Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
In case you missed it, college campuses in the United States, Canada and Britain recently hosted an “Israeli Apartheid Week,” during which prominent scholars and artists all got together to agree about the State of Israel’s beastliness.
That such nonsense is presented at places like Hunter College in New York City, the University of Toronto, and even at supposedly more illustrious venues such as Oxford and Cambridge is hardly shocking.
What is curious is the unprecedented growth of Israel-bashing in recent years – not merely at universities – and the increasing role of Jewish opponents of Israel in these events.
The inversion of the truth in which the one small Jewish state is now portrayed as the mighty oppressor of the vast Arab and Muslim worlds is a timely topic as Jews have just celebrated Purim, the holiday commemorating the biblical salvation of the Jews of Persia who were collectively subjected to a sentence of death. The evil plan was foiled, of course, and since then the festival has been celebrated with general silliness, carnivals as well as purimshpiels, or satiric plays or writings that turn the world upside down and inside out.
But while purimshpiels have a short shelf life, the less innocent falsehoods of the anti-Israel crowd are year-round canards whose growing power ought to concern everyone.
The “Israeli apartheid” charge, popularized in this country by former president Jimmy Carter’s appalling book, is, of course, an insult to the sufferings of black South Africans and so divorced from the truth as to render any debate about it to be mere absurdity.
Israel is, after all, a democratic country whose Arab minority has the right to vote and is represented in its parliament and even boasts a member of the current Cabinet. For the last decade-and-a-half and as part of the policy of several governments, it has been trying to divest itself of rule over parts of the disputed territories it acquired in a war of self-defense in 1967.
Palestinians have had autonomy since the Olso Accords of 1993 and have ruled Gaza as an independent state in all but name since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005 removed not only a military presence, but every trace of Jewish life in the area.
The Palestinians have turned down peace offers dating back to before the Jews regained sovereignty over part of their historic homeland in 1948. In 2000, their leader Arafat memorably declined an offer of statehood, control of all of the West Bank, Gaza and part of Jerusalem and answered with a terror war of attrition.
Since then, the Palestinians have enjoyed free elections to determine their own government and chose Hamas, a terror group committed to war against the Jews without end.
Thus, even those Jews who believe that ridding Israel of all of the territories is a good idea in and of itself, and those who support the peace process as a matter of course, understand that the persistence of the conflict simply is not the Jewish state’s fault.
And yet, despite these objective circumstances, the notion persists of Israel as aggressor and the Palestinians as victims. This – despite the fact that it is the latter who continue to reject peace and persist in pursuing war – isn’t merely the conventional wisdom in the fever swamps of the far left and right, it is the conventional wisdom of enlightened liberal opinion in Europe and among American academics. Sadly, this latter category includes many Jews.
Thus, in this bizarre yet increasingly fashionable inversion of the truth, the Jews get to reverse the verdict of Purim itself.
In the Book of Esther, it was not an outside power or even the direct intervention of Providence that saves the day but the Jews themselves, in the person of the valiant Esther, the wise Mordechai and the community as a whole, which rises up to defend itself and slay the murderers.
But today, it is often Jews who provide a fig leaf of respectability for such inane events as the “Israeli apartheid” extravaganzas.
Let’s also specify that we are not discussing mere criticism of Israel’s government or policies. Much about the State of Israel is itself something of an ongoing purimshpiel. Its governments are often run by men and women of less than sterling character. And the practices of Israel’s leviathan official bureaucracy are often so wrongheaded and arrogant as to make any American state’s department of motor vehicles blush.
About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
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Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
As shocking and insulting and horrifying as it is, Nazi war criminals are still living freely among us.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
Ramaz is a venerable Modern Orthodox educational institution whose mission statement contains the explicit commitment to “Ahavat Yisrael, and love and support for the State of Israel.”
In the course of the ages there wasn’t a Jewish community more convinced of its capacity for survival than the Jewish community of Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries.
When it became known in May 2008 that Malley had met with Hamas terrorists, the Obama campaign severed ties with him.
Issuing a statement dredging up Wildstein’s life, Christie’s office raised as many questions as it answered.
No matter how wrong Israel’s leaders may think their American counterparts are, little good comes from public spats.
Lieberman has repeatedly dismissed the Palestinian Authority as not being a peace partner.
This is a political version of replacement theology.
Like Chamberlain, Obama sued the ayatollahs for peace, insisting the only alternative to appeasement is war.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-upside-down-inside-out-world-of-israel-bashers/2007/03/07/
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