But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. – Lev. 16:10
He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone, but also for the sins of the whole world. – 1 John 2:2
The perennial question, “why do they hate us?” has come up again with the most recent Obama/European/Palestinian diplomatic onslaught, marked by UNSC resolution 2334, the Paris “peace” conference, and the possibility of yet another UN resolution.
The Europeans, whom Alex Grobman discusses here, may be as much an implacable enemy of the Jewish state as the Palestinian Arabs. It’s often noted that the alleged reasons for their anti-Israel activities – support for the rights of the Palestinians, international law, even the desire to placate their Muslim populations – can’t possibly explain the severe double standards, the demonization, the BDS and the obsessive focus that our little country is favored with.
It’s not hard to understand why: Europe, especially Western Europe, has enormous feelings of guilt for the bloodbath of WWII (this is less true of Eastern Europe and Russia, who see themselves as primarily victims). Their response was to blame nationalism – both the psychological attitudes like pride in one’s own people, which they conflated with the racism of the Nazis, and political nationalism.
The ideological remedy was to try to crush out particularist feelings and ideas and replace them with the kumbaya-ism that we are so familiar with today. Politically, sovereign governments have been denigrated and are expected to wither away in favor of multinational organizations like the UN and the EU, which it was hoped would ultimately replace them. Borders are bad, and military strength is looked down upon as atavistic – after all, the UN has outlawed war, and disagreements between nations, while they still exist as such, can and should be solved by talking.
Now along comes Israel, an unabashedly nationalist entity, which at least professes an allegiance to Zionism, an ideology that argues that the Jewish people should have a state, and that the state should have the ability to use force to defend herself. Naturally, this goes against the beliefs of the new world order, but it is much more than a philosophical dispute.
The Jews, as a people, were among the greatest victims of WWII, and by embracing a form of nationalism, building a state and an army and successfully defending themselves, they have thrown the European guilt back in their faces. We have reminded the Europeans that they allowed the murder of our grandparents to happen, that in many cases they were complicit with the Nazis in perpetrating it and even those that weren’t complicit didn’t lift a finger to prevent it.
The Europeans responded by projecting their guilt upon us: they know that their grandfathers were racists and murderers and accomplices of murderers and it’s too painful to deal with, so they make the ill feeling go away by insisting that it is we, the Jews, who are in fact the racists and murderers. It is us, not them, who are the Nazis. It is an application of the principle of the goat for Azazel, placing the unbearable burden of one’s sins on another creature, which you then make disappear.
They want us to adopt their universalistic attitude, open our borders, stop fighting and try to solve our problems by talking. Needless to say – and of course it is obvious to the Europeans – then we would disappear. And that would solve their problem, wouldn’t it?
The Palestinian Arabs hate us for a different reason. Arab culture is highly infused with the concept of honor, and honor lost must be regained. It’s important to understand that the honor of a person or a family or even a nation (to the extent that one is recognized) does not depend on the truth; it depends upon how it looks to others. If the honor lost is great enough, then it has to be regained by blood. Men kill their sisters and daughters on a regular basis, because it is not acceptable to the family that someone might think – whether it is true or not – that a woman has engaged in prohibited sexual behavior.
According to the Palestinian narrative, the Palestinian Arabs suffered an enormous loss of honor when they were defeated militarily – not only by non-Muslims, but Jews of all people! – and suffered the indignities of the nakba. This honor cannot be gotten back by talking. It cannot be gotten back by Palestinian statehood. It can only be regained by the (preferably bloody) expulsion of the Jews from every inch of “Palestinian land.” The actual circumstances of the events of 1948 – who started the war, who expelled whom, who massacred whom – don’t matter any more than the circumstances under which a young woman got pregnant. Honor must be regained.
An interesting analogy is provided by Anwar Sadat. Sadat launched the Yom Kippur war to recover the territory lost by Egypt in 1967, but more importantly, to recover the honor of Egypt (defeated by Jews! How it must have stung the proud Muslim Egyptians). Thanks to the intervention of the international community, he was saved from a defeat that would have been impossible to hide. He presented the 1973 war to his people as a victory, but they weren’t fooled. A real victory that could have brought back Egyptian honor would have had to fulfill Nasser’s promise that “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand; we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.” Sadat ultimately did succeed in getting back every inch of the land that he lost to Israel, but he did it by talking; and talking couldn’t restore Egypt’s honor. Only blood could do that, and ultimately it was Sadat’s blood.
The lesson should be obvious. The Palestinian Arabs are not, cannot be, a partner for negotiation. Only strength can deter them from violence. That’s the easy part.
The Europeans, in the grip of a massive continental neurosis, may not be able to listen to reason. I understand that the burden of their sins is too great to bear. But perhaps we can explain that we are prepared to forgive their grandparents – if only they would stop making us their sacrificial offering, their goat for Azazel. We can remind them that they already have one Jew that went to the cross for them, and that should be enough.