Blessed are You, our God, King of the universe, who assembles the displaced among his People Israel (from their diasporas and brings them home to Israel). This blessing is said twice a day by observant Jews during the regular prayer service as the tenth in the prayer of eighteen blessings. It is very old, dating back over two millennia when the Second Temple yet stood, but many affluent and influential diaspora communities already existed in places like Egypt, Mesopotamia (Babylon), Rome, and Greece. The blessing is interesting in its acknowledgment that a full Jewish existence is only ever possible in the Land of Israel and in its use of the word “nidachim“, which I translated as “displaced”, denotes also remoteness, marginalization, exclusion. In other words, this blessing acknowledges the fact that the richest and most influential diaspora Jew is utterly unimportant compared to the most marginal of the Jews residing in Israel. Hence, we ask God to help his People out of their marginal existence in the diaspora and into a fully realized life in Israel.
The sentiment of this blessing is at the very core of the Zionist movement. At the end of the 19th century, most (nearly all) Jews lived in the diaspora and most were poor and marginalized in their host societies, easy prey for scapegoating of every kind. The founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, recognized that these communities were in mortal danger of genocide and extermination due to a toxic mix of rising European nationalism and combustible geopolitics in Eastern Europe where the bulk of diaspora Jewry resided. His clairvoyance was of such magnitude that had things worked out just a little bit sooner, had his brainchild, the State of Israel been born in 1940 instead of 1948, the Holocaust of European Jewry would have been prevented. The stated goal of the Zionist movement is to bring every Jew home to Israel, but few people in history have been blessed by a better ability to reconcile long term goals with short term practicality than the Zionists. The early Zionists and the generation that first created the state of Israel well understood that the first Jews that would choose to leave the diaspora and build their lives in Israel would be those who lacked economic opportunity or were physically threatened. They knew that most Jews in secure and affluent communities in North America would prefer to support Israel with their dollars rather than with their lives. They took that deal.
Today, Israel is home to 6.6 million Jews. How many live in the diaspora is anyone’s guess and it would be, by necessity, an uneducated one. Outside of the ultra-orthodox communities, the definition of what constitutes a Jew in the diaspora is simply nonexistent. Are you Jewish because your last name is Goldberg? But what is your mom’s name is MacDougall? Because you attend a synagogue or a “temple”? Because you eat Chinese on Christmas day? Because you are rich enough to pay over twenty grand a year to put your son or daughter in a Jewish day school? It is simply not possible to count something that is as loosely, if at all defined, as the secular, reformed, conservative, or even so-called “modern orthodox” diaspora Jew. In days past, American Jews and Jews in a few other, much smaller diasporas like Canada and Great Britain, self-defined and self-identified by their support of the Zionist movement and its crown jewel, the state of Israel defined as the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people. These days are gone. In America, seven out of ten “Jews” support the Democratic Party, currently the home of sentiments ranging from guarded neutrality to raging hatred when Israel is concerned. In Britain, a pitiful remnant of communist Jews cling to the rabidly anti-Semitic Labour Party under the thumb of the known Jew hater Jeremy Corbyn.
Unlike their parents and grandparents, today’s American Jews wish to attach strings to their support of Israel, attempting to buy rights to dictate to Israeli Jews who put their lives on the line every day on how to deal with the threat of Arab violence, all from the comfort of their transatlantic suburban homes and Miami condos. In truth, American Jews today wield no political influence of any kind. This is the result of a trifecta of causes, all self-inflicted. First, the Jewish population in America is drastically declining due to mixed marriages (assimilation) and low birth rates among the educated Jewish elites. Second, Jews support Muslim migration to America, thus inviting into their midst people who are congenitally anti-Israel and by extension anti-Semitic. Not surprisingly, as Muslim immigrants and Muslim immigrant communities grow, so does their anti-Israel political influence, one that is directly opposed to any pro-Israel influence American Jews may yet wish to exert. Finally, the height of American Jewish influence in the 1970’s and 1980’s derived from their unification around Zionist and pro-Israel causes such as Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union and American political, economic, and military support for Israel. In the current political climate, most American Jews are openly opposed to Israel as an ethnocentric nation state, a state that is unashamed to codify this into law. There is even a racist element in American Jewry’s newfound distaste for Israel. The vast majority of American Jews are Ashkenazi, while many if not most Israelis are Sephardi, Yemenite, and even Ethiopian, in other words, for lack of a better term, American Jews are white, while most Israeli Jews are not. This makes Israel into quite a foreign entity for American Jews. Israelis are armed to the teeth, American Jews abhor firearms. Israelis are proud nationalists, American Jews are committed globalists. Israelis are in your face, American Jews would much rather stab you in the back while smiling right at you.
In the best of times, American support for Israel did not depend on the influence or the semblance thereof exerted by organized American Jewry via organizations such as AIPAC. America started supporting Israel only after it proved itself a potentially invaluable ally in the 1967 Six Day War, a war in which it annihilated three Arab armies in six days. American resupply of Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, a war in which Israel was snookered by Nixon’s order not to mobilize reserves, came only after Israel made a credible threat of nuclear attack against its Arab enemies. During the final years of the Cold War, Israel provided a proving ground for American versus Soviet weaponry and invaluable intelligence on counter terrorism, all of which were services rendered in exchange for the so-called American “aid”. Today, Israel is less dependent on America than ever before. In fact, America is quite concerned that Israel may become the advanced weapons development arm of China and India and even Brazil, all activities that are now well underway. There is simply nothing of value that the rapidly disappearing American Jewry, let alone the vanishingly small Jewish communities outside of America can give to their historical homeland. Israel does not need diaspora Jews. But boy, do diaspora Jews need Israel! Modern anti-Semitism is a pincer movement of rapid Muslim encroachment and even takeover of the strongholds of Western civilization and the White Nationalist reaction to that attack on what they rightly perceive as their native lands. In a preview of what is coming to America, these pincers are rapidly squeezing Jews out of Europe and into Israel, where they are welcomed as all other “olim” (Jewish repatriates), with a mixture of love and scorn, with hugs and shoves, with the prickly exterior and the sweet center that is the very essence of Israel and its people – the Israeli Jews.