You can't sit in Manhattan and be a Zionist just because you like oranges, falafel and come here once a year to argue in Jerusalem about "Where is Zionism going?" There is only one answer: Zionism is going on here... Zionism as I see it, exists only in its practical form. And as a person who likes shoes isn't a shoemaker, so a Jew who likes Israel isn't a Zionist."
There is an unavoidable tension in the relationship between an Israeli Jew and a Diaspora Jew, a relationship which is ideally an adversary one since the Israeli is living in a community of faith which holds that it alone is the natural place for a Jew to live, and this tension can only be resolved by dealing with it directly. A Diaspora Jew and an Israeli can talk to each other as ordinary human beings about anything they wish, but if they are to talk to each other meaningfully as Jews, there is only one relevant question with which such a conversation can begin: Why don't you really come home?
It's time to say that America is a better place to be a Jew than Jerusalem. If ever there was a Promised Land, we American Jews are living in it.
Some Israelis tell American Jews that America, like the fleshpots of Egypt, is no place for a Jew - we're all going to die in gas chambers, singing Christmas carols. The message is that we are not supposed to feel secure because antisemitism will catch up with us, as it has the Jews everywhere else throughout history...
For American Jews - now Jewish Americans - the American dream has come true. I wonder how many Israelis think the Zionist one has come true, too.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:
The Diaspora communities that remain are for the most part, free of immediate fear of unrest and persecution. Israel may face danger in the future. So may Jews in the Diaspora. Yet the great drama of survival has, one hopes, passed its peak. Israel has turned to negotiations for peace with its Arab neighbors. The Diaspora is turning to its domestic crisis of continuity…Future generations will look back at the strange ideological wars fought between Israel and the Diaspora before they reached a symbiotic, mutually supportive relationship. They will be perplexed by Israel's need to negate the Diaspora. Thy will be yet more amazed at the Diaspora's tendency to negate itself by devoting its energies to Israel in a way that weakened rather than strengthened its own resources and thus ultimately endangered its long-term support for Israel…Israel surely is our ultimate destination. But the immediate question is less whether Jews are at home in London of Jerusalem than whether they are at home in their Jewishness. That is likely to become the leading concern in Israel and the Diaspora alike as both turn their attention to continuity.
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