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October 19, 1984 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-10-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday,: October 19„, 1984

11- 1,E;PETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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COMMENT

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Are tenets of Zionism's founders
applicable in Israel after election?

BY UZI NARKISS
II Political movements, like
people, tend to develop inconsis-
1 tencies and paradoxes as they
1 -grow older. Yet to rationalize the
past and to regard contradictions
(indulgently can also be danger-
1 1;)us. This can be true both in
Zionism and in Israel.
It is 87 - years since the first
Zf-onist Congress in Basle.
Theodor Herzl, who had many il-
,?rusions, also possessed a wonder-
(f,a gift of learning from experi-
;E.i-ice, of rethinking programs
1 , which failed, and drawing the
Inecessary conclusions. He once
I believed the Jews should decide
Ion collective assimilation.
_ Having become Palestine-
1 3r; -nted, he first put his trust in
( rich donors like Baron Hirsh and
"I Baron Rothschild to establish a
'I refuge for the Jews there. Only
when he realized the futility of
',these measures did he turn to the
'II Jewish masses and found a demo-
L7ratic, world-wide Zionist organ-
(ization — today's World Zionist
Organization.
A few weeks after the elections
to Israel's 11th Knesset, what
first conclusions can be drawn
fr,.)in their conduct and results?
The real paradox is that the two
inajor political parties failed to
convince the electorate that
it.` her of them should lead the
country.
The followers of David Ben-
Gurion and those of Zeev
Jabotinsky both failed to per-
the voters that only they
- suade
,--,
had the answer. Neither Labor
Zionists nor Revisionists were
i stL e that their ideology could win
1 ,-eriough votes to give them a clear
mandate to form a government.
- So instead, they fudged on
I ideology and paid enormous sums
Ac- advertising agencies to com-
pose
nonsense, jingles on their
,
—Pilaff. The voters, their intelli-
gence insulted and their thirst for
Clear programs frustrated,
punished the two big parties and
increased the strength of the
smaller ones at both ends of the
political spectrum.
In the long run this re-
e_tablishes the legitimacy of
ideology. It may even halt the
headlong rush to so-called "nor-
malization" and the hoopla of
American-style politics. The TV
advertising of both large parties
tended to feature comedians in-
'tead of leaders sharing their
r‘4Sion with the prospective sup-
' porter in a serious and believable
style.
Slogans are important but they
can't come in place of ideology and
programs. The electors seemed to
catch on and many voted against
ii!emmicks, against PR people and
for the smaller but more authen-
tic factions, Shinui and the Civil
Rights Movement together in-
creased their vote by 90 percent,
› mainly at the expense of the
-
Alignment.
—, Meanwhile, in the short run
F-1;1-1is election had negative aspects
there were some anti-
' n
Zionist and pseudo-Zionist gains.

:

Narkiss heads the WZO
Department of Information. He
commanded the troops which
liberated the city of Jerusalem., in
967.

In my opinion, anti-Zionism is the
less dangerous of the two because
it does not wear a mask.
The Communist Party and the
Progressive List for Peace, most of
whose voters are Arabs, are quite
clearly not Zionist ideological
movements. They have altogether
different agendas. This is also
partly true of Agudat Yisrael, all
of whose members are Jews, and
its new Sephardic counterpart,
Shas.
They do not believe in the
Zionist solution to the Jweish
problem for they are above all
concerned with Judaism as an Or-
thodox way of life. (Meanwhile,
they are supposed to wait for sov-
ereignty until God, in his good
time, will bring about the end of
Galut.)

The strength of
authentic Zionism
remains what it was
when Herzl convened
the Zionist Congress
democracy."

More dangerous is that one
man, representing a racist fascist
ideology and masquerading as
super-Zionist and super-religious,
was elected to the Knesset. This is
perilous for Jews the world over,
because it confirms Arafat's libel
that Zionism equals racism. It is
cause for alarm within Israel be-
cause it proclaims that if democ-
racy is not compatable with
Judaism or Zionism, as this one
Knesset member interprets a
Jewish state, then democracy is a
luxury that must go.
The Arab citizens of the state,
he says, must be expelled. In his
misuse of Jewish history, he keeps
exploiting the Holocaust and
screaming "never again." He
overlooks the lesson that
whenever a country starts by op-
pressing a minority, it goes on to
oppress on a larger scale. Who,
more than we Jews, know this to
be a painful and murderous truth?
Herzl did indeed overlook the
Arab problem. He once said that
the taste of Zionism was to bring a
people without a land to a land
without people. The Zionist
movement quickly realized that
there were Arabs in that back-
ward and desolate corner of the
Turkish Empire called Palestine
and that the country would have
to be shared in one way or an-
other. The debates in the Zionist
movement were about the
superior moral right of the Jewish
claim.
There is not and has never been
any responsible stream within the
Zionist camp that wanted to
"throw the Arabs into the sea."
Neither Labor Zionists, nor Gen-
eral Zionists, nor Orthodox
Zionists, nor Revisionist Zionists
supported this wild and irres-
ponsble idea.
In the evidence which Re-
visionist leader Jabotinsky, the
spiritual father of today's Herut
party, presented before the Pales-
tine Royal Commissier in London
in Fet "nary 1937, he said: arn.

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reputed to be an enemy of the
Arabs who wants to have them
ejected from Palestine, and so
forth . . . I have shown you in our
submission that there is no ques-
tion of ousting the Arabs. On the
contrary, the idea is that Pales-
tine on both sides of the Jordan
should hold the Arabs . . . and
many millions of Jews. What I do
not deny is that in the process the
Arabs of Palestine will necessar-
ily become a minority . . ."
Only a pseudo-Zionism over-
looks today's realities or worse
still, seeks to create a "new
reality" by forced expulsion of the
minority. To promulgate this
view in Israel's Knesset is to deny
Israel's Declaration of Indepen-
dence which specifically ensures
"complete equality of social and
political rights to all its inhabi-
tants irrespective of religion, race
or sex."
The strength of authentic
Zionism remains what it was
when Herzl convened the Zionist
Congress — democracy. Zionism
is the arena which legitimates de-
bate between all the trends and
streams. Differing visions of what
the Jewish state is (and what it
should become) can contend with
one another and the disagree-
ments sharpen ideological ap-
proaches and pluralism. Those
who cannot, or will not, submit
their ideas to open debate have no
room within its halls. Neither do
those who deny the foundations
on which Israel and Zionism are
built. Zionism and racialism can-
not co-exist.
The State of Israel is the child of
the WZO. In many ways this child
has outstripped the mother who
was pregnant with the idea of a
Jewish state for 50 years. Is the
parental role now limited to sit-
ting back indulgently and deriv-
ing "naches," or to making occa-
sional criticism?
There are more demanding
tasks left. The unfinished agenda
of the Zionist movement is to
attend to four "wilderness" areas
which constitute Zionism's "out-
back": they are aliyah, Jewish
education, land settlement and
Zionist information. How each of
these four central is on our
agenda is tackled is greatly influ-
enced by one's-ideology.
This writer's preference, or
rather priority, goes to aliyah, for
everything else depends on it. But
two comments are in place here:
first, I sincerely believe that in all
four areas, increased cultivation
is imperative; second, I am pre-
pared to be convinced that side by
side with my approach, opposing
views are equally valid. The
arena for this ideological debate is
within the ranks of the WZO.
This then is not a time for
rationalization or indulgence,
neither as regards the role of
Zionism nor concerning the les-
sons of Israel's elections. A ma-
ture analysis of both can only
strengthen the pluralism and
ideological clarity which should
accompany all Zionist endeavor,
and the genuinely democratic
anti-racist nature of Israel
society. These are some of the les-
sons which Zionists can draw from
our more distant .and from our
r(v)re recent history.

Wo,-1,-.1 Zionist Press Service

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