European and American ideas can be dangerous

In a YNet op-ed, Hagai Segal writes,

Our Declaration of Independence includes 650 words. The word “Jewish,” in its different forms, appears 20 times, while the word “democracy” doesn’t even appear once.

The people who drafted the declaration and signed it had the highest regard for democratic values, but first and foremost they wanted to stress its Jewish side. Perhaps they said to themselves that there are many democracies in the world, but only one Jewish country. It’s important to protect it.

These days it’s even more important. From the outside and from within attempts are being made to undermine the Jewish character of the Jewish state. The dark forces rely on the fatigue of the Zionist material in order to internationalize Israel and declare it a state of all its citizens. They are taking advantage of the fact that over the years the fashion here has changed, and democracy has been emphasized at the expense of Judaism.

The Israeli Left takes its cues from Western Europe and the US. From Europe it gets the ideas of multiculturalism, postnationalism, hedonism and hatred of religion. Together these are a recipe for a low native birthrate and a rapidly increasing, non-assimilating Muslim population. Europe is rapidly moving toward a point of no return, in which, paradoxically, the very features of its Enlightenment culture that support openness and egalitarianism will lead to its replacement by a distinctly non-democratic, authoritarian Islamic one.

America is another source of ideas, in this case the absolute maximum of freedom of expression. Where else would the outrageous Westboro Baptist Church be tolerated? American freedom of expression is remarkable in the world, and that may be in part because the US is a large nation both physically and by population, with friendly neighbors, separated by oceans from its enemies. It is also composed of diverse groups that more or less buy into the general narrative of the nation. That doesn’t mean that nothing can bring it down, but it can absorb a great deal of internal and external pressure without breaking.

Israel, on the other hand, is small and surrounded by enemies. One out of every five Israelis is an Arab, the same ethnicity of most of its enemies, who — while he may be loyal to the state — almost certainly believes in a historical narrative in which the state is not only illegitimate, but his oppressor, responsible for the dispossession of his relatives in the great ‘disaster’ of 1948. There are also Jewish Israelis who believe, for religious reasons, that Jewish sovereignty is an abomination.

There are also great external pressures opposed to emphasizing the Jewishness of the state. To a large extent they come from Europe, which is jealous of Israel’s cultural and economic vitality, angered that is succeeding on a path so divergent from Europe’s, and suffused with guilt about the recent genocide of its own Jewish population. Europe is acting on its beliefs, both by explicit pro-Arab diplomacy, and by covertly expending millions of Euros to support NGOs in Israel that promote its anti-nationalist (and even anti-state) line.

Another force is the American Jewish Left, as represented by the New Israel Fund (NIF) and to some extent by the Union for Reform Judaism. The NIF is particularly dangerous, supporting Israeli Arab groups that would like to redefine the state as binational.

A state that requires sacrifice from its people to survive, will only get it if there is a compelling ideological motivation driving its citizens to make the requisite sacrifices. This is how Israel has survived until now. But there is no compelling ideology for maintaining a “state of its citizens” next door to Hizballah, Hamas, the Muslim Brothers and whatever vicious regime will rule Syria.

Jews yearned for Jerusalem for 2000 years, and Zionists have struggled for more than 100 — and are continuing to struggle — to restore and now preserve Jewish sovereignty in Land of Israel, which I believe has become a necessary condition for the survival of the Jews as a people. I can’t see today’s Judaism surviving another diaspora. A great deal is at stake here.

The Europeans and anti-Zionist leftists who are working to de-Zionize Israel know exactly what they want. Perhaps liberal American Jews only think they know, but it doesn’t matter.

We mustn’t allow the blood and struggle that has been expended by the Jewish people to be thrown away.

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5 Responses to “European and American ideas can be dangerous”

  1. NormanF says:

    Post-Zionism has become trendy in Israel.

    That’s why its been surprisingly difficult for Israelis to formulate as a Basic Law, the idea the Jewish State is the core culture of Israel and Jewish sovereignty is among its national values.

    If the Israeli Left succeeds in thwarting the move to give constitutional expression to this basic idea of Zionism, Israel will gradually dissolve like a castle of sand.

    And it will not be the Arabs who will have laid waste to Israel; the Jews will have done it to themselves. Not for nothing did the Prophet Isaiah warn the Jewish people, “your destroyers will come from within your midst.”

    That’s why in the light of all of the above, its more important than ever to secure Israel’s future as the Jewish State. The Jews have only one country and they cannot expect other nations to come to their rescue and without Jewish sovereignty, the future of the Jewish people in our world is a bleak one.

    Only with a strong Israel can Jewish survival be assured.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    Through great parts of the world Israel is understood to be, and hated for being a Jewish state. I believe most Israelis feel Israel to be a Jewish state, and do not need formal declarations to know this, and act in accordance with this.
    Still the attempt to undermine the Jewishness of Israel, and the negative forces pointed out here suggest that making a new formal declaration might well be the right thing to do now.
    I would also hope however that it would be accompanied by an effort to reverse the trend in which Jews have been becoming a smaller majority in Israel.i.e. increased Aliyah and increased Jewish birthrate, especially among national religious and secular Jews.

  3. Dafna Yee says:

    I just wrote a response to an article that was about how Israel doesn’t need Zionism any more. I was, and am, horrified at the very idea of Israel being a bi-national state. Israel stripped of its Jewishness would not be a country where I would choose to live. I probably wouldn’t have a choice because a bi-national state would quickly be “eaten up” by the Arab countries. I hope that Israel annexes Judea, Samaria and all of Jerusalem and does not enfranchise all of the Arabs automatically, as Naftali Bennett proposed, but only those Arabs that want to be Israelis. (I know such an outcome is very unlikely, but I still hope for it.)

  4. Lorenzo says:

    American freedom of expression stopped short when it came to Paula Deen.

  5. Vic Rosenthal says:

    Lorenzo: What happened to Deen is the tip of a huge iceberg. Our culture has changed radically in the last 30 years or so. While the first amendment is still very operative re the behavior of governmental entities, the taboos of political correctness have expanded to a degree that’s beyond understanding for older Americans (like me). Any expression that could be construed as ‘racist’ — and that includes any statement that any characteristic, good or bad, could be correlated with ‘race’, ethnicity, or numerous other group designations, immediately places the speaker outside polite society.

    So we get the TSA’s randomly singling out 80-year old grandmothers to avoid accusations of ‘profiling’, etc.

    It’s reminiscent of Victorian England, when ‘leg’ became a vulgar word and the legs of furniture had to have little skirts for modesty. Insane.

    My explanation is that when people started actually thinking about the degree of cruelty that characterized our society during the period of slavery, and the somewhat less awful but still shocking Jim Crow period, they were overwhelmed by guilt. So this is how they try to ‘clean themselves’ of it.