Why Jews Still Need a Land of Their Own

Jan. 15 2015

The murderous attack on a kosher grocery store in Paris, write the editors of Commentary, “was the culmination of a decade of crisis” for French Jewry. The prevalence of anti-Semitism on the French right and left as well as among its Muslim population, the increasing threats to the physical safety of French Jews, and the inability or unwillingness of the French government to do anything about these problems show that the need for a Jewish state is as great as ever. But the Jewish state is itself under constant attack, not only from its enemies but also from Diaspora Jews voicing disappointment with it and seeking to undermine Zionism from within:

Zionism was not a utopian vision. It was a program, and remains a program—the means by which Jewry can and will survive into its fourth millennium. It is about providing Jews with a safe haven in the world and allowing them to exercise rights they have been denied almost everywhere on earth where they have been governed by others—save the astonishing exception of the United States. It is about letting Jews be. . . .

And yet, to some of Israel’s professed supporters, this is controversial. . . . These are people who have replaced practical Zionism with what might be called “conditional Zionism.” For the conditional Zionists, Israel was once the port of call for Jews adrift. Now, they say, the storm is over and the threat to Jewry comes more from what they see as the calamity that the storm has wreaked on the port. . . .

In their own words and actions, conditional Zionists implicitly acknowledge that the end of the need for practical Zionism is a necessary prerequisite for their own brand of Zionism—one in which left-leaning American Jews can use the state of Israel as their moral playground.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Charlie Hebdo, French Jewry, Peter Beinart

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror