The Scourge of Jewish Self-Division

“This history of self-estrangement, political strife and cultural rupture has been played out from the biblical era through the centuries of religious factionalism and reciprocal excommunication culminating in our own epoch. The profound antipathy between assimilated Jews and their irredentist counterparts in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Safed and Hebron, as well as the caste-like contempt of Western Jewish intellectuals for the Ostjuden, that is, their assumed “plebeian” and “uneducated” East European brethren, are facts of modern Jewish history. The shame of many of the Jewish Councils in Nazi Europe that collaborated with their murderers (not all, as Gershom Scholem justifiably argues in On Jews and Judaism in Crisis) cannot be forgiven, despite attempts to explain it away as the least of worst alternatives. The legacy of the celebrated Jewish philosopher Martin Buber and the equally acclaimed Jewish political writer Hannah Arendt, who could never forget their German patrimony and were corrosively suspicious of the Zionist project, has been broadly and unambiguously noxious. In the present moment we observe their offspring, that is, left-wing “peace activists,” liberal rabbis and “post-Zionist” intellectuals, who strive to erode the Jewish character of the state of Israel and so deprive it of its legitimacy. The Jewish Left, as it dances around the golden calf of a fictitious peace, represents perhaps the gravest danger to the survival of the country.”

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