Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
THE FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS
by Arieh Eldad,
One of the prime movers behind this party
If the Zionist revolution was intended to bring normality to the Jewish people, it was destined to fail.
The Jewish people is not a normal people. There is no historical parallel to a people with four thousand years of continuous history. You may say that in Egypt there are antiquities that predate our Patriarchs, but there is no connection between the Egypt of the Pharaohs and the Egypt of today. It is not the same people, the same language, the same religion, or the same culture. You may say the Chinese culture is more ancient than ours. But the Chinese remained in their land and were not destroyed and exiled twice and did not return from far away exiles to re-establish themselves. The Jewish people is not a normal people.
In the same way, Judaism is not a normal religion. There is no parallel to the unbreakable tie between the Jewish religion and nationality. And our movement of national liberation – Zionism – is unlike any other national liberation movement of the past centuries. African or European peoples who fought for their freedom had to eject foreign rulers and declare independence. The liberation movement of the Jewish people had a double task: to gather the exiles of Israel from around the world and to free its land from foreign rulers. So Zionism is not a normal liberation movement.
Considering these three anomalies, is it any wonder the Jewish people’s desire for normalization was not realized with the return to Zion? We did become “productive”: no longer just middlemen, brokers, traders, and bankers; the Jews in the land of Israel are also soldiers and farmers and industrialists. But if Zionism hoped to take the Jews out of exile and raise a generation in the land free of oppression and the complexes of exile, we can say we have succeeded in taking the Jews out of exile but not in taking that exile out of the Jews.
Apparently 2000 years of persecution, forced conversion, destruction, expulsion and exile created a new species of Jew who is a professional survivor. Most of those who carried the genes of Bar Kochba fell on the way. The genes of Josephus Flavius keep popping up on the stage of history in characters such as the leaders of the Judenrat, Kastner, those who turned Jewish underground fighters over the British in “The Season,” those who sank the Irgun arms ship Altalena, and the most recent “heroes” who uprooted and exiled the residents of Gaza in what they called a “disengagement.” A direct line leads from Josephus Flavius to Mordechai Vanunu and Ilan Pape. A direct line leads from Aristobulus, the Hasmonean king who opened the gates of Jerusalem to Pompeii of Rome in order to survive the war with his brother Horkynus the Hasmonean, to Ehud Olmert who is ready to open the gates of Jerusalem to the Arab enemy in order to survive politically and win support from the world’s sole superpower.
So Zionism has failed in its mission of normalization. But Zionism had set other goals, first among them saving the Jewish people from the impending disaster. Herzl, who heard the Parisian mob, students of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” yelling “Death to the Jews” during the Dreyfus trial, understood that the Emancipation was not the solution to the problem of the Jews in exile. And Herzl understood that if the existence of the Jews in exile could not be guaranteed and Jews were to be saved, the exile needed to end and they needed to have a state that would be a safe refuge from anti-Semitism.
Zionism also failed in this mission. It came too late. The destruction of the Jews of Europe preceded the establishment of the state. And those who say that the destruction of the Jews contributed to international support for a Jewish state are right.
Zionism had to fail in order for its goal to be achieved. But Zionism was too late for the six million who rose in smoke and whose ashes fertilize the fields of Europe.
As much as the gentiles who refused to give Herzl a charter over the land of Israel are to blame, so are the Jews who refused to unite and redeem themselves. The Haredim waited for a messiah to come from heaven, the Bundists preferred Yiddish and exile, the socialists wanted to redeem to the world and thought that when economic classes would be abolished, the Jewish problem would also be solved. All of them vigorously fought Herzl. And the Zionism of those who followed in Herzl’s path but were unable to free themselves from the chains of exile, who preferred “one more dunam and one more goat and one more rally against the White Paper” to taking up arms and expelling all foreign rulers from Israel – they also bear responsibility for the failure to save the Jews of Europe and for the State of Israel coming too late and not being a safe haven when it was needed.
But even now after the State of Israel has been established, it does not seem a safe haven for the Jews. Over 23,000 Jews have been killed in Eretz Israel since the modern return to Zion, solely because they were Jews. In no other country have so many Jews been killed solely because they were Jews. So perhaps our “safe haven” is not such a safe haven. Perhaps the Jews are safer living in the United States, France or Iran.
Anyone attempting to tally such an “accounting” of deaths of course ignores the six million murdered in Europe. And the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in riots and pogroms and crusades, from Siberia to Arabia, Ethiopia to Spain. The State of Israel was established so Jews could determine their own fate, to fight and defeat their enemies, not to be human dust but to turn their enemies to dust. The State of Israel can fulfill this mission and therefore at least in this regard is the realization of generations of dreams. But as long as its leaders are of the race of Flavius, they may turn Israel over to the worst of its enemies and fail to prevent the destruction now threatened by Iran, and they may themselves bring the Arab enemy into the country and into Jerusalem. They are prepared for the first time in the history of the Jewish people to recognize the right of another people to establish a state in Eretz Israel.
From this point of view, perhaps it would have been better if a Jewish state recognizing the right of another people to Eretz Israel had not been established? Perhaps it would be preferable if a state of six million Jews had not been established, if its leaders are incapable of facing the enemies who want to destroy it, and are Jews of exilic character who prefer that the world fight for us and stop Iran with sanctions and pressure, and they are blind and deaf and do not see what is clear to all: the leaders of Iran act as suicide bombers who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to destroy Israel? Perhaps it would be better if the largest concentration of Jews in the world had not been established if its leaders are incapable of preventing its destruction?
No! The law of exile is a law of destruction or conversion. Exile ends either in gas chambers and crematoria, or a golden exile with intermarriage rates above 50 percent. In Eretz Israel, where a state of the Jews has been established, a Jewish State can be established. A state of Jews daring to rise as one and not a state of Flaviuses. A state prepared to deal with its enemies and wipe them out, and not look to the gentiles for salvation. Not even to the good gentiles known as “friends of Israel,” who are ready to promise that if Israel is attacked with nuclear weapons, Iran will be destroyed. We do not want to be an excuse for the destruction of Iran. We want to and we can liberate Eretz Israel from any foreign ruler, whoever it may be. Not because the land is necessary for security. Eretz Israel is our homeland, not a safe haven. It is our only home even when it is under fire. We must and can return Zionism to its forgotten goal – the liberation of the homeland. Zionism is not a mistake. It’s just that those carrying the flag have wearied and have become post-Zionists, if not outright anti-Zionists.
After 2000 years, our fate is once again in our hands. If our leaders have gone bad and are trying to push us into the abyss, we have no one to complain to but ourselves. It is in our hands to guarantee the existence of the State of Israel, and turn it from the state of the Jews into a Jewish State. To turn the State of Israel into the Kingdom of Israel.
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