Zionism and the Wedge Between US and Israeli Jews: Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, BESA, May 24, 2018— In Mandatory Palestine, Jews began to accumulate power – economic, political, and military – which caused other Jews to immediately question the enterprise itself.
The Disintegration of American Jewry: Isi Leibler, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2018 — American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding.
Why Do You Hate Israel?: Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, Apr. 11, 2018— Why do you hate Israel more than any other nation? Why does Israel anger you more than any other nation does?
Bernard Lewis: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018— One of the most influential Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis, died Saturday, two weeks short of his 102nd birthday, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey.
On Topic Links
Bernard Lewis, Influential Scholar of Islam, Is Dead at 101: Douglas Martin, New York Times, May 21, 2018
An Open Letter to Natalie Portman: Amichai Shikli, Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018
Why the Left Buys Into Every Anti-Israel Smear: Gil Troy, New York Post, May 20, 2018
Cornell Student Presents Senior Thesis In Her Underwear: Dennis Prager, Townhall, May 15, 2018
ZIONISM AND THE WEDGE BETWEEN US AND ISRAELI JEWS
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
BESA, May 24, 2018
In Mandatory Palestine, Jews began to accumulate power – economic, political, and military – which caused other Jews to immediately question the enterprise itself. Old anti-Semitic tropes came to the fore, like the notion that a Jewish state would be based on “exploitation” or even Zionist “world domination”. The prospect of a Jewish state generated non-Jewish hostility and, among a Jewish minority, feelings of guilt. Decades before the state was founded, Judah Magnes anxiously said: “It is not only the end which for Israel must be desirable, but what is of equal importance, the means must be conceived and brought forth in cleanliness.”
But no state has or could achieve that desired level of purity, particularly one surrounded by implacable enemies. Powerlessness was the preferred – even the ideal – situation, and the rootlessness that accompanied it.
A century after Balfour, the strength of his declaration is grounded in the political understanding that Jews are indeed a nation. Zionism is thus Jewish nationalism in its purest form. Yet today, the word Zionism is unique. No other term for a national movement evokes such a visceral reaction. No other word has been infamously defined in the UN as “a form of racism and racial discrimination” by a coalition of racists led by the Soviet Union, as occurred in 1975. No other national movement has a global boycott movement aimed against it that positions itself on a moral pedestal and strives to rewrite history and control the definition of Zionism itself.
Among the most pernicious consequences of the BDS movement is the wedge that has been driven between Israel and liberal Americans, including liberal American Jews. The relentless misappropriation of human rights and anti-racist discourse, the slanderous talk of Israeli “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide,” and the bitter ad hominem attacks on Israelis, their international supporters, and the peace process itself have taken a severe toll on American civil discourse.
Jews and Israelis are now called upon to demonstrate their “moral fiber” by using their own Jewish identity as a vehicle to question Israel and its legitimacy. More perverse are the use of Jewishness to passionately make pleas for the Palestinian cause and the assertion that Jewishness is somehow based on pro-Palestinian beliefs as a “progressive” value. For Jews on the far Left, as for Arab Palestinians, the events of 1948 are the original sin.
Seen through a colonialist prism, Western powers implanted a Jewish state in the Middle East to control the region. Jews, the true indigenous population, are cast as doubly illegitimate. Jewish apathy, religious ignorance, and the deliberate substitution of “social justice” for traditional Jewish liturgy account for the decline – and show the danger of placing antipathy towards the Jewish state of Israel at the center of religious belief.
Historically, from before 1948 all the way through the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, there was an appreciation of Israel – not only as the fulfillment of the ancient longing for return, but also as a haven. In the aftermath of the Holocaust the threat of annihilation was understood to be real. Moreover, Zionism was viewed as part and parcel of American Jewish identity, especially in the years leading up to 1967. There was no contradiction between being a liberal American and a Jew.
Justice Louis Brandeis expressed this well: “Let no American imagine that Zionism is inconsistent with patriotism…There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experiences, is essentially modern and essentially American…Indeed, loyalty to America demands rather that each American Jew become a Zionist. For only through the ennobling effect of its striving can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our great inheritance.”
Albert Einstein had a similar appreciation for Zionism and the Jewish State: “Zionism springs from an even deeper motive than Jewish suffering. It is rooted in Jewish spiritual tradition, whose maintenance and development was for Jews the raison d’être of their continued existence as a community. In the re-establishment of the Jewish nation in the ancient home of the race, where Jewish spiritual values could again be developed in a Jewish atmosphere, the most enlightened representatives of Jewish individuality see the essential preliminary to the regeneration of the race and the setting free of its spiritual creativeness.”
Both Brandeis and Einstein clearly understood the need to maintain and incorporate Zionism within their Jewish identity even if they did not agree with certain policies of the State of Israel and its leadership. The Zionism of 1948-1967 is not the Zionism of 2018; each generation needs to find its own form of Zionism. But eliminating Zionism in the name of Judaism negates Jewish history instead of embracing and remembering it. As Yigal Allon correctly stated, “Zionism is, in sum, the constant and unrelenting effort to realize the national and universal vision of the prophets of Israel.” Many of the problems faced by Israel at 70 are manifested within the Jewish community, above all a false distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. At the end of the day it will have to be understood that hatred of Israel can no longer be separated from loathing of Jews, even by Jews themselves.
THE DISINTEGRATION OF AMERICAN JEWRY
Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2018
American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding. Paradoxically, this is taking place at a time when support for Israel among the American people is at an all-time high and traditional anti-Semitism is at its lowest level. Jewish education among non-Orthodox Jews is catastrophic with widespread ignorance of Judaism and understanding about Israel. Assimilation is rampant with intermarriage levels reaching 70%.
Although right-wing racist anti-Semitism has made headlines, the real threat emanates from the viciously anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Left and the growing numbers of Muslim extremists. Under normal circumstances, a proud Jewish community supported by most Americans could neutralize these negative elements. However, the crisis is largely internal. In the past, American Jews, with valid historical justifications, have always had a penchant for liberalism. Their attachments to Israel and Judaism were synonymous and liberal political forces were Israel’s strongest supporters, while conservatives were less inclined to support the Jewish state.
However, over the past two decades, the far Left has become viciously anti-Israeli, even supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and depicting Israel as an imperialist occupier. This trend reached a climax under U.S. President Barack Obama, who made overtures to the Iranians and treated Israel politically as a rogue state. Aside from ZOA head, Morton Klein, not a single mainstream Jewish leader had the courage to stand up and protest Obama’s bias against Israel and his constant bracketing of Israeli defensive actions as morally equivalent to the actions of terrorists.
Despite this, incredibly, aside from African-Americans, the Jews remained consistently Obama’s greatest supporters. When Donald Trump was elected president, the hatred manifested against him from the bulk of the Jewish leadership reached hysterical levels. Many of the so-called leaders intensified the anti-Israeli hysteria by falsely accusing Trump of fascism and even anti-Semitism – despite his Jewish friends and family members and outstanding support for Israel. In fact, the administration’s wholehearted ongoing support for the Jewish state even seemed to intensify their anti-Israeli inclinations.
The Anti-Defamation League, headed by Jonathan Greenblatt, relinquished any pretense of being apolitical. It continuously lashed out against the administration and behaved like an extension of the extreme anti-Trump opposition. The ADL frequently seemed more inclined to defend Muslim extremists than Jews, maintaining that organizations like Canary Mission, which exposes anti-Semitism on college campuses, are Islamophobic and racist. It also ignored or dismissed much of the left-wing anti-Semitism and soft-pedaled its criticism of Black Lives Matter, an organization that accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and exaggerated the influence of far-right radicals, seeking to link them to Trump. The ADL also took upon itself to repeatedly condemn Israeli policies and the so-called “occupation.”
The Reform movement leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, behaved similarly, usually with the support of leaders of the Conservative movement. Jacobs initially even condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In this environment, the anti-Israeli-government J Street was absurdly promoted by sectors of the establishment as a moderate and a legitimate vehicle to soften the more delusional Jewish groups openly seeking the demise of Israel and even defending Hamas.
By remaining silent and appealing for tolerance even toward groups castigating Israel like Jewish Voice for Peace, the Jewish establishment created a defeatist climate, paving the way for the chaos currently prevailing in the Jewish community. This has impacted on large numbers of Jews, especially youth with virtually no Jewish education and for whom Israel has already become a marginal factor. In turn, this has strengthened the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and created an atmosphere in which it is chic for unaffiliated Jews to distance themselves from, or in some cases even publicly condemn, Israel.
Twenty years ago, it would have been inconceivable to have any other than delusional Jewish fringe groups attacking Israel. Today, especially on campuses, it requires courage to even stand up against these perverted anti-Israeli Jews. These self-hating Jewish deviants have combined with Muslim extremists and the far Left to intimidate Jews committed to Israel, making life for them unbearable particularly on campuses. They are at the forefront of the BDS movement, deny Israeli spokesmen the right to speak, disrupt their lectures and support the depiction of Israel as an “apartheid state.” The extent of the madness is reflected in groups of Jewish radicals publicly reciting kaddish for Jihadist Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers defending their borders.
Sadly, many Jewish leaders urge supporters of Israel to be tolerant of these hostile Jewish groups and, rather than confronting them, entreat them to engage in dialogue. Regrettably, many Hillel groups encourage and provide venues for such dialogue. It is hardly surprising that, in such an environment encouraged by the anti-Israeli media and the radical wing of the Democratic Party, whereas in the past Jewish support for Israel was almost a given, today the preponderance of liberal Jews – especially their leaders – feel awkward supporting Israel. Wishing to conform to their self-image as “enlightened,” in most cases they feel comfortable publicly condemning the Israeli government.
The current, almost unprecedented unity of the Israeli people transcends politics over issues such as war and peace, defense of the borders and deterring terrorism, including the violent efforts by Hamas to breach Israel’s borders. This is ignored by many liberal American Jews living in an atmosphere in which they not only feel the need to conform and condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his democratically elected government but in many cases, go even further, castigating the IDF for allegedly responding disproportionately to terrorists who use human shields as a tactic in their warfare…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
WHY DO YOU HATE ISRAEL?
Spiked, Apr. 11, 2018
Why do you hate Israel more than any other nation? Why does Israel anger you more than any other nation does? Why do Israel’s military activities aggravate you and disturb your conscience and provoke you to outbursts of street protesting or Twitter-fury in a way that no other state’s military activities do? These are the questions that hang darkly over today’s so-called progressives. Which eat away at their self-professed moral authority, at their claims to be practitioners of fairness and equality. They are the questions to which no satisfactory answer has ever been given. So they niggle and fester, expertly avoided, or unconvincingly batted away, a black question mark over much of the modern left: why Israel?
The question has returned in recent days, following violent clashes on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Like clockwork, with a predictability that now feels just mostly depressing, these clashes that resulted in the deaths of many protesting Palestinians magically awoke an anti-imperialist, anti-war instinct among Western observers that was notably, stubbornly, mysteriously dormant when Turkey recently laid waste to the Kurdish town of Afrin or during any of the recent Western-backed Saudi barbarism visited upon the benighted people of Yemen. A member of the IDF raises his gun and suddenly the right-minded of the West switch off Spotify, take to Twitter, engage their emotional fury, and say: ‘NO.’ Their political lethargy lifts, their placards are dusted down, and they remember that war and violence are bad. They even go on to the streets, as people did in London and across Europe in recent days. This is evil, they declaim, and that question rises up again, silently, awkwardly, usually ignored: why is this evil but Turkey’s sponsored slaughter of hundreds of Kurdish civilians and fighters in Afrin was not? Why Israel?
Israeli activity doesn’t only elicit a response from these campaigners where Turkish or Saudi or Syrian activity does not – it always elicits a visceral response. The condemnation of Israel is furious and intense, the language used about it is dark, strikingly different to the language used about any other state that engages in military activity. Israel is never just wrong or heavy-handed or a country that ‘foolishly rushes to war’, as protesters would say about Tony Blair and Iraq, and very occasionally about Obama and Libya, and, if they were pressed for an opinion, would probably say about the Turks and the Saudis, too. No, Israel is genocidal. It is a terrorist state, a rogue state, an apartheid state. It is mad, racist, ideological. It doesn’t do simple militarism – it does ‘bloodletting’; it derives some kind of pleasure from killing civilians, including children. As one observer said during the clashes at the Gaza border, Israel kills those whose only crime is to have been ‘born to non-Jewish mothers’. Israel hates. This Jewish State is the worst state, the most bloodthirsty state.
Following the deaths of 18 Palestinians on the Gaza border, Glenn Greenwald denounced Israel as an ‘apartheid, rogue, terrorist state’, like a man reaching for as many ways as possible to say ‘evil’. One left-wing group says Israel’s behaviour at the Gaza border confirms it is enforcing a ‘slow genocide’ on the Palestinians. The ‘scale of the bloodletting’ is horrifying, says one radical writer. Israel loves to draw blood. A writer for Al-Jazeera says the clashes are a reminder that Israel has turned Gaza into ‘the biggest concentration camp on the surface of the Earth’, and that question, that unanswerable, or certainly unanswered, question, rises up once more: why is Gaza a concentration camp but Yemen, which has been subject to a barbaric sea, land and air blockade since 2015 that has resulted in devastating shortages of food and medicine, causing famine and the rampant spread of diseases like cholera, is not? By any measurement, the blockade on Yemen is worse than any restrictions that have been placed on Gaza. People in Gaza are not starving to death or contracting cholera in their tens of thousands, as Yemenis are. Yet Gaza is a concentration camp while Yemen, when they can be bothered to comment on it, is a war zone…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018
One of the most influential Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis, died Saturday, two weeks short of his 102nd birthday, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey. Lewis, who will be buried at the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv on Thursday, had a major impact on US foreign policy, particularly under the presidency of George W. Bush. He briefed vice president Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His phrase, “the clash of civilizations,” was made famous by American political scientist Samuel Huntington, who argued that cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War era.
Lewis attributed the 9/11 attacks to a decaying Islamic civilization that enabled extremists such as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to conduct an international terrorist campaign. The solution to the growing problems of fundamentalist Islamic ideology was, in a word, democracy. “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us,” Lewis wrote. In many ways he was a modern-day prophet, although he was sometimes wrong and was often accused by his academic colleagues of being Eurocentric. “For some, I’m the towering genius,” Lewis told The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2012. “For others, I’m the devil incarnate.” He warned in 2006 that Iran had been working on a nuclear program for some 15 years. But he wrongly predicted that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be planning an apocalyptic attack, perhaps against Israel, on August 22, to coincide with Muhammad’s night flight to Jerusalem.
As Israel deliberates again whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide, it is timely to recall that in the first editions of his well-known book, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Lewis described that genocide as “the terrible holocaust of 1915, when a million and a half Armenians perished.” In later editions, he changed the text to “the terrible slaughter of 1915, when, according to estimates, more than a million Armenians perished, as well as an unknown number of Turks.” Critics accused him of “historical revisionism.” In a visit to The Jerusalem Post in 2007, the London- born Lewis eloquently discussed the situation in an interview with then-editor David Horovitz and reporter Tovah Lazaroff. He predicted that one way for Muslims to alleviate their growing rage would be “to win some large victories, which could happen. They seem to be about to take over Europe.”
Lewis was asked what that meant for Jews in Europe. “The outlook for the Jewish communities in Europe is dim,” he replied. “Soon, the only pertinent question regarding Europe’s future will be, ‘Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?’” In reviewing Lewis’s 2010 collection of essays – Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East – Post International Edition editor Liat Collins pertinently noted a line of thought appearing throughout the essays was that the Western concept of separating church and state was not compatible with Islam.
“The emergence of a population, many millions strong, of Muslims born and educated in Western Europe will have immense and unpredictable consequences for Europe, for Islam and for the relations between them,” Lewis wrote. Collins commented: “I don’t want to hear a ‘Told you so’ so much as an update in the wake of the current mass migration to Europe’s shores.” Although he didn’t get everything right – who can? – Collins added that his special touches are well-worth noting, such as this classic quotation: “In America one uses money to buy power, while in the Middle East, one uses power to acquire money.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
On Topic Links
Bernard Lewis, Influential Scholar of Islam, Is Dead at 101: Douglas Martin, New York Times, May 21, 2018—Bernard Lewis, an eminent historian of Islam who traced the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to a declining Islamic civilization, a controversial view that influenced world opinion and helped shape American foreign policy under President George W. Bush, died on Saturday in Voorhees Township, N.J. He was 101.
An Open Letter to Natalie Portman: Amichai Shikli, Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018—It would take more than one infuriating statement to make me lose my deep affection for Natalie Portman. She’s talented, gorgeous and genteel – but in the present case, she happens to be wrong and misleading. I’m not bothered by the fact that she’s given BDS – a movement that has lost its momentum and vitality and is doomed to failure – further ammunition with which to attack Israel.
Why the Left Buys Into Every Anti-Israel Smear: Gil Troy, New York Post, May 20, 2018—Eight armed Hamas terrorists fought Israeli troops last Monday. All were killed — then counted in the day’s death toll of “60 protesters.” Hamas itself identified 50 of the 60 “martyrs” as Hamas members and admitted to “terminological deception,” because it was deploying “peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force.”
Cornell Student Presents Senior Thesis In Her Underwear: Dennis Prager, Townhall, May 15, 2018—The most remarkable thing about the title of this column, “Cornell student presents senior thesis in her underwear” is that not one reader thinks it’s a joke. That, my friends, is further proof of the low esteem in which most Americans hold our universities.