February 22, 2020

Where Zionism Is Unwelcome

“I have never done 23-and-me, nor have I “ancestry.com’d” myself. It’s never felt necessary. My family’s Eastern European Jewish heritage was something we lived to honor, including in our politics.

Like so many others, my family came to this country escaping discrimination in the Old Country and facing injustice in the New: abusive labor conditions; university quotas; social exclusion when we tried to climb the ladder of the American dream. Given our history in this country — and our involvement in so many social justice movements — it shouldn’t be a surprise that so many young Jews, myself included, can’t imagine being anything other than political progressives. As a gay abortion rights advocate and environmentalist, my place in such circles has always been welcomed and accepted.

Well, until now.

As a sophomore at George Washington University, whose student government last year passed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions proposal, I now find myself pushed to the fringes of a movement I thought I was at the heart of, marginalized as someone suspicious at best and oppressive at worst. This is because I am a Zionist. It is because I, like 95 percent of American Jews, support Israel.”

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