This Land is Our Land: Jewish Loyalty to their Home State

As the United States celebrates the 241st anniversary of its founding, it seems an appropriate time to address a hackneyed conspiracy theory. That of Jewish dual loyalty. Namely dual loyalty to the Zionist State which, when deemed necessary by the powers that be, can even supersede loyalty for one’s country of residence. Discussions about this manic sense of allegiance takes a prominent position on online forums and comment streams, especially those which might be deemed “slightly less Jew-friendly”. For those who have adopted the platform of “Israel always, right or wrong”, there remains little to discuss. “Israel’s” rights, whatever they may be at any given moment, are all-encompassing and undebatable. All (Jews) must bow to them, wherever they reside. The fact that this attitude feeds anti-Semitism on an unprecedented scale is either irrelevant to or lost on them.

True Torah Jews’ lament concerning self-imposed moral blindness isn’t new. The German Jewish community of the late 1800s, both Orthodox and Reform, underlined three key points where Zionists and newly emergent racial anti-Semites found common ground.

· Jews aren’t a religious group but a distinct nation

· Jews can never integrate into the country in which they lived

· The sole solution to the “Jewish Problem” is for them to leave

The upside of these “facts” was that there was now a group dedicated to alleviating the problem. Zionists! Oh, happy day!

Dr. I.M. Rabinovitch, one-time professor at McGill University, wrote in 1974 that:

“Political Zionism teaches Dual Loyalty and, in this dual loyalty, when the occasion arises, greater loyalty to the State of Israel than to the country of one’s birth or adoption. Political Zionism is thus not consistent with good citizenship, but has in it most fertile seeds for proliferation of anti-Semitism…”

When the second intifada erupted, the Hillel Society, a Jewish campus group, already had a ready-and-waiting army of PR agents. It was through the thousands of Jewish college students on campuses across America and Canada who, after having attended lectures on Israeli life, courses in Modern Hebrew and Israeli folk dancing lessons, were primed for action to defend “Israel” against all comers. The Hillel Society makes no secret of their goals. Their mission statement mentions in one breathe, “promoting Israel and fighting anti-Semitism.” (Canadian) The two are somehow inextricably linked and the hearer is left with no doubt as to the evitable conclusion. Hedge your bets with “Israel”. But what brought about the hostility that many Jewish students perceived in the wake of the intifada? Is anti-Semitism like the tides, which ebb and flow with mind-numbing regularity? Does it just spring out of nowhere, a freak natural occurrence, like an earthquake or tsunami?

Does American, Canadian or British Jewish students loudly advocating for a country whose interests are frequently at odds with those of their countries of residence feed this atmosphere of hostility?

The answers, for those who haven’t shackled their Jewish identities to “Israel”, are obvious.

America and a host of other countries have opened their doors to thousands upon thousands of Jews, affording them the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. The situation, as it stands right now, is exceedingly good for the Jews here in the U.S. and other Western nations. I have strolled down the avenues of many American and Canadian cities and I have not once feared for my safety because I’m obviously Jewish. I have feared that maybe some teenage hoodlums would throw a few choice words/epithets my way, but that’s the price of freedom. I have the right to look different from most of my fellow citizens, with long, luscious side-curls, and they have the right to be idiots. Let freedom ring! In spite of a few taunts, I have, without exception, emerged physically unscathed from all of these encounters. I have been in the American South, the self-titled “Bible Belt”, on the street during Christian holidays, unafraid. For those I know who still remember the Europe of 60 or 70 years ago, that couldn’t have been said.

To constantly act as a diplomat for a foreign country, especially in times where said country’s interests run contrary to your own, promotes anti-Semitism and is, on a more fundamental level, ungrateful and boorish. It’s also not in the least bit Jewish. Many Diaspora Pro-Israelists will refer to an Israeli diplomat as “our consul” or “our ambassador”, leaving little to the imagination as to where their loyalties actually lie. This urge can even and sometimes does spill over into rejection and condemnation of their own countries in fits of frustration.
Judaism mandates good citizenship for every Jew. Jews are not a separate political entity in the midst of the nations in which they dwell, they are residents who are obligated to pray for and actively seek the good of the country which has afforded them shelter. Dual loyalties have no place anywhere, in either the private or public spheres.

Those who wish to clamor night and day in the name of “Israel” would do well to put their money where their mouth is. If it’s so wonderful in the “ultimate haven”, go live there. Just let the rest of us live in peace in a country that already does just that.