Assimilation with everyone else was once the Jewish dream, but Hitler turned the dream into nightmare. Only having a homeland of their own would put an end to Jew-hatred, but old hates do not go gentle into that good night. Or a bad one, either.
The Jews who lost both synagogue and state over 2,000 years ago kept their religion even as many of them became more secular, nevertheless continue to draw hostile attention nearly everywhere. Humans, as scholars of the human condition observe, seem to require scapegoats when things go wrong, and Jews seem always to be the bleaters. For reasons political, economic, psychological, sociological or simply what's fashionably called the "other," Jews have drawn slings and arrows, and now rockets.
But if enemies seem never to change, friends do. Christians, whose forbears once scorned Jews as "Christ-killers," have become Israel's staunchest friends when Israel needs all the friends it can find. The world, as Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, observes, has truly become "a mess." Jews once accused of being rootless cosmopolitans are today called reactionary nationalists for defending their country against thousands of rockets roaring into their cities, chasing the wary into the uncertain security of underground shelters.
Israel, like every other of the nations of the world, is not perfect; criticism of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic, but even before the current war erupted between Israel and the Palestinians, the Jewish nation has been more often rebuked, criticized and condemned by the United Nations and other international organizations than all other nations together. In the streets of Europe in the 1930s, as Walter Lacquer observed in his trenchant analysis of "The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism," slogans sprayed on the walls of the cities exhorted Jews "to move on to Jerusalem." Six decades later they're told they must move out of Jerusalem.
The Turkish prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, last week declared that Israel's defensive offensive against Hamas in Gaza "surpassed what Hitler did." Israel, for defending itself against an implacable foe for returning in kind the shot and shell fired from batteries embedded in schools and hospitals, is denounced as a "terror state." Israel is even blamed for the terror the Palestinians inflict on themselves; hundreds of the rockets that land in Gaza are misfires from Hamas.
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