Israel should not be shocked by anti-Semites in White House
A world view which supports white supremacy matches our government’s interests. If Trump’s people are more disgusted by Arabs than they are by Jews, we have struck quite a good deal.
Israel does not appear shocked by the appointment of racist anti-Semites to senior positions in US President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. There is no wonder there. First of all, it is not in our power to change it. Our complete dependence on the United States forces us to hold our tongue and restrain ourselves.
Second, a world view which supports white supremacy matches our government’s interests. If Trump’s people are more disgusted by Arabs than they are by Jews (the liberals, the Wall Street people, journalists from the East Coast, lovers of black people, Hillary Clinton’s friends), we have struck quite a good deal. Trump and his friends see Israel as a forefront against the barbarians, and they are not exactly very observant.
To do the Netanyahu government justice, let me qualify my statement by saying that all forms of Zionism hold the perception that a certain extent of anti-Semitism benefits the Zionist enterprise. To put it more sharply, anti-Semitism is the generator and ally of Zionism. Masses of Jews leave their place of residence only when their economic situation and physical safety are undermined. Masses of Jews are shoved to this country rather than being attracted to it. The yearning for the land of Zion and Jerusalem is not strong enough to drive millions of Jews to the country they love and make them hold on to its clods.
As the Jews in Israel long for immigrants with a certain affiliation to their people, and as Zionism—like any other ideology—needs constant justification, we have a secret hope in our hearts that a moderate anti-Semitic wave, along with a deterioration in the economic situation in their countries of residence, will make Diaspora Jews realize that they belong with us.
Is proof even necessary? No one will protest the assertion that the rise in anti-Semitism in France gave us some satisfaction, in the sense of “we warned you, didn’t we?” Late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not hesitate to make such a declaration, angering the French government and many Jews who see themselves as unconditional French citizens. Thousands of Jews from France who see Israel as a lifeboat, as an insurance policy, purchased apartments here and raised real estate prices in the coastal cities. That’s good. It proves Zionism was right.
Furthermore, no one can deny that the economic crisis in the Soviet empire, coupled with the nesting anti-Semitism there, were the cause of the immigration to Israel of about 1 million Jews and their non-Jewish relatives, most of whom have no affiliation to Jewish culture. Neither can anyone contradict the embarrassing fact that Israel worked to lock the gates to the US, the opening of which may have directed many of these Jews and their relatives there, and perhaps even most of them.
It was not the Jewish immigrants’ welfare that we saw before our eyes, but the state’s reinforcement. While the act of blocking and directing the Jews to Israel is ethically dubious, it was justified by the Zionist ideology which asserts that a normalization of the Jewish situation—in other words, concentrating the Jewish people in its own territory—is the only thing that will save us from another Holocaust and, according to some people, will even speed up the Messiah’s arrival.
The Jews’ comfortable situation in America raises doubts as to whether it was worthwhile to gamble on the establishment of a Jewish state. The normalization did not provide us, the Israelis, with a normal existence and did not lessen the anti-Semitism which is now drawing some of its arguments from the way we are managing the conflict with the Palestinians. There are Israelis whose parents or grandparents immigrated to Israel out a belief that this is where the agonizing historical journey will end, and now their offspring are learning that the promise has not been fulfilled.
In order to remove these malignant doubts, it would be good to have some anti-Semitism in America. Not serious anti-Semitism, not pogroms, not persecutions that will empty America from its Jews, as we need them there, but just a taste of this pungent stuff, so that we can restore our faith in Zionism.