Diaspora Jews are not in ‘exile,’ they are at home

Middle East
on 80 Comments

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris, which included an assault on a kosher grocery store, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to France and urged French Jews to flee their country and emigrate—-make “aliyah”—to Israel.

He declared: “I wish to tell all French and European Jews—Israel is your home.” He said that he would convene a special committee to promote emigration from France and other European countries.

Yair Lapid, Netanyahu’s former finance minister, said: “European Jewry must understand that there is just one place for Jews, and that is the state of Israel.” This, of course, is what Zionism believes, that Israel is the “homeland” of all Jews and that those Jews living in France, England, the United States and elsewhere are really in “exile.”

This, of course, is an ideological construct which has no relationship to reality. The overwhelming majority of American Jews, for example, have always believed that Judaism is a religion of universal values, not a nationality, and that rather than being in “exile” in America, they are fully at home. This view has been expressed repeatedly in our history. In 1841, at the dedication ceremony of Temple Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina, Rabbi Gustav Poznanski declared: “This country is our Palestine, this city our Jerusalem, this house of God our temple.”

There is widespread dismay in France at the Israeli notion that French Jews are not really French and their real “home” is Israel. The horrors of terrorism which have been inflicted upon Paris and elsewhere are being confronted by the governments involved. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, said that far better than emigration to Israel would be the preservation and protection of Jewish life in the many countries Jews call home. He regretted that “after every anti-Semitic act in Europe, the Israeli government issues the same statement about the importance of aliyah rather than employ every diplomatic and international means at its disposal to strengthen the safety of Jewish life in Europe.” He said: “The Israeli government must stop this Pavlovian response every time there is an attack against Jews in Europe.”

Yonathan Arli, Vice President of CRIF, an umbrella group of Jewish institutions in France, says that he believes Jews should remain in France, which is their home. “We have had a Jewish community living here for more than a thousand years,” he said. “We went through bombing attacks, the Holocaust, acts of terrorism, and we are not about to leave now. We just want to be safe.”

Writing from Paris in The Forward, Laurent-David Samama notes that while some French Jews might be considering emigration, “others—including young Jews like me—feel that making aliyah is a too-easy escape; it’s simply not the answer. Those of us who who remain in Paris, Marseille or Lyon are determined not to let the terrorists win. Throughout French history, Jews have experienced many periods of crisis. We’ve always overcome them, and we will overcome them again. Now more than ever…there is another communal faction that believes France needs us to stay here, to play the role of social whistleblower.”

Samadar Bar-Akiva, executive director of JCC Global, a network of Jewish community centers, declared: “Jews in France clearly feel that last week’s events were a turning point in their lives. Yet the calls for French Jews to pack their bags and make aliyah are disturbing and self-serving…It will be more constructive to help French Jewry continue the educational and social work they are already doing.”

Uri Avnery, the leader of Israel’s peace movement, Gush Shalom, noted that, “The blood of the four Jews murdered in the kosher supermarket was not yet dry when Israeli leaders called upon the Jews of France to pack up and come to Israel. Israel, as everybody knows, is the safest place on earth. This was an almost automatic Zionist gut reaction..The basic belief of Zionism is that Jews cannot live anywhere except in the Jewish state, because the victory of anti-Semitism is inevitable everywhere. Let the Jews of America rejoice in their freedom and prosperity—sooner or later they will come to an end. They are doomed like Jews everywhere outside of Israel. The new outrage in Paris confirms this basic belief. There was very little real commiseration in Israel. Rather a secret sense of triumph. The gut reaction of ordinary Israelis is: ‘We told you so!’ and “Come quickly, before it’s too late.'”

Mona Lisa with rocket

Mona Lisa with rocket

Israel is doing its best to make Jews feel unsafe in their native countries. In mid-January, the Israeli embassy in Dublin posted an image on Facebook showing the Mona Lisa wearing a hijab and carrying a large rocket. The line underneath read, “Israel is the last frontier of the free world.” In a similar vein, the Arab Affairs correspondent of Israel’s Channel 10 broadcast a fear-mongering “investigation” from London supposedly proving that the city was overrun with Islamic extremists.

Writing in Mondoweiss, Jonathan Cook points to the similar worldview of Zionists and traditional anti-Semites: “Israeli politicians of both right and left have parroted his (Netanyahu’s) message that European Jews know ‘in their hearts that they have only one country.’ The logical corollary is that Jews cannot be loyal to other states they live in, such as France…In this regard, Netanyahu and the far-right share much common ground. He wants a Europe free of Jews..The far-right wants the same…One Israeli commentator noted pointedly that Israeli politicians like Netanyahu ‘were helping to finish the job started by the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators: making France Judenrein.”

Sadly, the Israeli government has never recognized that Jewish citizens of France, the United States. the United Kingdom and other countries are not “Israelis in exile.” Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly called upon American Jews to make a “mass aliyah” to Israel. No other foreign government argues that millions of Americans, because of their religion, are in “exile” in the United Stated and that their real “homeland” is that foreign country.

Such claims distort the meaning of Judaism almost completely. In 1929, Orthodox Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamarat wrote that the very notion of a sovereign Jewish state as a spiritual center was “a contradiction to Judaism’s ultimate purpose.” He wrote: “Judaism at root is not some religious concentration which can be localized in a single territory. Neither is Judaism a ‘nationality’ in the sense of modern nationalism…No, Judaism is Torah, ethics and exaltation of spirit…It cannot be reduced to the confines of any particular territory. For as Scripture said of Torah, ‘Its measure is greater than the earth.'”

Israel should be content to be the “homeland” of its own citizens, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, and stop attempting to speak in the name of millions of men and women who are citizens of other countries. No other country does this. And its call for French Jews to abandon their country at a time of crisis is unseemly in the extreme. Claude Lanzmann, the widely respected French Jewish filmmaker, best known for his Holocaust documentary film “Shoah,” said, quite wisely, that following Benjamin Netanyahu’s advice would have only one result, giving Hitler, who did his best to rid France and all of Europe of Jews, “a posthumous victory.”

About Allan C. Brownfeld

Allan C. Brownfeld is a nationally syndicated columnist and serves as Associate Editor of THE LINCOLN REVIEW and editor of ISSUES. The author of five books, he has served on the staff of the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President.

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80 Responses

  1. just
    January 22, 2015, 11:14 am

    Well done!

    I think that it must be said that Israel’s extremely negative and criminal actions (with impunity), the ongoing Occupation of the indigenous Palestinians, and the frequent massacres/demolitions in Gaza have not helped maintain the safety/security of Jews worldwide, including in Israel.

    Nobody should ever feel the need to barricade themselves on stolen property in order to feel safe or at home.

    • Kris
      January 22, 2015, 12:19 pm

      “Nobody should ever feel the need to barricade themselves on stolen property in order to feel safe or at home.”

      Excellent!

    • bintbiba
      January 22, 2015, 1:44 pm

      ‘just’ ….I loved your “heave-ho”! comment in the previous article!

      “Nobody should ever feel the need to barricade themselves on stolen property in order to feel safe or at home.”

      ‘Impeccable’…as they say in la douce France.

      • seafoid
        January 23, 2015, 12:53 pm

        ““Nobody should ever feel the need to barricade themselves on stolen property in order to feel safe or at home.” –

        Sah kalamik wa sah kalam ummik

        Avigail Arbabanel nailed the problem with the shaab al yehudi al Israeli last year

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/12/israel-always-crazy

        “Trauma also creates something that in family therapy we call ‘destructive entitlement’. It means believing that our own suffering justifies inflicting suffering on others. This has been identified as a key mechanism in what we call in family therapy, ‘intergenerational transmission of trauma’. It obviously applies in groups and societies in general. Jewish Israeli parents do not see their children as being brainwashed. Only those of us on the outside see it that way. What they see is that their children are taught what they think is the correct way to look at the world and their place in it. What they failed to see is that their worldview is not a legitimate one, but rather the sad and unwell worldview generated by trauma. If you understand any cult, you understand Israeli society. Yes, when people have trauma war is more attractive because they think it is what is going to preserve them.

        They might crave peace but it is no more than an unattainable fantasy to them and a dangerous one at that. The most important principle in life to someone with trauma is survival, and at all cost. Paradoxically of course, trauma will often lead people to a path of self-destruct but this is only another expression of the self-contradictory nature of a psychology driven by trauma. Israel is entirely motivated by the idea of the survival of the Jewish people at all cost. Since trauma also causes a serious impairment in empathy (it is now observed in brain scans!), it is possible to inflict terrible harm on others in order to survive. The limbic (mammal) logic behind it is while I am at risk for my life, empathy and compassion are a luxury I can’t afford. Of course our prefrontal cortex tells us otherwise, but guess what? Trauma causes us to have limited access to the higher functions of the PFC, which is why compassion, empathy, self-awareness etc, are impaired. It’s lethal cocktail. It’s human (not specifically Jewish) and it is extremely dangerous when entire societies (with a lot of fire power and a well organised state bureaucracy) are based on this kind of psychology as I think Israel is, the US and for example, Germany during and between the two World Wars”…

        no need to say anything else.

        Israel is a very sick society. The only sane people in it are the 48 Palestinians.

    • Pixel
      January 23, 2015, 4:26 am

      + 1
      + 1

      • JWalters
        January 23, 2015, 7:20 pm

        This article presents an EXTREMELY important perspective on the issue of a “Jewish state”, it seems to me, and deserves widespread recognition and discussion. And the transgenerational trauma analysis examines an equally important factor that deserves equal recognition and discussion. Thank you Mondoweiss for publishing this piece.

  2. MRW
    January 22, 2015, 11:30 am

    Rabbi David Rosen: Don’t Blame Muslims For The Paris Terror Attacks

    Rabbi David Rosen schools Huffington Post at Davos.

  3. Walid
    January 22, 2015, 11:50 am

    This is what French Jews are being asked to go home to: Israel condemns a 14-year girl 2 months in an adult jail for having thrown stones.

    From Gulf News:

    14-year-old girl sentenced to Israeli prison

    Human rights groups accuse the Israeli regime of arresting 2,400 children per year

    By: Nasouh Nazzal, CorrespondentPublished: 17:25 January 22, 2015Gulf News

    Ramallah: A 14-year-old Palestinian girl from the village of Bateen near Ramallah was sentenced to two months in Israeli prison after she was convicted on charges of hurling stones at Israeli occupation forces.

    Malak Ali Al Khatib was arrested by Israeli regime forces in front of her village’s school on December 31, 2014.

    The Israeli regime’s policy of arresting minors violates all international laws and conventions.
    Testimonies from the girls friends at school say Malak had not even been throwing stones.

    Malak’s parents have not been allowed to visit her in jail, despite repeated attempts by her father to secure a permit.

    Under Israeli law, a parent of a minor should attend the interrogation of their child, but the regime does not apply the law when it comes to Palestinian minors.

    Malak has been said to be suffering seriou psychological difficulties during her incarceration.

    According to the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, throwing stones is not even considered a crime under international law.

    It added occupation forces often arrest minors without reason and falsely claim they were throwing stones.

    The Palestinian National Authority has condemned the arrest and urged international organisations to intervene to secure Malak’s release.

    Human rights groups and advocacies have accused Israeli occupation forces of arresting as many as 200 minors a month, or around 2,400 per year, in the West Bank.

    In 2013, 1,000 arrests were recorded, Fedaa Najadah, an official at the Palestinian Prison Club, said that arresting Palestinian minors is not a new Israeli policy, but the occupation used this policy during the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) in 1989 when it arrested thousands of Palestinian minors who were subjected to all types of physical and psychological torture.

    She added during the second intifada (Al Aqsa Intifada), occupation forces arrested more than 10,000 Palestinian minors, many of whom were also subjected to torture.

    http://gulfnews.com/news/region/palestine/14-year-old-girl-sentenced-to-israeli-prison-1.1445323

    • aiman
      January 22, 2015, 11:21 pm

      The JSIL like its ally ISIL has a special hatred for little girls belonging to other tribes and religions.

  4. MHughes976
    January 22, 2015, 2:33 pm

    The chances of being subject to violence or serious injury, given that one is a Euro resident and Jewish, and the chances of the same, given that one is an Israeli resident and Jewish, can surely differ only trivially. Consideration of these chances cannot, therefore, be the basis for any rational decision.
    There is no serious movement – nothing which should affect anyone’s calculation of life-chances – anywhere in Europe to disfranchise Jewish citizens or restrict the rights that they have in comparison with others.
    However, we face a massive victory for Netanyahu and Lapid after their studied and gross insults to the French state were met with the headlong decision of all the families of the supermarket victims to bury them in Jerusalem. We know that there were many in the French Jewish leadership with very different ideas but they have been for now swept away – chaff in wind, snow in spring.
    To this we tend to reply that Netanyahu is handing the anti-Semites, even Hitler, a belated success. The Zionist counter-argument is that there is every difference between Jewish people’s leaving because they are scorned and rejected and their leaving because they scorn and reject Europe for the way that anti-Semitism here never, ever dies. Passivity vs. activity, humiliation vs. pride. There even seems to be a better class of scorn: no rage, no rampages but a quiet and dignified turning away.
    How do we meet that argument/attitude?

    • Elliot
      January 22, 2015, 9:52 pm

      The distinction is between what the French Jew in the street says and does and what the Israeli leader says. I can understand if a traditional Jew in France is tired of worrying if his publicly identifying as a Jew is a safe thing. Some may want to stay and fight on principle, others may decided to move. Is it an ethical choice for a French Jew to pick up all the benefits he can get in Israel just for being a Jew who moves there? Perhaps not. I think the more courageous action is stand one’s ground in France, but I do feel for the guy who has to make that decision.

      But that debate has got nothing to do with Netanyahu’s willful behavior in France.

      • MHughes976
        January 23, 2015, 5:18 pm

        I still think that there is, and cannot be for a long time while our societies function normally, no rationally identifiable difference in safety and security prospects, therefore nothing objective to make the relevant decision in any way pressing. What makes it pressing is the rhetoric of the Israeli leader, which surely has quite a lot to do with the atmosphere in which the decision is being made currently.
        I accept that there are people trying to change the situation radically and ot make the position of Jewish people in the West intolerable. Some of them, no doubt some more pairs of brothers sharing each other’s misery and humiliation, are plotting as I write. Very few will get anywhere beyond talk, though.
        Of course this is a problem for all of us and all of us should unite against plots and conspiracies against the social contract on which we all depend. The idea that our Jewish fellow-citizens should give up on us and remove the problem, or even a part of the problem, by leaving our shores, is demoralising for all of us.
        Jewish people are part of the social contract of the country where they live and are citizens. They have like the rest of us accepted the protection of the laws of the country where they live and have the same, absolutely the same, obligations as the rest of us to act in defence of our societies.
        You may say that that is all theory – the immediate practical question of danger and safety must be paramount. However, I come back to saying that as things stand there is no significant difference in levels of safety. Moreover the integrity of the social contract is a very practical thing.

      • JustJessetr
        January 28, 2015, 11:11 pm

        @Elliot. I agree that Jews should stand their ground in France. They should do so with weapons. Even if it escalates, Jews have every right to fight back tooth and nail. Force is the only answer to a Jew-hating thug.

        Oh my gosh. I hope I haven’t opened up a can of worms by saying that Jews have a right to fight back.

  5. Les
    January 22, 2015, 2:53 pm

    Diaspora Jews are required to form a fiflth column, wherever they are according to Zionist logic. Corporal Jeffrey Goldberg did not cease to be an Israeli agent just because he is no longer an IDF campguard over Paletinian prisoners.

    • Krauss
      January 22, 2015, 5:10 pm

      Exactly, I feel like Brownfeld is missing this. For many, Zionism is just a way to hold onto their heritage, at any price. But it still requires you to have de facto dual loyalty. Moving to Israel is many things, but at least it is consequential and consistent with your beliefs.

      Lots of people in the diaspora haven’t assimilated and just live this in-between existance, not as rosy as Mr. Brownfeld paints it.

  6. OyVey00
    January 22, 2015, 3:42 pm

    Jews will be at home in France when they stop being Jews and start being French. Which includes stopping to lobby for zionism, multiculturalism and other policies detrimental to the French people.

    • just
      January 22, 2015, 5:24 pm

      An impossibly silly statement, except for the part about “lobby[ing] for zionism”.

      • OyVey00
        January 22, 2015, 7:05 pm

        Why yes. What would the French do without those vibrant and enriching cultures in their midst? That’s soooo 19th century.

    • Les
      January 22, 2015, 6:33 pm

      The antidote to multiculturalism is myculturalism.

    • Walid
      January 22, 2015, 9:07 pm

      “Jews will be at home in France when they stop being Jews and start being French. ”

      That was the axiom behind the drive to emancipate the Jews in France in 1789 when Clermont-Tonnerre opened the first debate on this issue in the Constituant National Assembly. He declared that Jews a nation, must be denied everything but that as individuals, nothing must be denied to them; they had to be citizens. Opponents of Clermont-Tonnerre argued that this is impossible to do for Jews because of their religion. They eventually became citizens, but they never really renounced their Jewishness because of their varrying religious laws. Those that yearn to go to Israel where they feel that this is their home were never really French to begin with, and antisemitism has nothing to do with their fears. Of course, some Jews became French as we saw of those in the Grand Synagogue that rose to sing la Marseillaise in the face of Netanyahu after his sales pitch to bring them all to Israel.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        January 23, 2015, 5:32 pm

        The rabbis in France at that time were opposed to Jews receiving civil rights as individuals. It undermined their position as spokesmen of the Jews as a collective.

      • Walid
        January 23, 2015, 8:35 pm

        “The rabbis in France at that time were opposed to Jews receiving civil rights as individuals. It undermined their position as spokesmen of the Jews as a collective. ” (Stephen Shenfield)

        That was back in 1789, but you still have the same situation in Lebanon with the Christian and Moslem clerics that are fighting tooth and nail any civil measures, such as marriages, that would relegate them into irrelevance and loss of revenue. As in Israel, couples have to fly to Cyprus for quickie civil marriages, which on their return to Lebanon are recorded in the civil registries without fuss. But where this gets tricky, is when the time will come to settle inheritances or divorce settlements since each sect has its own laws and religious courts.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2015, 11:33 am

        “The rabbis in France at that time were opposed to Jews receiving civil rights as individuals. It undermined their position as spokesmen of the Jews as a collective.”

        But, b,b,ut (I’m stuttering with amazement and disbelief) Stephen, my much admired Mondo correspondent, if the Jews weren’t organised as a collective, how would they get any rights, let alone the privileges they deserve?

        That’s what I’ve been screaming about this whole time, Stephen, you hit it right on the head. Why, if Jews only have the same individual rights as anybody else, and no collective rights and leaders to represent them, how will they survive? My God, think of it, Stephen, they could end up suffering the same fate as those Jews who immigrated to the US!

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2015, 7:14 pm

        Are there, at the present time, any impediments on the citizenship of those in France who call themselves Jewish? Are they even known to the government as such? Or are they citizens of France?

    • yonah fredman
      January 22, 2015, 9:21 pm

      oyvey- a comment worthy of david duke.

      • Elliot
        January 22, 2015, 9:44 pm

        Yonah – I agree. Oyvey’s comment was shameful.

  7. Mooser
    January 22, 2015, 5:29 pm

    “Jews will be at home in France when they stop being Jews and start being French.”

    That’s right, and the same should be required of Catholic and Protestant French people!!

    If the French want religion, I believe Robespierre sketched out a suitable theology based on revolutionary principles which should be more than adequate, like the holiday Festivus” for the rest of us!

    And, oh, that awful “multiculturalism”! God, how that idea irks me, so let’s get it settled now. What will be the normative culture be, so we will know who is being “multicultural”?

    Oh, if you don’t mind me asking, “OyVey00” what is it about being Jewish that interferes with being French? Many people find they go quite well together.

  8. RoHa
    January 22, 2015, 6:49 pm

    Exactly my position.

    If you are an Australian citizen, born in Australia, brought up in Australia, spent most of your life in Australia, work for an Australian company, live in a house in Wynnum with your Australian spouse, children, dog, cat, and goldfish, drink beer and eat Vegemite, and are planning a celebration barbie next Monday, then – guess what? – you are a bloody Aussie and Australia is your home.

    Not some country on the other side of the globe.

    Mutas mutandis for other countries.

    And this goes regardless of whether you are a Jew, a Sikh, or a Cao Dai priest.

    • Mikhael
      January 23, 2015, 2:34 am

      RoHa January 22, 2015, 6:49 pm

      If you are an Australian citizen, born in Australia, brought up in Australia…– you are a bloody Aussie and Australia is your home. Mutas mutandis for other countries.

      And this goes regardless of whether you are a Jew, a Sikh, or a Cao Dai priest.

      And people can have more than one national identity in a liberal democratic nation such as Australia and feel like they have more than one home. Australians should be able to tolerate Australian citizens who are of Jewish national origins retaining ties to their original ancestral homeland (Israel) and their ethnic kin there. This is not something that is deemed controversial for Greek-Australians, Maltese-Australians, or Irish-Australians, many of whom hold dual citizenship with Australian and those countries. Since Australia is not the former USSR, which restricted its citizens’ right to emigrate, Jewish citizens of Australia are free to choose to make aliyah if they so wish.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 23, 2015, 11:35 am

        This is not something that is deemed controversial for Greek-Australians, Maltese-Australians, or Irish-Australians, many of whom hold dual citizenship with Australian and those countries.

        this is a false equivalent. one cannot replace the sentiments of an immigrant family w/an emotional fabrication/longing for a homeland from thousands of years ago. we might as well all be sentimental about our african homeland since it was the continent of man’s origin. or native americans sentimental about asia before crossing the bering strait? this sentiment was manufactured to lure support for a jewish state and required (still requires) decades of propaganda and brainwashing.

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2015, 11:56 am

        “ties to their original ancestral homeland (Israel) and their ethnic kin there.”

        Not even close.

      • eljay
        January 23, 2015, 11:57 am

        >> Mikhaeleee: And people can have more than one national identity in a liberal democratic nation such as Australia and feel like they have more than one home. Australians should be able to tolerate Australian citizens who are of Jewish national origins retaining ties to their original ancestral homeland (Israel) and their ethnic kin there. This is not something that is deemed controversial for Greek-Australians, Maltese-Australians, or Irish-Australians, many of whom hold dual citizenship with Australian and those countries.

        1. Greece is a country. Ireland is a country. Israel is a country. So there should not be anything controversial with Israeli-Australians holding dual citizenship.

        2. Jewish / Jew / Judaism is not a country. There is no bureaucratic nationality of “Jewish”. Jewish Australians – like Christian Australians and Muslim Australians – have only one nationality: Australian.

        3. Israel is not the “ancestral homeland” of all people of the Jewish faith living in the world today. It is the “ancestral homeland” of all non-Jewish and Jewish people living in, originally from or up to n generations removed from the geographic region comprising Partition-borders Israel.

      • RoHa
        January 23, 2015, 8:15 pm

        “and feel like they have more than one home.”

        Feeling doesn’t make it so.

        “Australians should be able to tolerate Australian citizens who are of Jewish national origins retaining ties to their original ancestral homeland (Israel) and their ethnic kin there. ”

        The ancestors of most Australian Jews came from Britain, Poland, Germany, and a few other European countries. I don’t think many have Israeli ancestors.

        “This is not something that is deemed controversial for Greek-Australians, Maltese-Australians, or Irish-Australians, many of whom hold dual citizenship with Australian and those countries.”

        It isn’t controversial for Australian Jews of British ancestry to have dual Australian/British citizenship just as I have. Likewise, for those who can demonstrate ancestry in the country of origin, dual citizenship in that country would not be controversial.

        (But if they want to be members of Federal Parliament, they have to renounce all citizenships save Australian. Only people of single Australian nationality are allowed to be MPs.)

        What is controversial is Netanyahu telling Australian Jews that they are not real Australians and don’t belong here.

        What is controversial is Netanyahu telling Australian Jews that their distant ancestors came from Israel (even though not one of them can prove it) and so they belong there.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2015, 11:49 am

        Why do I keep on thinking that some people are very, very intent, for reasons unknown to me, to confuse the administrative, legal and/or bureaucratic process of assimilation with acculturation? They are not the same thing.
        There seems to be a real confusion between the assimilation process and acculturation.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2015, 7:09 pm

        Naturally, there is some overlap between the two, if, say, a test administered in the country’s language must be passed for citizenship.

      • Mikhael
        January 29, 2015, 7:23 am

        eljay January 23, 2015, 11:57 am
        Greece is a country. Ireland is a country. Israel is a country. So there should not be anything controversial with Israeli-Australians holding dual citizenship.

        Eljayeeeeeeeeeeee (seriously,WTF is it with you and appending unnecessary letter “e”s after someone’s handle?).

        That depends on the laws that Australia and Israel have regarding dual citizenship. Some countries ban dual citizenship. Israel and Australia do not. Therefore, there should be nothing controversial about a dual citizen of Australia and Israel, just as there is nothing controversial about a dual citizen of Greece and Australia.

        Regardless, it is perfectly legitimate (and in my opinion, laudable) for Jews who are not citizens of Israel who may be 2nd-,3rd-, 4th, or 5th-generation Australians, Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders, etc. to have feelings of attachment to their ancestral and national homeland of Israel, even if they have never once visited it. As long as they comply with the laws of the countries in which they are born and/or hold citizenships, they are not being disloyal to these countries for harboring such sentiments. And if they so choose, since countries like the USA, Australia, Canada and other liberal Western democracies do not restrict the right to their citizens’ freedom to emigrate to the country of their choice (unlike the former USSR, Syria, or Iran, which sought to prevent their Jewish citizens from freely emigrating to Israel) they may opt to move to Israel and take Israeli citizenship, if they so choose. This is also an avenue that is open to Australians of Irish ancestry, German ancestry, Armenian ancestry or Greek ancestry. They may apply for and receive citizenships in those countries even if they are Australian-born and generations removed from an ancestor who lived in any of the above countries.

        2. Jewish / Jew / Judaism is not a country. There is no bureaucratic nationality of “Jewish”.

        “Judaism” is an English-language word that refers to a set of religious doctrines. The term “Jews,” however, refers to a national group. There is a bureaucratic nationality of “Jewish” (the Hebrew word is le’om) under Israeli law. This is what is relevant for purposes of this discussion.

        Jewish Australians – like Christian Australians and Muslim Australians – have only one nationality: Australian.

        You are deliberately conflating citizenship with nationality. The words can be synonymous, but are not necessarily. In an Israeli context, the Hebrew word “ezrahut” refers to citizenship while “le’om” refers to one’s nationality. In recent decades, it has become commonplace to use “nationality” interchangeably with “citizneship”. Of course, since Australia does indeed accept dual citizenship (or dual nationality), there are Australians who who are dual nationals (citizens) of Australia and other countries. However,an ethnic Jew in Australia and who holds only Australia citizenship is entitled to regard him/herself as of Jewish nationality, and fortunately, in this day and age, he/she can choose to formalize this status by making aliyah to Israel, acquiring Israeli citizenship and being registered as holding Jewish nationality (le’om) in the Israel Population Registry by the Interior Minister of the State of Israel.

        3. Israel is not the “ancestral homeland” of all people of the Jewish faith living in the world today.

        Certainly not all people of “Jewish faith”, as there are increasingly more “Jews by choice” than at any other point in history (so of course there are many Jews who have adopted Judaism in recent years and likely have no Jewish ancestry and therefore no connection to ancient Israel), but the majority of Jews worldwide still trace their ancestry in large part to people who lived in Eretz Yisrael at some point in the past. Judaism (such as it is), remains the traditional tribal religion of a a national collective, a people existing in history. It is not a universal creed like the many variants of Christianity or Islam, although certainly some outsiders have joined the Jewish nation throughout history through conversion and marriage with Jews. Moreover, being of “Jewish faith” is not even a necessary condition for belonging to the Jewish nation. Many Jews, in Israel and the Diaspora, have no “Jewish faith” and are agnostics, atheists, pagans, Buddhists or even practice variants of the Jesuscult.

        It is the “ancestral homeland” of all non-Jewish and Jewish people living in, originally from or up to n generations removed from the geographic region comprising Partition-borders Israel.

        No. Erets Yisrael (which is a geographical, but not a political concept) is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. The borders of Erets Yisrael are certainly not coterminous with the short-lived and nullified Partition borders assigned by UNSCOP in Novermber 1947. Much of Eres Yisrael (Land of Israel) (which is not a political entity) is under the control of the State of Israel, but much of it has a disputed and unresolved status (the “West Bank”) and still more is comprises part of present-day Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Of course, to all but the most die-hard irredentists, it is sufficient that the present-day State of Israel exists only on part of the historical Erets Yisrael.

      • eljay
        January 29, 2015, 1:54 pm

        >> Mikhaeleee: Eljayeeeeeeeeeeee (seriously,WTF is it with you and appending unnecessary letter “e”s after someone’s handle?).

        WTF is it with you and your inability to count? It’s only three eee’s, and I’ve explained it at least once already.

        The rest of your verbal diarrhoea simply confirms that Israel as a “Jewish State” is nothing more than a religion-supremacist construct.

      • Mikhael
        January 30, 2015, 10:43 am

        eljay January 29, 2015, 1:54 pm
        >> Mikhaeleee: Eljayeeeeeeeeeeee (seriously,WTF is it with you and appending unnecessary letter “e”s after someone’s handle?).

        WTF is it with you and your inability to count? It’s only three eee’s, and I’ve explained it at least once already.

        Eljayyyyyyyyyyyy,

        Thank you for confirming that you are obnoxious and infantile and lump all Israelis and Jews together. After all, if a Jew dares to insist that he has the same right to self-determination and live in a country that reflects his own national culture (you know, Jewish) under his own government, in his own ancestral homeland, then he must must be a twin of every other person who defends such sentiments.

        The rest of your verbal diarrhoea simply confirms that Israel as a “Jewish State” is nothing more than a religion-supremacist construct.

        Except for the fact that Israel is in essence a secular state that is mostly governed by secular political leaders, operates mostly under secular civil law (to the dismay of the fringe fundamentalists who wish to alter the character of Israeli society and turn it into a Jewish version of Saudi Arabia), and where citizens who are members of non-Jewish national minorities have exactly the same legal rights as the Jewish national majority, it is neither a religious state nor a supremacist state.

      • eljay
        January 30, 2015, 1:53 pm

        >> Mikhaeleee: Eljayyyyyyyyyyyy,

        Ayyyyyy!! Very “Fonzie” – I like it! :-)

        >> Thank you for confirming that you … lump all Israelis and Jews together.

        You are blatantly and intentionally incorrect, Zio-supremacist. There are Jewish people (of all nationalities), and there are Israelis (Jewish and non-Jewish). You, Zio-supremacist, are the one who “lumps all Israelis and Jews together”.

        >> Except for the fact that Israel …

        …was envisioned as, established as and – for over 60 years – has been operating as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”, a state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews rather than as an Israeli state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, ex-pats and refugees, equally.

        I must say, you Zio-supremacists sure are amusing. You swear up and down that “Jewish State” is not a religion-supremacist construct, but you invariably defend it along religious lines (Biblical “history”, religious conversions, etc.). And you proclaim Israel to be a “moral beacon” as good as any Western-style nation, but you never fail to defend it by comparing it to bottom-of-the-morality-barrel states like Saudi Arabia, Mali and African “hell-holes”.

        Keep up the good work, Zio-supremacist! :-)

    • JustJessetr
      January 28, 2015, 11:18 pm

      I’m sorry RoHa, you don’t speak for anyone but maybe a few people in your circle of friends, and have no right to either.

      I’ve dated a few desi girls in my time. They were born here, they are as American acting (whatever that means) as anyone else. And they still see India as home because they have family there, their culture comes from there, and as silly as it sounds their favorite movies come from there.

    • Mikhael
      January 29, 2015, 8:33 am

      RoHa January 23, 2015, 8:15 pm
      “and feel like they have more than one home.”

      Feeling doesn’t make it so.

      Not only does feeling make it so, but the ancestry of those Australians makes it so. Many Greek-, Irish- and Maltese- Australians feel that they belong in some way to those countries. Those countries’ laws also entitle such people to seek citizenship in those countries. Only extremely bigoted nativists in a liberal democracy such as Australia would require their fellow citizens to choose belonging to one country or another.

      The ancestors of most Australian Jews came from Britain, Poland, Germany, and a few other European countries.

      And the ancestors of most Polish and German Jews are ultimately descended from people who once lived in Erets Yisrael. (Ashkenazi British Jews are mostly descended from a mix of people whose ancestors immigrated to the UK from places like Poland, Lithuania, Germany and other Central and Eastern European countries and British Jews who are of Sefaradi/Mizrahi background are descended from people whose ancestors arrived in the UK from the Iberian peninsula via the Netherlands centuries ago and more recent arrivals from places like Iraq, Iran and Yemen. But by and large, most Jews worldwide, excepting recent proselytes, are descended from people whose ancestors lived in Erets Yisrael, the Jewish homeland.

      I don’t think many have Israeli ancestors

      “Israeli”, as in a citizen of the State of Israel, which declared its independence in May 1948 ? Or Israeli, as in “Israelite,” which is an ancient term and which throughout the centuries was nearly interchangeable with the word “Jew”? (In Hebrew, the word for an “Israeli”– a citizen of the State of Israel (whether Jewish or non-Jewish) —and the word that is translated as “Israelite” in English is the same — yisra’eli. Most Australian Jews, even if they are not Yisra’elim in the sense of having citizenship in the modern Jewish nation-state of Israel that has existed since 1948 are descended in large part from yisrae’limwho at one point lived in the region where the State of Israel currently exists. Likewise, by way of analogy, not all Greco-Australians are “Elleniki” (the word in Greek for Greeks) in the sense of possessing citizenship in the modern-day Third Hellenic Republic of Greece which has existed since 1974 and traces its origins to 1822; some Greek-Australians were born in the UK to Greek immigrants to that country (or have parents or grandparents who were born there) prior to a subsequent immigration to Oz ; some were born in Smyrna (currently Izmir) in Anatolia, which lies within the borders of present-day Turkey. A Greek-Australian whose grandparents moved to Melbourne from Izmir or Manchester usually will not regard himself as a Turk or an Englishman, although he might be eligible for citinzship in one of those countries. He may spread the loathsome Vegemite for brekkie, barrack for Essendon Australian Rules Football and still feel Greek to the core. If he wants, he can move to Greece subject to the laws of Greece, wjhich entitles members of the Greek Diaspora to apply for and obtain Greek citizenship.

      It isn’t controversial for Australian Jews of British ancestry to have dual Australian/British citizenship just as I have. Likewise, for those who can demonstrate ancestry in the country of origin, dual citizenship in that country would not be controversial.

      Greek-Australians whose families lived in the UK and obtained citizenship in that country (or the US or Canada) prior to emigrating to Oz should be able to have British (or American or Canadian) citizenship as well as Aussie citizenship, since all of these countries permit dual citizenship. They are also able to apply for and obtain Greek citizenship if they so choose. Likewise, a Jewish citizen of Australia whose parents or grandparents arrived on antipodean shores from someplace like Budapest or Birmingham has the right to gain Hungarian, UK and Israeli citizenship, since the ancestors of most Hungarian and British Jews at one point lived in Erets Yisrael. While countries like Hungary or the UK one day may amend their laws to deny the descendants of emigres (especially Jewish emigires) the right to have citizenship in those countries, this will never happen in Israel.

      (But if they want to be members of Federal Parliament, they have to renounce all citizenships save Australian. Only people of single Australian nationality are allowed to be MPs.)

      This is very reasonable. We have a similar law in Israel. An Australian Jew who makes aliyah and obtains Israeli citizenship may retain his Australian citizenship, but he/she must renounce it if he/she is elected to Knesset. Of course, we allow people of non-Jewish nationality such as citizens of Israel who are of Arab nationality to serve in Knesset and government, as “nationality” and citizenship mean two different things in Israel.

      What is controversial is Netanyahu telling Australian Jews that they are not real Australians and don’t belong here.

      Most Israelis don’t consider it controversial for the Prime Minister of the nation-state of the Jewish people to encourage Jews worldwide to realize their national aspirations as Jews by moving to the State of Israel. It is the choice of Jews worldwide whether to heed this call or not. Some Jews will be offended by it, some will ignore it and be unaware of it, some will give it lip service and stay in the Diaspora, and others will make aliyah. To my knowledge, Netanyahu has never expressly told Australian Jews that they are not “really” Australian with those words, nor has he even told French Jews that they are not really French, although he has encouraged them to move to their ancestral homeland of Israel. And whether it offends extreme anti-Zionists such as you, we will always encourage Jews to move to Israel and become Israeli. There’s nothing much you can do about it and your sensitivities in this regard are of no consequence.

      What is controversial is Netanyahu telling Australian Jews that their distant ancestors came from Israel (even though not one of them can prove it)

      This is only controversial to those who ignore or deny the abundant historical, linguistic and genetic evidence that most Jews’ ancestors originate from the region where the State of Israel currently exists.

  9. Elliot
    January 22, 2015, 7:49 pm

    Agreed, but then why do you accept the Israeli label of “diaspora Jew”? This is a term that projects the idea that the Jewish immigrants to Palestine have returned home and therefore all other Jews were still in “diaspora.” The reality, of course, is that in the wake of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel, the old centers of Jewry disappeared. From the ancient North African and Middle Eastern Jewish civilizations to the thousand year old Ashkenazi civilization. So, the hallmark of mainstream Jewry today is diaspora. Although arguably, the American Jewish community, with its older vintage, has a stronger claim to being the Jewish center than the more recent immigrant Jewish community in Palestine.

    • Mooser
      January 22, 2015, 9:11 pm

      “Agreed, but then why do you accept the Israeli label of “diaspora Jew”?”

      Because of the tradition of soulful songs explicating the condition:

      “Diasporados,
      Why don’t you start being mensches?
      A valgeren zich , and zitsen ahf shpilkes!
      Oh, you’re a macher, but you’ve got your reasons, but
      Me krechts, me geht veyter, ’cause es gefelt mir.

      Don’t you draw the Yiddishe Mama, boy
      She’ll guilt you if she’s able….”

      Anyway, you know the rest, I’m sure.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2015, 6:59 pm

        Not a whole lot of Yiegels fans at Mondo? One of my favorite bands.

    • Mooser
      January 22, 2015, 9:39 pm

      “Although arguably, the American Jewish community, with its older vintage, has a stronger claim to being the Jewish center than the more recent immigrant Jewish community in Palestine.”

      But Eliot, we have to face the fact that the American Jewish community, whatever it’s cultural, religious, family, religious or even economic inter-connections, and whatever the attainments of its members, (and they are many) is not a recognized political entity.? Under those circumstances, how can it possibly function as “the Jewish center”?

      • bryan
        January 23, 2015, 8:26 am

        Usually electioneering politicos stomping around the campaign trail go back to their grass-roots, but where does Netanyahu choose to go? He starts off in Paris (an outpost of institutional power but with an all important UNSC membership seat) and then schedules his coronation at HQ in Washington (the centre of the corporation’s cultural, economic and political power) to salute those who keep his show on the road. To hell with the old-fashioned political process of painstakingly canvassing your constituents. The idea of Israel’s superiority to the Diaspora is just another one of those rhetorical flourishes that embroider the narrative – the survival of Zionism has always required the careful cultivation of the real power-brokers like Rothschild, Truman and Adelson.

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2015, 11:59 am

        It might be Netanyahoo’s best strategy, stay the hell out of Israel, away from his opponents and supporters, look like “he’s the only one who can assure our international standing” or some crap like that and let subordinates do the campaigning.

    • Mikhael
      January 23, 2015, 3:13 am

      Elliot January 22, 2015, 7:49 pm
      Agreed, but then why do you accept the Israeli label of “diaspora Jew”? This is a term that projects the idea that the Jewish immigrants to PalestineIsrael have returned home and therefore all other Jews were still in “diaspora.”

      It’s not an “Israeli” term, but traditional Jewish terminology. תפוצות and גלות were used by Jews to refer to their communities outside of Erets Yisrael for millennia before modern political Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel. The revolutionary innovation of political Zionism was that Jews could have a modern secular nation-state minus the religious aspects of what has come to be called “Judaism”, but the idea that Jews living outside of the borders of Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism. It’s disingenuous to portray points of view such as those expressed by the 19th century Reform rabbi from South Carolina quoted by Brownfield in the original article as if such such declarations encapsulated the traditional Jewish view, when such notions actually represented a revolutionary break from Jewish tradition–that’s why people like Gustav Poznanski (who later became a Confederate patriot) made such passionate declaration, which he did with the fervor of a new immigrant making a break with the past.

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2015, 1:19 pm

        <i."people like Gustav Poznanski (who later became a Confederate patriot)"

        “Confederate” what? Oh, I get it, you mean a traitor, a renegade, trying to destroy the US by insurrection? To fight for slavery!
        You know, like your great Russian patriot, Lenin!

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2015, 3:26 pm

        “Gustavus Poznanski, Jr. (1842-1862).[5] He served as a private in the Confederate States Army (CSA) during the American Civil War of 1861-1865.[11]”

        That was the son, of the Rabbi.

      • Elliot
        January 23, 2015, 3:32 pm

        @ Mikhael

        “the idea that Jews living outside of the borders of Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism.”

        That is not the view of Judaism. The actual traditional view of Judaism was that Jews are in a state of exile galut גלות until the Coming of the Messiah. Over the centuries not just Jews living throughout the world but also those Jews living in Palestine saw themselves as living in exile. The Jewish religious term “exile” was not a removal from “The Land” but a state of removal from the presence of God, or, in more accessible terms, the assessment that the world is in a state of poor spiritual health.
        That is why traditionalist Jews still view the world as being in a state of exile – including such Jews who live in the State of Israel.
        Modern religious folk held to the idea that the State of Israel heralded the Messianic age. But it doesn’t look like that that is the case.

        It’s disingenuous to portray points of view such as those expressed by the 19th century Reform rabbi from South Carolina quoted by Brownfield political Zionists in the original article such as yourself as if such declarations encapsulated the traditional Jewish view

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2015, 3:41 pm

        ” the 19th century Reform rabbi from South Carolina quoted by Brownfield ”

        I think it was his son who served in the Confederate Army. He was well liked by his fellow soldiers, they called him “Johnny Rebbe”.

      • just
        January 23, 2015, 3:51 pm

        Brilliant, Mooser!

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2015, 3:58 pm

        “Those living outside Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism.”

        You know what is so impressive about the Zionists here? Their arguments and theological approaches have not the slightest hint of self-interest! And of course, they spare themselves no judgement they are prepared to render on others!
        Why, just think, if the kind of ethical and religious arguments they make are accepted, and paths of action they suggest are taken, the prospect of tremendous sacrifice and abnegation of rights they will cheerfully endure lends impressive moral weight to their arguments.

        Never, ever, not once, since I have been here, have I ever been tempted to criticize a Zionist argument on the grounds “But that is exactly what you would say, if you thought you could get a cost-free country out of it, or wanted avoid accountability” Never? No, no, not ever!

      • RoHa
        January 23, 2015, 8:29 pm

        ” the idea that Jews living outside of the borders of Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism.”

        And this (alleged) bit of religious flim-flam makes it acceptable for Netanyahu to go round suborning French citizens and telling them that they do not belong in the country of their ancestors?

      • eljay
        January 24, 2015, 8:17 am

        >> Mikhaeleee: The revolutionary innovation of political Zionism was that Jews could have a modern secular nation-state minus the religious aspects of what has come to be called “Judaism” …

        As far as “revolutionary innovations” go, it was an epic fail given that the end result was not a secular and democratic “Jewish State” with a bureaucratic nationality of Jewish for all citizens of, immigrants to and ex-pats and refugees from the geographic region comprising “Jewish State”, but (not surprisingly) an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” primarily of and for Jewish people, established and maintained as such at the expense of the indigenous non-Jewish population and subsequent non-Jewish citizens.

        >> … but the idea that Jews living outside of the borders of Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism.

        The fact that Jewish citizens of countries around the world can force themselves to feel like strangers in their own homelands in no way validates the self-proclaimed “right” of people of the Jewish faith to a supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2015, 11:42 am

        “The fact that Jewish citizens of countries around the world can force themselves to feel like strangers in their own homelands”

        For God’s sake, do you people have any idea who dull Kosher food can be? So why shouldn’t I have a little existential relish or savor with my life?

      • Mikhael
        January 29, 2015, 8:55 am

        RoHa January 23, 2015, 8:29 pm
        (Mikhael)the idea that Jews living outside of the borders of Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism.”
        And this (alleged) bit of religious flim-flam makes it acceptable for Netanyahu to go round suborning French citizens and telling them that they do not belong in the country of their ancestors?

        The article falsely alleged that the modern political Zionist movement invented the concept of Jewish Diaspora and Exile to suit its ends and implied that this is alien to Jewish thought and traditional Jewish religion, although it is a central concept of post-Exilic Judaism. While it is true that throughout the ages, some ancient, medieval and modern Jewish theologians rejected the idea of a pre-Messianic Jewish polity in the Land of Israel, stating that the concept of Jewish Diaspora and Exile is a Zionist innovation is false on its face.

        Netanyahu did not “suborn” (i.e., bribe) Jews in France to move to Israel. French Jews (most of whom are children or grandchildren of North African immigrants to France who arrived in the 1950s or 1960s) are indeed by and large patriotic and loyal French citizens. Israel is the land of their ancestors. Netanyahu, as the political leader of a Jewish nation-state is within his rights to encourage Jews, in France and elsewhere, to make their homes in the Jewish national homeland even when the climate for French Jews is stable, and a fortiori, he is justified in urging them to take that step in France’s current inhospitable climate for Jews.

      • Mikhael
        January 29, 2015, 10:32 am

        Elliot January 23, 2015, 3:32 pm
        @ Mikhael

        “the idea that Jews living outside of the borders of Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism.”

        That is not the view of Judaism. The actual traditional view of Judaism was that Jews are in a state of exile galut גלות until the Coming of the Messiah. . .. That is why traditionalist Jews still view the world as being in a state of exile – including such Jews who live in the State of Israel.

        Yes, there is indeed a metaphysical, theological concept of galut גלות as meaning an Exile from the so-called “Godhead” and many haredim (especially Moshiach-fixated groups like Habad) say that even Jews living Israel will always be in “exile” until the Messianic age (and of course, hardcore “Meshichist” Habadniks think the Rebbe is still around and we are already living in the Messianic Age, but then in the next breath they will say Israeli Jews living in the heart of Jerusalem are in “Exile”, but whatever). But it’s still dishonest to deny that the concept of “Exile” in Jewish thought also did not refer to an actual physical Exile, and to insist that the word “tefutsot”– relating to the scattered Jewish Diaspora living outside the homeland is merely an invention of the modern political Zionist movement is ludicrous. When Jews recited in their Grace after Meals after eating bread “וְתִבְנֶה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירָךְ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה בּוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם” and when they prayed “וקרב פזורינו מבין הגויים ונפוצותינו כנס מירכתי ארץ”–“Bring near our scattered d ones and bring in our dispersed from the the ends of the earth” in the Musaf prayer (Isaiah 27, 13) and in scores of other prayers–that’s what they were praying for –an ingathering of Exiles into their homeland. The words mean what they mean. It’s plain.

        The brilliant innovation of the modern political Zionist movement and the revolution against most of Jewish history was in taking these pleas uttered for centuries by the people of a broken and scattered nation to an unknowing and unseeing “deity” and making them concrete by taking the Jewish people’s fate into its own hands instead of passive prayer and waiting.

        Over the centuries not just Jews living throughout the world but also those Jews living in Palestine Erets Yisrael saw themselves as living in exile. The Jewish religious term “exile” was not a removal from “The Land” but a state of removal from the presence of God, or, in more accessible terms, the assessment that the world is in a state of poor spiritual health.

        I encourage you to practice your reading-comprehension skills and note that I didn’t comment on whether the achievement of modern political Zionism in establishing the modern nation-state of Medinat Yisrael addressed the longings of devout Jews for Messianic redemption or not. Clearly — for many religious fanatics who still believe in superstitious ideas like a “Messiah”– it does not. Nevertheless, traditional Judaism has always expressed a longing for an end to physical exile and dispersion of the Jewish people, which would be concomitant with the spiritual end of Exile that would come with the advent of the Messiah. The Jewish concept of a Messianic age not only implies an ingathering of exiles (qibbus galuyoth) but also the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, the rebuilding of the Third Temple and the reinstitution of Temple Sacrifices. It was always conceived and portrayed as a distinct, real physical phenomenon.So yes, the idea of a modern Jewish democratic nation-state with a parliament, a national airline, Hebrew-language rock n’ roll, Hebrew-language porn even , is a new concept and is not necessarily what Jewish theologians, rabbis and philosophers nor the common Jew reading the prayerbooks or other sacred litearure, had in mind when they prayed and wrote about the redemption and the end of Exile, but it works for me and most Israelis. I, for one, as a non-believing and secular Jew, much prefer the modern State of Israel, with all its warts and wonders, to sin offerings on the Temple Mount. Despite the revolutionary improvement of modern Zionism on such primitive and atavistic ideas as a “Messiah”, it’s still more in line with Judaism than the ideas expressed by the Confederate Reform rabbi’s whose comments were approvingly quoted in the article.

        Modern religious folk held to the idea that the State of Israel heralded the Messianic age. But it doesn’t look like that that is the case

        Some in the dati-leumi Religious-Zionist camp believe that the State Israel is the ראשית צמיחת גאולתנו– “first flowering of of redemption”. Of course they are wrong–just as the haredim are wrong– משיח לא בא משיח גם לא מטלפן–he’s not coming, he’s not calling, jin the words of Shalom Hanokh.

        Over the centuries not just Jews living throughout the world but also those Jews living in Palestine saw themselves as living in exile. The Jewish religious term “exile” was not a removal from “The Land” but a state of removal from the presence of God, or, in more accessible terms, the assessment that the world is in a state of poor spiritual health.

        Again, it’s both. Throughout Jewish history, Jews who lived outside the Land saw themselves as living in dispersion and exile and Jewish literature, sacred and secular has portrayed existence in this state as such. Of course, Messiah-fixated Jews believed the ultimate redemption would not come until foreign rule over the Land ended and now that Jews control much of it again in an independent polity, absent such crazy shit like Temple sacrifices and restoring the dead, it’s all still “Exile.” to the dummies who believe in a Messianic “redemption,” “God” and such stuff. But insisting that Jewish thinkers like Nahmanides –who revitalized Jewish settlement in Mamluk Jerusalem and urged more Jews to come back to the Land of Israel from far- away lands–hey, just like Netanyahu!–, or Yehuda haLevi –the 12th century paytan poet who wrote “My heart is in the East and I am in the far West–Zion is in Edom’s (the Crusader Kingdom’s )bonds and I am in the Arab’s (Islamic Spain’s) chains” did not conceive of a physical Exile and saw the term purely in spiritual terms is ridiculous. You seem like you have some Jewish learning–didn’t you ever “ליבי במזרח”? Not to mention Ovadia di Bertinoro et al. and proto-Zionist events like the arrival of David Reubeni in early modern Europe– —to say nothing of modern-era progenitors of religious Zionist thought like Yehuda Hai Alkalai, Naftali Zevi Yehuda Berlin and Abraham Isaac Kook. Stating that until modern political Zionism, Jews did not conceive of a physical component to Exile and Dispersion and did not encourage actual, physical Jewish resettlement in Erets Yisrael and reestablishing Jewish self-rule and these ideas are merely reflective of secular, nationalistic political Zionism is wilfullly misleading.
        It’s one thing to oppose the Jewish national renewal project known as Zionism that has resulted in the reestablishment of a sovereign Jewish polity in the Jewish people’s historical homeland for religious and/or ideological reasons, but another thing entirely to present Jewish thought as opposed to the notion of a physical exile.
        Remember the maxim– לפני עיוור לא תיתן מכשול–you’re misrepresenting traditional Jewish concepts to people who don’t know better to justify your narrow ideological interests.

      • yonah fredman
        January 29, 2015, 3:50 pm

        Mikhael- Good answer.

        I don’t think the concept of waiting for Messiah is nonsense, although certain varieties of waiting for Messiah are indeed retrograde and/or passivity inducing. I think the idea of a utopian age which has been misused over and over again in recent history is in fact a good idea, to inspire humans to imagine a better world. To divorce belief in a better world from the Messianic idea is one way of ensuring one doesn’t fall prey to the bad Messianisms that abound, but in fact how can one read Isaiah or Amos’s visions of a better world and dismiss them as mystical nonsense, without trashing the idea of a better world.

      • Mikhael
        January 30, 2015, 10:10 am

        Mooser January 23, 2015, 3:58 pm
        “Those living outside Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism.”

        You know what is so impressive about the Zionists here? Their arguments and theological approaches have not the slightest hint of self-interest!

        Who made a theological argument? A theological argument would be as follows: “God promised the Land of Israel to the Jews, therefore we are entitled to it” Certaibnly, many religious Jews believe this, including religious Zionists (just as Hamas and other Islamist fundamentalists justify their claim to all the land on their religion.) But I never stated any such thing, and it has never been the main motivation behind Zionism, which is in its essence, a modern secular national movement However, the article attempted to portray traditional Jewish concepts as Diaspora and Exile from an ancestral homeland as if they were merely some newfangled inventions of a 19th/20th century political/nationalist movement called Zionism that arose from out of nowhere and that never had any resonance among Jews up to that point. That is simply false and that is what I was taking issue with.

        Never, ever, not once, since I have been here, have I ever been tempted to criticize a Zionist argument on the grounds “But that is exactly what you would say, if you thought you could get a cost-free country out of it, or wanted avoid accountability” Never? No, no, not ever!

        Cost-free? Jews regained independence in their homeland because they were willing to defend it and 6,000 Israelis died for it in 1948-49–about 20,000 more have died in the intervening decades during acts of war and terror directed at our state. That’s not cost-free, but it’s still better than being eternal strangers in a strange lands.

      • Mikhael
        January 30, 2015, 11:14 am

        yonah fredman January 29, 2015, 3:50 pm

        I don’t think the concept of waiting for Messiah is nonsense, although certain varieties of waiting for Messiah are indeed retrograde and/or passivity inducing.

        Yonah,

        I felt compelled to denigrate a literal belief in a Messiah because of personal family history. I grew up in a moderately religious Sephardic amily, but have a brother who has become a Yehi adonenu-chanting Habad messianist and a sister who lives in Elon Moreh whose kids advocate blowing up al Aqsa and teh Dome of the Rock. My brother is one of the most intelligent people I know, yet he’s become consumed by this madness and I left this stuff behind when I became a “hozer be she’eilah”

        I think the idea of a utopian age which has been misused over and over again in recent history is in fact a good idea, to inspire humans to imagine a better world. To divorce belief in a better world from the Messianic idea is one way of ensuring one doesn’t fall prey to the bad Messianisms that abound, but in fact how can one read Isaiah or Amos’s visions of a better world and dismiss them as mystical nonsense, without trashing the idea of a better world.

        Yes, of course it’s good to work for a better world and you can take inspiration from the traditional Jewish yearnings for redemption in working towards תיקון עולם (which hippy-dippy types misrepresent, but that’s another story), but as you alluded, utopianist ideals can backfire–whether it’s the Shabthai Sebi/Frankist outcome or the Stalinist version. I think we should just be satisfied with muddling through and I apply that to Israel. Although I am anything but a post-Zionist or an anti-Zionist, I also think we Israelis and Jews should not only abandon the idea of a literal Messianic age, but also forsake the so-called redemptive aspirations of modern, secular political Zionism. It’s enough to be happy with our own little patch of dirt between the desert and the sea, our Hebrew language, our pop culture, our ligat ha’al, our TASE, our Bisli/Bambi, our home and our people, and be ready to sacrifice our lives to keep these things, if necessary Some fanatic religious Jews in Israel like to deride secular Israeli society by saying that it is just a “Hebrew-speaking Portugal”, but what’s wrong with that?

    • Cvale
      January 29, 2015, 7:41 am

      An interesting corollary to this story line are the comments by former White House correspondent Helen Thomas who was vilified and branded an anti semite when asked by Rabbi Nesenof on the White House lawn to comment on Israel, she replied “tell them to go home” The good Rabbi then asked ” and where should Israeli Jews go” She replied “Germany, Poland , America.” While the comments sealed Helen’s fate , her answer for many was spot on. She later went on to say that the Palestinians have lived there for centuries. A fact all but ignored post publication of Therdore Herzl’s ” Der Judenstat” For those who think the current events are a result of the formation of the State of Israel in 48′ they are sadly mistaken and ill informed.

  10. German Lefty
    January 23, 2015, 5:38 am

    “If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”
    -> That’s a weird statement. It’s way too much pandering to one specific group. Immigration and emigration of all kinds of groups is normal. The Frenchness of France doesn’t depend on the number of Jews, neither in one way nor the other. The number of Jews is only important to the ethnic nationalist state of Israel.

  11. Walid
    January 23, 2015, 11:38 am

    GL, Vall’s wife is a Jew from Moldavia. Maybe he’s afraid she’d be among the 100,000 to leave.

  12. just
    January 23, 2015, 3:26 pm

    On a bit of a side note:

    “Move over, Iron Dome: ‘Magic’ yarmulke aims to protect Europe’s Jews

    An Israeli barber says he has found a solution to hair-raising anti-Semitic attacks in Europe.

    Shalom Koresh has fashioned a Jewish skullcap out of hair, meant to cover the heads of the faithful while obscuring their identity as Jews and protecting them from attacks.

    “This skullcap is washable, you can brush it, you can dye it,” Koresh said in his salon in Rehovot. “It was created so people could feel comfortable going to places where they are afraid to go, or places where they can’t wear it, and feel secure.””

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.638683?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    • Mooser
      January 23, 2015, 3:33 pm

      “Shalom Koresh has fashioned a Jewish skullcap out of hair, meant to cover the heads of the faithful “

      I’ve going to order one, right away!
      I’ll be the hottest guy under the minyan tree! I can just hear the girls now ; “Ooooh, I love a man that’s frum and has a full head of hair!”

      • just
        January 23, 2015, 3:49 pm

        ROTFLMAO!

        (I still have tears flowing from laughter at the article, and here you come with that!)

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2015, 5:16 pm

        “ROTFLMAO!”

        Be frum and then some, in the tsaddick toupee. The slogan: “On you it looks good! “

    • Mikhael
      January 29, 2015, 8:58 am

      “Move over, Iron Dome: ‘Magic’ yarmulke aims to protect Europe’s Jews

      The word for “dome” and “yarmulke” in Hebrew is the same–Kippa

      There is a word in French for this “invention”— toupée

  13. tony greenstein
    January 23, 2015, 4:19 pm

    What Netanyahu and Labour Zionist politicians have done before him is to try and fulfill the dreams of Adolph Hitler, to make Europe Judenrein. As Isaac Deutscher wrote in the non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays

    ‘the most fanatical enemies of Zionism were precisely the workers, those who spoke Yiddish… they were the most determined opponents of the idea of an emigration from East Europe to Palestine… in the idea of an evacuation, of an exodus from the countries in which they, had their homes and in which their ancestors had lived for centuries, the anti-Zionists saw an abdication of their rights, a surrender to anti-Semitism. To them anti-Semitism seemed to triumph in Zionism, which recognised the legitimacy and the validity of the old cry ‘Jews get out!’ The Zionists were agreeing to get out.’

    See Completing Hitler’s Goal – Netanyahu Seeks to Make Europe Judenrein http://www.azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/completing-hitlers-goal-netanyahu-seeks.html

  14. Keith
    January 23, 2015, 6:20 pm

    “French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”

    France is a Republic? Why wasn’t I informed? Crazy me, I thought that the European Central Bank was calling the shots, headed by Goldman Sachs alumnus Mario Draghi. And, boy, are they headed for tough times! The US sanctions on Russia are hurting the EU at least as much, and that is intentional! When it all comes crashing down, the banksters will buy up real assets on pennies on the dollar. I previously mentioned a restructuring of the global financial system, didn’t I?

  15. RoHa
    January 23, 2015, 8:31 pm

    And that’s a rocket Mona Lisa is holding? Only at first glance it looks rather like …

    Must stop reading the Dershowitz threads.

    • Mooser
      January 25, 2015, 5:55 pm

      I, for some reason I wouldn’t pay somebody $200/hour to explain to me, consistently see Ms. Lisa holding a rolling pin in that picture. With which she may either prepare a pie-crust, or pummel me about the old mazzard.

  16. Whizdom
    January 24, 2015, 7:29 pm

    Meanwhile, some religious leaders in Israel are saying not so fast on this French immigration thing.

    Rabbis: French aliyah will lead to assimilation
    Leading religious leaders voice concerns that French Jews’ immigration will result in mixed marriages, cause religious Jews to stop observing mitzvot.

    The haredi press raised further concerns that many of the immigrants would refuse to undergo a conversion process or that the procedure would be conducted by institutions and courts which do not meet the strict standard, and that as a result their children will create mixed marriages later on.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4618072,00.html

    • RoHa
      January 25, 2015, 7:02 pm

      “French Jews’ immigration will result in mixed marriages”

      Mixed marriages? No!

      Let the French in, and the whole country goes to rack and ruin.

      • Mikhael
        January 30, 2015, 9:46 am

        RoHa January 25, 2015, 7:02 pm
        “French Jews’ immigration will result in mixed marriages”
        Mixed marriages? No!
        Let the French in, and the whole country goes to rack and ruin.

        Religious fundamentalist haredi Jews oppose Israel’s Law of Return as it now stands, because it also allows people who are not Jewish according to the strict dictates of Orthodox Jewish law–halakha (i.e, children of non-Jewish mothers and Jewish fathers or paternal grandparents) to gain citizenship on the basis of Jewish descent. One Jewish grandparent is sufficient to obtain Israeli citizenship. Instead of viewing this as a positive, progressive policy that enables people of Jewish ancestry to obtain refuge in Israel (when that ancestry might have doomed them in the 1940s) narrow-minded fundamentalists see them as simply non-Jews who are liable to marry Jews if they move to Israel. Many haredi and other fundamentalists objected to the aliyah from the former USSR in the 1990s since so many Israelis with a Soviet background come from intermarried families — in the post-WW2 USSR intermarriages between Jews and Russians, Ukrainians and other non-Jewish nationalities became quite common, whereas this was extremely rare prior to the 1917 Revolution. In France, however, intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews is relatively infrequent–more than 3/4 of the present-day Jewish population in France are Sephardic/Mizrahi/Maghrebi Jews are come from relatively recent immigrant roots to France and and descend from families that immigrated there from North Africa from the 1950s – 1967s. Most have close family members in Israel and tend to be traditional and steeped in Jewish culture–although in previous generations intermarriage rates among other sectors of French Jews was high.

  17. Vera Gottlieb
    January 25, 2015, 5:25 am

    israel is the only ‘home’? Depends on the colour of your skin.

    • Mikhael
      January 30, 2015, 9:54 am

      Vera Gottlieb January 25, 2015, 5:25 am
      israel is the only ‘home’? Depends on the colour of your skin.

      Israel’s Jews have a variety of skin colors, just as Israel’s Arabs do. But if you are trying to suggest that Bibi is specifically appealing to French Jews to move to Israel as part of a plan to thin the population of non-European-background Israelis, you should be aware that most French Jews are only a generation or two removed from the countries their parents or grandparents were born in–places like Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. (Of course, many of the Arab and Muslim natives of the aforementioned countries are also white.)

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