Same Road, Different Vehicles
Among Jews who call themselves progressives, there is one trait that stands out in irony to their self-description. They may argue that their pacifism is progressive (while war is primitive), that their recognition of the “Palestinian” grievances are progressive (while daring to assert that all of the land, including Judea and Samaria, is actually ours is a result of “the primitive attachment to material things like land as opposed to spiritual things like books and works of philosophy and ideas of universal morality”—very Gnostic, that), and that their elevation of Judaism’s moral imperatives (including the imperative to help those who want to destroy you, even though that’s not a Jewish imperative) above “the ancient, outdated laws like kashrut, which were good for their time” is the natural outgrowth of being progressive, of being with the times. In all those arguments, there is nothing that cannot be refuted, but at least they have their initial credibility before the refutation begins.
The one trait, however, of Jewish Leftists that does not have any initial credibility, for it stands contrary to progressivism and therefore refutes itself when coming from them, is their view with regard to anti-Semitism. In that, the so-called progressives are stuck in the days immediately after the Holocaust. On sites like Jewschool and Tikun Olam (of Richard Silverstein, of whom I have written quite a lot on my blog), the obliviousness toward the mortal threat (G-d forbid) made on us by the Muslims and their fictional narrative of the “Palestinian people” is matched only by the paranoia they display about Holocaust Deniers, racists like David Duke and—yes, they do lump the following with the preceding—Evangelical Christians (Christian Zionists). They adhere to old characteristics of non-Jews in order to decide who is our friend and who is our foe. This leads them to hit a false positive (the Christian Zionists) and, on the other hand, some false negatives (the “Palestinians” and useful idiots of theirs like Carter).
What are their criteria? David Duke and his type are like the Nazis, haters of Jews on a racist basis (I agree with that—that’s a true positive). As for the Christian Zionists, say the Jewish Leftists, they’re firm believers in their End Times scenario, in the necessity of furthering the second coming of Jesus, like the Crusaders, and anyone who’s just a little versed in Jewish history knows what the Crusaders did to the Jews on the way to the Holy Land. So it is that Jewish Progressives, when reporting a parade in Jerusalem of Christian Zionists in support of Israel, pepper their reports with comments as to their being wolves in sheep’s clothing.
This attitude is old, as in 1946 rather than 2006, and yet it is not the traditional Jewish view of anti-Semitism. If any Jewish Leftist claims that his mistrust and contempt for the Christian Zionists is rooted in Jewish tradition throughout the ages, then he, and all those who listen to him, must be told that that is not the truth. The traditional Jewish view does not adhere to their idea of, “once an anti-Semitic group, always an anti-Semitic group”. In fact, quite the opposite: the traditional Jewish view has it that Jew-hatred is independent of any particular group of people; that it is a self-sustaining, or more accurately G-d-sustained, ideology capable of latching itself into any group (and even leaving it sometime) and, more importantly, changing to fit the times.
Hatred of the Children of Israel is a divine institution, decreed by G-d, and capable of being ended only by G-d (speedily in our days, amen). Why has G-d, who loves us, set up such an institution? For keeping His people an eternal people. To quote Spengler of Asia Times, quoting theologian Franz Rosenzweig, “The love of the gentiles for their own ethnicity is sweet and pregnant with the presentiment of death”. Or in other words: all nations are destined to fall to oblivion after their meteoric rise. The success of a nation brings it prosperity, but that causes it to “wax fat and kick” (Deuteronomy 32:15). It ceases to be powered by its animating ideology, and then implodes—it is either riven by infighting or, as in the case of Europe today, emptied through the lack of will to make the next generation. In both cases, Arnold Toynbee’s dictum holds that, “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder”. Actually, the common case is for a nation to be so weakened by internal hemorrhaging that the outside enemy’s work is cut short—or as our sages said about Nebuchadnezzar, “You have destroyed a ruined building”, meaning that the First Temple had already been ruined (spiritually, by the Israelites’ transgressions) before the Babylonian king destroyed it (physically).
But the sages say, En mazal l’Yisrael, meaning, literally, “Israel has no sign of the zodiac” (that is the original meaning of the word, “mazal”; the meaning, “luck” as in the well-known “mazel tov” is secondary). It means the Jewish people, in contrast to any other nation in the world, is not subject to the laws of nature, the laws that have each nation rise and shine for a time and then fade into the history books at best. Many Jews over the ages—the Progressive Jews are only the latest in this line—have desired to become a normal nation, a nation like all the others. Israeli Leftist writer A. B. Yehoshua even wrote a whole article in that view, titled In Advocacy of Normality (Hebrew: Bi-Zchut Ha-Normaliyut). But there is what people want, and there is what G-d wants. And G-d said, through His prophet Ezekiel (20:32–33:
“And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all; in that ye say: We will be as the nations, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone. As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, will I be king over you.”
That “fury poured out” need not be that of G-d directly; in fact, it usually turns out that G-d rules over His people, when they are wayward, by means of the fury of the other nations, those same nations to which the Jews so want to be like. And that is Jew-hatred, Judeophobia, anti-Semitism. Every other nation that achieves prosperity is allowed to follow the regular course of fattening and self-skepticism at the end of which is its death; not so the Jewish people. Whenever the Jewish people abandoned their belief in their chosenness, G-d sent them signs from the non-Jews to dissuade them from that belief. Anti-Semitism, and that is not to deny its painfulness, is G-d’s way of keeping His people His people. Thus, after in the 1990’s a lot of Israeli Jews think permanent peace is just around the corner and pronounce Zionism dead and rush to pursue each his own selfish goals, G-d fills the next decade with hostilities from outside—from the Muslims physically and from the Leftists mentally—to persuade them to unite and renew themselves. I am among those whom He has thus converted, praised be His name forever.
Since anti-Semitism is an instrument of G-d and not an inborn trait of any human being, it can afflict any group of humans and take any form. For centuries, Jew-hatred had been most found in the Christian world, and had a Christian character, being based on the “Christ-killer” accusation. It was in that form that havoc was visited upon the Jewish communities of Germany during the First Crusade (1096–9). Nor is this form of Jew-hatred completely dead yet, as the case of Mel Gibson shows. Yet it is not the dominant form it once was.
The Jewish Progressives loathe the Christian Zionists because they think traditional, scripture-believing Christianity is inherently anti-Semitic. If that were so, then anti-Semitism would have had to be in constant decline in Europe from the 18th century (beginning of the period called the Enlightenment, or skepticism of religion) onward, and then be totally absent today, in a Europe that is near-totally secular. Yet, as we all know, anti-Semitism was more virulent in Europe in the 20th century than in any other period, and it is now in vogue also, with British papers like The Guardian hosting shamelessly the view that the state of Israel is responsible for all hatred of the West emanating from the Muslim world and that all criticism of that idea is being suppressed by the Israel Lobby.
No, anti-Semitism is not inherent in Christianity; not in Islam or Leftism either. It is latent by G-d’s decree, and He uses a different vehicle for it every time, to fit the circumstances. So from the 18th century to the middle of the 20th, when religion was on the wane and the “Christ-killers” argument sounded just too old-fashioned, Jew-hatred, instead of dying out as one would expect, assumed a new form: the racism-based one. For an age that had replaced religious, supernatural narratives with scientific, natural ones, hating the Jews came to be based on racial theories regarding them, instead of the former Christian-based accusation. It was in that period that the term, “anti-Semitism” was coined, by Jewish convert and self-hater Wilhelm Marr (the Noam Chomsky of his day). That term, now clearly a misnomer (as in, “I’m an Arab, and Arabs are Semites, so how can I be called an anti-Semite?”), symbolizes the protean nature of Jew-hatred, changing with the times. That new form of anti-Semitism ended in the Holocaust, the victims of which were many Jews who had converted to Christianity and renounced all ties to Judaism.
After the Holocaust, racism was out, decried by all, with the result that the likes of David Duke, once considered to be normal people, are now considered to be the refuse of society. Surely anti-Semitism should have died out then? Maybe “anti-Semitism” in Wilhelm Marr’s original sense, but Jew-hatred most certainly didn’t. It changed once again, and to the form acceptable to the times again. Since the “Christ-killers” accusation is long outmoded, and since saying the Jews are by nature inferior people is racism, the acceptable form of Jew-hatred today is the inversion that has it that the Jews are doing to others what was recently done to them. Describe the state of Israel as “a colonial outpost stealing the lands of an indigenous people”, and you make it acceptable to say the Jews deserve to die at the hands of Muslim suicide-terrorists (G-d forbid). Describe the self-defense actions of the state of Israel as “apartheid”, “ethnic cleansing”, “genocide” and kindred charged terms, and everyone will nod his head in agreement when you say the only Jewish state in the world should be dismantled (G-d forbid). Say all efforts to curb “Israel’s attempts to obstruct world peace” are being obstructed by AIPAC or the Israel Lobby, and people call you a “courageous man of peace speaking truth to power”. Say 9/11 was the end-result of the USA’s support of Israel, as is all “Islamist” terrorism, no matter that totally unrelated states like Thailand and Ethiopia have been on the receiving end of the same kind of terrorism for years, and no matter that we have all seen it takes just a few cartoons to ignite the Muslims everywhere, and people commend you for your “reality-based approach”.
There is no denying it: anti-Zionism is the form of Jew-hatred of our day, just as surely as raced-based anti-Semitism and the the “Christ-killers” accusation was in ages past. Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl of blessed memory, otherwise so perceptive, made his greatest mistake in that regard. He astutely observed the change of religion-based anti-Semitism to the racism-based one, both on part of the mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, and in “enlightened, enlightened” France during the Dreyfus Affair, and realized there was no safe future for the Jews among the other nations. But he predicted the exodus of all Jews from their host countries and into a state of their own would solve the problem of Jew-hatred once and for all. There he was spectacularly wrong, as he could not help being, for he was a non-religious Jew (but, in contrast to many other non-religious Jews both in his time and today, full of love and sorrow for his people); it takes belief in the religious Jewish worldview to know that the problem of Jew-hatred does not have any human solution. Jew-hatred has been transfered from their historical guilt (“Christ-killers”) and from their inborn degeneracy (race-based anti-Semitism) to their world politics, to the state of Israel and all who support it.
And the hatred of the Jews on the part of the Muslims is also a relative innovation. Mohammad hated the Jews in a Luther-like way, outraged at his failure to convert them to his new religion, hence the passages against the Jews in the later parts of the Koran. However, the full cream of Nazi-like, genocidal Jew-hatred is a recent phenomenon, and an import from Europe at that. The Koran says there was a group of Jews whom Allah turned to apes and pigs because they did not keep the Sabbath; that story, while perverse, is not so much an incitement toward Jew-hatred as it is an exhortation for people to obey Allah. But Muslims today call Jews, all Jews, “sons of apes and pigs”. The blood libel of Jews baking matzos using the blood of non-Jewish children is without any shred of doubt an import of a Christian European libel going all the way back to 11th-century England. The imports started in the 19th century, in European colonies in Islamic countries, and culminated in the cooperation, ideological as well as physical, between Hitler and Mufti Hajj Amin El-Husseini of Jerusalem. The genocidal Hamas charter is a lineal descendant of that cooperation, as is the education toward Jew-hatred given to “Palestinian” children each day.
This is the landscape of Jew-hatred today: Muslims eaten with genocidal hatred toward the Jews as a result of sticking European imports onto their homegrown base of jihad ideology, and Leftists justifying the Muslims by equating Zionism with racism, colonialism, apartheid and Nazism, and by blaming the conflict between Islam and the West on the Israel/“Palestine” conflict. This Jew-hatred is no less real and no less dangerous than all the previous forms, and the fact that it cloaks itself as anti-Zionism and “criticism of Israel’s policies” (not Jew-hatred per se, but it is when it flows from an anti-Zionist viewpoint) makes no difference.
On the other hand, Bible-believing Christians are among the best, truest friends of Israel and the Jewish people today. They believe in the New Testament, but they themselves have answered Gibson by saying, “It was not the Jews who crucified Jesus, it was each and every one of us, by our sins”. See, there is a way to counter Jew-hatred even when based on scripture. The Catholic Church too has repudiated the Christian accusation of the Jews, with a series of declarations, many of them formulated by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). They are the only non-Jews who fully believe Israel has rights to all the lands promised by G-d in the Torah, and who see the “Palestinian” fakery for what it really is, a disguising of the Islamic jihad against the Jewish state as a nationalistic struggle. Bible-believing America is the safest among non-Jewish states for Jews today, while secular, Leftoxicated, dhimmified, Islam-infested Europe is now a place where Jews relive the feeling of impending doom they had in the 1930’s. Jewish Leftists can talk of Carter being a friend of Israel (with friends like these…) and of Israel/“Palestine” being solvable through hip-hop get-togethers between members of the two sides, but those eyes, those lying eyes of mine, can see well who is the true friend, who is the well-meaning but misguided friend, who is the true foe who wishes all Jews dead (G-d forbid), and who is the deceptive foe who disguises his Jew-hatred under the mask of “solidarity with the struggle of the indigenous Palestinians against colonialist oppression”.
“Happy Holidays” in a true, non-PC sense from Infidels Bloggers Alliance, Kislev 5767 / December 2006.
It is important for us Jews to discern between good and evil, between right and wrong, between friends and foes. We have been given the best tool for that by G-d Himself, the Torah. Many, perhaps even most, non-Jews hate us, but many are those who truly love us and support us, and although we trust in HaShem for the salvation of the Jewish people (speedily in our days, amen!) and not in any human being, it is G-dlike to repay those who love us with gratitude. We should regard as our friend anyone who believes our existence and our return to our land is all fair and not foul, whether he be a Christian, an atheist or a polytheist. But the Christian Zionists are the truest non-Jewish friends of ours, for their belief in the rightness of Israel and Zionism is rooted in their belief in G-d’s promises in His Torah. And whoever of the non-Jews thinks any or all of the state of Israel is “stolen land”—that is an enemy of the Jewish people.
The road to the End of Days, when HaShem will save the Jewish people from their would-be destroyers and put an end not just to the physical but also to the spiritual exile of His people, is replete with enticements for the Jewish people to take wrong turns. For any other nation, G-d leaves them to run their course, to wither away in the sands of history. For us, who are His people, each wrong turn is promptly answered with a police vehicle telling us to retrace our steps to the original path. It need not be the same form of vehicle, but it is always the same phenomenon inwardly: Jew-hatred, the hatred of the truth G-d brought to the world at Sinai, the truth that He will one day establish His kingdom on earth, as in the quote from the prophet Zechariah (14:9) at the end of each daily prayer: “And the LORD shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the LORD be One, and His name one”. The return of the Jewish people to their land, a watershed event in the fulfillment of HaShem’s prophecies, means that Jew-hatred, now in its form of opposition to the state of Israel, can only intensify more and more, until Israel is left a sheep surrounded by seventy wolves, and then there will be only one Shepherd for her to turn to. Let us keep that in mind and not try to win the hearts of those who hate us. Those who love us will love us even more when we behave as Jews are expected to behave, in the Hashmonean way of physical fortitude standing on a base of spiritual confidence; and those who hate us will always hate us, no matter how hard we try to minimize the number of civilian casualties on the other side or how much land we concede. The highest of our considerations should be what HaShem thinks.