One year later and guess what? She’s sending her kid to a Zionist summer camp:
Last year, Josie returned from camp as joyful as I have ever seen her. She belted out the songs I’d sung at my own camp. Her Hebrew had improved by leaps and bounds. She made us Israeli salad, refusing all offers of assistance, dicing tomatoes and cucumbers into tiny pieces. It took her 45 minutes. (We learned to plan ahead when Josie was making Israeli salad.)
The Zionist camp Josie attends fosters what I think is a particularly American sort of Zionism, one that says that Jews are a people defined by both religion and ethnicity. It isn’t boosterish. It allows for nuance. Even an 8-year-old can understand nuance. And even an 8-year-old can understand Jewishness is more than demanding an Elsa Peretti Star of David necklace for your bat mitzvah, because everyone at camp has one.
She hasn’t exactly fully comes to terms with Israel (“I hesitate to talk about Israel with my children, and I feel a visceral anxiety upon seeing an Israeli flag,” she writes). But her choices are admirable in that they reject the either/or thinking of an Allison Benedikt.
Here’s the liberal Zionist’s dilemma: Voice your anxieties about Israeli security policy, and the Right calls you self-hating and worse. But acknoweldge support for Israel as an Idea and a Fact, and the Left calls you a sell-out and a collaborator.
Ingall celebrates the place in between, one that allows for nuance and acknowledges that Zionists understand the ”values of diversity and pluralism,” and that Israeli counselors hold “perspectives on Palestinian statehood [that] vary from hard left to hard right, just like actual Israelis do.”