Last week I opened the papers and finally had reason to sigh in relief. A panel headed by retired Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy has determined that Israel is not an occupying power. The bothersome international law that insists that Israel’s colonization of the West Bank is illegal simply doesn’t apply: All settlements are legal!
All our feelings of guilt were misguided: we can relax. We didn't steal land; we never did anything wrong. Soon Israel will annex the West Bank and reach the River Jordan at least, and it will include the biblical sites of Shekhem, Hebron, Shiloh and many others.
Never mind that a whole range of legal experts think that the Levy Commission’s conclusions do not make any legal sense; never mind that political commentators warn that if the committee’s recommendations are applied, Israel’s isolation will reach unprecedented levels. It’s final: The settlements are legal!
After the initial joy and sigh of relief, I was perplexed: doesn’t the Levy Commission imply that we will soon annex the West Bank and hence welcome at least 2.5 million new Palestinian citizens? And doesn’t this, just maybe, create a little problem with the Israel’s Jewish character? The Levy Commission was carefully selected to contain only jurists with impeccable right-wing credentials; settlers keep applauding its conclusions, so it must be very Zionist! And doesn’t a good Zionist want Israel to be Jewish?
I then realized that I have to read just a number of my stupid misconceptions about what it means to be Zionist. Until now I had thought that a good Zionist wants Israel to be Jewish and democratic. I had also been taught that are there really bad people called post-Zionists who say Israel must not be a Jewish state but the state of all its citizens. And, I was told, that these people were incurably ill with a psychiatric condition and are known as self-hating, leftist Jews.
Now I realized that I got it all wrong, and here is my guide for the perplexed about the new, upgraded Zionism 2012. It’s simple: You just need to combine the Levy Commission's findings with Israel’s Declaration of Independence that states that Theodor Herzl is the “spiritual father of the Jewish state.”
That’s great, because I have actually always kind of liked Herzl. He was a bit of a dreamer, but his vision was definitely humane and appealing. He thought that Jews had suffered enough from bigotry and discrimination and that Jews should show the rest of the world how a truly liberal country should be run. And he insisted that there would be full equality for Arabs in the Jewish state.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence also says that the state of Israel “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”
Combine Israel’s Declaration of Independence, to which the settlers and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu certainly adhere, with the conclusions of the Levy Commission and you get Zionism 2012.
Zionism 2012 says as follows: There are really bad people who want Israel to be the democratic homeland of the Jews; that’s why they insist on a two-state solution, to preserve a Jewish majority in Israel. Otherwise, they think, Israel could not be both homeland of the Jews and democratic. These, I now understand are anti-Zionists.
The Levy Commission, the settlers, and Netanyahu are the real Zionists, Model 2012. They have realized that the idea of maintaining a Jewish majority is old-fashioned. They want Israel to be a multi-ethnic state with a mixed population and no Jewish majority. They want it to be the state of all its citizens. I thought this was post-Zionism, but I was wrong.
Because Yisrael Beiteinu Lieberman wants a loyalty oath for Israeli citizens, I now swear allegiance to my revised Zionist faith defined by Netanyahu, Levy and the settlers: I solemnly declare that Israel is the country of all its citizens; I no longer believe that it should be a Jewish state. This was a bad idea to begin with: it prevented a separation of religion and state and it was on the verge of turning Israel into a theocratic ethnocracy.
I have converted to Zionism Model 2012, and I want to thank our great leader Benjamin Netanyahu and the settlers for curing me of the misguided idea of a Jewish state.
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