Monday, June 07, 2010


So, after this mess with Helen Thomas, I have a question.

At the end of WW2, the world was in a cutting-up-Germany sort of mood, so I'm just going to declare, for some reason, that it was possible to carve out a piece of land (at least as the modern state of Israel) and just declare it a territory belonging to European Jews, put some kind of limit on non-Jewish immigration to it, and at a specified date declare it as an independent state. Would something like this have seem/seemed wrong to Jewish people?


Blogger Cary said...

I can only conjecture, of course, but here are some thoughts on why I think carving up a piece of Germany for Jews post-WW2 would not have been met with broad enthusiasm:

- The surviving European Jews were the ones who had successfully escaped Central Europe. I don't know that they were to stoked on going back.

- Looking beyond the German Jewish experience, it's not as if Europe had worked out so well for Jews historically (e.g. Spain).

- I doubt there would have been much faith in the ability to carve out a Jewish space from Germany in a stable fashion. With borders having fluxuated so much in the first half of the century, and the Czech experience fresh on many minds, sitting in the middle, or even on the periphery, of German land could not have been very comforting.

- The Jewish national/religious identity is obviously very closely tied to the land of Israel, and it's not as if Zionism was a consequence of WW2 - it just made it globally tenable, having already been a powerful idea. Land elsewhere would simply not have been received the same. You could argue that hundreds of years of Jewish culture and presence in German lands might have amounted to a distinct national identity and attachment there (see American/Ashkenazi/Yiddish orthodox culture/dress for proof that this was to some extent true), but I think these connections were rooted in personal relationships and communities that were obliterated rather than a deeply abiding sense of collective identity.

- WW2 did not, of course, suddenly cure Europe of anti-Semitism. Jewish desires aside, I don't think the Europeans would have had a taste for a Jewish homeland in their midst.

- See: Jewish Autonomous Oblast

- See: The Yiddish Policemen's Union

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