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Zionism is not a bad word

Recently, it seems to have become acceptable to hate Zionists on the Carleton campus. “Not Jews,” people are happy to clarify, “just Zionists.” But this is Carleton, so I feel comfortable saying that data is necessary; thus, here are the statistics: 80% of American Jews say “caring about Israel is an essential or important part of what being Jewish means to them,” and 60% feel a personal attachment to Israel. The American Jewish Committee found in 2022 that “70% of millennial American Jews think a strong state of Israel is necessary for the survival of the Jewish people.” Zionism is part of Judaism: many prayers are oriented towards Jerusalem, and many Jewish holidays are based on the agricultural calendar of Israel, celebrating events such as the harvest. This has been true for 2000 years. After Passover, we say “next year in Jerusalem” — it is not a metaphor, it is a hope for return.


There are Jews who aren’t Zionists, but Zionism is part of Judaism. Judaism is an ethno-religion, more than just a religion. You can hear this casually mentioned in Jewish events, that we all have the same lactose intolerance or other shared traits. Jews are an ethnic group that are indigenous to Israel and were never native to anywhere else. That is Zionism. Zionism is the belief in the existence of a state of Israel. It does not preclude the existence of a Palestinian state, it does not dictate what the borders of Israel should be — it simply says that the state of Israel should continue to exist as a homeland for Jews.


Every Jewish person has their own opinion on Israel. But, if you are willing to listen to the words of anti-Zionists, then stop for a few minutes to think about what I’ve written here. If you’re unwilling to do that, I ask you to ask yourself why. 


Frequently, you’ll hear people defend that Israel has the right to exist. I’m not going to do that here: it’s the wrong place to start. I rarely hear people ask whether any country has the right to exist, except the ones that don’t currently. For example, to momentarily move away from the Israel/Palestine conflict, do the Kurdish people have the right to a state? Absolutely. The question is asked because there currently is no Kurdistan. But students who question Israel’s right to exist rarely question the United States’s or Canada’s right to exist. I believe Israel has a right to exist, but that’s not the relevant  question to ask. Israel does exist. It is a country with a population of nearly ten million people: a small country, but one that will defend itself if people try to destroy it. Because Israel already exists, the question of does Israel have the right to exist is, more accurately, the question: do we (and who this nebulous ‘we’ is depends on who you ask) have a right to destroy it. And that is a profoundly violent question.


When we hear our peers advocating for Palestine “from the river to the sea,” many of the Jews on campus are scared. This is a phrase supporting a Palestinian state that extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea — it is calling for the destruction of Israel. It is one of many anti-Zionist phrases currently being tossed around campus by people who I hope simply don’t know what they’re advocating for. I have to assume that many of the people saying these things don’t understand what they mean. Tell me, anti-Zionists, where do you expect Israelis to go? Because this is a call for the murder of ten million people. And rhetoric calling for the mass destruction of Jews is scary to many of the Jews on campus.


Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the main group on Carleton’s campus advocating against Israel, has argued that their problem is with Zionists rather than Jews. A Jewish student was anonymously quoted in a Carletonian news article saying, “if you replace the word ‘Zionist’ in many of [SJP’s] statements with ‘Jews,’ then you’re left with something that’s classically antisemitic.” The SJP responded to this: “it is important to clarify that we did not use the term ‘Jew’ because our reference was NOT to Jewish people. Employing ‘Jew’ in this context would not only be anti-Semitic but also factually inaccurate.” The SJP also objected to the idea that there is a thin line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. But, this line is thin — a lot of anti-Zionist rhetoric advocates for significant violence against Jews. SJP will cite Jewish (and Jewish-seeming) groups as evidence that their anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism, but that’s not how it works. A few Jews saying that something isn’t offensive doesn’t negate the majority of Jews saying that it is. The Anti-Defamation League, one of the pre-eminent advocacy groups fighting antisemitism, wrote about Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization often cited by anti-Zionists because of its opposition to Zionism: “JVP does not represent the mainstream Jewish community, which it views as bigoted for its association with Israel. JVP’s staunch anti-Zionist positions place it squarely in opposition to mainstream American Jews and Jews worldwide, most of whom view a connection with Israel as an integral part of their social, cultural or religious Jewish identities.”


When Carleton students defend resistance by “any means necessary,” that is a justification of the violence against civilians on October 7. On that day, more than 1400 Israelis were killed, 200 were taken to Gaza as hostages and an unknown number of women were violently raped. Entire families were burned alive and babies were brutally killed. The victims were civilians: they were families, they were children and they were Holocaust survivors. Portraying this as a legitimate form of resistance justifies Hamas, a terrorist group.


SJP may consider themselves to hate Zionists instead of Jews, but the Hamas charter disagrees. As a writer in The Atlantic explained, the text of the Hamas charter is clear: “‘The Day of Judgement will not come about,’ it proclaims, ‘until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’” For the people who invaded Jewish towns and murdered Jewish grandparents, babies and other civilians, there is no difference between a Zionist and a Jew: They want them all dead. To hear Carleton students justifying that violence is disturbing. Maybe there is anti-Zionism that isn’t antisemitic. But most of it is. Because the “liberation fighters” that students will justify are intent on killing as many Jews as they can. And so SJP can say that they don’t have a problem with Jews, but when their rhetoric calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, that’s advocating for the mass murder of Jews.


I don’t want to diminish the suffering of Palestinians through anything I’m saying. But I’m not convinced that either Benjamin Netanyahu or the leaders of Hamas care what I have to say, so they’re not my target audience here. I know Palestinians are suffering right now, and the point of this article isn’t to diminish that. It’s for people on the Carleton campus. It is specifically for anyone who is posting online or speaking about what is happening in Israel and Gaza right now, especially those who don’t have a personal connection to either place. I’m not saying that antisemitism on Carleton’s campus is a larger or more important global issue than other things I could talk about here, including what’s happening to Palestinians. But, antisemitism on campus is something that I believe (perhaps naively) I can do something about, so that’s what I’m writing about.


I’m seeing a lot of antisemitic posts online, and I’m hearing a lot of people saying antisemitic things on campus, and I’m tired of it. It’s offensive, and, when it’s so many people, it’s scary. But I want to assume that Carleton students mean well. I want to believe that a lot of this antisemitism is unintentional and that by telling students about it, I can do something to change it. I don’t write this to say students shouldn’t protest for Palestine; I write this in the hopes that as students advocate for Palestinians, they do so in a way that is less harmful to Jews. And that starts by listening to Jews — not just the token Jews that you can find who will denounce Israel, but the Zionist Jews who represent the majority.


When Zionism is a bad word, many Jews do not feel safe. Because when you talk about Zionists, you’re talking about most Jews. I don’t claim to speak for all Jews: many Jews will disagree with me, and that’s OK. People get to define their Judaism differently. But, when non-Jewish groups cite a few members of a very vocal minority of Jews as evidence that they’re not antisemitic, that’s tokenization. Non-Jews don’t get to define Judaism, and they don’t get to pick a few Jews that agree with them to say that what they’re saying isn’t offensive.


And as this sense that Zionism is terrible grows, it becomes easier to diminish the feelings of the Jews who disagree. If there is a lack of Zionist voices on campus, it isn’t because every Jew agrees that there should be no Israel — it is because Jews are scared to say otherwise. I have talked to so many Jewish students on campus who are scared right now. We are scared of the rhetoric we are seeing from students, and we are scared by the silence of our friends. These voices are less audible because they’re scared of the response they’ll get, but they exist. Antisemitism isn’t some foreign concept that we care about because it is the right thing to do: It is here, and it is affecting us every single day. 


In this article, I speak for myself, I don’t claim to speak for the entirety of the Jewish Students of Carleton or write this in my capacity as JSC President. I considered writing this article anonymously because I know the things I’m saying will be controversial on campus right now. I’m putting my name on this for two reasons, and two reasons only. First, for the Jewish students who are scared to speak up, to tell them they are not alone. And second, for the students who went to the SJP rally last week where they explicitly said not to engage with Zionists. I want them to know that when they’re talking about Zionists, they’re talking about people on this campus. And I hope by putting my name on this, it will remind every person that I know who’s there that when they talk about Zionists, they’re not talking about some faceless global entity — they’re talking about me.


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About the Contributor
Becky Reinhold
Becky Reinhold, Editor in Chief
I'm a junior Philosophy major, and I can usually be found in the basement of Anderson or wandering around Northfield. I like thunderstorms and writing articles around 2am. Becky was previously Managing Editor, Viewpoint Editor, and Design Editor.

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  • J

    JustinNov 12, 2023 at 12:51 am

    Zionism is not inherintly wrong, and is simply a movement to preserve jewish culture, there has never been any corraletion between “ethnic cleansing” and the term zionism and is only ever equated by pro palestinians, ironically anti zionists get equated to Nazi germany…their very oppressors

    It baffles me that Israel, even after all that has happened, still has 20% muslim citizens, while all other surrounding arab states have driven out or killed virtually all traces of the jewish people in those states, and Islam being the second largest religious presence in Israel…and yet Israel is the apartheid state, Muslim-Palestinian backed Terrorists openly shout on mega-phones and right in their public charters that their sole purpose in existence is to slaughter jews, while jews have been sueing for peace for decades upon decades

    The mindset of our youth specifically is worrying, so many things posted in these comments and all over the internet are contradictory or simply untrue

  • J

    Jordan KolarNov 9, 2023 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you so much to Editor Reinhold for publishing this piece, as well as to commentators Shireen and Ellie for such nuanced commentary. As a Jewish alumnus (’97), I am very gratified to see Jewish students supported and defended on campus.

  • P

    Peter BlauNov 4, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    As a former Carletonian editor (’78-’79), I’m impressed by the generally civilized tone of comments here on a topic that — even in my Carleton years –did not always generate respectful dialogue.

    I’m particularly impressed by the nuanced opinions of the student who identifies herself as Palestinian; less so by the commenter who is “disgusted” the ‘Tonian would publish the piece, implying that this is a point of view that should be suppressed.

    (I point out that the same editor who wrote the piece to which Ms. Landry so vehemently objects, also chose to publish Ms. Landry’s reply.)

    I am also unimpressed by those several commenters who chose only to be identified by a single initial. Someone who takes a point of view should have the courage to stand by it, and I simply don’t buy the argument that — especially in a liberal environment such as this one — anyone would fear for their safety for taking a political stance that’s held by maybe 48% of their peers.

    As for the majority of commenters here: keep up the good work, fellow Carls.

  • K

    Kyra LandryOct 31, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    I am absolutely disgusted that Carleton would post this article. Right now, the death toll for Palestinian civilians is approaching 8,000. The world is watching as genocide is happening in Gaza, and this is how you choose to use your platform. This is not journalism, this is not writing, this is misinformation. Painting the term “from the land to the sea” as antisemitic when is it clearly a declaration of anti-imperialism and colonialism is actually ridiculous. It reads as a willful misunderstanding. As a black American, this article reads very much like the folks who said “all lives matter!” When black folks were grieving their treatment in this country. Again, a GENOCIDE is happening right now. How dare you center yourself in this matter. You have the PRIVILEGE of safety in almost every space you inhabit, while the people are Gaza are being slaughtered.

    I Support Palestinians right to resist their oppression like I support my ancestors revolting against the institutions that enslaved them. I stand with Palestine like I stand with indigenous people getting their land back. I stand with Palestine like I stand with Hawaii. I stand with Palestine like I stand with the people of Armenia. I stand with Palestine like I stand with Black Lives Matter. I Support the liberation of every single person oppressed by the lasting impact of violent colonialism.

    History has its eyes on you and blood is on your hands.

    • S

      ShireenNov 1, 2023 at 7:53 pm

      Palestinian American here.

      Several things here. As I have said before no one in Ramallah or Nablus would understand your explanation of “From the River to the Sea”. For secular and left-leaning Palestinians this phrase means one state with equal rights for all groups (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, etc). For more religiously conservative people this means replacing Israel/Palestine with an Islamic state.

      Additionally I found your rebuke of this article to address a lot of straw man arguments. While I disagree with some of the author’s claims and analyses I do not think she justified the actions of the Israeli government.

      With all due respect, this response takes a far more hardline stance than the original article. Your response presented the same absolutist and uncompromising view of the world that led us here today. It is truly odd that some western leftists who can speak no Arabic or even name the leader of Hamas or the PA take more hardline stances than I do.

      I have experienced both the vices and virtues of my own society and Israeli society and have been exposed to the complexities of our situation. I have personally come to the conclusion that both groups of people have a right to the land and need to learn to find a way to share it and not let our leaders drag us into mutually assured destruction.

      Let me leave you with this, if you truly cared about the Palestinian people you would criticize Hamas and the PA as much Israel’s government. In 16 years and hundreds of miles of tunnels, Hamas has yet to build Gazans one bomb shelter. Our lives are cheap to all three governments and that breaks my heart.

      I implore you to aim to bring people up instead of tearing them down. If we did that, we wouldn’t have conflict in this world.

      • D

        DavidNov 2, 2023 at 10:02 am

        If greater knowledge of the people involved is needed:

        The Director of the UN’s New York office just resigned after thirty years at the organization.

        In their resignation letter they say:

        “As a human rights lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the field, I know well that the concept of genocide has often been subject to political abuse. But the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt or as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units. Across the land, apartheid rules.

        This is a text-book [sic] case of genocide. The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine.”

        For myself, while I admit that I am no expert, I do not think that both should be criticized as much as the other, if only for the massive discrepancies in death tolls. In 2014 the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli teens led to roughly 70 Israelis and over 2000 Palestinians being killed.

        The New York Times, which has largely been pro-Israel in it’s coverage, notes that the majority of those 2000+ were civilians.

        In the current fighting over 3000 Palestinian children have been killed.

        Let the blame be shared in proportion to the death.

        • S

          ShireenNov 3, 2023 at 3:54 pm

          I absolutely disagree with the moral equivalence of Hamas and Israel. This is coming from someone who absolutely abhors the current Israeli government and believes it is a detriment to peace.

          It gets a bit frustrating at times to explain Palestine’s “governments” to unaware leftist westerners. In the West Bank, we have an incompetent buffoon who runs Area A similarly to how Ben Ali ran Tunisia or how Mubarak ran Egypt. In the Gaza strip we have Hamas….

          Hamas is a group that monopolizes all the aid money and resources in the strip. When people try to protest them like in 2014 and 2019, Hamas routinely torturers dissidents. Yet no one in the west hears anything about the “We Want to Live” protests because Hamas doesn’t want you to.

          One 2022 poll by the PCSPR found that 53 percent of Gazans agree with the following statement: “Hamas should stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.” Yet speaking up will most likely entail torture.

          Hamas has led Gaza into 8 or 9 wars and has yet to build Gaza one bomb shelter. They also have an investment portfolio worth 500 million dollars. And do you know who the leader of Hamas is and where he lives?

          This isn’t even getting into the fact that they pay and coerce Gazans to get injured by the IDF.

      • E

        EllieNov 2, 2023 at 12:19 pm

        Hi Shireen,

        Thank you for posting your thoughts. I think one thing worth mentioning is that the author has family living in Israel, so her perspective is not as naive as people think.
        The sentiment among manyyyy circles in Jerusalem, and one which I think Becky shares is that Palestine should be free – from Hamas.
        I probably agree with Becky on some things you don’t but I just want to say that I hope your family is safe and that the leaders of Hamas rot in hell for the things they have done to both your people and mine.
        I support the right of Israel to exist and I wish the Carleton campus would allow the Jewish students the space to mourn the massacres of October 7th. I have spoken to people who visited Kibbutz Be’eri and the things they saw are unspeakable. There can be no ceasefire until our children are returned home. I don’t blame the individuals of Palestine, and I want them to evacuate to Egypt not because I desire ethnic cleansing, but because Hamas continues to shoot missiles from elementary schools. I pray for peace and the freedom of Palestinians to dance and laugh, and the same for Israeli children. So yes, let’s free Palestine from Hamas.
        ps. I’m completely disagreeing with everything Gustavo wrote, and I fully agree with Becky’s article. Side note, the people writing anonymous hateful comments about her on YikYak should be ashamed of themselves.

        • S

          ShireenNov 2, 2023 at 7:39 pm

          Hello Ellie,

          Thank you for your comments. I would say I have a lot of mixed feelings about this whole conflict because I have family in both Israel and the occupied-West Bank. Just to highlight just how much of a “between a rock and a hard place situation” we’re in: one of my aunts is an East Jeruslamite who recently naturalized as an Israeli. She did this not out of love for Israel, or Bibi, or the IDF but because she knows that the jobs, healthcare, and opportunities lie West. At the end of the day if you ask most folks in the West Bank if they’d prefer a blue or green ID most would say blue.

          My main criticism with Becky’s article is that it fails to mention certain words can have nuance and multiple meanings. When we talk about Zionism are we talking about the Zionism of liberal American Jews or the militant Zionism of the Kahanists and West Bank settlers? When we talk about “Free Palestine” are we talking about the Hamas’ version or my version?

          The world is not black and white and we treat it as such we fail to see nuance. We fail to see other people as complex human beings. People are very capable of being both victims and perpetrators, oppressor and oppressed.

          And I agree that free Palestine should encompass free Palestine from Hamas. However as a caveat we have to acknowledge the role of the Israeli government in all of this.

          Hamas has made it clear that it does not care about the Gazan people, Israel does not need to do the same. Hamas has plenty of supplies and security in the thousands of miles tunnels under Gaza. The average Gazan above ground does not have any of this.

          Stifling aid, cutting electricity and water, and running a bombing campaign will hurt not Hamas nearly as much as it will hurt the average Gazan.

          The average Gazan is under 20 years old and has known no government but Hamas. Now is Israel’s chance to show Gaza and the world an alternative to Hamas rule. One based on compassion and cooperation, not hate.

          What Gustavo said has truth in it. Netanyahu himself admitted that those who do not support a Palestinian state, would support transferring Qatari funds to Hamas.

          While Israel did not create Hamas, its arrogance in thinking it could manage Hamas and play Palestinian factions against each other was foolish. Even former prime minister Lapid mentioned this to famous journalist Lucy Aharish

          Peace cannot exist without a functioning Palestinian state. Peace cannot exist unless Israel collaborates with the PA (who are unfortunately have been weakened by Israel and their own incompetence) for the betterment of everyone. Peace cannot exist until everyone in Israel-Palestine has the right to self-determination and to pursue a good life.

          My heart is with you and Becky and the families of the hostages. My heart is with the people of Gaza who are suffering a horrible humanitarian crisis. The rise of antisemitism and Anti Arab/Islamophobic hate globally is truly frightening.

          It is easy to hate, humans have been doing it for ages. In fact, people like Netanyahu, Ben Gvir, and Ismail Haniyeh make a good living off of it. Hate is a flame that consumes us and that leaves no survivors, and the sad irony of all of this is that all the leaders here make are pieces of the same kindling.

          What is revolutionary is love, is kindness, is seeing the humanity in your fellow man. Only then can we break free from the cycle of death and destruction that has plagued our species for so long.

          Anyhow thank you for listening. If I’m ever in Jerusalem I would be down to get Hummus 🙂

  • S

    Stephen CappsOct 31, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    A pity there is no mention throughout of Good and Evil. We may differ on our personal definitions of Good, but I certainly hope we can agree on those things that are certainly Evil. Just one example: I hope we can agree killing a woman, and then dragging her naked body around in celebration is Evil. It is barbaric. It is an act meant to incite the darkest passions in a crowd, with the intent of fanning any resulting embers into a group dynamic conflagration of blind, unreasoning hate. And while individuals who get caught up in the mob frenzy might not have been evil at heart at the outset, their minds and wills are co-opted by evil men to achieve Evil ends. Waging war is contagious. Standing for peace requires courage, often in the face of strident opposition. And speaking from personal experience, it is all too easy to get caught up in a mob mentality, even in mini-mob mentalities, where our predjudices and biases are by like-minded people. It’s a challenge to think independently of the crowd. Think. And as we used to say way back in my Carleton days– Peace, people.

  • G

    Gustavo FloresOct 29, 2023 at 5:00 pm

    The author makes a few extremely problematic conflations in this piece that compromise journalistic integrity. First, Zionism is not well-defined, even within the scope of this article: Reinhold claims that “Zionism is the belief in the existence of a state of Israel,” yet in the same paragraph that it “simply says that the state of Israel should continue to exist as a homeland for Jews.” These are not at all the same, and it both dangerous and intellectually dishonest to say they are. Supporting the existence of *some* Israeli state in principle is not the same as supporting the continued existence of the Israeli state we know today, the imperialist state founded after it forcibly expelled some 700,000 Palestinians and destroyed or otherwise depopulated over 500 villages in 1948, the state that has imposed a complete (land, air, and water) blockade on Gaza––in which a plurality of the population is children––since 2003, the state found by several human rights organizations (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc.) to be committing the crime against humanity of apartheid against the Palestinian people. Israel’s continued atrocities are its means to the end of constructing a “homeland for Jews,” but it does not have to be the *only* means to that end. The author does not attempt to make this distinction.

    Secondly, Reinhold claims that “from the river to the sea” calls for the extermination of Israel’s entire population. This, as others have pointed out, is complete nonsense. The Palestinians in Gaza and their anti-Zionist supporters simply want to end the suffocating Israeli apartheid and siege. The movement is anti-imperialist to its core. Of course, that is not to deny the existence of antisemitic actors in this struggle nor to justify Hamas’ actions against Israeli civilians. But this conflict should be viewed with nuance (which the author does not).

    Some former Israeli government officials have gone on air saying that Hamas is the creation of Israel––their words, not mine. Israel specifically allowed Qatari funding to reach Hamas to destabilize Gaza’s political atmosphere and (according to Netanyahu himself) fragment the West Bank and Gaza to avoid the creation of a Palestinian state. Hamas is Gaza’s only hope because Israel made it that way. This is why some call for Palestinian resistance “by any means necessary,” because without Hamas, there is no liberation front. How else are Palestinians supposed to fight for their freedom. Historically, oppressed peoples have never gained their freedom without some level of violence (e.g., Haiti, South Africa, the American Civil War). Hamas’ civilian massacre is undoubtedly harrowing, but the Israeli occupation, apartheid, and massacre of Palestinian civilians is more so: in the past month, the number of children killed by Israeli airstrikes is triple that of all Israeli casualties. This is what “from the river to the sea” is really about. Ensuring the freedom of the Palestinian people from Israel’s crimes against humanity. If anyone thinks that’s equivalent to the mass murder of Israel’s population, I have to ask: why?

    One last comment: in a very ironic fashion, the author asks anti-Zionists where we expect Israelis “to go,” yet makes no mention of Israel’s call to evacuate over 1 million people from northern Gaza as it prepares for a ground invasion. Even hospitals with terminally ill patients were ordered for evacuation. Where are Gazans supposed to go? Israel, with its complete blockade of Gaza, has made sure that they can’t seek refuge in neighboring countries.

    • E

      EmilyOct 30, 2023 at 8:03 pm

      I want to address one point you made: the point that “from the river to the sea” is supposedly not about Jewish ethnic cleansing. Saying “free Palestine” absolutely is not, but “from the river to the sea” implies that the goal is taking the land – all of it from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, as that’s literally how the chant goes – and that would require the ethnic cleansing of Jewish people from the region, and it would also require that millions of Jews be expelled with nowhere to go.

    • S

      ShireenOct 31, 2023 at 6:35 pm

      Hello, as a Palestinian American I have a strong feeling that a lot of westerners both in the pro-Israel and pro-Palestine camp get a lot of things wrong. And it really frustrates me when western liberals use language and explanations that no one in Ramallah would understand.

      As for your from the River to the Sea comment, what this means depends on the person. For more secular Palestinians, this means one state in Israel-Palestine with equal rights for all citizens. For more religiously conservative people this means replacing all of Israel and Palestine with an Islamic state.

      Additionally, you really do not seem to be aware of what Hamas is. There has not been any sort of election in any part of Palestine since I was 3 years old. That is not Israels fault, but rather none of our corrupt politicians in either the PA or Hamas let us vote.

      Under Hamas you can be thrown in jail for supporting the Fatah, arrested for dancing the dabke as a woman, and tortured for speaking up. I would really recommend the series Whispered in Gaza for a good idea of what life is like under Hamas.

      I dream of a day where Palestinians can live in freedom from both Israel and our own corrupt political system. Where we can dance, choose to wear what we want, be who we want, etc.

      • S

        Shosh DworskyDec 17, 2023 at 7:58 pm

        Dear Shireen,
        Thank you for the recommendation of Whispered in Gaza. I’ve just watched a few of the videos, very interesting and enlightening. I’ll keep exploring.
        Rabbi Shosh Dworsky,
        Associate Chaplain for Jewish and Interfaith Life
        Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges

  • T

    TimOct 28, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    This comes across as a needlessly aggressive comment. No matter how strongly you disagree, it’s never necessary to make an ad hominem attack, and you undermine your own case by doing so.
    You’ve shown that you’ve got compassion; the article is asking readers to show compassion with real people on with different perspectives on the tragedy currently going on in Israel and Gaza. That includes Jews who are feeling unsafe.
    As a side-note, I’d also say that it’s reductive to call the author a white woman; that erases her experiences of racism as a member of a small minority and the fear she has right now. If we want to be anti-racist allies, it’s important to listen to minorities when they talk about their discomfort, even if it doesn’t fit our own narratives.

  • E

    EOct 28, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    Hi, I’m going to assume that this cruel comment comes from a well meaning place. Do you know that Becky has family in Israel who she feels that fear for? Family with friends sitting endless shivas, family babysitting children who cry about going to the park because they are scared of bombs? Becky never denied that the Palestinian people are suffering. I hope you never know what it feels like to live in a war zone, because I do. I hope your Palestinian friends are safe soon. I pray that the hostages are released. I hope you learn not to judge without knowing. Did you know that Becky has notifications on her phone every time my city is fired at? Or do you want to continue living in a one-sided narrative. I don’t want to spread hate, but you cannot pretend to understand her situation without knowing it. Signed, someone who spent Friday evening in a bomb shelter.

  • T

    TimOct 28, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    This looks like it was hard to write and came from a place of lot of pain. I thought this was a well-made point:

    ‘Because Israel already exists, the question of does Israel have the right to exist is, more accurately, the question: do we (and who this nebulous ‘we’ is depends on who you ask) have a right to destroy it. And that is a profoundly violent question.’

    I don’t agree fully with everything. Specifically, I wouldn’t call Judaism an ethno-religion, and I also don’t personally think that Zionism is necessarily inherent to Judaism. But I think this probably doesn’t take away from your point that, since most Jews *are* Zionist, violent anti-Zionist rhetoric is likely to feel, well, violent to those Jews, regardless of the intent; their lived experience as a minority group needs to be listened to and respected by anti-racist allies. And it’s probably worth re-stating that it’s fully possible to be Zionist, to support a Palestinian state, to be horrified at suffering in Gaza right now, traumatised by the Hamas attacks, and scared of the purity of thought of one’s peers.

    • E

      Emily SwansonOct 28, 2023 at 4:12 pm

      While I respect your support, you are wrong about Jews not being and ethnoreligion. Like, that’s definitionally what we are. Unless you would like to argue with a litany of medical and genetic studies, including my very own genetic testing I had done. Denying this reality not only erases Jewish heritage and indigeneity, but also trivializes the experience of millions of Jews. Not to mention it’s completely untrue. If you would like to be a good ally to the Jewish people, I encourage you to look up some legitimate ethnic and genetic studies that have been done about us. And honestly the proof is in the pudding. It’s not like we just woke up one Tuesday and decided we wanted our kids to all be at risk for Tay Sachs and CF.

      • T

        TimOct 29, 2023 at 1:52 am

        Oh no, I’m Jewish. I was thinking about this though – I think my issue is probably largely with the sound of ‘ethno’. It ties a bit too closely to eugenics (not to be dramatic) and to the term ‘ethnostate’, which is usually used as a weapon against Israel. It also doesn’t allow for the place of converts in Judaism. That said, of course Judaism has a racial element etc (I’m sure this could be worded better). I’m just nervous about our language around it.

  • N

    NogaOct 28, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you so much for saying what every normal person should say: Hammas is ISIS!

  • J

    JulianOct 28, 2023 at 11:54 am

    There’s a lot I could criticize in this article, but so as not to be redundant with other comments, I’m going to speak solely to my own experience as an anti-Zionist Jew. The argument that Judaism and Zionism are inseparable is far from a new one to me – I have heard it for years from my own family, from my own community, from goyim who think they’re qualified to speak on Jewish tradition because of an Instagram infographic they saw. It is not the hot take you think it is; it is an incredibly pervasive and offensive generalization which alienates members of our community who have just as much of a right to their opinion and tradition as any. You don’t seem to see us as members of your community, though. You talk about anti-Zionist Jews as though we’re a self-hating fringe who don’t care about anti-semitism and suggest our opinions about the relationship between Judaism and Zionism can be discarded because we’re not the majority. I resent this for several reasons, but the main one is that it’s about as antithetical to the reality of Judaism as can be. You seem to forget that Israel (which was the name of our diaspora before it was the name of an imperialist project) is often translated to “he who wrestles with God”. Jews are not a front united under the exact letter of our prayers and laws, we are a diasporic and extremely diverse culture who all have radically different, often very critical relationships to our own tradition. To talk about Judaism in terms of percentages and majorities misses the point. Would you argue that Reform Jews are an insignificant fringe because we aren’t the majority and we don’t follow Talmudic law as literally as possible? I’d hope not. I think you have a right to your own interpretation of Judaism, but for someone claiming to speak for the silenced majority of Jews, you’re doing an awful lot of silencing on your own. Anti-Zionist Jews should have a right to claim both identities without members of our own community acting like we’re traitors that don’t “get” Judaism.

  • C

    COct 27, 2023 at 10:24 pm

    This article is passively condoning genocide. The Carletonian should be ashamed to be complicit with hate speech. Articles like this creates unsafe environments for Palestinians, POC, and other Jewish people.

    You’re completely erasing the meaning of from the river to the sea and it implies you believe that brown people are inherently violent. You don’t want to finish the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” because Zionists do not want to live equally beside people they find inferior to them, even subhuman. As a settler colonial project, the freedom of the concentrated people, deemed unworthy of the land, is a direct threat to Israel. It is no surprise you avoid uttering the words Palestine and freedom so near each other.

    • E

      Emily SwansonOct 28, 2023 at 11:41 am

      No, we understand what “From the river to the sea” means. In fact, other countries without as much free speech understand what it means too, so much so that they’ve banned the use of the term because it is abhorrent to them. Also, let’s stop being silly and pretending we are completely uneducated about history or genetics, shall we? You’re basically saying that Palestinians, who are Arabs, are indigenous to Israel, which is laughable. They’re about as indigenous to Israel as my cat is to the ocean. You know who is indigenous though? Jews, whom you refer to as “genocidal” and “colonizers” without any knowledge of what those words mean. Jews have had a presence in that land for ~4,000 years. Even after many of them were butchered and violently expelled by Romans, Byzantines, and yes, Arabs! The Jews still maintained a constant presence and connection to the land, even the ones that were displaced in the diaspora. Meanwhile the Arab colonizers built their mosques on top of temples and churches to completely humiliate the Jewish, Christian, and Samaritan populations (as evidenced by Al Aqsa being built on top of the 2nd Temple), the imposed some of the strictest Dhimmi laws in the entire MENA, and placed such a severe jizya tax on the Jews that were left that they nearly starved to death and had to rely on donations from Jews in the diaspora who were also extremely poor. But it doesn’t even end there! The Arabs continued to terrorize and subjugate the Jews well into the 1940s! Did you know that the Palestinians allied themselves with the Nazis and committed terrible atrocities during throughout the 30s and 40s against the Jewish communities in Hebron, Jerusalem, and other small communities that had been there for years? This ridiculous notion that we all got along and Palestinians were so good to us is a crock of crap. The Arabs need to get used to the fact that there are indigenous groups throughout the areas of the Middle East that they colonized, and that we aren’t their dhimmi anymore. If you have an issue with that, maybe check your colonizer privilege and educate yourself because us Jews will no longer be your subjects. Also, before you accuse someone of being racist towards people who are in your words “brown” do some research about the actual demographics of Israel you ignoramous.

      • I

        IOct 28, 2023 at 1:55 pm

        Even looking at wikipedia for 5 minutes can reveal that Palestine in the 30s and 40s was more complicated than you make it out to be and more an issue of british mandate-driven colonization than antisemitism.

        Here I’ve got the pages for you:
        Amin al Husseini
        Mandatory Palestine
        Zionist Commission

        I don’t know why you choose to use Jewish connection to Israel stemming from diaspora as a means to oppress Palestinians, but maybe you can elaborate on this eye-for-an-eye philosophy that even Fiddler on the Roof chastises.

    • J

      Joel LevyOct 28, 2023 at 12:05 pm

      To say that Palestine should be free from the river to the sea reminds me strongly of extreme right wing Zionist voices calling for a greater Israel from the river to the sea. If there is to be peace in Israel/Palestine then two peoples with legitimate national claims are going to need to compromise. We will need to resist extremist calls from both sides. Hamas and the far right in Israel have a great deal in common in this respect.

      • E

        EOct 28, 2023 at 5:54 pm

        Yes I definitely agree with this. Lack of compromise on both sides has got us to this point. One can see the nuance and say that Hamas is a disgusting terrorist organization and needs to be plunged from the Earth and that Bibi is a detriment to peace

  • B

    BOct 27, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    Dear Becky,

    I respect your opinion wholeheartedly, and I’m very sorry about how these events completely changed the dynamics on campus for yourself and the Jewish community. But I must speak out against this rather one-sided argument. I am just an individual member of the SJP, and I am in no way a voice for the group as a whole. But personally, while I see the Carletonian making constant reference to October 7th and the abhorrent violence that took place on that day, I haven’t seen a strong acknowledgement of the thousands of Palestinians that have died in the weeks since then and the decades since the establishment of the state of Israel. This article only makes reference to Palestinian suffering, but never actually elaborates on it.
    Have you considered that you’re only contributing to the sentiment that Palestinian suffering is going unseen?

    I personally don’t see any benefit to the demolition of the Israeli state, which would only cause additional strife, but I am aware of how the current structures in place result in suffering for the Palestinian people. Government- suffering that goes on to breed hate that eventually spills over and leads to events like those on October 7th. It is a terrible and violent cycle.

    The comments against Zionists may be hurtful when considered from your perspective, but also consider that there are Palestinian students who are also hurting. They have to constantly worry about the possibility of family and associates in their home country being killed in the attacks. They are filled with anger and exceptional pain regarding the catastrophic loss of life occurring because of this “conflict”. And they can not ignore the numerous comments made by Israeli government officials comparing them to animals. There is an active genocide occurring against people like them, and global authorities are doing little to nothing to stop it. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, since October 7th, over 7000 Palestinians have been killed. And the people Palestinians see killing them are majority members of the Israeli state. A state government that is murdering them is not one that any sane person would support. Jewish people deserve a home, just like anybody else. But Israel as it exists, is a threat to the livelihood of 1.6 million people that live there. It needs to change.

    I am staunchly against the war in Israel. And I believe the majority of the SJP feels the same. The Antisemitic comments made around campus are extremely unproductive and dangerous, and I am very sorry that they are being made. But the anger people are feeling IS justified. There are Palestinian Americans being persecuted by individuals who support Israel and express their feelings as Pro-Zionism. Are they not also scared? Should they keep quiet because the things they say may be perceived as Antisemitic?

    The sickening nature of this war, that is now bringing in western powers to support Israel and further escalate the amount of violence, is complicated for all sides and perspectives. I will never advocate the actions of Hamas on the 7th, nor the hateful aggression towards Jews rising all over the world, neither will I advocate the current bombardments enacted by the IDF on Gazan citizens. I can’t ignore the decades of attacks and loss of life before this. Were the actions made by the IDF not also terrorism? Or was it justified because they are run by the government? Many Palestinians have just had to suck it up and keep quiet about these events for DECADES because Zionist views are so prevalent around them. Also note that the prevailing sentiment in the US is Pro-Zionist. The individuals speaking up on campus are the minority.

    The fact is, people are dying right now. People are enraged and are expressing that rage in ways that are harmful towards others. That same rage is being used by the Israeli government to justify its indiscriminate killings in Gaza. Being Pro-Zionist evokes a threat to Palestinian people just as much as Anti-Zionism does for Jewish people. People have plenty of reason to despise the Israeli state, and those emotions won’t always be conveyed in a kind or rational way. It’s unfortunate that any of us have to be scared at this college, but it is reductive to suggest that people’s hate for a colonial government is invalid when said government is murdering their loved ones.

    On campus, comments made by people supporting either belief have been discriminatory towards another set of people. I know that people have had to even change dorms because they felt unsafe. It’s disgusting that we’re so focused on tearing each other down. All I can advocate for is empathetic discussion rather than these broad, ambiguous comments and articles that only seek to escalate things. These back and forth attacks will accomplish nothing in the long run.

    I hope peace and civility will prevail at Carleton, but that may be too optimistic.

    • S

      Shosh DworskyDec 17, 2023 at 8:31 pm

      Dear B,
      I just read your reply here. I don’t agree with everything your wrote, but you make many interesting points. I respect your choice to express yourself anonymously, I wonder what led to that choice. You’re welcome to email me directly if you chose. I will certainly honor your wish to remain anonymous.
      Rabbi Shosh Dworsky
      Associate Chaplain for Jewish and Interfaith Life
      Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges

  • W

    WOct 27, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    The fact that someone would choose to write and publish this article during an active genocide of Palestinian people is horrifying. I wish everyone could see that anti-Zionism is about anti-imperialism, not antisemitism. It’s about standing against the violent regime, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid taking place in Palestine by the Israeli government and military for 75 years.

    The author writes: “I know Palestinians are suffering right now, and the point of this article isn’t to diminish that. It’s for people on the Carleton campus.” The implicit assumption that there are no Palestinian or Arab people at Carleton who are currently suffering or have suffered at Carleton is deeply troubling (and untrue). My heart is with the courageous students at Carleton who are organizing in support of Palestine and demanding Carleton to speak up, even as it is an unpopular but an unsafe opinion for many to have.

    -Sincerely, a very upset alum

    • A

      A more upset alum with actual Israel tiesNov 3, 2023 at 7:30 pm

      As an alumnus and a descendant of Jews living in Israel since well before 1948, I am truly dismayed at what appears to be happening on campus, and the disrespectful tone in some of the dissents noted to the writer’s views in the comments section.

      I believe in a two-state solution, and I believe that all the civilians harmed on both sides of the conflict are equal tragedies. And I also believe that Netanyahu and his cronies are absolutely a scourge. But having a cancer in elected office doesn’t justify murder of civilians, otherwise we all should’ve been unalived when Trump was elected. I believe without doubt that Hamas is a scourge, and their existence also doesn’t justify the murder of civilians.

      That said, there’s simply no country in the world that would be expected to accept the barbarous murders of their civilians when attacked, yet do nothing because their adversary was deliberately hiding amongst another civilian population.

      As some more thoughtful comments have noted, there has been no shortage of mutual suffering and culpability on both sides… and to achieve a durable peace requires leadership willing to lead on both sides. Israel had numerous governments in place that accepted negotiated solutions repeatedly rejected by the respective Palestinian leaders of the time. Hamas emergence and its intolerant and violent tactics have contributed to the rightward shift of Israel over the last 30 years, something that saddens me terribly. Israel’s current government is no partner for peace – and for those not paying attention, millions had been marching and protesting against the Netanyahu government every Saturday for 40 weeks straight prior to the Hamas attack. Hamas has never been a partner for peace, and never will be as they refuse to acknowledge a right for Jews to exist. This is where realpolitik comes in to play, and all the ideology of peace doesn’t solve anything if there arent leaders seeking peace on both sides. For Hamas apologists, they also dont tolerate any challenge to their world views by other Palestinians (they dont afford anyone to protest in the streets), so let’s not pretend that any of the values of liberalism and tolerance that exist at Carleton would ever be present in any population under the control of Hamas.

      For those implying all the people chanting “from the river to the sea” are innocently calling for a peaceful reunification of the lands and having everyone live together in harmony within a single country… explain to me why there are no longer any Jewish populations living in any Arab majority country today (the answer can be found if you search for “antisemitism in the Arab world” on Wikipedia).