September 17, 2012
Last month an interesting article was published by Tablet Magazine. The author, Daniel Gordis, is a committed Zionist intellectual who is concerned about the inevitable collapse of the Jewish state and its impact on world Jewry in general and American Jews in particular.
Although it is reassuring that Zionist scholars are realizing that that the Jewish state is on its way out, a more important fact is that Gordis’s article provides a glimpse into contemporary Jewish identity politics, Jewish culture and Zionist collective psychosis.
Gordis is tormented by polls suggesting that the centrality of Israel within Jewish American life is declining. Apparently, a recent survey indicates that 50 per cent of young Jewish Americans (aged 35 years and younger) would not see the destruction of Israel as a “personal tragedy”.
“...Jewish omnipotence may be seen as a direct continuum of Israeli strength; when young American Jews witness their elected American politicians dancing shamelessly to AIPAC’s Klezmatic noise, naturally they are filled with a sense of invincibility, and it is this that is the essence of contemporary Jewish collective power – a power that can only be realized in connection with Israeli strength.”
Beinart is correct. Western Jews are no longer anxious.
On the contrary, contemporary Jewish political arrogance knows no limits.
In fact, it seems that many Jews are not troubled at all by a possible rise of anti-Semitism and are unconcerned with any possible consequences of their own actions.
naturally they are filled with a sense of invincibility, and it is this that is the essence of contemporary Jewish collective power ~ a power that can only be realized in connection with Israeli strength.
“Theodor Herzl did what he did and wrote what he wrote because Jewish life in the Diaspora had become, to use Hobbes’s phrase, ‘poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.”
“What happened back then, they assert, could not happen today.”
“American Jews’ confidence resembles that of the Jews of Cordoba ~ who were forcibly converted, burned alive at the stake and summarily expelled in the Spanish Inquisition.”
“the Jews of Berlin in 1930 also believed they had found the ultimate enlightened home, that the dark days of Europe would never return. And in the space of but a few years, German Jewry was erased.”
“American Jewish life as it now exists would not survive the loss of Israel”.
Accordingly, Gordis’s message to his fellow Jews is clear. It isn’t the Shoa of the past that should unite us; it is actually the Shoa ahead that should reawaken our Zionist bond.
“When some 400 mostly Orthodox rabbis marched on Washington in the October 1943, President Roosevelt simply refused to meet them and departed the White House via a rear door. There were no mass protests, no caravans of buses to Washington to demand help for their European kin.”
“Jews today no longer think of themselves as a tiptoeing people,” says Gordis. And why should they? Thanks to Israel and its powerful lobby, they regard themselves as the most influential and powerful ethnic group on the planet.
“Israel has changed the existential condition of Jews everywhere, even in America. Without the state of Israel, the self-confidence and sense of belonging that American Jews now take for granted would quickly disappear.”In short, Jews can run the show
~ but only as long as Israel is unbeatable.
The sense of belonging and security that leads many American Jews to believe that they do not need the state of Israel is itself a product of that very same state of Israel.
Gordis detects a similar pattern amongst liberal American Jews.
“Though many American Jews, especially the younger among them, now believe the loss of Israel would not be tragic, Israel continues to energize them in ways that no other issue does.”
“The loss of Israel would fundamentally alter American Jewry. It would arrest the revival of Jewish life now unfolding in parts of Europe. And Israeli Jewry would be no more. The end of Israel would, in short, end the Jewish people as we know it.”
It is down to world leaders to dismantle Israel and its powerful Jewish lobbies wisely and carefully, accepting all the time that we are dealing with a very lethal entity.