“Jewish heritage is love of freedom and good cooking” Heinrich Heine
To paraphrase the Indymedia slogan, “don’t hate media, become the media” I would like to propose, “don’t hate the state, become a state”. Yes, states are not the best idea, national states are the worst. I would love a social revolution based on universal principles of freedom and liberty for all, unfortunately, national affinities are deeper than class solidarity and therefore we will have to compromise and try to make a proper state until the downfall of capitalism occurs. According to Kropotkin, in order for internationalism to take root it is necessary for folks to first gain autonomy. The main possible solution offered today for a Jew who does not want to assimilate or take part in the rabbinical orthodox stream that claims that there is no Judaism except the religious hallachic way, is the national Zionistic monopoly that makes Judaism equivalent to supporting Israel.
Zionism – which I think has been traumatic for the Jews as well as the Palestinians – seems untouchable, so deeply has it entered the hearts of people and how they see themselves. Nevertheless, we have to build an alternative for those who admit and accept their own sense of nationhood but do not agree with Zionism.
A polish artist told me that in Poland, ‘Jew’ is a bad word, but it also means freedom and democracy (which are still bad words for many people in Poland). We should use this power, be proud in this stigma and thrive to live up to this evaporation reputation. I propose that the state flag will be a white flag, which is a flag of surrender, yet also a flag symbolizing a clean pure start (but of course the citizens will have to decide when the state is established). Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kok, the most inffluential thinker on religious Zionism, had a surprisingly radical and amazing thought after witnessing the horrors of the killings of World War One, “we (the Jews) were raped (forced) to leave world politics, but we also left willingly, until the time is right, where it will be possible to run a kingdom without wickedness and barbarism”1
I think we should not give up and still try to live up Rav Kok’s ideas. I want to follow the way of Ahad Ha’am (Asher Zvi Ginsberg), who advocated the establishment of a cultural center for Jews that would serve as a unifying core of cultural life and would aim at spiritual and scientific excellence – to establish a Jewish State, and not merely a state of Jews.
“The secret of our people’s persistence is… at a very early period the Prophets taught it to respect only spiritual power, and not to worship material power. For this reason the clash with enemies stronger than itself never brought the Jewish nation, as it did the other nations of antiquity, to the point of self-effacement. So long as we are faithful to this principle, our existence has a secure basis: for in spiritual power we are not inferior to other nations, and we have no reason to efface ourselves. But a political ideal which does not rest on the national culture is apt to seduce us from our loyalty to spiritual greatness, and to beget in us a tendency to find the path of glory in the attainment of material power and political dominion, thus breaking the thread that unites us with the past, and undermining our historical basis. Needless to say, if the political ideal is not attained, it will have disastrous consequences, because we shall have lost the old basis without finding a new one…”
“…In a word: Chibbath Zion, no less than “Zionism,” wants a Jewish State and believes in the possibility of the establishment of a Jewish State in the future. But while “ Zionism “ looks to the Jewish State to provide a remedy for poverty, complete tranquillity and national glory, Chibbath Zion knows that our State will not give us all these things until “universal Righteousness is enthroned and holds sway over nations and States”: and it looks to a Jewish State to provide only a “secure refuge” for Judaism and a cultural bond of unity for our nation. ‘‘Zionism, therefore, begins its work with political propaganda; Chibbath Zion begins with national culture, because only through the national culture and for its sake can a Jewish State be established in such a way as to correspond with the will and the needs of the Jewish people”.2
1 Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kok, Orot Hakodesh 14. quoted in Avraham Burg, Victory over Hitler
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