Israel is the Jewish state. Now there’s a revolutionary proposition. Of course, it’s not revolutionary at all — the UN recognized Israel that way in 1948. The idea of a safe homeland for the Jewish people, in the land of Israel — that’s Zionism. But that idea has been effectively stolen and delegitimized by people peddling fashionable politics.
Z STREET, the new Zionist organization (See? Did you cringe a little at the use of the word Zionist? That’s what we need to fix.) was created to solve this problem.
First, let’s drill down to understand what’s happened.
As the world becomes more hostile to Israel, the Jews hostile to Israel play an increasingly larger role in the public debate.
I don’t call them self-hating Jews; that’s not what they are. I call them self-loving, not-too-Jewy Jews. You know, the self-important intellectuals and the well-moneyed, honey-tongued groupies currently whispering into the eager ears of the White House. They label themselves “pro-peace and pro-Israel.” But they don’t really care about protecting Israel from terrorism and extinction. What they really want is to avoid being embarrassed by Israel — embarrassed by a genuinely Jewish state (how parochial and intolerant!) and embarrassed by Israel doing the hard work of defending itself from terrorists (how brutal!). It’s not nice to win, or at least for Jews to win.
Their way of protecting themselves from that discomfort is by advocating a “peace process” that has never led and will never lead to peace in the Middle East. The same holds true for the non-Jews who call themselves pro-peace but are really just anti-Israel.
There are others who share our view. Scholars write books and articles. Advocates go to Washington attempting to forestall the latest demand by an American administration that Israel give up this particular security measure, or abandon that particular piece of land, or release this particular band of murderers, in the name of “peace.”
Sometimes a pro-Zionist letter to the editor gets printed or a handful of pro-Israel op-eds are published. But the current political fashion of “tolerance” has fooled or shamed too many into opposing the steps needed to create and defend a safe state for the Jews. And most mainstream media are too fashion-conscious to do anything other than dress themselves in the fashionable ideology. Careful explication of the factual and legal reality is a lot less sexy. A principled defense of the entire enterprise — the full-throated advocacy of Zionism, a safe state for the Jewish people in the land of Israel — is about as unfashionable as you can get.
Yes, you can, as some do, explain that Israel does not “occupy” territory, citing the legal requirement that the prior state had sovereignty over the land, which neither the Palestinians nor the Jordanians did. But who remembers that legal fine point the second after they hear or read it? And the obvious fact that the “West Bank” is only west if you are in Jordan doesn’t seem to penetrate. So the entire world condemns Israel for asserting control in parts of Israel — even if legally acquired — including in Jerusalem, and even if Muslims are permitted to live, work, and worship there freely (as of course they are).
How will Z STREET change the terms of the debate? First, we’re proud, not embarrassed, to advocate out loud the first principles of Zionism: Yes, a Jewish state! And second, our approach is devoted to changing the terms of the public debate. Our tools will include humor — more about that in the coming months — straight talk, and physical energy to imprint the facts we believe will make clear who is grounded in the historical, legal and moral side of the debate about Israel and which side is historically, legally and morally committed to peace and which side is not.
In practice, how will Z STREET do this? By firmly asserting our “three No’s”: No compromises. No negotiations. No concessions to terrorists. And we refuse to use the vocabulary of those who have delegitimized and stolen the Zionist idea. Words like “occupation,” “West Bank,” and “settlers” are weapons pointed at the heart of Zionism, not neutral instruments. The sooner people see that, the faster we’ll all attain clarity.
Instead, Z STREET uses accurate words and historical facts currently eschewed for fear of offending: that there never was an actual Palestinian state and Jews have an irrefutable centuries-long religious and historical attachment to Jerusalem while the Arab Palestinians have none. We must say frankly that all Arab Palestinian party leaders — the moderate terrorists in neckties and the nasty ones in kaffiyehs — endorse terrorism. Not nice? What’s not nice — the language or the facts? Until the terms of the debate and the strategy for changing those terms are employed, the world will continue to abuse Israel.
The time is now and Z STREET, using straight talk, physical energy, and humor, is the vehicle to sweep aside years of mind control successfully practiced by the anti-Israel crowd.