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We are not part of the world

 

 

 

 

 

WE ARE NOT PART OF THE WORLD

We only contribute to its development

A sense of alienation

On a personal note, the past 6+ months of evil, Anti-Semitism and falsehood have been tough for me, as well as for many other Jews around the world. We feel at home in the world, and in our countries of birth, and we feel that things are much better than they were before, society has progressed, Israel is strong, even peace deals are struck between Israel and its neighbors, and we have the strongest country in the world behind us. We know that we have enemies, but all in all we feel at home in the West and in our countries of birth.

But just in a matter of days and weeks we’re somehow transported back to a sense of near- universal alienation where even the sole country we could count on-the USA, seemingly inundated with anti-Jewish hatred in some of their central institutions like Harvard and Columbia, where many Jews are active as students or staff.

Personally, I feel this strong sense of alienation, where my people are being victimized by some of the most evil people on the planet all the while being accused of being the aggressor. It’s a double whammy, of the most peculiar sort. In the eyes of too many, we may not defend ourselves against those who seek our destruction. I feel like I cannot trust non-Jewish people I don’t know to not have these warped perceptions about me and my country Israel. That’s the extent of the alienation, whether part of it is imagined or not, it’s still rooted in reality. As the saying goes: Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get me.

Jewish involvement in progressive causes

The Jews are incredibly integrated into the fabric of the West, in every possible field: science and academia, business, culture, politics, philanthropy. Even sports, which is typically not seen as a Jewish endeavor features many sports agents and players in certain fields like tennis, where Jews are overrepresented.

I will single out two of the fields mentioned above to show that even when Jews are deeply embedded in society’s structures, they are not immune from ostracization.

We probably all know about the anti-Jewish vitriol on US campuses, and indeed on many campuses all over the world is related to the political left (not solely though).

The political left has a long history of Jewish involvement, dating back as far as Karl Marx himself who had Jewish ancestry. Going into the 20th century we see innumerable Jewish political activists in the socialist and communist movements in Europe, the USA and Russia (and South Africa). Among the most prominent are Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky. In the US you had the entire Rosenberg spy ring who were almost exclusively Jewish, along with so many other communist sympathizers stateside. It’s been documented that the celebrations in the Lower East Side were significant when news of the Russian Revolution came about in 1917. And this is what prompted the Jew Leon Trotsky to return to Russia and play a pivotal role in the sustained success of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Moving on to the social-liberal political movement in the United States there are countless examples of prominent Jews who fought for civil rights in the 1960’s and later, like Jake Greenberg, Rabbi Heschel and Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman who were murdered in Mississippi.

And all of the above does not take into account the Zionist Socialist movement which helped shape Israel into a socialist model society of sorts, even before the creation of the state in 1948, which initially received much approval from Western left-wingers, especially for the kibbutz movement.

Indeed, there is such a strong connection between the Western Left-wing political movement (socialist, communist and social-liberal) that initially the Soviet Union and its allies supported the creation of the state of Israel, in the hope that it would turn out to be another socialist ally.

Whatever one might say about the contribution of the Jews above it is abundantly clear to many that Jews have played an outsized role in furthering progressive causes globally.

And even though we contribute immensely to the world’s progress we seem to have no credit in the bank, as it were. When an opportunity arises most of the progressive world and the countries in the developing world will join forces with the most anti-liberal and vile anti-democratic forces to attack the Jews, whether it be by force or by ideological warfare.

Why is this?

The root cause for the alienation

Going back to our sources for ultimate answers to history’s pervasive patterns, we see that our forefather Abraham was known as ish ivri. He was from the lineage of Ever. But semantically the word “Ever” also means “away”, “beyond”. Homiletically the Rabbis understood this connection between the two words to mean that “Abraham stands on one side, and the rest of the world stands on the other”. This stems from Abraham’s original stance for monotheism in an age of universal idolatry.

Abraham’s chosenness and his mission were inherited by Isaac and later by his son Jacob. The Jews are the physical and spiritual descendants of Jacob. The contribution of Abraham’s spiritual descendants is there for everyone to see: Monotheism is widespread and a biblically rooted code of morals and ethics is now much more prevalent than at the time of Abraham. But the solitary nature of Abraham’s spiritual descendants remains.

Bilam, the gentile prophet says about Israel: Am Levadad ishkon uvagoyim lo itchashav. “lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations”.

How true is this not in our time and age?

The final Redemption

In the Haftarah of the seventh day of Passover, the passages from the prophets which are related to the weekly Parasha and the holiday of Passover, which is the story of our national Redemption, were the words from the mighty prophet Isaiah about the Final Redemption of the world, which may give us solace: “They will neither injure nor destroy in all of My sacred mountain, for the earth will be filled with knowledge of Hashem as water covering the sea bed. It shall be on that day that the descendant of Jesse who stands as banner for the peoples, nations will seek him, and his resting place will be glorious” (11:9-10).

So, from the final day of celebrating our national Redemption we envisage the universal redemption, which will surpass but also include the Jewish people, where the Jewish Messiah-the descendant of Jesse-will be recognized as such by the earth’s inhabitants.

Ultimately our mission of elevating the world will achieve a positive outcome for the entire world and this time it will include us.

About the Author
Tobias Goldman is a deep thinker with a passion for all things Jewish and a huge interest in the world. He wears his heart on his sleeve but his mind is always at work. After long journeys in Israel and the UK he is back in Sweden, but his heart and mind wander freely. Communicates through the written and spoken word as well as song.
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