In his book Refugees or Migrants: Pre-Modern Jewish Population Movement (reviewed in Mosaic here), the medievalist Robert Chazan argues that for much of history Jews were more likely to leave their homes in exile not because of expulsions, or to flee violent persecution, but to seek new economic opportunities. One of the many examples Chazan cites is the wave of massacres of Jews in Ukraine—then part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—carried out by the followers of the Cossack leader Bodgan Chmielnicki in 1648 and 1649. While the violence inflicted on Jews during the Chmielnicki uprising and the subsequent period of unrest would not be matched until the Holocaust, Chazan notes that the affected communities quickly reconstructed themselves.
The Great Jewish Refugee Crisis of the 17th Century
How Israel Can Readjust Its Diplomacy for a Changing Europe
In recent years, Jerusalem has developed good relations with a group of Central European countries that have proved far more sympathetic than those of the West, and whose governments have sometimes stopped the European Union from issuing anti-Israel statements. But Europe, both East and West, is now in a state of political flux, and this approach may soon be obsolete. Emmanuel Navon proposes a new direction for Jewish state that capitalizes on its economic ties with Western Europe. Take, for instance, post-Angela Merkel Germany: