Is America Exile or Home?
Because of the war and the extermination camps, America’s Jewish community has today become the largest and strongest in the world. This statement has been dinned into the ears of American Jews from pulpit, press, and platform, and above all by the spokesmen of fund-raising campaigns. Though in the process of repetition it has become almost a cliché, it still remains a fact. It is the most significant thing that has happened to American Jews, changing their outlook and their attitude toward the remaining Jews overseas as well as toward themselves. Traveling around the country and talking to Jews of various shades of opinion and of various degrees of Jewishness, one becomes inescapably aware of this.
Last year’s Roper poll on Zionism among American Jews corroborates this, and no less in its negative than its affirmative answers. The 10 per cent who expressed opposition to Zionism took pains to explain that their opposition implied no lack of interest in the welfare of non-American Jews. And one found, in discussion with young and old, men and women, “nationalists” and “anti-nationalists,” over the length and breadth of the United States, that the 80 per cent approving Zionism were usually not thinking of Zionism at all. They confusedly identified a Jewish state, which is a political concept, with a homeland-refuge, which is a social-cultural, and in many cases a quasi-philanthropic, concept. Their pro-Palestinian was primarily an expression of a heightened sense of responsibility, as members of the largest Jewish community in the world, for the Jews left in devastated Europe.
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