In South Africa, COSATU has accused Israel’s supporters and governments of the world who “turn a blind eye to these injustices”. The BDS movement in South Africa has rallying calls against “right wing groups’ blind support for Israel”. There are even some Jews, and people of Jewish descent, who proudly declare that they distance themselves from South African Jewish organisations and their “blind support for Israel's disproportionate actions” when Israel addresses the threat from Hamas.
I am a Zionist. I support Israel. And, to COSATU, BDS, a handful of Jews, and many people around the world, I am considered a “blind supporter of Israel”.
When I consider the term “blind”, I think of an individual who cannot see, or of someone whose eyes are closed. I think of someone who cannot discriminate between two, or more, options. I think of someone who is unable to evaluate options and consider alternatives.
When I think of the word “blind”, images of someone blindfolded are conjured up in my mind. “Blind” reminds me of someone driving in the dark, with no street lights or car lights. When I think of the word “blind” I imagine someone who is directionless, who cannot deliberately turn in a direction they wish to go, since they really cannot see which way is best to turn.
When I consider my support for Israel, I would never have thought that my support was a “blind” support. I always thought that my support for Israel was deliberate and intentional. I did not ever think that my support was blind, as some people would have me think. I would never have thought that I was blind when I read Israel’s declaration of independence that states that the State of Israel:
“...will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions”.
I have never considered myself “blind” when on all my visits to Israel, I see churches, mosques and synagogues, all standing, and operational, within Israel’s main cities.
I have never thought of myself as being “blind” when I researched the history of Jerusalem. I did not consider myself as being blind to the fact that between 1948 and 1967, 57 ancient synagogues, libraries and Jewish religious centres were ransacked and destroyed. I did not think I was “blind” for being proud of Israel’s capturing of Jerusalem in 1967, and granting access to all holy sites for members of all religions.
I have never considered myself as being “blind” to Israel’s social issues, and the way she deals with those issues. I have never thought of myself as being “blind” when I see Israel prosecuting individuals who violate people’s human rights. I have not been “blind” to the widespread condemnation from the Israeli government, and within Israeli society, to the murder of Mohammad Abu Khieder, an Arab teenager.
I have never thought of myself as being “blind” when I acknowledge the social dysfunction that exists in some of Israel’s communities. I have never considered myself as being “blind” when I sympathise with the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians, and long for a peaceful coexistence between the two people’s.
When Israel defends itself against an existential threat, I did not think I was “blind” when I read the Hamas charter attitude towards Jews that states:
“The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
I was not “blind” when I saw Israel’s call to all people of all religions to help build the nation. I also did not consider myself “blind”, when reading, in the Hamas charter, that peace with Israel is not an option:
“Peace initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion”
I am, as a Zionist, referred to as "blind". People who accuse me of being blind, can, as opposed to me, clearly see. And I call on you to use that facility of sight and indeed see.
I expect people to continue calling me “blind”. But I want you to see that it’s easier to accuse me of being “blind”, than to possibly consider that my support for Israel is deliberate and well thought through. You see, it’s difficult for Israel’s detractors to acknowledge that Zionists support Israel because Israel, despite its social and political issues, is a country and society that is founded on pluralism, equality before the law and respect for all religions. Israel’s detractors expect me to abandon Israel when a racist attack takes place on an Arab teenager. But, you see, I refuse to abandon Israel simply because of some perverted racists, in the same way I refuse to abandon South Africa when some perverted South African attacks an Afrikaner farming family, or some other perverted South African attacks a Malawian shop-owner.
I am not “blind” to Israel’s dark lights and sad flaws, and am certainly not “blind” to the brilliance and brightness of what Israel stands for.
You see, I am willing to forgive you, people who accuse me of “blindly’ supporting Israel. I forgive you for your deeply offensive suggestion, that my support for Israel is not thought through, or deliberate. I forgive you for your proposition that my support for Israel is not based on my belief in mutual respect and pluralism and my appreciation of Israel as a fascinating, and flawed, beautiful country. I forgive you for your derogatory assumption, that my support for Israel is not based on reason and fairness. I forgive you for your baseless hypothesis that my intellectual brain and my sympathising heart are not fully engaged when I consider my support for Israel, and when I acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians.
You see, there is one thing that is far worse than the Zionists blind support of Israel...
And that is people’s blind hatred of Zionists