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Fri Sep 15, 2017, 05:37 AM

(JEWISH GROUP) What Anti-Semitism in America Looks Like From Israel


TEL AVIV — The first meeting between an Israeli prime minister and a German chancellor took place in 1960 in New York. At this meeting, David Ben-Gurion of Israel explained to Konrad Adenauer of West Germany that there were three types of Jews in the world before Israel was established: the Jews who lived among Muslims, who adopted Muslim customs; the Jews of Europe, who never considered themselves a part of the society in which they lived; and the Jews of America, who live in a country of immigrants and so see themselves as Americans like all other Americans.

Ben-Gurion, who was born in modern-day Poland, understood European Jews. But he never really understood the Jews of the Arab world or the Jews of America. The truth is, even now many of us Israelis still don’t. And nowhere is this clearer than in how Israel responds to anti-Semitism in America today.

Generally, Jewish Israelis are not personally familiar with anti-Semitism. When they hear “anti-Semitism” they think about Jewish history — the Nazis’ Holocaust, the pogroms in czarist Russia — not our own experiences. At the same time, after looking at history, Jewish Israelis never fully believe that it’s possible for a non-Jewish country to be free of anti-Semitism. A 2016 poll found that 99 percent of Israelis believe that anti-Semitism is “very” or “somewhat common” around the world. Thus, for many Israelis the next disaster in the diaspora is just a matter of time.

Jewish Israelis are also not acquainted with Jewish assertiveness outside of Israel. The story they know — the Zionist narrative — is of powerless Jews in the diaspora who became politically assertive only in the Jewish state. This is, to use Ben-Gurion’s formulation, the story of European Jews.


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Reply (JEWISH GROUP) What Anti-Semitism in America Looks Like From Israel (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Sep 2017 OP
EllieBC Sep 2017 #1
question everything Sep 2017 #2
MosheFeingold Sep 2017 #3

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:50 PM

1. Yes! Israel existing is enough to anger antisemites of both political flavours!

This line really sticks out at me:

Since the only anti-Semitism Israelis understand is one of violence, blood and brutal intimidation, it is hard for many of them to appreciate the panic over a few hundred marchers and the ineloquent condemnation of the president. Since the only remedy for anti-Semitism they know is a Jewish state (and its Jewish army), it is hard for many of them to appreciate fears about anti-Semitism that are not followed by immigration to Israel.

I am in several FB groups that are all Jewish and the response from those who have either made aliyah or were born in Israel has been, "move here" and "guys with tiki torches scare you? My aunt/neighbour/cousin died in a bus/cafe explosion. Really, tell me about how hicks with tiki torches frighten you.".

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sat Sep 16, 2017, 12:21 AM

2. I think that every person reacts based on childhood memories

In the first years of Israel, the greatest hawks were Holocaust survivors. The "never again." Even during the recent war in Lebanon - 2006? some survivors were reminded of the Holocaust.

For them, the threats from the neighbors, from the Palestinians in the territories is anti-Semitism.

Most Israelis, born and raised there, are not familiar with "classic" anti-Semitism. They cannot begin to understand why someone would tolerate going to public school and being told that they "killed god." They cannot understand why American Jews do not react violently for "Jews will not replace us." They know how they'd react. I think that Meir Kahane was trying to build resistance to local anti-Semitism.

I am not sure whether describing the reaction of American Jews as frightened is the correct one. At least, I think that the reaction to Charlottesville was more of an anger and disgust.

It is like reacting to a bully: are you going to complain to the teacher, or are you going to punch his face?

Different places, different lives, different experience.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 12:45 PM

3. I think it is a case of bigger fish to fry.

I was a little kid/pre-teen in Europe growing up prior to the Nazis, then NYC. I fought the Nazis (kind of - I was no front line soldier). I have children and grandchildren and great grandchildren in Israel -- and the USA.

I do see a distinction in my family, but it's more of a frontier attitude in Israel. Words roll off the back. They are more worried about the Comanches, to continue with the frontier analogy. Trailer park trash dressing up like -- well, whatever they are supposed to be -- is toothless.

I personally find the white nationalists pretty amusing. They are angry and rather stupid and quite politically isolated. They won't go anywhere.

Antifa and the general Jew hatred on college campuses, in contrast, is connected, well-funded, and well-organized. This could poison a generation.

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