I had the good fortune to meet Tuvia Tenenbom, author of Catch the Jew and I Sleep in Hitler’s Room the other night.
He’s writing a book about America. It hasn’t been published yet, but I think I can safely say that reading it is going to be a painful experience, because what he found isn’t pretty. To compress it into a single sentence, the American experiment of creating unity from diversity is crashing and burning.
One thing he noted was a recent explosion of hatred against Israel and Jews, coming from both the left and the right. I think he’s quite right.
Let’s dispose of the red herring that anti-Zionism and Jew-hatred are different. Oh, they are different concepts, but the group that hates Israel generally hates Jews, and vice versa. A distinction without a difference. And that especially includes Jewish anti-Zionists.
It’s only natural that someone who dislikes Jews would dislike a Jewish state. And objecting to the Jewish state’s stubborn refusal to lie down and die despite the world’s protestations that the tiny enclave of Jewish sovereignty is unacceptable, just naturally leads a person to wonder what it is about these Jews that makes them so stubborn.
Stubborn is what they are, refusing the True Religion (whether Christianity or Islam) for millennia. Refusing to return to Europe after the Holocaust, and demanding – demanding – to be allowed to enter the land that had been promised to them by the international establishment, not to mention other promises from a higher authority, despite the inconvenience for His Majesty’s government. Refusing to give up the idea of a Jewish state and return to a Diaspora in which their existence would be conditional on the whims of the non-Jewish majority.
Jew hatred is sweeping the world again today, even, as Tenenbom noted, the US. The US is especially interesting, because it is the home to about half the world’s Jews. With the exception of the 10% of American Jews that are Orthodox, many of them – especially the younger ones – are embarrassed by Jewish stubbornness and believe that their liberal morality compels them to join with the ‘oppressed Palestinians’ and help them to end the Jewish state. In fact, they lead the anti-Zionist crusade there, even in Jewish organizations like Hillel.
But we have to excuse them. They are far from the action, they don’t have the facts, they are subjected to a constant bombardment of anti-Zionism in their media and from their government, their teachers, their peers and even liberal synagogues. In the universities they are intimidated by Muslim students and hard-left faculty, while receiving little or no support from administrators when faced with anti-Jewish racism. And as Diaspora Jews, they need to ‘go along to get along’ as Jews learned for centuries under Christian and Muslim rule.
On the other hand, we don’t have to excuse Israelis, even the highest IDF officers, when they react to the waves of Jew-hatred like Diaspora Jews. The recent remarks of Maj. Gen. Yair Golan were not only explicitly political – and therefore broke IDF rules – but by drawing a comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany, validated the most hateful anti-Zionists for whom such comparisons are stock in trade.
In part, he was referring to an incident in which a young soldier, Sgt. Elor Azaria, shot and killed an already ‘neutralized’ Palestinian who had just stabbed another soldier, and to the outpouring of public support for Azaria as the Army tries him for manslaughter. Azaria is accused of violating the IDF’s principle of ‘purity of arms,’ which forbids harming prisoners of war, although he argues that he believed the terrorist had a suicide vest on. Whether or not he was justified, his action was as different from Nazi genocide as day from night.
What motivated Golan to make such a comparison? You’d have to ask him, but I think he is harkening to a typically European, non-Jewish, even Christian moral system, in which love for all humanity, including enemies, is the highest value. If we don’t display enough universal love, then we must be on the road to Nazism. Possibly he believed that if he just beat his country up enough, the ones that hate us would realize that we are human after all.
This is Diaspora thinking. Nothing we do will be enough for the anti-Zionists. Their irrational hatred is not our problem and we can’t solve it for them. Kenneth Levin called the belief that we can fix things by accepting the criticism of those who hate us and being better according to their principles the ‘Oslo Syndrome’. As the expression suggests, it is pathological.
The Diaspora Jew is used to being powerless, so he has to beg the non-Jewish authorities to protect his community. Of course, the more we abase ourselves before them, the more they hold us in contempt. An analogy today would be an Israeli leader begging Obama to protect Israel from Iran. How did that work out for us?
Diaspora Jews worry a lot. What will the goyim think? Don’t make the goyim mad. Flatter them, pretend that we believe that they don’t hate us, and they will pretend in return. Maybe.
It is becoming harder and harder for us to pretend. And they aren’t hiding their feelings so much either. When an anonymous Obama Administration official called our Prime Minister “a chickenshit,” the statement barely made sense. Literally, the official was calling Netanyahu a coward because he didn’t attack Iran when the US pressured him not to do so. But the emotional message was as clear as a slap in the face. Take that, Jew.
And how did our PM respond to the contempt poured on him from the White House? “The friendship between the US and Israel is stronger than ever,” and “my Congress speech [was] not intended to show disrespect to Obama or the office that he holds,” said Netanyahu in his best Diaspora diction.
But Israel isn’t powerless and doesn’t have to play this game, especially since the goyim have problems of their own. The West is losing in its battle with Islam and the forces of chaos. The Roman Empire may have taken hundreds of years to collapse, but today’s West will go down much more quickly.
For Israel to survive the ensuing cataclysm, we have to become a successful Middle Eastern nation instead of trying to be an outpost of Western power and Western morality. And that implies that we will have to defeat our enemies decisively, not pull our punches for fear of the reaction of the hypocritical Western powers. We will need to make alliances with Arab countries and others like India and China, not with the increasingly anti-Zionist US, the traditionally anti-Jewish Europe, or our bitter enemies, the PLO.
We need to implement a truly Jewish moral system which is suitable for survival in the Middle East, and not adopt the European Christian one (which the Europeans and Americans themselves fail to live up to while trying to impose it on us). This doesn’t mean that we ought to behave like Bashar al-Assad, but it does mean that – for example – the life of a Palestinian terrorist must be counted as worth infinitely less than that of a Jew.
Mostly, we need to stop thinking like Diaspora Jews. Western leaders increasingly can’t and won’t help us, and we don’t live or die by their favor.
Our leaders need to come to understand this. The Israeli in the street – most of whom want Elor Azaria freed – already does.