately, my experience was light in comparison to that of non-white Jews.


Take the “Yemenite Children Affair” for an example: In the 1950s, as Jewish refugees came to Israel, newborn Yemenite children were kidnapped by Israeli authorities and put up for adoption in Ashkenazi families, as Malin Fezehai reports in the New York Times. The official estimates say about 1000 children were abducted, but activists estimate the numbers to be around 4500 children. This (mis)treatment of Arab Jews is not in the interest of all Jewry. Contradictions such as these would make me question Israeli state propaganda and planted a seed of doubt in me that slowly bloomed into a quest for truth.


Take the abhorrent treatment of Ethiopian Jews in Israel: police brutality, poverty, systemic wage discrimination, the denial of their Judaism, and the alleged non-consensual sterilizations of Ethiopian women. These claims were reported on by Israeli outlets such as the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, as well as the BBC and the Guardian. 


Outside of Israel, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which is regularly cited as a source on anti-semitic hate crimes, repeatedly focuses energy on defaming any group that shows solidarity with Palestine, equating criticism of Israel with antisemitism – even when done by Jewish groups! This has not only the effect of smearing the Palestinian struggle for liberation but also cheapens the actual antisemitic violence that Jews can be subjected to.


The ADL also collaborates with the same far-right conspiracists it claims to defend Jews against, if only to prop up Israel: in late 2023, Elon Musk agreed with a conspiracist tweet that claimed that Jews hate white people and he has blamed the ADL for his loss of advertising revenue (which plays into the “Jews control the media” stereotype). Yet, the ADL decided to maintain its advertising on Musk’s platform. Additionally, Jonathan Greenblatt (CEO of ADL) praised Musk for banning the slogan “from the river to the sea” on X (formerly Twitter). The ADL does not mind continuing to advertise and thus giving money to the increasingly violent social media platform, as long as it can continue using it to push its Zionist agenda. 


Via Voixjuivesmtl


Finally, some of the most staunch American supporters of Israel are Evangelical Christians, who are deeply antisemitic. The founder of CUFI (Christians United for Israel), John Hagee, who is a close ally of Netanyahu, believes that Hitler was a “half-breed Jew-” which is untrue- sent by God to drive Jews to Israel, and blames anti-semitism on Jews themselves, rather than on the long history of persecution by Christians. But, because of Hagee’s support for Israel, the heads of the Zionist project are glad to have him as an ally, regardless of the dangerous rhetoric he espouses.


With all this in mind, I became convinced that Israel never truly represented the interests of Jews.


So, I ask Zionist Jews: do you really think these are the people who will keep you safe? You do not need to answer, because the truth is obvious: they will throw you under the bus as soon as you’re no longer useful pawns in the settler colonial project.

I have come to the conclusion that Zionism is not for Jews, because I understood that it would never reconnect us to our diverse cultures – it seeks to homogenize us. It destroys the uniqueness of each diaspora group as it has done to Mizrahim.


Zionism is not for Jews – it needs antisemitism to exist in order to perpetuate itself.


Zionism is not for Jews – it flattens millennia of Jewish history and heritage; it is but a speck of dust that claims to encompass our totality as a people.


Zionism is not for Jews - it makes us into the same kind of ‘ordinary people’ who caused the destruction of six million Jews and many other “undesirables”.


It is time we divest from Zionism, and recognize the horrors that it is responsible for. It is time to question why so many of us are taught to be loyal to Israel from a young age. It is time to imagine a world where Jews do not need a foreign, militarized nation-state to feel safe, where we heal from the intergenerational trauma that is being weaponized in order to make us hate Palestinians.


It is time to make that world a reality, and it will be achieved by standing in solidarity with Palestinians, not with war profiteers.

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