In the divide between Israeli and American Jews,
it is hard to miss the difference in their respective world views.
One of the odd things about the West these days is the proliferation of pundits and politicians who appear to hate themselves and the countries, religions and cultures they come from. They seem to prefer non-Western cultures and societies.
Ironically these pundits live in countries that are the most advanced, enlightened, fair and free among the nations.
Dismantling the West
A prominent white university president issues a public apology for his “white privilege.” A popular West coast college bans white students and faculty from campus for a day. They sponsor an event in which white students are forced to sit in the back of the room while students “of color” take seats in front. A buffet is provided, but white students must wait to serve themselves until the students of color have served themselves first. With only one exception, the mostly white faculty goes along.
Far left political leaders, self-professed opponents of racism, ally themselves with the most brutal and racist elements in developing countries under the rationale that Western European countries have subjugated these countries and now must atone. British Labor leader Jeremy Corbin in Great Britain is an example.
Many societal institutions—-the media, the universities, the police—-turn a blind eye to horrific human rights violations committed by non-western communities within their own countries. For example, in Great Britain the press and police have conspired to stifle news of Pakistani grooming gangs that have raped thousands of British girls. In other Western European countries the government and press suppress news of violent crimes committed by migrants.
Popular cultural figures like filmmaker Michael Moore make careers out of bashing their own country—-praising grotesque dictatorships like the Castro regime and castigating white males for their supposed racism.
A radio talk show host in my hometown rails against laws passed by several US states to outlaw sharia, a legal system based on the tenets of Islam—-this despite the likelihood that sharia courts would support female genital mutilation, honor killings, subjugation of women, and the murder of gay people.
Across the pond in Europe, churches are shuttered as native Europeans abandon the faith of their forebears while mosques, many espousing ideas alien to European traditions of tolerance, sprout like mushrooms across Western Europe.
The Australian feminist Germaine Greer writes favorably about female genital mutilation that is practiced in Muslim societies, usually on young girls. Apparently Muslim values are more important to Ms. Greer than Western feminist values of women’s equality, the right to self-determination and protection of children.
Israel is an oasis of Western decency in the midst of an Islamic world dominated by dictatorship, denial of human rights, persecution of minorities, intolerance, religious hatred and corrupt, dysfunctional governance. And yet many Western political leaders are silent about the pathologies of Muslim countries but verbose in condemning Israel for its supposed human rights sins. So for example, US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a Jew, condemns Israel for its “horrible” treatment of Palestinians in a year when Hamas and Islamic Jihad have launched 1,500 missiles against Israeli population centers. Yet Sanders makes no mention of Arab aggression against Israel.
What is Going On?
In his groundbreaking book, The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray describes the way in which massive migration into Europe of people fleeing Muslim countries, has irrevocably altered Western Europe. According to Murray, many parts of Western Europe are no longer European. Rather, in their culture, values, lifestyles, laws and even in their food, they are now enclaves that duplicate life in places like Pakistan.
Murray believes that Western Europeans “have forgotten what the World War II generation so painfully learnt: that everything you love, even the greatest and most cultured civilizations in history, can be swept away by people who are unworthy of them.”
The reasons for this are complex, but Murray points to a lack of self-confidence among Europeans, as well as European guilt for Europe’s history of colonization of the developing world.
There is a reason migrants choose to leave their homelands to resettle in Western Europe. They are attracted by European freedom, stability, safety and economic opportunity—-qualities lacking in their home countries.
But these features of European society did not happen by accident. They are the product of enlightenment values that have percolated into European culture over many centuries—ideas that have their roots in Judaism, Christianity, and Greco-Roman culture. These values include such things as respect for the individual, sanctity of life, freedom of religion and expression, tolerance for human difference, free and open debate of ideas, a free press, and government that receives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed.
But a discouraged Europe, unsure of itself, and unaware of the preciousness of its patrimony is susceptible to the influence of a radical Islamic culture that is self-assured, and believes itself to be superior. The result is a Europe that is ceasing to be European. Europe is becoming a place that is no longer for Europeans, but for the people of the world, whatever their intentions, values and backgrounds.
A radical Muslim culture has been able to exploit the West’s commitment to religious freedom. Islam is perceived as a religion, like any other, and so it must be protected as all religions are protected in the West.
But Islam is also a political ideology, one based on armed conquest, subjugation of those conquered and intolerance for others. Failure to recognize the political aspect of Islam may be the West’s undoing.
Islamic inroads into the West are also facilitated by the pervasive Western belief that all cultures and religions are morally equivalent—-despite evidence to the contrary. Thus there is no moral imperative to support Judeo-Christian values over Islamic values and the former are weakened while the latter are strengthened.
There is also the matter of political correctness. From the Western point of view, criticism of Islam results in social disapproval and at times police action—-for example, when Katie Hopkins is harassed by British authorities for speaking openly about the threat of radical Islam to British society. This makes it all the more difficult to stem the tide.
Israeli versus American Jews
In the divide between Israeli and American Jews, it is hard to miss the difference in their respective world views. Israelis as a rule have strong identities as Jews. They have had to. Surrounded by enemies who actively work to commit genocide against them, Israelis have had to remain self-confident.
American Jews are a more varied lot. But no one can fail to notice the proliferation of Jewish groups and so-called leaders that have joined the world-wide chorus of condemnation against Israel. To make matters worse, they campaign to pressure Israel to make territorial concessions that endanger its survival. These Jews tend to have weak Jewish identities. Many are more concerned with their standing among their non-Jewish fellow countrymen than with their Jewish integrity. (“See I’m a good person because I oppose Israel’s unjust policies. I am not a bad Jew, like the others”).
These are American Jews who speak constantly of Israel’s sins and rarely mention its virtues. I often think that these Jews feel safer than they ought to. Unlike Israeli Jews, they do not send their children to die to defend the nation. And unlike Israelis, they do not suffer the consequences of the appeasement policies they advocate for Israel.
Perhaps they feel that Israel is not necessary. They believe that, as Americans, their place and their security are assured. Some may feel that Israel, with its attendant bad publicity, is an impediment to their acceptance as Americans or is merely a nuisance.
Like Europeans who fail to recognize that their very freedoms and way of life are threatened by mass migration, American Jews may fail to recognize that “everything they love may be swept away” if Israel fails to exist. Because as safe as American Jews feel today, the lesson of history is that Jews are never secure outside of their homeland—not for long anyway.
And having lost their connection to the Jewish homeland, these Jews might find themselves as adrift and helpless as Jews have been throughout most of their history.