Why the “Social-Justice” Movement Has No Room for Zionists

Why the “Social-Justice” Movement Has No Room for Zionists

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February 28, 2019

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Some liberal and leftist pro-Israel activists have recently tried to fit themselves into the ranks of the various groups fighting for “social justice,” on the grounds that Zionism is an effort to create a home for the Jews after they were subjected to many centuries of oppression. Such an effort, their logic goes, should receive high esteem from those who want above all to help the oppressed. Unfortunately, writes Sharon Goldman, today’s left can never accept Zionism:

[A]s these well-intentioned pro-Israel groups are discovering, intersectionality—the new framework for social-justice movements and the religion of the progressive left—is inherently irreconcilable with Zionism. Pro-Israel groups will fail in their attempts at inclusion precisely because Israel did not fail in its efforts to reverse the condition of the Jew in history. Within the social-justice movement, there is no place for an ideology or an identity that is premised on the idea that Jews will no longer be victims. . . .

While intersectional groups may argue that their problem with Zionism is Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, their real issue with Israel, and by extension with pro-Israel activists, is that they are not only no longer oppressed and homeless but strong, powerful, and independent. Within contemporary social-justice movements, power is seen as inherently corrupt, regardless of whether it is used for defense or domination, for overcoming odds or oppressing others. Outdated denunciations of “Western imperialism” are used by activist groups to reduce complicated issues to a simple calculation: power equals injustice. . . .

If groups focused on Jewish and Israeli issues want to be part of this new progressive intersectional movement, they will have to reject everything that Jews, as a minority group, have learned over the past century about navigating the American political system. They will be required to highlight the continued oppression and victimhood of the Jewish people and others, rather than embracing Zionism’s focus on the positive uses of power.

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