‘A serious newspaper should not confuse Jews and Zionists’

Yakov Rabkin

The Toronto Globe and Mail ran a story yesterday on a Middle East conference at York University that upset the Israel lobby because it considered binational visions of Israel/Palestine’s future.The scholar and author Yakov Rabkin responded to the piece in this letter. (Not sure if Globe and Mail have run it; but Rabkin said I could.)

The report on the attempts at censorship at York University (Controversy brews over York’s handling of conference on Mideast by Elizabeth Church, April 12 ) is misleading in one important aspect. It presents those who opposed the conference on alternatives to the Zionist structure of the state of Israel as Jews whereas Jews could be found on both ends of the divide. There were many Jews among the organizers, and one fourth of the invited speakers were Israeli Jews. I observed an altercation between protesters from Toronto’s Jewish Defense Laeague wrapped in Israeli flags and Israeli participants at the conference. “What right do you have to wrap yourselves in our flag?” – asked one outraged Israeli.

A serious newspaper should not confuse Jews and Zionists. Some Jews are, indeed, Zionists, others are non- or even anti-Zionists. Canadian Jewish Congress, which supports all Israeli governments is no more or less Jewish that the Independent Jewish Voices that often condemns Israel’s actions. “Two Jews – three opinions”. Most Zionists today are Christian; their number is four times greater than the entire Jewish population of this planet. On the eve of the 62th anniversary of Isreal, it is important to remember that it was the Zionist minority of Palestine’s inhabitants that issued the unilateral declaration of independence. Israel is a Zionist state, not a Jewish one, another important distinction to make in future articles on this burning subject.

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‘A serious newspaper should not confuse Jews and Zionists’