For quite some time now I have expressed my love for Israel (regardless of government), as a people and a state. Israel for me since I began the process of conversion has become more than just another country but as some sort of a homeland and holy land. But I also worry about others perceiving that admiration as “double loyalty”, as it is one way antisemites try to question the patriotism of the Jewish people by claiming that their loyalty is only for Israel.
At one point my partner pointed out that it was ridiculous for me to call Israel a homeland, and when I mentioned that part of becoming Jewish is to understand that Israel plays a role in my faith, he was confused, to say the least, and maybe it is partly my fault for not explaining it well enough. Now I always feel that need to reaffirm my love for my country, Canada, right after I express anything good about Israel, and I don’t like that. I don’t like saying something and then say “But…”, because that somehow feels like I’m guilty of something, which I’m not.
Any advice? How do you deal with that? And how do I approach the subject of Israel and Judaism with others who may not fully understand the connection?
PS. It is strange that somehow I need to explain why I love Israel, but when I was a Catholic, calling the Vatican, which is a state, the “Holy See” and express spiritual connection to it, didn’t raise eyebrows.