This morning, when given a massive platform and the opportunity to discuss America’s commitment to protecting a safe, sovereign and secure Jewish state in our indigenous home in Israel, Vice President Mike Pence attempted to exploit the American Jewish community for partisan political gain. He used both Israel and the fight against antisemitism as a weapon in an attempt to divide American Jews.
When individuals exploit the platforms they have as leaders in progressive movements to demonize, ostracize, or impose litmus tests on American Jews, it is antisemitic, and it harms our social justice goals––and Zioness exists to call it out. And when leaders exploit Jewish and/or Zionist platforms to marginalize, criticize or judge Jews who don’t share their political views, it is repugnant and abusive to our community––harming our unity in the fight against antisemitism and the fight for the Jewish state.
American Jews identify overwhelmingly as liberals and progressives *and* as Zionists. In certain spaces in the left, we are asked to check our Zionism at the door to be welcome. Today, the Vice President of the United States told us we must check our liberal and progressive values––our commitment to social, racial, economic and gender justice in America––at the door if we want to be “good” Jews.
The implication in Pence’s comments was that the “good” and “strong” Jews––the Jews who are willing to fight antisemitism and its modern incarnation, anti-Zionism––must vote a certain way. This isn’t an echo, but a partisan mirror, of the suggestion in spaces in the left that divide “good” Jews from “bad” Jews based on their willingness to check their Jewish and/or Zionist identities at the door in order to fight for the rights of other marginalized communities.
We reject the false choice, this politicization and exploitation of our community, outright. We will not be used as a political pawn; we will not choose ourselves instead of our allies—we will fight for equality, justice, and human dignity for *all* people. And we will continue to fight every day for the unabashedly progressive, unapologetically Zionist home so desperately desired by the vast majority of American Jews.