Gil Troy argued in the Jerusalem Post that American Jewish communal organisations should embrace ‘Zionism’ more explicitly than they do.
David Hirsh replied with the following letter (the version printed was slightly edited):
Anti-Zionism denies that Israel is a nation state like others, insisting instead that Zionism is a political movement which one is at liberty to support or to oppose. In this way it seeks to open the question of whether Israel has the right to exist in a way which would be unthinkable in relation to other states. Gil Troy’s argument (US Jews’ retreat from ‘Zionism’, June 27) that US Jews should position themselves as supporters of Zionism would tend, therefore, to help the anti-Zionists in their relentless efforts to treat the legitimacy of Israel as a question for endless, open debate. It would be better to embrace the straightforward liberal principle that states which exist have the right not to be conquored.
Jewish identity is complex, plural and diverse and we should defend our rights to continue to be Jewish in our own ways. Identity does not need to be organised into a single Twentieth Century ‘-ism‘, a worldview, complete with accusations of cowardice against of those who fail to embrace it correctly.
Goldsmiths, University of London