Don’t understand people’s objections to calling out Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, & the new schnook on the block, Sam Hamad, as Zionists. That is not an epithet of abuse to defame someone; it is the accurate political designation for someone who supports the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish-only state based on the ideology of Zionism. There is a false distinction made between those called left Zionists who support that state on the original 1948 borders, & those considered hawkish Zionists who support such a state on the 1967 borders created by military occupation, now leaving Palestinians with bantustates sectioned by apartheid walls which the Oslo Accords are systematically & forcibly expropriating into the state of Israel

One’s discomfort with calling Chomsky & Finkelstein Zionists is because of the genuine contributions they have made to exposing the egregious problems of Israeli colonialism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing–though neither of them have been among my most cogent teachers who were Palestinians & Jews (including Israelis, socialists, & some killed in the holocaust)–all of them uncompromising about the political character of Israel as a settler-colonial state.

Hamad is an uninformed rookie who denies Israeli apartheid so isn’t the stature of Chomsky & Finkelstein who do see the problems & lay them out cogently–though both are becoming more compromised, even snide, as they note with concern the impact of BDS in building support for Palestinians which they believe will undermine the state of Israel. All three oppose BDS & exhibit disturbing contempt toward Palestinians. They propose the pipe dream of a Jewish-only state & dismiss the Palestinian vision of a democratic, secular state where Jews & Palestinians live as brothers & sisters as they did before the Zionist occupation of Palestine.

The point of making these distinctions is not to vilify these men but to understand where they’re coming from, why their hedges & compromises, why their disdain & active opposition for BDS–which is a very different political, more conservative perspective than Palestinians & Jews who call for a unitary, democratic state & make no bones or equivocations about it. These guys are committed Zionists who just want to get rid of the bad parts because they don’t understand there is nothing salvageable in Zionism, a rightwing, racist, supremacist ideology that wants to cash in on colonialism for Jews rather than be part of the broader struggle against racism & colonialism in the interests of all humanity. If they are averse to investigate or come to grips with the realities which defy Palestinian self-determination, we are not obligated to play along with them so as not to hurt their feelings or because they’re hotshots & a wannabe in the broader movement. Our commitment is to Palestinian self-determination, not stroking the wounded egos of misguided activists.