At first, this seems pretty straightforward — and accurate.
After all, you would expect it would take someone who is actually familiar with Zionism to really understand it and besides — the ‘definition’ of Zionism among the general population is going to be influenced by the “Zionism is Racism” crowd.
But that is not how people on Twitter saw it — and I am talking about the reaction from Jews and non-Jews sympathetic to Israel.
I’m not even criticizing individual comments; I’m just pointing this out as a phenomenon.
So instead of stopping there, here are some of the reactions.
Note, responses by Rafaella Gunz, who started the thread, are indicated by “RG”
Not necessarily [and away we go…]
As I said on this thread yesterday, I know people who aren’t Jewish but definitely get it. Your tweet is insulting to them which I hope is not your intention. We need all the friends we can get.
RG: They get it because they speak to Jews. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about goyim who make up definitions of it being about stealing land and killing people.
I don’t think you should generalise like that, some of us have been well taught
RG: I said “probably.” And I’m referring to goyim who make up definitions about it being about ethnic cleansing or land stealing. If that doesn’t apply to you, the tweet wasn’t about you.
What do you mean “probably”?
RG: Probably means probably.
Probably wrong, and definitely irrelevant.
What about if that definition comes from a Clown? And he/she/it could be a Noahide? Or, also maybe he could be like me, right now. Absolutely drunk? How much, bad/wrong it could be that definition my dear?
I’m a Gentile. I believe in Israel’s right to exist with secure borders without qualification. Are you going to cancel me?
I’m a Zionist & I understand Zionism but I’m not a Jew. Your comment saddens me.
What’s the definition?
RG: The belief of Jewish self-determination in our indiginous homeland
You can’t just kill other people who live there.
RG: Thaaats not in the definition. Thanks for proving my point.
You might as well say all Palestinians are terrorists which clearly they’re not- I say that as a Jew before you all pile in! But in all seriousness, and as I keep repeating; if people study, research history, they’re entitled to form an understanding of Zionism. Don’t diminish friends
Defining Zionism is as problematic and controversial as defining antisemitism. That should not come as a surprise. But just as Jews should be able to define what qualifies as Jew-hatred when we are attacked, we should also be respected enough to define our own movement to reclaim and live on our indigenous land — land that both European (Roman) and Muslim invaders conquered and colonized.
One of the concerns expressed is an appeal to an “open tent” — that we should do whatever is in our power to avoid turning away people who are potential allies.
Yes, there is some merit in the importance of not turning friends away, but we are talking here about a tweet, and even at that, a tweet that was qualified by the word probably. And even then, all that was being said is that some non-Jews are probably wrong. Not probably evil.
Other groups can say outsiders don’t get it. Just now, I did a search on the phrase “white people just don’t get it” and it got 112,000 hits. When I did a search on “white people don’t get it,” it got 837,000 hits.
I understand the sentiment, but I don’t think it should stop us from admitting the truth — and doing our part to educate Jew and non-Jew alike on what Zionism is.
Also, such a tweet is not an attack, let alone a threat to “cancel” someone. Jews did not go rioting in the streets when they were attacked on the streets of New York City and shot in their shuls. We have been working within the system. That claim borders on the “straw man” argument that criticism of Israel is accused of being antisemitic. Demonization of Israel is antisemitic, criticism is not. Not our fault that these days people don’t know the difference.
And if that ‘saddens’ them, that is OK. It is not personal, it is a reflection of the reality of the growing power of antisemites in the Democratic Party and among antisemitic groups that recognize their growing impunity to attack Jews and Israel with vicious labels and lies. If anything, we need to speak out more forcefully about that, not less.
Yes, people who “study and research history” are entitled to form their own opinions. But is that supposed to mean that if they don’t do the study and research, they are not entitled to their own opinions? The fact is on the one hand that people do not base their opinions on research, and on the other hand, even if they do their research — that doesn’t mean it is “correct” or that I have to agree with them.
Rafaella Gunz makes it clear that she was referring to non-Jews who actually twist and distort the meaning of Zionism. It is an important distinction.
The bottom line, it is great for Jews — and Israel — to have allies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those allies fully understand us or our love of Israel in the same way that we do. Maybe some do. It doesn’t matter.
Other groups have the right to have their history, culture and homeland respected — regardless of one’s ability to identify with them.
Jews deserve no less.
And we should say so.