Monday, January 12, 2015

Aliyah Rose: All French Jews Have Considered Moving to Israel, says Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg on The Charlie Rose Show, January 12, 2015.

Speaking tonight to Charlie Rose about recent events in Paris, Jeffrey Goldberg said that "there is already tension between the Israeli government and the French government" over the issue of Jewish emigration.

During their conversation, Rose brought up comments made Sunday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a speech at Paris' Grand Synagogue. Netanyahu -- who reacted to the horrific massacre at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week with predictable, opportunistic propaganda and then crashed the memorial march in Paris after French President Francois Hollande specifically asked him not to attend, petulantly elbowing his way to the front, before making an ass of himself a few more times -- spouted a recycled mish-mosh of some of his lamest hits: "The radical Islamists do not hate the West because of Israel; they hate Israel because it is an integral part of the modern world," he bellowed. "We cannot let Iran achieve nuclear capabilities. Israel stands with Europe, and Europe must stand with Israel."

But it was another part of Netanyahu's speech that has received the most attention. "Any Jew who chooses to come to Israel will be greeted with open arms and an open heart, it is not a foreign nation, and hopefully they and you will one day come to Israel," Netanyahu announced to the congregation of French Jews, before concluding his speech with the Zionist chant, "Am Yisrael Chai! Am Yisrael Chai!"

Previously, in a statement issued following the Paris attacks, Netanyahu was even less subtle about where he hopes the allegiances of people of Jewish descent lie: "To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home," he insisted.

When Rose, who noted that Goldberg is very close with Netanyahu, asked his guest how the Israeli leader's comments were received, Goldberg said that French officials are "bothered" when Israeli officials call upon French citizens of Jewish heritage to leave their home and emigrate to Israel.

"The problem for France is that many, many Jews are going to Israel," he continued. "I've been traveling back and forth for months [and] I haven't met a single Jewish person in France who says that at least the thought is not at the back of his or her mind."

Though Goldberg's claim aligns with a front page article in the New York Times, what he didn't mention is the reaction Netanyahu himself got at the Grand Synagogue after finishing his remarks on Sunday. As can be seen on a video posted by Reuters (and elsewhere), the crowd broke into a spontaneous rendition of La Marseillaise -- the French national anthem -- much to the visible chagrin of the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu's comments, and similar ones made in the past, were also criticized by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, the largest advocate for Jewish organizations and communities in Europe.

Margolin expressed his irritation that "after every anti-Semitic attack in Europe, the Israeli government issues the same statements about the importance of aliyah [Jewish immigration to Israel], rather than employ every diplomatic and informational means at its disposal to strengthen the safety of Jewish life in Europe."

The rabbi said that "every such Israeli campaign severely weakens and damages the Jewish communities that have the right to live securely wherever they are," reported Ha'aretz, quoting from an interview with NRG, an Israeli website. The "reality is that a large majority of European Jews do not plan to emigrate to Israel. The Israeli government must recognize this reality and also remember the strategic importance of the Jewish communities as supporters of Israel in the countries in which they live." he added.

Israel's government "must cease this Pavlovian reaction every time Jews in Europe are attacked," demanded Margolin.

But Goldberg didn't think that stuff was important to mention.



January 13, 2015 - Speaking today in Jerusalem at the funeral of the four French Jews who were killed in a kosher supermarket in Paris last week, Netanyahu again repeated his plea for Jews worldwide to identify with the State of Israel, the 67-year-old settler-colonial state built atop the ruins and corpses of Palestine, instead of the countries of their births and ancestry.

"Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety, but I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the state of Israel, that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children," Netanyahu said. "Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state."

Israel president Reuven Rivlin said much the same thing. According to New York Times correspondent Jodi Rudoren, Rivlin addressed Jews in France, saying that "we yearn to see you settle in Zion," not "due to distress, out of desperation, because of destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear," but rather because "the land of Israel is the land of choice — we want you to choose Israel because of a love for Israel."

The "land of choice" is clearly reserved only for some, as the indigenous people of the land and their exiled, occupied, imprisoned, and massacred descendants continue not to have much of a choice at all.


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