Thursday, December 24, 2009
Auto-Genocide, Jewish Style – by Kenneth Levin
Demonization not only of Israel’s Jews but of all Jews, and calls for their mass murder, are a staple of media, mosques and schools throughout most of the Arab world and in some non-Arab Muslim countries such as Iran. Jews are portrayed as vermin or as satanic beings, the source of all human ills, ritual murderers of Muslim and Christian children, evil-doers fit only for extermination. Yet, as in virtually every past situation when incitement against Jews and attacks on them have intensified, some Jews have rushed to volubly defend the Jews’ attackers. They have become supporters and cheerleaders even for those most committed to translating their Jew-hatred into action.
Hamas’s charter quotes a Hadith in which Allah declares that the Day of Judgement will not come until the Jews are all killed and even the stones and trees will help in murdering them. The charter adds that Hamas “aspires to the realization of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take.” Hamas has, of course, perpetrated innumerable terrorist attacks targeting Israeli civilians, including suicide bombings and rocket and mortar barrages, and Hamas children’s television instructs its young audience to kill Jews.
Yet Jewish member of Britain’s Parliament Gerald Kaufman has affectionately compared Hamas to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto. American Sara Roy, a “researcher” at Harvard’s Center for Middle East Studies and a perennial figure on the Israel-bashing lecture circuit, has waxed rhapsodic about the supposed “evolution in [Hamas's] political thinking… [and] its position on a two-state solution” and defends the organization’s administration of Gaza. This as Hamas seeks to impose Sharia law across Gaza and repeatedly proclaims its unswerving commitment to its anti-Israel and anti-Jewish agenda.
Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah has declared that “If [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide,” and Hezbollah has in fact gone after them worldwide, as in its 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that claimed 87 lives. But none of this has constrained Noam Chomsky from visiting with Nasrallah and other Hezbollah leaders, praising the organization and advocating its arming. Norman Finkelstein has likewise met with Hezbollah leaders and offered encomiums to the group. Emoted Finkelstein at one point, “I say this without fear: for those who believe in freedom and dignity, we are all Hezbollah now.”
Iran’s Achmadinejad has, of course, repeatedly asserted there was no Holocaust while promising to visit a future Holocaust on Israel. He has virulently attacked “the Jews” and ratcheted up Iran’s support in money, weapons and training to Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet Achmadinejad’s Iran, too, has its Jewish supporters, who cast the Iranian theocracy as Israel’s victim. This is not limited to the usual culprits such as Chomsky. For example, the voice of the blog “Tikun Olam” (which has now widely come to mean somehow healing the world by attacking and seeking to undermine the Jewish state), one Richard Silverstein, declared, regarding Iran’s nuclear threat, “Of course, the Iranians do not have an ICBM to carry such a warhead. Nor do they have a nuclear weapon. But these are mere technicalities when it comes to frightening the world into adopting the Israeli government’s priorities and interests.”
Noteworthy is that many of those who embrace today’s would-be exterminators of the Jews make a point of advertising that they are themselves children of Holocaust survivors. Examples are Finkelstein and Sara Roy. In their twisted thinking, they trumpet their parents’ history as though it somehow confers on them a special right to back forces that aspire to another Holocaust.
A variation on outright Jewish support for purveyors of genocidal Jew-hatred is the spectacle of Jews who downplay the threat and indict those taking it seriously. The latter are ridiculed as paranoiacs mentally scarred by past assaults on the Jews and simply projecting that past onto a relatively benign present. The leader of the new American Jewish lobby “J Street” (which has opposed stronger sanctions against Iran), Jeremy Ben-Ami, characterized as irrational anyone who would construe the threat presented by Hamas or Hezbullah or Iran as so great as to justify a military response. Ben-Ami went on to observe, in a New York Times interview, “… there’s their grandmother’s voice in their ear; it’s the emotional side and the communal history…”
Some Israelis promote the same line. Hebrew University political scientist Yaron Ezrahi has virtually made a career of purveying this comprehension of reality. Ezrahi has suggested that the perception of existential threats reflects in large part less actual dangers than a warped world view embraced by some Jews and “founded on a long memory of persecution, genocide, and a bitter struggle for survival…”
Many more Jews could be mentioned who support those openly calling for the Jews’ annihilation, and still more who downplay the threat and caricature concerned voices. Hardly less unsavory are the myriad Jews who attack Israel’s policies as the source of all the nation’s difficulties, insist that “peace” can be had if only Israel would reform itself and make sufficient concessions, militantly advocate such a course and say nothing of the genocidal agenda of the nation’s enemies or of their aggressive indoctrinating of additional cadres dedicated to enacting that agenda.
M.J. Rosenberg, erstwhile director of Israel Policy Forum’s Washington Policy Center, has written multiple articles on, for example, Israel and Hamas. He has invariably used them to excoriate Israel and complain about the Jewish state and the U.S. not being more forthcoming to the Palestinian Jihadists – as in “The U.S. should be extending carrots to Hamas” – and has never addressed Hamas’s explicit and continually reasserted commitment to the extermination of Israel and the Jews. He has acknowledged Hamas’s involvement in terror and its opposition to Israel’s existence but has uniformly done so in the context of criticizing Israeli policies.
Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian mullahs and others of Israel’s enemies have not hidden their objective. As has been the case whenever Jews have been under threat, there is no shortage of those from the community who side with the aggressors, or dismiss the threat and demean anyone taking it seriously, or rationalize the threat, cast fellow Jews as instigating it and demand their reform. All, shamefully, lend succor and cover to the would-be annihilators.
Kenneth Levin is a psychiatrist and historian and author of The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege.