Israel is getting ready to celebrate 70 years of independence next month. In many ways indeed a remarkable milestone when looking at the odds in 1948. The Zionist Dream has become reality and forged the paradise that is now Israel. Or did it?

The early Zionists aimed to escape the rising racism in Europe, to settle the land of their ancestors and create a new, just society. Against incredible odds, the State of Israel was established, many, many more immigrants reached its shores, and the new State grew and thrived. Faced with annihilation by neighboring armies, Israel astonished friend and foe, and crushed its enemies in 1967 and occupied extensive lands and made it clear to the world that Israel is a force to be reckoned with. The Zionist Dream had become reality.

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Then, the Dream died. Racism, religious zealotry, Fascism, Xenophobia and Nationalist Fanaticism took its place. The Israeli leadership made great effort to have the people accept the new narrative they devised for the Zionist Dream, and no effort was spared to justify the new reality and security considerations, the Holocaust and Jewish Supremacy were major arguments. Was this the new Zionist Dream?


Whatever the Zionist Dream may be today or how it is experienced and felt by people, the facts on the ground are clear and cannot be denied. They may be misinterpreted, (deliberately or not), ignored, distorted and justified, but today Israel is suppressing almost five million Palestinians, denying them basic civil rights and usurping their lands. For some apparently this is the new Zionist Dream but it may very well turn into a nightmare before we will be able to wake up from it.

The scenario that will unfold will follow well-trodden paths and the outcome is not hard to predict.

Israel will in the near future declare sovereignty over the occupied territories and Israeli law will be established in all of West Bank (maybe later to be followed by the Gaza strip as well). The local (Arab) population will have residency status but will not be free to travel outside of the West Bank or settle in what once was Israel, and of course will not have Israeli citizenship, nor will they be able to vote in national elections. And even though their economic situation will probably be improving somewhat, the denial of basic rights will be accepted only for so long. The Israeli army will be able to suppress dissent and quell unrest but more and more force will be required to contain the masses and eventually it will lead to an explosion. It may be controlled once, it may be controlled twice and increased force and increased suppression will keep Israel in control for the foreseeable future. But is this the new Zionist Dream?

Of course, the world will not stand by idle. They may be hypocritical, they may remember their sins in World War II and they may remember the Holocaust, but there is only so much they will be able to take from Israel when it comes to brutal occupation and suppression of another people.  Economic sanctions will follow; boycotts of sportsmen, of artists, of politicians, of companies, of Israeli products; bans of exports of strategic goods to Israel. Our “real” friend, the U.S.A., will be standing by us but will not be able to stop the rest of the world from demanding fundamental changes and a stop to the occupation. Is this the new Zionist Dream?

This situation, with almost complete isolation of Israel by the world community will be able to continue, mostly because of Israeli ingenuity, allowing the development of alternative energy sources, improved efficiency in food production and ingenious ways to smuggle the latest I-phones into the country. Self-righteousness and the belief in the superiority of the Jewish people will allow Israeli leadership to continue to convince the population of the justice of their ways and the country will rally behind its leaders and justify them no matter what. By then, also, religious zealotry will have come into play and both sides will try to make this a religious conflict.

The bloodshed and suffering on both sides will increase but the immense polarization actively maintained by both parties allow the atrocities to continue, from both sides. Is this the new Zionist Dream?

How long will it continue? It will be years, maybe generations, until the suffering on both sides has become so big, and the bloodshed so intense that the thought occurs to some that this cannot continue anymore. But by then, thoughts will be about as dangerous as words and it will not stop until, on both sides, someone will stand up and say: Enough.

It will require intelligent, courageous leadership, power of persuasion and a vision broad enough to see the past as the past and the future dependent on one thing only: the recognition that all men are equal.  It will not be easy. It will cost more lives. It must have the backing of the people. And it must be pursued relentlessly. However, it can be done. It was done in the past. This is the real new Zionist Dream.

Once we reach that point, the path forward will be clear. “No More War, No More Bloodshed”. And the new Israel, or Palestine, or Utopia, no matter what you want to call it, will be secular and democratic. Secular as in “Temporal”, “Worldly”.  And all men are equal. And no one will be superior. No one will be better. No one will be more human than anyone else. There will be no need any more for a Zionist Dream. Neither the old version nor the new Zionist Dream would have fit in anyway.

Crazy isn’t it? But a man is allowed to dream, no? Even if it is not the Zionist Dream.

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