In some ways it is a depressing period in Jewish history. The American Jewish Diaspora community, or at least the non-Orthodox bulk therein, is in the process of committing cultural/national/religious suicide. Most American Jews are indifferent to their Jewishness; intermarriage is close to and may be above 50 percent; and the dominant “religion” of the American non-Orthodox Jews is the pseudo-religion of Liberalism-as-Judaism, its chief tenet being that Judaism is nothing more nor less than the political agenda of the American Left, never mind that this agenda is totally bankrupt intellectually on its own demerits.
The Reform movement, the Deconstructionist Reconstructionists and many Conservatives (as in Conservative synagogues) are simply religious liberals, with political liberalism is their dogma.
The “defense” organizations, American Jewish Congress, Bnai Brith, et al, are also largely devoted to the practice of political liberalism as pseudo-religion.
And then we have the chattering classes in Israel – the media and intelligentsia and literati – devoted to seeing Israel weakened and dismembered through the Oslo process of national suicide.
We have even the Likud, first under Netanyahu and then under Sharon, still pursuing the delusion of the “peace process,” still trying to buy Arab toleration through strategic endangerment of Israel’s existence, still thinking that just a few more concessions to the PLO
will nudge the PLO away from terror and its genocidal ambitions and move it to peaceful coexistence. In these days of frustration, I think there is one idea that we should bear in mind. And that is that the Zionist movement has many fantastic accomplishments under its belt, one of the more important of which is that Zionism forced a major change in the nature and expression of anti-Semitism.
Not that anti-Semites are really any different when they hide behind the mask of anti-Zionism. These are the same gutter bigots, the same people who refuse to acknowledge that Jews are humans, that Jews are entitled to rights and equality. But they have been forced to express their bigotry differently.
This should be obvious any time you observe the campus anti-Semites of the Left, the Arab fascists and the self-hating Jewish Uncle Toms demonstrating against Israel.
For centuries, the slogans of the anti-Semites were that Jews were racially inferior, intellectually inferior, cowards, money-grubbers, killers of God, sub-humans. But observe the main slogan of anti-Semites today: The Jews are mean. They are mean to the poor Palestinians.
Ooooh, soooo mean.
What a marvelous transformation! The main calumny thrown at the Jews is that they are bullies, meanies. What greater accomplishment of Zionism could be imagined?
Of course, this does not mean that the anti-Semites really think that the Jews are mean or cruel to the Palestinians. The anti-Zionists do not give a damn about the Palestinians, and the last
thing they care about is Arab human rights. This is why they have absolutely nothing to say about
the treatment of Arabs in Arab countries or by the Palestinian Authority’s Gestapo.
When Saddam Hussein ordered Kuwaiti civilians to be forced to drink gasoline and then had his troops shoot into their bellies to make them explode (to the cheers and laughs of his storm troopers) there was not a single anti-Zionist who expressed disapproval or concern. The anti-Zionists know perfectly well that Arabs are treated a thousand times better in Israel (and this would be so even if one were to believe all their accusations and allegations of mistreatment)
than are Arabs in Arab countries.
The anti-Semites lament supposed Israeli mistreatment of the poor Palestinians because they think this is an effective way to delegitimize and undermine the existence of Israel. In other words, they are motivated by hatred of Jews and not by any compassion for Palestinians. They seek to see Israel destroyed, not the Palestinians enfranchised, or rather their only interest in Palestinian enfranchisement is as a tool to endanger Israel’s existence. Of the enormous territories of the Middle East, larger than the United States, the only place where they suddenly are concerned for the welfare and civil rights of Arabs is in Israel. The other Arabs, as far as they’re concerned, can go to hell.
And if they can accuse Israel of violating these civil rights (never mind that 90 percent of their accusations are invented) then they can pretend to be compassionate and interested in peace, not gutter bigots who hate Jews.
The anti-Semites have lost their ability to march about and accuse the Jews of ritual murders and similar medieval libels (at least outside the Arab media). Such things would make them laughable in the West. No one outside the Arab world takes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as anything other than an embarrassment for anti-Zionists. So they have seized onto a new propaganda tactic, complaining that the Jews are oh, so mean and cruel – and bullies to boot.
At long last – after two millennia of exile – to be accused of being bullies! To leave the anti-Semites with no more effective weapon than heaping invective upon the mean Jews. For this one must say a blessing of thanksgiving, a shecheyanu. And often.
It is Zionism’s greatest achievement.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at email@example.com
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.
If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.