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Today, I am proud to call myself a Zionist.

Tags: Zionism

Arielle Mokhtarzadeh

To be quite honest, growing up, I always shied away from calling myself a “Zionist.” I found the word to be archaic and oftentimes irrelevant. Only now do I realize how deeply mistaken I was.

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Zionism is the movement which advocates for the rights of the Jewish people, chief among them the right of self-determination. It is a word, which sometime in the last 60 years has been tainted by those who seek to deprive the Jewish people of that basic human right. And today is the day we take it back.

Today is the day that we remind the world that Judaism is more than a religion, it is a nation, an ethnicity, and a people.

Today is the day we tell the world that Zionism was a thing long before the creation of the Jewish state and it will remain a thing long after.

Today is the day that we, as Zionists, reclaim our narrative.

To me, being a Zionist, doesn’t mean blindly standing behind all the decisions of the Israeli government. It doesn’t mean pretending Israel is perfect. It is not synonymous with the denial of Palestinian self-determination.

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In actuality, being a Zionist means wrestling with the complexities of the Jewish state and of the conflict in general, being a link in the chain of the history of Zionism and most importantly, maintaining that all peoples, like the Jewish people, deserve the right to self-determination.

To be honest, it really frustrates me when I hear the phrase, “Zionism is Racism.” Zionism is the movement which maintains that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination, nothing more and nothing less. And it is truly disheartening when people condemn that movement, denying the Jewish right to self-determination, while simultaneously advocating for the self-determination of other peoples.

Zionism has a past, a present and a future. Zionism of the past sought to revive, renew and liberate the Jewish state. Zionism of the present seeks to defend the Jewish right to self-determination. And Zionism of the future involves constructively criticizing that Jewish state to enable it to fulfill all that it is destined to be.

Today, I am proud to call myself a Zionist.

#WeTheZionists at UCLA

"To be quite honest, growing up, I always shied away from calling myself a “Zionist.” I found the word to be archaic and oftentimes irrelevant. Only now do I realize how deeply mistaken I was. Zionism is the movement which advocates for the rights of the Jewish people, chief among them the right of self-determination. It is a word, which sometime in the last 60 years has been tainted by those who seek to deprive the Jewish people of that basic human right. And today is the day we take it back. Today is the day that we remind the world that Judaism is more than a religion, it is a nation, an ethnicity, and a people. Today is the day we tell the world that Zionism was a thing long before the creation of the Jewish state and it will remain a thing long after. Today is the day that we, as Zionists, reclaim our narrative. To me, being a Zionist, doesn’t mean blindly standing behind all the decisions of the Israeli government. It doesn’t mean pretending Israel is perfect. It is not synonymous with the denial of Palestinian self-determination. In actuality, being a Zionist means wrestling with the complexities of the Jewish state and of the conflict in general, being a link in the chain of the history of Zionism and most importantly, maintaining that all peoples, like the Jewish people, deserve the right to self-determination. To be honest, it really frustrates me when I hear the phrase, “Zionism is Racism.” Zionism is the movement which maintains that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination, nothing more and nothing less. And it is truly disheartening when people condemn that movement, denying the Jewish right to self-determination, while simultaneously advocating for the self-determination of other peoples. Zionism has a past, a present and a future. Zionism of the past sought to revive, renew and liberate the Jewish state. Zionism of the present seeks to defend the Jewish right to self-determination. And Zionism of the future involves constructively criticizing that Jewish state to enable it to fulfill all that it is destined to be.Today, I am proud to call myself a Zionist.” - Arielle Mokhtarzadeh#WeTheZionists

Posted by Bruins for Israel on Monday, April 6, 2015


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