This post is an attempt to answer a good pen-friend and a great friend of Israel, Alan Johnson, an editor of Fathom and many other things he succeeds to find the time for somehow. Alan asked an interesting question (on Facebook), a few days before the Scottish referendum:
Am I the only person raising just a little bit of an eyebrow at the sight of all their Zionist friends being outraged by the 'petty nationalism' of the Scots and their outrageous bid for self-determination as a people?Since the dust from the whole brouhaha has settled down, the leader of the Scottish separatism fell on his (political) sword and the case became history, at least for now, we can discuss the related question in relative equanimity and in proper manner. If you wish, nevertheless, to imbibe some of the spirit of the pre-referendum debate, you are invited to take a peek at the Facebook thread linked above - there is quite a lot of spirit there.
Frankly, when I read that question by Alan about ten days ago, I have raised both eyebrows simultaneously, so surprised I was. The reason for my surprise was simple: during the whole (pretty long) period of Scottish independence discussions, preparations for the referendum, the fierce TV and other debates in British media, I haven't had a single discussion on the subject with my friends, relatives or just random strangers encountered here (in Israel). Which (granted, anecdotal) info, knowing how ferociously Israelis get involved in sundry political issues, even ones that don't have anything to do with them or their country, may serve as a pretty good indication how much interest the Scottish independence generated here. Zero. Zilch. Gurnisht.
I, personally, had me almost(*) the same amount of interest in the outcome of Mr Salmond's endeavor. And none of my relatives living elsewhere (aside of UK) displayed any concern with the matter. Saying all this, however, demands a qualification. If you check the thread linked above, you shall find two or three Jewish citizens of UK, who do feel quite impassioned about the whole independence deal and are quite negative regarding the possibility of separation. But - if I am allowed to make a guess - I am quite sure that their objection to Scottish independence mirrors the majority of British (and, eventually, at the end of the day, Scottish) citizens too.
Of course, if Alan considers all of his British Zionist friends being staunch objectors of Scottish independence bid, I shall bow to his superior local knowledge. However, I allow myself a margin of doubt re the term "all". I would bet that at least some of these folks sport the same attitude as most of us outside Britain do.
So, all in all, I would say, Scottish independence is hardly a topic of interest to the Jews, aside of very few Jewish British activists. And yet, there are three or four related items that do have a Jewish or, at least, Israeli connection - strange as it may sound.
1. Independence? Imagine that...
As far as progressive people in our world are concerned, nothing could be more backward and reactionary than the burgeoning separatist movements. I know it will anger many, but I can't desist:
Imagine there's no countriesIf you look at the current map of Europe, which has already gave birth to quite a few new countries recently as a result of the irresistible wave of separatism and, especially, if you check out this clip that presents the general trend, you must agree that John Lennon's dream is wide off the mark - at least as far as European sentiments are concerned. So take a look at the clip first:
It isn't hard to do...
But we were looking for an Israeli connection. Yes, with all that enthusiastic splitting into multiple and, in many cases, hardly viable pieces, European (and not only European) progressive left finds a long list of justifications for each and every separatist movement. Leaving aside (for the moment) the arguments used by proponents of independence for each case, there is one single case where the independence and the mere existence of independent nation are being questioned in the best case and actively opposed in the worst. Of course it is the case of the state of Israel. Both the song "Imagine" and the term "one state solution" are being actively applied by the sundry activists, a considerable part of which is located, strangely enough, in separation-obsessed Scotland. Go figure...
2. Scottish Palestinian solidarity movement.
First of all a disclaimer: ascribing a certain trait to a whole nation is a misnomer, I know it quite well. Your average Scot is no more (or less) interested in the goings-on in foreign parts, especially as far removed as Middle East, than any other person elsewhere. However, saying that, the so called Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is a more virulent representative of anti-Israeli sentiment among other European outfits of this kind.
And the Scottish government itself has given the Scottish Jews enough reasons to be wary about its general anti-Israeli bias. It is not for nothing that Jews in Scotland were concerned about the possible separation from UK.
So all in all, while I don't share the anti-separatists sentiments of the Zionist friends Alan mentioned in his question, I could see where these sentiments are coming from. And let's leave it at that, with one final remark.
3. Multiculturalism as a proven failure.
The offspring of the Political Correctness goddess, multiculturalism has proved itself a dismal failure all over Europeans states, where integration of immigrants, especially Muslim ones is concerned. And we can't say that it is solely the fault of the immigrants, no, it is as much (if not more) the fault of the governments of these states.
However, there is another aspect of multiculturalism that is coming to light with the rising separatist activities all over Europe. The geographically and ethnically distinct groups of people are demanding states of their own, reacting in this manner to some historic colonialist/expansionist endeavors of their host states. The hundreds years old grievances are being exhumed, the old hatreds are being fueled - in short, the XXI century doesn't look so far as a beginning of the age of enlightenment. No, sir/madam, you can continue to play with the vision of that world with no countries, but the reality is starkly different.
As it usually is.
(*) For the sake of full disclosure, I was concerned with a single aspect of the looming independence: whether the prices of single malt whisky on the world market will rise or fall. But since I didn't have a slightest idea which way the prices will go with or without independence, it could be hardly called an opinion.