Blue State Blues: The Jewish State as Pariah

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The 20th century philosopher Hannah Arendt observed that the early Zionists were the only Jews who had found a political answer to the vulnerability of their community — but that they had been “pariahs” within the community for doing so.

She contrasted the “pariah” Zionist leaders with what she called the “parvenu” elites within the Jewish community, particularly in Europe, who feared Zionism would disrupt their tenuous links to the establishment.

In the United States, too, Zionists were a minority within the American Jewish community until the Second World War, when the reality of the Holocaust convinced American Jews that the only way to save Jews from destruction would be to create a Jewish state that controlled its own borders and that could rescue refugees that the rest of the world was unwilling to absorb.

What was once the cause of a “pariah” minority then became a mainstream cause.

That history is relevant as we consider the difficult situation that Israel faces today.

Hamas launched a war against Israel on October 7 with a horrific terror attack that, the terrorists hoped, would inspire the Arab and Muslim worlds to rise up and destroy the Jewish state.

That did not happen, but Hamas succeeded in arousing international hostility to Israel in the West, notably on university campuses, where a rising generation is steeped in anti-Israel propaganda.

Moreover, by using Palestinian civilians as human shields, and by placing weapons and tunnel entrances all over Gaza, Hamas forced Israel to fight in a way that endangered civilians and devastated the urban landscape.

Israel has been remarkably careful: in a two-week battle in Shifa Hospital, for example, it killed 200 terrorists but no civilians. However, it has made mistakes, such as this week’s tragic accidental killing of seven World Central Kitchen workers.

The Biden administration has supplied weapons to Israel, and supported Israel’s right to defend itself against terror.

But for the last several weeks, President Joe Biden has criticized Israel’s conduct of the war in harsh terms, often echoing the false propaganda of anti-Israel activists. In doing so, he is trying to win back Arab- and Muslim-American voters in key swing states, and also trying to pressure Israel to fall into line behind his broader foreign policy goals.

Biden, like Barack Obama before him, is trying to appease the Iranian regime that funds and arms most of the terror groups in the Middle East. He also believes a Palestinian state is the key to peace, despite evidence to the contrary.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes these policies, as do most Israelis, from right to left. So Biden is trying to do everything he can — overtly and covertly — to push Netanyahu aside and hope for a more pliant leader.

The result is that Israel finds itself alone. Biden is emphasizing Israel’s isolation by using tragedies like the World Central Kitchen deaths to accuse Israel, falsely, of being responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Biden, like Hamas, is demanding an “immediate ceasefire,” and may let the UN declare a Palestinian state.

If Israel wants to defeat Hamas by destroying the last Hamas battalions in the city of Rafah in Gaza, it may have to do so without U.S. support.

Likewise, if Israel takes on Iran — directly, or in Syria and Lebanon — it will be on its own. The White House is hinting that Israel can claw back support by dumping Netanyahu, but Israel would do so at the cost of its independence.

The price of survival may be that Israel has to become a pariah, at least for the near future. While unfortunate, that is not a fate that Israel should fear. And Israel will always have friends among those who truly love liberty, and faith.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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