The Jewish Sickness

Israel’s Cabinet has authorized security officials to use “administrative detention” and “aggressive questioning” against suspected “Jewish terrorists,” following the arson attack at Duma that left an Arab baby dead and other family members in the hospital.

This was done against a background of national mea culpas by everyone from the President and Prime Minister on down, both for this crime and for the stabbing murder of a young girl and injuring of several others at the Jerusalem Gay Pride march.

All of this is happening despite the fact that there are as yet no suspects, Jewish or otherwise, for the Duma arson. It is also true that no connection can be demonstrated between homophobic murderer Yishai Schlissel and any Jewish nationalist movement or ideology.

The coincidence of two terrorist murders, one committed by a Jewish fanatic whom I would call ‘criminally insane’ and the other by unknown perpetrators capable of spraying graffiti on a wall in Hebrew, has given rise to a national paroxysm of guilt.

President Reuven Rivlin, in particular, connected the murders, attributing both to “incitement” and “hatred.” He accused “Jewish terrorists” of the Duma firebombing. He called for Israeli Jews to express their shame (for being Israeli Jews?):

On the eve of the 15th of the month of Av, the Jewish festival of love, six Israeli citizens were cruelly stabbed, in the heart of Jerusalem. To my great horror and shame, the letting of blood, the path of hatred and murder, did not stop there. Over the course of the same night, Jewish terrorists burned down the house of the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma, killing their baby son Ali.

On Friday, I visited the family in Tel Hashomer hospital, I visited, silently, ashamed, ridden with dread for the power of hatred. Ashamed that in a country which has known the murder of Shalhevet Pass, of the Fogel family, of Adele Biton, of Eyal, Gil-ad, Naftali and Muhammad Abu Khdeir, there are still those who do not hesitate to ignite the flames, to burn the flesh of a baby, to increase the hatred and terror.

This morning a Hebrew poem appeared on Facebook in which the writer described removing the mezuzot from his doors, putting them and other Jewish ritual objects in a plastic bag and throwing them out in the street. Take your religion, I don’t want it, he wrote.

It is a little early for all of this. There are good reasons to suspect that the Duma arson may not have been perpetrated by Jews. In addition, there are many other cases – the alleged shooting of Mohammad al-Dura in 2000 stands out as particularly successful – in which Jews have been accused by Arabs of crimes that they did not commit. In particular, false accusations against ‘settlers’ are a major part of the demonization enterprise against the Jewish state.

Which brings me to actual misbehavior by extremist Jews, ranging from graffiti to arson (usually of unoccupied buildings): it needs to stop.

“Price tag” attacks and similar acts aren’t going to drive Muslims and Christians out of the land of Israel or make Arabs stop committing acts of terrorism against Jews. They do nothing for our side. They simply provide the best ammunition for the demonizers. Every actual incident is used as ‘proof’ that ten made-up ones occurred. Every one is claimed as justification for ten acts of Arab terrorism.

It needs to stop, but we don’t need to go overboard. I have been reading about a “Jewish underground” made up of “hilltop youth” – teens and twenties that want to overthrow the state and replace it with a kingdom governed according to halacha (Jewish law). This isn’t going to happen. It’s a fantasy and some of the fantasists have already been arrested. I could be wrong, but I am willing to bet they are not the ones that threw the firebombs in Duma. We’ll find out.

If I am wrong, if it turns out that these are the ones that burned the Arab child to death, I will retract my words and apologize. But at this point I see a nation unnecessarily bursting at the seams with hysterical guilt.

Let me add a few words about the maniac, Schlissel. He exists, and so do others that share his beliefs, although very few would take violent action on them. But Israeli society is not so different from others; people are regularly murdered for being homosexual in the US and other countries. The fact is that Israeli society as a whole is far more tolerant than most of the others; we have no need to engage in collective self-flagellation.

There is a pathology here, and it’s in addition to the pathology of Schlissel and of whomever is responsible for the Duma arson. It is a pathology of self-hatred, a need to find a reason to leave the country, to renounce Judaism, to apologize, to agonize, to be ashamed of ourselves, to blame the whole society for the crimes of a few.

It is a sickness, a Jewish sickness.

Pathological guilt isn’t a problem only because it leads to stupid Woody Allen movies. The demonization of the Jewish state by our enemies has a purpose: to provide reasons to oppose our self-defense, which is presented as just another war crime. By feeding and supporting it, which we do every time we apologize for yet another non-existent ‘crime’ – al Dura, the Gaza beach incidents of 2006 and 2014, shelling the Lebanese village of Kfar Kana in 2006, the Mavi Marmara affair, etc. – we participate in our own demonization, and amplify it.

The damage isn’t confined to the international arena. What other country is so obsessed, in its public discourse, journalism, art and literature, with its supposed moral failings? While other countries – think of Turkey or Russia – try to write embarrassing episodes out of history books, our historians, sometimes very creatively, look for sins to put in. We have a major newspaper – Ha’aretz – dedicated to besmirching our nation, every day. How many serious films made in Israel have you seen that don’t suggest that something is rotten here? What do most academic researchers in the social sciences and humanities prefer to write about? Do we even need to ask?

Possibly because of my American background, I am really attached to the principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. Here a crime is committed and before there is even any evidence, we fall over ourselves demanding that we be punished!

Naftali Bennett was right: stop apologizing. We don’t need the unearned guilt. We live in a great nation, which, like any other nation, has some bad people in it. Let’s punish the criminals, not the nation.


This entry was posted in Duma arson-murder, Israeli Society. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Jewish Sickness

  1. AJ Raalte says:

    I so agree with you, Vic. Probably because I’m not Jewish myself, although I’ve lived here for most of my life, I still don’t “get” this need to feel guilty and to prematurely apologize for all and sundry.

    Ha(mas)Aretz makes me sick!

  2. Lots of right-wing Jews don’t get it either. Maybe I should have titled the post “The leftist disease.”

  3. Shalom Freedman says:

    There is a vast literature on the subject of Jewish conscience. Is there any other people that has a Bible, a holy text in which there is so much condemnation of the people who are at the center of it?
    Historically the list is long of Jews who have turned against their own people.
    It is our sickness and it is also when properly used a source of our special strength?
    I do not know if Freud and Mathew Arnold are right in saying that the Hebrews did much to give the world as a whole a conscience, a superego but it is clear that we have this quality in superabundance.
    What is unfortunate as you point out is that this has led the Jewish state to have from within, what might be called, false prophets and critics who endlessly unjustly work to undermine it.
    The list is long of these people I think you are right however to mention ‘Haaretz’ Its editor Amos Schocken has done tremendous damage and continues to do tremendous damage to the Jewish state, and the name of Israel in the world.

  4. It is only ‘conscience’ when we’ve done something wrong. Most likely it will turn out that Jews are not responsible for Duma. And how can people like us be responsible for the acts of a psychopath? Maybe some police officials need to think about how they could have done better.

  5. Canadian Otter says:

    There is one issue that has been bothering me for years: the lack of an organized, peaceful, and EFFECTIVE opposition working for Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish heartland.

    Take the existing grassroots organizations for example. They have squandered time and energy chanting “Build-Build” KNOWING FULL WELL that building alone guarantees nothing.

    Ask the expellees from Sinai, Gaza and other smaller communities. Ask any of the idealistic but misguided youths who build illegal shacks only to see them torn down by bulldozers.

    Many Israeli patriots waste time and energy in skirmishes with Arabs, leftists, police and IDF, only to get a police record – or worse.

    Anyone with a SUSPICIOUS mind would begin to sense that there is something SINISTER at work behind the scenes that is DELIBERATELY channelling idealistic Jews onto paths that are pointless and/or self-defeating, such as vandalism, violence, and legally or illegally building across the Green Line without forcefully demanding actual SOVEREIGNTY over the land.

    Enemies of Jewish Israel – domestic or foreign – don’t need an army to subjugate the people. All they need are tools of manipulation, intimidation, blackmail, coercion, and even of corruption to control those who make decisions at the top, and those who raise their voices in opposition to the anti-Jewish agenda.

    There is a need to question WHY – after almost 50 years of TEMPORARILY controlling Judea and Samaria – there isn’t an effective organization representing the interests of those who want to keep the heartland under Israeli sovereignty.

    WHAT EXACTLY happens to those who come up with alternative plans to Two States and start to get popular support? Usually the momentum is lost in heated discussions over Arab citizenship and other distractions – a sure formula for scuttling any effort advocating sovereignty.

    Why did the National Union become so restrained and ineffective when they were part of the Knesset?

    Why do supposedly right wing politicians support key points of the leftist agenda once in power?

    Not even the Iranians are as scary as the shadowy puppet masters working on incremental steps to erode and eventually dismantle Jewish Israel.

  6. Tom E says:

    Jewish self-hatred (and a related condition: Western self-hatred) are actually the greatest weakness, I think.

    On the other hand, I would be very surprised if this crime was not committed by jews. Delighted, but surprised.

Comments are closed.