Fighting the Lies – The Guardian's Editorial on Israel

The Guardian, a newspaper with a long history of hating Israel, has published an editorial which asserts that historically the Jews really never cared for Israel and anyway Jews have been treated just wonderfully throughout the world and should be happy to live without a Jewish State since all a Jewish state can apparently can do is oppress Palestinians. The really scary party is that while the author felt it necessary to trot out lies and half truths to 'prove' his first two points, the last point, that Israel's existence requires oppressing Palestinians, he didn't feel he needed to 'prove'. He felt he could just assert it since he understands, correctly, that such a belief is axiomatic in European thinking.

To anyone with even a basic background in Jewish and Israeli history the editorial is laughable. The attempts to show that Jews were really happy in the Diaspora is certainly not false. Many Jews, this one included, rather like their homes in the Diaspora. In fact, there have always been Jews outside of Israel, just read the Torah for many stories about them. And, before the ascendancy of Christianity and Islam meant that attempts to convert people to Judaism was punishable by death, Judaism used to be a strongly proselytizing religion that sought converts and built Jewish communities all over the world. Judaism never imagined that all Jews would go live in Israel because the land simply wasn't big enough to hold them all! Who would imagine that it would take the slaughter of 1/3 of the world's Jews to finally cut them down to a size where moving them all to Israel would be conceivable?

The article's intimations that Jews were doing great in Russia and helped with the revolution against the Tsars is also laughable. The treatment of Jews under the Tsars was so horrific and oppressive that the word Pogrom had to be coined to describe it. And after the communist revolution, in which Jews did play a major part, the end result was Stalin's control with his regular oppression and killing of Jews culminating in the infamous fabrications of the doctor's plot. Even with Stalin's death unofficial Soviet anti-semitism was alive and well. There was a reason why every Jew who could manage it flooded out of the Soviet Union as soon as the gates opened.

The author also brings up the supposedly happy life that the Jews lead in the Muslim world. Again, this is half true. Jews were certainly treated much better under Islam then they ever were under Christianity, at least for most of known history. But this is just a matter of relative pain. Jews living in Muslim lands where Dhimmi, a permanent second class of "unbelievers" forced to pay special taxes, wear special clothing to identify themselves and to know their 'place' in society. Even then Jews were widely hated and understood they had to keep a low profile at threat of their lives. Still, against the open slaughter the Christians liked to engage in, yes it was better to be a Jew in Muslim areas.

The author even brings up the French revolution and its emancipation of the Jews. But, much like the Soviet Union's official position that Jews were the same as everyone else with the same rights, the reality was cruelly different. In fact the irony of the French mention is that during the recent near depression in the Israeli economy one particular part of the economy seemed to be doing really well – housing. The reason? Well, here's a hint, Israeli real estate agents were learning French. The open attacks against Jews in France and the French government's refusal to do anything but mouth platitudes about the situation had reached such levels that many French Jews felt it necessary to buy second homes in Israel as insurance against the situation in France becoming untenable.

Of course a Zionist would understand the previous. For the core of Zionism is the belief that so long as Jews are a minority in the countries they live in they will be in danger. History gives us an unfortunately endless list of examples of countries who, when put under some great stress, decided to blame all their problems on the Jews in their midst.That is why having a Jewish country with a Jewish majority was and is so important. In fact, it is exactly to help out with situations such as French Jews face today that Zionism and Israel are so important. In the old days French Jews (or Russian Jews or Argentinian Jews or Ethiopian Jews or …) would have no where to escape the mounting oppression and attacks, now they do. In a nutshell that is Zionism. Not a religious requirement that that all Jews suddenly get up and move to Israel but rather a practical realization that the only hope for Jews to end the cycle of oppression is to have their own country.

This then takes us to the author's last point, that Israel's mere existence requires oppressing Palestinians and therefore Israel should be obliterated with Jews assimilating out of existence into an "Arabic" culture. Last I checked the vast majority of Jews aren't Arabs so short of mass deportation it's unclear how the author intends to enact this miraculous transformation. But I think the key here is that the author's presumption that Israeli existence means Palestinian oppression isn't something the author felt it necessary to attempt to prove. The author correctly reads the modern European mindset which takes it as axiomatic that Israel's existence requires oppressing Palestinians. In the author's mind there is something inherently evil in Israelis that can only be cured through their destruction as a people and assimilation into a foreign culture. Hate speech comes in many disguises and this "editorial" certainly qualifies.

N.B. A non-Jewish reader might be confused by the fact that the author of the Guardian editorial is a self-identified Jew. While European governments go out of their way to denounce anti-semitism, anti-Israel and anti-Zionist beliefs are considered not just acceptable but required. Every major European news source I can get my hands on is routinely filled with anti-Israel vitriol. This then creates a strong desire amongst assimilated European Jews to repudiate any possible connection with Israel. Only by trashing Israel can a European Jew hope to be accepted by the European mainstream. So don't be surprised that someone writing an editorial encouraging Jewish assimilation is happy to trash Israel and make up false histories as the price for their own assimilation into their Diaspora home.

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