“Oh, they just don’t know,” I said about my progressive friends, liking posts about thousands of Israelis murdered, raped, and kidnapped on my social media, while stating, “I’m not anti-semitic, I’m anti-Zionist.” “They don’t really know the nuances to the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They see this as the small guy fighting the big guy, and who doesn’t root for the small guy? So many things to be informed about right now, and this just isn’t one of them.” Progressives hear words like “apartheid” and “colonialism,” know those things are wrong, and don’t dig any deeper to find out whether they are actually true.
The colonialism charge is the strangest to me, since this land is so tied to the Jewish identity that it is mentioned in Jewish prayers every single day, several times. Maybe they don’t realize that the Jewish people are the only ones that meet the U.N. definition of indigeneity, and have for 3000 years when Jews started living on the land. Nobody else has formed a state in Israel. Rather, there has been a non-stop series of colonists, including Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Alexandrians, Romans, the Byzantines, the Crusaders of the Holy Roman Empire, the various Muslim empires such as the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Mamluks and Ottomans, and finally the British. Fewer than half of Israelis have grandparents of European/American/Australian origin, partially because many are descendants of the 800,000 Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries in the late 1940s. I’m not sure where this idea of the overwhelmingly “white” Israeli comes from, but I’m tempted to blame Paul Newman’s blue eyes in the Exodus movie. Additionally, colonists by definition start a conflict, while Israel acquired Gaza in 1967 after Egypt moved its tanks to the border and announced its intent to eliminate Israel. It left Gaza in 2005, additional evidence that Israel is certainly not colonizing Gaza. If anything, the Arab states have repeatedly wanted to colonize Israel (and still proclaim their desire), not the other way around.
Apartheid is also a bizarre word to throw around. The word may have weakened in usage somewhat, but in reference to South Africa, it meant anti-miscegenation laws, separate legislatures, ID requirements, etc. None of these things are true in Israel. In contrast, over 25% of the Israeli citizens aren’t Jewish and have equal rights, including serving in the legislature and on the Supreme Court. Israel doesn’t govern Gaza or the West Bank, so any claims about those being apartheid would apply to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.