Anne Bayesfsky in OpinionJournal (the online version of the Wall Street Journal) in a recent column defined ‘anti-Zionism’ as “the denial to the Jewish people of an equal right to self-determination”.
Before I go further, you should keep in mind that I come from the Extremism view of political thought in which the best way to solve matters of territorial dispute is, Solomon-like, destroy the territory so that no one can have it.
Right. Remember, I said it was extremist. As such, under the slim chance that I would ever think to campaign for and actually be elected President (slim chance), the first thing I would do (after the huge party) is order the complete nuclear destruction of all disputed lands in the middle east.
I think my point is this – if you can’t play nice, no more toys for you.
Oh, but back to Bayesfsky. First of all, equating having your own country to the ‘equal right to self-determination’ for a group of people is a load of hogwash sprinkled with horse manure. Just because you have a group of people who share a faith or even a culture, doesn’t mean you get to have your own carved out peace of land.
If not, I’ve decided that all people with red hair (as I have) will henceforth band together and enforce our right to self-determination and create a new land called ‘Redsville’ (though, we may have to vote on the name), maybe somewhere in the heart of Montana or perhaps, even better, somewhere on the coast of the Mediterrean – someplace anyway where there’s some water most likely. And nice trees. And not too many hills. We will then conduct our red-haired rituals safe from the tyranny of the brunettes and the blondes.
But the Jews beat us to it. They have their own country called Israel. What other country can you name is comprised of citizens that are all identified with one, single religion? Um…. think about it for a moment. Keep thinking. If you guessed ‘United States – Christian’ – BIG BUZZER. If you guessed some Muslim country, like Iran, you may be correct.
I’m no expert on the Middle East. I’m no expert on Zionism. But, I am an expert on my own opinion, and that opinion is this – the more you carve out a physical space apart from everyone else and retreat to that space, the more isolated, in general, you become. If your survival depends upon you having your own clubhouse; if you can’t make it alongside people of other religions within the boundaries of secular societies, social Darwinism suggests that your days are numbered. No amount of military might is going to save you because… (you’ll see near the end of this entry)
Ahhhh, you say, but being Jewish isn’t necessarily about religion. It’s about ethnicity. It’s about a race of people. It’s about a personal identification with a certain culture.
Well, I say, that’s great for the time being, but if your reason for existence is to ensure that you never evolve, change, or bring in new ideas into your pantheon of ‘culture’ – in other words, if you are a protectionist – again I say unto you – you shall fail and die out like all other homogeny. Whether you are Zionist, fundamentally Christian, or dogmatically Islamic, the tide of others who share a common belief called ‘_______________’ [that idealogy that is constantly shifting and changing based on situational imperatives yet has no name] will swallow you into oblivion. It may happen quickly. It may happen slowly and it may happen by such miniscule increments that you will not realize it’s happening, but it will happen.
Generally, though, the idea of religion being a metaphysical thing, I think appeals to a lot of people. I think a lot of people like the idea that religion transcends boundaries of physical space. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Perhaps for some, the whole point of religion is to generate an excuse for political action that cleverly masks underlying motivations having nothing to do with religion per se (lust for power, for example – or, more innocuously, perhaps an existential ‘yearning to belong’).
But, let’s face it: religion, at its worst, becomes an excuse to get what you want. For example, if one can say that ‘God said it’, it gives your wants so much more importance and weight than simply saying – ‘Oh, gosh, you know what, I think I really would like this rock – so I’m taking it.’*
*The converse is also true for creating an allure of excitement over things that God says you can’t have – which is why ‘illicit’ sex is all the more exciting among Christians since you’re not supposed to do it.