Why the web is breaking down Zionist tribalism

Following our recent video shot in Jerusalem on Americans, Jews, settlements and bigotry, one of the makers, David Jacobus, responds on Mondoweiss to some of the criticisms directed at us:

As a contributor to the film Cruel but Necessary: Israeli Opinions about the Settlements and Obama, I wanted to add some perspective on the debates that have developed on Mondoweiss.

With an afternoon of filming interviews, we had to exclude a higher percentage of those that had what most would identify as a “Zionist” perspective compared to perspectives critical of Zionism (but this should be obvious, no?). The two critical perspectives you see in this video come out of a total of three that we heard – and these were the only responses that lacked qualifications, i.e. usually pro-Zionist catches or exceptions. We had three responses by hippies, as one might call them, and they were excluded because they’re nonsensical and often contain qualifications. That being said, we have more Zionist responses sitting in the film bin – if a second video was made of unaired footage, it would be even more unevenly Zionist.

Those who find the interviews unfair seem to fit into two categories: the first disagree that the views shared in the video are representative of Israelis, and the second agree that they are, but think these perspectives should be kept private. I want to respond to both of these.

With respect to the first group, I think these people need a wider education, perhaps more experiential, or their arguments are just failing to win me. As someone who has worked with Americans in Israel who have been exposed to the reality and begun to change their minds, I’ve noticed the hermetic character of the information bubble most American Zionists hold. Barely anything else gets in besides self-supporting arguments and where there exist openings on fundamental issues of justice that force American Jews to ask questions about Zionism, there is a fudge-ton of “team sport” type propaganda, imagery, and mythology that fills in.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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