American Anti-Semitism -FYI

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Iridescence, Jul 14, 2011.

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    By Rabbi Moshe ben Asher, Ph.D..

    In 2003, Leon Wieseltier addressed the international conference on anti-Semitism, “Old De-mons, New Debates: Anti-Semitism in the West,” sponsored by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Re-search at the Center for Jewish History. Mr. Wieseltier’s perspective, one that is not uncommon, raises some nagging questions.
    On the one hand, the titling of his remarks, as an essay on—“The Village is Not Burning: A Realist’s Appraisal of Anti-Semitism Today”—seems to suggest that there is an unchecked epidemic of dysfunctional fear about anti-Semitism among American Jews.
    On the other hand, Mr. Wieseltier proposes that, although anti-Semitism is resurgent almost everywhere else in the world, we have an “embarrassment of riches” in the United States. He explicitly rejects the Zionist conviction that the United States is only a temporary haven for Jews and, instead, suggests that the country represents a “revo-lution in Jewish history, a nation that—consider its philosophical foundations and its political practices—is structurally hospitable to us.”
    He goes on to say that, “We cannot be pilloried as a state within a state that is comprised of states within a state. We cannot be excoriated for difference in a society in which difference is the substance of sameness.”
    These remarks raise important questions: First, is there a great deal of dysfunctional fear about anti-Semitism among American Jews? And second, is it the case that the United States represents a revolution in Jewish history that, because of its philosophy and political system, permanently precludes the kind of anti-Semitism that has been endemic to Europe?

    American Zionism

    By Jerry Klinger

    Confused in Babylon

    "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
    - William Durant (Author of the History of Civilization)

    Around 459 BCE, Ezra, a priestly scribe, led an estimated 5,000 Jewish Babylonian exiles back to Israel. The vast majority of the exiled Jews chose to remain in exile.

    A “Jewish solution” to the Jewish question electrified Jewish thought in Europe in the late late 19th century. It rocketed across the Atlantic to America. Wherever Jews lived, in any country, on any continent, in any situation, "Der Judenstaadt" came as a dream, a hope or a terrible threat.

    After thousands of years of denial, of waiting for the Messiah, of hoping for redemption or simple toleration, an assimilated Austro/Hungarian Jew had said enough. The only solution for the Jew, he contended, is to recognize that they will never be truly accepted. The Jew will always be the outcast in exile. “Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to 'combat' anti-Semitism," he wrote. They must become a normal people. The solution to the Jewish problem is Jewish self-determination, in their ancient homeland, he asserted. The ancient homeland was Israel. The man was Theodor Herzl.

    Herzl knew virtually nothing of the Sephardic Jewish community. He knew nothing of Ethiopian, Indian or Jews who lived in the Oriental world. He primarily spoke of teeming masses of desperate European Jews. He recognized that liberalism failed to change the world. Herzl believed, for the Jew, there was no alternative.

    Masses of Eastern European Jews were migrating to America. But to Herzl, America was another illusory temporary home. It was a social experiment that he only vaguely understood. Herzl believed that the American Jewish experience would eventually, become what it had always been – not a hoped for New World, the new Zion, but a delusion. Anti-Semitism would assert itself. He felt anti-Semitism would be the real future, for American Jewry, much as it had been and would horrifically be, for European Jewry.

    The return to Israel was but a dream. Herzl's vision was summed up in a single sentence. If you dream it, it need not be a fairytale. His message was believe. Herzl’s message became a secular Jewish faith and even a principle of religious faith for some. By the end of the first year of the publication of “The Jewish State, Zionism had grown to over 800 clubs and 100,000 members.

    Herzl called for the first Zionist Congress. They met in 1897, in an opera house, in Basel, Switzerland. Originally the Congress planned to assemble in Munich. A concerted effort by the State recognized communal German Jewish religious leaders of Munich, deeply and passionately opposed to the Zionist Congress, drove them away.

    The religious leadership believed that the Zionists were anti- religious and evil. They were rising against God and Jewish tradition for not having faith to wait for the promised redemption which would come in the near future. Germany, advanced, cultured and developed was the Zion of the present. Herzl was not the Messiah. It was not up to a group of self-proclaimed representatives of the Jewish people to declare an end to the Jewish exile, an end to the Jewish question. The end to the Jewish question was up to G-D alone, they asserted.

    Secondly, but perhaps the true primary unspoken truth, they were deeply troubled and fearful that the hard won emerging toleration that blessed German Jewry would be lost in accusations of false or dual loyalty. Ancient accusations might once again be brought forward; the Jew was of two faces, untrustworthy, not loyal to the State, an enemy from within.

    So, in better explanation of my topic Jews - divided I ask again if others understand the differences between semitic and anti-semitic.

    It may very well come down to which term provokes the most effective illusion... A dream? A hope? A threat?

    For those who choose to be Anti-Semitic do they understand that they potentially appear to be in alliance with *gulp* the Muslims?


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