Keeping the Jewish State

For the first time in its history, Israel’s government includes an Arab party.

Arabs have sat in the Knesset since Israel’s founding, both as members of primarily Jewish parties and as representatives of various Arab parties. From time to time Arab MKs have kept a government in office by supporting it from outside the coalition, as happened in 1993 when the Oslo Declaration of Principles was approved. But no Arab party has ever been member of the governing coalition until now.

Some people think this is wonderful. The Arabs are 20% of our population, so why shouldn’t they have a commensurate role in government? Mansour Abbas is a pragmatist who just wants the best for his constituents, they say. Others think it is a disaster. The Arab parties are all anti-Zionist and in some cases disloyal. What will happen when there is an operation against Hamas? Mansour Abbas represents an Islamist party that is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of Hamas!

My view is that I honestly have no idea how this will work out, even assuming that the new government lasts more than a few weeks. But one thing is absolutely clear: putting an Arab party in the coalition brings the question of the relationship of the Jewish state to its Muslim Arab citizens front and center in a way that it heretofore hasn’t been.

Indeed, it’s one of those elephants in the room that we have been carefully ignoring for years. But since the formation of the new government that elephant has been tromping around and bumping into things. It can’t be ignored any longer.

Although the law requires that any candidate for the Knesset not “negate” the Jewish and democratic character of the state, the Supreme Court has required a very high standard of proof in order to disqualify an Arab candidate, and has several times overturned the decision of the Knesset’s Elections Committee to do so (the law also bans “incitement to racism,” and this has been invoked several times against Jewish candidates, including of course Meir Kahane’s Kach party).

This is in keeping with the extremely weak interpretation of “Jewish state” that was propounded by the influential former President of the Court, Aharon Barak, in whose opinion a “Jewish” state is little more than one whose values are “universal values common to members of democratic society, which grew from Jewish tradition and history.” The absurdity of this view is evident (it makes the US, for example, a Jewish state), but it is popular among those, Arabs and Jews alike, who are made uncomfortable by either Judaism or Jewish nationalism.

In 2006, a group of Israeli Arab intellectuals (I use this term although some prefer “Palestinian citizens of Israel”), under the auspices of the Arab heads of local authorities, produced a document called “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel” in which they declare themselves “the indigenous peoples, the residents of the States of Israel, and an integral part of the Palestinian People and the Arab and Muslim and human Nation,” and call for Israel to relinquish its Jewish character and become a binational state. It accuses the “Zionist-Jewish elite in Europe” of settler-colonial oppression of the indigenous “Palestinian People.” It calls for equal representation of Jews and Arabs in the government, and the recognition of the Arabs as an “indigenous cultural national group” with international protection. “[A]ll forms of ethnic superiority, be that executive, structural, legal or symbolic” must be removed. There is a great deal more, including the placing of all “Islamic holy sites” (which naturally include all the Jewish ones) in Arab hands.

If anything “negates” the Jewish character of the state, this does. And yet, several of the participants in the development of that document, including Ayman Oudeh, the head of the Joint List of Israeli Arab parties in the Knesset, Aida Touma-Sliman, and Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, currently serve in the Knesset.

One of the reasons that the Nation-State Law was passed was in response to this. It states that “the actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” and even specifies the flag, the national anthem, and the symbol of the state. The Basic Law (part of what serves Israel for a constitution), which was passed by a majority of Knesset members, is nevertheless controversial. The Jewish Left subjects itself to cognitive dissonance, insisting that it still believes in Zionism while wanting a “state of its citizens” (see the self-contradictory Meretz platform here) and opposing the Nation-State Law.

Jewish Israelis need to face this issue head-on and stop pretending that it does not exist. Our state – our state –  was created explicitly as a Jewish state because the founders were Zionists who believed that Jewish survival depended upon the existence of a sovereign state of the Jewish people. The evidence of the past 73 years of Israel’s existence, especially the burgeoning of Jew-hatred in the 21st century, has only strengthened my belief that they were entirely correct.

Some think that all that’s necessary for Israel to be a Jewish state is that it have a Jewish majority and a Law of Return for Jews. This ignores the real connection that most Israeli Jews have to the ancient homeland of their people, without which there is no reason for a Jewish majority, and no justification for a Law of Return. Possibly “religious” people find this easier to grasp, but it’s not necessary to be observant to see yourself as part of a historic people, a people with a land, a language, a religion, and a culture.

If the Jews of Israel give up the idea of the connection of the people to the land, if they decide to emphasize democracy at the expense of Jewishness, if they stop believing that there is great value in having their capital in Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv, if they give up their control of Jewish holy places (because, in the words of Moshe Dayan, “who needs all that Vatican?”), they will soon find that there is no longer a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel, and indeed that the Jewish people are again wanderers in foreign lands.

The Muslim Arabs understand this quite well, and the imperatives of their religion drive them to struggle relentlessly to get control back over the entire Land of Israel, which they consider a Muslim waqf, land that permanently and irrevocably must be under Muslim control. This is why they struggle to conquer not only the physical land and temporal assets in the hands of the Jews, but to obtain symbolic and spiritual control. This is why Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are often the focus of their violence. This is why they will never give up.

Mansour Abbas may be a pragmatist in the short term, but he is also an Islamist, which implies the longest of terms. If the Jews are to prevail in the struggle for this land, they too need to understand the limits of pragmatism. They need to learn how to draw lines and stick to them, to understand the importance of symbolism, everywhere in the country, from the Galilee to the Negev. But especially now, they need to wrest control of the Temple Mount and the Old City back from the Arabs, who have systematically undercut Jewish sovereignty there since June of 1967.

We have the power and the resources to do this. Do we also have the spiritual strength, the perseverance, and the ability to sacrifice that will be required?

Posted in Israeli Arabs, Israeli Politics, Israeli Society | 3 Comments

A Short History of a Long Hatred

It would never come into their [the masses] heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X

We have only to keep repeating our themes that the United States and Israel are fascists, Imperial-Zionist countries bankrolled by rich Jews – Yuri Andropov

The Big Lie about Israel and her conflict with the Palestinians is that it is between Israel and the Palestinians.

That is the smallest part of it.

The truth is that the establishment of a Jewish state never sat well with either the post-Christian West or the Islamic world. Muslims are much more straightforward about it: the Land of Israel was once under Islamic rule, and therefore must return to it. Jewish sovereignty over the land and any of its inhabitants that are Muslim is an abomination to them. As Dr. Mordechai Kedar explains (see a longer talk by Dr. Kedar in Hebrew on this subject here), not only for Palestinians, but for all of the world’s almost two billion Muslims, the conflict is not “territorial, national, economic, civil, or legal;” it is religious. And therefore no compromise that leaves Jewish sovereignty in existence, even over the smallest part of the land between the river and the sea, will be acceptable to them.

The situation in the West is more complicated. With the decline of Christianity in Europe that marked the period following the 18th century Enlightenment, the religiously motivated antisemitism that had been responsible for the murder or expulsion of countless Jews in Christian countries throughout the centuries became less prevalent. But people seem to have a need to dislike Jews, and it was replaced by the racial version expounded by figures like Wilhelm Marr, which served as the justification for the Nazi Holocaust. After the war, the popular revulsion over the Nazi genocide of European Jews made “racial” antisemitism taboo, at least in public.

In 1948, Zionists succeeded in establishing a state in the Land of Israel, triggering a violent reaction from the Arab nations (local Arabs had long been hostile, correctly understanding the Zionists’ intention to establish a sovereign state). The Vatican took a parallel position, both because of its supersessionist theology that did not accept Zionist claims to represent the Biblical Israelites, and its opposition to Jewish sovereignty over Christian holy places (the Vatican finally recognized Israel in 1993, along with the PLO).

The Soviet Union, the ideological leader of the international Left, at first supported the creation of the state because of Israel’s initial embrace of socialist ideas and the Soviet desire to reduce British influence in the region. But Stalinist antisemitism (which peaked with the 1953 Doctors’ Plot), and Israel’s increasing alignment with the West brought about a rupture in relations, and even after Stalin’s death geopolitical considerations caused the Soviets to support Israel’s Arab enemies.

Around the time of the 1967 war, the Soviet KGB began a campaign of demonization and delegitimization against Israel. The objective was to hurt the US, which was seen as using Israel as an outpost to project power in the Middle East, and to inflame the Arab world, which would then turn to the USSR for weapons and other support against Israel. Like Korea and Vietnam, the Middle East became an arena for struggles between the great powers by proxy.

The KGB pushed various themes in its campaign, which was aimed at Western intellectuals, leftists, and academics, as well as the Third World. The Arabs in the Land of Israel had heretofore seen themselves primarily as members of diverse tribes, and most of them had relatively recently arrived as migrants from all over the region.  But they were presented as a unified, ancient, indigenous people that was struggling for freedom and self-determination against a massively powerful colonialist oppressor. The KGB – after all, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was an invention of a previous Russian security agency – also seasoned its political message with hints of ancient Jewish depravity.

The Soviets supplied the PLO, the putative champion of the “Palestinians,” with money and weapons, and backed Yasser Arafat’s terror campaign against the Jewish state – which spilled over into the West, as the PLO hijacked dozens of airplanes and ships as well as murdering Israelis in various European countries. The UN, with its permanently Soviet-dominated majority, passed numerous anti-Israel resolutions and became a continuous source of propaganda. The 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution was one of the KGB’s notable successes.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the campaign against Israel lost its best patron, but it continued to be financed by the Gulf States, Iran, the UN (with funds provided by Western democracies, especially the US), and the international Left (e.g., the Soros-connected funds). A very significant part of it was the co-option of the important human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which have become prolific sources of anti-Israel propaganda. They effectively “launder” misinformation originating with terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah by publishing it as if it were obtained by independent research by a neutral organization.

In 2001, immediately before 9/11, the UN and various NGOs organized a World Conference Against Racism in Durban South Africa, in which Israel was excoriated as a “racist apartheid state” and accused of “war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” These charges have been added to the original collection of allegations of colonialism and imperialism. It should be noted that the accusations are often couched in a form that recalls historic anti-Jewish prejudices; so, for example, the IDF is falsely accused of deliberately targeting Palestinian children in a reprise of the medieval blood libel.

Academic institutions in the West, especially in the US, have been the recipient of large gifts from Arab countries for decades, which have paid for research, endowed faculty, and established departments of Middle East Studies, all of which have reflected the biases of their funders. When this is combined with student organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine, students are deluged with the anti-Israel message. And this message is that Israel is a racist, apartheid, genocidal, settler-colonialist state that uses Nazi-like tactics to oppress the native Palestinian people, whose territory they have stolen and are occupying.

Every word of the above message is commonly believed, and every word of it is a lie. But the ground has been so carefully prepared, and the anti-Jewish undertones so evocative, that it has become part of the conventional wisdom. Its purpose is to promote policies in the West that will weaken the Jewish state, geostrategically, politically, economically, socially, and militarily. Although it pretends to be about human rights for Palestinians, it is in reality part of a long-term effort to make Israel disappear. Its current popularity is a hard-fought victory for the enemies of Israel and of the Jewish people.

Nevertheless, it still surprised me when some 500-odd journalists signed a document like “An open letter on US media coverage of Palestine,” which – incredibly to those of us who have been criticizing American media for decades over its anti-Israel bias – accuses it of “journalistic malpractice” for obscuring “Israel’s military occupation and its system of apartheid,” “sanitiz[ing] Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinians,” and ignoring her policy of “ethnic supremacy.”

Journalists, of all people, should know better than to accept manufactured facts or popular slogans. After all, their job is (in their own words) to “get the story right.” They should be able to sniff out attempts to manipulate them. They should know how to avoid jumping on bandwagons, and not to allow themselves to become cogs in somebody’s propaganda machine. And they should understand how wrong it is to decree what other journalists should write.

Like Ed Hutcheson (Humphrey Bogart) in “Deadline USA” journalists should be individualists, following the truth wherever it leads. Sometimes it takes courage, especially when the penalty for ideological deviation is cancellation and loss of one’s job.

Ed Hutcheson only had to worry about armed gangsters. He didn’t have Twitter mobs waiting for him to slip up. But I know what he would have told those 500 smug, cowardly totalitarians to do with their open letter.

Posted in Islam, Jew Hatred, Media | 3 Comments

The New Government Will Soon be Tested

Unless something very unexpected happens, Israel will finally get a government this coming Sunday.

I’m conflicted. I voted for Naftali Bennett and I’m happy that he will be Prime Minister, albeit in rotation with Yair Lapid, of whom I am less fond. But many elements of the agreements that the eight parties that will be in the government have signed with each other are troubling. Although they have not been officially made public, a TV news program released what it said were the details.

One of the provisions is said to be that any PM who serves eight years will have to take a four year hiatus before running again; and during this period he can’t even run for the Knesset. I am in favor of limiting the term of the PM, but it can’t be done in a retroactive way – that makes it a “personal” law aimed at one specific individual. And we know who that is.

Another provision is that if the government falls as a result of a vote of no confidence, Naftali Bennett will not be permitted to be a minister in the succeeding government. Apparently this aims to prevent the scenario in which Netanyahu persuades some members of one of the ruling parties to vote against the government, bringing it down, and then Bennett jumps to join him in a right-wing government.

These provisions require changes to the Basic Laws that serve Israel for a constitution. One of the “interesting” things about Israel’s system is that they can be changed by a simple majority of the members present in the Knesset. It’s almost as if the Democrats in the US could amend the Constitution so that nobody whose initials were D. T. could run for President.

And of course I am irritated by the fact that the government will have 28 expensive ministers and 6 Deputy Ministers, far more than are needed to run the country.

I’m very bothered by Mansour Abbas (not related to Mahmoud Abbas of the PA). The so-called “change government” – “change” meaning “without Netanyahu” – couldn’t get 61 mandates without support from one or more of the Arab parties. Mansour Abbas represents Ra’am, an Arab Islamist party that shares the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood (as does Hamas). His coalition demands have been mostly pragmatic – that is, he wants money for Arab communities. That in itself is not bad, but part of the deal is that he will receive half a billion shekels (about $154 million) that he can direct to “special projects.” That’s called a slush fund, and will be used to build a patronage empire to make him the most powerful Arab politician in the country.

He also received promises that laws against illegal building in the Negev will be frozen, and fines levied on such construction will be canceled. In recent years, Bedouin tribes have been increasingly squatting on land that belongs to the state or to private Jewish owners. There has also been a sharp increase in agricultural theft (of crops and equipment) and other crimes – especially the theft of weapons from IDF Bases – committed by Bedouins. Reducing enforcement will encourage more violations, which some say rise to the level of challenging Israel’s sovereignty in the Negev.

This government will be the first one in Israel’s history that does not include a single explicitly religious party – except Ra’am! Historian Efraim Karsh, in a recent talk, noted that neither Jordan nor Egypt allows representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, which wishes to overthrow their states, in their governments. Why should Israel?

Many promises have been made to the left-wing parties that are part of the coalition. One of them requires a special note: there will be a “Department of Jewish Renewal” within the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, whose function will be to aid the Reform Movement in Israel. The likely Diaspora Affairs Minister will be Gilad Kariv, who is a Reform rabbi.

Now, I don’t have a theological objection to non-Orthodox Judaism. My problem is political: the Reform Movement in Israel is controlled and subsidized by the movement in the US, which doesn’t hide its desire to remake Israel in the image of a leftist America. Israel is not well-served by an organization that pushes the fantastic and dangerous idea of a two-state agreement with the PLO, or that appears to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like the American civil rights movement. It’s also a waste of resources – the Reform movement has never gained traction in Israel, and is unlikely to do so even with government help.

There is a lot of very heated rhetoric coming from the Right – that Bennett and Lapid are traitors who have sold out the country because of their overweening ambition. That is clearly not the case. I do think they have the best interests of the state in mind. It should be noted that Bennett in particular has burned his bridges. If this government does not succeed, he is dead in politics.

At the same time, I don’t trust Mansour Abbas, the extreme-left Meretz party, or the only slightly less extreme Labor party. There are already rumors that representatives of the left-leaning parties have been in contact with American officials about resuming the “peace process.” It’s impossible to forget the way Shimon Peres and his associates blindsided Yitzhak Rabin with the Oslo process.

If you look at the ideologies of the various parties that ran in the recent election, it is clear that the great majority of Israelis prefer a right-wing government. If it were not for the question of Netanyahu, we would have a solid right-wing coalition of 70 to 80 mandates. Instead, we are getting a “unity” government that includes Meretz and Ra’am!

Israel is facing some serious tests now: last month, Arab gangs in cities with mixed Jewish/Arab populations, incited by Hamas supporters on social media, went on a rampage that can only be called a pogrom, burning synagogues, cars, Jewish businesses, and Jewish homes, and beating (and even murdering) Jews. This accompanied the Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

While news outlets tend to describe these events as “Jewish-Arab clashes” the Jewish part consisted mostly of attempts at self-defense where the police were unable to respond, and a comparatively small number of violent incidents perpetrated by Jews against Arabs. There are a huge number of illegal weapons in the hands of Israeli Arabs, including criminals, terrorists, and even ordinary citizens. Will the government have the courage and persistence to collect them?

The Biden Administration is pressuring Israel to limit the right of Jews to live in eastern Jerusalem. Will the government have the spine to resist the pressure?

Hamas is demanding the release of more than 1,000 Palestinians imprisoned for terrorism in Israel in return for two captive civilians and the bodies of two soldiers killed in a Gaza operation in 2014. Will the government give in and release those with blood on their hands, as it did in the exchange for Gilad Shalit?

We’ll know soon enough.

Posted in Israeli Arabs, Israeli Politics | 3 Comments

Special: Doing the Math About Gazan Casualties

“They were only children,” wept the New York Times, in its heartrending appeal for sympathy for Gazans, supposedly under “indiscriminate and disproportionate” bombardment by the IDF.

Is it true that Israel negligently murdered children (or anyone) in its response to rocket attacks from Gaza? Let’s look at the numbers, following the intrepid Nevet Basker.

Some 4,350 rockets were launched by Hamas and other terrorist factions in Gaza at cities and towns in Israel. Of these, about 1,400 were intercepted by Iron Dome. 680 of them fell short, and landed in Gaza.

Iron Dome only intercepts rockets that have a chance of hitting populated areas, and it had a 90% success rate in downing those. 1,400 is 90% of 1555, so that means that some 155 of Hamas’ rockets landed in populated areas of Israel.

These 155 rockets, which are designed to spray shrapnel over a wide area to kill and injure people, caused 12 fatalities in Israel.

Now keep in mind that Israel has bomb shelters for civilians (in Gaza, only soldiers and bombs have shelters) and an elaborate fine-grained warning system. Keep in mind that military targets in Gaza, including rocket launchers, are deliberately located in civilian areas.

How many Gazans were killed or maimed by those 680 rockets that fell short? Even if we ignore the better protection enjoyed by Israelis, proportionately we should expect about 52 deaths in Gaza from their own rockets. I’m going to reduce that number to 30, because, despite what anti-Israel people like to say, Gaza is not “the most densely populated place on earth,” and there are empty places for rockets to land).

According to Hamas, there were a total of 256 Gazans killed. The IDF estimates that it killed 225 fighters. Let’s give Hamas the benefit of the doubt and accept its number. And just to be even more generous, let’s say the IDF exaggerated a bit and only 200 of the dead were Hamas fighters.

That leaves 56 civilian casualties. At the very least 30 of them were killed by the “friendly” fire of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, leaving 26 that can be attributed to the IDF’s bombing of military targets.

So here is a 10-day air campaign in a dense urban environment – which I remind you was undertaken in self-defense, after Israel was attacked, in which there were only 26 civilian casualties as a result.

This is a record that no other military force in history, even the most advanced Western armies, can match.

“Indiscriminate and disproportionate?” I think not.

Posted in War | Leave a comment

Are the American People Smarter than they Look?

My father believed in social progress. He was a traditional Jewish liberal, maybe a bit on the left side despite having become a successful businessman. He was born on the lower East Side of Manhattan, lived through the crash and the depression, often worked at more than one job at a time, served his country in the navy during WWII, and ultimately moved to the suburbs, where he finally was able to take a day off now and then to play golf.

I recall asking him about the cold war. It will get better, he said. Russia will become more capitalistic and the US will move more in the direction of socialism. Soon there won’t be a problem. His heroes were Roosevelt and Adlai Stevenson, and he passionately hated Joseph R. McCarthy and Richard Nixon. When I came home for Thanksgiving, a college freshman in 1960 (he would have liked to go to college himself, but had to go to work), I proudly told him that I had learned in my Introduction to Philosophy class that moral propositions are empirically unverifiable, and therefore neither true nor false. That’s silly, he said. Isn’t it indisputably true that racial discrimination is morally wrong? I wondered why that hadn’t occurred to me in class.

He thought Marx was right that religion was the opium of the people. He acquiesced to a Reform bar mitzvah for me, perhaps because his father-in-law wanted it, but he never had a good word for Judaism or any religion. He was particularly annoyed by people who talked about an afterlife. When you’re dead, he said, you’re dead. He expected that religion, along with racial discrimination and antisemitism, would disappear as good education became more available to everyone, thanks to economic progress enabled by advancing technology.

At the same time, the gap between rich and poor, both among individuals and nations, would be narrowed by that same technology. National differences and animosities would fade as well. Conflicts would be solved by negotiation, not war, because people would learn that war is disadvantageous to everyone.

When my wife and I moved to Israel with our kids in 1979 he was supportive, although he didn’t think much of the manifestations of religious belief that were evident here. He himself wouldn’t live here, he said, because (at the time) there was only one golf course of only nine holes. But despite his leftward leanings he did not think that the Palestinians were an oppressed people, or that there was a sensible analogy between them and black Americans, or that Israel was a colonialist power. He understood that when someone was trying to kill you, it was necessary to defend yourself.

He died in 1987, at the age of only 73, a terrible loss to my mother and the rest of the family. Shortly thereafter, it became clear that he had been mistaken about the inevitability of social progress. Despite the advance of technology, the gap between rich and poor, individually and among nations, widened rather than becoming smaller. Shortly after his death the Soviet Union collapsed – how I wished that I could have had his opinion about that event! – but it did not usher in an era of peace and cooperation. Although there was no World War Three between the superpowers, vicious and bloody little wars continued to break out all over the world, and the international institutions that my father thought would deter them failed to do so. In 2001, the American homeland was attacked for the first time since Pearl Harbor, by a resurgent, fanatic, Islam, which had not, after all, begun to lose its potency.

Racial tensions within the US, which my father had observed from close up – his business was in residential real estate – that were supposed to fade away did not do so. Despite the real progress that occurred in the 1960s, the dismantling of Jim Crow in the South and the passage of laws guaranteeing fair access to housing, education, and employment for minorities throughout the country, black citizens were often worse off than before. The public educational systems in the country fell apart, especially but not only in the large cities. Higher education became astronomically expensive at the same time as its quality declined sharply and its politicization increased dramatically. The ratio of administrators to faculty shot up, while most undergraduate teaching was done by academic “temps.” Whole departments of ethnic and gender studies that were purely political came into existence.

More recently, an anti-American movement has arisen. Supposedly it is a movement for racial justice, but in fact it is a radical revolutionary movement whose objective is to replace the ideal of equal rights, opportunity, and justice for all with a system of race-based identity politics. This movement denies the importance of free expression, silences dissent – sometimes by physical violence, enforces racial criteria in granting permission to speak, has replaced fact with narrative as the criterion of truth, and intends to exchange an admittedly flawed system (but one that is improving) with one that is explicitly racist.*

It is a step backward, away from racial justice, not toward it.

Like many revolutionary movements, this one has found it possible to stir up emotions useful to motivate behavior by using the oldest trick in the book: blame everything on the Jews. This source of antisemitism has combined with the obsessive, extreme, irrational hatred of Israel (misoziony) that has become de rigueur in the academic Left, and has taken over university campuses with the help of organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now, and so on, to produce a perfect storm of antisemitic expression, everything from academic articles on “settler colonialism” to street violence against anyone wearing a kipa.

That would be bad enough in itself, but the “racial justice” movement has co-opted much of the formerly conservative world of big corporations. The result has been the normalization of previously unacceptable antisemitic expression. In an incident emblematic of this, a Google executive described as its “chief of diversity strategy” was reassigned to a less-public position in the company, after the exposure of a blog post he wrote in 2007, in which he noted that,

If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.

“Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others …

It’s hard to avoid asking oneself what Google would have done to an employee who publicly accused virtually any other ethnic group of “an insatiable appetite for war and killing!” I guarantee it would be more severe than a reassignment.

The recent explosion of Jew-hatred and misoziony in America, which has encompassed street thugs, pro-Palestinian demonstrators, college students, and now corporate executives, is unprecedented. My father, who once described calling on his older brother to protect him from Jew-hating bullies on the streets of New York, would be profoundly shocked by the sheer number of incidents, as well as the fact that many of the perpetrators are particularly well-educated, unlike the bullies of the 1920s. Perhaps his faith in education as a solution to bigotry would be shaken, along with his beliefs in the inexorable march of social progress, and the generally positive effects of improved technology.

The American people, he once said to me (after JFK’s victory over Nixon), are not as dumb as they look. I hope not, because they are not looking very smart lately.

________________________
* I am aware that according to the post-colonial definition of “racism” that is in vogue today, it is impossible for those defined as “oppressed” to be racist. But I see racism simply as attitudes or behavior that negatively discriminate on the basis of ethnicity. Anyone can be a racist.

Posted in American Jews, American society, Jew Hatred | 3 Comments