Gershon Baskin

Left, Right, Zionist, anti-Zionist


Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

I just came back from a lecture in Mexico. I was invited by the amazing Jewish community of Mexico City and had an fabulous and intensive week there including: a public lecture for more than 250 people at the CDI, the Jewish community sports center, marking the conclusion of a week of peace activities there; a separate evening lecture to more than 50 leaders of the CDI; a talk with 9th graders at Beit Hayeladim school – this was a high point for me; a lecture to undergraduate students of international relations at Ahahuac University on lessons learned from the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace process; a talk to 30 teachers from Mexico City’s Jewish schools at the Yavne School about education for peace; a tour of Jewish Mexico city with the amazing Monica Unikel; a public lecture at the Museum of Memory and Tolerance on hope, peace and strategic choices; an evening with 65 “non-hasbara members of the Jewish community” focusing on what Mexican Jewry can do to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace and peace within the community; and a lecture to high school students at the Colegio Israelita De Mexico (Idishe school) on Israel’s future, Shimon Peres and peace.

At the talk for some 150 high school students at the Idishe school, one bright young man asked me: are you on the Right or the Left? This is not an uncommon question to me.

This is what I said: tell me please, is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Right or the Left? I then repeated some of Netanyahu’s statements on the world stage of the United Nations – about the Palestinian state, Arab peace initiative, teaching Arabic to all Jewish Israelis, that Israel will make peace with all of its neighbors. The student was clearly confused. Yes, the prime minister of Israel, the leader of the rightwing Likud Party sounded like a leading leftist. I said I didn’t know what Left and Right mean in Israel when it comes to peace and security. I am a Zionist, I said.

What is a Zionist? A Zionist is someone who believes in and works for the existence of a democratic nation state for the Jewish people. Israel was established on two pillars – two foundations. Israel is a democratic state; I would not want to live in a non-democratic one. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. I made aliya to our home 38 years ago because Israel is the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.

I would not have made aliya and I would not have left the United States if Israel was something else. Yet today, Israel’s future regarding these two pillars is in danger. For almost 50 years there has been a binational, one-state reality threatening either the democratic nature of Israel or its Jewish character. If Israel fails to end its control over the Palestinian people Israel will either cease to be democratic or the nation-state of the Jewish people. What needs to be done is clear.

Those who work to prevent the partition of the Land of Israel into two states for two peoples are anti-Zionists because they seek to change Israel’s character to being either non-democratic or not being the nation-state of the Jewish people. Those who support building settlements in the parts of the Land which must become the Palestinian state are anti-Zionist. Yes – that’s right – those who work to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, on only 22 percent of the land between the River and the Sea (that was the underlying deal in Oslo), are working to bring about a one-state reality which is either anti-democratic in which there are two peoples under separate and unequal political and economic realities controlled by Israel, sometimes known as a new form of apartheid, or a state which could no longer be defined as the nation-state of the Jewish people, because in a very short time there will be a Palestinian Arab majority there.

It is not a question of Right or Left – as I told the young Mexican Jewish students. It is a question of whether or not you are a Zionist. I am a Zionist. I believe in and work to secure the security and stability of a democratic nation-state for the Jewish people.

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke in the United Nations as a Zionist. Now the question is whether or not he will lead the State of Israel in the coming near future as a Zionist. The choice is clear: two states for two people – the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people living side-by-side with the nation state of the Palestinian people – or one-state for two peoples, which will either be a democratic binational state or a non-democratic apartheid state which by definition cannot be Jewish.

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier

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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin

Left, Right, Zionist, anti-Zionist

Clear and measurable steps


Palestine-Jordan confederation and peace

The waiting game

The apology, democracy and peace

Sisi, the peace broker


The republic of Israel-Palestine?

My enemy's leader

De-risking peace - Part 5

De-risking peace - Part 4

De-risking peace - Part 3

De-risking peace - Part 2

De-risking peace - Part 1

The Left is right

The French connection

The United Nations and Israel’s legitimacy

A moment of opportunity

The darkness of our times

Addressing the core

The worst negotiations, the best negotiations

Palestinian turmoil and Israeli interests

This one is for you - the Palestinians

Palestinian suffering makes no sense for Israel

Creating a compelling vision for peace

It is also in our hands

Sooner or later

There is no partner

There is no partner


Yes, it is difficult to make peace

What does he really want?

To those who oppose Israeli-Palestinian peace

Israel – my sad home

Have I got news for you

It is still not too late for peace

Netanyahu, tell us what you really think!

The partnership challenge

The binational reality that we are experiencing

Abbas is still the leader who can make peace

A new intifada?

After Abbas

The distance between here and peace and security

Doing the wrong thing at that wrong time

The one and only solution!

Yeshayahu Leibowitz was right!

The disengagement – 10 years on: What we choose to forget

Needed - a new approach to Gaza

A bad agreement is better than no agreement

Obviously no peace now, so what then?

Ramadan Kareem!

Israel’s strategic choices regarding Gaza

Anti-normalization hypocrites

FIFA, soccer and the Palestinians

Both sides now

It’s time for Palestine

The citizens’ challenge – from despair to hope

We have the chance to do the right thing in Yarmouks

The world is not against us

This is what you voted for, and this is what you will get

The no decision elections

A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless

For the sake of Israel, Netanyahu must be sent home

Going ballistic even prior to an agreement

To the new IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot

The Peace Bridge

The choices we must make

Israeli elections – It’s not about the economy

Threats and security


Returning to negotiations

Our most important elections

The missed opportunities

We want peace, but they don't

Our future is in our hands

Defining who we are

Unlike religious wars, political wars have solutions

Today and tomorrow

If we had a real leader

Jerusalem of peace, Jerusalem of war

No tango going on at all

The Gaza challenge

Is Hamas prepared to end this war with a long-term ceasefire?

The end of the ceasefire, the renewal of war and the end game

The aftermath

Some thoughts this morning

Regional forum for security and stability – Gaza first

After a long phone conversation with a Hamas leader in Gaza

Don’t destroy Gaza, build it!

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 3 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 2 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people

Mutual and reciprocal recognition

Our Palestinians, their Jews

A very personal statement on peace


Contextual reciprocity

Negotiating atmospherics

My Conversation With Hamas

Ramadan Kareem

Wahrheit, Lügen und Rechtmäßigkeit

Kauft palästinensisch!

Rat für den Präsidenten

Keine Fortsetzung des Unilateralismus!

Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

Die Kluft im Umgang mit den israelischen Arabern schließen


Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Strategische Fehler und Herausforderungen

Mord an der Chance für Ruhe

Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Die Aufgabe eines Staatsmannes

Es gibt einen Ausweg

Atomwaffen raus aus dem Arsenal

Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?