Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Israel and the Jews - - Joe Biden doesn't get it

It's sometimes difficult to know what is going through the mind of Vice President Joe Biden when he makes a public comment or responds to a question.

I once had the opportunity to ask him a question at a fundraiser and I think he kept talking after the program was over. OK, I exaggerate a bit, but he was very long-winded that morning.

Now Mr. Biden is touring the Mideast in an attempt to jump start talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. As is necessary on such trips, Mr. Biden visited Yad Vashem, Israel's national museum dedicated to the Shoa.

What caught my eye in today's report by Ethan Bronner in The New York Times was this statement about Mr. Biden-
After signing its [Yad Vashem's] guest book, he said: “The phrase ‘never again’ is used so often it almost has lost its meaning. But then again all you have to do is walk through Yad Vashem to understand how incredible the journey has been for world Jewry and why Israel is such a central part of its existence.”
Yad Vashem is an important reminder of the Shoa, one that all visitors to Israel should visit. However, I am troubled by Mr. Biden's apparent linkage of the Shoa to Israel's existence. In other words, he implies that without the Shoa, there would be no need for an Israel.

Of course, the opposite is true. Jews have yearned for a return to Zion for about 2,000 years following their expulsion from Judea by the Romans. That the establishment of a State of Israel came several years after the conclusion of the world's deadliest war is a coincidence of time. And, while the Shoa may have been a catalyst for international action reestablishing the home of the Jewish people, it's nothing more than another blip on the time line of Jewish history.

The Bronner's report is here.

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