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Opinion » Columnists

A 21st century solution to 'the Jewish question'

25.07.2012
 
Pages: 12

By Peter Baofu

A 21st century solution to 'the Jewish question'. 47618.jpeg

The recent events like the attack against a bus carrying Jews in Bulgaria on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 and the rejection by the London Olympic Games organizers on June 29, 2012 of the politicized call by Israel for "a moment of silence" honoring Munich Olympic Jewish victims raise anew "the Jewish question" in the 21st century, which requires a new solution.

As a start, the very idea of "the Jewish question" means different things in different historical eras, and hereafter are some examples (from Wikipedia).

(1) Back in the older days of 1843, Bruno Bauer wrote in "The Jewish Question" that Jews needed to get rid of their religion for political emancipation in a modern secular state. 

(2) But Karl Marx rebuked Bauer in his 1844 essay "On the Jewish Question" by arguing instead that the deeper issue is not religious but economic, in that capitalism in modern times imposes constraints on emancipation (freedom) by socioeconomic inequalities against the lower class.

(3) Later, "the Jewish question" had a different meaning and referred to the difficult relationships between minority Jews and non-Jews in Europe, especially during the period of anti-Semitism in the 1880s and the subsequent rise of Zionism for a Jewish state. 

(4) Then, in 1948, with the successful creation of the state of Israel, the meaning of "the Jewish question" was changed once more to refer to the continued difficult relationships between Jews and non-Jews, especially in the Middle East between Israel and its Muslim neighbors (and, to a lesser extent, in Europe and America). 

In any event, in the 21st century, "the Jewish question" requires a new solution, because many Jews continue to have difficult relations with their neighbors, especially in the Middle East (and, to a lesser extent, in Europe and America). 

The best way to fall into an insurmountable trap of going nowhere in any solution proposal is to play the endless hermeneutic game of historical mutual accusations. Good examples include the bitter history between Jews and the Roman Empire, between Jews and Christians in medieval and modern Europe, between Jews and the Nazis during WWII, between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East, and the like. This insurmountable trap we need not repeat.

The situation facing many Jews in the 21st century is very different from previous ones in earlier times, because Israel is now the most powerful state in the Middle East, due to the firm (spoiled) support of the U.S. (the sole superpower in our time), as a result of the influential Jewish lobby and the Jewish diasporas of more than 5 millions in the states. Without this firm (spoiled) support of the U.S., Israel could not have behaved in the way that it has.

This asymmetric power that many Jews now enjoy (due to the spoiled support of the U.S.) contrasts sharply from the relative impotence of many Jews in the pre-modern eras (as indicated earlier). Unfortunately, when this asymmetric power is mixed with a long historical memory of "perceived" persecution by non-Jews in pre-modern times (when many Jews were weak then), one serious consequence is to create a new problem for many Jews in the 21st century, in that they become so dizzy by the new found power that they fall into the fatal temptation of power to wreck havoc against all those who are perceived to threaten their existence (and domination).  

If Jews want acceptance by non-Jews, Jews also need to accept non-Jews. But many Jews in the 21st century refuse to accept non-Jews as equals, especially (though not exclusively) in the following three major ways (for domination):   

(1) Many Jews continue to seek unfair influence in mass media, business, politics, and academia to one-dimensionally propound only pro-Israel and pro-Jewish views in mainstream society and to intolerantly demonize (and silence) their critics as "anti-Semitic."

(2) Many Jews continue to frustrate proselytism to non-Jews, to pressure assimilated Jews to return to their Jewish roots, to discourage intermarriage, and to offensively regard themselves as the chosen ones (and to look down on, and discriminate against, others).

(3) Many Jews continue to support the militarist Israeli policy towards their neighbors in the Middle East (especially in relation to the Palestinians and others).

For illustration, consider the following 10 incidents in the 21st century to understand this essential point:

(1) Israel sent hit squad to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, United Arab Emirate in January, 2010 and, with the help of the U.S., had rejected any attempt to open a formal investigation nor accepted any resolution to condemn it, much to the anger of UAE (and other states affected, whose national sovereignty was blatantly violated).

(2) Israel had sabotaged Iran's nuclear program over the years and even sent assassins to kill Iranian nuclear scientists (as reported by Ulrike Putz for Spiegel on August 02, 2011) - while privileging itself with the sole possession of nuclear weapons in the region.   

(3) Israel, for the critics, was behind the assassination (by poisoning) of Yasser Arafat in 2004, as reported by Reuters on January 21, 2006.   

(4) Israel refused to even apologize to Turkey in 2010 for

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