Why Jews Need Israel

In a speech given to the Domestic Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag in June 2008 on the subject of a renascent antisemitism, journalist Henryk Broder distinguished between a prejudice and a resentment: “a prejudice concerns a person’s behavior; a resentment concerns that person’s very existence. Anti-semitism is a resentment. The anti-Semite does not begrudge the Jew how he is or what he does, but that he is at all. The anti-Semite takes offense as much at the Jew’s attempts to assimilate as at his self-marginalization. Rich Jews are exploiters; poor Jews are freeloaders….The anti-Semite blames Jews for everything and its opposite.”

Of course, this is a story as old as the Judean hills. If there is anything “new” about it in the current historical moment, it resides in the form this ancient “resentment” happens to take. Its racist, religious and class manifestations persist, but a fourth ingredient has been added to this toxic soup of roiling hatreds, namely, a national element that goes under the rubric of anti-Zionism. The “historical strain of anti-Semitism continues,” writes Phyllis Chesler in The New Anti-Semitism, “but in the last fifty years it has also metamorphosed into the most violent anti-Zionism.”...

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