It isn't an exaggeration to say that I owe my life to Zionism.
This political theory about the need for a Jewish nation-state was a guiding light to my grandparents throughout their lives. Because of their belief in Zionism, and their commitment to the cause, they saw with some kind of clarity what was happening in their Germany in the 1930's, and they made the decision to leave. My grandfather tried, initially, to go to Palestine and establish a business; he failed, because of timing, and lack of investors. In 1937 he emigrated to the United States, and in 1938 my grandmother and their two kids - my father the younger of the two - joined him.
Throughout their lives here, they continued their Zionist work, collecting and running guns for the Haganah, fundraising, hosting visiting speakers, and engaging in all of the other community-based activities that people do for their causes.
Yet. Yet I never felt that they were anything other than humanists at their core. They're dead, they cannot defend themselves, so putting words in their mouths is too easy, but I never felt from them any sense that the value of Jewish lives trumped that of any other humans. They hoped and longed for an Israel that would, perhaps ironically, be subject to the same troubles we face here, with crime and criminality, drugs, prostitution, and the generally seedy underbelly of life. Why? Because when these elements emerged in Israel they would know that they had succeeded in creating a nation-state full of humans, and not just full of Jews in the most naïve sense.
So it is with much sadness that I think about them now, as the world witnesses the misery in the Middle East on the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday. And it is with much sadness that I provide this report on the Palestinian protest held in NYC's Times Square on Friday, 6 October.
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