- Last year, a poll by David Menashri of the Iran center at Tel Aviv University reported … that 70 percent of Israeli Jews said they would not consider emigrating if Iran got the bomb. That’s an odd way to report a finding — how many would not consider emigrating. So there is deep fear.
I guess I have seen several references to the judgment that has apparently been reached by several Israeli decision-makers to the effect that the main bad thing that would ensue for Israel if Iran gets nuclear weapons is not necessarily a high probability that this would be used against Israel– which, goodness only knows, has 1,000 times the capability to deter such an action– but rather that Iran’s attainment of nuclear weapons would cause a mass flight of Israelis from the country.
But I hadn’t seen any reference to any data on this until I read Lustick’s piece. Then I Googled around a bit and found this report in Haaretz from May 2009. And actually, despite the way that Lustick wrote about the way the poll’s findings were reported, Haaretz reported outright that,
- Some 23 percent of Israelis would consider leaving the country if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.
So much for them thinking that Israel is their eternal homeland, etc etc. As one expert on Algeria’s long battle for independence from France commented to me, “This makes Israeli attitudes seem very close to those of the French pieds noirs colonists in Algeria. The vast majority of them fled back to France when the going got tough and Algeria won its independence.” That, even though until that point they had all been adamant that Algeria was an integral part of France.
Or, one might say, the attitude of those many “White” former South Africans whom one meets in various spots around the world today, in which they have resettled after “giving up” on South Africa.
From the point of view of hardline Zionists, Jewish Israelis probably have far too many options for citizenship or longterm residence in other places around the world today. For starters, just about all of them could settle in the U.S. tomorrow if they chose, no questions asked. In addition, as my friend Yossi Alpher explained to me a couple of years ago in Tel Aviv, since the end of the Cold War a couple of million Jewish Israelis have either hung onto the citizenship they formerly had in the former Soviet Union or the countries of (former) Eastern Europe– or, in many cases, the Israeli children and grandchildren of people who fled to Israel from Eastern Europe during the Nazi era have been going back to Poland, or Hungary, or Slovakia, or wherever and reclaiming their citizenship “rights” there by inheritance… Something that’s especially valuable now that all those former Warsaw Pact countries are now firmly in the E.U.
(That, while they continue to totally deny to the Palestinian refugees any analogous right to return to their grandparent’s homes and properties within what is now Israel.)
But the bottom line in this phenomenon of Israelis being ready to leave so easily– if Iran even gets, let alone shows any sign of moving towards using nuclear weapons– seems to be that actually, the Zionist project of building Israel as the last, safest haven for Jewish people worldwide seems not to be terribly successful.
… All the above is interesting and notable even though I– like many other people– have still not seen any evidence that convinces me that the Iranian government is in fact aiming at building a nuclear weapon. This is more about Israel than it is about Iran.
Anyway, the rest of what Lustick writes there is also well analyzed and important.