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Letter to the Editor: On justice – Freedom for all

From Hollywood to the cornfields of Ohio, from the small liberal arts colleges in New England to the large universities throughout the country, I see one prevailing commonality: the struggle to understand the other and the fight for what freedom means to them. Former President Ronald Reagan believed that, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.” Rightfully so, every individual must stand by his or her principles, protect their rights and ensure that freedom sounds within their community.

For me, Zionism represents that struggle for freedom and equity. Following thousands of years in exile and centuries of racism throughout the world, Zionism sought a solution that would protect the Jewish people from discrimination and would grant them the same political, national rights embraced in Western thought. The reconstitution of a modern Jewish state in Judea united Jews around the world and ensured their safety and continuity in a dangerous world.

Zionism has never denied those same freedoms and rights to people based on their sexual identity, ethnicity, religion or race. It is woven in the legal fabric that Israel was founded upon. No country in the Middle East can compare for its commitment to empowering women, accepting the LGBTQ community, promoting religious tolerance and fighting racial divides from communal and governmental circles. To be a Zionist is, to me, fighting not only for my own freedoms and liberties but also for those who wish to be free in an increasingly problematic world. Zionism inspires me to stand up for all people and for all struggles, especially for those who may not know how.  

That desire for freedom has always existed, from the pinnacle of the women’s suffrage movement to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. It is extended to this summer’s ruling that love is love and that same-sex marriage ought to be the law of the land.

Yet, with every new era comes a new battle, and today’s continues to be that of freedom. Just because we broke boundaries to get to this point doesn’t mean we can stop here. The Civil Rights movement was a huge milestone in our history from slavery to full citizen, yet racism still exists. Women’s suffrage brought women from the kitchen to the polls, yet women are still faced with stereotypes to break. Same-sex marriage brought love to a whole new level, yet homophobia still exists.

As students in a university that prides itself in true liberal values and free-flowing ideas, we must understand that fighting for freedom is very real. One should never appropriate someone’s struggles for his or her personal gain; that’s inconsistent and disrespectful to the very cause and the people that are fighting. We must learn that we cannot be selective in whose self-determination we stand for. If you truly stand on the side of sovereignty, you will proudly support freedom for all. You cannot fight for one group’s freedom by taking away that of another’s. At the very core of Zionism lies a uniting force that together, we can change the world for the better. It is a movement and love story between a people to make the world a brighter place. It all starts here.

Standing up for what is moral and just: that is Zionism, that is feminism, that is civil rights and that is liberty and justice for all.


Robyn Frum

Fourth-year in microbiology


  1. Thank you for writing and publishing this. Your vision is clear and noble.

  2. From a comment thread on slashdot regarding the fascist censorship deal Israel is trying to implement with google and youtube:

    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/… [ohchr.org]

    A General Assembly Distr.
    25 September 2009
    Original: ENGLISH
    Twelfth session
    Agenda item 7
    Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

    7. Deliberate attacks against the civilian population

    43. The Mission investigated 11 incidents in which the Israeli armed forces launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome (chap. XI). The facts in all bar one of the attacks indicate no justifiable military objective. The first two are attacks on houses in the al-Samouni neighbourhood south of Gaza City, including the shelling of a house in which Palestinian civilians had been forced to assemble by the Israeli armed forces. The following group of seven incidents concern the shooting of civilians while they were trying to leave their homes to walk to a safer place, waving white flags and, in some of the cases, following an injunction from the Israeli forces to do so. The facts gathered by the Mission indicate that all the attacks occurred under circumstances in which the Israeli armed forces were in control of the area and had previously entered into contact with or had at least observed the persons they subsequently attacked, so that they must have been aware of their civilian status. In the majority of these incidents, the consequences of the Israeli attacks against civilians were aggravated by their subsequent refusal to allow the evacuation of the wounded or to permit access to ambulances.

    page 174
    witness’s recollection, there had also been a radio message broadcast by the Israeli armed forces around 12.30 announcing that there would be a temporary cessation of shooting between 1 and 4 p.m. that day, during which time residents of the area were asked to walk to central Jabaliyah.

    773. At about 12.50 p.m., Khalid Abd Rabbo, his wife Kawthar, their three daughters, Souad (aged 9), Samar (aged 5) and Amal (aged 3), and his mother, Hajja Souad Abd Rabbo, stepped out of the house, all of them carrying white flag s. Less than 10 metres from the door was a tank, turned towards their house. Two soldiers were sitting on top of it having a snack (one was eating chips, the other chocolate, according to one of the witnesses). The family stood still, waiting for orders from the soldiers as to what they should do, but none was given. Without warning, a third soldier emerged from inside the tank and started shooting at the three girls and then also at their grandmother. Several bullets hit Souad in the chest, Amal in the stomach and Samar in the back. Hajja Souad was hit in the lower back and in the left arm.

    775. Inside the Abed Rabbo house, Amal and Souad died of their wounds. The family decided that they had to make an attempt to walk to Jabalya and take Samar, the dead bodies of Amal and Souad, and their grandmother to hospital. Khaled and Kawthar Abd Rabbo, and other family members and neighbours carried the girls on their shoulders. Hajja Souad was carried by family and neighbours on a bed. Samar was transferred to al-Shifa hospital and then, through Egypt, to Belgium, where she still is in hospital. According to her parents, Samar suffered a spinal injury and will remain paraplegic for the rest of her life.

    This has been documented by the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others, who actually interviewed the eyewitnesses. The Israeli government never interviewed the eyewitnesses, and never conducted an investigation that they talked about.

    You can search for “white flag” and get repeated incidents in which Israeli soldiers deliberately shot and killed Palestinians, some of them children, who were following instructions and coming out carrying white flags.

    And to anticipate the responses of the hasbara-bots, I’ll give you the official Israeli answer.

    I asked the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, about this when he visited one of my local synagogues. His answer: They’re lying. The Palestinians are lying. The human rights organizations (most of which were founded by Jews) and news organizations are lying. Richard Goldstone, the Zionist with grandchildren in Israel, suddenly turned into a self-hating Jew.

    With this, Israel has gone full circle and become like its oppressors, the Nazis. They’re shooting and killing children in cold blood. At least the Germans admit their crimes. The Israelis are denying it all.

    Most perversely, the Israelis, like Dermer, are using the same arguments that the neo-Nazis use to deny the Holocaust. Dermer told me that they call the Palestinian claims “Pallywood,” that is, they’re creating fake atrocity movies like Hollywood. When the BBC shows videos of 5-year-old Samar in a hospital bed, never able to walk again because her spine was severed, Dermer claims the BBC faked it.

    The neo-Nazis also claim that the movies of the Holocaust were made in Hollywood.

    At one time, I used to raise money for medical research and investments in technology in Israel. I bought the whole line. I said, “OK, I’m a Zionist.” Then I found out about the killings, and read the Amnesty International reports, and talked to Israeli officials to get their side. The thing that really bothered me was that the Israeli government officials would blatantly lie to me, a Jew. They would lie about things I could look up in print. I would confront them with a lie, and they would come up with another lie. And then they accuse the human rights organizations of lying.

    When I went to Hebrew school, the Rabbis told us about what was then simply called the extermination of the Jews. They said, “How could the world stand by and watch this atrocity in silence without doing anything? Never again.”

    OK, now you know how the world could stand by and watch an atrocity in silence. This time, the Israelis are doing it. Here’s your chance to stop an atrocity. The Rabbis taught me too well. Never again.

    • By the United States State Department:

      “EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:


      Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”

      Thank you for illustrating the government’s definition of the term. I don’t care what your Rabbis taught you. You are throwing your own people under the bus.

  3. Please tell me this is a joke.

  4. Yeah, Zionism and feminism really go great together, especially when Israel is blowing Palestinian women to bits.

    Israel is a terrorist state. Period. End of story.

    • Have you ever stepped foot in the country?

    • Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East where women can drive, wear what they want, vote, be in the government etc.

      I think your mixing up Israel with some of her neighbors, who breed all of the terrorist organizations that exist today and that ethnically cleanse other nations out of their lands.

      I urge you to check it out.

    • When Jewish terrorists murder Arabs in an act of arson, the Israeli government responds by condemning the actions, investigating, and taking the suspects into custody. When Arab terrorist murder Jews, the Arab government responds by praising the actions, protecting the suspects, and naming streets after them.

      It is hard to count the number of times the Arabs have rejected offers of peace in favor of violence. No other people has been so complicit in their own misfortune. But, sure, if you wish to ignore history and reality, go right ahead. I can’t stop you. Likewise, I will not be silent.

  5. Are you kidding me?

    I didn’t know the Lantern started posting satire!

  6. Let me make sure I understand this correctly… What you are saying is that Zionism, a political ideology that strives to create a “Jewish Democratic” state, fights for freedom for all people. A Jewish state, is by definition, a state for Jews. Where Jews may not be persecuted like that have been for centuries all over the world. The problem with this idea, and really this entire article, is the fact that having a state exclusively for Jews, or based on Jewish culture or religion, automatically favors one culture/religion above all others. So if anyone else lives there, they will not be offered the same protection or have the same comfort. Therefore, it is not democratic. It doesn’t give freedom for all. Because the root of Zionism is literally the promotion of a JEWISH state.
    Jews should not have their own state. Muslims should not have their own state. Christians should not have their own state. Because it is 2015 and that’s just stupid. All the “Islamic” countries out there that do base their laws partly on Islamic law tend to be monarchs or dictators. Some of the most brutal African regimes boast that they are “Christian” nations. And Israel may have a Knesset (with a huge menorah in the background) that has minorities in their presence, but have you actually watched the Knesset on YouTube? It’s a complete farce.

    The fact of the matter is, as long as Israel tries to maintain a Jewish identity, by using Jewish symbols and exclusive Jewish religious traditions like kashrut, it will never be a true democracy. In fact, it may lead to more Jews being persecuted around the world due to people’s inclination to connect those same Jewish symbols that are used in Israel’s official political image and ones that you may find on regular places of worship around the world.

    Long story short, Israel is bad for the Jewish image, and Zionism cannor equate freedom and democracy.

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