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Is Zionist Now a Bad Word?

Should Zionists talk to BDS supporters? (Hint: Yes.) How and when should Zionists engage in dialogue with critics like Linda Sarsour, who sparked a national conversation about the compatibility of feminism and Zionism? In conversation with Rabbi David Wolpe, our three millennial panelists speak forthrightly about being proudly Zionist in a way that shifts perceptions and creates productive dialogue, and what it's like to be an ambassador for Zionism, instead of just being on the defensive. As Israel has shifted from a fledgling nation to a powerhouse, what it means to be a Zionist is evolving too, especially for younger Israel supporters.

DISCLAIMER: Hadassah is not affiliated with the featured speakers who participate in the Defining Zionism series, or with their affiliated organizations. The opinions and viewpoints expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect Hadassah’s positions and Hadassah does not endorse or make any representations regarding the speaker or information presented by such speaker.

Join our panel as they discuss the following topics:


ZIonism: A Bad Word? | Defining Zionism: LA
Zionism: A Bad Word?

In conversation with Rabbi David Wolpe, three panelists under age 40 discuss their encounters with the word Zionism, from college campuses to interfaith spaces – touching on intersectionality, demonization, and building bridges by shifting perceptions.

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What We Need Now: The Art of Engagement | Defining Zionism: LA
What We Need Now: The Art of Engagement

As important conversations unfold nationally around feminism and Zionism, Rabbi Sarah Bassin questions the value of sidelining people like Linda Sarsour, instead of engaging them. Jewish Journal reporter Eitan Arom stresses the proactive role we can play in educating people about Zionism.

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Dialogue: Are Prerequisites Essential? | Defining Zionism: LA
Dialogue: Are Prerequisites Essential?

What happens if we insist that any individual we engage with supports the right of Jewish self-determination in a Jewish homeland? What is gained – or lost -- when we’re talking about Linda Sarsour versus Rasmeah Oded?

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Self-Identification vs. Detachment | Defining Zionism: LA
Self-Identification vs. Detachment

Self-identifying as progressive and Zionist is essential, otherwise we will lose the Jewish voice in these movements, the same voices that can keep anti-Israel positions out of progressive platforms. Plus: curiosity is key to combating detachment.

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BDS in Rabbinical School: Now What? | Defining Zionism: LA
BDS in Rabbinical School: Now What?

Our Defining Zionism panelists share tips for confronting BDS supporters in a Jewish context. The purpose of BDS is not to change policies. Not everyone who supports BDS knows that BDS doesn't do anything to advance peace. Try asking questions about what they're okay with and what they're not -- you’re probably going to find places where you agree. Start there.


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Geopolitics: Addressing Complexity | Defining Zionism: LA
Geopolitics: Addressing Complexity

Talking honestly about the complexity of geopolitics in Israel – from settlements to the Green Line – doesn’t diminish a Zionist position, says Rabbi Bassin.


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