Trending Topics:

‘Israel is the home of all Jews,’ declares a right-wing official

on 43 Comments

Two news reports from that clueless Jewish democracy in the Middle East.  Is this kind of messaging really appealing to American Jews?

Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon

This morning, the deputy foreign minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, tweeted out a story about a Nigerian woman’s decision to move to Israel and serve in an Israeli uniform.

Reading the story of Tobi [Cohen] from Nigeria, it is once again clear for all to see: Israel is the home of all Jews,…

— Danny Ayalon (@DannyAyalon) April 18, 2014

I’m not sure that’s clear to all of them. Especially coming from a member of Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist party, who has endorsed the idea of a loyalty oath for non-Jews seeking to become citizens.

And this nugget is from Ambassador Ron Dermer’s Passover message, earlier this week. It suggests that Jews everywhere are safer because of having a state in Israel:

 As Prime Minister Netanyahu works to secure the future of the one and only Jewish state in the face of great challenges, Jewish people across the world are privileged this Passover, as they have been for the past 65 years, to celebrate the rebirth of a free, sovereign Jewish people in our ancestral homeland.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

43 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay on April 18, 2014, 1:29 pm

    >> … Israel is the home of all Jews …

    Israel is the home of Jews and non-Jews who live there, and of Jews and non-Jews who are permitted to immigrate there.

    It should also be the home of all non-Jews who were ethnically cleansed from there. Sadly – and shamefully – it’s not.

    • American
      American on April 18, 2014, 2:09 pm

      Israel is the homeland of all Jews.>>>

      Well obviously its not since only half of them live there.
      Has it been worth the trillions in cash + other cost/considerations/dead bodies/turmoil/ceaseless efforts the US and others have put out to house only 6 million Jews?
      I dont think so.
      Particulary when the half of Jews that dont live there dont even seem to want to move to their homeland.

    • Walid
      Walid on April 20, 2014, 6:10 am

      “… … Israel is the home of all Jews …”

      You can almost argue that America is just as much the home of the Jews from the welcome mat that’s always there for them and now they won’t be needing any visas to visit. The next step will undoubtedly be the automatic Green Card on arrival. How many Jewish cases are like those of British-born Aussie Martin Indyk that got his American citizenship faster than you can make instant coffee? Helena Cobban wrote about it on her blog 4 years ago:

      “… Like me, Indyk had been born in England. He arrived in Washington via a childhood and education in Australia. I came via my seven years of on-the-ground-experience in Lebanon and other Arab countries. Then in 1993, on the eve of Bill Clinton’s inauguration as president, Indyk received extraordinarily rapid naturalization as a U.S. citizen and immediately went to work in Clinton’s White House as his senior adviser on Middle East policy.

      You see, when it comes to the pro-Israeli crowd, having other nationalities or dual or triple nationalities is an easy-come-easy-go business inside the U.S. political elite. Australian to American? No problem– provided you’re well-connected with the pro-Israeli in-crowd, like Indyk. American to Israeli? Again, a matter of moments if you happen to be long-time “American” scholar turned suddenly Israeli diplomatic rep, Michael Oren.

      At the time, when I wrote something about the rapidity of Indyk’s acquisition of U.S. citizenship, he picked up the phone and started screaming at me, accusing me of being an “anti-Semite.” “Oh,” I asked him, “I assume we are talking on the record here?”

      He slammed down the phone. What a baby he was. I don’t think we’ve spoken since then.

      So… Indyk went on to have a long and notable career working in the Clinton administration, first as the top “Middle East expert” in the Clinton White House and then as Clinton’s ambassador to Israel. He later wrote about those years in his stunningly mis-titled book Innocent Abroad: An Intimate History of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East. (The title is inaccurate in many ways… “Innocent”?? “Peace” diplomacy?? But it is also stunningly inappropriate. I mean, would anyone really want an “innocent” to be advising the president on an area as important as the Middle East?)”

      More on Indyk’s infamy:

      • James Canning
        James Canning on April 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

        Fascinating post. Special rules obtain in the US for Jews operating with approval of the Israel lobby.

  2. James Canning
    James Canning on April 18, 2014, 1:30 pm

    Large numbers of Ethiopians have relocated in the US over the past several decades. Apparently they could call themselves Jews, and “return” to Israel as a matter of rights?

  3. Shmuel
    Shmuel on April 18, 2014, 1:47 pm

    Reading the story of Tobi [Cohen] from Nigeria, it is once again clear for all to see: Israel is the home of all Jews

    Not really. Tobi Cohen may or may not be Jewish. She is an Israeli citizen because her father is one, but I guess something like “Israel is the home of all Israelis” just doesn’t do it for Ayalon.

    Jewish people across the world are privileged this Passover, as they have been for the past 65 years, to celebrate the rebirth of a free, sovereign Jewish people in our ancestral homeland.

    Or embittered (yet another reason to eat bitter herbs) that so many of their fellow Jews have forgotten what it feels like to be a slave and how precious freedom is to all who are oppressed. Becoming Pharaoh is not freedom.

  4. seafoid
    seafoid on April 18, 2014, 1:55 pm

    Ancestral homeland is such a crock. Nobody else uses it. Home of all the Jews. I thought there were more in Galut. Perhaps that is g-d’s message.

    • talknic
      talknic on April 18, 2014, 3:41 pm

      @ seafoid Most states are declared only for and by the legitimate citizens of a territory. There’s not many declared on behalf of people regardless of where they hold citizenship.

    • puppies
      puppies on April 19, 2014, 1:16 pm

      seafoid – An offer of “ancestral homeland” may come across as irritating, nationalist, etc. but it’s legitimately used with some justification by many countries today: Turkey, Greece, Spain, Germany, and a lot more. Difference is, Germany for example does not do it on a racial or religious basis and applies it to German Jews too, Spain has been doing reverse discrimination favoring Sefardí Jews for the last 50 years or so; all give citixenship to descendants of their ex-citizens; most importantly, none offer a homeland on other people’s land, i.e. Palestine or Uganda.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on April 20, 2014, 3:02 am

        Not in the zionist context of 2 millennia, puppies. Turkey doesn’t claim Central Asia as its homeland.

      • puppies
        puppies on April 20, 2014, 3:08 am

        @seafoid = The “zionist context of 2 millennia” may be yours for all I know, it’s not mine or anyone else’s. The Turkish offer only concerns ethnic Turks of the “Anatolian Turkish” variety, not to all Turkic tribes and descendants and speakers,. i.e. strictly meaning the Ottoman remains in the Balkans and along the Southern border. No relationship at all to Central Asia here, the homeland refuge offered is within today’s Turkey’s borders. Nevertheless, it is still racist as it only interests the dominant ethnicity, but not as patently absurd as the Zionists’ opium dream.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on April 20, 2014, 8:32 am

        Homeland” claims typically go with landgrabs and aggressive nationalism. “Chez nous” is far less obnoxious, far less insecure. Zionism still hasn’t convinced the world of its justness.

      • puppies
        puppies on April 20, 2014, 12:55 pm

        Seafoid – As the Greek example if any should convince you, an offer for protection of the ethnic group is not necessarily landgrab-connected.
        As for as sentence like “Zionism still hasn’t convinced the world of its justness”, I don’t know what to do with such a monstrous absurdity. Either you have a problem with logic or with grammar.

  5. lysias
    lysias on April 18, 2014, 3:34 pm

    I can’t help being reminded of Rudolf Hess’s words at the 1934 Nuremberg party rally, as shown in Triumph of the Will:

    Dank Ihrer Führung wird Deutschland sein Ziel erreichen, Heimat zu sein… Heimat zu sein für alle Deutschen der Welt.

    • just
      just on April 18, 2014, 3:46 pm

      Yep. Revolting, isn’t it?

    • Ellen
      Ellen on April 18, 2014, 10:53 pm

      Wow, lysis Hess’s words are almost exactly Ayalon’s words. Replace 1936 Germany for 2014 Israel and it is the exact same message. (I understand this is offensive to many…as it us to me, but this is what it is and there is no denying it.)

      Translation: “…Germany will reach it’s goal to become home, home to all Germans of the the world.”

      Well, the social political roots of all European Nationalist movements of the late 19th century are shared. There was a “de nazification” program after the war — to re program the population. But that was only for Germans still in Germany.

      • Keith
        Keith on April 19, 2014, 4:43 pm

        ELLEN- “There was a “de nazification” program after the war….”

        In name only. The reality is that the US recruited massive numbers of these reliable “anti-communists” to help us fight the Cold War. The two best known were Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon,” who worked for the CIA in post war France and later in South America, and Reinhard Gehlen, the Nazi General who was in charge of intelligence on the Eastern front. Initially, Gehlen worked clandestinely to maintain the networks of neo-fascist saboteurs he established in Eastern Europe. Later he became head of the West German BND (CIA). Uncle Sam has been involved in a huge amount of unsavory activity in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 19, 2014, 5:39 pm

        Marcel Ophuls’s movie Hotel Terminus (an excellent movie) has a great deal to say about the close connections between Barbie and U.S. Army counterintelligence in the immediate postwar years.

      • gamal
        gamal on April 19, 2014, 8:04 pm

        “The reality is that the US recruited massive numbers of these reliable “anti-communists” to help us fight the Cold War.”

        This being one of the complaints the Red Army Faction that caused the state to totter in the ’70’s. by the way can anyone get hold of the Stammheim Transcripts, when ever I tried at the LSE, over a three year period, they were out.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on April 19, 2014, 6:19 am

      lysias, when I met Sean McBride, he at one point argued that the Zionists influenced the Nazi ideology. Which is obviously a simplification. But he may have had similar evidence in mind.

      It’s nationalism, really, it feels. That’s the shared element.

      This comes to mind: An interesting book about the late 19th century antisemitism debate in Berlin by Marcel Stoezler: The State, the Nation and the Jews, Liberalism and the Antisemitism Dispute in Bismarck’s Germany. The rather famous debate was triggered by the national liberal historian Heinrich Treitschke.

      It’s a fascinating book concentrating on the exchanges between Heinrich Treitschke and his German Jewish debaters. There is one interesting angle they force him to give up during this debate: the economical element. The Jewish Germans successfully point out to him that Germans abroad suffer from the same complaints and/or prejudices. You will find elements of this in the context of the Germans in Czechoslovakia you will find elements of the larger story for instance in Kafka biographies. But they may have had Russia in mind. Remember Kohl, who brought back multitudes of Russians with German roots? We made jokes about that. What about the US or Australia?

      If I remember correctly, and no I am no specialist in either German 19 century history and/or antisemitism, its only a basic interest. Stoetzler’s argument is that the fact that Germany was a rather late (united) state (in a rather nationalist century, I may add) it triggered the general debate about who belongs and who doesn’t. And the Nazis are of course the ones heavily borrowing from the late 19century stuff.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on April 19, 2014, 6:06 pm


        lysias, when I met Sean McBride, he at one point argued that the Zionists influenced the Nazi ideology. Which is obviously a simplification. But he may have had similar evidence in mind.

        To set the record straight, I once remarked that Dennis Prager (who is a leading Jewish thinker) observed in one of his books (Why the Jews? as I recall) that Nazis appropriated “the chosen people” theme from Jewish nationalism for their own mystical ethnic nationalist ideology. (I don’t have the quote at hand.) Christianity and Islam also appropriated “the chosen people” theme from the Old Testament. All three ideologies have used their “chosen people” rationale periodically to attack Judaism and Jews.

        Human history is rife with competing “chosen peoples” (messianic ethnic and religious movements) in fierce battle with one another — which is is quite ironic.

        Perhaps we need to rethink this whole thing — debug the basic belief system. What I have noticed is that all these “chosen people” conflicts seem to be ego-driven at a very primitive level of human consciousness. Maybe we just need to grow up and develop a bit of rational self-control over our respective tribal urges and demons.

    • puppies
      puppies on April 19, 2014, 1:06 pm

      @Lysias – Well, he wasn’t offering a homeland on other people’s land. At least not yet in 1934.

  6. Hostage
    Hostage on April 18, 2014, 5:19 pm

    This morning, the deputy foreign minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon,

    No, Ze’ev Elkin took his place after the last elections. He fell from grace in Yisrael Beiteinu, when he testified against his former party boss, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in connection with the appointment of Zeev Ben-Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia.

  7. piotr
    piotr on April 18, 2014, 10:31 pm

    This is a bit “dog bites man” kind of news. Once, there was a story in an Israeli newspaper about a man biting a dog, but the converse can barely make news in a village newspaper. I do not know what percentage of Israelis and Zionists elsewhere (however liberal) do not believe that Israel is THE homeland of all Jews. And there are somewhat logical explanations of that.

    Explanation one. Holy writ of Balfour: Jews shall establish national home in (then) Palestine. Balfour would be greatly miffed if Jews would not take that offer, so one has to stick with it.

    Explanation two. In the absence of Israel, Jews would be in the most terrible danger of them all: they would loose their Jewishness. For more than 2000 years in Exile they did not, but mostly because they did not know any better. However with innumerable distractions of 21st century they would assimilate in a blink without a focus for the national pride (why, they would not even feel a reason to have a national pride).

    Explanation three. What Jews need most is a good reason to kvetch, without it they are like mariners of old sailing for months without vitamin C in their food. Through the previous centuries in Exile they had plenty of legitimate reasons, but now, not so much. In the absence of Israel, that is. But there are so many attacks on Israel that one can still maintain that anti-Semitism is as powerful as ever, and we are unjustly vilified, subjected to humiliations of double standards etc.

    I think it covers most of it if you allow for variations like “spiritual needs” (a combination of Explanation Two and Explanation Three).

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on April 19, 2014, 2:04 pm

      piotr, you have a wonderful sense of humor.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont on April 19, 2014, 5:00 pm

      piotr and LeaNder: yes, humor in a jugular vein.

      Jews must need to kvetch because, if there were no need, where would such a delicious word have come from? And anyway, who can doubt the need, word or no word?

      But Jews of a certain memory are tired — tired I say! — of living in a miserable shtetl, or small ghetto, even if they willingly crowded in to get there; and so they cannot abide with living so crowded in the tiny pre-1967 Israeli territory. “Too small” is tattooed on the arms of all those who did have numbers tattooed there already. Some use “not enough”. Some even have the more life-affirming tattoo “never enough”.

      And although the older tattoo generously supplied by Germans — ever needy themselves for order and thus needing to enumerate and identify — was not appreciated by the Jews who possessed them, the newer tattoo is eagerly adopted.

      “Doesn’t tattooing hurt?” you might ask, and the answer seems to be, “Who cares, we need to express our most basic aspirations here.”

      They say “peace, peace”, but they aspire to the “enough” expressed by “never enough”. It’s a tough one out there!

      • lysias
        lysias on April 19, 2014, 6:12 pm

        Jews must need to kvetch

        Do Israeli Jews kvetch? Hasn’t Israel done its best to suppress Yiddish and the humor which is inherent in that language?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on April 20, 2014, 2:15 am

        It would be wonderful to imagine the last 140 years of Jewish history without the abyss that exists in the actual map of that history. You guys pretend it’s funny or something, but your analysis is a bunch of hot air and hot gas emitted by people who hate Zionism not really thinking about trying to understand anything and just belching and considering it funny.

  8. lobewyper
    lobewyper on April 19, 2014, 2:12 pm

    Mondoweiss is getting to be big time. Yahoo news has linked to this article!

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on April 19, 2014, 5:42 pm

      The non-humorous – or non-intentionally humorous – version of the dog bites man story is given by Margaret Macmillan on p.434 of her invaluable book about Versailles and all that, called Peacemakers. Balfour, playing the part of the dog (ingeniously trained by Louis Brandeis, according to Macmillan), states that ‘it is wrong to use mere numerical self-determination’ to settle the future of Palestine. ‘Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land’. That was to say that the electorate choosing the future of Palestine definitely included Jewish people worldwide and only questionably including the current residents. It is , as piotr remarks, not surprising that this opinion is echoed today.

      • lysias
        lysias on April 19, 2014, 6:15 pm

        That was typical British hypocrisy. Britain wanted Jews in Palestine for imperial reasons: to provide a local force that could help to defend the Suez Canal and British rule in Egypt, it it came to that. And indeed, when the Palestinians revolted in 1936, the British armed and trained the Jews in Palestine, who then helped to suppress the Palestinian revolt.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on April 19, 2014, 6:34 pm

        A number of factors entered into the thinking of British leaders. One was the hope the promise of a home in Palestine for Jews would help keep Russia in the war against Germany. (Influence of Jews on policy in Russia was given too much weight)

      • piotr
        piotr on April 19, 2014, 7:15 pm

        I am not sure if hypocrisy was the issue. The “common sense thinking” 100 years ago was incredibly racist. Jews were surely inferior to Anglo-Saxons, who were the “top nation”, but still European, at least the folks who conversed with the British ruling class, while Arabs were “natives”, not much better than the Irish. It was around the time of Balfour declaration that Apartheid in South Africa got solid legal basis in South African Act, while colonization of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Kenia by white settlers was in the full swing.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on April 20, 2014, 8:19 am

        I don’t intend to defend my country for this disgraceful episode. I think it’s pretty clear that there was some kind of race for support of Jewish opinion in the United States, though we were always going to win because the Germans were impeded by their Ottoman alliance. My opinion, for what it’s worth based as it is entirely on secondary sources, is that the commitments made by Balfour could have been watered down quite significantly at a later stage but were not because Balfour – and even more importantly his boss, Lloyd George – were convinced Christian Zionists and were doing it for God, atoning for their sins and bringing a foretaste of the promised, peaceful Kingdom out of the wreckage and carnage of a terrible war.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on April 20, 2014, 2:55 pm

        Britain was playing for support from “International Jewry”, when Lord Balfour sent his letter to Lord Rothschild in 1917. They accorded it too much weight, in importance.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on April 20, 2014, 2:57 pm

        I would add, that Lord Rothschild was one of the few Zionists in his family in 1917. Most upper-class English Jews were opposed to Zionism at that time.

      • peter hindrup
        peter hindrup on April 19, 2014, 9:38 pm

        Not forgetting that when it was finally put down, 1938, peasant farmers up against the might of the British Empire — ‘the Arabs’, spoken of so often, so contemptuously, as being unable to fight! — and negotiations were beginning the Brits asked that all the villages and towns nominate their leaders, those who were to negotiate for them, and Brits went around a shot those nominated.

        There is who claim that some were jailed, some forced into exile. None claim that ‘some were not shot out of hand.

        That, plus the training and arming of the Jews/Zionists, plus the Brits assisting in the ousting of whole village populations by the various Zionist gangs was why there was little or no organised resistance in 1948.

        Palestinians have been sold out all down the line by fort the British, and then the Yanks.

        But of course, they were not ‘white’.

      • jon s
        jon s on April 20, 2014, 6:34 am

        peter hindrup,
        I suggest that you edit your comment:

        “There is who claim that some were jailed, some forced into exile. None claim that ‘some were not shot out of hand.”

        As it stands, it’s incoherent.

        In 1948, the British certainly weren’t assisting the Jewish side in the war.
        As to “little or no organized resistance”: note the huge number of casualties –
        6000 on the Jewish side, 1% of the population- evidence of very significant resistance.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on April 20, 2014, 3:15 pm

        Any number of British leaders tried to help the Palestinians in Palestine, in the decades prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

  9. wondering jew
    wondering jew on April 20, 2014, 2:00 am

    It suggests that Jews everywhere are safer because of having a state in Israel:

    Jewish people across the world are privileged this Passover, as they have been for the past 65 years, to celebrate the rebirth of a free, sovereign Jewish people in our ancestral homeland.

    Nowhere does dermer say anything about safety. none of the words imply safety. the words given are privileged, rebirth, free, sovereign and ancestral homeland. None of those words imply safety. If you wish to discuss his statement, fine, but labeling it as safety seems disingenuous not straight forward at all.

  10. jonquil323
    jonquil323 on April 20, 2014, 2:02 am

    Danny Ayalon has been out of a job for just over a year. He testified against Avigdor Lieberman in the trial about the appointment of an ambassador. The basis of Zionist thinking is that Israel is the home of all the Jews. For that reason the Israelis passed the Law of Return, giving Jews automatic citizenship upon arrival, if they wish. An interesting discussion of the issue was published by Kegan Paul in 1926 with the title Apella or the Future of the Jews.

Leave a Reply