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
For a Leading Israeli Anti-Zionist, the Plight of Two Peoples Is Less Important Than Her Moral Preening
Founded in 2004 by IDF veterans, Breaking the Silence aims to expose the supposed wrongdoings of the Israeli military in the West Bank. In her recent Hebrew-language book Who Do You Think You Are?, Yuli Novak, who served as the group’s director until 2017, reflects on the internal turmoil she has experienced in the ensuing years and explains how she came to reject Zionism altogether. Einat Wilf finds the book cliché-ridden and solipsistic, while the author comes across as a “petulant child.” Moreover, writes Wilf, Novak’s argument rests on false premises: