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The Diaspora as a Calling - Zionist Yearning and Propaganda

:‫ ָלכֶם‬,‫ וְלֹא יִ ְהיֶה‬,‫ ִת ָטּעוּ‬-‫ ִתזְרָעוּ וְ ֶכרֶם לֹא‬-‫ ְוזֶרַע לֹא‬,‫ ִתבְנוּ‬-‫וּ ַביִת לֹא‬
(35:7 ‫ֶם )ירמ‬‫יְמֵיכ‬-‫ כָּל‬,‫ֵשׁבוּ‬
ְ ‫כִּי ָבּ ֳא ָהלִים תּ‬
Can the Diaspora be seen as a calling? Are there elements of the Diaspora that the Jews have lost
due to Zionism? Has the Zionist Project propagated itself through Propaganda?

No, I’m not a Zionist. I’m a Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of
Jew. I’m not going to “I do not care
whitewash this despicable Israel, to all those exiled whom I exiled about Israel,”
desecration of our inheritance from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses Atlanta
and paint it as awesomely and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat journalist
wonderful because of it’s Binyamin
scientific breakthroughs or its their fruit. Take wives and beget sons
Cohen, 30,
false appearance of democracy. and daughters; and take wives for your declares flatly.
The more venom you spew in sons and give your daughters to
my direction, the more I realize “It sounds like a
it’s true — that Zionists don’t husbands, so that they may bear sons crazy, almost
really believe in Torah. Because and daughters. Multiply there, do not horrible thing
Zionism is assur by the Torah. decrease. And seek the welfare of the for a Modern
Zionism has nothing to do with Orthodox person
Judaism. It is a Jewish
city to which I have exiled you and pray to say. But it
nationalist movement. Judaism to the LORD on its behalf; for in its [the founding of
and Zionism are not one and the prosperity you shall prosper. For thus the Jewish state]
See to be a “good Jew” today,
says the LORD of hosts, the God of happened more
Israel: Do not let the prophets and your than 50 years
you don’t have to care about
ago, and it
Torah. You don’t have to diviners in your midst deceive you, and doesn’t mean
practice Judaism. You don’t
have to believe in G-d. You
pay no heed to the dreams they dream. anything to me.
don’t have to be educated in For they prophesy to you in My name The love of
your history. You don’t have to falsely; I have not sent them, says the Israel is not a
be educated in our source LORD. For thus says the LORD: When gene that a
material. You don’t have to Jewish person is
learn gemara. You don’t have to Babylon’s seventy years are over, I will
lay tefillin. You don’t need to take note of you and I will fulfill to you born with.” --
know a word of Hebrew. You my proise of favor—to bring you back to Uncovering the Un-
don’t have to keep a single Movement,
mitzvah or even know what a this place. (Jer 29:4-11) Brith Magazine

mitzvah is — sorry to tell you,

it doesn’t mean “good deed.”
No. You just need to Right from its foundation, the existence of Israel created new questions for world Jewry. If
unyieldingly, unquestioningly Israel's purpose was to accommodate a nation that could never be safe or fully itself in any
support Israel in every military other place, was it still possible for self-conscious Jews to flourish in “exile”? Some felt
decision (unless those decisions Jews had only two options: assimilate in the countries where they lived, or identify very
aren’t brutal enough against our closely with the new state, if not migrate there.
supposed enemies, in which Another dilemma arose from the idiosyncrasies of religious life in the new state. Many
case, feel free to dissent). You Israelis are secular—but religious authority in the country is in the hands of the Orthodox.
need to perceive of a black and Where does that leave Jews outside Israel who practise more liberal forms of the faith?
white world in which all Arabs And the biggest dilemma is this: however proud world Jewry felt of Israel during its early
and Muslims are evil and all struggle to survive, how should a conscientious Jew react to Israel's new image as military
Jews are good and innocent and giant and flawed oppressor? Faced with these puzzles, Jews all over the world are finding
worthy of your unconditional new ways to assert their identity and a new relationship with Israel.
support. Nevermind what the Most diaspora Jews still support Israel strongly. But now that its profile in the world is no
Torah says about provoking longer that of heroic victim, their ambivalence has grown. Many are disturbed by the
both the wrath of G-d and the occupation of the Palestinian territories or more recently by images of Israeli bombing in
wrath of the nations. Lebanon; some fear they give grist to anti-Semites. Quite a few think Jewish religious and
Nevermind capital-T Truth at cultural life in Israel is stunted. Others question the point of a safe haven that, thanks to its
all. Sieg heil, sieg heil, and wars and conflicts, is now arguably the place where most Jews are killed because they are
“you’re okay in my book.” Jews. The most radical say, as the Palestinians do, that the idea of an ethnically based state
--Daniel Sieradski, Jewschool, is racist and archaic. - Second Thoughts about the Promised Land, the Economist:
2/i-know-the-days-not-over-yet/ mRa-QJIKuoQLS2fC9Dw

The Diaspora as a Calling – Worksheet for Counterpoint developed by Ariel Beery and Aharon Horwitz
Diaspora Jews are
As we have for thousands of Why, one might ask, has the
aware that they Jewish contribution to the wider
have a homeland years, Jews today are thriving
world of Western culture and
that will always be outside the Land of Israel. The
ready to accept knowledge been so much more
them as lovely
American Jewish community (if marked in some regions than in
swans rather than we can refer to the multitudes in others? Take the Nobel Prizes in
ugly ducklings, and the singular) is teeming with the serious sciences. Of the 74
this helps them feel
more secure about resources and ideas. We are British prizes, 11 were won by
living outside of integrated into society in the Jews, but, with one possible
this homeland. vast majority of areas where we exception, none of them was born
Knowing that Israel in Britain. Of the 11 Russian
exists as a second live and, for better or worse,
prizes won since 1917, six or
home for all Jews, have joined the top echelons of seven went to Jews, presumably
provides even those
conasidering aliyah
many. We therefore must all natives of the region. Until
with a feeling that reconsider our tradition’s age- 2004, no Nobel Prizes in science
they do not need to old liturgical longing for another had been won by Israeli
rush—Israel will researchers in any country,
always welcome place. In this era of global
them with open conflict, unprecedented mobility although Israel has one of the
arms. The fact that highest outputs per capita of
for the upper classes, and
Jews received their scientific papers: 2004, however,
own “Ireland” or natural disasters that send produced two, one native-born
“Italy” in 1948 millions running from their and one born in Hungary. On the
enables them to
feel in America and
homes, we must ask ourselves: other hand, two or perhaps three
elsewhere like Can home be any place but the have been won since Israel
other immigrants place we live? -- Ilana Sichel, became independent by members
who left the “old
Editor, New Voices Magazine of the modest Lithuanian-Jewish
country” behind. – population of South Africa
Yossi Beilin, His
(c.150,000), though all outside
Brother’s Keeper
e+issue&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=firefox-a that continent. How are we to
explain such striking differences?
.. Patently, without both the
The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes opening of US academia to the
suggested—that it is a European "enclave" in the Arab world; but Jews after 1948 and its vast
rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically expansion, the enormous wave of
late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has home-grown US Nobels after
moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and 1970 would have been
international law. The very idea of a "Jewish state"—a state in impossible. A more important
which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from factor, I believe, is segregation,
which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded— is rooted in whether of the pre-emancipation
another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism. – Tony kind or by territorial/genetic
Judt, Israel: The Alternative, New York Review of Books (2003) nationalism. This may explain the
relatively disappointing
As Jews, especially in America, feel more secure socially and contribution of Israel, considering
economically and have power over place and space, they are the relative size of its Jewish
beginning to examine internal differences. The question of Jewish population. It would seem that
difference has become all the more pressing with mass migration of living among gentiles and
Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel, Germany and the United addressing a gentile audience is as
States. These groups of Jews speak different languages from the Jews much a stimulus for physicists as
in their new host countries, maintain different sense of Jewish it is for film-makers. In this
identity, and often maintain separate communal institutions…What respect it is still much better to
does, in fact, an upper-middle-class professional, secular Jew in Los come from Brooklyn than from
Angeles have in common with a working-class Israeli Sephardic Tel Aviv.-- Eric Hobsbawm, “The
religious Jew in Bnei Brak except the fact that each one calls herself a Benefits of the Diaspora.”
Jew? – Caryn Aviv and David Shneer New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora (2005)

The Diaspora as a Calling – Worksheet for Counterpoint developed by Ariel Beery and Aharon Horwitz