Zionism is not racism
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 04:10
Recently there was an event sponsored by a student organization on campus that hosted a prominent, in my opinion Anti-Zionist and Anti-Israel, speaker. Dr. Mark Braverman, who recently wrote a book, entitled “Fatal Embrace,” which claims anti-Semitism as merely an excuse Jewish people use.
Before I continue any further I’m going to cite a portion of text from his own website that states his view on anti-Semitism: “To our Christian sisters and brothers I say — do not, out of a sense of guilt for anti-Semitism, give the Jewish people a free pass.”
The struggle of the Jewish people is great and still continues. The threat of anti-Semitism is alive and well. Just because we don’t see it overtly doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
In my opinion, Braverman’s writings in reference to his background are startling and shocking. As a Jewish student here at the University of Toledo, I’m even more uncomfortable now, knowing these kinds of hate-filled thoughts are being spread to our students.
He continues on in his theories and writings and pushes the bar even further to say that “to make this mistake, to allow yourselves to be – I will use the word – bullied by the threat of the charge of anti-Semitism, is to commit a pernicious fallacy. As Jews we sought political self-determination, and we got it. Now we must behave in accordance with principles of justice.”
This just further illustrates that Braverman’s mad philosophy desecrates the importance and the nature of anti-Semitic ideology and its impacts. Trivializing the consequences of anti-Semitic policies and philosophy only makes it a more prevalent voice of hatred.
I will attempt to understand why Braverman and supporters of his thinking would make such wild assertions.
The Central Zionist Archives, a sub-organization of the World Zionist Organization, affirms that in the late 19th century, the Zionist movement was a response to the rising anti-Semitism in Europe, particularly against Ashkenazi Jews. The Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl formalized the political movement in 1897 with the First Zionist Congress (WZO).
At that time, the movement sought to encourage Jewish migration to a Jewish homeland. It’s become widely agreed upon that Zionism is the movement of the Jewish people and the Jewish culture to return to its roots back in Israel.
This is a very condensed version of Zionism. Arguably — and this point is used many times by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic scholars — the Holocaust was the driving force for the creation of Israel.
Braverman makes the argument that Jewish organizations as well as the culture itself merely “uses” the Holocaust as a justification of Jewish influence. He said that “the Nazi Holocaust in particular casts its shadow over our modern history and the history of the State of Israel. The Nazi’s campaign to eradicate world Jewry has become part of our uniquely Jewish ‘Liturgy of Destruction,’ the way we Jews throughout the ages have made sense of our suffering by turning to the broader context of Jewish history.
From this matrix of vulnerability, victimization and meaning-making comes the Zionist cry, ‘Never again!’”
The good doctor must have forgotten his heritage in that he seems to assume the Holocaust was the only tragedy that befell the Jewish people. This isn’t the first time the Jewish people have been killed or singled out for what they believe in or just because they’re Jewish; I can cite historical events from the Spanish Inquisition to the Crusades.
The trivialization of the Holocaust as well as other traumatic events in Jewish history not only allows for the spread of anti-Semitic philosophies around the world, but also here at home and at UT.
It worries and frightens me that there are people who take his work as meaningful. As a Jewish student, I’m frightened. I’m frightened not only for the future of the Jewish people, but for other marginalized groups.
If Braverman is so passionate about his cause, then his trivialization of such a tragedy in human history would make me doubt any semblance of his intentions for a meaningful sense of reason.
Maxwell Gold is a senior studying philosophy.