I just read an excerpt from Daniel Gordis’ upcoming book, “Why the Future of American Jewry Depends on the Survival of Israel”. In the article he explains that, like it or not, we American Jews would suffer terribly if Israel were destroyed. I happen to agree, but think things are far more dangerous than Dr. Gordis admits.
First, let me put my cards on the table: I am a Zionist. I believe every people deserves homeland, and Israel is the homeland of the Jews. I also support Palestine as the homeland for Palestinians, and Tibet as the homeland for Tibetans, etc. My Zionism, however, doesn’t cause me to support any specific Israeli government or set of policies. I am an American first and foremost, and long for an Israel that is at least as democratic as we used to be, and far less theocratic than many of my fellow citizens want us to be.
That said, what bothers me about Dr. Gordis’ claim is that it posits the destruction of Israel as if that could happen in a vacuum. It can’t and it won’t. Here are just three possible scenarios that would include the destruction of Israel but have ramifications far beyond Israel alone:
1. If Israel thought she was going to be destroyed she would use the nuclear option and turn the Middle East into a wasteland. The death of millions would ensue, and we Jews would go down in history as mass murderers. As radioactive fallout blew toward the United States, gas and oil prices would rise far beyond the purchasing power of most Americans. Our economy would crash and we would blame it all on the Jews. Every Jew in any position of power or influence would be fired or voted out of office, and we Jews would become anathema to America. We would have to leave, but there would be nowhere for us to go.
2. If it looked like Israel will be destroyed America would come to Israel’s aid militarily. This would spark WW III pitting NATO against Russia, China, Iran, and many if not all Muslim nations. The chances of this war going nuclear would be extremely high, and Jews would be blamed for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. The economies of every nation would crumble, and American Jews (all Jews really, but we are talking about American Jews) would become a pariah people. We would have to leave, but there would be nowhere for us to go.
3. If it looked like Israel will be destroyed and America did not come to Israel’s aid, American Jews would clamor for intervention, fail, and suddenly find themselves as second class citizens at best or anathema to America at worst. If America was once again willing to deem the deaths of millions of Jews as tangential to its national interest, American Jews would have to leave, but there would be nowhere for us to go.
These are just three possibilities, and I invite you to offer others.