A Trans-Zionist Manifesto
Dancing in the streets,
bra-less and bleeding through torn pants somewhere
between the Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building
where the lights of
Times Square consumerism are still visible
through ripe alleyways and
over rumbling subway gates, I am reminded
is a living state of Imperialism and false sense of freedom in hindsight
sometimes only felt while dancing in the streets,
bra-less and bleeding through torn pants.
I am sitting here in Highline Park, 14th Street at 10th Avenue. It seems appropriate that I am stopping in this place before making my way back to Israel; it is hard to recognize the history of the Jews without acknowledging the role of this place in the Jewish Diaspora. Aside from my own personal struggles with not feeling deserving of this experience, it has dawned on me that this is exactly what the Birthright experience is about- what Zionism is about. I am entitled to and deserving of the country of Israel- just for being, and being myself. The Birthright experience isn’t about going to Israel for the first time, or even for the second time. It is about going back to Israel again and again and again. Not just because it is a place of religious and historical significance, but because it is the place of our future. We are charged with ensuring that it is a place of our future.
We can ensure this by visiting Israel.
By going back to Israel- and going back and going back and going back.
By talking about it with your children
By buying Israeli art and books and tzchatchkes and memorabilia
By discussing your feelings about the state of affairs
By admitting when you may be biased or uninformed
By investing in Israel bonds and
By cashing in those bonds your father bought 23 years ago
By meeting Israelis
By learning about the Israeli experience firsthand
By wearing the IDF dogtag your friend gave you and
By framing their badges, metals, and pins
By praying for those soldiers not just every day they serve their country but also every day they and their families withstand conditions of warfare, terrorism, and misrepresentation to live in their country of Birthright
-their country of Birthright too, equally all of ours as Jews.
As Jews, as believers and fighters and realists and optimists and makers of the future of this world of tumultuous nations, peoples, and individuals interpreting concepts of boundary.
Some believe that we are now in a stage of “Post-Zionism”; they argue that Zionism as a movement to establish the Jewish state of Israel has been fulfilled. Some of them call for a shift of focus as a redefinition of the Zionist effort. Some call for an Israel, a Zionism, a post-Zionism that includes peoples of other ethno-religions and races also staking their claim to the Holy Land next to the Zionist and the Jew.
I would like to propose a post-Zionist manifesto of my own.
A trans-Zionist manifesto, running parallel to the religious undertones of politics and nationality informing the Israeli identity. Israel is the birthright of any and every Jew, regardless of the means by which they arrive at such identification, whether social, religious, or ethnic. Israel is and should be- should also be- the birthright of any such person of suffering, discrimination, determination and strife united with the Jew in persecutory and persevering experience.
Israel should not just be for the Jew- at least, not any longer. The time has come for Israel to once again set a global prescident as an undeniable example of strength, endurance, and initiative by embracing
and the grandchildren of the Survivors.
Bashanah haba’ah biyrushalayim.
Next year in Jerusalem, and every year in Jerusalem.