Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Israel?

It is a professional ambition of mine to one day do work at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism, which is one of the leading ferments for cutting edge work on this particular form of invidious prejudice. One paper hosted by their site, by British academic and Engage heavyweight David Hirsch, gives one the better overviews on the linkages between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. I highly recommend it.

One of the questions which has engaged me for quite some time is this "why Israel" question. Why is anti-Zionism -- defined as the opposition to the idea and existence of Israel as a Jewish state -- the focus of so much seemingly disproportionate attention and hatred by those who claim to part of the broadly-defined "left"?

Several answers present themselves. The first is simply that the speakers are motivated by anti-Semitism. That might be true for some, but I highly doubt it is true for all. Hirsch very clearly disclaims that he is not inquiring as to what various "critics" or condemners have inside their heads, and I agree that I simply have no way of knowing the state of mind of these persons. I also agree with Hirsch that this is in many ways an irrelevant question: Whether or not someone conceptualizes themselves as a hater of the Jewish people matters quite little if their actual words and actions act to perpetuate anti-Semitic subordination.

Hirsch implies that part of the answer lies in the continued failure of Marxist and socialist predictions as to the imminent collapse of the bourgeois capitalist system, and the need for an explanation. Since there is a deep well of anti-Jewish literature which is predicated on the ability of Jews to control the world through, inter alia, the financial, media, and entertainment industries, the continued existence of capitalist structures can best be explained by the transcendental and ahistoric power of these Jewish institutions who seem to operate unconstrained by the rules of time and space (much less morality). I don't know enough about Marxist political behavior to evaluate this statement, but as a general description it seems reasonable enough: If X "has to happen", and X persistently refuses to happen, the temptation to resort to conspiracy-mongering in order to explain why X isn't occurring must be mighty tempting.

Nonetheless, a large part of me suspects that the answer is much more simple: Extreme opposition to Zionism is the path of least resistance for a substantial portion of relatively marginalized "progressive" ambitions. Least defensible is the desire for a psychological balm for the wounds of Western colonial and imperialist endeavors. Even assuming Israel is reasonably associated with these practices (which I don't believe, but am putting aside for now), the motives of the critics are far from pure. Seeking guilt release for these actions, but not wanting to threaten the privileges and benefits they maintain from the outcroppings of these endeavors, leftists find that attacking Israel brings with it all the self-righteousness of being an "anti-imperialist" without seriously threatening the benefits the speakers get from the status quo. As Shulamit Volkov put it, Anti-Semitism is a "convenient way of attacking the existing order without demanding its total overthrow and without having to offer a comprehensive alternative." Put simply, while anti-Zionist ideology is couched as being resistance to the Western program and thus (when advanced by Western academics) selfless moral sacrifice, if Israel was destroyed, the social position of the Western academics and speakers who propounded the policies would not change in the least. All the rewards, none of the risks.

But many leftists will say that the various political ideologies which they claim motivate their anti-Zionism are quite genuine -- not simply a way to disassociate themselves from "bad" Western acts. And perhaps I believe them. And there is a reasonable account for why such persons focus so much of their energy on Israel compared to other institutions which seem equally or more violative of their political commitments. Simply put it: It's a battle they feel they can win.

Suppose you oppose the entire idea of nation-states -- or, to go further, states in general. Unfortunately for you, you're part of a rather fringe minority, and one whose political program appears rather distant: China does not seem to be going anywhere. By and large, the notion of the "state" seems pretty well entrenched in the international system.

Israel, however, is not so entrenched. China is huge, Israel is rather small. China has broadly accepted social legitimacy, Israel does not. There is no political constituency to abolish China, there is a large political constituency advocating the abolishment of Israel. Leftists thirsting for a reachable victory understandably see Israel as their best shot. If all the people working to destroy Israel just lock arms and push, they might manage to bring down at least this part of the modernist edifice.

The problem, though, is that these leftists don't sufficiently analyze why Israel is so vulnerable. Happily locking arms, they don't bother to look and see who is on their left and right. As it turns out, Israel is vulnerable because it is the target of several massively reactionary organizations whose stated political agenda is the subjugation (if not extermination) of the Jewish people, combined with the fact that this agenda is not considered to be of major concern to their Western allies. The relationship is symbiotic: Israel is vulnerable because those who wish to kill Jews know that "anti-Zionism" is a rallying flag from which they can gain international support -- even if the supporters of the latter don't see themselves (and would actively disclaim) that they personally wish to see harm to the Jews.

When Hamas lobs a rocket into Ashkelon, their leftist supporters say they are "resisting occupation". Perhaps so. But firing rockets also and equally forwards Hamas' agenda of slaughtering Jews. One cannot sever these two ambitions (supporting one but not the other) when the same act so clearly advances both causes. By locking arms with Hamas, one is complicit in the world they wish to construct after the collectivity succeeds in bringing Israel down.

To be sure, there is significant cognitive dissonance that occurs in the leftist mind when the motive for political action is predicated on the peculiar vulnerability of a marginalized group. Hence, the effort at casting the Jews as hyper-powerful. By constructing the Jew as an entity that is inherently empowered, leftists can avoid the implication that they are merely preying on the weak. Alternatively, they represent Israel is the epitome of modern evil -- exceeding that of, say, China, Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea, or Russia -- which is the true motivation of the disproportionate backlash (not that many social actors see attacking Jews as legitimate in a way that attacking other social groups is not). Notwithstanding the psychological usefulness of this maneuver, it still represents a fundamental sublimation of the actual status of Jews worldwide, and likely position of Jewish communities in the event that social program aided by these leftists comes to pass.

None of these defenses require that we think that leftists actively seek out harm for Jews, though they do imply that they are somewhat indifferent to it or at least are willing to gamble recklessly with Jewish lives. The leftist motivations here do not stem, in other words, from the personal anti-Semitism of the authors. But I am not interested in the whether or not these persons are good at heart, and both the upshot of their political machinations and the political tactics the use to achieve their ends have vicious implications for the legal, political, and social equality (not to mention security) of Jews. That's enough to make the question of anti-Semitism salient.


Jack said...

I think that the number of anti-Zionists who really care about nation-states is probably pretty small. The popular motivation is anti-colonialism. This view sees Israel as a Western possession backed by Western powers. The motivating analogy is the European powers in Africa.

Of course the creation of Israel isn't without a relationship to British colonialism but I think you've rightly pointed out the paradoxical sense in which Jews are considered Western and I think thats the kind of argument that might appeal to anti-Zionist. If any argument might.

Barry Deutsch said...

With all due respect, David, the ironic contrast between your Edward Said post -- in which you wrote, "What is missing from this list? Answer: Sartre was pro-Zionist because he genuinely believed that Zionism was integral to the liberation of the Jew, and thus was entirely consonant with a broader progressive agenda" -- and this post is impossible to miss.

First of all, a large number of leftists who are anti-Zionist simply don't define anti-Zionism the way you're defining it here; so by attributing your definition to them, you're distorting their views.

I don't think any of the anti-Zionist leftists I know wish that Israel would be wiped out. They identify Zionism as the position that says that the least Israeli interest outweighs all concern for the human rights and lives of Palestinians, and that is what they perceive themselves as opposing, for the obvious reasons.

Of those who define it as you do, many are anti-Zionist because they sincerely believe that it's wrong for their to be a "Jewish" state, as opposed to a multicultural state. That doesn't mean that they're "working to destroy Israel," just that they think Israel can become a multicultural state instead of a Jewish state.

Finally, I do think you're right that a perception that this is a fight that can be won -- "won," in this case, meaning not the destruction of Israel but securing a meaningful and viable state for Palestine alongside Israel -- explains a lot of the reason Israel gets more attention. But there are other reasons as well, including antisemitism, but also including some reasonable concerns.

David Schraub said...

Insofar as anti-Zionists are, well, anti-Zionists, there are limits on their right to self-definition, because they cast themselves as in opposition to another group's program. They can't just caricature Zionism to be whatever they want it to be, then append "anti-" to it -- at least not without a major loss in discursive clarity and basic argumentative fairness. It's like the folks who equate being "anti-Democratic Party" with being "anti-socialism". It's massively abusive.

If what they're opposed to is the idea that Jewish lives outweigh other peoples lives, they should say so -- they shouldn't impose that as inherent in the idea of Zionism. If you oppose my program as a Zionist, then by all means say so. If you don't actually oppose it, don't go around and call it "anti-Zionist" anyway in a bid to blur categories.

By contrast, if someone is opposed to states which are identified with certain ethnic groups, then they're certainly anti-Zionist in the sense I describe -- but I still submit that the best reason why their attention is focused on dismantling the Jewish state in particular (rather than the Chinese state, or the French state, or the Syrian Arab Republic, or the Hashmenite Kingdom of Jordan, or the Islamic Republic of Iran) is because they sense victory being closer there. And that's because the Jewish state is uniquely vulnerable -- and it's uniquely vulnerable because their is a broader constituency willing to attack the notion of a "Jewish state" primarily because it's a collateral attack on Jews qua Jews. (Of course, one can be opposed to a Jewish state without being opposed to ethnically-affiliated states more generally, but that double-standard seems to be facial evidence of anti-Semitism. I'm presuming that our hypothetical Israel-focuser isn't such a hypocrite, however).

Barry Deutsch said...

We're talking about real life usage of the word, David, not a debate or a formal academic paper. In actual usage, the multiple meanings applied to the term "zionist" are sloppy and even ambiguous. Saying that it ought not be so doesn't alter that it is so.

And if you criticize "anti-zionism" writ large, as if your own narrow definition were universal, then your argument is in effect (although not, I assume, in intent) dishonest.

And that's because the Jewish state is uniquely vulnerable -- and it's uniquely vulnerable because their is a broader constituency willing to attack the notion of a "Jewish state" primarily because it's a collateral attack on Jews qua Jews.Suppose for the sake of argument that this is true. If you don't mind my asking, what's your point?

I agree that the perception that it is possible to change Israel is one reason people focus on Israel. That perception comes not only (or even primarily) from the idea that Israel is vulnerable, but from the idea that Israelis share enough progressive values to be open to pressure to change. (At least, compared to, say, China).

There are others, however. I focus more on Israel because I'm Jewish, as do many Jews. Many Palestinians and Arabs focus on the issue because they feel an affinity for Israel's victims in Gaza and the West Bank.

Many Americans focus more on Israel because Israel is strongly supported by our tax dollars.

Finally, simply because Israel is so much in the news, and has been steadily in the news for decades, I think it's natural for people to be more aware of Israel/Palestine issues than other issues. Note that Israel's high prominence in the news is caused not just by critics, but also by advocates.

None of this is to deny that anti-Semitism is also part of what's going on. Of course it is. But there are other factors that you seem to be minimizing or ignoring.

chingona said...

Insofar as anti-Zionists are, well, anti-Zionists, there are limits on their right to self-definition, because they cast themselves as in opposition to another group's program. They can't just caricature Zionism to be whatever they want it to be, then append "anti-" to it -- at least not without a major loss in discursive clarity and basic argumentative fairness.Yeah, but what's a Zionist? I know your definition (it's a good thing that a Jewish state exists), and it's one I've operated under for a long time, as well. But we're at a point where no one can actually use either term (Zionist or anti-Zionist) with any clarity without inserting a quick definition. Which means the words have lost their utility. Which means you don't get to define anti-Zionism as being only and necessarily opposed to your definition of Zionism.

And as much as you want to assert your definition of Zionism - and I'm not saying you shouldn't continue to do so - I'd love to see the term reclaimed - we're in serious "no true Scotsman" territory at this point.

When someone says they're anti-Zionist, I tend to assume they are one-staters. But in all the discussions I've been following around the blogosphere, I've come to realize there are people who self-identify as anti-Zionists who favor a two-state solution, not because it suits their ideology but because they see it as the most likely and practical solution. Which wouldn't fit your definition of anti-Zionist at all and would appear to be not anti-semitic by any stretch of the imagination. So ... are they just wrong to define themselves as anti-Zionist?

They might say you don't get to define Zionist for yourself.

David Schraub said...

The real life usage of Zionist (by Zionists) is if anything even further from "the least Israeli interest outweighs all concern for the human rights and lives of Palestinians". No mainstream Zionist promulgates that position (much less promulgates it as definitional to Zionism), and it's abusive to act like it's legitimate to imply that they do.

In the real world, people engage in this sort of discursively abusive caricaturing all the time, but that doesn't make it right. Ex: How right-wingers define themselves as "anti-feminists" ("I'm anti-feminist because I don't want men to abused and viewed as sub-human compared to women!" So the vast majority of feminists don't actually believe that? Who cares!). Noting that Zionism (like feminism) is plural doesn't license the creation of vicious strawman caricatures by its opponents. (This isn't to say that a Zionist has to believe moral things about Palestinian. Just as "supporting the existence of a Jewish state in Israel" is compatible with, say, a two state solution, it also would be compatible with a viciously abusive policy towards Palestinians. But noting something is compatible with Zionism isn't the same thing as showing it is part and parcel to Zionism itself.)

Meanwhile, my hypothesis that Israel gets more attention because it is more vulnerable (particularly because many folks want to kill Jews) matters because of my analysis in paragraphs 9 and 10. The supporters aren't asking themselves what happens when they and their allies win -- given that their allies vision for Jews is rather grim.

I agree that some people focus more on Israel because they find it more amenable to change than, say, China. This view, however, is not compatible with the type of moral hatred that Hirsch, for example, is responding to -- the sort which views Zionism as a paradigmatic case of transcendent evil. The psychological guilt release explanation, on the other hand, also fits nicely with the "it's our tax dollars" -- it lets you seem all selfless ("I'm opposing my own side!") while not actually doing anything to affect one's actual social position.

There are plenty of reasons why one might want to focus on Zionism. My point is not to say these are merely a mask for anti-Semitic motivations -- indeed, I specifically disclaim that in favor of an effects-based analysis. The point was to show how a particular reasoning process that would lead one to focus disproportionately on Israel could have major anti-Semitic effects even though the motivations are equally clearly not anti-Semitic.

David Schraub said...

Chingona: I think the answer to your question also can be best done through an analogy to "anti-feminism". The short version is that labeling oneself "anti-X", where X is a contested and varied ideology, is a very pernicious endeavor, one that must be keenly aware of the variety in X and calibrate itself accordingly.

Like Zionism, feminism is an internally contested ideology -- that is, there are different groups amongst people calling themselves feminists who have differing (sometimes radically differing) views on what "feminism" means. This is fine -- it's legitimate for there to be an internal debate within the community of feminists or Zionists as to what they mean by the label; and I consider this qualitatively distinct from an outside imposition of what the label "really" means.

In this reality, then, what does it mean to say you're "anti-feminist"? One thing it can't mean is that you're opposed to some random caricature of feminism that isn't actually held by any serious contemporary feminist (my "men are sub-human" example, or a "feminists want state-mandated abortions" argument). An "anti-feminist" must, as a threshold matter, be opposed to a program actually held by actual, relevant feminists as feminism. Similarly, at the very least anti-Zionism must oppose some program actually held by actual, relevant Zionists as Zionism. So, in Amp's case, he'd have to find some meaningful camp of Zionists who identify their own Zionism as being defined as "Israeli and Jewish interests carry infinite weight vis-a-vis those of everyone else."

But that's only a threshold. While no meaningful set of feminists believes men are subhuman, there are meaningful sets of feminists who believe significantly divergent things -- say, the split between second and third wave feminists. Let's say that I very strongly oppose second wave feminism. Should I call myself "anti-feminist"? Not necessarily -- if I don't oppose third wave feminism, and that is a live interpretation of the meaning of feminism within the relevant interpretative community (that is, the people who consider themselves to be feminists), then I should just identify as a third waver, or someone opposed to "second wave feminism". Similarly, if I'm opposed to X "camp" of Zionism, but Y camp of Zionism is live as well and I'm not opposed to that, then I should calibrate my identity accordingly.

What if one wanted to say, "I support first wave feminism, but feminism today doesn't refer to first wave feminism -- indeed, nobody who calls themselves a feminist today would identify as a first waver. I oppose the programs of all current forms of feminism, so I'm anti-feminist as per its contemporary meaning"? Assuming that the person is right that first wave feminism isn't a "live" definition for people who conceive themselves feminist (which I stake no position on for purpose of this argument), then one could label oneself "anti-feminist."

In sum, I think one can justly call oneself anti-feminist when one opposes all the various programs that are currently live definitions of feminism by people who identify as feminist. One can likewise call oneself anti-Zionist when one opposes all the various programs that are currently live definitions of Zionism by those who identify as Zionist. If one opposes only some branches of the ideology, one should tailor ones affiliations accordingly.

Since my definition of Zionism is certainly quite live, I am justified in assuming that someone who is anti-Zionist is either a) opposed to that definition or b) should relabel himself (since, as an anti-Zionist, she's in a reactive role anyway).

chingona said...

I think the thing that complicates your comparison is that Israel is a country created by the Zionist movement, self-identified as Zionist, enacting policies in the name of Zionism.

Feminists don't really run anything.

As much as I don't want the policies of the Israeli government to define Zionism, I don't know that people are setting up a vicious strawman when they associate Zionism with the actions of the Israeli government. People who think that is the be all and end all of Zionism probably haven't really engaged with what progressive Zionist Jews might mean when they use the term, but that's not the same as setting up a strawman.

And all of that aside, just in the last three days, I've seen people say they reject feminism (they didn't use the actual term "anti-feminist" but they said they are NOT FEMINIST) because feminists hate trans people and feminists throw the disabled under the bus in their discourse on reproductive rights. And as much as I want to yell "that's not feminism," it's going to ring pretty hollow to people who have experienced feminism as just that.

So instead of talking about how anti-feminists hate women, I probably need to engage those people on their terms and consider why they are opposed to something I consider so incredibly fundamental to my liberation.

That is, not everyone who is not a feminist is an MRA. Draw your own comparison back to Zionism.

(And I think you know that I don't have the same attachment to the term Zionist as you do, though I would never call myself anti-Zionist. But I consider feminism an assertion of my status as an actual human being, so when I'm trying to engage with what these people who feel feminism is something else, I do have a lot at stake. I'm not asking you to do something I don't ask of myself.)

chingona said...

And to be clear, I don't think your analysis is wrong when applied to a certain type of anti-Zionist. But I agree with Barry you have neglected to grant any good faith, rational motivation whatsoever to your opponents.

David Schraub said...

Well, feminists do run some things -- like WGST departments and several NGOs -- so the comparison is one of degree, not kind. In any event, Israel may identify itself as Zionist, but that doesn't mean everything it does is done as an expression of Zionism. I'm a Zionist after all, but when I cooked my dinner tonight, I didn't consider it to be a particularly Zionist act. And so it is with Israel: when it inaugurates a new bus route, it doesn't say "I hereby open Rte. 332 for Zionism!" It's only Israeli actions that are taken specifically as Zionist acts that qualify. And did the Israeli government say, for example, that Cast Lead was particularly Zionist of them? Necessary for security, yes; taken as a last resort, yes; legal and moral under international law, yes; but Zionist? That's the question.

"So instead of talking about how anti-feminists hate women...."

See, now, this is completely disjunctive from everything I just wrote. This entire post specifically disclaims that the anti-Zionists hate Jews. It's forwarding an explanation for certain behavior that consciously refuses to rely on putative hatred for Jews. So that was a really unfair comment. For purposes of this post, I neither know nor care as to whether the anti-Zionists hate Jews. And that is an element of my anti-antisemitism practice that I've emphasized for quite some time.

I do think you'd be justified in saying to the non-feminist trans/disabled activists, not "that's not feminism!" but "I think you're painting feminism with too broad a brush." Which, obviously, would be true -- there is nothing intrinsic in feminism that requires it to be anti-trans or anti-disabled, and significant live conceptions of feminism that are not either of these things. "I find huge swathes of the feminist movement tremendously alienating for X, Y, and Z reasons" is a totally legitimate claim to make. But when there are live feminist conceptions out there that don't buy into X, Y, and Z, I don't think it's legitimate to wave them off as not really part of feminism such that you can say you're "anti-feminist" writ large.

chingona said...

See, now, this is completely disjunctive from everything I just wrote. This entire post specifically disclaims that the anti-Zionists hate Jews. It's forwarding an explanation for certain behavior that consciously refuses to rely on putative hatred for Jews. So that was a really unfair comment.You're right. I'm sorry. I wasn't deliberately trying to set you up there. It was late, and I was tired. My argument got sloppy, and my idiom got flip. But you're right. It was unfair, and I'm sorry.

I want to use a different analogy (and I think it was you who started using feminism as the comparison, so I don't think I'm just changing the rules because I don't like the way this is going). Zionism suffers from a problem not unlike that suffered by Communism, in that anyone trying to make the case for an alternate vision of what that might look like has to contend with a real-life example of how that ideology has played out.

I'm not saying Zionism is the same as Communism, or that Israel is the same as the FSU. But if someone defines themselves as an anti-communist based on what they saw of communism in the FSU, I don't think they're setting up a strawman. Someone who considers themselves communist but who also values human rights, participatory government and freedom of speech might want to say "Hey, what happened in the FSU isn't really communism" or "That's not MY communism," and they would have important strains of leftist thought they could point to to back up their position. But when you have 70-plus years of actual policies and programs (and human rights violations) in the name of communism, I'm not sure the communist gets to say to the anti-communist, "I get to define you because you are in opposition to my program."

Similarly, in the case of Israel, we have 60 years of programs and policies if you go from independence, 40-plus if we go from 1967, carried out in the name of Zionism. Sure, the Israeli government does many things in its generic government role that are not explicitly Zionist. But I think you know I'm not talking about bus routes. (And if you consider how politicized the issue of building permits is in relation to Zionism, I'm not convinced you couldn't have a bus route rolled out in advance of the Zionist cause. Not that a new bus route would necessarily be Zionist. But it might be.)

I think it represents a significant problem for the person that wants to define Zionism in an alternate way, and I think it complicates your ability to say to the anti-Zionist that you get to define them because they are in opposition to your program.

And again, I don't your analysis is wrong when it comes to some kinds of anti-Zionists. But I think there is an issue with how you deal with what "anti-Zionism" is.

David Schraub said...

I think Communism is a difficult analogy precisely because its less clear how "live" the alternative conceptions ever were. To be sure, there were always people who had alternative views about what communism meant, and formed their various splinter (and splinter-splinter, and splinter-splinter-splinter....) groups. But they were always pretty marginal. And one of the "benefits" of being a dictatorship is that the government policy was pretty unitary (it changed over time, but there wasn't ever this sense of pluralist visions within the state striving for supremacy).

Israel is disanalogous. Any observer of Israeli society is quite aware that there is a multiplicity of views as to what Zionism means and what policies carry it out. Some governments expand settlements, others withdraw from Gaza or Sinai. Some parties favor Greater Israel, others want immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Occupied Territories. Some want a religious theocracy, others want religious liberalization. In Israel, in other words, there have always been live and vocal Zionist currents articulating a variety of different positions. It's quite cheapening to flatten this multifaceted ideology, pluck out the instantiations one dislikes (or simply make stuff up -- like the Jewish supremacism arguments centered around "chosen people" rhetoric), and say that represents a fair and viable "anti-Zionism" that I'm obligated to respond to as a Zionist.

I also think it serves a clarity-function to keep "I'm opposed to Israeli policies" and "I'm opposed to Zionism" separate. We should have separate terms for discussing the acts of nation and the precepts of an ideology, and I don't think it does any favors to collapse the two together by claiming "whatever Israel does = Zionism" (or more accurately, "whatever Israel does that I think is bad = Zionism. Whatever they do that I am okay with is either normal statecraft or a capitulation to the resistance.").

Abe Bird said...

Israel and Jews are not foreigners in the ME. As a matter and of fact Jews lived in Palestine some millenia before the Arabs came there and ever since. The fact that Jews came from Europe and other parts of the globe because of national - political motivation doesn't mean that they are strangers in Palestine. Most of the now-days Arabs in Palestine are also new locals coming ONLY after Jews renewed their settlement in Palestine. Palestine is even not an Arabic name but Roman's. There is no "P" in Arabic, so how can Arabs dare to call themselves in other's name?

Zionism is NOT colonialism! It's quite the opposite. Zionism, the national political movement of the Jewish people, began it's activity way before the British colonial occupation. In fact the occupation hurt and prevented the ability of the Jews to procceed and creat their state far earlier. The British playes "seperation and control" policy towards the Jews and the Arabs, and they are the main cause for the current conflict.

Rebecca said...

Unrelated (and I may try to post a better comment on this later) - did you see Gail Collins's latest op-ed? I saw it and thought of you, since you had your thing about state mottoes.

chingona said...

It's quite cheapening to flatten this multifaceted ideology, pluck out the instantiations one dislikes (or simply make stuff up -- like the Jewish supremacism arguments centered around "chosen people" rhetoric), and say that represents a fair and viable "anti-Zionism" that I'm obligated to respond to as a Zionist.David, I think we've pretty much reached the limits of this conversation, but I want to be really clear here and not leave a potential misunderstanding hanging out there. It is not and never has been my contention that you or any other Zionist needs to respond to ever possible definition of Zionist as conceived of by anti-Zionists, including, as you say, the made-up stuff. Indeed, in other forums, I've defended to others your right to NOT engage definitions of Zionism that are simply not actual Zionism.

I see you ignoring ONE, very widely held definition of anti-Zionism that doesn't fit in with the paradigm you described in the post. You disagree. That's fine. But that's all I'm arguing, not this other stuff.