Jews, ‘Israelis’ and the Israel Lobby

Andrew Joyce, Ph.D.


News from England conveys that Andrew Bridgen, a Member of Parliament for the so-called Conservative Party, has troubled those of the Hebrew persuasion by daring to mention that there is a link between the Jewish people and the State of Israel. During an exchange in the House of Commons on proposals to recognize a State of Palestine, Bridgen is alleged to have said:

Does my hon. Friend agree that, given that the political system of the world’s superpower and our great ally the United States is very susceptible to well-funded powerful lobbying groups and the power of the Jewish lobby in America, it falls to this country and to this House to be the good but critical friend that Israel needs, and this motion tonight just might lift that logjam on this very troubled area?

A report at Breitbart.com is illustrative of irrational and pathological responses to any acknowledgement that Jewish lobbying groups (of which the Israel Lobby is only one) are well-funded and highly influential. Despite the measured tone of Bridgen’s comments, Breitbart’s journalist described the statement as a “scathing, anti-Semitic attack on pro-Israel groups in the United States. … Mr Bridgen’s comments give fuel to the anti-Israel lobby in the UK, and echo statements made by a number of anti-Semites. According to the European Monitoring Centre’s definition on Anti-Semitism, equating the actions of the State of Israel with Jewish people as a race is classed as anti-Semitism.”

Bridgen’s sin, we can deduce, is deemed to be two-fold. The first element was that he dared to state that a Jewish lobby existed and that the government of the United States is “very susceptible” to its influence. Although this is a clear and demonstrable fact, it is off-limits for public discussion. His second sin was to dare to suggest that Britain should be a “critical” friend, and that Israel “needs” friends who will carefully point out when it has committed wrongs or errors — another perfectly reasonable statement, that is, unless you are Jewish in which case anyone who criticizes you or blames you for anything is an “anti-Semite.”

Israel’s actions are clearly blameworthy, and have cost it support. The Guardian reported that in the same debate, Sir Richard Ottaway, the Conservative chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, said the Netanyahu government’s recent appropriation of land in the Etzion Bloc area of the West Bank had cost Israel his support. He said he had long been a supporter of Israel but “I realize now Israel has slowly been drifting away from world public opinion. The annexation of the 950 acres of the West Bank just a few months ago has outraged me more than anything else in my political life. It has made me look a fool and that is something I deeply resent.” A significant problem is that there are many more fools, with a variety of motives, who will persist in their support for Israel.

The comments made by British politicians and the response to them, reminded me strongly of some of the predictions made by Hilaire Belloc in The Jews, recently reviewed here at TOO. With the creation of a Jewish state not yet a reality in his lifetime Belloc was left to ponder solely theoretical scenarios, but his predictions were astonishingly accurate. Crucially, he asked “whether the Zionist experiment will tend to increase or to relax the strain created by the presence of the Jew in the midst of the non-Jewish world” (p.231). It’s obvious that the strain has not been relaxed. Some early Zionist thinkers acknowledged that Jews create and contribute to friction between themselves and their host populations. Indeed, Herzl and his followers insisted that it is the presence of Jews in European societies that caused anti-Semitism. The early Zionists called for the exit of Jews from host populations in order to normalize their abnormal situation, in the hope that it would transform them into a nation like other nations. Through the creation of a Jewish state and, theoretically, a Jewish population flow to that state, the pressure and friction between Jews and Europeans especially would be reduced. But Zionism, as a means of reducing anti-Semitism, is a project which has failed and will always fail.

The roots of this failure lie mainly in the incomplete nature of the population flow. Zionism, and the creation of the State of Israel, did not usher in the end of the Diaspora and its attending frictions. Jews continue to live among Europeans, and those of European descent, in large numbers. These Jews continue to act with a high level of ethnocentrism and to occupy many of the positions of power, influence, and wealth that have created friction with host populations in the past.

Belloc, of course, predicted just such a scenario. He foresaw that the majority of Jews would continue to live outside a ‘Jewish’ state because they live “and desire to live the semi-nomadic life, the international life, which has becomes theirs by every tradition, and which one might now almost call instinctive to them” (p. 233). According to an article in Haaretz, Israel has struggled for decades to keep ‘The Wandering Jew’ within its borders. Hebrew University Prof. Sergio Della Pergola, one of Israel’s leading demographers, says that between 1986 and 2008, there were about 10,000 more emigrants than returnees a year, and between 1983 and 1995, the margin was approximately 15,000 a year. The trend has slowed recently, but Israel still sends more Jews out into the world than it receives. This is hardly the fulfilment of Herzl’s plan for the amelioration of anti-Semitism. It is, however, the fulfilment of Belloc’s prophecy that a Jewish state would be “no more than a fixed rallying point, an established but small territorial nationhood” (p. 234).

The ADL, and organizations like it, would like us this think that these Jewish emigrants are ‘Israelis’ and somehow something altogether different from the ‘American of Jewish faith’ or some such verbal concoction. These organizations work very hard to propagate the myth that there is no relationship between Israel and the somehow fundamentally different Jewish Diaspora.

But there clearly is, and there is no real distinction between a Jew who lives in New York and one who lives in Tel Aviv. There is no ‘Israeli people.’ A marriage between the two wouldn’t raise a single eyebrow in Orthodox Jewry. Empty propaganda arguing otherwise merely reminds one of the pains taken by “assimilated” Western European Jews, between 1880 and 1910, to argue that they were fundamentally different from the Ostjuden who swept across the globe on a wave of atrocity fairy tales about the Tsar and his subjects. And all the while a tangled web of philanthropy and political support bound the two populations tightly together.

Jews, Israel, and ‘Israelis’ are equally bound together. The Jewish emigrants from Israel interact with and reinforce the Jewishness of those in the Diaspora. Most estimates place the number of ‘Israelis’ in the United States at over half a million, with some estimates going as high as one million. Marianne Sanua, of the Jewish Studies Program at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, discovered that the ‘Israelis’ “belong to synagogues and Jewish community centers, and 75 percent are married to other Jews,” a much higher rate than for American Jews. “By all other criteria, the expats are more “Jewish” than native-born Jews, including number of visits to Israel, sending their kids to Jewish schools, going to Jewish museums, attending Jewish cultural events and observing Jewish rituals. “In many ways, when so many American Jews are being lost to assimilation and intermarriage, Israeli-Americans are seen as having a vital role to play in maintaining American-Jewish communal life,” Sanua concluded.

These Jews epitomize the reciprocal relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, because Israel and Diaspora Jewry are mutually reinforcing entities. Jewish arrivals from Israel help reinforce Jewish identity and demographics in the Diaspora. Their significantly lower rate of intermarriage also ensures the continuance of a ‘purer’ gene pool at that all-important strongly identified core of Diaspora Jewish populations. In turn, Diaspora Jewry supports Israel by fighting ceaselessly to disrupt criticism of its actions, and to ensure that it receives the maximum possible unconditional support from the host government. There will always be dissent, and not all Jews support Israeli actions, but the core of organized Jewry and the core of Israeli Jewry will always be in sync.

Despite the obvious nature of this relationship, discussing it remains strictly taboo in public conversation. Any suggestion that ‘Israeli’ actions implicate Jews is met with fierce condemnation. For example, the European Monitoring Centre’s definition of anti-Semitism includes equating the actions of the State of Israel with Jewish people as a race. Nowhere is it mentioned that, for example, that Britain’s Jewish Policy Research organization conducted a survey showing that “the vast majority of respondents exhibit strong personal support for, and affinity with, Israel: 95% have visited the country, 90% see it as ‘the ancestral homeland’ of the Jewish people, and 86% feel that Jews have a special responsibility for its survival.” For 82% of surveyed Jews, Israel played a ‘central’ or ‘important’ role in their Jewish identities, 72% described themselves as Zionists, 87% said that although they lived in Britain, they were part of a larger Jewish Diaspora, 76% said that Israel was relevant to their day-to-day lives in Britain.”

Jews are ‘Israelis, and ‘Israelis’ are Jews. Just as a Jew who is born and raised in New York remains a Jew, and a Jew born and raised in Moscow remains a Jew — so a Jew born and raised in Tel Aviv remains a Jew. Israel exists to serve Jewish interests, and its actions clearly and justifiably inflame public opinion against Jews — wherever they may reside.

This was even acknowledged during the above-mentioned parliamentary debate by the anti-Israel (and ethnically Jewish) M.P. Gerald Kaufman. Kaufman remarked: “I call on right hon. and hon. members on both sides of the House to give the Palestinians their rights and show the Israelis that they cannot suppress another people all the time. It is not Jewish for the Israelis to do that. They are harming the image of Judaism, and terrible outbreaks of anti-Semitism are taking place. I want to see an end to anti-Semitism, and I want to see a Palestinian state.”

Now, I might quibble with Kaufman on his claim that Israeli actions are “not Jewish,” but he is fundamentally correct in asserting that Jewish actions in Israel have provoked negative responses to Jews more generally.

But Kaufman has himself been castigated because to state that the actions of Israel contribute to anti-Semitism is to utter another forbidden truth. After all, our masters would like us to believe that anti-Semitism is in no way, shape, or form connected to Jewish behavior. Thus, the countless demonstrations outside Israeli embassies in July had nothing to do with Jewish actions in Gaza, but were rather just more expressions of the irrational hatred of the barbaric goyim.

Kaufman, being Jewish, probably won’t face the fate of Bruce Shipman, who was effectively forced from his post at Yale for making much the same point. Jews will, however, continue to strictly police criticism of Israel by blurring and contorting every debate on Israeli actions with talk of ‘anti-Semitism.’ In fact, Jews in both Israel and inside Europe have been lobbying the EU to class anti-Israel demonstrations as inherently ‘anti-Semitic,’ and therefore to be subject to a ban. The complete detachment from reality in such thinking is starkly illustrated by the comments of Israeli Jewish Congress president Vladimir Sloutsker, who informed an audience at a special session of the Knesset that “if left unchecked, such behavior could lead to another European genocide.” This ties in quite well with Kevin MacDonald’s assertion last month that “the organized Jewish community presents itself as the ultimate victim at the same time that Israel’s brutality toward the Palestinians is there for everyone to see.”

None of this would have surprised Hilaire Belloc, who based his predictions not on the early plans of the Zionists, or the pipe dreams of Liberals who argued that Jews would eventually be assimilated beyond recognition, but rather on the patterns of Jewish behavior over a long stretch of historical time. Belloc accurately predicted that Diaspora Jewry would twist and turn when faced with the questioning of its political character, and cling to insist that Jews are “to be regarded as the full national in the nation in which they happen to be for a time” (p. 234). In an astonishingly clear prediction of modern Jewry’s relationship with Israel, Belloc argues that “He shall in every respect be regarded, by a legal fiction, as identical with the community in which he happens to be settled for the moment, but at the same time he is to have some special relation with the Jewish State (Ibid.).

Zionism has failed to ameliorate friction because it merely opened up another front in the conflict between Jewry and the nations. The conflict among the Europeans persists because Jews, and therefore Jewish behavior, persists among the Europeans. The conflict now also takes place in a different theatre, in the Middle East, because Jews, and therefore Jewish behavior, exists in that place also. Jews will continue to provoke criticism and aggression until they either depart from, or are forced from, the location of their activities, or until they abandon the fiction that they are blameless and alter their behavior. History, as always, indicates the likely outcome.

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