And so it begins and 1977 comes early. We are a people that dearly loves to fool itself and we look away from reality in the hope that it will go away. But though we look away it will not go away and illusion is but the father of delusion and myths are no substitute for answers to reality. The irony is that every time a Jew speaks up as a Jew and discusses the issues in Jewish terms and Jewish solutions, he is derided as “mystical,” and “impractical,” and “unrealistic.” We are at that unprecedented age when the Jew who speaks of history and events in terms of G-d and Divine direction, is mocked and looked upon as an embarrassment or worse. Non-believer and “religious” believer, alike, become diplomats and geopoliticians and the one never thinks of G-d while the other leaves him behind in the synagogue where he “belongs” since, when it comes to politics, we must be “practical.”
Well, 1977 will show just how impractical and absurd are the secularists and the “religious” allies who reject the mysticism of the truly religious and turn with “cleverness” and “cunning” to Washington, F-15 planes, Lebanese Christians and other “practical” allies and saviors. Those who trust in Man and mock the unrealistic Jew who follows the ancient and time-honored Jewish way of faith and self-help will learn quickly enough who is the truly practical and who the absurdly ridiculous fool.
We may struggle against wanting to see the truth and we may twist and turn our heads from looking at it, but the realities will never go away and we had best understand them even as they move ominously closer and closer with their threat to Jewish survival. The realities cannot be denied and they are, starkly and simply:
For Israel, no change. There remain tens of millions of Arabs, all dedicated to one thing: The elimination of any Israel, of any size or shape. There are no moderates – there are only Arabs like Sadat who are cleverer than those others who openly say what Sadat means. And so the Egyptian meets Congressmen and piously speaks of “peace” and “justice” if only Israel will retreat from the lands which Egypt had in its possession in 1967 and which did not stop her from going to war anyhow – for what purpose??? And the pathetic Ribicoffs stand and praise him as a man of “courage and peace” (as did so many Jewish and Israeli leaders in 1975) and the Arab deserves a medal for holding back his laughter…
And the reality remains. A United States whose interests are so different and so opposed to those of Israel and a Carter and a Ford differ only in accent, as far as Jews are concerned. America seeks oil, Arab business offers, Arab investment and non-involvement in any confrontation in the Middle East in this post-Vietnam era. America seeks to continue the very successful (from its point of view) Kissinger policy. The German Jew (Kissinger) was a tragedy for Israel, but for the United States – he drove the Russians out of the Middle East influence they once had. And this was done only by promising the Arabs that Washington could do for them, which Moscow could not – force Israel to retreat. If Carter does not do that, the Russians will return and American materialistic interests will be threatened. Only the “practical” fools, the gentilized Jews, prefer to believe that America will support Israel because it is a “democracy.” (Of course, America’s yardstick for supporting nations is whether they are democracies, witness Franco Spain, Salazar Portugal, Greece’s Colonel, South Korea…). American policy is and always has been the Roger Plan, total Israeli retreat from ALL the liberated lands in return for an Arab piece of paper. THAT IS THE REALITY for all the gentilized Jews of “practicality.”
The reality is that the sudden burst of Sadat “moderation” and PLO “change of heart” concerning a “Palestine” state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are both aimed at making things easier for America to abandon Israel. Indeed, Washington has long pleaded with the PLO to make “de facto” moderate statements so as to allow Washington to support the “Palestinian” cause without seeming to abandon Israel. We are seeing a coordinated Egyptian-Syrian-PLO-Washington plan to get a Geneva Conference that would set the ground for an overall “Peace Plan’ that would demand from Israel complete retreat from the liberated lands and place the onus for further Mideast conflict on Israeli “stubbornness” and “intransigence.” It will set the stage for more American “reassessment” and delay in arms and money shipments. It will set the stage for serious and permanent change in American policy towards Israel with a “clean conscience” and a massive sigh of relief from American leaders and people alike.
The reality is Israeli total isolation in the world as it joins South Africa and Rhodesia in the “pariah” class. And the irony will be that those who so derided and scorned Jews who said to trust alone in G-d will be left with neither G-d nor the Man they so avidly wooed… The reality is a retreat from lands on which a “Palestine” will be built that will sit a few miles from Israel’s heartland with its missile covering Israeli air space and “volunteers” from the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Pakistan and North Vietnam moving up to the shadow of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
All this is the very real and practical result of the policy of the gentilized Jews who run both Israel and American Jewry. The ones who never allow the name of G-d to pass their lips, the ones who mock the truly religious, the ones who pompously pontificate on the need for practical thinking and allies. Well, there are no allies and the Jew who is “practical” today in the same un-Jewish sense that his forefathers were when they scorned the impractical Isaiahs and Hoseas and Jeremiahs and turned with fawning and flattery and prostration to Egypt and Assyria – will find that Assyrians and allies of our time will betray him as swiftly as they did in times of yore.
And the reality for American Jewry is that the Galut, the bitter exile of the Jewish people, did not stop at the western shores of the Atlantic and was not barred from entering the United States. The exile – that bitterest of all curses, punishments and sins – cannot and will not ever be a sweet refuge.
And the reality for American Jewry is that the Galut, the bitter exile of the Jewish people, did not stop at the western shores of the Atlantic and was not barred from entering the United States. The exile – that bitterest of all curses, punishments and sins – cannot and will not ever be a sweet refuge. The curse of the Tochach (admonishment) will never be changed even though Reform and Yeshiva men alike rip out its pages from their Torahs. “And the L-rd shall scatter thee among all peoples… and among these nations shall thou have no peace.” How we ignore those Torah parts that disturb our tranquility! How superb we are at rationalizing them away! How angry we become at those who persist in speaking about it. How we prefer to create the myth of American Jewish bliss that nothing can disturb since “it cannot happen here!” but, the reality is that it will because it must, because the All Mighty knows full well that unless we are forced to, we will never go willingly back to the Land.
And the reality of Soviet Jewry is that never since Stalin have they faced such a potential for pogroms and physical threats. The illusion was that public protests and demonstrations could only hurt and when Jewish militants disproved that, the myth arose that it was really the twice-a-year establishment picnics and the respectable protests that had been the true cause of the sudden emigration flow and that became a delusion that everything would always remain as a permanent victory. But, the reality is that Jewish refusal to mount ever-greater attacks on détente and Jewish betrayal of Henry Jackson and now the worst perfidy of them all – the Israeli and Jewish treachery and selling out of all Soviet Jews who will not go to Israel – are all things that are aiding a potential Holocaust for Soviet Jewry. Where is the sense of urgency, where is the note of emergency? They are the realities and in the delusion that is born of such apathy, we prefer not to see the danger and be forced to act and do unpleasant things.
We are a people that dearly loves to fool itself and deeply resents those who refuse to allow us to. But the reality is here and it is clear. Jewish destiny and Jewish history are not things of chance, of permutations and combinations. They are directed and ordained and we cannot avoid that which shall be unless we do that which should be. A refusal to be Jewish under the pretense of being “practical” will only make us un-Jewish and the most impractical of peoples.
Faith. Only this is the key to the redemption and salvation of the Jew and how tragic it is that from one end of the spectrum to the other, from the secularist and Marxist Jew to the pious, practitioner of ritual in the yeshivas, real faith and real understanding of this era and the call of Jewish destiny is so lacking. It is the era of the final redemption that can come so quickly and so magnificently if only we are prepared to believe in the G-d of history, the Jewish Creator of all and director of that which will be. There is a Jewish destiny that awaits us and this is ours for the asking and taking. The Messiah knocks and the door waits to be opened if only we turn the key. The key is faith; real faith. Faith based on courage and boldness and sacrifice. Faith that is more that lip service but is measured by three intensely practical concrete yardsticks:
1) Faith and courage in knowing that the rise of the State of Israel is the decree of the L-rd and the end of the humiliation of the exile. That every victory won by Jews is proof that the L-rd, G-d of Israel, is the true Creator and the Decreer of history. That every retreat and defeat is a retreat to that Hillul Hashem that saw two millennia of humiliation for the Jew and his G-d. That retreat from Jewish land, from any part of Eretz Yisroel is a Biblical prohibition and is more than a retreat from land. It is a retreat from Kiddush Hashem, a retreat from redemption, a retreat from faith in G-d, a retreat from Jewish Destiny. “Not one inch” is not a political or military imperative – it is a theological and Torah cry. If we stand firm and call out to the L-rd, rejecting fear of man and rejecting need of man if that need is based on prostration and fawning flattery – then we will have been true in one aspect of our faith. Then we will have rejected the stupid, impractical and unrealistically mystical belief in the gentile – in Man – and returned to the practical realistic, Jewish believe in trust in the All Mighty.
2) Faith and courage in leaving the comfortable Exile with its fleshpots and luxuries that so tempts us and seduces us. The strength to leave comfort for duty, obligation and -commandment. The courage to choose to fulfill the difficult mitzvah of living in the land rather than wallowing in the impurities and spiritual filth of the Exile. The faith in G-d that allows us to admit that we, irreligious and religious alike, small and great together, have sinned against the land. Rejection of the rationalizations and false “pilpul” that helps us to stay and rot in the inevitable graveyard that the Exile will become. Faith in the land, strength to go home.
3) Faith and courage in doing what we must for fellow Jews. Feeling the pain of each and every Jew who is in pain and the readiness to sacrifice and suffer with him, to save him. A rejection of apathy, a throwing off of indifference, a burial of fearful contemplation and selfish interests. Massive and powerful demonstrations and attacks on the Russians – clear warnings at what awful thing could happen should Soviet Jewry be under physical attack.
Massive and powerful protests now, even before the full United
States pressure begins against any possible US strangulation of Israel.
Jewish action instead of reaction. Massive and powerful demands
that American Jewish leadership become democratized so that the poor
and the elderly and the weak will be aided so that Jewish funds go only
to help Jews. Faith and courage to consider what the gentile wills
say and to reply: Who cares? Faith and courage to know that if we do
what the All Mighty wishes – the love or hate of the gentile is irrelevant.
Three acts of faith that can absolve us of our three transgressions. Only thus can we be practical, realistic, pragmatic. Only by being Jewish can we stop being ridiculously mystical and believe that our salvation lies in the hands of the gentile. We are a people that is different, that is chosen, that is great, that can never be destroyed. Why do we persist in refusing to recognize ourselves? Why, if we are giants, do we insist on being dwarfs?
By Rabbi Meir Kahane
“ K A H A N E”
The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea
Tevet 5737 January 1977