Yes, there are anti-Israel Jews. They may be intelligent, or not. They may be religious, or not. But one thing they are, is ignorant. They obviously don’t follow Rabbi Hillel’s famous admonition: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14
Hillel exhibits both wisdom and practicality with those words. Jews are only a small fraction of 1% of the global population. A significant percentage of the majority would like to see Israel erased from the map, just because it is the State of the Jews. If that happens, do the anti-Israel Jews believe that they will exempt from the “evil decree?” If they think that Jews can survive without Israel, then they are truly ignorant about human nature, as well as the tenets of Judaism.
Earlier this month I wrote Belittling Israel, about the US State Department and its (unwitting?) encouragement to opponents of Israel. The article was provoked by front page reports about two American Jewish historians who now oppose Israel’s policies and Israel itself.
The distinguished Brandeis Professor Jonathan D. Sarna said this about his two fellow scholars:
“Many American Jews, including, one suspects, Hasia Diner and Marjorie Feld when they were young, began to look upon Israel as an embryonic heaven on earth. It became for them what the Soviet ‘socialist paradise’ had been for some of their parents: a kind of Jewish utopia, a place where their fondest hopes and dreams might be realized.”
This week in The Jerusalem Post, adjacent to an article entitled “PA condemns IDF demolition of EU-funded Palestinian homes,” there was a complementary article, “Jewish activists to host global Shabbat protest against demolitions.” The Jewish “peace” activists pronounced, “These demolitions [in Susiya and other locations] represent a continued policy of systematic discrimination. As members of a people who have experienced expulsion, persecution and dispossession, we stand with all Palestinian communities facing eviction.”
Last September I wrote the article Susiya. It described the struggle to protect the ancient Hebrew archeological site of Susiya from illegal Palestinian Arab squatters, who already have homes in the nearby town of Yatta. The Arabs claim legal ownership of the site dating back to Ottoman times. Denying Israeli historical and archeological evidence, the West has been quick to give credence to the Arabs’ claims which are buttressed by anti-Israel NGOs.
It isn’t enough that Israel has to battle the State Department, the EU (which is illegally building on land controlled by Israel as part of the Oslo Accord), and the Arabs. We also have to confront opponents among our own people! From where does this urge to blame Jews for asserting their rights in the Jewish homeland spring?
Professor Sarna gives us a hint when he mentions “socialist paradise,” referring to the Soviet Union. Totalitarian movements frequently use well-meaning people, often intellectuals, to promote their “-ism.” Tragically, the idealists don’t realize the implications of their actions. For example, before and after WWII, Soviet sympathizers in Western countries were called “useful idiots,” a derogatory description usually attributed to Lenin. The phrase implies the cynical use by the Communists of naïve people whom they manipulated.
So it is today. The Jewish activists, from Israel and abroad, swallow the propaganda from the Arabs and their enablers, the enemies of the Jews. Conversely, they refuse to accept the proofs that their fellow Jews offer for Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel.
Why this is so perplexes me. Jews are a tiny minority of the world’s population, albeit responsible for an outsized proportion of advances in almost every human endeavor. As members of this “exclusive” group, why do some act to destroy it? Why are they willing to sacrifice the centrality of Israel, and ultimately its existence, for some notion of tikkun olam, as if repairing the world is the sum total of being Jewish?
The truth is that you don’t have to be Jewish to do good works, but being Jewish requires one to attempt it. Perhaps the activists don’t know the many fundamental reasons why it is impossible for Jews to be occupiers in the Land of Israel. I’ll summarize, going from the practical to the sublime.
The modern State of Israel conquered a good part of the Land of Israel and established an independent country while fighting at least three all-out defensive wars against its Arab neighbors: 1948, 1967, 1973. Those Arab armies would have annihilated the Jews if they had been victorious. This is the third (some say fourth) independent Jewish nation in the Land of Israel since antiquity. Similarly, nearly all nations have borders that were determined, wholly or partly, by conquest. The United States is the most pertinent example, having wrested control of its original territory from Britain and seized its huge Southwestern portion from Mexico.
As part of a great upswing in nationalism after the mid-19th century, Jews began returning to their homeland, joining the contingent of Jews who had never left or who had returned earlier. The Western nations accepted the fact that Jews were indigenous to the area and ratified that fact in various documents and pacts, such as the Balfour Agreement and the San Remo Conference. The League of Nations assigned a Mandate of Palestine to the British for the purpose of politically establishing a Jewish national home there, with provision for the Arab residents to preserve their civil and religious rights, pointedly not their political rights.
The United Nations accepted and carried out the provisions of the League of Nations, including the provision for a national home in Palestine for the Jews. In 1948, Britain resigned its Mandatory powers and Israel proclaimed itself an independent state. This was immediately ratified by the United States and then the United Nations, which welcomed Israel into the comity of nations, recognizing its laws and customs.
A compelling but often disregarded underpinning of Israel is, gasp, the Bible. Extant for thousands of years, the Bible describes in detail how the Lord gave the Jews ownership over the Land of Israel, a covenant that is conditioned on obeying God’s commandments. In the New Testament, Jews living in the Land of Israel with their Holy Temple in Jerusalem is central. In the Koran, the Jews’ place in the Holy Land is also prominent, but most Muslims follow dissenting passages.
Yes, there can be non-Jewish citizens of Israel. Approximately a quarter of Israelis aren’t Jewish. But it is hard to believe that Israel would stand dividing its small territory (the size of New Jersey) to accommodate a racist Palestinian Arab state, a country which would almost assuredly be run by terrorists (who proclaim in their founding documents their purpose: to eradicate the Jewish State of Israel).
If the Jewish “peace” activists cannot fathom this reality, there isn’t much we can do about them. But we can control what happens in our own homeland. We are determined to remain here as a free, independent country with diverse citizenry, with the proviso that those non-Jews who wish to live within Israel’s boundaries (including Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights) must be loyal to the Jewish State. And if you think that this is impossible, I direct your attention to many Christian and Muslim Arabs, and Druse and Circassians, who are a loyal component of our nation and serve in the IDF and elsewhere.