Zionism to the nth degree

Celso Alvarez Cáccamo lxalvarz at UDC.ES
Tue Apr 8 00:50:58 UTC 2003

Dear Ron,

Thank you for your opinions. But using "nationalism" as an alternative to 
"Zionism" is also a "big basket", as you call it, and I don't think calling 
someone a "nationalist" amounts to something to be "condemned" per 
se.  There are all sorts of progressive nationalist movements in the world, 
side by side with imperialist nationalism, and so on.

>I would therefore refrain from directing criticism against Zionism at
>large and would suggest to make precise claims about fundamentalist,
>racist, and nationalistic positions of official Israeli representatives
>and policy makers.

Ron, my criticism was addressed to one such politician, Silvan Shalom.  But 
I don't understand why one should 'refrain' from criticizing Zionism in 
general, if by Zionism we understand the nationalist movement for Jewish 
people around the world to migrate to Palestine, buy lands, create a state, 
and (for some) expand. "Racist positions" does not capture all that (as 
Judaism itself is interethnic -- unless one sublimates Jewish "ethnicity"), 
and "nationalist" is too vague.

>You don't want to help maintain the myth that 
>anti-Israel=anti-Zionism=antisemitism, which is one of the strongest 
>claims supporting the national unity position of "the whole world is 
>against us".

No, of course I don't want to.  That is why one can characterize Silvan 
Shalom's discourse on two grounds: as Zionist, and as fundamentalist.  In 
short, he sounds to me as a fundamentalist Zionist.  Since Zionism is not 
consubstantial with Judaism, I don't know why calling someone a Zionist 
(whether critically, descriptively, wrongly or rightly) would amount to 
being anti-Jew or even to being anti-Israel. Much less to being 
"antisemitic", for that matter, which is the farthest position I could 
take: I defend the rights of all semitic peoples in the region.


Celso Alvarez Cáccamo
lxalvarz at udc.es

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