Jordan Cooper

Antisemitism & Israel

By some counts Judaism dates back almost four millennia. For anyone familiar with the history of antisemitism, the age of the Jewish people is roughly equivalent to the amount of time during which there have been those who hate Jews so much that they’re willing to kill Jews because they are Jewish. As long as there are both Jews and non-Jews in the world, there will be non-Jews who hate and are willing to kill Jews because they are Jewish.

Over the past six millennia empires, states, and republics have risen and fallen with only one enduring lesson: everything is ephemeral. If America, Argentina, or Australia are considered safe places for Jews today, one day the land occupied by these states will no longer be known by these names and, one day, it is possible that it will no longer be safe to be Jewish in those places. When that day comes, Jews in the diaspora will look to the one safe haven guaranteed to them by virtue of their Jewish identity, the same identity that places a target on their chest: Israel. Israel is our Plan B; our backup option for when all else fails. The right of aliyah, to be protected by a Jewish Army, is the ultimate defense against the ubiquity of antisemitism.

If one accepts the persistence of antisemitism as a reality of history then one may also be prepared to accept the need for Israel to persist as a Jewish state to serve as the ultimate sanctuary for persecuted Jews across the world.

To date Israel has maintained a schizophrenic façade of being both a Jewish state and a modern democratic republic. In reality, it cannot be both.  In order to have a fully-fledged democratic republic, all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza should be given full Israeli citizenship. If that were to happen then Israel would no longer reasonably be on a path to continuing as an Israeli state since the Knesset would soon be populated by those who represent a constituency of which Jews are the minority. As such it is reasonable to presume that such a government would eventually remove the Magen David from the Israeli flag, change the name of the state from Israel to Palestine, revoke the right of aliyah for world Jewry, and eliminate the designation of Israel as a Jewish state, thus obviating Israel’s entire raison d’etre. This is known as the ‘Demographic Problem.’ If we accept that Israel must continue to exist as a Jewish state, then it may well be worth acknowledging that it cannot exist as a fully democratic republic.

As an American my primary loyalty is to America and as a former candidate for public office my desire was to advance the public interest for Americans; I have no tangible connections to nor any substantial loyalty to Israel. But it would be unwise for me to disregard my Jewish identity and the visceral hate that many feel for me because of this identity. Every Jewish community across the world has faced or will face violent antisemitism either in this generation or in future generations. This is why we must support Israel’s right to continue to exist as a Jewish state. Many will object, saying that it cannot happen here. It can, does, and will happen here. It will happen everywhere. The Weimar Republic was one of the most progressive states yet known to the world and it was there where not only millions of Jews would meet their end. Even Protestant pastors who were the sons of Protestant pastors, by virtue of their having one Jewish grandparent, were not immune from antisemitic extermination, thus proving that even those who do not identify as Jewish can fall victim to antisemitism.

The unfortunate reality that many are reluctant to publicly accept is that there is no room for a Two-State Solution. Instead, there can only be either Israel as a Jewish state or Palestine as an initially secular, and subsequently, Muslim state. When Yasser Arafat scuttled the most plausible plan for a Two-State Solution he effectively rejected any realistic path towards Palestinian statehood. Israel should do everything in its power to encourage the emigration of peaceful Palestinians who simply wish for a better life to locations across the globe. Israel should offer airfare, a year’s rent, and a grocery stipend to Palestinians to live in Buenos Aires, Bangkok, and Brooklyn.

Placing the humanitarian crisis facing the population in Gaza aside, Israel should take all available measures to eliminate substantial threats to its continued existence as a Jewish state. The presence of hostages should not assuage any attempts to secure its borders; these hostages should be presumed dead and Israel should take the same stance as the United States in being unwilling to negotiate with terrorists.

Hamas’ recent attack on Israel comes on the heels of massive protests to judicial reforms pushed through by Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, revealing threats to both Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state and Israel’s existence as a modern democratic republic, respectively. Israel must search its soul and decide whether to be a Jewish state or a full-fledged democratic republic; it cannot be both. The persistence and ubiquity of antisemitism is the primary justification for Israel’s perpetuation as a Jewish state. Regardless of whether the Jewish diaspora will admit it to themselves or not, antisemitism will always rear its head and one day their only refuge will be a Jewish state.

About the Author
Jordan Cooper is the host of Makin It Radio on KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM and Public Interest Podcast, the author of “Perspectives on the Public Interest,” a former candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates, and has written for the Israel Forever Foundation, The Washington Post, and The Baltimore Sun. Jordan has a master’s degree in health policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College. Jordan lives with his wife and daughter in New York City.
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