David Bernstein’s opinion piece on Zionism shows less a grasp of the politics of anti-Zionism in the Jewish community than the extent to which Zionism has become mainstream (“Time To Reclaim Zionism,” Oct. 8).
He states that, prior to the founding of the State of Israel, fervently Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism “on theological grounds,” and leaves it at that. Likewise, he says that Jewish leftists opposed it because “they believed it was their duty to give up on their religious beliefs and ethnic solidarity as a vanguard for others.” Better to say that both opposed it because they believed that Jewish redemption could come only with the advent of messianic times.
Here it must be understood that, for Jewish Marxists, perfect faith in the coming of the Revolution is a displacement of Maimonides’ perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. If Jews believe that redemption will come as a function of the divine, then Marxists believe that the revolution will come as a function of the economy. In either case, change is determined from without, rather than from within. In this sense, it could be argued that Marxism has more in common with Judaism than Zionism does, if the latter places its faith in self-determination.
However, in the end, it must be recognized that the predictive power of Marxism proved negligible, and that the Jewish state functions as a means, whether legitimate or not, to the end of the protection of Jewish lives.