Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Struggle for the American Jewish Soul

Taking as his starting point the mounting anti-Israel agitation on college campuses, and the Jews who take part therein, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch moves past the debate over whether anti-Zionism constitutes anti-Semitism to address what he sees as the real problem faced by young Jews in the United States:

I have an unsubtle, uncomplicated, unsophisticated approach that has guided me throughout my life: if a theory is anti-Semitic, it can’t be moral. If a theory leads to anti-Semitism, whether intended or not, it can’t be moral. If a theory denies Israel’s right to exist and seeks to dismantle the world’s only Jewish state, it is immoral. . . . That is my starting point, and from there, I work my way backwards. I concede that I am not neutral on the Jews or on Israel. But do you expect a rabbi to be neutral on Judaism, the Jewish people, or the Jewish state?

Jewish students report a sharp increase of intimidation against Jews on campus, and a direct connection between the routine vilification of Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments and actions. They are regularly accused of complicity in genocide. Imagine that: the grandchildren of the remnants of the people who barely survived the Holocaust are themselves accused of complicity in genocide. The effect of equating Israel with Nazism is to exonerate Nazism, to render it not-so-bad and not-so-different from what other people do, including the Jews, when they only have the chance.

In 2048, we expect that two-thirds of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. There will still be plenty of anti-Zionists. Israel will still have enemies seeking to destroy it. But Jewish anti-Zionism will be an anachronism. The historians of tomorrow will view today’s anti-Zionist Jews as the historians of yesterday viewed past fringe Jewish movements: a streaking comet blazing through the skies of Jewish life, making a dramatic impression in the crazed intensity of these times, but soon disappearing into the vast nothingness of Jewish time.

This is the irony: the struggle against Israel waged by some American Jews, is not really about Israel at all. Israel will survive and prosper with or without them. It is about you. It is about the future of American Judaism. We cannot survive separated from the vast majority of our people. Jews who tell you otherwise are deluded.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Israel on campus

 

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship