“There is no darkness but ignorance” -William Shakespeare
The following article also appeared in The Times of Israel
By Alan Simons
April 19, 2023, Toronto, ON – Since its founding in 1922, Foreign Affairs state it “has been the leading forum for serious discussion of American foreign policy and global affairs. Foreign Affairs is published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a non-profit and nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to improving the understanding of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs through the free exchange of ideas. In pursuance of its ideals Foreign Affairs will not devote itself to the support of any one cause, however worthy. Like the Council on Foreign Relations from which it has sprung it will tolerate wide differences of opinion. Its articles will not represent any consensus of beliefs.”
In their May/June 2023 issue, they published an article dateline April 14, 2023, stating, “Israel’s One-State Reality. It’s Time to Give Up on the Two-State Solution.”
The article is, in essence, a devastating condemnation of Israel’s radical new “narrow, extreme right-wing coalition” government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating:
“Forced to choose between Israel’s Jewish identity and liberal democracy, Israel has chosen the former. It has locked in a system of Jewish supremacy, wherein non-Jews are structurally discriminated against or excluded in a tiered scheme: some non-Jews have most of, but not all, the rights that Jews have, while most non-Jews live under severe segregation, separation, and domination”, and where “Violence, dispossession, and human rights abuses have escalated over the last year, and the risk of large-scale violent confrontation grows with every day that Palestinians are locked in this ever-expanding system of legalized oppression and Israeli encroachment.”
The article adds: “Netanyahu’s new government, composed of a coalition of right-wing religious and nationalist extremists, … boast of their mission to create a new Israel in their image: less liberal, more religious, and more willing to own discrimination against non-Jews. Netanyahu has written that ‘Israel is not a state of all its citizens’ but rather ‘of the Jewish people—and only it.’ “
The Diaspora and Israel. Through criticism have they grown apart?
The statements made by Foreign Affairs in the article have thought-provoking implications for Diaspora Jews and one that has been shielded under a black cloud of an impending flood and reality for too long.
As Ilan Zvi Baron Professor in International Political Theory and Deputy Head of School in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University, in the UK has stated, “While Diaspora criticism of Israel is largely ineffective in influencing Israeli policy, it is nevertheless exceptionally important for Diaspora Jews for a very simple reason. Criticism is one of the few practices that provide an empirical connection to Israel on a regular basis.”
Yet, as pointed out by Foreign Affairs, a shift has occurred especially among young [US] Democrats. “The Israeli-Palestinian issue is increasingly viewed as an issue of social justice rather than strategic interest or biblical prophecy.”
And as I referred to in my recent article published in The Times of Israel, “Today, for Diaspora Jews, Israeli governance contains no middle ground for them to comfortably shelter in and be protected. Today, more than at any other time, polarization contains the very essence of the equation. One is for or against the current Israeli elected government.”
As I’ve pointed out on numerous past occasions, “There has been an accepted rule that Diaspora Jews do not air their unclean laundry in public. It gives ammunition to the antisemite. With antisemitic social media frothing at the mouth to declare at a moment’s notice hostility against Jews as a religious, racial, or ethnic society, there is much to accept in this statement as fact.”
The storms approaching
Having said that, we as outsiders, are so easy to give overt advice and suggestions as to what the solutions should be. As Jews living in the Diaspora, many of us continue to act as if we are Israelis living in that part of the world. Yes, many of us have a stake, a personal stake, based upon recent history as to the outcome. But for now, for me, I’m less open-minded and less optimistic that the pride and the self-confidence of a Jewish nation, religion, and culture we all willingly, passionately once shared, is resilient and sufficient enough to weather the storms approaching from the events resulting from Israel’s recent elections.
The Diaspora and Israel
Israel will soon proudly celebrate its 75 years of statehood. And with its statehood, over the years, this remarkable country has unsurprisingly become less European in its art, music, food, and literature. Yet, for many Diaspora Jews, understandably it is their belief Israel must continue to contribute to what they believe as their Jewish sense of identity and to seek out in Diaspora life political lessons that are not self-defeating.
Articles, such as those published by Foreign Affairs about Israel, however valid they are, do not give a sense of optimism, relief, or a sense of shelter for many Diaspora Jews living in antisemitic Jew-hating societies.♦
Photo credit: Alan Simons
Alan Simons is publisher and editor of Community Jewish News – cjnonline.com | cjnonline.ca
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