Friday, November 20, 2020

Abandoned by my "descendants"--how it feels to be a Zionist senior

I've already written about Jewish Anti-Zionists here, but I've never talked about the emotional affect of knowing that, as a fellow congregant once put it, "There's no such thing as a Zionist under 40."  

While there may very well be Zionists under the age of 40, I, myself, haven't met any in years.

I don't remember who said this to me, but someone once suggested that the reason why younger Jews aren't Zionists is that they think that Jews are safe now.  That's an interesting theory, and I think there's a certain irony involved--in my opinion, the reason why younger Jews think that they're safe is that they've never lived in a world in which they had no place to run.  In plain English, the State of Israel is the escape hatch for Jews in the Galut (Diaspora), but younger Jews don't think that they need one.  Personally, I find their optimism incomprehensible and their lack of hakarat hatov (gratitude) quite upsetting.  People died to give you an emergency back-up, and you don't care?!

But this is what many of us older Jews have to live with.  Our belief in the necessity of a homeland for the Jews is being trashed, and we simply have to resign ourselves to knowing that few Jews in the Diaspora will follow in our footsteps and support that homeland.  :(

Doesn't anyone believe in a two-state solution anymore?

The floor is open.


Anonymous AnDat said...

"While there may very well be Zionists under the age of 40, I, myself, haven't met any in years." Funny. Almost everyone I spend time with (pre-pandemic) is a Zionist under 40. We grew up knowing that the generations of our parents and grandparents were dedicated to Israel as a Jewish homeland, and that after millennia, we were finally free to return, to live in our country not under enemy rule, and that this was important and significant and a fulfillment of our dreams - to be able to go live in Israel! And we believed in what you were saying.
So we made aliyah.
And now you don't see us :)

!שבת שלום

Fri Nov 20, 06:20:00 AM 2020  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

AnDat, I apologize for having gotten carried away. I should have said that I don't know any young Zionists *in my neighborhood.* That's discouraging, and, frankly, depressing, but it may very well not be indicative of the broader Jewish community. Thank you for being living proof that I'm wrong.

Fri Nov 20, 10:28:00 AM 2020  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

AnDat, I'm copying your comment to my Facebook post. (I post links to my blog posts on my Facebook page.) It's important for people to see that I'm wrong.

Shabbat Shalom.

Fri Nov 20, 10:41:00 AM 2020  
Blogger Coyote said...

For what it's worth, the idea of a Jewish homeland in Israel does not necessarily have to equal the maintenance of a Jewish majority in Israel. After all, in theory, even a group that's a minority could end up having a secure homeland of their own. For instance, if Israel will open its doors wide open to non-Jewish Russians, Chinese, and Indians, do you really think that these groups are going to subsequently oppress Israeli Jews--even when Israeli Jews would have given these groups a new home and a better life than they previously had? (I could understand Palestinian Arabs being angry at Israeli Jews for stealing their ancestors' land, but non-Jewish Russians, Chinese, and Indians who would have decided to voluntarily immigrate to Israel?)

Heck, even the threat to Israel's Jewish majority from mass non-Jewish immigration could be reduced through mass intermarriage and the adoption of patrilineal/bilineal descent.

One common criticism of the alt-right and white nationalists towards Jews is that some or even many Jews push for massive demographic change in the West but not in Israel. So, I find that a good way of responding to such criticism would be to push for massive demographic change in both of these places. Now, I'm not necessarily comfortable with the idea of a Palestinian right of return since I fear that whenever there are more Muslims, there could be additional problems with things such as freedom of speech--for instance, people getting killed over Muhammad cartoons. However, I would probably not be opposed to mass non-Jewish Russian, Chinese, and Indian immigration into Israel.

Sat Nov 21, 09:04:00 PM 2020  
Blogger Coyote said...

And for what it's worth, patrilineal Jews such as myself are not exactly welcome in Israel. Sure, we can immigrate there so long as we are 1/4th Jewish or more, but there are no Jewish movements in Israel who actually accept us for who we are. Nope, all Jewish movements in Israel are sexist as Hell in regards to the issue of descent and passing on Judaism to one's descendants! Even the Israeli Reform Jewish movement! So, for patrilineal Jews such as myself, altering Israel's Jewish character actually makes a lot of sense--just so long as this altered character will not result in Israeli Jews actually getting persecuted, of course.

Sat Nov 21, 09:07:00 PM 2020  
Blogger Coyote said...

Doesn't Judaism teach to "Welcome the stranger"? If so, then the world's only Jewish state should certainly pay attention to this EXTREMELY important Jewish teaching. Not all non-Jews who would come to Israel under a more open immigration policy are actually going to want to persecute Israeli Jews, after all. I suspect that most of these non-Jews are probably NOT going to want to persecute Israeli Jews, especially after Israeli Jews would have opened their doors to them in an act of charity and in a time of need for them.

Sat Nov 21, 09:19:00 PM 2020  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"For what it's worth, the idea of a Jewish homeland in Israel does not necessarily have to equal the maintenance of a Jewish majority in Israel." Sorry, Coyote, but we'll simply have to agree to disagree on this. From my perspective, there's no point in Jews having their own state if they aren't the majority and, therefore, don't run the government. The whole point of the founding of the State of Israel was to give Jews control over our own destiny. How could Israel guarantee the Right of Return for all Jews unless Jews are in charge?

Sun Nov 22, 11:23:00 AM 2020  
Blogger Coyote said...

What exactly makes you think that Gentile immigrants to Israel (at least the non-Muslim and non-Arab kind) are actually going to be hostile to Israel's Law of Return for Jews? One would think that they would have sympathy for the plight of Jews who are fleeing economic hardship, persecution, and whatnot considering that Israel would have offered themselves (as in, these hypothetical Gentile immigrants) refuge when they needed it.

Sun Nov 22, 03:12:00 PM 2020  
Blogger Coyote said...

As for Jews continuing to run the Israeli government, here's a hypothetical scenario for you, Shira:

Would it be permissible for the Israeli government to criminalize apostasy for Jews (as in, to criminalize leaving Judaism and joining some other religion) if, purely hypothetically, huge numbers of Israeli Jews would have ever indeed wanted to do this--thus possibly eventually threatening Israel's Jewish character? (The fact that this scenario isn't very realistic is besides the point, since hypothetical scenarios don't have to be realistic, as Judith Jarvis Thomson's Violinist scenario in regards to abortion demonstrates. Rather, they're thought experiments.)

After all, if a government/state has the right to use force and coercion (in this case, using force and coercion to keep millions of people under poverty, misery, and/or oppression) in order to preserve a particular state's existing demographic character, why should a government/state not have equivalent powers to restrict speech and religion--and for that matter to pursue discriminatory fertility/natality policies--if doing this ever actually became necessary in order to preserve this state's existing demographic character? After all, if huge numbers of Israeli Jews will ever leave Judaism and join other religions, then Israel would likewise stop being a Jewish state and thus the Jews would stop being in control of their own destiny. So, should the Israeli government be able to prevent this outcome by restricting speech and religion (such as by banning apostasy for Jews) if it ever actually became necessary for it to do this?

Here's a useful article about the *significant* tensions between liberalism and immigration restrictions:

That's *not* to say that immigration restrictions are *never* justified, but the burden should be on those people (such as yourself) who would be willing to condemn millions of people to a lifetime of poverty, misery, and/or oppression. So, Yeah, I would actually need to see evidence of non-Arab and non-Muslim gentiles who would want to move to Israel actually wishing to abolish Israel's Law of Return for Jews en masse.

Mon Nov 23, 12:14:00 AM 2020  
Blogger Coyote said...

Also, as a side note, if Israel is to be a safe haven for all Jews, why not also for Christians of Jewish descent considering that the Nazis also persecuted and sometimes even murdered them, as with both Edith Stein and Irene Nemirovsky?

For what matter, why exactly should someone who is 1/1,024th Jewish on their maternal side and an atheist or agnostic get automatic entry into Israel whereas someone who is 1/8th Jewish on their paternal side and an atheist or agnostic shouldn't? It strikes me as being likely that the latter person is likely to experience much more anti-Semitism than the former person is likely to experience, especially considering that the latter person is likely to have a Jewish last name but the former person isn't.

Mon Nov 23, 04:08:00 PM 2020  

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