Raymond M. Berger
Real Bullet Points

Right to Settle for Me but not for Thee

But if the Jews are colonizers, where is their home country?

Do people have the right to settle in any country of their choice? Most progressives say “yes.” At least they support immigration from developing countries to developed countries, if not the other way around.

This idea has played out on a grand scale under the Biden administration in the US. As many as eight million migrants have come to the US uninvited, in the three and one-half years since Biden took office. Politicians such as the current governor of California have said that we should have a “big tent” to welcome newcomers, presumably from all over the world. And once our uninvited “guests” arrive they must be given the additional right to be free of prosecution for breaking our immigration laws. They must be able to remain in the country permanently, to qualify for social benefits, to bring family members from their country of origin, and, in due course, to be given citizenship.

Progressives put up lawn signs: “There is no such thing as an illegal person.”

But oddly, there is one group to whom progressives do not extend that right: Jews. They do not extend that right to Jews who settled in pre-state Palestine, nor to Jews who settled in Israel after establishment of the state.


We Are From Here

Do progressives know of the almost four millennial history of Jewish presence in Israel? Do Jews have the right to settle in Israel?

In the midst of the current war in Gaza, progressives may be surprised to learn that Jews lived there for centuries before the first Arabs arrived as invaders from the East. Do they know that the Jews were forced into exile by the Babylonians and later, the Romans? Do they know that Jews returned over many centuries? Do they know that the land of Israel was renamed Syria-Palestina by conquering Romans in an attempt to erase the Jewish connection to the land?

Do progressives know that the land became depopulated of Arabs, as well as Jews, due to 400 years of abusive Ottoman rule that left the land impoverished and barren?

Do progressives know that, along with Jews from outside the region, thousands of Arabs from surrounding areas moved to Palestine in the pre-state period due to the job opportunities that resulted from Jewish development of the land?

Do progressives know that after the founding of the Jewish state, 850,000 Jews were violently forced from surrounding Arab countries?

So here are my questions: If Arabs can “return” why can’t Jews? If people can come from all over the world and settle in the US, why can’t Jews settle in Israel?

Progressives leave little doubt of their opposition to Jews in the Land of Israel. They chant “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free”—–but free of what? Free of Jews?

They tell us that Jews are colonizers. But they show little concern that Arabs from the Saudi peninsula colonized the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. Or that Europeans—- from Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and other countries—-colonized North Africa, the Middle East and large parts of Asia.

But if the Jews are colonizers, where is their home country? From which far-away country did they come to the Middle East? The truth is that Jews are indigenous to the Middle East.

When the colonized overthrow the colonizers, presumably the colonizers return to their home country, far away from the colonized land. So, according to Progressives, to what place must Jews return? Progressives cannot name such a place. Or they tell Jews to “return to Europe” even though over half of Israel’s Jewish population has no ancestry in Europe.

Progressives often show an ugly animus against Jews, transparent behind a façade of social justice. This was clearly illustrated by the comments of anti-Israel social activist Tamika Mallory:

You don’t walk into someone else’s home, needing a place. It’s clear you needed a place to go–cool, we got that! I hear that! But you don’t show up to somebody’s home, needing a place to stay, and decide that you’re going to throw them out and hurt the people who are on that land…..And to kill, steal, and do whatever it is you’re gonna do to take that land! That to me is unfair. It’s a human rights crime.

Bottom Line

Progressives delight in “calling out” people who espouse views they do not agree with. It is time to call them out for their ignorance of history and their anti-Israel, anti-Jewish prejudice.

About the Author
The author is a life-long Zionist and advocate for Israel. He believes that a strong Jewish state is invaluable, not only to Jews, but to the world-wide cause of democracy and human rights. Dr. Berger earned a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has twenty-seven years of teaching experience. He has authored and co-authored three books as well as over 45 professional journal articles and book chapters. His parents were Holocaust survivors.
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