How do we, as left-wing Australian Zionists, confront and balance the commemoration of the Nakba and the celebration of 70 years of Israel’s independence? When looking towards the future, how can we consolidate an egalitarian, but Jewish state? Moreover, how can we decide or discuss anything without hearing the voices of the oppressed?
The issues that I have been exposed to throughout my time at Hashomer Hatzair have always pressured my thought processes and I enjoy the mind map of solutions, resolutions and the plethora of unanswerable and existential questions that arise. When it comes to the never-ending topic of Zionism and Israel, the complications and need for discussion increases expectantly. But how do we overcome the paradoxical nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict?
Knowing that nobody has a concrete vision of what peace will look like, it is much more meaningful and effective to be proactive with good intentions. For example, it doesn’t matter whether or not you are really making a difference when you are recycling at home, but if you are a moral person, you stay true to your own values, as Aristotle’s virtue ethics in practise shows that with good character comes good intent. The same goes for dealing with left-wing Zionism in the 21st century; do your best to firstly acknowledge the problem. Furthermore, discuss it with your family and friends, work with your community, or write in the local newsletter!
Something that I think everyone in the world struggles with is the pressure from society and the epidemic of the ‘us and them’ syndrome, that there must be a answer to every problem – a simple yes or no, one or the other. But this is clearly unreasonable and unachievable when delving into the complicated history of the conflict and trying to understand, and sympathise with, the rich narratives of both sides. This is why the best solution to handling the dichotomy of Israel’s independence and Palestine’s autonomy is to start the conversation and get the people of the world to talk and be aware, and soon enough, there will be a whole network of ideas and visions, and thus progress on the path to peace.
- This article appeared in the AJDS Magazine Just Voices 16: Israel / Palestine 1948