I Wasn’t Always Pro-Palestine. Here’s How That Changed.

I grew up surrounded by Zionism despite not being Jewish.

Valentine Wiggin
4 min readMar 21, 2024
Palestinian flag on a wall surrounded by three doves
Source: Ash Hayes on Unsplash

I grew up surrounded by Zionism. It was drilled into my head through many aspects of my life. Since I didn’t know much about Israel or Palestine or these countries’ histories, I never knew which position to hold. I thought that I could just ignore the issue. But that was a mistake. I ended up passively accepting Zionism and, by extension, various talking points that are used to justify the ongoing genocide and displacement of Palestinians.

Interestingly enough, despite having learned quite a bit about Biblical Israel, I never learned much about what happened in between then and modern Israel. I was taught that they are essentially the same thing and didn’t receive much more context between then and now. The only thing I knew about Palestinians at the time was that they were enemies of Israel and that most of them were Muslim.

I’m a Christian who was raised as a Christian. I have never identified with being Jewish in any capacity. Yet I grew up surrounded by Zionism, even if I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. Christian Zionists believe that a return of Jewish people to Biblical Israel will allow Jesus to return to the earth. These Zionists are also driven by a perceived debt to Jewish people due to the shared history of Christianity and Judaism.

Because I was surrounded by Zionism that I didn’t recognize as such, I unconsciously internalized it. It was in the Bible, so it must be true, right? If anyone died, it was just a part of God’s plan. This was the way I thought for years. Looking back, I always had qualms about the ways Christianity was used to harm others. Despite that, it took me years to get around to actually confronting the institutions that enabled this harm.

When the October 7th attack happened, something inside me stirred. Despite feeling for Jewish people and their plight, I couldn’t really rationalize the repeated killing, displacement, and segregation of Palestinians. It also occurred to me that I didn’t really know much about these people as…well…people. I spent the rest of that day learning what I could about Palestinian culture and what I learned made me understand why these people fight so hard to preserve it.

The initial October 10th evacuation was the ultimate turning point for me. I knew that 24 hours was not enough time for an evacuation, especially not for such a densely populated area with roads that were in poor condition. Even with well-maintained roads, an evacuation would take a long time due to the checkpoints that Palestinians have to go through to go anywhere. When I saw this, I knew that I had to fight for Palestinians’ freedoms.

As I saw the genocide unfold more, I found that many Jewish individuals and groups consistently advocated for violence to end in Palestine. Many of these people consider themselves anti- or non-Zionists and say that Israel doesn’t speak for them. They say that the weaponization of antisemitism harms them and that it obscures actual antisemitism. Other Jewish people said that the state of Israel disregards Jewish values and etiquette on a regular basis.

Jade, one Jewish anti-Zionist, said that Zionism and Israel are “inherently and deeply antisemitic” in a video that shows an image of IOF soldiers using a combat knife to read the Torah. Torah scrolls are traditionally read with a tool called a yad that is used to point to words on the scroll. A yad typically has ornate decorations intended to bring the user closer to God. Using a weapon of war to read the Torah, in Jade’s mind, represents the abuse of Judaism to justify genocide and occupation.

Being a Christian myself, that struck a chord with me. I feel similarly when my religion is intertwined with motifs of nationalism and White supremacy. This reminded me of the many times I spent rationalize harm done by Christians as a natural consequence of sinful nature instead of actually confronting the systems that protected the abuse of my faith.

To be clear, I don’t support Palestine despite being a Christian. I support Palestinian liberation because I am a Christian. There is nothing Christlike about funding a state that razes any group of people to the ground and then throws some expired military food at them to save face. Despite absorbing Zionism for a significant portion of my life, I am now countering it with my Christian values.



Valentine Wiggin

Death-positive, sex-positive, and LGBTQ-affirming Christian. Gen Z. I hate onions. She/her