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Why Jewish Courage Breeds Hatred
Last uploaded : Sunday 10th Feb 2002 at 02:10
Contributed by : The Associate Editor


Recently I tried to explain to a group of people at a dinner party why ?the Jewish soul? is incapable of understanding Palestinian and Arab violence. The group, all British, had spent most of the evening indicting my country, the United States, for a shopping list of crimes against humanity, so I thought I would change the subject and talk about Jewish ethics.

The discussion did not get very far because one gentleman sitting directly to my left, at the head of the table, began grinding his teeth and scraping his shoes under the table, periodically scuffing mine. My premise was that the Jews have, for the millennia since the Bar Kochba Revolt, been passive parties to a cycle of violent persecution. Wherever they have lived and have been subjected to deportations, pogroms and massacres, they have submitted in a passive way, not shooting one bullet or throwing one stone. It was a perverse aspect of Jewish history in my youth to have been taught that the Jews ?kept their dignity,? carrying their precious Torah scrolls from the villages out of which they had been expelled, the anti-Semites duly pounding them with shovels and clubs as they escaped to other places around the globe.

It is an uncomfortable premise: had every Jew had a gun on Kristallnacht, the destructive outcome might not have been any different, but a goodly number of Nazis would have been felled. This concept caused great anger amongst a group of Second Generation friends when it was proposed. I was told that I had no right to reflect on the circumstances of Nazi-occupied Europe inasmuch as I had not lost any close relatives in the Shoah. One member of the group said he was outraged that a journalist could purport to write on Jewish issues without having lost anyone during the War. This is a troubling premise and left me with a feeling of despair and frustration. What I was attempting to convey was embodied in the question, 'Has not every Jew felt the loss of the Shoah, whether or not a loved one perished?'

This brings us back to the idea of the ?new Jew,' which the Secon Generation group never stayed long enough to discuss. The new Jew is a tough, no-nonsense fighter who will kill if danger is in the air. Notwithstanding the current resistance movement amongst Israeli reservists who feel they are being forced to oppress the Palestinian people, the IDF and IAF are, for me, a source of immense pride.

The ?new Jew? species must therefore be taken to the next dimension in this discussion.

For two-thousand years, Jews have submitted to blood libels, massacres, torture, being burned alive and finally, being exterminated in Nazi death camps. The disproportionate venom channelled towards Israel in the non-Jewish press is not a carefully-thought-out criticism of the Jewish State, but an expression of the fury felt by non-Jews whose ancestors were used to kicking Jews wherever they might find them. Having already incurred the wrath of AN Wilson and Max Hastings, who are amongst the legion of Christian writers braying that ?the intemperance of branding any valid criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism is unacceptable...? I would posit that the near-hysterical vitriol of the British papers is the result of centuries of hatred of the Jew being expressed from the subconscious of these writers.

In other words, they protest that they are not anti-Semitic, but in fact their hatred of Israel?s valiant and brave defence forces is an extension of their deep, inner revulsion at the idea of a Jew ? the Christ-killer -- actually fighting back.

The problem of putting this theory is that Britain has a unique breed of journalist: the Jewish hater of Israel. The views of Harold Pinter, Alexei Sayle, numerous Anglo-Liberal rabbis and Matthew Lewin are used by the ?Israel no longer has any right to exist? writers as justification for their reams of coverage of Israel?s ?crimes.? They triumphantly announce that a Jewish commentator has condemned Israel, therefore it is acceptable to take things even further and demand Israel?s dismantling. How can this be anti-Semitism, they ask, if Rabbi so-and-so has said even worse about Israel?

Shooting children is not within Jewish ethics. Demolishing houses is a deplorable act, as is the destruction of olive groves. On these ?Al Aqsa Intifadah ? issues, JewishComment is on the side of the Liberal rabbis. However, Israel has been subjected to a relentless pummelling for fifty-three years that would have sent a less sane and civilised people into anarchy.

Had I been sitting above a shop in Berlin on November 9, 1938 and had had a gun, I would have shot as many German stone-throwing kids? as I could before they burnt my premises down and beat me to death. Palestinians will remind me that their stone-throwing youth are under occupation by Jews. I remind them, in turn, that this tragic situation -- which no ethical Jew wishes to see continue -- is, nevertheless, a the result of a 'Kristallnacht' perpetrated by Nasser in 1996-67 that could have resulted in the annihilation of Israel's Jews, just thirty years after 1938.

Robert Fisk will go even further than a Palestinian analyst, and in 'The Independent' use words like 'bestiality' to describe Israeli actions in war. (Who invented the thumb screw and the rack -- his ancestors or ours?)

May I propose the radical theory that after the Shoah, no non-Jew has any right to discuss Israel? If Liberal rabbis or Alexei Sayle wish to rail against Sharon, let them. But the hateful rantings of Robert Fisk churn from the kishkes of a person who has no collective memory of two thousand years of persecution and of yearning for Jerusalem. As Dr Margaret Brearley pointed out at a recent lecture, Anglo-Christians are simply not exposed to Jewish history. Why should they be? They have lived persecution-free for many generations. The only Jewish history that relates to them is their own catalogue of acts of murderous brutality against Jews since the earliest days of the Crusades. Why be reminded?

Conversely, the journalists who earn a substantial living writing about Jewish violence in the Holy Land are expressing the same primitive hostility that inspired their Crusader ancestors ? how dare the Jew defend himself? He must be swept from the earth, and if the PLO is now the doer of the deed, they are truly blessed.

Palestinian and Arab writers will protest that the Tanzim and other factions are defending themselves against a cruel occupation. Isn?t it curious that in other countries, Jews are not oppressing anyone? Has it ever occurred to the Palestinians that Diaspora Jews live in democracies (having been driven out of Arab states), where they are allowed to live in peace? How many Jewish people are shooting Arabs in London or Buenos Aires or Paris?

It must be stressed here ? and this is a point rarely made in the world media ? that the Israel Defence Forces, founded and trained by the Christian Zionist Orde Charles Wingate, a British officer, is there to defend the Jewish State, not to venture out without provocation on destructive missions to create mayhem. No Israeli soldier, be he tenth generation Sabra, first generation Ethiopian immigrant, or second generation orphaned child of Holocaust victims, sets out to kill and destroy as do the armiues of numerous other countries in the less-developed world. It is the very Jewish sense of ethics that is driving scores of Israeli reservists to refuse to serve in the Palestinian areas. Though their actions are regretted by many, their motivation is that of the Jew in any nation around the globe: we want to live in peace, see our children excel alongside your children, and we want to get on with our lives without ? as Golda Meir put it ?being forced to kill your children, whose lives we wish YOU would cherish as much as we cherish the lives of our progeny.

Although various Israeli and Diaspora peace groups have been bending over backwards to try to prove otherwise (see our back issues for an article from Peace Now on this subject), it has to be assumed that textbooks in Palestinian schools and in the greater Arab world are teaching hatred of Jews. All one has to do is watch television: even the BBC, usually so staunchly pro-Palestinian, reported last year on a lavish mosque inside Israel in which the affluent children were chanting anti-Israeli slogans for the cameras. Their attractive and stylishly dressed teacher beamed as the class recited various chants suggesting they had been brainwashed into hating Jews.

How far would a London comprehensive school get if the BBC wandered in and the teacher proudly asked the youngsters to perform their ?Down with Britain! We hate Christians!? songs? It cannot be argued that the Arab children shown by the BBC are under occupation: they live inside the Green Line (within Israel?s 1967 borders) and their families and teachers choose to live in Israel at their own free will. Please note Jews cannot live this way in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Iran or the Yemen. The tiny remnant of a Jewish community in Iraq would be summarily liquidated -- probably at the caring hands of Saddam's son Uday -- if their children sang 'Down with Saddam!'

As this article goes to press we are hearing of Moran Amit, a 25-year-old Israeli student who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem?s Peace Park by a gang of Palestinian youths, of Atalia Lipobsky, an elderly Israeli woman shot dead by terrorists as she was driving home, and of a Kassam rocket being fired into the Negev ? inside greater Israel -- by Palestinians.

Israelis, who have been pushed to their limits since this new Intifadah, are a peaceful people who value the work ethic. They toil a six-day week and are forced to do reserve army service until middle age because their Arab neighbours will not ? after half a century ? say, ?We love what you have brought to our region ? we love your warmth, your scientific and agricultural brilliance, your willingness to share and your devotion to your children.?

By the same token, it would be nice if the people who love to attack Americans might also recite the litany in the above paragraph. How interesting that hatred of Israel always goes hand in hand with hatred of America. I am unfortunate enough to be Jewish and American. No relative of mine has ever killed anyone; they have spent a lifetime giving ?tzedakah? to charities that help Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, supporting the arts and wanting a peaceful world.

The lack of understanding of America and of Israel is a serious problem. That two such generous, industrious and beautiful countries can engender so much hatred is deeply troubling.

Comments and alternative viewpoints will be warmly welcomed from readers.


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