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Jewish Currents’ ‘Third Narrative’ View

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By Ralph Seliger

Lawrence Bush, the editor of Jewish Currents (originally a creation of Jewish veterans of the Communist Party) is almost Zionist in his lament over BDS and the Chicago Dyke March incident: “As the Jewish Left Moves Left . . . Do We Have to Be Anti-Zionist to Be Progressive These Days?

Bush’s view is boldly stated, but not exactly new for Jewish Currents, a 72 year-old publication that has long maintained an editorial line defined as “non-Zionist” but defending Israel’s creation and wellbeing.  For the most part, this has meant support for a two-state solution with the Palestinians, while very much opposing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Jewish Currents resolutely identifies with progressive movements on a gamut of issues.  Regarding Israel and Zionism, its website and print publication has been a forum for a remarkable range of views.  The more senior of its two new associate editors is Ron Skolnik, the former executive director of the left-Zionist Partners for Progressive Israel (originally Meretz USA), who spent most of his adult life as an oleh (immigrant) in Israel, including as a kibbutznik.  And its been receptive to my own left-liberal Zionist perspective.

Still, it remains open to viewpoints that are quite hostile to Israel and Zionism.  For example, there’s this supportive view of the Chicago Dyke March’s ban on Zionists, published on July 11: “QUEER JEWS: WHAT KIND OF ANCESTORS WILL WE BE?” (a very different position than the one taken by Bush himself).  Likewise, there’s one published dissent against JC’s editorial, “Supporting the Black Lives Matter Platform, Its Slander of Israel Notwithstanding” (regarding the Movement for Black Lives platform accusing Israel of “genocide”) — “IF IT’S NOT GENOCIDE, WHAT WORD SHOULD WE USE?” by Dorothy Zellner.

My bottomline point is that a publication that has literally and figuratively come out of the Stalinist/Communist left is open to a variety of views on Israel, from visceral anti-Zionists to those of Zionists and others who sympathize with Israel, in a manner similar to our own Third Narrative (favoring a two-state solution with the Palestinians).

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