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Forgotten dissenters

Reader comment on item: Who Supports Israel[, Jews or Conservatives]?

Submitted by Enoch Wisner (United States), Sep 4, 2003 at 10:23

Mr. Pipes' analysis of the demographics of Israel's supporters and opponants was, by and large, correct. One constituent of the universe opposed to the State of Israel escaped mention, however.

From the beginning of Jewish nationalism's formal organization in the late 19th century, the leadership of Europe's orthodox communities were its vehement opponants. There are 13 fundamental tenets of faith in the Jewish belief structure (enunciated in Maimonides' "Ani ma'amim b'emuna sh'leimoh"), denial, rejection or failure in regard to any one or more of which renders one a heretic and beyond inclusion among the Jewish people. The re-establishment of Israel as a sovereign nation consequent of the advent of the Messiah (as understood in Jewish tradition) is one of these tenets. The establishment of a nominally Jewish State by means other than the advent of the Messiah was almost universally deemed heretical among the orthodox communities of Europe until after the modern State of Israel received its franchise from the UN. Advocacy for statehood on secular terms was nearly exclusive to socialists and communists of Jewish extraction.

Today, the fact of the State of Israel, enfranchised by the United Nations, is the cause of much debate in the orthodox community. While none of the streams of orthodoxy can accept the current State, as it exists, as a legitimately "Jewish" State, or endorse the premise of its franchise in the UN, some construe its existence as a "first step" toward the revelation of the long-awaited Messiah, and consider it a religious duty to work within its structure toward its perfection in a reisntituted, Davidic monarchy. This explains, for those familiar with Jewish tradition, the concentration of those the media call "ultra-nationalist" Jews on the Temple Mount, and the yearly attempts of one group among these to lay a new corner-stone for a new Temple on the site of the original two. Others among Jews of this stripe may be less organized, vocal or confrontational, but hold that the State, at least as a "fact on the ground," deserves and requires their support, hence the numerous "religious" political parties in Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

There remains, however, a large contingent of religious Jews -- and these, the most rigorously orthodox -- who persist in the notion that a State called "Israel," enfranchised by any human authority, is heretical. For the most part, Jews holding this view are those whose roots are in central Europe -- typically from Hungary and Romania -- and those for whom this expression of Jewish faith represents the standard toward which to strive. This view is also held, though among a much less populous universe, by Jews of Middle Eastern descent, but who represent this demographic's most rigorously orthodox segment, as well.

It was a significant oversight that these Jews were not included among the roll of those opposed to the State of Israel. The spectrum of Jewish observance, inside Israel and in the diaspora, has demonstrated a persistent movement toward polarity, the numbers of the most rigorously orthodox and the most secular soon to constitute the majority of all Jews. Because the orthodox increase their numbers more from their high birthrate, and the secular contingent from those of the liberal streams of Judaism falling way from religious observance altogether, every indication is that the only demographic with the potential for sustained growth is the orthodox. Already favoring a Palestinian State to the secular enfranchisement of a State of Jews -- and having claim to a voice in Israel's governance by virtue of its own "Law of Return" -- the orthodox community represents the same danger, if at a greater distance, to the secular State as the Palestinian refugees, which the nationalist politicians in Israel recognize as the death-knell of Israel's socialist-secular Jewish identity.


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Reader comments (48) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
1Who supports Israel. (Conservatives or Liberals?) Conservatives overwhelmingly love Israel [223 words]DeborahAug 19, 2009 08:56160406
The Difference - from a REPUBLICAN [84 words]jennifer solisMar 28, 2008 01:07123868
Really the U.S. and Israel People are my lovely People [1719 words]Saleh Babeker Yahia SalehJun 11, 2007 05:0797635
What the liberals think that they win attacking Israel? [167 words]Mauricio McleanJan 24, 2004 16:4413522
The Left and the Nation State [90 words]Peter EdgarSep 22, 2003 03:5211398
Just one detail... [28 words]Thomas P. ReitzSep 21, 2003 18:2011389
What about Christian messianists? [62 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
David AxelrodSep 18, 2003 10:1611291
David Axelrod- What about Christian messianists? [14 words]Mark RothMar 27, 2008 15:3411291
Christians Believe the Holy bible, and God's word! [214 words]DeborahAug 19, 2009 09:0811291
Support of Israel [168 words]Jeanne ZangerSep 8, 2003 17:0711088
1BJP of India supports Israel [158 words]Devang VyasSep 8, 2003 14:4011085
If Israel survives, humanity survives. [88 words]D. KrabbenhoftSep 7, 2003 23:5711077
reality versus self-delusion [238 words]Y Brandstetter MDSep 7, 2003 04:2611070
Typical left wingers [174 words]Samuel SchwartzSep 6, 2003 22:3411066
the states that harbor terrorists.... [55 words]larrySep 5, 2003 11:2311050
Great [58 words]steve wellsSep 5, 2003 10:2911048
Blair snubs Israel? [35 words]Paul FordSep 5, 2003 08:2311046
Blair snubs Israel? [34 words]Paul FordSep 5, 2003 03:0911043
A note [59 words]Shalom FreedmanSep 5, 2003 01:5411042
Who supports Israel [138 words]Sharon ChadhaSep 5, 2003 00:1211041
Ingrams profiling far more sophisticated than visible ethnicity [213 words]Florence B. SinowSep 5, 2003 00:0911040
Who Supports Israel? [20 words]Violet West RapoportSep 5, 2003 01:0311036
Who supports Israel? [114 words]Ricky HaikinSep 4, 2003 16:5911034
Support for Israel [192 words]Vijay DandapaniSep 4, 2003 15:3311033
israel has got killer technology [127 words]bharatJul 16, 2006 11:1511033
who support Israel [52 words]george glanczSep 4, 2003 10:2611030
Forgotten dissenters [622 words]Enoch WisnerSep 4, 2003 10:2311028
Pro-Israel Jewish Intellectuals [17 words]Kenneth D. Cohen, Ph.D.Sep 4, 2003 09:0211026
Yes but Why? [128 words]BenjaminSep 4, 2003 03:0311021
It is (radical) leftists, not liberals who are anti-Israel [35 words]Arthur CohnSep 4, 2003 01:1411019
Savaging Israel [390 words]Arlinda DeAngelisSep 3, 2003 21:0311016
Befuddled [193 words]Martin SchulbergSep 3, 2003 17:3211011
Fouad Ajami [62 words]Johnathan R. GaltSep 3, 2003 16:2311010
Propping up terrorists, the effect of altruism. [275 words]David SmithSep 3, 2003 15:5211009
Liberal Conservative Multiple Personality Disorder [720 words]Elisha IgnatoffSep 3, 2003 13:2011007
jajaja [31 words]palMar 4, 2010 00:3811007
NY Times Vindicates Pipes [119 words]NK285Sep 3, 2003 12:4611005
who supports israel [22 words]douglas meedSep 3, 2003 12:3511003
Thomas Friedman should not be lumped with the likes of Chomsky [253 words]Matthew RandSep 3, 2003 12:3111002
Thx for comprehensive historical rundown on Israel in world affairs. [105 words]robert alexanderSep 3, 2003 12:0911001
Jewish Opponents of Israel [43 words]Jerrold KatzSep 3, 2003 11:2210997
Comments on who supports Isreal [295 words]Darwin Scott StamperSep 3, 2003 11:1010995
Liberal Left wrong again! [133 words]Joe FitzgeraldSep 3, 2003 11:1010994
U.S. Support of Israel [515 words]Don CanhamSep 3, 2003 11:0810993
Much thanks [48 words]Walter D'UllSep 3, 2003 10:0610989
Support For Israel [128 words]Leon A. DavisSep 3, 2003 09:5810988
Good job [6 words]Alan TowsonSep 3, 2003 09:1610985
Bi-Polar world? [111 words]Glenn KlotzSep 3, 2003 07:5510981

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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