Being a Zionist means a variety of things to different people, but the one thing that is true to all Zionists is that Israel has a right to exist.So being Pro Palestine does not inherently make you an anti-Zionist.And being a Zionist does not inherently make you an anti-Palestine. Equally, no one is being Anti-Semitic or Islamaphobic by being either Pro-Palestine or Zionist. There are Racists, Anti-Semites and Islamaphobes who are found in every ideology, creed and culture and these are separate concerns that we must be vigilant in stopping and opposing wherever we find them.With me so far? Anyone who advocates a 2, or more, state solution, as does Jeremy Corbyn, is inherently Pro-Palestine and a Zionist - although they may not self identify as such and this should be recognised and respected.
Where things get muddy:
Fundamentalists on both side of the conflict are anti the existence of the other state. They believe in a one state solution.
For one state Zionists this eventually means a future where Israel expands its settlements to create ‘facts on the ground’ – communities of Israelis in all of Israel Palestine, such that the local Palestinian communities are totally occupied with Israeli’s living in every community and Israel becoming a total apartheid state. They also hope that Palestinians leave Israel through coercion or blind hope.
For one state Pro-Palestines this eventually means either a right to physical return for all Palestinians including all hereditary refugees, leading to a majority of Palestinians who would vote out Israel’s Judaism by majority rule or in the worst case scenario based on fundamentalist language "push all Israeli’s into the sea and an end to Israel people".
There is a sliding scale from Fundamentalism to Progressionism and both sides are responsible. Even from progressive elements we are responsible for pointing the finger at the other’s fundamentalists and saying (paraphrased)
– “you aren’t really progressive because look at your fundamentalists, and if you cant denounce them then you are not progressive at all.” Neither side is in a beneficial position to do this because they represent broad churches of groups who are on a sliding scale between fundamentalists and progressives and have been taught that legitimising the other side weakens their own side.
To that extent there is a broad church here too, there are anti-zionists who are anti the existence of Israel, as they believe that legitimising Israel’s existence inherently delegitimises Palestinianism. There are other forms of anti-zionism that are more legitimate, such as a non-seclective case against all nations wanting self determination, all nations who have religious and state overlap or all nations who want their own borders / to choose who enters the country. As long as this is non selective, in that they would apply the same standard to other countries & states with similar elements, then this criticism is legitimate.
Sadly many Zionists and Pro-Palestines don’t affiliate with the other side in this conflict and would not say that they are both – they would promote one side only. There is a feeling that they must oppose everything that gives the other side more legitimacy. This is in part because of a mistaken idea that the narrative of realising peace means legitimising only one team. But this isn’t like football, which is more like war, where if one side wins the other has to lose.
This is unlike competitive sport. This is about an end to war and a peaceful solution. This is about co-operativism, about humanism and about lasting peace, innovation and progress. For this peaceful narrative to work, both sides can be listened to which means granting both sides legitimacy. Because there are two stories representing two cultures both with legitimate and different claims and histories to and with the same area of land**.
I support Jeremy Corbyn's views and agree with what he has written in response to Labour Friends of Palestine http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news-comment/39-jeremy-corbyn/789-jeremy-corbyn-why-i-support-the-international-campaign-for-palestinian-human-rights. The majority of us do not accept one state solutions, and oppose one statism as it will necessarily mean that one culture loses its rights to the other’s realisation of theirs.
For Two+ state Pro-Palestines and Zionists this eventually means Palestine and Israel with their own states living side by side in peace with human rights and opportunities for prosperity extended over all and democracy present for all peoples. There could eventually be a host of reconciliation programs and trade and economic partnerships, but for any reconciliation to occur we need to start with both nations having their own states that they self-govern in peace.
Recently the Jewish Chronicle, a weekly national community newspaper published a letter we wrote in support of Jeremy and called us Anti
– Israel activists. We are not amused by this and some of us are deeply troubled that the Jewish Chronicle thinks this is acceptable. It is very possible to be actively Pro-Palestine and Zionist - just look at the Meretz party in Israel which won 5 seats at the last election who are exactly this. (More power than the UK Green Party)
Yoni is a filmmaker, a Zionist, a Palestinianist, a Jew, a British Humanist & a Labour Party member.
He also holds dual citizenship of Israel & UK. He wrote this statement expressing why he supports Jeremy Corbyn.
He is a co-founder of J-voice and regular writer for the website.