De-Israelization of the American Jewry?
by Gad Nahshon
It is not a secret that Israel lost its status of centrality inside the American Jewish Community. The term 'total apathy' expresses the attitude of Jews to Israel; that is the feelings of the Jewish masses toward Israel. It is a very strong apathy inside the hearts of the young ones. It is epitomized in the lack of motivation to visit Israel, to donate to Israel or to make Aliyah to Israel. It epitomized the erosion of the power of the pro-Israeli lobby in America. Clinton loves Jews but he puts enormous pressure on Israel in order to serve the P.L.O.'s interests. He and the State Department would like to see a weak Israel inside a territorial straight-jacket.
And it is not important to ask "why." Jews express apathy to the fate of Israel in the 21st century because they see themselves as 100% Americans. The Zionist idea is dead. The ghost of the 'Council of Judaism' is the winner! American Jewry gave birth to anti-Zionist monsters which define themselves as the "peace camp." The idea of peace means to depict Israel as a Satan, as the evil state which kills the innocent Palestinians. Often their writers compare Israel to Nazi Germany. Others depict Israel as the only country which discriminates and oppresses ethnic groups (Sephardim) Arabs, and...women.
In their eyes, Israel is a country of sins. All this Jewish anti-Israeli propaganda was created only to justify the American-Jewish apathy to Israel. Perhaps it is also a justification for assimilation. Jews today do not visit Israel - only 1300 made Aliyah in 1999. Jews do not care about the attitude of politicians to Israel. The Israeli aspect of the American elections is very small in scope. Furthermore, the Israeli lobby is very weak. This fact explains the enormous pressure that the State Department has on Israel. There is no counter-pressure from Jewish Americans.
Remember George Bush? When he pressured Israel too much, Shoshana Cardin, then the chairperson of the Conference of Presidents, organized an effective march on Washington! Well, Bush was Republican. And the majority of the Jewish leaders are Democrats. This Jewish weakness has been used by a new powerful lobby: The Arab-American lobby which functions quietly and effectively.
Even the amount of donations to Israel has declined. But Jews need a "cause." They need something to replace "Israel." They must "liberate" themselves from "Israel." The answer is in the air. It is on the verge of obsession. It is a new ritual. The term is "Holocaust." The Holocaust conscience is the replacement of Israel. American Jews discovered the Holocaust only around twenty years ago. Suddenly, they adopted Holocaust survivors who immigrated since 1945 to this country. The Holocaust created a new awareness and a flourishing commercial industry of books, albums, videos, CDs, and so on.
In the academia, the new slogan is "publish a book on the Holocaust or perish." Who cares about Israel when there are so many books about the Angel of Death Joseph Mengla? Why Israel when you can read about the mysterious Nazis and their sex lives?
Of course we must not forget, and the survivor's generation is dying. But the mushrooming of Holocaust museums means that Jews do not need Yad Vashem, the center of Jewish-Israeli memorial of the Holocaust. Israel's centrality meant the linkage between Israel and the Holocaust or between the six million who died and their dennied reality: a Jewish State, a country in which a Jew does not need to depend on the mercy of the gentiles anymore.
The establishment of so many Holocaust museums, centers, organizations, express the new reality of the erosion of the linkages between Jews and Israelis. Indeed, Holocaust awareness means non-stop mourning of six million Jews. It means to live with the memory of a traumatic catastrophe. It means to stress one chapter in the Jewish history, artificially, while ignoring the pre-Holocaust history or the post-Holocaust history, of course ignoring the history of the State of Israel. We can cry day and night but we can not bring them back to life.
Israel, though not a perfect state, is Jewish life. Israel is a future. Israel is the answer to the tragedy of the six million and not the Council of Jewish Federations. Israel can do more to sustain Jewish life than the American Jewish Congress and other organizations which exist in order to exist, refusing to be dismantled.
The 'Holocaust ritual' pushes Israel aside and sustains apathy to Israel. This is a dangerous process. It develops a discrepancy between Israel and the American Jewry. It is the task of Israel and the true Zionists in America to challenge this accelerated erosion, as soon as possible.
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