We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have a question, but first some history. My father was one of those British soldiers in 1948 Palestine. Irish born, he quickly became disenchanted with the British treatment of Jewish refugees, awakening in him his sense of Irish history. (Hashem does work in mysterious ways.) As a result, he became a small cog in the machinery that got guns to the Haganah. He retained a life-long devotion to Zionism and the Jewish people, a devotion that was passed on to his children when he eventually made his way to America and to that beautiful state of mind and place called Brooklyn.
My question. Why do I sense a lessening of devotion to the cause of Israel among my Jewish friends, especially if they are younger than me (I am 57)? I am not referring to the pathological self-loather (those we will always have with us). I refer to the mainstream of Jewish America. It would be one thing if the times were peaceful, but times are anything but peaceful and the attitudes among Western elites (secular and religious, I am sad to say as a Catholic) are dangerously close to being in alliance with the most vicious instances of anti-Semitism in Arab countries.
Short form answer:
To ease their assimilation, the waves of Jewish emigres from Eastern Europe recast their Judaism (a religious identity) into ethnic "Jewishness". Centuries of grinding poverty left many of them ignorant of Jewish scholarship - so without the social constructs of the old country, their habit-based Judaism faded.
Spiritual/moral imperatives of faith were translated into general political notions of "social justice" and "standing up for the underdog". Even before they left Eastern Europe, a good number of these folks already viewed socialism as a modern expression of Jewish ideas.
The Holocaust and early struggles for the State of Israel were rallying points for that earlier generation. But over time, Jews who inherited only the threadbare ethnic "Jewishness" have quite naturally assimilated. They are not American Jews, but Americans of Jewish descent.
This clip would not work on young Jews today - who feel no threat nor common destiny with Jews of other places. Most "Americans of Jewish descent" have never visited Israel.
The dumbing down of Judaism to an ethnicity, and the equation of left-wing social justice rhetoric with being Jewish - these have led to the current situation. Numerous studies have confirmed that religious commitment to Judaism, the religion, is directly related to support for the state of Israel.
Whether or not one feels that there is still so much anti-Semitism worldwide that a state of Israel is really necessary to prevent another Holocaust, it is visible fact that Jews are much safer here in America than in the Near East. It does not surprise me that today's Jews notice this and act on it.
Let's invite them all to come here. It can't possibly be as expensive as preserving Israel, if that can even be done once their enemies get nukes.
Why wouldn't the presentation be one-sided? Who else had been decimated like the Jews in Europe? As horrible as the war was, and yes, millions of others died, there were still Germans and still Frenchmen and Brits and Hungarians and Russians.
My dad survived, was rescued from Bergen Belsen by the British Army, but almost all others of our family were murdered, including my grandparents, my dad's parents, who were herded off in 1944 from Hungary directly to Auschwitz and gassed.
If, feeblemind, you want to understand why the now-called-Palestinians, the Muslim Arabs of the region, are not mentioned, read the book "Palestine Betrayed". The Yishuv, the Jewish "Establishment" of Palestine, pleaded and begged for the Arabs to stay in the new State. But the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs (some of whom, like the Grand Mufti, had aligned with the Nazis) betrayed their own people, time and time again, forcing or scaring them into leaving. The book gives new evidence that the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs fled because of the betrayal of their own morally bereft leadership, something that has been stated by the "one side" for a long time (the Jewish Israelis), but had been denied by the "other side". Ephraim Karsh, who wrote the book, found newly exposed documents that told the story.
The Jews of Palestine were willing to share the land. The land was partitioned, and those same Arabs could have had their own land, which would have been much larger than the Jewish lands, but they still suicidally decided to fight and rid the world of some MORE Jews. It just didn't work out.
But after 6 million Jews, almost all of European Jewry were almost destroyed, and were still desperate to have freedom...many were locked up in DP camps in Cypress...there was little hyperbole in Edward G. Robinson's presentation....and the Palestinians, at least some, had sided with the Nazis...you wonder why the presentation is one-sided? Jews were still being murdered, 3 years after the Holocaust, for being Jews. If the Arabs had not decided to fight, not one Arab would have been killed by Jews. Not one.
But the Arabs chose to fight, they lost, end-of-story.
I just got back from Israel, and it is one of the most vibrant places in the world. I was in a mall in Jerusalem, and it looked like any other suburban mall pre-Christmas...3 stories of packed stores, the only difference being a kosher food court.
And who was in the mall? Muslim Arabs, religious Jews, non-religious Jews, tourists, you-name-it. We sat in the kosher food court eating Chinese take-out and hamburgers, and the Muslim family with children were sitting next to us. No violence, no one was being hassled, all went through the same security 'clearance' to get in, and the Muslims were doing what the Jews were doing...SHOPPING.
I saw the same thing in several malls where we stopped across the country. In the "Apartheid" state of Israel!