OpinionAntisemitism

Is the Jewish romance with America over?

The Jew-haters may force millions of American Jews to make aliyah.

American and Israeli flags flying together. Credit: John Theodor/Shutterstock.
American and Israeli flags flying together. Credit: John Theodor/Shutterstock.
Lawrence Franklin
Col. Lawrence Franklin was the USAF Reserve Military Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Israel and the U.S. Defense Secretary's Farsi-Speaking Iran Officer and Islamic Terrorism specialist. He holds a PhD is in Asian Studies.

American Jews must now be remembering the gruesome but verifiable wisdom imparted to them by their grandparents: There is no safe place for a Jew.

When millions of Jews began to emigrate from the shtetls and ghettos of pre-revolutionary tsarist Russia and Eastern Europe, a huge portion came to America. They sailed past the Statue of Liberty, as did my Irish-Catholic grandparents, on the way to Ellis Island. Many of them settled on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Most were true believers in the clarion call of the Jewish poetess Emma Lazarus: “Give me your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

America appeared to be a new Jerusalem where Jews would finally escape the woes of the next pogrom in “Old Europe.” Here, they would thrive. When the economy cratered during the Great Depression, Jews were not signaled out as scapegoats. They were not falsely accused of participating in traitorous conspiracies as they were after France lost to the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. The nadir of that wave of antisemitism was the French military’s dishonor in the Dreyfus Affair. Jews also bore the blame for Germany’s loss in World War I, a “hate myth” articulated by the Nazi theme of dolchstoss, the “stab in the back.”

This pattern of Jew-hatred dates at least as far back as medieval times, when Jews were blamed for the Black Death, a pandemic that may have killed half of the mid-14th century European population. At the same time, parts of Christian Europe ascribed to religious Jew-hatred as an element of doctrinal faith. They ignored the first words of their resurrected redeemer from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There are still those who ignore the Pontifical embrace of Pope St. John Paul II, who instructed Catholics to revere our “elder brothers.”

The post-World War II decades witnessed the flourishing of American Jews, who excelled in every dimension of American life. Their success lulled American Jews into thinking they had finally found respite from centuries of antisemitism. Large numbers of Jews cast aside the “superstitions” of the old religion. Many abandoned the sacred values of Judaism. They vitiated the theological and moral message of their tradition, disparaging any belief in the Divinely instituted nature of the Covenant and promise to the chosen tribe.

Jews in America strove to assimilate into the dominant profiles of the American republic; first, the Judeo-Christian model and later the more secular strain of contemporary America.

So, many American Jews, now only culturally Jewish, intermarried; only rarely raising offspring with any religious faith. Jews rose to the top ranks of political power in the new Jerusalem with almost no reference to their Jewish background. Jewish parents pushed their children to adopt American values and seek enrollment in the best schools in the country.

I did not become aware that the Jew-haters were still among us until the late 1990s. Working as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, I would hear colleagues complain that America was “being used” by Israel and its supporters. This attitude involved the old “dual loyalty” trope, which holds that Jews in high policy positions were getting the U.S. to “fight Israel’s wars.”

When I became then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s Iran Desk Officer and the U.S. Air Force’s Reserve Colonel Attache to our embassy in Israel, these taunts were directed my way. I was warned by colleagues that I was getting too close to the “Izzis.” A few even implied that I was a spy for Israel. These charges led to my firing as a Defense Department civilian and military reservist with loss of both pensions as well as forfeiture of my Vietnam Era Veteran’s Administration compensation.

Now, Jewish students across our republic are finally realizing what it means to be a Jew; yes, even here in America. Now, Jewish parents must wonder whether Zionist leader Theodor Herzl was correct that a Jew can only be safe in a Jewish nation-state. Perhaps it is true that, even in America, assimilation is folly.

Sadly, those Jews who view themselves as “guests” in any polity and assert the futility of integration may be correct. I now fear that soon many of our loyal Jewish fellow citizens will urge their children to make Aliyah and emigrate to Israel.

Those responsible for fomenting hatred of Jews and Israel are fools like the bigots of old. History’s Jew-haters, whether they be betrayers of Christ’s message, purveyors of Quran-inspired Jew-hatred in Arab Muslim states, Soviet ideologues or Islamic terrorist groups are fools. They themselves have inspired millions of Jews to emigrate to Israel, making the Jewish state a powerful engine for democracy and an enlightened boon to humankind.

Whatever comes, Israel is prepared to stand alone. This reality recalls the words of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who told the then-young Senator Joe Biden in 1982 of the Senate’s threat to cut off aid to Israel: “Don’t threaten us with cutting off aid to give up our principles. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them, with or without your aid.”

The only alternative is for organized American Christianity to mobilize its masses in support of our “elder brothers.” They must do so before the American republic becomes the Weimar Republic by failing to defend its Judeo-Christian roots.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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