No more illusions: Come home

February 3, 2016 by Isi Leibler
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Objectively analysing recent events can only lead to the dismal conclusion that the status of Diaspora Jewry, bad as it is, is only likely to deteriorate…writes Isi Leibler.

Isi Leibler

Isi Leibler

The horrific escalation of the global antisemitic and anti-Israeli tsunami extends to areas that are not even inhabited by Jews. The United Nations Human Rights Council and other human rights organizations, hijacked by Muslim and far left elements, have been transformed into anti-Israeli hate fest arenas, employing blood libels against the Jewish state as a surrogate for the Jewish people in a similar manner to anti-Semites throughout the ages. The global community demonises the only democratic state in the Middle East while downplaying the sea of barbarism that pervades the region.

The epicenter of global antisemitism is the Arab world, where hatred of Jews has become endemic among both Sunni and Shiite religious extremists. The Palestinians are the most fiercely anti-Jewish Arab sector. After being brainwashed and incited by Arafat, Abbas and the Hamas mullahs, their hatred of Jews has evolved into a murderous religious frenzy.

Muslim migrants who settled into enclaves in Europe have imported their hatred and formed unholy alliances with traditional anti-Semites and political leftists – including organizations purportedly promoting human rights – to foment an environment of Jew-hatred reminiscent of the 1930s, immediately prior to the rise of Nazism.

The ongoing influx of millions of Muslim refugees will massively reinforce the existing Muslim antisemitic elements and permanently alter the demographics of Europe. Unlikely to be reversed, it will enable Islam to become an immensely powerful political force in many West European countries. The implications for European Jews are horrendous, as the combination of the prevailing virulently anti-Israeli public opinion and extremist Islamic political agitation will, in all likelihood, lead to even more extreme policies toward Israel. Despite lip service to the contrary, antisemitism will continue to thrive.

Moreover, there is the constant danger of terrorist acts against Jews by jihadists who entered the country posing as refugees or by second-generation Muslims incubated by extremist European jihadi mullahs. Jews in Europe have been murdered and attacked in the streets and armed guards or military forces are required to protect schools and synagogues. University students face concerted antisemitic and anti-Israeli hostility, both casual and violent. Jews are warned not to draw attention to themselves and avoid being publicly identified as such.

To top it off, most European governments, even those like the French that have experienced jihadi terrorism, still direct their foreign policy to placate their Arab minorities by haranguing and applying their double standards against Israel. They refuse to recognize that the murder of Israeli civilians is a direct consequence of Palestinian incitement of religious frenzy and continuously condemn Israel for defending itself. They now seek to pressure Israel to create a Palestinian state despite the fact that such a criminal entity would represent an existential threat and merely prepare the ground for a takeover by the Islamic State group.

The absence of any sense of moral compass is highlighted by the despicable groveling of European countries toward the Iranian terrorist regime. The continent that was drenched with the blood of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust is currently hosting the leaders of a state that repeatedly calls for the elimination of Israel from the map and obscenely engages in Holocaust denial, even stooping to the grisly depths of state-sanctioned cartoon competitions lampooning the Final Solution. Yet in return for trade opportunities, most European leaders, including the pope, welcomed and embraced Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, without even referring to these abominations – not to mention Iran’s appalling human rights record. Nor did they take into account that much of the $150 billion of frozen assets the Iranians retrieve will be directed toward strengthening their terrorist surrogates.

European Jews who fail to see the writing on the wall are simply living in denial.

But Jew-hatred is not restricted to Europe. Jews in South Africa face an equally grim situation and antisemitic forces in Latin America, encouraged by Muslim migrants and Iranian influence, have also increased dramatically over the past decade.

The situation in the United States, Canada and even Australia, while not comparable to Europe, has also taken a massive downturn since U.S. President Barack Obama assumed office. By its constant undermining and pressuring of the Israeli government, the Obama administration has effectively given a green light to the Europeans and others to intensify pressures against Israel.

Fortunately, two factors have inhibited Obama from going much further. The shameful silence of the Jewish leadership cannot detract from the fact that committed Jews at the grass-roots level are still an influential force and remain loyal to Israel. More importantly, American public opinion is overwhelmingly pro-Israel and the powerful and growing movement of evangelical Christians in America (and throughout the world) has now emerged as Israel’s most fervent supporter and ally.

But there are concerns. Bipartisanship, which prevailed over the past few decades, has frayed considerably with the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party, accelerated under the Obama administration.

More worrying is the hardening of liberal policy against Israel; the toleration and support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in academia; and above all, the intensity of frenzied anti-Israeli and antisemitic activity on campus. BDS in the United States (as in other parts of the world) is intimidating Jewish students, many of whom resist confrontations to avoid social stigma.

Since Justin Trudeau displaced Stephen Harper as prime minister, Canada has rapidly followed the Obama approach to Israel. Canadian Jews were appalled when Trudeau’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day message, like that of many European countries, omitted any mention of Jews.

Australia still retains a strongly pro-Israel government and is one of the most hospitable countries toward Jews. Yet there are today growing sections in the opposition Labor Party, partly influenced by Muslim electoral pressures, which have become virulently anti-Israeli. Anti-Semitic outbursts have also grown considerably over the past few years, anti-Israeli and BDS activities at university campuses have proliferated, and for the first time, armed guards have been deployed to protect Jewish schools.

The Diaspora Jewish situation can therefore be summed up as disastrous in Europe and South Africa and worrisome in North America and Australia.

But thanks to the existence of Israel, today most Jews are able to determine their own fate. Now is the time for Diaspora Jews to honestly review their situation and plan for the future.

Yes, Israel is currently undergoing a difficult period. Yes, there are threats. But we should bear in mind that the Israel Defense Forces have never been as powerful and are capable, if necessary, of defeating all our adversaries simultaneously.

Above all, here in Israel there is a Jewish army, a Jewish police force and a Jewish community – which is significantly different from a non-Jewish military presence grudgingly provided to protect Jews in the Diaspora.

As a former Diaspora Jew, I urge you to review the situation objectively. If you are a European and want your children to be proud Jews, you should seriously weigh leaving now!

Those in the U.S., Canada or Australia should consider encouraging their children to settle in Israel, their only true homeland.

The Israeli government and the Jewish Agency must get their acts together. This is a historic moment and every effort should be made to encourage Jews in countries under siege to come to Israel rather than relocating to another Diaspora community where they are likely to lose their Jewish identity. To achieve this, the government must formulate policies to ease their integration and open up every opportunity to provide employment.

Despite the inevitable spread of antisemitism, we will not be witnessing an overnight ingathering of the exiles. But the message to committed Jews who wish to ensure that their grandchildren remain Jewish is to objectively review their situation, consider coming home or at least encourage their children to make aliyah to the Jewish homeland.

Those remaining in the Diaspora should intensify their efforts to ensure that their Jewish heritage is transmitted to their children. Above all, despite the vicious anti-Israeli climate, they must appreciate the centrality of Israel in their Judaism, without which their Jewish identity will wither and they will be lost to the Jewish people.

Isi Leibler lives in Jerusalem. He is a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.


14 Responses to “No more illusions: Come home”
  1. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    It is not the role of government of a democratic state to dictate the practice of religion, only to make it accessible and allow it to be practised. To my knowledge Ben-Gurion and his government did nothing to obstruct the practice of Judaism. Also, they had rather a lot on their plate at the time keeping the small, and at the time vulnerable, State of Israel alive and developing.

  2. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Dear Ruth,
    I loved your discussion on Jerusalem (especially your garden and plants; very symbolic of inner beauty and growth, as well as hope) and spiritual reality. I agree with your thoughts on powerful light and positive energy as a means of dealing with the corruption and evil around us. I try to be part of that in my own way, even while living in the Australian diaspora. Congratulations to you and the other women you mention who have been instrumental in seeking justice.

    Your writing and what it suggests is worth more as a drawcard to Israel than any more commercial marketing or political pleas I have seen.

  3. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Dear Ron,
    With the groundwork that had to be done in establishing the modern State of Israel, it seems strange to me to categorise Ben-Gurion, et al as ‘elites’. There is more to the measure of a man than the way he practises his religion or not.

    • Ron Burdo says:

      Hi Liat,

      The question is not what BG et al. did in their private life.
      I don’t care about that.

      The question is what was their view about the role and place of Judaism
      In Israeli society and in the lives of the Israelis,
      and what they did (and their heir still do) about it.

  4. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Dear Ruth,
    I well know that Conservative/Progressive/Reform Jews are not considered Jews in their thinking at all. I lived in Israel for two and a half years. There lies the intolerance I speak of precisely. You would do well to do more homework on the subject and meet various of the Jews you consider in this light; you would find a very different scenario if you allowed unbiassed reception of their perspectives.

    I mixed with friends and family of my husband who were Orthodox to varying degrees and I did so with respect and pleasure. It’s a pity the same is not accorded to Jews who practise Judaism differently, more inclusively (especially of women) – so many of them do so with great learning and passion, and commitment. You do not have the right to dismiss such people so contemptuously and easily. We are not all Americans. I certainly am not.

    It is an unnecessary problem existing in Israel that needs to be attended for good unity, love and compassion, for the society as a whole, as well as the individual Jew who loves G-d in his/her own way.

  5. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    What about the intolerance and lack of acknowledgement secular Israelis and Reform/Liberal and Conservative Jews face in Israel from the Ultra-Orthodox? That is an enormous issue and one which requires action in Israel in order to unify the Israeli Jewish population and allow recognition of various Jewish identity. It is also an issue that will affect many Jews making Aliyah if they are not fully ‘observant’.

    • Ruth Cohen says:

      No this is not an enormous issue at all as most of us in Israel are not reform and never will be, it is only a big deal to Galut Jews mostly Americans who seem to think that their world view is the only world view. It is not.

      Most of us in the land are not fanatic religious crazies either, most of us even according to the polls that shocked most people (but not me) said that Israeli’s are a nation of people with faith and we always have been and this myth that we are secular is just another lie that finally was buried .. just a few people did not get the memo

      We here accept each other and go to brits and bar mitzvahs of those you would call secular but we call our brothers and sisters. The average Israeli’s view on the reform or conservative is like my partner Shmuel says.. it is just another church, because these groups have gone so far away from anything related to Torah that they are not viewed as Jews in their thinking at all..

      you want to come to my land, come and enjoy and be part of us and dont bring us the values of the Am Rek the empty nation which is what America means. .Am rek ..emptiness.
      Aliyah is when Jews finally understand they have a choice to die or to live and to live they need to get back home. those fleeing are not worrying about reform or orthodox views. they want their babies to stay alive..

      Did we not learn anything from the HOlocaust. those who became nice goys and those who stayed Haradi ended up in the same gas chambers after all. let us be proud of our heritage and not trample it down to please the goyim after all we are supposed to be alight to the goyim, and not let the goyim be a light to us.

      • Greg Segal says:

        Sorry Ruth with the greatest of respect I have to disagree with you here. Nobody has the right to say who is an authentic Jew and who is not. Even the Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox have big divisions among’st the various groups so lets judge a person by their Deeds rather then their Creeds whether that is Reform, Secular, Orthodox or Progressive. Then we might start making some progress. If we spent more energy on being kind to one another rather then Kvetshing the world would be a much nicer place.

        • Lynne Newington says:

          From the sidelines I would definately have to agree; reflecting upon your men who took up the call to protect you with their lives….Munich and Entebbe automatically coming to mind. You were all Israeli’s under the Star of David all one not singled out as various groups.
          May you propser well and long; on the basis of that alone.

    • Ron Burdo says:


      The ultra-orthodox intolerance is not the reason.

      The secular elites that established Israel aimed at elimination of Judaism
      and teplacing it with a secular national identity that today we call
      “Israeli”. Ben Gurion gave concessions to the religious party because he estimated
      That Judaism would vanish within a decade.

      The fact that Judaism is thriving in 2016 drives the Israeli elites crazy.
      Their problem is not only religious cohesion (what can be understood),
      but the role Judaism has in the public arena, everyday life and culture.

      We got an excellent example last week, in the debate about the new civics textbook.
      The main criticism was about using references to Jewish texts .

      Re progressive Judaism, most Israelis have no interest in it,
      and Israeli secularists use the just as a tool against the religious establishment.

      The bottom line is that Israeli Web is full of texts, from essays of academics to talkbacks,
      that seem to have been written in Germany of the 1930s or Alabama of the 1950s.
      Judaism is blamed for all the country’s troubles, and its followers are blatantly demonised.
      Given that, Israel cannot be considered as an escape of anti-Semitism.

  6. Ron Burdo says:

    As a former Israeli Jew, I can tell that all the problems that you described,
    from terror of Muslim extremists, through hostility of left-wing elites to Judaism and Zionsm
    to questionable sustainability of the Jewish identity of the next generations,
    do exist in Israel, even more than in the Diaspora.

    How many Israeli Jews have been killed since 2000 in terror attacks, and how many Jews out of Istael?

    Hatred? The hatred that an observant Jew faces from non-Jews in Australia,
    Is negligible comparing to the hatred he’d face from Israeli secularists.

    Not to mention the highest cost of living in OECD, and the ridiculously high
    Housing prices.

    No, we should not go “home”.

  7. Greg Segal says:

    Easier said then done Isi. The gap between the have’s and have not’s in Israel is the highest in any first world OECD nation. Nepotism and corruption are rife. Just look at the case of Aryeh Deri a former criminal, now a minister again in the current government and French Jews are returning in large numbers because they cannot find any work. So can you tell me why I should be jumping on the next plane “home”?

    • Ruth Cohen says:

      Shalom Greg,
      Not presuming to answer for Isi – just my own observations from having lived in galut and now living in Jerusalem

      Yes nepotism and corruption is horrendous and it goes way beyond Deri and his buddies and crosses all the levels of government too and I could quote many examples of that too.

      My view is this, lets change what is rotten and I am doing this, true in my humble way – my little garden in city centre Jerusalem brings more joy and happiness than the all the empty words and lies in our Knesset and useless Supreme Court. etc.

      They say the gardens bring the Geulah, and as a result of my garden, many more have come to exist, many from a few cuttings from my plants and suddenly our area is alive with beauty and positive energy. Not taking credit for all the beautiful little area we live in, as many have contributed to making it special and now the most sought after area in the entire city.. Why is this relevent you ask, fair enough.

      Because Jerusalem is a spiritual reality first and foremost and to make the changes we have to bring in the powerful light and positive energy and that crushes the tuma and evil energy as we see in our rotten leadership who are basically traitors and selling us does this help to stamp out corruption you ask. here is how, remember spiritual reality

      A very bad man who was the head of a group of monsters here, pedophiles and for many years was able to get away with drugging, brain washing and raping not only children but also women new to the city. is now in jail. He is the equivalent of the Olmert of the perverts in city centre if you will, why is he in jail.. because I put him there, it took me 9 years to do it and many helped to bring him down and the final court case last year, God bless them, the children’s evidence was accepted and now after appealing his sentance, the judge said Zalman Cohen, you are going away for 9 years.

      Why is this such a big deal? because pedophiles come to Israel because it is known as the pedophiles paradise and sentancing against them is non existant. Because Cohen was protected by powerful corrupt rabbinim who kept him out of trouble for almost 30 years. Because by him going down to the total shock of everyone expecting him to walk free yet again, he takes down with him the police, judges, politicans, rabbinim and so on who are protecting him as in this little land, everyone is entangled and entertwined with each other.

      What does this mean in practical down to earth facts. that more and more of the truly corrupt are dragging each other down.. down down and if we have the right people here who can take over and who are not corrupt and who treasure the land and the people, then we can fix this mess. Belive me we have a number of powerful women all ready to take over who have over the years been dedicated to the fight to bring sanity back to the land.

      So when one person starts the energy to bring down one really bad guy and others join in to do the same and then whoops Humpty Dumpty is smashed on the floor never to rise up again, and then the next really bad guy goes down Skippy Phillip Sidney Marcus and then the next one goes down with him and so on and so on, so we bring change to the country and the world.

      This is exactly what is going on now here and walking in the streets of my city on a chag or Shabbat, crossing the road to the shuik to see Am Ysrael rushing around getting ready for Shabbat for instance, and they are not all Haradi either, it is everyone preparing for the Shabbat, and the light and the music in the shuik and the huge range of fresh products from fruits, veggies, cheeses of every colour, huge range of breads, meat, fishes , nuts and so on and on and on.. we are so so so blessed here. That is why you come here to come to the shuik and meet the rest of the family, some are truly disfunctional but they are your blood.

      Try it – you wont find anything like this anywhere in the world and I have travelled to enough places to know this for a fact. Come home and get to know the people who are making the changes and most of them are nameless faceless people who are not famous.

  8. Keith Thomas says:

    Thank you for this global tour d’horizon. With your background, Mr Leibler, could you consider a follow-up article on the origins of and reasons for bourgeoning anti-Semitism in the West – where it does not derive from Islam? My own feeling was that that anti-Semitism in the west went into decline from the 1940s through to the end of the twentieth century. What has led to its resurgence?

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