Today of all days is so proper for me to join the discussion about the latest Progressive anti -Zionist diatribe. This is the seventy-sixth anniversary of the death of the giant Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, my mentor for life. A sad day in a way, but also a very happy one. A day to tell our great teacher , the follower of Theodor Herzl, that his vision is a reality. There is a State of the Jewish people, there is Israel, Zionism prevailed. Still, there are mixed feelings, because so many Jews did not believe him, when he , with choking voice, with tears in his eyes, told the Jews of Warsaw in 1938 to flee, before it is too late. He told them about ovens, yes he mentioned the word, but the Hasia Diners of the time, told them otherwise. They told them to stay. We know who was right. But then, I mention Jabotinsky and this particular chapter of his glorious life for a reason. Hasia Diner believes , that Zionism contributed to the destruction of so many Jewish communities.
This is where the debate is in one way so relevant, in another so useless. Does anyone really believes that she does not know better?. Does she really blame Zionists for the destruction of the Warsaw Jews? . Does she really blame Zionists for the Farhood in Baghdad in 1941?. Does she even know about that pogrom?. I believe she does, but the question of Eastern Jews is one which I will come back to. Does she blame Zionism for the Kishinev pogrom of 6 April 1903, after which Bialik wrote the never to be forgotten eulogy about the revenge of small children?. Does she blame Zionism for the 1648-9 Ukraine Holocaust?. Does she blame Zionism for the Al-Muwahiddun atrocities against the Jews of Spain, after which Maimonides left Spain?. And we can go on and on. All this is so absurd, that one is left to wonder what REALLY is the motivation here?. what is REALLY explains the timing?. I, for one, can only guess, but will leave it to another time. What is not to be guessed though, what is so right to prove is, that Zionism is so far from being ”delusional”, ”a myth” and the rest as appearing in Diner’s article.
Zionism, Hasia Diner, is the most successful political ideology world wide of the last 100 plus years . Zionism works, Zionism is relevant, Zionism defies all the conventional and non-conventional theories of nationalism . Maybe because Zionism as a political movement is a product of the 19th century, but Zionism as an idea is an old , very old idea. Nothing new about Zionism, as Zionism it was which lay behind the immortal words of the first exiles, ”By the rivers of Babylon,there we sat down-Ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion”. So, Hasia Diner , there is an element of mythology in all that, but for a change, a mythology which seems to have worked out. After all these years there we are, with flourishing Zion and with a state. Here is a problem for Progressives, Zionists, non-Zionists, anti-Zionists, what have you. They do not like history, as this may put to laughing stock their entire picture of the world, but Jews and Zionism show, that history is a continuing process, not necessarily precisely repeating itself, but more so than not.And in Jewish history, antisemitism is a repetitive theme, the oldest recorded collective hatred. And this is why the Law Of Return is so essential. Nothing racist about it, just historic necessity. An Affirmative Action for Jews , not against others. So, there are 24% non-Jewish citizens of Israel, but no Jews left in the Arab countries, the result of racist ethnic cleansing of the Jews. Hasia Diner knows all that, but she does not care. For her history is 1967 onwards, maybe 1948 onwards, only what may serve the pro-Palestinian narrative. Part of this narrative is that there are ONLY Palestinian refugees.
But in Israel, 45 % of the Jewish population are Jews from the Middle East. They do not exist in the world of the Progressives, who will never ask them why they vote Likud.
When the Progressives talk about the “other” Israel, the one which is not in the mold of the Habonim Dror of Hasia Diner, they talk about the ONLY jews with whom they feel affinity-the European Jews, ”our Jews”, those who share their values, those who are ”like us”. The old German Jews in Imperial Germany as well as in NY of 80-90 -100 years back, hated the OST JUDEN of then.
The Progressives of today hate the OST JUDEN OF TODAY, the MIZRACHIM and the former Russian Jews. One of the icons of so-many Liberal and Progressive Jews , Bill Clinton, specifically said, that Israel hardened its policies about the Palestinians because of the Russian Jews living there. By the way, every Poll conducted among American Jews will show how the Russians, the Iranians, the Halabis and others are different from the Liberal Jewish majority in so many ways. So, for Diner and others, the OST JUDEN syndrome is alive and well-nowadays these are the Right Wing voters of Israel. This is racism, the Law of Return is not.
New York University[nyu] is a great academic center. Look at Thane Rosenbaum, look also at George Bush[ah..ah.. not this one…a distant relative], a professor at NYU[1832-1846], who was one of the early Christian Zionists. What did he know , that Hasia Diner seems to have forgotten. So, an advice to the Jewish students of NYU-if you want to know about Zionism, go to the library and read George Bush.