Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Reaching out to the devil, or coming to terms with Zionism

Posted by worriedlebanese on 25/07/2008

It’s comes to no surprise that the Lebanese consider “zionism” as the vilest words in the dictionary. They find it so offensive and derogatory that they use it to silence their opponent when a discussion becomes heated (just as Europeans would use “fascist” or “nazi”).  

I did exactly that a couple of years ago when someone was advancing a certain electoral law for Lebanon. “But that’s a zionist strategy to eliminate minorities, that’s why it’s only found in Israel”, I told him.

The first time I met and listened to a zionist, I cannot tell you how suspicious I was of every word he said. Many ideas crossed my mind when I heard him speak: “This guy is up to something”, “he doesn’t want Peace, he just wants to get rid of the Palestinians”, “Peace Now should be rebranded “Jewish majority now and forever”… It took me almost a year to overcome my suspicion.

How did I do that? I started reading zionist literature. I tried to understand their outlook, why they were writing what they were writing… I also tried to see what the word (and concept) meant to Jews and Jewish-Israelis. I started discovering that all zionists do not think the same. Some are religious others are secular, some are leftists other are rightists, some were conscious of Palestinians others were oblivious to them…. And then I realised that zionism was just like any other nationalism:
It’s not necessarily bad. It’s not necessarily good either. It’s true that any nationalism runs the risks of turning xenophobic, chauvinistic, supremacist… especially in times of conflict. But that doesn’t mean it’s intrinsically evil.
So instead of denouncing zionism, which has proved to be counterproductive, why not accept it like a form of nationalism, and instead focus on denouncing its racist or exclusionary expressions.

Understanding is not approving.

7 Responses to “Reaching out to the devil, or coming to terms with Zionism”

  1. Sincerely… you’re truly one of a kind blogger!

    What I wanted to ask was… What would it take me to have you write for the inner circle?

  2. what exactly are you offering😉
    kidding. Thanks a lot for the compliment. I’ll try my best to interfere in your inner circle.

  3. […] when I heard him speak […] It took me almost a year to overcome my suspicion,” writes Worried Lebanese about understanding but not necessarily approving of Zionism. Posted by Moussa Bashir […]

  4. A novel idea Worried Lebanese. Back in university, I remember a guest professor who was giving a lecture on Middle Eastern affairs who stated that if we (Arabs and especially the Palestinians) read Hertzl’s Zionist dream, we will realize that it accurately depicts the Palestinians these days who need a homeland of their own in Palestine. What I am trying to say is that we need to read the literature of Zionists to see how we can combat it and it should be a part of our culture of understanding the arguments of the “other side”.

  5. adnaneo said

    Superb !!!

  6. souvenirsandscars said

    That’s a very interesting outlook, one I can honestly say I haven’t come across from another Arab regarding Zionism in particular. Ever. To be honest though, although this is something I would advocate with any other state, religion, or race, viewing Zionism or a Zionist state through unbiased, rose-tinted glasses isn’t something that comes easy. After sixty years of suffering I can honestly say I find it hard to ignore the bad in favor of finding the good. But that’s not to say I don’t agree with you. After all, if people where to look at Jews during Hitlers reign the way you ask us to view Zionists today, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with, eh? But that’s speaking idealistically of course…

  7. I don’t believe I’m advocating looking at zionism with rose-tinted glasses. I’m just saying that we should try to look at it as any other nationalism (not intrinsically evil or good). But this doesn’t mean condoning everything done in it’s name. But why condemn zionism and not the individual criminal acts done in its name?

    You speak of 60 years of suffering, so I gather you must be Palestinian. That’s very true, Zionism is responsible for the suffering of Palestinians, but so are most Arab governments, and even the Palestinian leadership. Why is that so? well because of the way they have dealt with the whole refugee issue. Is it compatible with basic human rights?

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