By Herbert Chubin
In her essay published in the March 8 issue of the Jewish Daily Forward, Sari Bashi, a Jewish human rights lawyer and the research director at Democracy for the Arab World Now, faults Israel for not granting citizenship to Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank.
She says Israel “grants citizenship to Jews and their descendants, including millions of Arab Jews like me, descended from Arabic-speaking families in Iraq, Morocco and other Arab countries. But it denies the rights of citizenship to Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank, even though nearly half of them descend from refugees from what is now internationally recognized as the State of Israel, and all of them live under Israeli rule.”
What kind of logic must a person use to reach such an illogical conclusion? Tens of thousands of Jews have given their lives in the past 100-plus years to create a Jewish majority country — the only one in the world — and hundreds of thousands of Jews have sought refuge in that Jewish majority country during the same time period. Yet Bashi asserts that Democracy for Palestinians can only be achieved once Israel ceases to be a Jewish majority country.
How does one respond? By reminding her, and others who think like her, of the consequences that befell Jews when Israel did not exist, and based on history, will happen to Jews if Israel ceases to exist as a Jewish majority nation.
In 1948, Israel was established with the help of the United Nations in a portion of the Jews historic homeland. Since then, hundreds of thousands of Jews have found safety in Israel. Bashi conveniently forgets to mention that most Jews were forced to flee to Israel from the Arab Muslim majority countries that she refers to above, with only the cloths on their backs.
Hatred for Jews has existed for millennia, but intensified with the beginning of Christianity. For almost 2,000 years, generation after generation of Christians sought revenge against Jews for the alleged murder of Jesus Christ. This desire for revenge has taken on a life of its own.
World War II laid bare this phenomenon. Despite being persecuted themselves by Nazi Germany, many of the citizens of the conquered European countries assisted the Nazis in murdering their Jewish inhabitants. Some were so committed that, even after the war ended, many surviving Jews were murdered by their fellow countrymen when they tried to return to their homes.
Should Israel cease to exist, will any country or group of countries offer sanctuary to the seven million Jews that live in Israel? One only has to look back at 2,000 years of history and to World War II for the answer. All the leading nations of the world, including the United States, found reasons to keep us out during World War II, directly contributing to the deaths of millions of Jews.
There have been three mass extinctions of Jews by Christians: first during the Crusades, followed by the Spanish Inquisition and, in the past century, the Holocaust. In between those events there was, and still is, ongoing persecution of Jews. According to the Pew Research Center, Jews, now largely concentrated in Israel and the United States, number only one-fifth of one percent (0.2%) of the world’s population.
Contrary to popular belief, there has not been a reemergence of antisemitism; it never went away. Antisemites again feel that they can openly express and carry out their hatred for Jews without fear of retaliation. For example, according to the ADL, in the United States there were 2,100 incidents of antisemitism in 2019, a 12% increase, the most in any year since the ADL began tracking them four decades ago.
The continued existence of the Jewish majority state of Israel must be ensured for future generations of Jews both living in Israel and living in the diaspora. As such, Palestinians must never be allowed to achieve through diplomacy what they have been prevented from achieving through the force of arms: the end of Israel as a Jewish majority nation. l
Longtime business executive Herbert Chubin, a Philadelphia native, moved from Yardley to Bethesda, Maryland, eight years ago. He is now retired.