Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally Home, and Never Leaving Again

1012, Jews expelled from Mainz. 1290, Jews expelled from England. 1306, Jews expelled from France. 1483, Jews expelled from Warsaw, Sicily, Lithuania and Portugal. 1492, all Jews expelled from Spain. 1510, Jews expelled from Brandenburg, Germany. 1569, Pope orders all Jews out of the Papal States. 1593, Jews expelled from Italy and Bavaria. 1941, Jewish refugees expelled from the German Reich to Poland. 1956, Jews expelled from Egypt.

Both Church doctrine and Islamic teachings adopted the theology of the Wandering Jew, that the continuous expulsions of Jews was proof of their debased status and rejection by G-d. Jews were regularly forced out of their homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East at the whims of kings, clergymen and rulers. The partial list of expulsions above shows the regularity with which Jews were uprooted and were forced to seek new host countries. This 2000 year period of exile forever came to a close on one historic night in May 1948 when David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the re-establishment of the State of Israel and the promise of immediate citizenship to any Jew who desired.

Never again were Jews to be left without a refuge or a place of safety. As Hitler's dark forces grew, the world began to close its doors to Jewish immigration, leaving the Jews of Europe doomed to the Nazi inferno. "None was too many" was the infamous response of a Canadian official when asked how many Jewish refugees his country would let in. Then suddenly, this homelessness came to an end with the earth-shattering words: "we... hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel". Finally, the exile had ended. When the Jews of the Arab world were forced out of their homes, they found a country waiting for them with open arms. The Jews of Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, etc. were not condemned to wander or to languish in camps but became full citizens in their own country, the Jewish state.

Incredibly, the very same countries that threw Jews out of their homes, prompting many to make their way to Israel and fight for their right to their own state there, are now leading the way in preparing for the expulsion of Jews from there. Leaving the lands of Europe behind, Jews came to Israel and now the European countries are demanding that Jews leave their rightful homes in Judea and Samaria. 70 years after the cry was 'Jews to Palestine!', the grandchildren of those who screamed this now yell 'Jews out of Palestine!'.

To be able to accomplish this, a clever propaganda campaign was unleashed against the Jews of Judea and Samaria. They were not residents returning home after a long absence, but rather colonists usurping a foreign land. They were not residents but "settlers". In a perversion of history, the lands of the Bible, the historical Jewish homeland, were re-branded as Arab land and to be permanently judenrein. Jew living in Monsey, Toronto or London lived in communities but Jews in Bet El, Ariel or Maale Adumin were in "settlements". Jews building homes on the site of the tents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, on the battlegrounds of King David, or the towns visiting by Isaiah and Jeremiah were "illegal", "outposts". Land that was inhabited by Jews as recently as 1948 and from which they were driven by advancing Arab armies was deemed to be part of the fictional country that never existed, "Palestine".

History has shown that there is no place for Jews anywhere besides the land of their forefathers. The anti-semitic nations of the world, descendants of their wicked ancestors who chased Jews from England, Spain and Eastern Europe, now conspire to uproot Jews from Gush Etzion, Modiin Illit and Hebron. The Islamic world, which stretches from Indonesia to Morocco, must find room for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and certainly not the tiny State of Israel. It is high time for the world to understand that the Jews of Israel are not leaving, not now, nor ever.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Proclaiming Zionism

Perusing my local bookstore, I found the shelves replete with anti-Israel books. Besides trashing Israel and its supporters, the basic idea of these books was that the concept of a Jewish state is illegitimate and that Zionism has no place in the modern world. Some even had the chutzpah to suggest that a Jewish state is against Jewish values!

Sadly, it is becoming increasingly commonplace among pseudo-intellectuals and supposedly liberal thinkers to question to right of the State of Israel to exist. Consider the recent conference at Toronto's York University, "Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace", which, packed with anti-Israel speakers, based itself on the premise that Israel must be dismantled as a Jewish state and reconstituted as a bi-national one. In university campuses across the United States, Israel's Jewish character is constantly debated, condemned and defamed, returning us to the infamous 'Zionism = Racism' UN resolution.

Israel is the only country that 61 years after its founding, has its rights right to exist questioned. Similarly, Jews are the only people whose right to statehood and sovereignty is a matter for debate. The incredible irony is that of all the countries in the Western world, Israel is the only one that has the same people living in the same territory, speaking the same language, practicing the same faith, as it did 3000 years ago. No other country can boast anything similar. Long before Spain was Spanish and while Rome was still a collection of villages along the Tiber, Israel was Jewish and Jerusalem its capital and spiritual center. Jewish statehood and self-rule in the Land of Israel is completely natural, something that cannot be said about the other countries in the region. The modern map of the Middle-East was carved up by British and French imperialists after WWI, creating artificial countries such as Jordan (originally 'Transjordan'), Saudi Arabia, or Iraq. No Jordanian people appears in the annals of human history, having been invented when the British first carved up the Land of Israel in 1921. Iraq is simply the result of the British combining three distinct Ottoman provinces and forcing three separate ethnic and religious groups into an unwanted union.

Rather than combatting this dangerous historical revisionism, the Israeli government pursues policies that encourage, validate and exacerbate these beliefs. By dismantling outposts and evicting Jewish families from their hilltop homes in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli government sends the message that Jews are merely interlopers, with no real reason to be in Israel. As a result of Arab and Iranian propaganda, reinforced by President Obama's naivete, millions of Arabs and Muslims believe Israel to simply be the result of European guilt over the Holocaust and that it was simply luck that had the Jews set up a state in Israel rather than Uganda of Upstate New York. The Israeli government is unfortunately too blind to see that the key to peace is more, not less, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and a recommitment to a Jewish presence there. This would force the Arab rejection of Jewish historical rights and peoplehood, which is the heart of the conflict, to end.

Our right to Maoz Esther and Alon Shvut is the exact same as our right to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. It is time for Israel's leaders to realize that in the eyes of even the "moderate" Arabs, both are illegitimate and that the only proper place for Israel in the Middle-East is in the sea. To combat the anti-Zionist zeitgeist sweeping the United States and Europe, Israel must unequivocally assert that the Land of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, by right of history, politics, conquest and divine bequeathal. Israel has no need to be ashamed of its Jewish characters. In a world of 22 Arab states, 57 Islamic states and several that define themselves as "Islamic republics", it is the height of hypocrisy to claim that a Jewish state is somehow racist. The charges of racism and apartheid have no grounding in fact but are a tool of Leftist and Islamic propaganda to defame and demonize Israel.

Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. There is no reason for its existence except as the homeland of the Jewish people. Zionism is the natural expression of two thousand years of Jewish longing to return home, to rebuild their country from which they were forcibly removed by Roman centurions and legionnaires. Israel has no need to apologize for this but must stand firm and proud at its incredible accomplishments. The point of Zionism was never really to end anti-Semitism but to be able to tell anti-Semites to bugger off. Israel must tune out the voices of hate and condemnation that echo from the farce that is the UN, from the despots and tyrants of the Islamic and Third-Worlds, from the Loony Left and Extreme Right. The Jewish people have come home, and nothing will change that.