web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Sid Zion’s Truth


Media-Monitor-logo

Share Button

Sidney Zion, who died earlier this month at age 75, didn’t start out to be a writer, and he might never have become one if not for the 1962-63 newspaper strike – the longest in the city’s history and one that affected all the local dailies.

In December 1962, Zion was a 29-year-old New Jersey lawyer. That month, he contributed a piece to a parody edition of the New York Post. The faux newspaper, called the New York Pest, sold well at otherwise empty newsstands.

The article mimicked the style of legendary columnist Murray Kempton, and Post publisher Dorothy Schiff, far from being offended, offered Zion a job at the real paper.

Zion would spend the rest of his life as a journalist – first as a reporter with the Post and then The New York Times, and later as a prolific freelance contributor to a wide array of publications and a columnist for the New York Post and the New York Daily News.

Too much the iconoclast to pigeonhole politically, Zion nevertheless was a man whose instincts inclined leftward on most issues. But – and here is the great anomaly – on the Middle East he was virtually alone among secular journalists in proclaiming a historical narrative that was long the purview of Revisionist Zionists and anathema to mainstream Jewish liberals – namely, that it was the Irgun that blew the British out of Palestine while Ben-Gurion’s Jewish Agency worked with the occupiers.

“Leave it to my Jews,” Zion wrote upon the election of Menachem Begin in 1977. “They make a revolution and twenty-nine years later the leader of the revolution comes to power. First the collaborators, then the revolutionaries. The Hebrews don’t just learn it backwards, they do it backwards….”

And then there was the matter of Jordan and Palestine. Concerning Golda Meir’s famous statement that “there are no Palestinians, only Jordanians,” Zion begged to differ: “Of course, she was wrong. In fact, there are no Jordanians, only Palestinians.”

In 1978 Zion wrote an article for New York magazine titled “The Palestine Problem: It’s All in A Name,” which he would update in 2003 as a front-page essay for The Jewish Press. Zion essentially supported the right-wing Zionist argument against the historicity of the Kingdom of Jordan while opposing the right-wing Zionist argument against the historicity of a Palestinian people.

Zion’s contention was that by pushing the idea that there was no such thing as a Palestinian Arab and acquiescing in the myth that Jordan is “an immutable entity, as distinct from Palestine as are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq,” Israeli leaders had helped obscure the empirical truths that Jordan was the artificial nation and “Jordanian” the artificial nationality.

The reality, Zion noted, was that “what began in 1920 as a mandate to turn Palestine into a Jewish homeland turned into a reverse Balfour Declaration, creating an Arab nation in four-fifths of Palestine and leaving the Jews to fight for statehood against the Arabs on the West Bank.”

Zion felt it would make at least some difference “if the world were to understand that Israel now occupies only 20 percent of Palestine” and that “if it becomes clear that the Arab refugees and their children who crossed over to Jordan in 1948 did not enter a ‘host country’ but rather the Arab part of their own country.”

“When it comes to Jordan,” he wrote in a 1982 New York Times op-ed piece,

the memory bank was closed before it opened. I know people who think it’s two thousand years old. But Jordan was only the name of a river until 1922, when Winston Churchill, then colonial secretary, turned its East Bank into the Emirate of Transjordan – created an emirate out of the British Mandatory territory of Palestine. Transjordan was 80 percent of the land mass of Palestine. Transjordan is Palestine. In 1946, by British fiat, Hussein’s grandfather, Abdullah, became King of Transjordan. In 1948, Abdullah changed the name of his country to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Presto! The Ancient Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

In a long telephone conversation with the Monitor several years back, Zion wore his secularism almost as a badge of honor – he said the only daily religious ritual he observed was putting on tefillin and the only weekly one was going down to his local newsstand first thing Wednesday morning to buy The Jewish Press.

His outward observance may have left something to be desired, but when it came to Jewishness of the heart, of his fierce dedication to, as he told the Monitor, “fighting for Jewish truth,” Sid Zion just about put the rest of us to shame.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Share Button

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Sid Zion’s Truth”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Bob Grant

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Camelot-112213

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.

Oscar “Ossie” Schectman, who scored the first basket in the history of the league that evolved into the National Basketball Association, died last week at age 94.

It’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? And yet it seems like the conversation was never really interrupted, as I’ve enjoyed, in the three and a half months since this column last appeared, many an interesting exchange, via e-mail and phone, with some very intelligent readers.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/sid-zions-truth/2009/08/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: