Shhhhhh . . . .
I've set finger to keyboard in response to a piece in the Guardian today which reveals that Richard Burgon, Shadow Justice Secretary, has apologised for saying that "The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people, the enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists, and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people." Since the political and historical context of Zionism's impact on hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Palestinians is incontrovertible, it is hard to see what is controversial about Burgon's remarks, not least since he specifically says the problem 'is not the Jewish people' per se. The conflation of an attack on Zionism with an attack on Jewish people is par for the course these days.
One trembles at the thought of gainsaying the Board of Deputies or the Jewish Labour Movement, but there are forms of Zionism which deserve criticism. What about Christian Zionism, for example? A quick search on Wikipedia reveals "The Reformed Church in America at its 2004 General Synod found "the ideology of Christian Zionism and the extreme form of dispensationalism that undergirds it to be a distortion of the biblical message noting the impediment it represents to achieving a just peace in Israel/Palestine." One could argue that Zionism is Zionism is Zionism, but cannot argue that all Zionists are Jews, nor that all Jews are Zionists. Everyone should choose their words with care, and that goes for the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement just as much as it does for Richard Burgon or any politician who has the courage to speak on this issue.
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