Global, Identity, Israel

The Economist on the End of Zionism

The Economist crunches the numbers and comes to the conclusion that diasporism is back, in a big way:

Most diaspora Jews still support Israel strongly. But now that its profile in the world is no longer that of heroic victim, their ambivalence has grown. Many are disturbed by the occupation of the Palestinian territories or more recently by images of Israeli bombing in Lebanon; some fear they give grist to anti-Semites. Quite a few think Jewish religious and cultural life in Israel is stunted. Others question the point of a safe haven that, thanks to its wars and conflicts, is now arguably the place where most Jews are killed because they are Jews. The most radical say, as the Palestinians do, that the idea of an ethnically based state is racist and archaic.
What is more, the last great waves of aliyah, immigration to Israel, have ended. Barring a new burst of anti-Semitism, the map of world Jewry will change slowly from now on. Each community is evolving in its own way. Some are seeing a revival unthinkable a few years ago. And young Jews especially are asking what Israel means to them.

Full story.

3 thoughts on “The Economist on the End of Zionism

  1. Taking the long view of Jewish history, it is premature to declare the decline or demise of immigration to Israel. It is also historically imprudent to declare the stability of any given diaspora community, even ones in apparent ‘golden age’. (Likewise, only fools or genuine prophets dare predict the future of Jewish life in Israel– the only certainty being unpredictability.)
    If anything, the last twenty years have seen events in the movement of the Jewish people that rival anything in the bible itself for scale and significance. Virtually the entire Ethiopian community came out of eons of isolation into a mass aliyah to Israel. A million-plus Russian Jews arrived in Israel– the single biggest overnight migration of Jews in our storied history of wandering. And the numbers of Jews immigrating to Israel from England, Canada, France, and America are the highest in generations or ever.
    The strength of the pull of Israel, and the relative stability of communities or identity in Israel or in the diaspora, should be measured in decades, not according to every fad or bump in the road. Jews in and out of Israel before ’48 bitterly opposed the creation of the state, probably far more than any opposition to ‘some of Israel’s policies’ today.
    “Machloket” or argument is an integral part of the Jewish experience anywhere; if all Jews were united in perfect support of Israel and desire to live and pray in Jerusalem, it would be a first– EVER. Hopefully, it is our biggest strength as a people that we can tolerate such a range of strong opinion and action.

  2. Ive got to say, this except follow EXACTLY my own perspective. Its nice to see it in print, to bad the organized Jewish community will never understand that many Jews feel this way.

  3. Good article, with an excellent accompanying photo at the top of the page. Anyone know the name of the shul it was taken in (or the photographer)? I’m beginning my own photo project on local religious architecture, and this example is nicer than anything I’ve accomplished thus far!

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