OPINION: Israel’s a knotted rope. The harder its pulled, the tighter it gets

OPINION: Israel’s a knotted rope. The harder its pulled, the tighter it gets

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Hundreds of British Jews show their pride in Judaism and Israel at a rally in Kensington earlier this year.
Hundreds of British Jews show their pride in Judaism and Israel at a rally in Kensington earlier this year.
Jack Mendel
Jack Mendel

  By Jack Mendel, blogger and international relations and politics graduate

In approximately 928 B.C., upon the death of King Solomon, the tribes of Israel split into the houses of Judah and Israel. The Jews and the Hebrews. Separated, the twelve tribes were weaker, and were both conquered.

After thousands of years of institutionalised Jew hatred in Europe due to the scattering of the wandering Jews, in 2014; the Jewish people are still split. No longer into houses, but into Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. A state, and a people.

There is immeasurable crossover, and increasingly conflict, but separated; the Jewish identity is weaker.

There is an explicitly open wound that is there for all to see, with diaspora Jews now being set against Israel more and more.

This conflict has enflamed the politicisation of supporting Israel in the Jewish community around the world. This has been made relational to the unanimity in Israelis support of the operation ‘protective edge’, as shown The Israeli Democracy Institute, here Post by IDI – Israel Democracy Institute.

In other words, a significant contrast has been built up between the Jews of the diaspora and Israel. This is a wearing down of the assumption that Jews have a connection to Israel, and that Israel is a state for the Jews.

This operation has caused Jews to distance themselves from Israel as a Jewish State, because people don’t want to be associated with it’s actions.

Just the other day for example, there was a post from 225 Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their descendants; in condemnation of the ‘Massacre of Palestinians’. You can read the full article, here.

Among Jews in the diaspora, there have been bountiful groups of anti-Israel Jews speaking their mind and gaining exposure.

Some of these groups are JFJFP [Jews For Justice For Palestinians].

B’Tselem the Israeli human rights organisation.

NIMN [Not In My Name].

The infamous Neturei Karta.

Anti-Israel activists outside Sainsbury's in Brixton.
Anti-Israel activists outside Sainsbury’s in Brixton.

And a highly compelling article regarding the Union Of Jewish Students, by students who are not satisfied with their representation from the Union of Jewish Students and many others.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhnz67gsQGg?feature=player_detailpage]

Rabbi Michael Lerner recently posted an article entitled ‘Israel has broken my heart: I’m a rabbi in mourning for a Judaism being murdered by Israel’; outlining that there is now a requirement for ‘Jews worldwide to be honest, not nationalists.’

There has been a Hashtag – ‘#notinmyname’ which has been running on twitter. [It has also been used in regard to the Iraq crisis.]

It is clear that there has never been greater amount of global attention given to the relationship that Jews and Israel have. Perhaps not since the death of Yitzchak Rabin, the fundamental underlying assumption that Jews support Israel’s existence, and have an inherent relationship with it, is up for challenge.

But in addition to the rise in the prevalence of Anti-Zionist Jewish voice, there has also been a rise in genuine Anti-Semitism. That is people who hate Jews for being Jews.

In France, and infact much more widely in Europe, there IS rising anti-semitism. It is documented comprehensively HERE

You can also read about rising Anti-Semitism in South America, HERE.

To deny it is to put your head in the sand.

A protest outside the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.
A protest outside the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.

To imply a blanket explanation that Israel’s actions are deterministically causing this phenomenon is also false. Anti-Semitism predates Israel. Anti-Semitism comes from the left and the right. It is one of the most deeply embedded hates of our world.

Now of course. Sometimes Anti-Semitism does manifest through Anti-Zionism. Very often it doesn’t. Very often Anti-Zionism is entirely sincere as a political view, rooted in opposition to Israel’s policies.

As stated before, Jews take this view too, so even if there are some instances of Anti-Semitism covered up by Anti-Zionism, it is not a universal link.

Holocaust survivors and other ‘self hating Jews‘ opposing Israel, is not being Anti-Semitic. It sounds insincere, insecure and quite frankly desperate to just smear all opponents of Israel as Anti-Semites; and it is losing the debate.

We need to call out real Anti-Semites, and separate that from opponents of Israel on political or humanitarian grounds; including the Jewish opponents, who obviously can’t be against their own identity.

But when someone draws upon the blood libel during an Anti-Israel protest, they are most definitely being Anti-Semitic.

When People call for Jews to get out, not because of Israel; but because of them being Jews, they are being Anti-Semitic.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui9UsxpiNlQ?feature=player_detailpage]

The relationship between Jews and Israel is obviously under strain, not only due to people’s waining support for Israel as an entity, or for its policies, but also because of what it has outlined as its intentions.

Benjamin Netanyahu has continuously said that all must recognise Israel as a Jewish State.

It is one of the predetermining factors that time and time again, he has applied in order to justify military action.

Screenshot 2014-08-20 12.46.23

Even if, like me, you support Israel as a peaceful and democratic state, and oppose its right wing Government, I don’t feel comfortable with this.

Infact even the early Zionist leaders would have had an issue with it.

In the Balfour declaration, it states clearly ‘that nothing shall be done which may prejudice’…:

1) The civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.

2) Rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Israel was never meant to be exclusively Jewish. It was meant to be a safe haven from Anti-Semitism.

This Gaza crisis is now challenging Jews in the diaspora, because Israel is defaulting on its purpose, trying to fuse religion with a State, and most Jews utterly reject it.

Most Jews would not want to live in a State that is made up of ‘One Nation Only’.

Israel is supposed to protect World Jewry from Anti-Semitism, but its actions at the moment are serving to marginalise Jews around the world, by politicising their support or opposition to Israel, as Jews.

The worst possible position for Jews in the diaspora, and for Israel, to be in; is to look divided.

The Jews and the Hebrews are back, and they are more divided than ever.

read more: