Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Biden's "Jews wouldn't be safe if there were no Israel" Is he right?

At the White House Chanukah party on Sunday night, President Biden said something fairly stunning:

As I said after the attack, my commitment to the safety of the Jewish people, the security of Israel, and its right to exist is independent Jew- — as an independent Jewish state is un- — just unshakeable.

Folks, were there no Israel, there wouldn’t be a Jew in the world who was safe — were there no Israel.  (Applause.) 
It might have played to the room, but it is an astonishing statement for the President of the United States to make.  He is saying that Jews aren't even safe in the nation he leads without Israel. 

Arguably, the USA has been the friendliest nation towards Jews since the Kingdom of Judah. But let's do a thought experiment: how would things be for Jews in America without an Israel?

The most straightforward wat to begin to answer this is to compare antisemitism in America before and after 1948.
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Antisemitism in America was quite prevalent before World War II. But more surprisingly, it kept getting worse during and after the war. There was no additional sympathy for Jews who had suffered the Holocaust - on the contrary, it seemed to accelerate Jew-hatred in the US.

Here are the percentage of Americans who answered "yes" to the question "Do you think Jews have too much power in America" from 1938-1946:

March, 1938     41% 
 April, 1940         43% 
 February, 1941     45% 
 October, 1941     48% 
 May, 1944         56% 
 June, 1945         58% 
 February, 1946     55%

Far more than half of Americans held classic antisemitic attitudes even when the scope of the genocide became clear. 

From 1940-1946, including the years that the US was at war,  Jews were seen as a greater threat to the
welfare of the United States than any other national, religious, or racial group. 

Not the Nazis. Not the Japanese. Jews.

Things started changing in 1948. The B'nai Brith Anti-Defamation League started their annual antisemitism survey only a couple of years beforehand, but 1947-1948 were the years where things started to turn around. 

That doesn't prove that Zionism had anything to do with it. It was during those years that the US started tackling all kinds of discrimination, and returning soldiers tended to have fewer prejudices. However, Zionism does seem to have been one indirect reason for the turnaround.

As the horrors of World War II were becoming apparent, nearly every major American Jewish organization joined a unified umbrella organization called the American Jewish Conference to work for a national Jewish state in Palestine. This was perhaps the first time that so many American Jewish organizations united.

This new political clout prompted them to then attack the second major topic of concern to American Jews - antisemitism. And for that, even the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism joined the new Community Relations Advisory Council created to fight antisemitism in America.

They were well organized, and went after what they saw as the biggest three targets: discrimination against Jews in employment, in immigration, and in education. They framed the fight against antisemitism as one component of the fight against all prejudice, and they convinced local, state and eventually national political groups to pass anti-discrimination laws. They monitored compliance and held organizations responsible for upholding the new laws.

It was a very successful program. Jews became far more integrated into American society, and other minorities also benefited from the same laws. We cannot know what would have happened without this Jewish unity, but chances are the civil rights movement would have been delayed.

But we cannot discount the psychological effect on American Jews that Israel had. For the first time, they had something to be proud of - a nation founded on the same ideals as America itself. we cannot measure it, but Jewish pride in Israel helped non-Jews have more respect for Jews as well. 

Without Israel, without that pride, without that Jewish unity, there would have been nothing to counter the trend of an America that was increasingly antipathetical to Jews. 

Today's antisemites spend a great deal of time trying to divide American Jewry and to denigrate Zionism.. They know that a unified Jewish community is powerful while a divided one is ineffective. They know that Jewish pride is their enemy, so they try to destroy it or minimize it. 

The story of American Jews in the 1940s shows what a united Jewish community can do.  The story of modern antisemitism shows that this is exactly the haters are trying to undo. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!