Israel and Palestine: There’s Still Room at the Inn

Van Gogh Olive Trees
Van Gogh Olive Trees
April 09, 2014

Originally published in The National Interest.

Simon Schama’s new TV series and book The Story of the Jews is particularly timely, although he’s covering well-ploughed ground. Schama shows, in fine detail, the ways the Jews tried, in any way they knew how and inventing new ones, to become accepted by societies in which they found themselves over the 1900 years that passed since they were exiled after the destruction of the first state of Israel. They tried to “assimilate” by praying on Sunday instead of on the Sabbath, by using the local language instead of Hebrew, by playing an organ instead of the shofar—and so on. They zealously served the rulers of their host countries and contributed richly to their cultures and commerce. However, as Schama shows, again and again and one more time Jews were (a) never fully accepted and (b) sooner or later kicked out in the most violent ways. They found new host countries, only to have their bitter fate repeated. Read the full article.