YASHA LEVINE—This is what happens when a whole group of people gets converted to ethno-nationalism, which has become a kind of secular religion for them — a belief system predicated on messianic ethnic cleansing and blood-and-soil thinking. Most of my old Soviet immigrant friends aren’t religious, but Zionism fills in that gap for them.
I’m not against people trying to forge a new identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union. People have to cope somehow, I guess. But this new identity of theirs is predicated on Israel violently displacing an entire people — because they think that Palestinians aren’t of the right kind of blood and weren’t chosen by their God. Israel belongs to Jews, they say. That’s just how it is. And they see resistance to this plan as aggression and terrorism — to be quashed with overwhelming force.