After Oct. 7, some Jews are turning away from Israel—and toward ‘diasporism’

The Tel Aviv skyline. (Photo by Shai Pal/Unsplash)

For much of the last century, Judaism became intertwined with Zionism—the belief that Israel is our homeland and being a good Jew requires support for, if not a migration to, the nascent State of Israel. But in the aftermath of Oct. 7, a sharp uptick of North American Jews have also begun speaking out more clearly against Israel—not just its government’s actions, but against the concept of Zionism. The movement, dubbed “diasporism,” embraces the idea of exile as either a secular, socialist philosophy, or perhaps an inspiration for greater emphasis on personal religious beliefs—depending on who you’re talking to.

The concept got a splashy treatment in a New York Times feature earlier this month, as Marc Tracy, a Times reporter covering arts and culture, published a piece called “Is Israel Part of What It Means to Be Jewish?“, which digs into the phenomenon. He joins Bonjour Chai to explain what diasporism means and why it’s in the spotlight after Hamas’s murder of 1,200 people and the resulting war in Gaza.

Plus, Avi and Phoebe chat about the passing of Norman Jewison (yes, Canadian; no, not Jewish), and how it’s brought one of his most famous films, Fiddler on the Roof, back into global debate… with a Palestinian twist.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast’s Substack.