Despite long odds and predictions of Israel’s doom in 1948, the genius, and the blood, sweat, tears and toil, of the Jewish people allowed the state to prevail and ultimately thrive. Today, it is home to nearly half of the Jews in the world with a booming economy and a military that makes it a regional superpower.
Yet, just as Jews once dreamed of a Jewish state, others dream of its disappearance.
While the notion of erasing a powerful modern nation from the map is an absurd goal, Israel’s enemies insist that their objective is no more unrealistic than that of Theodor Herzl’s. They’re right about that. In 1896, Herzl’s idea was seen by most sensible people as even more of a fantasy than the schemes of those currently plotting Israel’s demise.
During Herzl’s short life, Zionism was a project supported by only a tiny minority of Jews, who were themselves a tiny fraction of the world’s population. By contrast, anti-Zionism is now supported by millions of Muslims, many leftists around the world and every variety of anti-Semite.
Advocates for Israel’s destruction don’t always speak as openly as the leaders of Iran and Hamas routinely do. Some, like the editorial board of the Harvard Crimson, just talk about their desire for a “free Palestine” and their backing for the BDS movement, without mentioning that the goal of BDS is the end of the Jewish state.
Others in the international community, like certain human-rights groups and the UN Human Rights Council, which has launched an open-ended inquiry to back up the lie that Israel is an “apartheid state,” obfuscate their ultimate goal while doing everything they can to isolate Israel in the hope that it will collapse.
In the US, the intersectional left embraces BDS discrimination against Israel and the Jews while pretending to be for coexistence, though their stands help to make peace impossible. Their ideology fallaciously compares the war against Israel to the struggle for civil rights in the US, and claims that Jews and Israel are oppressors that benefit from “white privilege.”
Some Jews join them, such as Jewish Voices for Peace and IfNotNow, which back blood libels against Jews that are no different from traditional tropes of right-wing anti-Semites.
Others, like writer Peter Beinart, say that a binational state — an end to Jewish sovereignty and self-defense — is the just solution.
Most Americans still back Israel and Zionism. But as support for intersectional myths grows within the left-wing of the Democratic Party and anti-Semitism becomes normalized, it’s clear that the battle to defend Zionism in American public forums has only just begun.
Yet, on the 74th anniversary of Israel’s independence, it’s worth it to stop and imagine for a moment what the world would look like if the dreams of the anti-Zionists came true and Israel disappeared.
Any such scenario is highly unlikely, but history is full of unlikely nightmares that few believed could happen.
Diving into the counterfactual world in which the Jews of Israel lost their ability to defend their state, it’s not difficult to imagine the results.
Contrary to those who predict that a binational state would bring peace and justice to the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Jews of Israel would be in the gravest possible danger without a Jewish government and an army to defend them.
Some leftist Jews have made a fetish of powerlessness. But the lessons of 20 centuries of Jewish history prior to modern Israel tell us exactly what happens when Jews’ safety is dependent on the kindness of strangers.
Left to the mercy of Palestinian terror organizations, in addition to the Islamist and nationalist Arabs who have never stopped preaching revenge for their past defeats at the hands of the Zionists, the seven million Jews in Israel would be decimated at worst, subjected to systematic discrimination at best.
The descendants of Jews who survived the Holocaust in Europe or were driven out of their homes in Arab lands would be forced to again flee for their lives.
A new generation of Jewish victims — as if the six million were not enough — might be viewed sympathetically by the world. But if the Jews lose the ability to defend themselves, even the friendliest of foreign powers won’t do it for them.
Nor would the suffering be confined to the Jews of Israel. If there is anything we should have learned from the last century of Jewish history, it is that the establishment of a Jewish state has allowed every Jew in the world to be more respected by their neighbors.
Even those who are indifferent to or unaware of how much Israel has strengthened their position and pumped life into Jewish communities would soon understand that this would strip them of the pride and the security that a Jewish state had offered them.
The end of Israel would set off a new dark age for world Jewry whose consequences are unimaginable to those who grew up in the last 74 years when Jews no longer thought of themselves primarily as victims or the objects of hate and scorn.
This nightmare scenario will hopefully never come to pass. But we should keep it in mind whenever we encounter those who speak up for Israel’s elimination or for a BDS movement that seeks that end.
Those who preach the end of Israel may think they are supporting human rights, but what their advocacy adds up to is mass murder and the dispossession of the largest Jewish community in the world.