The false narrative put about by far-left organisations such as the Washington DC chapter of the Sunrise group that Jews are colonial interlopers runs counter to the reality for Mizrahi Jews who will resist any return to life as a minority under Arab rule. Elliot Kaufman writes in the Wall Street Journal: (with thanks: Liily)
Justifying such a politics has always required dishonesty. In its statement, Sunrise DC asserts: “Given our commitment to racial justice, self-governance and indigenous sovereignty, we oppose Zionism.” The third plank is particularly galling, as Zionism entails the return of an indigenous people, the Jews, to sovereignty in their homeland, where they’ve had a continuous presence since biblical times.
Asked Thursday about the exclusion of Jews and about Jewish indigeneity, the national Sunrise group didn’t elaborate. It issued its own statement distancing itself from that of its affiliate: “Sunrise DC made a decision to issue this statement, and we weren’t given the chance to look at it before it became public.” On Friday, after critics noted that other pro-Zionist groups had escaped the local chapter’s notice, the national organization issued another statement: “Sunrise DC’s statement and actions are not in line with our values. Singling out Jewish organizations for removal from a coalition, despite others holding similar views, is antisemitic and unacceptable.”
Sunrise DC didn’t reply to questions. Its original statement denies the Jewish connection to the land by calling Israel “a colonial project.” Like so much anti-Zionism, this stuff is the dregs of Soviet “anti-imperialist” and Arab nationalist rhetoric. For 2,000 years, Jews have prayed three times a day for the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. It is crude propaganda to shunt Zionism, with its anticolonial struggle against the British, into the same category as, say, French colonization of Algeria. If Jews are interlopers in Israel, where is their home? If Israel is a colony, what is the metropole?
Next, Sunrise DC complains: “Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank cannot vote in Israel, despite the fact that these territories are occupied and effectively governed by the state.” That is untrue. Israel intervenes to protect itself, but Hamas governs Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority governs Palestinian parts of the West Bank. Neither Palestinian faction has held an election in years, but Sunrise DC doesn’t mention that. That’s another anti-Zionist tendency: Don’t get worked up about Palestinian deprivation if Israel can’t be blamed.
Sunrise DC panders to American sensibilities by condemning Israeli discrimination against “Black and brown Jewish-Israelis.” These Jews may now be useful as a cudgel against Israel, but their history illuminates the necessity of the Jewish state. In the 1980s and ’90s, Israel airlifted thousands of black Jews from Ethiopia, rescuing them from famine and violence. Mizrahim, the “brown” Jews of Sunrise DC’s taxonomy, constitute a majority of Israeli Jews. They were absorbed after violent expulsions from Arab lands. Anti-Zionists now demand their return to life as a vulnerable minority under Arab rule.