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John Safran, at The Sydney Morning Herald, makes an excellent point. It’s never a good idea to wait until the boat is sinking to bust out the life savers.

He strongly recommends that Zionists quickly embrace plan B – adopting a non-Zionist Jewish identity – before it blows. And he offers a diverse list of alternatives for his fellow Jews.

HEY Jew! Sure, it was fun being part of the Tribe when it was associated with blintzes and bagels and Woody and wit. But now when your workmates spot the Star of David necklace they’re thinking rubble and bombs and babies from the night before. You’re kind of complicit, in their eyes at least. When they read those Mel Gibson quotes, they don’t say it, but they don’t entirely disagree. Cross-pollinate an ’80s Afrikaner with a ’90s Serb and you’re not even getting close. Even Leunig hates you.

Zeppelin zionistIt’s going to be tough sticking it out with the Zionists, so what if you want to cut loose? What do you do if you want to parachute from the zeppelin of Zion but still maintain a Jewish identity? Can you bale on Israel without baling on Judaism? Here are some non-Zionist Jewish identities for your consideration:

Non-Zionist Ultra-Orthodox Jew

Confusingly, the most religious-looking Jews are the least likely to be Zionists. The long-bearded, fur-hatted, black-gowned folk who schlep around Hotham Street in Ripponlea and Old South Head Road in Bondi like it’s Poland circa 1890 are from the Adass Yisroel community. They are no fans of the modern state of Israel.

Adass believes the time to head to Jerusalem is when the Messiah descends to Earth and takes us there (on clouds with the wings of eagles, by the way). To them, Zionists are sacrilegious; heading to the party before the invitations have even been sent out.

Non-Zionist Yiddish-Speaking Jewish Socialist

Bundists believe Jewish identity revolves around culture – particularly Yiddish-language culture – rather than Zionism, or even religion. They formed a century ago in Eastern Europe, setting up secular Jewish socialist communities. For them, a Jew should be a Jew wherever he is, rather than dreaming of picking mangoes on a kibbutz near Tel Aviv.

Bundism was far more popular than Zionism before World War II. However, after the Holocaust, when it was proven you couldn’t fight anti-Semites with Yiddish theatre and klezmer clarinets, it lost support.

Not to worry; the Bundists’ vastly diminished numbers don’t present a problem for the Aussie Jew. One of the world’s few surviving Bundist groups, SKIF, and the world’s last remaining school founded on Bundist principles, Sholem Aleichem College, are both in Melbourne.

Non-Zionist Jewish Nationalist

But just say it’s passion for a Hebrew homeland that gets you out of bed and off to shule each morning. Surely then you need Zionism?Maybe not. Little known, even amongst the Chosen, is the other homeland. And I’m not cracking wise about Hollywood, Los Angeles. In the late 1920s Stalin set up the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Far-East Russia, with Yiddish street signs, schools and newspapers. Hoping Soviet Semites would relocate, it received a lukewarm response from the target market. At its peak in the l940s only 30,000 Jews had made the move; most left soon after. Even though it never took off, fantastically, it’s never folded either.

To this day there is a Jewish Autonomous Oblast legislative assembly, judicial system, even flag and coat of arms (a cool tiger). Though less than 2 per cent of its population today is Jewish, Yiddish is still considered the official language alongside Russian.

Non-Zionist Jewish Arab

When the Jewish singer Victoria Hanna toured Australia last year, heads were scratched over her insistence on being referred to as a Jewish Arab. Was this some sort of oxymoronic joke? No, she reasoned: if you’re the daughter of an Egyptian you’re an Arab; even if you’re the daughter of an Egyptian Jew.

There are millions of Jews with a mum, dad, or both, from Arab or Persian lands. Jerry Seinfeld’s Yiddishe mama is Syrian. Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G, is of Jewish Iranian stock. Now that Arabs are the new Jews in the cool victims stakes, maybe it’s time to do what Victoria Hanna did and re-perceive yourself. And it seems you will be accepted. The Palestinian writer Ray Hanania says Seinfeld is his favourite Arab comedian and Taimor Hazou from the Australian Arabic Council says Arab Jews are in.

Finally, my fellow bagel-biters, if you’re going to stay a Zionist why not mess with everyone’s head by joining forces with at least one Palestinian, Walid Shoebat. He and his fellow activists are – and this is no Jewish joke – Palestinians for Zionism.


1) I would take his advice. The world is fast becoming an inhospitable environment for Zionists – to say the least.

2) At Monday, August 14, 2006, quasimodo said…

That’s what they get for laying a massive collective guilt trip on goyim. Now they can just have it all back in the form of collective mass guilt by association, the same treatment they try on Muslims, but they can’t make it stick. So they can try being shit on the barn wall for a change.

3) At Tuesday, August 15, 2006, dirty arab said…

How about giving up on that «we’re the chosen people» thing. I think it’s a bit insulting to the big dude Himself, to suggest that he would favor some of his children over the others.

When we feel that we are equal to everyone else, we are more likely to treat others like we want to be treated.

A Jew is to a Zionist as a German is to a Nazi. I really hope not.

Most Americans don’t know the difference between a Jew and a Zionist. They probably don’t care either. Isn’t that something?

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