I find it difficult that, after more than a decade writing about Zionism for a generally unreceptive US audience that today it is necessary to explain Zionism to a generally unreceptive Israel audience. Israel is losing its way, its identity and purpose as guardian and refuge to the Diaspora. And I fear the resulting consequences for both state and Diaspora. Yes there is a gulf between the two Jewish communities, an inevitable consequence of their very different world environments. My concern is rather in what can only be described as growing unconcern by political Israel towards its Zionist obligations: its political parties, politicians, and particularly recent actions by its prime minister. How, after six decades of political awareness among Israeli leaders of the danger of rupture between our two communities that Netanyahu would introduce legislation legitimizing Rabbinate authority as representative of the state over Jewish identity; would underhandedly sneak Who is a Jew into law by hiding the act behind the more immediately controversial but less damaging to Jewish unity, the Kotel controversy?

Zionist Israel has two primary responsibilities: to defend the state against enemies from without; to serve as refuge and homeland for the Jewish People. The state of the Jews was never intended by the Diaspora that created it to insular and supportive of one particular stream of Judaism over all others. That the prime minister is promoting a haredi Rabbinate with an anti-Zionist agenda for obviously selfish political gain is particularly galling!

We are aware that the Germany during the Holocaust applied modern technology in the murder six-million Jews. What we may not be aware of is that millions more Jews were murdered over the centuries preceding the Holocaust, Referred also as the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem, what is this problem, and why the Jews? In its most simple terms the Jewish Problem is nothing other than the continued existence of Jews and Judaism. According to Christian theology and supported in its scripture Christianity replaced Judaism; God transferred the covenant from Jew to gentile: “old” Israel was replaced by the gentile “new” Israel. If Christianity was the “new Israel,” what purpose “old Israel” in God’s plan?

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Augustine attempted a systematic explanation for Jewish survival in his fourth century treatise, “City of God.” In it he provide his “Witness theory” adopted by the Vatican, that "the Jews" would eventually disappear though mass conversion. Until then they would be witness to the Truth of Christianity. And while this allowed Jews to survive the centuries, it provided no immediate solution (the disappearance of the Jews) to the “problem.” One thousand years later the promised solution by “voluntary mass conversion” had still not materialized and “the Jews” remained an alien presence living under constant threat.

For “the Jews” the centuries were always dangerous, marked by prejudice, persecution, expulsion and murder. Among the most well known periods are the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. The Crusades lasted two centuries during which whole Jewish communities were systematically slaughtered as "the enemy among us." Godefroy de Bouillon, a leader of the First Crusade (1096) inspired his men “to go on this journey (the liberation of the Holy Land) only after avenging the blood of the crucified one by shedding Jewish blood and completely eradicating any trace of those bearing the name 'Jew' [at home].” But perhaps more familiar as a dark page in Jewish history is the Spanish Inquisition. This is ironic since by that time there were few if any Jews remaining in Spain to face the inquisitors. Spanish Jews had earlier been given the choice of conversion or expulsion. Those who actually faced the inquisitors were not Jews but Catholics, the descendents of Jewish converts. And among these were priests and high ranking church leaders and bureaucrats. Heretics within the Church were identified by limpieza de sangre, purity of blood. Five-hundred years before Hitler Europe already saw Jews as alien by blood.

Even the term “the Holocaust” was not new to the modern era. The word “holocaust” is from the Greek holos and caustos, “entirely burned” or, “burnt offering.” The murder of six million Jews in the twentieth century was long preceded by a rash of mini-holocausts across Europe in the tenth century which saw entire Jewish communities forced into town centers and set ablaze.

One thousand years after Augustine’s Witness theory Martin Luther lost patience with a long-overdue "voluntary conversion" solution to the Jewish Problem. In his "The Jews and their Lies" Luther proposed that Jewish “torahs and synagogues” be burned, their rabbis killed for teaching Judaism
Not surprising that Nazis on trial five hundred years later would point out that if they should be put on trial for war crimes then so also should Martin Luther!

With the emergence of secularism and the nation-state pseudoscience replaced religious theology as explanation for Jewish existence and the Jewish Problem became instead the more modern and scientific Jewish Question. And as Luther grew impatient with a solution to the Jewish Problem by voluntary mass conversion, so also did secularism take a far more practical and final approach to its inherited Jewish Question.

The Final Solution was only partially successful. But the German-led effort remains a model for a future effort to finally achieve the solution of the two-thousand year Problem.

My book, "The Jewish Problem and its Final Solution; Modernity and Destiny" is a historical narrative from the emergence of Christianity in the first century to the question of Jewish survival today, and in the future. Antisemitism is a fact, a cultural and historical inheritance deeply embedded in the sinews of Western history, culture and society. The solution to the Jewish Problem has always been the disappearance of the Jewish People. Modernity has only changed the method from conversion to extermination.

I provide this brief survey as an introduction, a historical framework by which to begin to understand the West's Jewish Problem. Based on precedent, what likelihood for Jewish survival in the West going forward? Readers already familiar with histories of the Holocaust may be aware that most begin with the ascent of Hitler and Nazism. Some authors describe the conditions existing in the early twentieth century as promoting extremism in Germany and the desire for a populist leader. Few describe the religious foundation which explains the persistence of judeophobia and antisemitism, both description and answer to the question: Why the Jews? From even this brief overview my hope is that I have at least opened the possibility that the reader will be able to go beyond such obscurantist explanations for the Shoah as “mysterious” or “unique.” The Final Solution of the Jewish Problem has a long, identifiable and persistent presence in the historical record of the Diaspora. Why the Jews? The answer is as clear as we are willing to see, to allow ourselves to understand the reason for Zionism as Jewish response to the West’s still unsolved Jewish Problem.

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