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The Pianist And ‘Palestine’ (Second of Two Parts)


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In strategy and law, war, terrorism and genocide are not mutually exclusive. Now, following the “Arab Spring,” even as the usual suspects maintain their explicitly genocidal threats against Israel, certain “progressive” Jews proudly lead various rallies and publications for “peace” and “democracy” in the Middle East. Such “progress,” we might learn from Roman Polanski’s film “The Pianist,” could only be fashioned upon yet another generation of Jewish corpses.

In the United States, and also in Israel, Jewish university professors are typically leaders in organizing campus protests (1) against an alleged Israeli occupation, and (2) for expanded Arab rights in “Palestine.”

Significantly, few if any of these Jewish professors would murmur an audible objection to Arab murders of their fellow Jews in Israel. This is the case whether the murderers prefer lynching, shooting, or suicide bombing.

Nor would any of these Jewish humanitarians suggest any Palestinian wrongdoing when Hamas’s next round of rockets is fired at cities and towns in Israel, or, soon enough, when Palestinian Authority “security forces,” assiduously trained by the United States, begin to initiate massive Fatah terrorist outrages against Israeli civilians. About these American-trained Fatah fighters, we can be assured that they will also use their newly-honed homicidal talents against their American benefactors.

Credo quia absurdum. “I believe because it is absurd.” Offered a choice to act on behalf of their own imperiled and abused state, or to combine their own self-destruction with even broader patterns of injustice, certain segments of Israel’s Jewish commonwealth will fail even to recognize the underlying and overwhelming ironies. Always, it seems, these smug archaeologists of ruins-in-the-making overlook something primal, that is, that any complicity with evil is destined, deservedly, to fail. We still have much to learn from “The Pianist.”

The Jewish police in Warsaw, we know now, were decidedly foolish and arguably indecent. Today’s “Jewish police,” mainly American and Israeli academic supporters of Israel’s enemies, don’t wear a uniform or carry a truncheon, but they are similarly indecent and equally foolish. In some respects, they are vastly more odious than their Warsaw antecedents, as this current generation of Jewish collaborators does so willingly and boastfully, and plainly without any defensible need for personal or familial self-preservation.

Too often, sometimes hiding behind their academic robes, and behind sanctimonious calls for “academic freedom,” the consuming cowardice of contemporary Jewish police is not merely stifling, it is also very dangerous. Intermittently reinforced by well-intentioned but similarly-uninformed Jews outside the academy, Jews who believe that marching ceremoniously for Palestinian statehood is the moral equivalent of marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, these pitiable minions unwittingly represent the advance guard of Israel’s physical destruction. Left unchallenged by those who should know better but who nonetheless remain silent, they will soon sit by bewilderedly, but likely without any remorse, as rockets rain down upon Israel.

In Los Angeles, always a Mecca for Jews who live unknowingly in intellectual darkness, there will be feelings of betrayal. Perhaps these Jews will go so far as to write angry letters to their Congressional representatives or to the Los Angeles Times. Surely, however, they will not be sufficiently upset to interfere with their local Temple’s busy oneg schedule, or with the Sisterhood’s annual deli lunch.

Another thought dawns. In Warsaw, the great majority of Jews did not feel any personal responsibility to speak and act on behalf of Jewish survival. Rather, they believed, communal safety was exclusively the codified responsibility of specified community leaders; ultimately, that is, of the Jewish Councils, who both sanctioned and sustained the Jewish police.

Today, an even larger majority of American Jews remain silent in the face of hideously distorted depictions of Israel, sometimes by their fellow Jews. Many of this “silent majority” is professional and well educated: doctors and lawyers, business people and social workers, teachers and accountants, entertainers, and (of course) professors. They are silent, they claim, only because they are not sure what is “true.” They are, after all, not “experts.”

But the truest reason for their desperate silence is something very different. This reason is their infinitely irrepressible inclination to confront unwelcome and annoying news with capitulations, fear, and an unceremonious trembling.

What are they afraid of, these gentle and caring Jewish Temple members, who can routinely be counted upon for regular and generous donations to help the homeless in Sudan and Somalia? How can these good people fail to see that the jihadist anti-Jewish world is once again mustering for an organized genocide, this time for a more thoroughly modernized mass killing, one in which the technology of annihilation will more efficiently bring exterminatory gas directly to the target populations? Don’t they see that they have a sacred responsibility, as Jews, and also as human beings, not to sit idly by as readily identifiable portions of the Arab/Islamic world prepare openly to blot out the despised Jewish state?

How can these Jews still fail to understand their absolute and binding obligation to resist becoming another Jewish police? How can they have learned so very little from their own modern and unique history?

Before suffering his then-unexpected torments, the pianist was fully optimistic about the world. Understandably, he did not want to be bothered too much by the unrelenting burdens of being Jewish. The world, after all, had already become indisputably “modern.” So weren’t absurdly medieval hatreds certain to disappear?

The Jew in the modern world has become free to worry about others. Now he can even choose to be liberal and cosmopolitan. After all, especially in America, he has finally been fully liberated. Isn’t it finally time, therefore, to stop worrying.

Today the state of Israel, now the individual Jew in macrocosm, exists in existential peril, and without any correspondingly accurate awareness of its own core fragility. For this to change, all Jews must, at an absolute minimum, firmly reject and counter the endlessly false portrayals of Israel’s indispensable self-defense policies. An example would be the blatant calumny of the Goldstone Report, concerning Israel’s winter 2008-2009 “Cast Lead” military operation in Gaza. Later, this Report was even denounced, in part, by Judge Goldstone, its own (Jewish) author.

Regarding Israel, all Jews everywhere should refuse to collaborate in any way with those who would soon bring us another Final Solution. This time, as already indicated, the genocidal task could actually be much easier to carry out, at least in its crude logistical contours. This time, there would be no complicated round-ups, no excruciatingly complex train schedules. This time, Israel’s ecstatic foes would not have to transport their Jewish victims to the gas. Instead, the “gas,” most likely in assorted forms of chemical, biological, and (in a year or two) nuclear rocket warheads, would be transported to the victims. Although such particular threats would at first seem more readily connected to the Iran problem than to the dangers of Palestinian statehood, it is actually from the prospective interactions or synergies between seemingly discrete threats that Israel presently faces its most dire security harms.

Sometimes, instructively, past is prologue. For us, there is much to be learned from “The Pianist.” Between the suffocating ghettoes of the Holocaust and the crematory missiles of jihadists, there is, incontestably, an indissoluble continuity of purpose.

Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of political science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


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