What is the State of Israel for?

T. Belman.  I recently wrote Victor Rosenthal the following;

I posted your terrific article, Keeping the Jewish State, Jewish with this comment,

“This is a terrific article.

I hope you follow up with an article on what Israel must do to protect Israel as the state of the Jews.

How can Israel outlaw antizionists not only from the Knesset but also from the right to vote.

How can Israel outlaw Palestinian propaganda which seeks to challenge our narrative with their contrived narrative?
How can Israel ban the celebration of the Naqba?
How can Israel enforce a different curriculum in the Arab schools which teaches the Israel narrative rather than the Arab narrative?

In short, how can we defend ourselves? Many Israelis think that democracy prevents us legislating so. But I don’t.

This article, I believe is his response.

By Victor Rosenthal

It’s not a silly question. There are serious disagreements about the answer. But there is only one answer that justifies the sacrifices that have been made to re-establish the Jewish state in its historical homeland, and those that will be required in the future to keep it.

That answer is given by Zionism, which holds that a sovereign state in the Land of Israel is a necessity to protect and preserve the Jewish people – and that their preservation is an objective worth attaining.

The Zionist view implies certain things about the nature of the state, things that logically follow from its function as a refuge for persecuted Jews, a source of strength for the Jewish people, and a place where it is possible to live a fully Jewish life, according to whatever combination of religious and cultural elements are important to the individual.

It is a place where the Hebrew language is dominant, the majority religion is Judaism, the holidays are the traditional Jewish ones (religious and national), and most of the population are Jews. It is (or should be) a place where antisemitism is not tolerated, indeed, where it is unthinkable. Because there are forces that work against these principles, it can’t be expected that they will appear by themselves. They must be woven into the legal fabric of the state and they must be affirmed by its leaders. The Law of Return and the Nation State Law are not accidental; they are essential.

The Zionist state can share some characteristics of a liberal, secular, democratic state such as the USA aspires to be (although recently this conception has come under attack from the anti-rational Left in America), but it cannot be such a state. It will unavoidably need to distinguish between Jews, for whom the state exists, and non-Jewish citizens, in very specific ways that relate to the character of the state – e.g., the language and symbols of the state, the official holidays, etc. – and to the maintenance of its Jewish majority.

Israel is special. It is the only Jewish state, the only one with that specific purpose. It is not a smaller version of the USA. Its socialist founders, despite their emphasis on democratic principles and guaranteeing rights to all citizens, nevertheless were Zionists and proclaimed that they were declaring a Jewish state. Those weren’t just words.

The state may try to provide every possible civil right and protection against discrimination to its minorities, but when there are conflicts between liberal-democratic ideals and Zionist principles, Zionism must prevail. Otherwise the state will ultimately lose its function as a Jewish state. It will lose its ability to protect and preserve the Jewish people as a people, against persecution and assimilation.

Zionism is unpopular throughout the world. The majority of those who have thought about it do not approve of Zionism for one reason or another. Either they don’t see the importance of there being a Jewish people, they actively dislike them, or they think that the cost to others of the existence of the Jewish state is not justified (I suspect that most of those in this group also fit in the second).

Ever since the founding of the state, there have been Jews who are uncomfortable with Zionism. They correctly note that Zionism can conflict with liberal democratic principles, and for this reason they bitterly oppose it and want to “dezionize” Israel. Sometimes they have even made common cause with enemies of the state.

This issue has come up now in the dispute over the “family unification law” which since 2002 has made it difficult for residents of the Palestinian Authority who marry Israeli citizens to move to Israel in order to live with their spouses. I won’t get into the interesting politics of it now, with Bennet’s coalition trying to extend the existing law despite opposition from some of its Arab members, while Bibi’s opposition tries to embarrass them by proposing an even stronger Basic Law on the subject of immigration in general (something that I favor, although not as a tactic to overthrow the coalition). I mention it to note how the opponents of the law, like the publisher of Ha’aretz Amos Schocken and his antisemitic writer Gideon Levy, scream “racism, apartheid, Jewish supremacism!”

This law has nothing to do with “race,” which is essentially meaningless where Arabs and Jews are concerned. It is not “apartheid” which means enforced separation of racial groups, which would not apply to Israel even if Arabs and Jews were different racially. And it certainly doesn’t imply that Jews are superior to Arabs or believe that they ought to dominate them. Although the original purpose of the law was to reduce terrorism (a disproportionate number of terrorists were the product of “unified” families), it is not embarrassing to admit that it helps maintain Israel’s Jewish majority. It is a Zionist law that is unfair to non-Jews. So be it.

Post-Zionists Schocken and Levy also oppose the Law of Return (or would like to see it apply equally to Palestinian Arabs) as well as the Nation-State Law. They also oppose efforts to repatriate the tens of thousands of African migrants that entered the country via the Egyptian border, before an effective fence was built. These things are “undemocratic.” Perhaps, but they are necessary.

The post-Zionist vision is remarkably empty. The right-wing Jabotinsky and the left-wing Ben Gurion had very different ideas of what the Jewish state should be like. Schocken and Levy do not think there should be a Jewish state. In their monumental stupidity and arrogance, they wish for a soulless techno-state built on “equality” and “democracy” for peoples that would have nothing in common except geographic proximity, and a great deal of resentment for each other.

Imagine an Israel without its Zionist purpose (and very quickly, without its Jewish majority). How long would it survive? Why would anyone want to fight for it? Would Jews and Arabs make common cause in support of a liberal, democratic state? It’s hard to imagine. We saw last month what happened in mixed cities like Lod and Acco, where there are about half as many Arabs as Jews.

Most likely, Jews with money and foreign passports would flee. After the initial bloodbath, the ones who were left would face a descent into the tenuous, contingent existence that characterized the Middle Eastern diaspora for more than a millennium. Of course, it’s doubtful that the “lucky” ones in Europe, America, Australia, and other places would fare much better.

Just as a Jewish state is essential to the survival of the Jewish people, Zionism is essential to the survival of the Jewish state.

June 25, 2021 | 5 Comments »

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  1. No one seems to mind when Islamic countries embrace Islam and Muslims regardless of the fact that infidels live among them.
    But should Israel claim the same rights for Judaism and Jews, the whole world severely chastises her even though we treat strangers among us full civil rights. The only thing we deny them or should deny them is national rights.

  2. Zionism really started when Jews were chased out of their promised land! But for millennia Jews were powerless. Many must have dreamed of “Next year in Jerusalem” as next year to “the promised land” of the Jews, before the XVth century (Isaac Tyrnau)!
    Liberal Jews accept the state of dhimmitude!

  3. By adopting an accord of civil equality in all things, the Jewish State has accepted a continual state of siege along these very lines of battle. Should the Zionist Nation State not identify itself as such, sooner or later, the union of the Anti-Jewish Jews and the Anti-Zionist Arabs will work their will to undermine the Zionist measures that were employed to found and erect the Zionist state.

    They will employ their perceptions and label us as being inequitable and racists in our uneven Zionist rules, as they are likely to perceive us from their perspectives. It is a hard question that Victor asks in the title of this article, but the answer does not need to be hard to pronounce once the Zionist nature of Israel is accepted.

    The Zionists of the early twentieth century did not labor to the ends of creating a Jewish State so that they might elevate the political ambitions of the Arabs or to denigrate our cherished religion to appease the self-hating un-Jews. The State of Israel was born to the very annoyance of these objectives.

    The Zionist threads of reason should weave the nations tapestry of justice and relevance, not with wicked retributions towards the non-Jewish members of the society, but with earnest recollection that the Zionist state was created so that the Jews might migrate and live in great rejoicement of their common identity.

    Otherwise, they might well remain scattered among the many non-Zionist nations, hidden among strangers, living only as they are allowed as they wait for the wind to turn and blow them to a familiar and unkind fate. And should we do this, create a truly Zionist nation, they will libel us with reports of injustice and immorality.

    It will fall to the Zionist members to answer these slanders equitably, as Zionism is both moral and just within the identity of a Zionist State. We built it for our people, should these others wish to remain among such good Zionist company, they should be forced to accept these facts or finding their hate of us too extreme to bear, they should find accommodations among some non-Zionist nation to live their lives and fuel their hate of us – they will have a choice of nearly 200 such nations to choose to this end.

  4. Jews who oppose Zionism and wish to abolish the Basic Laws, such as the Law of the Return, that are integral parts of the Zionist endeavor, and/or support organization or regimes that seek to abolish the Jewish state, should also not be permitted to live in Israel. Israel cannot survive for much longer with large and active fifth columns, both Arab and Jewish, inside it.

  5. An article by an Israeli Arab that was recently published in Israpundit said that 72 per cent of young “Israeli” Arabs considered themselves “Palestinians.” Presumably meaning Palestinian rather than Israeli. The article was heavily sanitized, since it did not report what the poll revealed about these young Muslim”s attitude was towards Jews and Israel. It did report that younger Israelis see their main identity as “ethnic” and “religious.”

    Arabs living in Israel who consider themselves Palestinians, not Israelis, should be forcibly relocated to the PLO-governed area of Judea-Samaria.