Antisemitism and the Rise of Israel
The Gaza war spilled into America last week as some pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas demonstrators crossed the line separating protest from mob violence in several U.S. cities. This is different than much of the anti-Semitism of the past. Deranged individuals acting alone represented a large part of past Anti-Semitic attacks. The crazy guy that shot Jews in 2018 at the Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue shows a form of Anti-Semitism not relating to Palestinian/Muslim opposition to Israel.
Last week brought something different: Mobs visited widespread violence on random Jews, or in some cases “Jewish-looking” non-Jews, as discussed in the Wall Street Journal by Walter Russell Mead. The targets have no responsibility for Israeli policy. Given the policy preferences of U.S. Jews documented in polling, many were likely anti-Trump, anti-Netanyahu, critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and pro-Black Lives Matter. None of this meant anything to the mob. All the attackers seemed to care about was that their victims were, or looked Jewish. That was enough.
Whatever their motives or their politics, those who challenge the place of Jews in America challenge the basis of America itself. America has always been a super diverse country where people from every part of the planet have called it their home. Hating Jews is not compatible with the American Constitution and the U.S. being the world leader of democracies. Especially since American Jews have nothing to do with what is going on in the Middle East. There is nothing wrong with supporting Palestine, but if it means breaking the law and attacking Jews, then there is a huge problem.
But this goes far beyond Jewish Americans. Israel is constantly under threat by violent neighbors including Hamas and Hezbollah. Ayatollah Khomeini constantly declares Israel to be an illegitimate nation that should be destroyed. This kind of Anti-Semitism in the Middle East reminds one of the kinds of speeches Adolf Hitler gave almost a century ago. It is sickening to see this, especially since Israel does not show the same hostility to its Arab and Muslim neighbors. In response to this hatred, Israel has built some of the world’s best military and intelligence forces. This Jew-hatred is what drove the creation of the Israeli nuclear program. The tech sector and economic atmosphere of Israel are state of the art and among the best in the world. With Iranian mullahs calling for Israeli genocide, Israel only has more motivation to make its country stronger and richer.
American administrations have flip-flopped in their degrees of support for Israel. With 8 years of Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu sought to make Israel self-sustaining with features such as the iron dome missile defense system because he could not depend upon the Obama administration in the event of war. President Trump is the was the most pro-Israel president in US history renaming Jerusalem as the nation’s capital. While much more pro-Israel than Obama, Biden is nowhere near as much of an ally as Trump was to Netanyahu.
Israel has learned over the past 20 years that it cannot depend upon the United States for protection. Their iron-dome system is what prevented a regional catastrophe. Imagine if all of those missiles from Hamas struck Israel cities and killed tens of thousands of people. Israel would have invaded Gaza and probably drew Iran to declare war on Israel. While Biden supports Israel, the principles of self-determination and perseverance will drive the future of Israel government defense policy.