Throughout history, every place of Jewish exile went from welcoming to hostile and America is no exception. Now, Jews finally have a home to come back to.
We live in a world in which all rounded corners worn smooth by time and human decency are becoming sharp again, a time of revelation of who is who in the world. Israel was founded on the premise, the axiom, that there exists in the world a nation that has left its native land and since then has been dispersed among the nations of the world and that this nation has the right to come back to its ancestral homeland and establish in it an independent polity. This polity is known today as the State of Israel. As a Zionist state, one of the first laws that it had passed once it gained independence, was the Law of Return, which grants every Jew the immediate right to Israeli citizenship, should he or she request it.
Exceptions to this law are few and far between and usually involve Jews who appear to want Israeli citizenship in order to avoid legal jeopardy in their countries of exile. Even then, this exception is applied with extreme reluctance, as was the case with the American Jewish gangster Mayer Lansky, who was denied Israeli citizenship and returned to America to face trial. Arguably, similarly guilty Russian Jewish oligarchs were granted Israeli citizenship, simply because Russia was not an essential Israeli ally like the US had been.
Today, anti-Semitic incidents around the globe and especially in Europe are quickly getting out of hand. A car with speakers blaring stopped by a Jewish business in Germany the other day, inviting its owners “to go back to Israel, where they came from”. I do not know whether the owners of that business came from Israel a few years ago or two thousand years ago, but here is the important thing: IT DOES NOT MATTER. According to Zionism and the State of Israel, these Jews do indeed have a place to “go back to” and that place is Israel. We may take umbrage at the impolite and impolitic nature of the invitation to leave Germany that was issued to these Jews, but we cannot argue with its premise and remain Zionists and supporters of Israel.
Those of us who are true Zionists must realize that when Israel welcomes all Jews it also must condone, even if begrudgingly, when Jews are made to feel unwelcome in their countries of exile. Israel cannot be selective about who it chooses as its citizens and do so specifically based on the one marker of Jewishness and deny others the same privilege. It does not matter if it was or is “smart”, if it was or is a “good policy” for Western Europe to have welcomed to its shores large numbers of Muslims who do not feel comfortable sharing their space with Jews. They did it because they, as sovereign nations, had the right to do it and if now they must face the consequences as it comes to their Jewish populations, then that’s just how it is.
The official in charge of combating anti-Semitism in Germany has recently stated that Jews should not wear kippah (yarmulke) in public at any time or place because it is unsafe. This statement is very close to simply telling Jews who are unwilling to cease being Jewish that they should leave Germany because they are unsafe there. This is not an unreasonable statement. Germany is a sovereign nation and it has every right to decide whether to expend the necessary funds or adopt the necessary policies to make Jews feel welcome and safe within its borders. They have clearly decided not to do so, fully understanding that many Jews may leave. If violence against Jews, including those who are not observant, continues to increase and gives rise to a public safety crisis, Germany may actually ask its Jewish residents and citizens to leave the country. Again, that will be its sovereign right to do so, regardless of any moral judgments or feelings of indignation one may have regarding such a move.
Eastern European countries like Hungary, Romania, and Poland had large Jewish populations before the Holocaust that lived in a very uneasy coexistence with the native peoples of the region. Many individual Romanian, Hungarians, and Poles assisted the Nazis in exterminating their Jewish neighbors. A few risked their lives to help Jews survive. Today, these countries are expressing a strong desire for national and ethnic “purity” and certainly do not wish to reconstitute within their borders the presence of any large ethnic minorities, be they Jewish or otherwise. Once again, their wishes must be respected, more so by Israel than by any other country because Israel’s long stated policy goal from its inception to the present day was to establish and grow a Jewish majority within its borders.
In fact, Israel often embarks on policies that are designed to ensure that no part of the country is without Jews. Places like Lower Galilee that have large and almost exclusive Arab populations became the targets of government programs that made it easy and advantageous for Jews to settle there. My own family took advantage of just such an offer in the early 1980’s and I personally fully support them, as should every Zionist.
There is a flip side to being a Zionist, a side that has long remained unspoken, hidden from view, but with recent events will no longer be able to stay that way. If you are a Zionist, you believe that Jews are a nation and that nation states can make sovereign choices about which nationalities and ethnicities they welcome and which they do not. You also believe that Jews are a nation among nations and Israel a free state among free states. Neither Jews nor Israel should want to enjoy a privileged status with regards to any policy, including the choice of residents and citizens. As a Zionist, you must believe that all Jews who live in the diaspora live in exile AT THE PLEASURE OF THEIR HOST NATIONS and that this pleasure is always temporary and may be withdrawn at any time as has already happened throughout history.
As to diaspora Jews who aren’t Zionist and do not much think about Israel or any of these topics, Jews who are simply going about their business in New York, Miami, or LA, well, they had better start thinking about them before it’s too late. America is rapidly moving away from being a safe haven to Jews and is now transiting the neutral zone to open hostility as evidenced by the majority party in the House of Representatives, the Democrats. This trend cannot and will not be reversed and America in its up and coming incarnation will soon send its Jewish population an unequivocal message: if you want to remain Jewish, if you want to remain unharmed, this is not the place for you.