What you've said is profoundly pertinent--the European destiny of Jews and the American destiny of Jews. How different. Even at this very moment, anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, and there is a mean-spirited effort in Britain to smash academic freedom and intellectual international intercourse through boycotts of Israeli scholars and universities. Europe is a particular problem for us because we love European culture. It's ours. America is a European offspring. Culturally, we are Europeans. The difference is that America has offered us a country without kinship rules.
I often see a parallel, as a matter of fact, between the notion of Torah, a set of moral and juridical principles open to anyone who chooses them, and the American Constitution. In other words, you don't commit to a bloodline in this country. We're all different. We all have different origins in terms of "blood." We all commit to an idea, a system of values. Europe has not had that ever because essentially they have been ethnic nations. If were a German, you were a German. If you were a Swede, you were a Swede. Of course, this is changing now. Europe is having a lot of multicultural trouble and they look to us to see how we have done it--or how the genius of our Founding Fathers has done it. We are all spokes that can feed into and draw nourishment from that central concept.
To live as a nation by an idea is enormously important, and it is so different from the old European idea that you lived as a nation through some kind of blood kinship, fraternal, maternal, paternal. These are European words--fatherland, motherland. We don't use them. We we saw fathers we think of the Founding Fathers, and they lead to the idea, the Constitutional idea. So the American difference for Jews is the same difference as for everybody--that we all belong.
My question is, to circle back to her original worry over the boycotts of Israeli scholars and universities--is not Israel a continuation, in crucial respects, of the idea of the nation "through some kind of blood kinship"? Certainly, there are differences, but her admiration for committing to an idea, a system of values, (i.e. citizenship based on common core values and race-blind laws and practices) may be in tension with her desire to support a Jewish state. Am I missing something?