A popular argument from the Judeo-Christians, mostly in response to people like Ilhan Omar and other anti-Israel advocates, is that one cannot be anti-Israel without also being anti-Semitic. Now, in this context, “Judeo-Christian” applies to the Jewish pundits, who are primarily pro-Israel, but have an exclusively Christian audience. People like Ben Shapiro and Dennis Prager. Both of whom are tireless advocates for Israel and promiscuously use the phrase “Judeo-Christian” in their arguments.
Their claim works as follows. It’s not that being anti-Zionist is just a ploy by the anti-Semites. It’s that the very nature of Jewishness is tangled up in the existence of Israel, which transcends the current state of Israel. According to their argument, Israel the idea, as well as the country, is what defines Jewishness. To oppose Israel, especially its right to exist, is to oppose that which makes being a Jew possible. Therefore, opposing Israel, by definition, makes that person an anti-Semite.
It is a curious argument, when you examine the implications. There is no doubt that Israel the concept is an inextricable part of Jewish identity. Anyone who has watched the move The Ten Commandments gets that. The Judeo-Christians, however, take this further and move beyond the concept of Israel to the physical country itself. It is hard to know if this is something Jews accept, but we do have example of Jews that have opposed Zionism, so some Jews oppose some aspects of Israel.
Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that Prager and Shapiro are right about this and Israel and Jews are one in the same. The first conclusion, the most obvious one, is that Israel is an ethno-state. Sure, anyone can become a Jew, but that is like saying anyone can become a physicist. It may be true in theory, but in reality the conversion rate to Judaism rounds to zero. Jewish law requires the rabbi to strongly discourage gentiles from converting to Judaism.
The other conclusion from the Shapiro-Prager argument is that Jews are, by nature, primarily loyal to Israel. For a Jew to oppose the very essence of what makes him a Jew is an unsolvable paradox. In order to be authentically Jewish, a Jew has to adhere to that which makes one Jewish. If loyalty to Israel comes before everything else, that means all diaspora Jews are guests. They can and do work with their hosts, but in the end, their first loyalty has to be to Israel and the Jewish people.
This is, the argument Hazony makes in his book The Virtue of Nationalism. He does not apply it to Jews in the diaspora, but that is the implication. If Jews are a nation, then the primary loyalty of all Jews must be to that nation. He tries to run the “anyone can be a Jews” line through his argument, but that would invalidate all of his claims about Zionism, so it must be decoration. The implication here is clear. Jews are a nation, spread out around the world, but their ancestral land is Israel.
Another implication of this link between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is that Ben Shapiro is lying when he says ideology trumps race. After all, if Zionism is just another ideological viewpoint, then so is anti-Zionism. Yet, Shapiro insists that being opposed to Zionism immoral on its face. The only way that can be true is if Zionism is based in biology, rather than ideology. Therefore, opposing Zionism is the same as racism, which means that Shapiro thinks race transcends ideology after all.
A possible way around this problem of Jews being a guest population is the claim that America is the new Israel or an extension of Israel. This is something that sells to the Christian Zionists and solves the problem of loyalties. America, according to this theory, is a both a defender of Israel and a staging ground for Jews who will one day return home during the ingathering of the Jewish diaspora. Aliya, the return to Israel, is a core idea of Zionism and it is included in Israel’s Scroll of Independence.
This has appeal to Christian Zionists in America, who believe that the gathering of the diaspora in Israel is in accordance with Bible prophecy and a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. Christian Zionism has its roots in the 17th century America with the Puritans. It turns up in the 18th century and especially the 19th century with the abolitionists, so it has a long history in America. As a result, there is a large audience for this form of Zionism among American Christians.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that it means America is not really a nation or even a country. It’s just a temporary staging area. Loyalty to America, therefore, is contingent on American policy toward Israel. That is as un-American as you can get, as it denies the very existence of America as a country, much less a nation. Even here, the end result of the Judeo-Christian model is one where the Zionist can have no loyalty to America, as America does not exists, outside its role in Zionism.
This logical problem is why smarter Jews have always opposed this line of reasoning with regards to Israel and especially Zionism. In fact, Jews in the diaspora have tended to oppose Israel. The ADL, for example, has steadfastly rejected the argument that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. They argue that Israel is just another country without any special claims upon Jews. Whether they are sincere or not is debatable, but at least their logic allows them to be loyal Americans and Jewish.
That is, fundamentally, the problem with people like Prager and Shapiro. In their zeal to inculcate pro-Israel sentiment, they define themselves as both un-American and opposed to the very concept of America. Worse yet, they encourage Christians to sublimate their national loyalty to the ends of another nation. In order to sell this, they have to lie about their own intentions and their own beliefs. They demand you place ideology over biology, while they place biology ahead of ideology.
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