A few years ago, I listened to a radio talk show, in which the host interviewed a group of people from Arab countries, asking them what they really knew about Israel. Most of the guests resorted to tired labels vilifying the “Zionist entity,” but it was clear that they lacked the first-hand knowledge of the “entity” itself. Only one of the guests said that he had actually visited Israel. “And what was your impression?” the host asked. “I liked it,” reluctantly admitted the guest, “but so what is there for me? In the end, I still had to come back to my own country.”
In a way, that paralleled what I had heard from a professor at the University of Manila in the Philippines many years ago. Apparently, it was common there to hold rallies decrying American imperialism at noon. In the afternoon, many of the same protestors lined up to file an immigration application at the US embassy.
This similarity between the attitudes toward the United States and Israel is enlightening, yet Israel is usually treated more harshly. Why? Well, for the same reason why school bullies prefer to go after the “little guy.” To use another analogy, for the same reason why a pack of wolves always targets the weakest deer. Woke-besotted zealots realize that they have a better chance to cancel Israel than the United States, whereas going after a country like China may be downright scary.
Consider this case. When Daryl Morey, the general manager of a National Basketball Association team posted a tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2019, the tweet upset NBA sponsors with financial ties to China so much that Morey had to delete the tweet, and the NBA apologized for it. And just in case you think that the expression “cancelling Israel” is an exaggeration, it is not. In the era of globalization, boycotting a country is a way to strangulate its economy.
Do the Israel-haters really believe their own narrative, including the claims of apartheid and genocide perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians? Judge for yourself. Ismail Haniyeh is a Hamas leader in Gaza bent on the destruction of Israel. Yet when his daughter, granddaughter and mother-in-law needed medical help, they went to Israeli hospitals. The same applies to ordinary Gazans. A headline in the Jerusalem Post reads, “Israeli hospitals continue to treat sick Gazans despite missile attacks;” and the newspaper is talking about missile attacks
by Hamas on Israel, to be precise. This is the mother of all oxymora: the victims of genocide prefer to go to the hospitals run by the genociders.
One might make a counterargument: the blockade imposed on Gaza leaves it with no medical equipment or drugs. Hence, the Gazans have no other choice but to seek help at Israeli hospitals. Yet the ‘brutal’ blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007, does not prevent Hamas from getting thousands of missiles or parts needed to assemble them. It is all a matter of priorities. Israel generously funds health care and medical research that benefits Jews and non-Jews all over the world. Hamas lacks funds for the hospitals; yet it has plenty of resources for digging underground tunnels to kill Israelis willy-nilly.
How about the apartheid claim? US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib does not mince words claiming that “Israel is an apartheid state. Period.” The woke media’s drumbeat incessantly echoes that claim, but for the sake of convenience, they omit the ‘minor’ fact that Israel actually runs affirmative action programs for Israeli citizens who are Arabs, as well as Blacks, women and people with disabilities. Such programs exist both in the civil service employment and in the private sector. The best Israeli universities give priority to the same four categories of Israeli citizens in the admission process and in scholarships.
Alas, Israel has had to implement security measures, such as walls and checkpoints, which have cut down on suicide bombings and other terrorist acts. But being an apartheid state? Not only do these security measures save Jewish lives, they save Arab lives too, unless you subscribe to the notion that the suicide bombers go directly to paradise, that is.
Organizers of Israel-hate fests like to include anti-Israel Jews as participants. They are treated as guest stars, whose purpose is to legitimize the fests for a wider audience. The groups that usually grab a lot of publicity are a few Jewish professors, a handful of Holocaust survivors and Holocaust deniers. (Yes, there are Holocaust deniers among the Jews too.) They comprise a motley mix of characters and it is hard to draw a generalized psychological profile of all these groups. Rather, let us quote two passages from “The Wicked Son,” a book by playwright David Mamet devoted to antisemitism and Jewish self-hatred:
This is the wickedness of the wicked son. [The concept of the wicked son alludes to a character in the Passover Seder. EV] He feels free to enjoy his intellectual heritage, the Jewish love of learning, and the reverence for accomplishment; he enjoys, aware or not, a heritage of millennia of Jewish Law and values; he enjoys
his very life, which would have been denied him and his ancestors in the Europe they suffered to leave…
There is, of course, a certain commonality or collusion of apostasy, but see the fallen-away Jews, nonobservant, dismissive of their people as a people, opposed to the State of Israel, and yet clubbed up with their like…
Consider Richard Falk, a Jewish-born professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. Despite numerous accusations of rabid antisemitism, Falk served as a UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories” in 2008 – 2014. Here is an example. In 2011, he posted on his website a cartoon of a dog wearing a kippah, devouring bloody bones and urinating on a representation of justice. Faced with outraged reaction, Falk admitted that the cartoon included “antisemitic symbolism” and apologized for posting it. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights acknowledged the antisemitic nature of the cartoon, but credited Falk with removing it from his website and did not call on him to resign. What a low bar!
Falk compares the treatment of the population of Gaza by Israel to the treatment of the Jews by Nazis. If we accepted this analogy, we would have to assume that Jews kept in concentration camps fired rockets at German cities, and Germans had to return fire in order to suppress the Jewish attacks. The absurdity of this analogy is self-evident to any sane person.
The ‘esteemed’ professor further claims that the movement to establish Israel as a Jewish state in 1948 was that of colonialism, enabled by Western guilt over the Holocaust. Even though this claim has been endlessly repeated by many Israel-haters, it is utterly false. There is ample historiographical, archeological, linguistic and genomic evidence that the Jews are a people indigenous to the Middle East. By the way, the aforementioned Rashida Tlaib, born in the U.S. to Palestinian immigrants, likes to begin her speeches by saying, “As a woman of color, I …” It sounds as though she is not familiar with the history of the Jewish people.
The Holocaust forced many European Jews to return to the ancestral land, but numerous Jewish communities had continuously existed there for millennia. During the Islamic period, they lived under Sharia law that tolerated non-Muslims in exchange for their paying special taxes and obedience to a number of restrictions imposed only on non-Muslims. Yet relatively peaceful periods of their life were punctuated by violence and outright massacres. One of the best documented Jewish massacres in Palestine in the 20th century was the Hebron massacre. It happened in 1929, four years before the Nazis came to power in Germany.
Hebron has a rich Jewish history dating back to the Biblical times. In fact, the Bible mentions it 87 times. But on August 24, 1929, 67 Jews were murdered and scores of others were wounded and maimed. The report of the British commission investigating the massacre called it a “savage attack, of which no condemnation could be too severe.” Sir John Chancellor, the High Commissioner of Palestine, used even stronger words calling it “the atrocious acts committed by bodies of ruthless and bloodthirsty evildoers… murders perpetrated upon defenceless members of the Jewish population… accompanied by acts of unspeakable savagery.”
The modern state of Israel is a sanctuary state for the Jewish people. No amount of vilification of Israel by the likes of Rashida Tlaib and Richard Falk will convince the Jews to abandon this status of Israel. I do not think that the screams of the woke media, the United Nations or the International Criminal Court will succeed. Why? Because the Jews have a secret weapon. I will let you in on that secret. They have seen it all in the last 3,000 years and they are still here.