Empire of Influence or Conspiracy of Power?
Empire of Influence or Conspiracy of Power?
Among those who hate Israel, there is talk of a Zionist Empire. They speak of an expansionist, greedy, land-grabbing country - forever looking to dominate their neighbors and undermine the innocent. Others consider us colonists; spreading the values of the West to places where it does not belong.

And of course, more and more people are speaking, in increasingly loud and confident voices, of Jews looking to control the world and nefariously steer it to their own ends.

There are those who would silence these voices - through law or condemnation. We label them anti-Semitic, racist and even criminal. But the silencing of voices has rarely resulted in the destruction of the ideas they share. The Weimar Republic had speech codes, they did not silent the hateful. Instead, they empowered the radical. Those ideas could not be dissipated by the truth of exposure.

The fact is, we have to counter these theories and we have to do it in simple ways; ways anybody can grasp and ways that dispel the notions of conspiracy.

So I'll keep this short.

The graphs below demonstrate we are not an empire. The idea is ludicrous. The territory we control is minuscule and we aren't expansionist.

(Israel is the far right of each histogram)

Since 1948, Israel has added 7,099 square kilometers.

Australia added more territory - and nobody considers them an empire. Morocco added 266,000 square kilometers in Western Sahara, Nigeria added the northern 2/3rds of the British Camaroons and Indonesia seized West Papau with 3.5 million people and 420,000 square kilometers of territory. None are considered empires. They aren't and neither are we.

What of our colonization? At one point, you might have claimed we were a colony of the West - bringing political theory, economics and even technology that was not native to the land. But that is no longer the case. With the arrival of Jews from throughout the Arab world and Ethiopia, and with their gradual integration into the halls of power, we are no longer a colony from anywhere.

We have gathered and concentrated the flavors and insights of many cultures, and we have integrated those flavors into our own national being. We are a distillation of the world itself. We cannot be a colony because our origin is not any place; it is everyplace. Including, of course, the land itself. If we have no right to be here, then we have no right to be anywhere. 

And what of our nefarious control of other civilizations - the hidden Empire of Conspiracy? The fact is, this cannot exist. If you look at only our religion, you will understand why. We come in humanist, classical Rabbinic, anti-Rabbinic and choose-your-own-adventure flavors. And within these groups we further subdivide; Hassidic and Mitnagdish (Litvak), Lubavitch and Satmar.

We are unable to agree on even the basics of faith. How could we possibly be able to dedicate our actions to a plan for world domination? The best we can do is get a good selection of heavy hitters to back up AIPAC. But AIPAC's goal isn't world domination, just the protection of our little strip of self-government.

Nonetheless, despite its unworkability, the idea of an Empire of Conspiracy does have some reality.

I believe much of individual Jewish successes is due to our desire to complete a tikkun olam (repair of the world) - and our belief that we can do so. The problem is that our visions of tikkun are as varied as our religious beliefs.

Some believe a cloistered life of study and connection with G-d will spread Divine light. Others believe that strong involvement in charity will show how generosity can lead to a better place. Others have pursued Marxism. And still others have been defenders of Capitalism. Still others, like myself, believe that actively spreading an ideology that values life, education, work ethic and the peaceful connection to G-d through generations is our route to tikkun.

Despite the unreality of the Zionist Empire, its theoretical members do generally share one belief.
We do not agree, and so while individual movements may be influential, no Zionist Empire with actual policies has never gained enough traction to even dominate the Jews themselves.

But despite the unreality of the Zionist Empire, its theoretical members do generally share one belief.

They share the belief that we can improve the world.

We Jews believe that there is hope in life and that humanity can make a difference. This basic ideology is so amorphous it can't be used as the basis of any conspiracy. But even as the roads to execution vary, the belief in such a concept might just do something fantastic for the societies that subscribe to it. After all, it is our resistance to the ideas of fate and our inability to 'accept that which we can't change' which drives our education, charity, economic productivity and generally life-affirming morals.

Dayan Binstock has pointed out that when one gives power, he loses that power. But when one gives influence, his own influence grows.

We do not have an Empire of Power. But we do have an Empire of Influence.

We are the origin of the idea that fate and the existing reality need not constrain the future, and that humans have the ability and obligation to make the world a better place.

Our influence does not diminish the power of those we impact. It makes no demands on its members that they do not make on themselves. We exercise no power over others. If they do not like our ideas, then our empire instantly crumbles.

But I am proud of this Empire. I want to see it grow. I believe the world would be better for it. And the evidence backs this up. As my cousin is fond of pointing out, the best countries on earth - the ones with the best lifestyles for the common man - are those dominated by the supposed Jewish Conspiracy.

Quite simply, the countries in our Empire of Influence are the most blessed places on earth.
Our Empire has no power, and those who think otherwise are living in a world of illusion. It was, among others, the Mongols, Romans, Persians and Ottomans who had Empires of Power.  

But our Empire of Influence has outlasted them all. And as time as passed it has continually grown larger and more impactful.

For this, we should be thankful to our Creator. For this we should be proud. And because of this should be driven to do more.

When those who hate us recognize the beauty of our Empire - when they recognize the beauty of G-d's goodness in this world - then our work will finally be complete.

Of course, to achieve this, we're going to need a more defined vision of what the world needs.

Naturally, I have a few ideas...