In Jews and Power, her brilliant 2007 analysis, Ruth R. Wisse described the Jews’ survival strategy after the Romans destroyed their state: Jews converted to a purely spiritual nation, ascribing their defeat not to the power of their enemies but to God’s dissatisfaction with them, and devoted themselves to proving their moral worth to God. This way of thinking gave Jews an independence from temporal powers, but it ran the risk of venerating powerlessness as if it were a Jewish ideal. And indeed, the modern state of Israel became the only nation to win multiple defensive wars and each time sue for peace, from enemies who viewed Western morality as weakness.
About the Author
Rick Richman, a lawyer in Los Angeles, writes for Commentary’s blog.