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It’s Not Easy To Be “Progressive”

When Israel is threatened, I, like any Jew who understands history should be, am threatened. I choose to remain a Jew in America, a Zionist in an anti-Semitic world, and a progressive in the San Francisco bay area.

I grew up with no such “choice.” I was just a stateless Arab Jew stuck in Japan in Catholic missionary schools for too long. I was stateless because my parents had to leave their countries of origin. Iraq and Egypt are Jew-free today. We were already in Japan when Egypt cancelled my father’s passport.

It was hard to explain our statelessness. Surely were born someplace weren’t we? What was our “nationality?” “Ask Nasser” my father snapped when a government clerk asked one too many times.

I am a Jew. I am also a feminist, a liberal, and member of the LGBT community. I am a progressive who cannot believe what is passing for “progressive” these days.

Despite non-stop news, most of the world still doesn’t know “Arab Jews” exist or once existed. Most of the 850,000 Arab Jews expelled from our now Jew-free ancient homelands immigrated to Israel. Today, the ethnic cleansing is happening to all the other non-Islamic minorities in Islamic countries.

As Islamic fundamentalist terrorists slaughter, rape, and enslave Christians and other religious and tribal minorities, I, like any sane person on this planet am threatened. I watch Hamas orchestrate public opinion as masses demonstrate on the streets of America and Europe against Israel. I see the disproportionate and manipulative photos of a devastated Gaza where the blame is put on Israel rather than Hamas and Islamic Jihad. I hear our president chide Israel for fighting back. I see our president thwart Israel’s ability to live in safety.

In “progressive” communities, being a Zionist, a supporter of Israel’s existence as a Jewish country, threatens progressive credentials. Too many members of my “community” think being “anti-Zionist” is “progressive.” And it has been going on for too long, since the 1970’s when the United Nations promoted the big lie that “Zionism is racism”. Too many “progressive” Jews think its ok to say they “used to be Zionists.”

I grew up inside of a big lie. I spent the first ten years of my education in Catholic missionary schools where I was routinely punished for being “stubborn.” Today Israel is the stubborn Jew who refuses to convert, who refuses to get up on the cross and die for the sins of the world.

My nuns never tired of trying to coerce me to stop being a Jew.

“We are here (in Japan) to convert, why do you reject Christ as your Savior? He was like you, a Jew.”

“If he was a Jew why must I convert?”

To be the “new” Jew, the “good” Jew, to repent for killing Christ, we Jews must become Christians. I was forced do penance. I had to bow to the statue of the Virgin Mary for my intransigence. For not being “progressive.”

The left and its sister, the progressive community, is insanely condemning Israel for existing. It’s the progressive thing to do. I don’t hurt when fascists want Israel gone and all Jews disappeared, I expect it. But when “my” community screams hate towards Israel I break until I come back fighting. It is insane to expect Israel to sit and be bombed by Hamas and think it is “progressive” (if fighting back means killing Palestinians).

Yesterday it was the Jews of Europe and Arab Jews who were being ethnically cleansed. Today it is the Arab Christians and all minorities in Iraq and Syria. Forced conversion rages through the region.

Where are the progressives? Why such horror towards Israel‘s attempt to exist while Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and the ayatollahs of Iran, and on and on terrorize in ways we progressives cannot imagine? Are they too busy demanding supermarkets clear their shelves of “Jewish” products and nodding as the United Nations accuses Israel of “war crimes”?

Without a radical change of heart these communities can no longer legitimately call themselves progressive. It is time to reclaim our “progressive” identity.

“Freeing Gaza (of Israel)” instead of getting Hamas out of Gaza is not progressive. Screaming for Israel to stop killing children Hamas uses to gain power through sympathy is not progressive. The honor of human sacrifice has grown from lone suicide bombers to homes and schools and hospitals filled with children.

Feminists holding Palestinian flags screaming for the demise of the one country in the region where women can be free is not progressive. Blaming Israel for the horror in the Middle East is not progressive.

Its not easy, but “progressive” is stopping Hamas from murdering their children and indoctrinating pre-schoolers in Political Islam/killing themselves/murdering Jews. Progressive is supporting Israel and stopping Hamas from building tunnels to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and bomb Jews to shreds.

The nuns could not steal my Jewish identity despite the punishments and warnings that “the Jews will always have a Holocaust until they convert.” Nor will painfully misguided apologists for Islamic terrorism take away my progressive credentials the way Nasser took away my father’s passport.

It is not rocket science: Israel is an integral part of any Jew, and Israel’s survival as a Jewish country is not up for debate. Islamic fundamentalism is a real threat, and Israel is on the front lines of this war.

Anti-Zionism is not progressive. To disavow being a Jew is not progressive. And expecting Israel not to defend itself is not progressive. It’s a disease and it has a name: anti-Semitism.

Read more: It’s Not Easy To Be "Progressive" | Rachel Wahba | The Blogs | The Times of Israel Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook



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