Diaspora Jew (stereotype)

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A Diaspora Jew (Hebrew: יהודי גלותי) is a stereotypical term derived from the antithesis attitude created by Zionism towards the Judaism of the Jewish diaspora, especially in Europe, and as part of the greater concept of the Negation of the Diaspora. The Diaspora Jew was described by Zionists[1] as a passive, weak Jew, engaged in Luftgesheft (Yiddish for "Air Business"), i.e. occupations that are not a real job or without integrity, brokering or bookkeeping, professions such as law and accounting, and one that suffers from the bullying of the non-Jew without responding. Zionism sought to create the antithesis of this image and build a new Jew in the Land of Israel: active, strong, engaged in cultivation of land, and defending himself against attacks from the Gentiles.

The use of this expression appears in the early days of Zionism, in an article by Joseph Vitkin, "Conquest of land and labor", published in 1908:

And the farmers that are absorbed in "Life by the Hour" have forgotten the "life-world" – the future of their great grandsons and sons… The gentile laborer is convenient for them for several reasons: He is healthy and able to work, cheaper and less demanding; At times he will be used not only as laborer to our farmers, but also as a teacher of many jobs which they are still a novice at, and yet he is almost always a submissive servant, a servant which you may use freely, and one that receives with love, the revelation of power and lordship, from his master… And such submission from the part of the laborer is, we must admit, very fond of the Diaspora Jew, which he himself has been all his life like the passage: "and my soul be as the dust to all"

A presention of the idea of the antithesis basic of this expression appears in the description given by the publisher of the book by Yisrael Zamir, "My father, Isaac Bashevis Singer":

For 20 years, since the child Yisrael has been five years old, his father, the writer and Nobel laureate, Isaac Bashevis Singer, had not see him. When the two were reunited and met again in New York, in 1955, they stood face to face as foreigners. The father, a Diaspora Jew, a Mystic who believes in demons, ghosts and Providence, and the son, a socialist and materialist Kibbutz member, who despises the superstitions of his father.

Nowadays the term is used mainly by Israeli rightists against leftists as a derogatory nickname (cf. "Self-hating Jew"), when the rightists Israeli compare the leftists' attitude towards security, the West Bank and Gaza with the approach of the time immemorial Diaspora Jew, who groveled before the Polish nobleman.

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