May 23, 2019

Game of Thrones Is About Israel

“Let us begin with the people of the fictional Westeros. The people of Westeros are made up of numerous different clans and are steeped in a tradition dating back thousands of years. As Josh Hasten mentioned in his Times of Israel blog, the show’s oft-repeated mantra of “not today,” uttered by Arya Stark in a recent episode, is one of the roots of modern Zionism and a central pillar of Jewish philosophy. For the last eight seasons of Game of Thrones, Westerosians have faced the apocalyptic threat of the White Walkers, whose goal was to end the civilization of Westeros and turn the citizens into ice zombies. However, lo and behold, the battle against the White Walkers ended, and it turned out that the final villain of the show was not the army of the undead at all, but the Westerosians fellow countrymen. Ostensibly, the final battle for the Iron Throne will be fought between the citizens of Westeros themselves. In other words, it is their abhorrence for one another, which will serve as the final hurdle to be overcome.

In my humble opinion, this is emblematic, to an extent, of the current state of affairs in Israel.

Obviously, a civil war is not about to start in Israel anytime soon. However, Westeros and its citizens do share many similarities with Israeli society. For thousands of years, the Jews have faced existential threats no matter where they resided, including in the era of the ancient Jewish Kingdoms in their ancestral homeland. Jews in both Israel and in the Diaspora have faced the looming specter of antisemitism, which is taught to them in schools and taught to them by their parents at home. And for good reason, too. Antisemitism is on the rise worldwide, reaching its highest peak in decades, according to a report published yearly by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry. Furthermore, antisemitism still manages to crawl its way onto mainstream media outlets, as was the case with the recent New York Times cartoon. Tragically, white supremacists continue to perpetrate vile shootings in synagogues around the US, claiming innocent lives. Even though many of these horrific crimes do not tangibly affect Israel, they still leave a profound impression on the Israeli consciousness, since one Jew’s pain is felt by Jews around the world. Likewise, the BDS movement continues to be pushed in full force on college campuses and by members of the far Left; the United Nations continues to employ a double-standard towards Israel; and of course, there are Islamic countries who still want to see the Jewish State wiped off the map.”

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