Like Many Who Came Before Them, Today’s Jewish Anti-Zionists Want to Rid Judaism of Its Particularity

Last month, while Hamas was launching thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians, the City University of New York’s Jewish Law Students’ Association decided it needed to do something. So it put out a statement affirming “a Palestinian right to return, a free and just Palestine from the river to the sea, and an end to the ongoing nakba”—in other words, calling for the annihilation of the state of Israel. Such Jewish animosity toward the Jewish state is of course not limited to this particular student group. Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy observe:

The anti-Zionists know exactly what they are doing, and what they are undoing. They are trying to disentangle Judaism from Jewish nationalism, the sense of Jewish peoplehood. . . . In repudiating Israel and Zionism, hundreds of Jewish Google employees rejected what they call “the conflation of Israel with the Jewish people.” The voices of inflamed Jewish opponents of Israel and Zionism are in turn amplified by a militant progressive superstructure that now has an ideological lock on the discourse in American academia, publishing, media, and the professions that formerly respected American Jewry’s Zionism-accented, peoplehood-centered constructions of Jewish identity.

We call these critics “un-Jews” because they believe the only way to fulfill the Jewish mission of saving the world with Jewish values is to undo the ways most actual Jews [relate to] Jewishness. . . . In launching this attempt, these anti-Zionists join a long history of such un-Jews.

One of the Roman generals who helped raze Jerusalem and destroy the Second Temple may have been the first un-Jew. Tiberius Julius Alexander, the nephew of the leading Jewish philosopher Philo, “did not remain in his ancestral customs,” in the words of the ancient historian Josephus, a Jewish general who himself joined the Roman cause. Then, as now, those annoying Jews insisted on keeping their ghetto, their ethnonationalist state, if you will, and rejected the symbols of Rome’s more worldly multicultural empire.

Historians ultimately don’t know that much about Tiberius. What we do know is that despite his Jewish roots, he was anxious to help the world become civilized like Rome—and he unleashed the Roman legions against Alexandria’s Jews when he was prefect of Egypt from 66 to 69 CE. All this was warming up for his greatest crime against his people, serving as Titus’ second in command in 70 CE when the siege of Jerusalem plunged his own people into exile for nearly 2,000 years.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Ancient Rome, Anti-Zionism, Josephus

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy