Red Flag (Socialist Zionism) (Habonim Dror)

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Not the American flag, not an Israeli flag, they’re still flying the red flag at Habonim-Dror Camp Moshava. There’s something deep and atavistic about this symbol, a reminder that, a long time ago in its heyday, Zionism once stood for universal things like socialism and social justice. No matter its very many blind spots, I suspect it was a much better model than the ones now currently pitched on the Jewish cultural market, more idealistic, more political, less trite and “religious.”

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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5 Responses to Red Flag (Socialist Zionism) (Habonim Dror)

  1. efmooney says:

    Of course this is the Zionism I remember — too bad it’s buried. When I teach Israeli students and mention the kibbutz as a great social invention I get objections and giggles. The kibbutz is dead and gone, a rusty nail, for nearly all under 30, and for most over 30. Like stories of grandpa milking the cows.

    • zjb says:

      yeah, but there a lot of kibbutzim that made members into millionaires!

    • redwood509 says:

      The idea was noble, unrealistic and unsustainable, towards the 80’s their debt collapsed the monetary system, because the tax-payer was forced to cover their debts. they never knew how to manage money, living on grants, subsidies, in an ideal world where one can work, but no profits need to be accrued, somebody else will cover the difference. their treasurers, used to come each morning to Lilenbloom Street. Tel Aviv, getting on the streets, loans (in cash) from money lenders. This is 12th century style of Capitalism that only worked for Socialists.

  2. Bob Row says:

    I left Hashomer Hatzair in Argentina in 1969 at age 16 (together with many others) feeling betrayed by its lack of definition towards the occupied territories. Today Zionism turned to be identified with Imperialism for most people around the world. To me, it was hijacked by Israeli rightist nationalists asociated with the rich bourgeoisie overseas and lost its meaning as a national and social liberation movement. If there’s stil a future for Israel and Judaism it’s in returning to stand at the side of Justice.

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