This week’s saga surrounding the funding of manufacturing Iron Dome interceptors, which protect Israeli citizens from Hamas rockets, should come as no surprise. Much of the press tried to portray the attempt to withhold the funding as an initiative of a few left-wing liberals within the Democratic Party, and nothing more. But it is much more than that since the real force behind the push toward an anti-Israel policy is the majority of American Jewry, who see Israel as a hindrance to their efforts to dissolve beyond recognition into American society.
Fewer and fewer strings connect the State of Israel with Diaspora Jews. Jews outside of Israel wish to assimilate in the general population, and Israel’s deteriorating international status often causes them to “take the heat” for Israel’s perceived crimes. In many ways, they feel they have become unwitting ambassadors of the Jewish state, when they want nothing to do with the Jewish state or with Judaism. No wonder they resent Israel and want to prove their alienation from the pariah state.
In fact, if anything still keeps them Jewish, it is the one cause that has kept Jews together for two millennia: Jew-hatred. In 2005, when I spoke at Hillel San Francisco and warned Jews about rising antisemitism, they jeered at me. They thought I was delusional. In November 2014, when I spoke about rising antisemitism in the US at the Inaugural IAC Conference in D.C., they still did not believe me, though they weren’t as arrogant and complacent as before. Today, they are stripping their doorposts of mezuzahs to avoid being recognized as Jewish homes. Today, they are no longer confident that the Holocaust will never return. And to secure their future, they want to get rid of the State of Israel, the last reminder of their Jewishness, as they see it.
But antisemitism did not start when the State of Israel was established. Israel was established precisely because of antisemitism and in order to abolish it. While it hasn’t, abolishing the State of Israel will not abolish antisemitism; our history of 3,500 years since Egypt proves it.
If we want to end antisemitism, we need to adopt a completely novel approach. Instead of hiding our identity and trying to blend into the environment like hunted animals seeking to camouflage themselves, we should assert our Jewish identity and live up to our legacy.
Our nation is unique, and so is its role in the world. The Jewish nation contains within it representatives from every nation that existed in antiquity around Babylon, Egypt, and countless other nations from the Near and Middle East. In those days, they gathered around a unique individual who introduced a novel idea to the world: compassion and care for others. His name was Abraham, and he is the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The people who came to him did not know or like each other. They united only because they agreed with their teacher’s idea that the right way to live is with love for one another rather than hate. Hate cannot be suppressed or eliminated; it is human nature. However, we can rise above it by increasing the importance of loving others and mutual responsibility. This is what Abraham taught his students; this is what he bequeathed to his children; and this is what they taught their own children.
In doing so, Abraham and his descendants created a nation whose motto was “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and whose duty was to pass their method of uniting above division to the world. In the words of the Torah, the duty of the Jews, once they achieved nationhood, was to be “a light unto nations.”
Since then, when Jews were united, they thrived and were welcome by all. When they squabbled among themselves and hated one another, they became the world’s pariahs, who sent merciless oppressors to penalize them.
But the Jews, instead of owning up to their errors, condemned the nations for their cruelty and mourned the loss of their freedom and sovereignty. Instead of realizing that all they had to do was reestablish their unity, they tried to hide and become invisible among the nations, and chastised any Jew who championed unity.
To this day, we do not understand that our fate is in our hands. A billion dollars more or less will not create a protective dome above us. If we want lasting and effective protection, we will find it only in our unity. It will not shelter us from missiles; it will open the hearts of the nations toward us with love.
If we love each other, the world will love us. If we hate each other, the world will hate us, too.
For more on this topic, see my book 𝘓𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘉𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘙𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴: 𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘶𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰𝘥𝘢𝘺’𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘳
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon May 19, 2021 REUTERS/ Ammar Awad/File Photo