Speaking Out - Testimonies of Former Zionists
Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP for nearly 50 years, interviewed by George Galloway in 2014: "...Israelis literally get away with murder.... My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israelis murdering Palestinian grandmothers." https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGeorgeGalloway/videos/10154118075890797/
Miko Peled: Peled is the son of a well-known Israeli general, and grandson of a signer of Israel's Declaration of Independence. He currently lives in the United States. He describes his personal journey after his niece Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem, and counters several of Israel's founding myths, in this very personal speech:
"I want to begin by thanking the members of AIPAC and the Jewish Zionist community who are here tonight. I am glad that they decided to set aside time to express solidarity with the people of Palestine. I know that you will listen to the tapes and view the recordings of my remarks tonight and you will study them well and hopefully you will realize that you are supporting evil. You see, I too came from a deeply Zionist background, far more Zionist and Jewish than most of you here tonight... So I know what you were taught and I know what you think. But it's time to sweep away the Zionist myths and uncover the truth so that we may all finally live in peace. The myths I will address tonight are the three most common myths:
1. The myth of 1948.
2. The myth of the existential threat of 1967.
3. The myth of the Jewish democracy.
...The experience of meeting Palestinians was comforting, liberating and heart wrenchingly difficult. It was comforting because I found that we were very similar, it was liberating because I found we are not doomed to be enemies forever and it was heart wrenching because I realized I did not have full possession of the truth – that is where you my AIPAC-supporting friends are right now: you are not in full possession of the truth and I suggest you get over it and join me in what was so eloquently described by the great Clovis Maqsoud as The 'Constituency of Conscience'."
See also this article on Miko Peled's appearance in NY October 2012.
Rabbi Brian Walt: Rabbi Walt is a founder of Rabbis for Human Rights North America. He describes his personal spiritual journey in a eulogy for a friend:
"... For many years I expressed my love and commitment to Israel by supporting the work of Rabbis for Human Rights and other Israeli Human Rights and peace organizations as they embodied the Israel that I believed in and loved. Over time, engagement with these organizations also led to a transformation in my own relationship to Zionism and my understanding of the relationship between Zionism and Judaism.
This transformation came to a head in 2008 .... And, for me this was the clincher: a deserted street restricted to Jews, in the middle of Hebron, passing by Palestinian homes where the residents are not allowed to walk on the street in front of their homes. When Michael Manikin, our guide, mentioned that this was a Jews only street and showed us the apartments where Palestinians climb over the roof and then down a ladder to go to the store, the supermarket, the hospital, something in me had changed. Sadness and rage overwhelmed me. I realized that this was in some ways worse than what I had witnessed as a child in South Africa. Whenever I would compare my experience on the West Bank with my experience during Apartheid, Jews would get very angry. For many years I knew I should never use the A (Apartheid) word. At that moment I broke down crying and made a pledge that I would never again censor myself. I didn’t know it then, but that was the moment when I crossed over."
Scott Roth: Roth is publisher of the blog Mondoweiss. He describes his changed views of Zionism:
"... Some of these trips [to Israel] were followed by family get-togethers where a cousin of mine would challenge me on my still right-wing Zionist views. I found I had no morally or intellectually acceptable answers. College soon followed and I came to the unexpected and inevitable realizations that much of what my community had taught me about Israel was falsehood, or worse, indoctrination, and my former Zionism had been predicated on this dishonesty.
I’m 36 years old now, and Israel is agonizing to me. I think about it every day. I see people under Israeli rule living in ways that should outrage any human conscience. Moreover, I see violations of the rules and norms established in the later 1940’s to prevent criminal behavior that can result from ethnic nationalism. I see European and global communities that more and more will not accept Israel as entitled to ignore the law or to cause injustice and suffering. I see the obstacle to peace and justice is located here in the U.S. and in the Jewish community. Too many Jews have turned to the surrogate of Zionism and lost sight of Judaism. If they knew more accurately about what Zionism did and is doing, and if they thought more carefully about their religious tradition, they could turn Israel towards justice, and that change ultimately will be our only guarantor of peace."