Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Jerusalem Feels Far Away

with 2 comments

by Weiner

I am a Zionist. As a result, I was aware that  it was Yom Ha’atzamaut earlier this week, aka Israeli “Independence Day,” aka Al Naqba, “The Catastrophe.” You don’t need to buy into any pomo bullshit to realize history carries different meanings to different people. I didn’t celebrate the holiday this year. Not because I don’t believe it’s cause for celebration. But mostly because I feel so removed from it.

I like to say that I never had a real political thought until the second intifadah broke out in 2000. My political views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain planted on the left of the Zionist fold: I support a two-state solution but I’m a strong critic of Israeli government policy, as well as the lack of pressure the US gov’t places on its Israeli ally to make peace.

Or at least, I used to be a strong critic. But for the past few years, I’ve felt more and more removed from the conflict. It doesn’t really seem to affect my life at all. It didn’t before either, but I felt it important. I went to rallies and panels. I wrote articles about it for my college paper. I particiapted in and later moderated an Arab-Jewish dialogue group on campus. I even went to Israel after I graduated to see if my future was somehow tied to that land.

It yet may be. But it doesn’t feel that way now. Not that I feel a particular spiritual attachment to my adopted country, the United States of America, or my home and native land, Canada. Frankly, I feel pretty distant from politics these days, but I sense that US domestic policy affects me far more than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I’m also sympathetic to the view, expressed by Tony Judt and others, that since I live in North America my opinion on Israeli government policy isn’t worth all that much. Like those other Diaspora Jews who have not made aliyah, mine is a weak Zionism.

But it is a Zionism nonetheless. I ferel an emotional attachment to Israel. I admire the people, the culture. I hope to go back again soon. But for now, Jerusalem feels very far away.


Written by David Weinfeld

April 22, 2010 at 23:38

Posted in Israel, Jews, Zionism

2 Responses

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  1. I still don’t understand the Zionist movement. And I’m not saying that critically, I just don’t get it. What’s different from that movement, and say, Native Americans or Mexicans claiming, say, California or Arizona? For example. I don’t see the difference, eitehr intellectually or spiritually, as far as Claim to Land. Or Africa. Or Chicago for that matter. I guess what’s the exception? So many peoples have Claims to Land. I have no problem with it really, but if you support one, it would seem, to keep your integrity, you’d have to support all. Or, you’re claiming either Exception or Exemption, or of course both. I’d really just like to understand.


    April 23, 2010 at 10:45

  2. […] certainly not in North America. I’ve written about this many times before on this very blog. The real threat is assimilation, intermarriage, low birthrates. We all know this […]

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