JONATHAN S. TOBIN writes Zionism won. So why is it still under attack 125 years after Basel and DANIEL GREENFIELD If you liked Big Brother, meet Google’s Big MUM and MARTIN SHERMAN Israel must take and hold Gaza indefinitely, and Listening to This Will Put You "Back on Your Feet" by Meir Kay and The Real Israelis who elected Ben-Gvir
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
A shout out to my only sister whose birthday is tomorrow
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
The Three are Rabbi Yehuda Glick, famous temple mount activist, and former Israel Mk, and then Robert Weinger, the world's greatest shofar blower and seller of Shofars, and myself after we had gone to the 12 gates of the Temple Mount in 2020 to blow the shofar to ask G-d to heal the world from the Pandemic. It was a highlight to my experience in living in Israel and I put it on my blog each day to remember.
The articles that I include each day are those that I find interesting, so I feel you will find them interesting as well. I don't always agree with all the points of each article but found them interesting or important to share with you, my readers, and friends. It is cathartic for me to share my thoughts and frustrations with you about life in general and in Israel. As a Rabbi, I try to teach and share the Torah of the G-d of Israel as a modern Orthodox Rabbi. I never intend to offend anyone but sometimes people are offended and I apologize in advance for any mistakes. The most important psychological principle I have learned is that once someone's mind is made up, they don't want to be bothered with the facts, so, like Rabbi Akiva, I drip water (Torah is compared to water) on their made-up minds and hope that some of what I have share sinks in. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave.
MARTIN SHERMAN Israel must take and hold Gaza indefinitely
There is no solution to terror and violence emanating from Gaza except to govern the territory itself.
"Operation Breaking Dawn" vividly underscored the pernicious paradox that has characterized Israel over the last five decades. On the one hand, the country displays indisputable tactical and technological brilliance. On the other, it is chronically afflicted by gross strategic imbecility.
While some might find this assessment excessively severe, consider the massive enhancement of Israel's tactical-technological capabilities since the 1967 Six-Day War and the commensurate degradation of Israel's strategic position over the same period.
After Israel's stunning victory over the combined forces of six Arab armies and the widespread international admiration that followed, who would have imagined that Israel would be where it finds itself today? Enemy militias are deployed within mortar range of the nation's parliament and the very idea of Jewish national sovereignty is under savage global attack.
Moreover, the Arabs have succeeded in shearing off large swathes of territory from Israeli control. Despite wallowing in backwardness and failure, they have advanced inexorably closer to Israel's metropolises, industrial hubs and major population centers relative to the situation that prevailed in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war.
Moreover, many of Israel's recent technological marvels were developed in order to deal with threats that only arose because of strategic myopia. For example, the much-vaunted Iron Dome defense system was created to deal with the rocket threat that emerged following the ill-advised abandonment of the Gaza Strip in 2005. Likewise, the ultra-sophisticated, billion-dollar barrier surrounding the Strip was constructed in response to the maze of underground attack tunnels that proliferated once the IDF pulled out.
Had anyone in 2005 warned that Israel would be facing the threats it faces today, they would have been dismissed and denounced as radical right-wing scaremongers.
The perennial defect in Israeli strategy has been based on the faulty perception that the Palestinian Arabs should be treated as potential peace partners rather than implacable enemies. This spawned the additional assumption that the Palestinian public is the unfortunate victim of its bellicose leadership, rather than the source of that leadership itself.
Just how hopelessly out of touch with reality Israeli leaders are was underscored by senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar's rejection of then-Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's 2017 offer to turn Gaza "into the Singapore of the Middle East." Liberman proposed building a seaport and an airport, as well as creating an industrial zone that would help produce 40,000 jobs in the Strip. All this would be done if Hamas agreed to demilitarization and dismantled the tunnel and rocket systems it had built.
The Hamas response came quickly. Zahar dismissed Lieberman's offer, sneering, "If we wanted to turn Gaza into Singapore, we would have done it ourselves. We do not need favors from anyone."
This tart retort prompted a bleak observation from Gatestone scholar Bassam Tawil, "Why did Hamas reject an offer for a seaport, airport and tens of thousands of jobs for Palestinians? Because Hamas does not see its conflict with Israel as an economic issue. The dispute is not about improving the living conditions of Palestinians, as far as Hamas is concerned. Instead, it is about the very existence of Israel."
He added caustically, "Hamas deserves credit for one thing: Its honesty concerning its intentions to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Hamas does not want 40,000 new jobs for the poor unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would rather see these unemployed Palestinians join its ranks and become soldiers in its quest to replace Israel with an Islamic empire."
Those who subscribe to the rationale underpinning Israeli strategy appear to cling to the belief that most Gazans resent Hamas and would willingly cast off its authoritarian control of their lives, especially if it would enhance their economic well-being.
Such naïve optimism does not only fly in the face of Zahar's statement, but is refuted by the results of public opinion surveys conducted by reputable Palestinian pollsters.
For example, one survey showed that in the immediate aftermath of "Operation Guardian of the Walls" in May 2021, despite the heavy damage inflicted on Gaza and its residents, public support for Hamas rose steeply.
Over 70% of those polled believed that Hamas's motive in the fighting was to defend Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Almost 80% felt Hamas had won the clash with Israel and nearly two-thirds thought Hamas had achieved the goals it set for itself. Public assessment of Hamas's performance was "excellent." Similar praise was assigned to Israeli Arabs for their violent riots across Israel. Almost 55% considered Hamas, rather than Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party, worthy of representing and leading the Palestinians.
Moreover, nearly 95% of those surveyed felt a sense of pride in Hamas's performance. Almost 70% expressed willingness to renew the fighting if Israel carried out the court-mandated eviction of Arab residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
A more recent poll conducted in Dec. 2021 reflected similar public sentiments, with support for Hamas significantly outstripping support for Fatah.
Almost a quarter century has passed since Israel unilaterally abandoned the Gaza Strip, removing almost every vestige of Jewish presence and Zionist industry. In stark contrast to the promises made by the architects of the withdrawal, it brought neither peace nor stability. Quite the reverse. The threat from Gaza has grown exponentially, from a terrorist nuisance to a strategic threat.
Despite this, Israeli policymakers have clung stubbornly to the idea that the Palestinian Arabs will undergo a miraculous metamorphosis that will transform them into something they have not been for over a hundred years and induce them to accept permanent infidel control over land they consider their own.
The periods of calm that have followed Israel's clashes with Gaza have led to misguided discussion on whether the heavy damage and casualties inflicted deterred the enemy from further aggression. While it is true that each round of fighting led to a ceasefire, there is no indication that any substantial deterrence was achieved.
In fact, the opposite is the case. Gaza terror groups have exploited the interbellum lulls to regroup, rearm and redeploy. They have emerged each time with their capabilities enhanced and their willingness to reengage undiminished.
This pattern repeated itself in "Operation Breaking Dawn." Israel displayed remarkably accurate intelligence capabilities and precise use of technological munitions to launch surgical strikes against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leadership. Yet despite an overwhelming preponderance of military might, the IDF was unable to stop the rocket fire from Gaza. Even with its leadership decapitated, the PIJ showed it could still rain down hundreds of missiles on Israel.
Moreover, Israel again permitted its terrorist enemy to survive, inflicting what its adversary considered "acceptable losses," leaving it spoiling for another fight.
In its quest for lasting peace, Israel has run the gamut of possible policies: negotiated withdrawal, unilateral retreat and periodic military operations. None have brought about the desired result. At times, they have even been counterproductive.
Israel's political leaders do not seem to understand this. They resolutely refuse to change their mentality. Surely the inconvenient truth, however unpalatable, should be apparent, even to those reluctant to recognize reality.
This reality is brutally simple: It is or should be clear that Israel cannot control the situation in Gaza until it controls Gaza. It cannot determine who rules Gaza or how it is ruled unless it rules Gaza itself. Israel, in other words, must take, hold and govern the Gaza Strip indefinitely.
In the end, the lesson of Gaza is that Israel must abandon the forlorn hope of winning Arab friendship. It must pursue different strategic goals. The maximum it can hope for is to be grudgingly accepted as an invincible rival. The minimum it must achieve is to be feared as a ferocious adversary, never to be trifled with.
Dr. Martin Sherman spent seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli defense establishment. He is the founder of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and a member of the Habithonistim-Israel Defense & Security Forum (IDSF) research team.
The Real Israelis who elected Ben-Gvir
Itamar Ben-Gvir is a perfectly worthy MK, and he is as qualified to be a cabinet minister as is any other party head or co-head, despite leftist smears. Op-ed.
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer
I previously have published heremy strong support for Itamar Ben-Gvir (and Bezalel Smotrich and their Religious Zionism party). I am disgusted by this era's tactic by leftists in Israel — and in America — to depict their opponents on the right as Nazis. In Israel they compareBen-Gvir to Hitler. In America, they compare Donald Trump to Hitler. Interesting:
1. Did Hitler have a daughter whom he loved who converted to Orthodox Judaism and whom he continued to love?
2. Did Hitler have an Orthodox Jewish son-in-law whom he brought into the German government's highest echelons?
3. Would Hitler have moved the Nazi embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
4. Would Hitler have had a Nazi embassy in Tel Aviv either?
5. Would Hitler have recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights?
6. Would Hitler have pulled Nazi Germany out of the United Nations Human Rights Council because of their anti-Semitism?
7. Would Hitler have closed down PLO offices in Berlin?
8. Would Hitler have cut off funding for the UNRWA?
9. Would Hitler have named the likes of David Friedman as his ambassadors?
10. Would Hitler have initiated the Abraham Accords to bring Israel greater acceptance in the Arab world?
Tough questions. Really tough. Hard to know the answers. What would Hitler have done?
That is the Left's formula: "This is the end of democracy!" Trying to prevent Elon Musk from buying Twitter while supporting Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post. For the Left, that is the only way to protect democracy — by denying conservatives their democratic rights to vote. It is the only way to protect freedom of speech — by denying conservatives the right to speak.
And that is the way the Left operates in Israel.
The only way Yair Lapid could have shoved his Lebanon maritime give-away down everyone's throats was by manipulating Israel's democracy to bar the Knesset from voting on it.
The only way Oslo could have happened was by Yitzchak Rabin overriding the will of the public and buying off Raful Eitan's right-wing-party Knesset members with ministries and personal limousines.
Israeli democracy in action, accepting personal bribes and pay-offs to imperil the country and its citizens — and the same Leftists want to prosecute Netanyahu over cigars and champagne?
Itamar Ben-Gvir is a perfectly worthy Knesset member, and he is as qualified to be a cabinet minister as is any other party head or co-head. Over the course of five election cycles in three years, he has played by the rules, has campaigned as a parliamentarian would, has not had backers terrorize voters. It is irrelevant what he did or did not do 25 years ago. Liberals forgave Ted Kennedy much sooner than that after Chappaquiddick. Liberals elected Bill Clinton amid Gennifer Flowers, Paula Corbin Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Monica Lewinsky. (I think I have the order right.) They forgave Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer in "Seinfeld") after his terrible racist rant — because they like his humor. So Ben-Gvir circa 2022 is what matters, not circa 1994.
It has always been the Israeli Left's way to demonize and lie for political gain, even at the expense of Israel's very security. They brazenly lied about Deir Yassin to win points against the Irgun for the Labor Party's pre-State predecessor, the Haganah. They sank the Altalena and murdered Jews aboard that ship that was importing weapons to save Jerusalem from being seized by Arab armies. They depicted Menachem Begin as a Hitler who would end Israeli democracy. That was their campaign slogan against Begin for thirty years.
Itamar Ben-Gvir is fine and worthy. He wants to expel Arab Muslims who are traitors to Israel and who support terror. That is reasonable. He wants to have Arab terror murderers executed. That, too, is perfectly reasonable. Others may differ, but that is how democracy works, and Jews in Israel have voted this time more demonstrably for the right wing. Indeed, if not for the personality hate that Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Sa'ar harbor against Benjamin Netanyahu, there now would be a coalition of 73 or so Knesset seats in a broad all-right-wing government.
So who elected Ben-Gvir anyway? Was it Netanyahu, who engineered an agreement between Bezalel Smotrich and Ben-Gvir to assure that right-wing votes would not be wasted? No.
Ben-Gvir was elected by those who hate the Arab Muslim Jew-haters and terrorists who have been trying to destroy the Jewish state and to murder its Jewish inhabitants, with almost-daily acts of terror. Also the Hamas terrorists in Gaza who fire rockets and even incendiary balloons into southern Israel as their way of showing gratitude to Israel for handing them Gaza unilaterally and uprooting Gush Katif in 2005. It is they — Arab Muslim Jew-haters within Israel and on her borders — who have bred a new mindset to take hold in Israel that can be summarized as "This garbage has got to stop."
That is who elected Ben-Gvir, perhaps to become an Israeli cabinet minister. An expression of Israeli democracy.
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer is Senior Contributing Editor at The American Spectator, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, was adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools for nearly twenty years, and is Rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. He likewise has held leadership roles in several national rabbinic and other Jewish organizations including Zionist Organization of America, Rabbinical Council of America, and regional boards of the American Jewish Committee and B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. His writings have appeared in Newsweek, National Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, Federalist, Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, and other major Jewish and Israeli Hebrew media. Other writings are collected at www.rabbidov.com. To attend any or all of Rav Fischer's weekly 60-minute live Zoom classes on the Weekly Torah Portion, the Biblical Prophets, the Mishnah, Rambam Mishneh Torah, or Advanced Judaic Texts and Topics,send an email to: email@example.com
The Big Tech monopoly has a new way to suppress conservatives.
Forget Big Brother, Big MUM is Google's new tool for suppressing conservatives.
MUM, or Multitask Unified Model, was hyped last year as the company's new machine learning algorithm. MUM had been initially described as an innovative way to allow Google's dying search service to answer natural language questions by drawing on multiple sources.
While MUM's applications initially appeared to be apolitical, that quickly changed.
Google first unleashed MUM to fight what it considered COVID "misinformation" by making sure that everyone saw "high quality and timely information from trusted health authorities like the World Health Organization." By reducing the number of sources to only those that agree with its agenda, Google is able to deliver fast results while getting rid of different points of view.
A Forbes article described how MUM would "check information across multiple reliable sources" to allow "the system to come to a general consensus." Google had once built its search around the vast diversity of a bygone internet, but it has spent the last decade draining the diversity and depth of the pool and replacing it with the shallow manufactured consensus.
Google long ago ceased being a way to find different answers, and its search results are deliberately repetitive. Search is an illusion. The user thinks that he's browsing the internet when he's actually spinning his wheels in Google's walled garden. This is most obvious in shopping and in politics: two areas where Google has strong interests and tries to manipulate users into believing that they are exploring options when they're being hand fed variations on a theme.
Or as Pandu Nayak, VP of search at Google, wrote in a recent post, "By using our latest AI model, Multitask Unified Model (MUM), our systems can now understand the notion of consensus, which is when multiple high-quality sources on the web all agree on the same fact."
The last thing the world needs is another centralized computer system enforcing a consensus.
Google disagrees with many of its users about what "reliable sources" or "high-quality sources" entail. MUM helps the Big Tech search monopoly manufacture a consensus, on what it claims is a universal fact, and to promote snippets on its own site that promote that consensus.
The monopoly doesn't see its search service as a way to rank sites. The Big Tech monopoly, like its counterparts, doesn't want users actually leaving its sites, and wants to force a "consensus" answer on them in its search engine. MUM is another tool for keeping users on its digital plantation. The underlying notion behind MUM is a continuing redefinition of search, not as browsing an array of sources, but as a way of delivering a single instantaneous answer.
Googlers have long been obsessed with the idea of replicating Star Trek's fictional computer, which would offer the answer to any question in a robotic female voice.
MUM is the next step in this Big Sister quest.
"The Star Trek computer is not just a metaphor that we use to explain to others what we're building. It is the ideal that we're aiming to build—the ideal version done realistically," boasted Amit Singhal, then the head of Google's search rankings team.
Singhal was later forced to leave the company over sexual harassment allegations.
"It was the perfect search engine," he gushed about the Star Trek computer. "You could ask it a question and it would tell you exactly the right answer, one right answer—and sometimes it would tell you things you needed to know in advance, before you could ask it."
In 2022, Google's search is hopelessly broken because the company no longer has any interest in providing the search service that made it a monopoly, giving a ranked list of diverse results, but wants everyone to speak into their phones and receive a single answer. The consensus.
Google's snippets and knowledge panels displace links to actual sites and provide what the monopoly claims is the definitive answer. Its search assistant is similarly set up to provide a single answer. Google doesn't want you to compare answers, but to listen to MUM.
And sometimes Google wants to give you the information before you ask.
If you own an advanced Android phone, you may find that Google Assistant will interrupt conversations to offer its own "insights." Google is also pursuing "prebunking" of what it considers "misinformation" with preemptive propaganda campaigns.
Jigsaw, the company's most explicitly political arm, is researching what it calls "prebunking," or attacking views it opposes before they can even gain traction. Prebunking is currently being experimentally tested by Google's Jigsaw to fight "misinformation" in Poland and other Eastern European countries against Ukrainian migrants. This is only a test and Jigsaw expects there to be much wider application for the information techniques its "researchers" are developing.
Google's YouTube already has a broad set of bans covering everything from questioning global warming, contradicting medical experts and debating 2020 election results. These are a window into the company's political agenda and how it seeks to enforce political conformity.
While it seeks to narrow the sphere of acceptable information in its platforms, Google is working with the leftist Poynter Institute, one of the most notoriously biased fact check spammers, to develop "media literacy." The company claims to have spent $75 million on efforts to fight "misinformation." And who determines what misinformation is? He who controls the algorithms.
As the midterm elections approach, YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi promised that the video site's recommendations are "continuously and prominently surfacing midterms-related content from authoritative news sources and limiting the spread of harmful midterms-related misinformation."
The technical term for this is mass propaganda. That's what Big Tech does.
The internet was revolutionary because it upended the central systems of mass propaganda which allowed a government and a handful of men to enforce their consensus on a helpless public through the mass media of newspapers, radio stations, movie theaters and television sets. Big Tech's Web 2.0 killed the revolution and restored the oligarchy. Its monopolists see the internet as only a faster way to deliver more immersive propaganda to the masses.
The Big Tech monopolies took off by taming the web, shrinking its vast promise and diversity of content into smaller walled gardens that they could dominate and monetize. Facebook inhaled most of the social interactions on the internet and locked them up in its private platform. Google is determined to do the same thing to the bewildering parade of ideas of the entire internet.
When Google's senior VP Prabhakar Raghavan first introduced MUM, he suggested that the goal was to "develop not only a better understanding of information on the Web, but a better understanding of the world." What happens on the internet doesn't stay on the internet.
Conservatives are one of the cultural barriers because their existence is a marked reminder that Big Tech does not control everything. While its executives and employees are socially insulated wokes operating in major urban centers, they manage systems that extend around the country and the world. When they encounter different points of view, they seek to wipe them out.
MUM is yet another tool for enforcing a totalitarian conformity on the diversity of the internet.
Google doesn't want you to think differently or to think for yourself. What it wants users to do is to shut up and listen to Big MUM.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Zionism won. So why is it still under attack 125 years after Basel
The anniversary of Theodor Herzl's convening of the First Zionist Congress is cause for celebration; however, the ongoing battle to secure Jewish self-determination is far from over.
The Zionist movement is throwing itself a party. This week marks the 125th anniversary of Theodor Herzl's convening of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. The occasion has caused some controversy in Israel for what some think is the World Zionist Congress' lavish spending on a program that will be unavailable to the public since most of it wasn't livestreamed. Whether or not those criticisms are fair, interest in the commemoration outside of the organized Jewish world seems minimal. Indeed, other than as a photo opportunity for Israeli President Isaac Herzog to recreate Herzl's famous pose on the balcony of the Hotel Les Trois Rois looking out over the Rhine River, few will pay much heed to the event.
Still, the 125th anniversary of modern Zionism is an apt movement for reflection on just how far Herzl's idea has gone since he willed it into existence. Most importantly, it's vital for those who care about the fate of the Jewish people to understand a troubling conundrum that points to both Herzl's realism and where he was wrong.
Zionism enjoyed unprecedented success with the recreation of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel right on schedule with Herzl's prophetic diary writings. The Jewish state he envisioned in both the short book he wrote the year before Basel—The Jewish State—and a futuristic novel he penned five years later—Altneuland ("The Old New Land")—didn't merely come into existence, despite the skepticism and often bitter opposition of the non-Jewish and Jewish worlds. It thrived and grew into a regional superpower with a First World economy that is home to almost half of the world's Jews and grows stronger day by day.
Austro-Hungarian journalist and founder of modern-day Zionism Theodor Herzl. Source: YouTube.
Indeed, for many Israelis, the notion of a Zionist movement seems antiquated. They understandably think that Zionism is something you are reminded of when you visit a history museum. They see the state Herzl dreamed of as an incontrovertible reality and the conflicts of the modern Middle East—in which Israel has both enemies and allies—as far removed from the theoretical debates in which Herzl was forced to engage. From that frame of reference, the continued existence of some of the entities that trace their roots to Basel and even the argument about a Jewish state are like fossilized remnants of the 19th century stuck in amber.
However remote the events of August 1897 may seem to us, the presence of several hundred demonstrators outside the WZO event is a reminder that the debate about Zionism is not over. Israelis may think the idea of erasing their country from the map is a sick joke. But to the Palestinians, whose national identity is inextricably linked to their century-long war against Zionism, as well as the vast number of people around the world who—whether because of solidarity with fellow Muslims or leftist ideology—oppose Zionism, the goal of undoing Herzl's vision is something they not only applaud but think can be achieved.
That this is so points directly to one flaw in Herzl's otherwise prescient understanding of the world in which he lived.
Though many in his time believed in the idea that progress was leading the Jews towards greater acceptance and freedom in the non-Jewish world, Herzl grasped that the arc of history was heading in a very different direction. He understood that the rising tide of anti-Semitism that was bubbling up throughout Europe in more enlightened places like France, as well as in reactionary authoritarian regimes like the Russian empire, wasn't going to be stopped by either assimilation or the forces of modernism. That led to his conviction that without a state of their own, Jews would not only continue to suffer from discrimination and violence but that their plight would grow worse.
Neither Herzl nor the Basel Congress invented Zionism—the concept of a Jewish state or the idea of the inevitability of the return of the Jews to their land. Contrary to those who wrongly claim that Judaism is merely a religion and that opposing Israel's existence has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, the connection to the land of Israel is an integral part of Jewish faith and part of the daily liturgy. The longing for Zion is as old as the Jewish people, and the hope of returning to it had sustained Jews throughout millennia of exile. What Herzl did do was mobilize and organize a movement that made the realization of those hopes possible.
Days after the Congress concluded, Herzl wrote in his diary: "At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it." Given that the U.N. partition resolution that mandated the creation of a Jewish state was passed in November 1947 occurred just more than 50 years later, Herzl was proven right. It came too late to save the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, who would have had a place of refuge had Zionism achieved its great victory earlier. Yet that proved just how correct Herzl's sense of urgency had been.
There is, however, one element of the problem that Herzl didn't understand. He was right to see homelessness and the lack of political power as elements that would lead to tragedy. Yet he also wrongly believed that once a Jewish state had been created, anti-Semitism would dissipate. While Zionism gave the Jews a badly needed mechanism with which to defend themselves, it could not eradicate the virus of Jew-hatred.
Cover of the book, Altneuland ("The Old New Land"). Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Anti-Semitism has not only survived but thrived in the last 125 years as it attached itself like a parasite to a variety of different political movements—fascism, Nazism, communism, and in our own day, Islamism and woke neo-Marxism—all of which have helped perpetuate hate for Jews. Instead of eliminating the raison d'être of anti-Semitism, Israel has become the focus of it.
Anti-Zionism is not merely masquerading as something other than that hatred; it is the essence of 21st-century anti-Semitism. Its premise is not only to deny rights to the Jews that no one would think of denying to any other group. It is the mechanism by which intimidation, delegitimization, violence and terrorism against Jews are rationalized and justified.
That is why Jew-haters demonstrate against a commemoration of Basel, as well as calling for the abrogation of every milestone along the path to Jewish statehood—the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1947 Partition Resolution. Their global anti-Semitic BDS movement aimed at stifling the Israeli economy has largely failed. Nevertheless, it has provided a framework by which Jew-haters can not only organize themselves but do so while pretending to be advocates for the human rights of Palestinians, whose goal is to eliminate Israel.
It has also allowed the same world body that authorized Israel's creation—the United Nations—to be the stronghold of those who believe not unrealistically that they can libel Zionism as racism and eventually isolate and ultimately destroy the Jewish state.
That is why advocacy for Zionism—the national liberation movement of the Jewish people—is not only relevant today; it is absolutely necessary in order to preserve not just Herzl's legacy, but to fight back against a movement whose goals could only be achieved through the genocide of Israel's 7 million Jews.
Though Herzl was wrong to think that a Jewish state would solve the problem of anti-Semitism, he was right to believe that one was necessary, as well as a just solution to the plight of Jews in Europe and the Middle East where they would never be fully accepted as equals or safe.
Long after the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in Israel has become a reality, it may seem odd that we must continue to discuss the right of the Jews to their state. The triumph of Zionism was something that few Jews or non-Jews thought was possible in 1897. Yet as unthinkable as the destruction of the Jewish state is today, the fact that hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people believe its destruction is a good idea points to the persistence of anti-Semitism. Just as important, it should remind all people of goodwill—Jews and non-Jews alike—of the necessity for continued Zionist activism.
Jonathan S. Tobin is editor-in-chief of JNS (Jewish News Syndicate). Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.
See you tomorrow bli neder
We need Moshiach now!
Love Yehuda Lave
A shout out to my Sister whose birthday is tomorrow