When was the last time you told someone that you are a Zionist?
As the new year is upon us, we have an opportunity to revitalize something that faded from our lingo many years ago: the “Z Word.” Here’s a hint: one who aligns with an ideology and a movement; a stand to create and support a Jewish State in the Jewish People’s historic homeland. The “Z Word” is Zionist.
When I was in high school in the mid-seventies, the UN passed a resolution declaring Zionism a form of racism. Since that time, despite other UN Resolutions, anti-Zionist entities have continued to defame and denigrate the word. As a result, we who were once mobilized to action by a vision of a what a Jewish homeland could be, began to shy away from association with the movement and the use of the “Z Word” itself.
When was the last time you told someone that you were a Zionist? It’s time. We are reclaiming that word because we own the narratives of both our history and our future.
My position is personal. I aspire to normalize the “Z Word” for reasons beyond; “for the sake of the Jews.” My children are comfortable with the complexities that have evolved with the establishment of the modern State of Israel. Debates about Israel have always had a place in our home, and lively conversations, of course, may have gotten a bit heated from time-to-time. This is how it’s been for Jews throughout our history.
But many of their millennial peers drank the Kool-Aid of those who deny Israel’s right to exist; and hold the Jewish homeland to unique and untenable standards. We’ve lost far too many to the corruption of the word Zionism. Generations who are lacking the tools to respond, fear retribution for standing up and saying they are Zionists.
Let’s use the coming year to reclaim the “Z Word.” As we proudly weave the words Zionist and Zionism into our conversations, we will demonstrate that we support Israel, today and forever.
I am a Zionist.
Beth Gluck is Jewish National Fund-USA’s Atlanta executive director and proudly engages Atlantans in developing the land of Israel for all its people.