Yom Ha-Atsma’ut Is Not Just about Israeli Independence, but about Jewish Liberation https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2022/05/yom-ha-atsmaut-is-not-just-about-israeli-independence-but-about-jewish-liberation/

May 6, 2022 | Michael Koplow
About the author: Michael Koplow is the policy director of the Israel Policy Forum and an analyst of Middle Eastern politics.

Israel’s Independence Day, which began Wednesday evening and ended yesterday, is celebrated by countless Jews in the Diaspora with school events, special synagogue services, and the mere recognition of the date’s significance. While the creation of the state of Israel is surely sufficient cause for joy in itself, writes Michael Koplow, it also has additional meaning for Jews living outside its borders:

Jewish liberation and self-determination extend past Israel as the Jewish state, even as I would argue that Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish homeland is a necessary component of that liberation and self-determination. Jewish independence and liberation are also about our right to define ourselves, our right to live free of anti-Semitism, and our right to express our Jewishness as we see fit.

In the past couple of weeks alone, there are disturbing signs that these aspects of Jewish independence and liberation—ones that we have taken for granted—are under erosion. Much has been made of the editorial board of the Harvard Crimson endorsing BDS, [the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel], and rejecting its past stance opposing it, but the BDS endorsement itself is not what should worry American Jews. . . . What should worry us is that the same editorial unambiguously asserted that nothing about the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee’s “Wall of Resistance”—including the first panel that read “Zionism is racism, settler colonialism, white supremacy, apartheid”—was deserving of the “delegitimizing label” of anti-Semitism.

Note that the Wall of Resistance did not accuse Israel, the Israeli government, or Israeli policies and actions of white supremacy, but rather labeled the idea of Jewish self-determination as white supremacy.

Most [American Jews] are Zionists and some of us are not, and Jews ourselves vigorously debate whether anti-Zionism is inherently or automatically anti-Semitic, but we get to decide whether Zionism is a legitimate or necessary component of Judaism rather than having someone else tell us.

That too, Koplow argues, is part of what Jewish liberation entails.

Read more on Israel Policy Forum: https://israelpolicyforum.org/2022/05/05/israels-independence-day-and-jewish-independence/