DeBlasio: “I know that antisemitism is dangerous,” he said. “That reinforces my commitment to the survival and the security of the State of Israel. Because the Jewish people cannot be safe without the state of Israel…. Israel at its core is there to shelter an oppressed people.”
Think about it – basically, this guy is saying, “If Jewish Americans are confronted with antisemitic violence, it’s a good thing they have Israel b/c god knows we ain’t lifting a finger to help ’em”. Really? We won’t shelter our own friends and neighbors should things take an ugly turn? We have to offshore the protection of our own citizens to Israel?
Imagine saying to African Americans in the pre-civil rights era, “Thank god for Liberia b/c there’s lots of hate and violence against our black citizens and they need a place to feel safe”.
(Actually, Marcus Garvey took that tack and was met largely with yawns by the African American community, which wisely preferred to stand and fight for its rights to ducking out to Africa).
DeBlasio’s repetition of this tired justification for Israel’s existence/colonizing expansion (and these are logically related, the latter following from the former like concavity follows from convexity) is problematic also for the violence it does to the idea of solidarity. At what point do American Jews say, “This country – my country – has shown an overwhelming dedication to vouchsafing the rights of its Jewish citizens. We have thrived here, we enjoy a level of prestige and influence unmatched in our history, and if the time comes that US policy takes an antisemitic turn, my neighbors will stand by us, as we and other whites threw ourselves into the fight for civil rights for African Americans”?
And what does it mean for progressive solidarity for gentiles to feel that, to many of their Jewish co-citizens, they harbor a virus which will become a full-blown disease after the next recession or similar social stressor, that every gentile is an antisemite-in-waiting?
Basically, the idea seems to be that there are simply no conceivable circumstances, no observations, no level of social development, that would lead someone like DeBlasio to say, “Why would any American need another country to feel safe? It’s our job to protect our citizens and that’s what we’ll do.”
Unfortunately, instead of that, he basically affirms that you just can’t trust a gentile – call it the Goldhagen Axiom.
Finally, doesn’t the idea that Israel is there to shelter the world’s Jews give the lie to the notion that Israel is ready to compromise for peace (not that most MW readers need any further proof of that idea’s emptiness)? After all, if there were a sudden influx of worldwide Jewry into Israel, where would they go? Israel already claims it’s running out of land, and the only places around it are – not Israel. So, Israel’s claim to be the potential home of all the world’s Jews is a pretty clear announcement to the neighbors that their land should be understood as theirs only so long as Israel doesn’t have an immediate need for it.