In my last blog, I wrote about the meaning with Zionism. My central point was that Zionism is an ideology that shouldn’t be controversial. It merely affords to the Jewish people the same right afforded to many others. It is the ideology that led to the State of Israel, a sovereign state. True there are different forms of Zionism, and I do not identify with those strands. But the basic idea that the Jewish people have a right to a state is irrefutable.
I wasn’t planning on returning to this topic. I thought I had said I wanted. Well, I was wrong. I was watching a segment on the BBC 10 o’clock news, following Ed Miliband’s trip to Israel. He visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Centre. He visited his extended family in Israel. For the first time I felt a connection to Ed Miliband as a Jew, because the feelings he described were those that I feel myself.
One of Miliband’s comments that stood out to me was that Israel was “the homeland for the Jewish people”. What could possibly be more Zionist? The essence of Zionism is that Israel is the home of the Jewish people. Not a temporary sanctuary. But a permanent home. Yet, when he was asked whether he was a Zionist, he gave a politicians answer. He dodged the question.
In other words, he believes in Zionism, but he couldn’t bring himself to publically support Zionism. Why? Because the terminology has been warped. In public discourse, Zionism is no longer a simple belief in Israel’s right to exist. It is some dirty word that major figures are afraid to use. This was exactly the point of my previous blog.
Ed Miliband, if you stumble across this blog on the internet, I ask you, why are you so scared to stand up for your beliefs? You described yourself as a Zionist in all but name. When you believe Israel is the homeland of the Jews, you are a Zionist. Don’t shy away from stating it because there are anti-Semites, bigots and bullies that make false claims and misrepresent Zionism in pursuit of the delegitimisation and ultimate destruction of a sovereign state, the only one that happens to be Jewish.