Why do you blame anti-Semitism on Zionism? Doesn't Hashem bring anti-Semitism to make us do teshuva?

08/03/07

I am confused on one point. In an article found on your website I read that from the moment of the Balfour Declaration "began the deterioration of the good relations between the Jews and the Arab inhabitants of the land." That and other statements seem to blame anti-semitism on Zionism. Which I find ironic, because when they began, Zionists said that the only thing that would end anti-semitism is a Jewish state. Now that a Jewish state exists, we see obviously that this is not so. We see that both parties, Zionists and anti-Zionists, have something in common: they are both finding external causes for anti-semitism instead of perceiving the real reason. The real reason, as any ultra orthodox Jew knows, is that Hashem imbued anti-semitism into the world from the beginning of time. Anti-semitism is a lesson for us to be introspective and work on the areas where we might be lacking, for example, sinat chinam, which includes blaming others instead of working on one's own middot. So my question is, why such a flimsy accusation, and one that seems to go against Torah values at that?

Dear Mr. Levine,

We do not claim that anti-Semitism is caused only by Zionism and by nothing else. You are right that Hashem put it into the world, and He wants us to look inward and correct the sins that bring it on. At the same time, we say that Jews should not do things that anger the gentile world and provoke them to hate Jews. Some if not most of the anti-Jewish sentiment in the world today is due to hatred of the State of Israel for the actions it has taken, and the Jews are lumped together with the State of Israel in people's minds.

As an analogy, we believe that death is often a punishment from Hashem, and that if someone dies young or in an abnormal way we look for sins that might have caused it. But sometimes the cause of death is simply dangerous behavior driving too fast, rock climbing, smoking, etc. Judaism teaches that we may not do dangerous things. If someone died while engaging in dangerous behavior, we do not look for some other sin that caused it such as bad midos or sinas chinam. We say that the dangerous behavior caused it, because a miracle would have been necessary to protect him, and Hashem did not make that miracle happen.