The Washington Post has published another in the long series of dreary denouncements of Israel by Jews, which are so reminiscent of the confessions of faith of apostate Jews in the middle ages. It is peculiar to the state of Israel that otherwise respectable journals feel it their duty to question the legitimacy of a member state of the UN.
It is peculiar to the Jewish people that our national aspirations are delegitimized by those among us who feel they don't belong. If a Frenchman wants to be British, he becomes British and doesn't make a public announcement attacking France. If an Italian American isn't proud of his former ancestry for any reason, he doesn't feel the need to denounce Italy in public. Not so our Jewish brethren who want to "pass" as something else. They cannot leave us, it seems, without going through the ritual of elaborate justifications based on the imagined "crimes" and mistakes of Israel.
In the Washington Post, Richard Cohen
describes the horror of anti-Semitism in the 19th and 20th century. His "diagnosis" however is somewhat surprising, to say the least.
In his forthcoming book, "The War of the World," the admirably readable British historian Niall Ferguson devotes considerable space to the horrific history of the Jews in 19th- and 20th-century Europe. Never mind the Holocaust. In 1905 there were pogroms in 660 different places in Russia, and more than 800 Jews were killed -- all this in a period of less than two weeks. This was the reality of life for many of Europe's Jews.
As Europe emerged into the modern age, one by one, anti-Semitism, struck every Jewish community in Europe. Clearly it was a mistake to have planted this alien oriental people without a nation-state in the Europe of Christian nation-states. Of course, the Jews could not have known that history would overtake them. For hundreds of years they had lived an ideal existence undisturbed in their ghettos except for occasional pogroms and expulsions. It was possible for Jews to survive. There were even periods like the present, when Jews could forget that they were Jews and live in relative prosperity and safety, until the next expulsion. So the Jews wandered, from Italy to France and Spain, from France and Spain to Germany and England. Expelled from from England and back to France, and thence to Poland and Russia. There was always a new place to go, until the next persecution.
Now however, the rising tide of nationalism isolated the Jews, even as modern liberalism had begun to free them. A new and more virulent form of Anti-Semitism was spawned. It spared no culture in Europe and the Americas. In Germany, Richard Wagner ranted about "Judentum" ruining German culture. In France, Captain Dreyfus was convicted, of the irrefutable charge of being a Jew. The sickness that was more evident in unsettled Russia in fact existed everywhere in European society. Popular novelists (Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Scott Fitzgerald, Somerset Maugham and many others) portrayed Jews as pushy, loud, ill-mannered, grasping and crooked. The stench of racism was so all-pervasive in European and American culture that it was not noticed.
The rise of European anti-Semitism was checked, but not entirely stopped, after the Holocaust destroyed the Jews of Europe. Hitler's solution to the Jewish problem was "No Jews - no anti-Semitism." Voila - the problem is solved. This solution was tacitly accepted by virtually every country in the world.
With a few shining exceptions, virtually every country in Europe and the Americas shares some responsibility for the Holocaust. Europe and the Americas closed their doors to Jews fleeing the Holocaust. American diplomats, like nearly all others, refused to grant visas to Jews. When it was over, everyone recoiled in horror. Even then, even after the war, Harry Truman found it was politically impossible to get congress to grant entry visas for 100,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors. Nobody wanted Jews. However, the Holocaust dampened, for the time being, the deep undercurrent of anti-Semitism that had been swelling in European and American culture and had become endemic to it. A respite was attained. Perhaps, after nearly 2,000 years, a way has been finally found to allow Jews to live among Europeans, or perhaps not. Only time will tell.
When you are a guest who has overstayed his welcome by about 2000 years, the best thing to do is to go home, and the sooner the better. However, this was a big mistake according to Cohen:
The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well- intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.
All the states of the Middle East can be called "mistakes" by demagogues. Jordan was an artificial state created by British imperialism. Lebanon was an artificial state too. Like Mr. Cohen, the Syrians believe that Israel was a mistake. They insist that Lebanon is Western Syria and "Palestine" is "Southern Syria" as is Jordan. Saddam Hussein insisted that Kuwait was a "mistake" and he tried to "rectify" the "mistake." There are many who insist that Iraq is a "mistake." Yet it is only Israel that is singled out for treatment as a mistake. By singling out Israel in this way, Cohen is legitimizing violence and race hate. Cohen is saying "Israel is wrong, but Arabs will have to get used to the idea because Israel is stronger."
Where should the Jews have made their home? The history that Cohen relates had proven that it was not possible to exist as a people without a home. What was a mistake, certainly, was to try to live as a "people apart" among the nations of the world, and to maintain a separate culture, a different language and different customs that were focused on a land that was thousands of miles away. Not surprisingly, Jews were accused of dual loyalties, and of "Jewish exclusivism." As a nation within other nations, lacking any means of organized self defense, the Jews were vulnerable to attack and persecution, and attracted it.
In the modern world of nation states, Jews could either become a nation in their own land, or cease to exist as a people, Unfortunately, Lichtenstein and Monaco were not on offer as territories for the Jewish state. Nobody wanted Jews anywhere, so it is not surprising that Arabs did not want to Jews either. Jews were not willing to emigrate to the Arctic, and there is no doubt that the penguins would have objected. Therefore, the alternative that Cohen offers was for Jews to immigrate to another country in Europe or the Americas and wait for the next wave of anti-Semitism to overtake them there. So now we understand the root of the problem: the pesky and troublesome Jews refused to die. According to Cohen, survival was a mistake.
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Replies: 5 Comments
Hey folks, nice work. We must not forget that nearly every Torah observant leader at in 1948 was opposed to the creation of the state called Israel. Now we have Jewish criminals saying that they represent the Jewish people. If you don't know who murdered Yitzhak Rabin then you really don't know ther history of the state of Israel.
David Rutstein, Sunday, July 30th
I'm not a Zionist,nor am I Jewish, ' Palestinian '...I do support Israels right to defend themselves from the likes of you..I support Israels fight against fascist anti semitism.
Steven W, Friday, July 21st
The situation of world Jewry was quite distinct following WW2. In Poland and elsewhere Jews returning from the camps and exile in the USSR experienced outbreaks of extreme violence as they sought to assert their rights to property and citizenship. Pecualiarly the Mass Observation organisation in Britain reported that from late 1945 onward British troops exhibited heightened anti-semitic views as they became exposed to the civilian populations of continental Europe. Jews in Britian reported an increase in apparently anti-semitic incidents in the same period. No regard was given to the fact that British and other Jews had fought as part of the Allied Forces.
In the Arab world on the pretext of combatting Zionism there were outbreaks of violence toward Arab Jewish populations.
The Christian and Muslim nations and communities have systemically failed their Jewish neighbours over the centuries, and failed to adhere to the tenets of their own proclaimed values. It would be more appropriate if both these faith groups spent some time reflecting on their own actions rather than seeking to divert culpability on to the Jews.
The frequency that diaspora Jews expressed irrational anti-zionist views is indicative of the failure of their own assimilationist attempts. Were they truly integrated functionally and emotionally into the societies they live in, they would not feel the need to present themselves as exemplary critics of Israel. The fact that they do indicates just how insecure they are and how they are required by their host societies to make overt statements of communal self-criticism. This should concern the host societies because it is evidence that as far as Jews are concerned the host society is not yet capable and ready of accepting and integrating Jews into their societies. If they were brave enough they might gaze into the darker elements of their societies and recognise the extent to which their own irrational capacities pose an ever present hazard to their Jewish communities.
Rod Davies, Friday, July 21st
I read that article on Washington Post and found it very troublesome. I wonder whether this is self-loathe? or whether some conflict with one's religion inspires such thoughts? Some new thought process in objectivism? Identity crisis? Freud, Jung! help!
Anubhav Singh, Friday, July 21st
**** YOU ALL ZIONIST
PALESTINIAN, Friday, July 21st
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