50 countries have state religions, but only the Jews cannot

The ongoing worldwide condemnation of Israel’s Nation-State law paints a chilling picture of what the world really wants for the Jews, and for Israel.

Robert Harris

OpEds World Map (illustration)
World Map (illustration)

The continuing controversy surrounding Israel’s Nation-State Law, passed on July 19, is most telling about the never-ending 2000 year hatred of the Jews.

Passed by the Knesset on July 19, the law states that Israel is the nation of the Jewish people, that Hebrew is the country’s language, that Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital, that the country’s flag will be blue and the anthem will remain Hatikva.

And that is about all it says.

In its very cautious wording, the law reflects how careful Israel’s leaders still feel they must remain in calling out that, simply, we are Jews.

Within Israel, the response of the political left, led by the Labor Party-Zionist Union, feels pathetic.

Labor members behaved like the German Jews who insisted that they remain Germans on the street, and Jews in their homes. And we all know how that worked out.
While voting unanimously against the bill, nearly all Labor members privately acknowledged that Israel is the state of the Jews, but refuse to say it aloud. Indeed, Labor members behaved like the German Jews who insisted that they remain Germans on the street, and Jews in their homes. And we all know how that worked out.

Also, leftist America Jewish organizations, such as J-Street and the Reform Movement, railed against the bill with their usual social justice warrior banalities. But both groups are now confronted by the reality that they are not players in the Jewish world, so no one is listening.

Yet, most telling of all is the response of the non-Jewish world to Israel’s Nation-State Law.

Foreign ministries, embassies, churches, the UN, the New York Times and BBC have all made a point to loudly condemn the law.

On the subject of state religions, the not-always-accurate Wikipedia lists 20 mostly European Christian countries that, until recently, had official state religions. In recent years, though, many of these countries have “de-established” Christianity as their official religion, replacing it with atheism, the newly created religion of the leftist EU.

How about Islam? At least 23 countries have legislated Islam as their state religion.

And let’s not forget the six nations that declared Buddhism as their state religion and one, Nepal, which adopted Hinduism as its state religion.

So, with 50 countries having state religions, only Israel cannot declare that it is the country of the Jews?

Well, yes. That is the point---the world does not want to be reminded that Israel is the Jewish homeland.

This is the world we live in. If you must be Jewish, do not be too Jewish.  You don’t believe me? Just try to get a job at the New York Times while wearing a Jewish star.

Or recall how the Western intellegentsia hated the very-Jewish Menachem Begin. Indeed, they went out of their way to let all within earshot know that Begin was definitely not of “their kind of people.”

After 2000 years we are going to convince them to let us live in peace?
The new Nation-State Law stands tall and says Israel is the Jewish state. The law also says Israel is going to remain a majority Jewish state. And the law states that Jerusalem is not going to be divided.

The underlying message of the new law is that the Jewish people has the will to persevere and survive…...and non-Jews hate us for that.

For this flies in the face of the enlightened West, which fully expects that one day Israel will not have a Jewish majority, - and they despise us for stating otherwise.

Why do they hate us for being proud Jews? My little Russian grandmother knew why.

They hate us because we are who we are, and the non-Jews are who they are. Period. “Nu? A fish can leave the water and fly like a bird?” my grandmother would ask.

Twenty-one centuries in the diaspora and little has changed. For what is left to explain to non-Jews, or to convince them about? After 2000 years we are going to convince them to let us live in peace?

We could not convince them to let us live peacefully, so they expelled us from Alexandria, Rome, Athens, Madrid, Lisbon, London, Moscow, Kiev, Vilnius, Berlin, Frankfurt, Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo. Why should we think they have changed?

The non-Jews who hate us do not care about their many contradictions. They are in the hate business, and they have no time for being rational or logical.

They are not embarrassed by their hypocrisy-- that they have state religions, but Israel cannot. They do not care that they chased us to Israel, but still want us to disappear. They do not want to hear that the freest and best-educated Arabs in the world live in Israel.

And in our times, non-Jews have updated their ancient Christian curses. They no longer scream that we poison the wells, but instead scream “apartheid.” They do not say we use their blood for baking matzah….but instead yell “racism.”

And all of this demonizing of the Jews allows them to happily ignore the hundreds of millions who are today imprisoned within the borders of totalitarian countries ......while the world only screams about 'Palestine.'

With her own eyes, my grandmother had watched as her entire Russian Jewish world was destroyed. Nearly every person she left behind was slaughtered. And in later years, she did not want to hear from scholars who tried to explain to her about the world, because her family had paid the price for having been born as Jews, and she knew the horrific truth about our world.

“What do they want of us, Grandma?” I might have asked her.

And she would have answered with a whisper, not directed at me, but to all eternity, “What do they want of us? They just want us dead.”