SLOUCHING TOWARDS BIROBIDZHAN

by David Basch

"Birobidzhan, Birobidzhan, how my heart yearns for you!"

The above is a song of yearning not heard much these days for the Yiddish homeland that Stalin set up for Russia's Jews in Siberia as a substitute for Zionist idealism. Birobidzhan is still there in Siberia speaking Yiddish except that there are few Jews there and its only synagogue conducts a Christian service. Birobidzhan is the model of the Israel that Sharon is in the process of forging with his surrender of Gaza and Jewish land claims. Sharon is in the act of ceding Gaza to the terrorists so that the Arab terrorists can begin in earnest on the first stage of their "Palestine" that they desire for the sole purpose of replacing Israel.

I note with disgust that Israel gives funds to the Arabs so thatthe Arabs can get to voting and establishing their state. You might have thought that funds garnered from the Arabs would be used to repay Jewish victims for their losses in property, life, and limb from Arab terrorism. But no such wisdom is to be found among the leaders of the new Israeli Birobidzhan.

If Sharon thinks that, for his supreme efforts to become a co-father along with Arafat of a new Arab state, he will win an honored place in history, he is badly mistaken. Though he may well come to deserve a title as "father" of a new Arab state, the Arabs have no need for him as a hero and even Mubarak that now sings his praise will quickly bury his name. And so will the Jews damn him for his disastrous impact with the phrase y'mach she'mo -- "may his name be blotted out."

Sharon thinks that he can dispense with Jewish values and history in building an Israeli state on Leftist Universalist principles. But such a state with no purpose rooted in the deepest depths of the hearts of Jews, that is, not rooted in the religion of the Jews and in the land of Israel, will ever be more than a hollowed out bagel, what the other Birobidzhan is that it will resemble. If it is only "universalism" that Sharon considers to be the alpha and omega of the Jewish future in Israel, then Israel is not any better a place for that than is Los Angeles or New York, and maybe is even worse. For without the heartfelt Jewish attachments that brought the revival of Israel in the first place, Israel will be no match for the powerful opposite force of the religious and national claims posed falsely by the Arabs. Neglecting the powerful Jewish resources of history and religion, Sharon and Leftist Israelis will suddenly find that, like with the original Birobidzhan, they will be presiding over a cultural wasteland, facing a Jewish Israeli stampede towards more felicitous outside centers of the non-Jewish universal values they promote by their precedent of ethnically cleansing their own Jewish brothers from their land.

I noted the article in The Jerusalem Post a few weeks ago about this year's poorly attended Conference of Jewish Organizations in Cincinnati. Among the reasons cited in the article for this poor showing is the declining interest of young Jews in the fate of Israel, something that corresponds with their decline in religious sentiments. These are the very declines in Jewish values that Sharon and the Leftists himself promote in Israel. As the Arabs of the Israeli region grow in military might and national cohesion -- developments aided and promoted by successive administrations of Israeli governments -- the Arabs become ever more assured of their future victory over Israel, with the reciprocal diminishment of Jewish hopes. Reconquest of Gaza and the establishment of the military beachhead there -- the fruits of Sharon's policy -- is just another of the Arab victories that encourage and impel the Arab war against Israel and its terrorism. When will foolish Israelis realize that Arabs will not change their ways and that it is only the decisive defeat of Arab goals that can lead to new paths and discourage war?

It is most discouraging to find Israel's gullible, obsessively-liberal governments regularly manipulated by Arab terrorist leaders by a word and smile into surrender upon surrender. It is especially worrisome that Israel's leadership has not in the least profited from the lesson of the debacle of the Olso surrenders that brought thousands of Israelis killed and maimed and the gutting of Israel's diplomatic posture that has enabled the growing enemy prospects for establishing a new irredentist state. Instead, Sharon brings his nation to the brink of civil war by turning on his own staunchly patriotic Jewish citizens in his fanatic thrusts to placate Israel's enemies. Sharon has apparently not learned that Israel's enemies and their supporters will not willingly accept Israeli policies that protect and affirm the Jewish State and that Israel must not look such enemies for approval. Such policies benefiting Israel must be imposed by Israel for Israel's own sake and, if necessary, thrust upon the scene suddenly and overwhelmingly, their successes creating undeniable facts that place them beyond debate, as occurred through Israeli actions in the 1967 War.

Sharon in his declining years seems to have had his judgment correspondingly impaired to the point that he leads his nation into the jaws of defeat for the sake of temporary political advantage. He fails to distinguish that his job is to build the long-term security of the nation, not squander its claims and surrender its lands to buy temporary advantage that lasts only from election to election.

Why is there not a more vigorous Israeli protest to Sharon's policies of step be step surrender? Have Israelis descended to the level of the folk of Germany following their fuhrer down the path to their own destruction? Unless Israel's people wise up soon, the nation will have passed the point of no return on a downward spiral of a vacuous nationhood that progressively sheds the loyalty and ties of its people as it sheds the nation's lands -- an ever shrinking toehold in the Middle East, an incarnation of a fading BIROBIDZHAN East that no one will ever miss or yearn for in song.


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