Jewish state of Israel has become Jewish ‘city-state’ of Tel Aviv — Rahm Emanuel

US Politics
on 13 Comments

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel gave an interview to the Times of Israel, in Tel Aviv, last week and said that Jews are a majority in Israel chiefly in Tel Aviv, and have given up on settling other parts of the country.

When I was growing up, [coming here] obviously two days after the [start of the] Six Day War, [there was] the sense that we were going to explore, and go everywhere, from Beersheba in the Negev to Kiryat Shmona and everything between, and Jews are going to be everywhere. We’re going to go and populate the land of Israel. Today, you have gone from a nation-state to a city-state, where everybody’s coming in to Tel Aviv and Jews are not even a majority in certain parts of Israel or even near a majority. And that’s a different thing, as somebody that watched it in 1967, to where it is in 2017. As we come to the 70th anniversary. That’s just an observation.

Emanuel has a larger (and self-serving) theory about this: that cities everywhere have taken over from nations as the corporate entities.

Here’s why I actually wanted to become mayor. People feel that the nation-state we grew up in, me and you, is no longer what it was before. It’s not operable. Mayors, cities, have something that nation-states don’t have. They have legitimacy.

The mayor of London has more legitimacy than the national government does with the British people. The mayor of Paris has more legitimacy than the national French government, and more legitimacy than [the European parliament in] Brussels.

The interview is also remarkable because while Emanuel insisted on the prevalence of anti-Semitism in modern society, and said he was surprised by the reemergence of neo-Nazis in the U.S., he acknowledged that Jews have never been so powerful as they are in the U.S. today and are less likely to be the victims of such intolerant movements:

If you look at Jewish history, never has the Jewish community been more influential, more powerful, in the history of the Jewish community in America…

I never thought that we would see neo-Nazis. Not just neo-Nazis. Explicit language of hatred toward whether it’s African-Americans, Mexican-Americans or those aspiring to be Americans. I never thought of it. Not in my lifetime.

And I believe as a Jewish American — I’m an elected official — we are of more influence economically, politically, culturally, than in any other place in the world in world history, in our own history as a people. And the reason I didn’t include [American Jews] in [my point about] African-American and Mexican-American or aspiring Americans is because we [American Jews] are in a position to be righteous..

We, as American Jews — the reason that I did not put the Jews in America as being victimized — not that there’s not anti-Semitism, that, trust me, I know. That’s not what I’m talking about. But we are in a position of influence, unlike other people [being targeted] and we have a responsibility, given the journey we as Jews have taken, the journey we as American Jews have taken to use our position of power for those who are powerless. To use our position of comfort for those who are uncomfortable. To use our position of security to provide safety and security to those who are not. That is our responsibility.

The mayor was very careful not to make headlines in the interview. But he did say that the Clinton peace talks had made life better for Palestinians. Or anyway, for Israelis:

You had some cooperation that you could never have had before. You did not have a signing agreement, but you do have some elements of a bilateral relationship, some elements of peace. So, as an outsider I would say you’re in a better place, but I want to be careful. It’s not for me…

This mashup of ideas — Jews in the U.S. are the most powerful Jewish community in the history of the world; they have an obligation to advocate for the undocumented and refugees and African-Americans; the Jewish state has shrunk to Tel Aviv; Palestinians are the majority throughout most of the land — seems to me to have an inevitable conclusion. Jews should start pushing for democracy in Israel and Palestine. They’d have to abandon Zionism to do so.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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13 Responses

  1. eljay
    September 18, 2017, 12:41 pm

    … When I was growing up … [there was] the sense that we were going to explore, and go everywhere, from Beersheba in the Negev to Kiryat Shmona and everything between, and Jews are going to be everywhere. We’re going to go and populate the land of Israel. Today, you have gone from a nation-state to a city-state, where everybody’s coming in to Tel Aviv and Jews are not even a majority in certain parts of Israel or even near a majority. …

    Rahm must not have gotten the memo from Miri Regev: “Fifty years ago, we returned to Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan. We returned home to our ancestral lands, and we are here to stay for all of eternity. … “

    Cheer up, Rahm.

    … If you look at Jewish history, never has the Jewish community been more influential, more powerful, in the history of the Jewish community in America … And I believe as a Jewish American — I’m an elected official — we are of more influence economically, politically, culturally, than in any other place in the world in world history … We, as American Jews … are in a position of influence …

    Rahm must not have gotten the memo that attributing power and influence to “the Jews” – in this case, the “Jewish community in America” – is anti-Semitic.

    Shame on you, Rahm. Why do you hate Jews so much?!

  2. pabelmont
    September 18, 2017, 3:46 pm

    If the city-states in fact out-do the nation-states, as claimed, we should ask what is Chicago (or NYC or any other big American city) doing to combat global warming/climate change — since the USA/Trump combo gave bowed out?

    Will the cities join Trump in committing humanicide? See: http://123pab.com/blog/2017/09/trumps-climate-denial-murder-suicide-something-else.php

  3. Mooser
    September 18, 2017, 3:56 pm

    “Jewish state of Israel has become Jewish ‘city-state’ of Tel Aviv”

    There is an important principle of self-determination involved here. Nothing must be permitted to prevent Zionist Israel from shrinking to its proper, natural size.

    • eljay
      September 18, 2017, 4:59 pm

      || Mooser: … There is an important principle of self-determination involved here. Nothing must be permitted to prevent Zionist Israel from shrinking to its proper, natural size. ||

      Why Tel Aviv, though? What happened to shrinking to (next year in) Jerusalem?

      • Mooser
        September 19, 2017, 12:05 pm

        I don’t think Jerusalem will be the last redoubt.

  4. JosephA
    September 18, 2017, 10:53 pm

    I probably shouldn’t say this, but I am going to. A friend of mine, her mother works for the city of Chicago and told me, directly, that Rahm Emanuel is a racist. She said it with conviction, apparently he has said some very offensive things to and about minorities. I suppose it could just be a rumor? Shame on me for spreading rumors.

    • festus
      September 19, 2017, 1:52 pm

      His actions as mayor clearly demonstrate his contempt for Chicago’s black community.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    September 19, 2017, 12:00 pm

    RE: “When I was growing up, [coming here] obviously two days after the [start of the] Six Day War, [there was] the sense that we were going to explore, and go everywhere, from Beersheba in the Negev to Kiryat Shmona and everything between, and Jews are going to be everywhere. We’re going to go and populate the land of Israel.” ~ Rahm Emmanuel

    MY COMMENT: Rahm Emmanuel should be given considerable credit for being open about the fact that Israel never had any intention of giving up the West Bank (i.e., pursuing a “land for peace” policy).

  6. Nathan
    September 19, 2017, 7:40 pm

    It’s hard to follow the logic of this article. Rahm Emanuel made a statement that Israel has gone from a “nation-state to a city-state”, and therefore the conclusion of the article is “to abandon Zionism”. Should I assume that if it’s not true (that Israel has become a city-state), the conclusion of Mondoweiss should therefore be that one should not abandom Zionism?

    I don’t really think that the observations of Mr Emanuel should be taken too seriously. In any case, the only question that one should ask in journalism is the veracity of the statement. In other words, is it true that Israel is becoming a city-state? Strangely, that question didn’t occur to anyone. The point of the article, apparently, is to restate the view that Zionism must be abandoned – and no one really cares about city-states of the imagination.

    Since Mr Emanuel states that Israel has gone from “a nation-state to a city-state”, it’s apparent that he doesn’t even understand the terminology that he uses. Obviously, the “city-state” is a state the size a city – so, it would seem that he understands that a “nation-state” is a state the size of a “nation” (a country). However, in political science, a nation-state is a state that was set up by a particular ethnicity (a nation). Theoretically, a nation-state could also be a city-state.

    I was surprised that the article did not mention that Mr Emanuel’s father was a member of the Irgun. Surely, that would have been much more interesting than his ideas about city-states. And it wouldn’t have spoiled the point of the article. The conclusion could have been that “since Mr Emanuel’s father was a member of the Irgun, Zionism should be abandoned”.

    • eljay
      September 20, 2017, 8:51 am

      || Nathan: … In any case, the only question that one should ask in journalism is the veracity of the statement. … ||

      If “the veracity of the statement” were all that mattered in journalism, Zionism – the statement that people who choose to be Jewish are entitled…
      – to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine; and
      – to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them,
      …would long ago have been thoroughly discredited.

      || … The point of the article, apparently, is to restate the view that Zionism must be abandoned … ||

      The point of the article is a supposition based on Mr. Emanuel’s (at times anti-Semitic) comments:

      This mashup of ideas — Jews in the U.S. are the most powerful Jewish community in the history of the world; they have an obligation to advocate for the undocumented and refugees and African-Americans; the Jewish state has shrunk to Tel Aviv; Palestinians are the majority throughout most of the land — seems to me to have an inevitable conclusion. Jews should start pushing for democracy in Israel and Palestine. They’d have to abandon Zionism to do so.

    • Talkback
      September 22, 2017, 7:15 am

      Nathan: “It’s hard to follow the logic of this article. Rahm Emanuel made a statement that Israel has gone from a “nation-state to a city-state”, and therefore the conclusion of the article is “to abandon Zionism”. Should I assume that if it’s not true (that Israel has become a city-state), the conclusion of Mondoweiss should therefore be that one should not abandom Zionism?”

      Only if that would be the ONLY reason to abandon Zionism.

  7. RoHa
    September 19, 2017, 11:38 pm

    “Should I assume that if it’s not true (that Israel has become a city-state), the conclusion of Mondoweiss should therefore be that one should not abandom Zionism?”

    No.

    (p implies q) does not imply (not p implies not q)

    I wanted to put that in formal notation for you, but the MW system does not accept the symbols.

    • RoHa
      September 21, 2017, 10:13 pm

      Oh, wait, I can get these symbols in, and express it this way.

      ~((p ⊃ q) ⊃ (~p ⊃ ~q))

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