By JEREMY GIMPEL
WHAT THEN, is the difference between being pro-Israel and a Zionist? .... it’s the difference between being a fan and being a player.
Someone who is “pro-Israel” loves Israel the way that I like the Atlanta Falcons. I love my team, I follow their latest news and developments and I don’t want anyone ridiculing them. If they do, I’ll stand up for my team, for their honor and mine. In contrast, a Zionist isn’t on the sidelines rooting for his team to win – he’s running the ball down the field. A Zionist sees himself as a player in the game. A Zionist sees himself as an active character in the story of the Jewish people.
In my years of speaking on behalf of Israel, filmmaking and teaching, I’ve found that the most profound message that resonates is recognizing our lives in Israel as another chapter in the 4,000-year old story of our people. We must continuously draw the lines from Abraham to Moses and Joshua to King David in biblical times to the Maccabees and Bar- Kochba and now, in post-biblical times, to the IDF. We are simply the next chapter in the greatest human story ever told. Our goal must not only be to advocate for Israel, but to tell the story of our people. The story of our kingdom destroyed, our bitter exile and our ultimate liberation. It is the story of the undying hope of a people for 2,000 years; a dream to live as a free people and return to our homeland. That is the story the world must hear again and again.