Promoting Immigration Is a Central Tenet of Zionism

Jan. 18 2022

“The state of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles,” reads the Israeli declaration of independence. Yet, drawing on his experience sitting on the Knesset’s Aliyah and Absorption Committee, Michael Oren argues that the Jewish state isn’t doing enough to encourage and facilitate Jews to settle in its borders. He writes:

Miraculously, it would seem, in the throes of the coronavirus and in the face of continuing terrorist attacks, aliyah from the North America climbed last year by an astonishing 31 percent. The increase reflects several factors, among them expanding employment opportunities in Israel, especially in high-tech, and the relative strength of the Israeli economy. The major cause, though, is anti-Semitism. The sharp rise in Jew-hatred both from the right and the left has convinced a growing number of American and European Jews that their only secure future lies in the Jewish state.

Olim from countries such as France, Belgium, and the United States, over half of whom are young and educated, bring both skills and capital to the country. Within a year, on average, their economic contributions more than pay the costs of their absorption. The 18,000 Americans who made aliyah between 2002 and 2008, for example, brought in more than a billion shekels. Olim improve medical and educational standards in Israel, enrich our cultural life, and defend our borders.

Yet, far beyond the professional, educational, and military benefits brought by olim, aliyah was and remains a central Zionist tenet. Without it, we are in danger of devolving into just another developed country concerned only with sealing its borders to immigrants. Precisely at a time of rampant anti-Semitism, Israel will fail to fulfill its primary historical mission of providing shelter for oppressed Jews worldwide. . . . Aliyah is not just immigration but part of the moral underpinning—the raison d’être—of our state.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Aliyah, Israeli Declaration of Independence, Knesset

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter