The state that cried antisemitism

Israel's new government, 14 June 2021

JVL Introduction

We agree that Jews worldwide should not be held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government.

But as we have asked before, does that absolve those – Jews and non-Jews alike – who actively aid and abet Israel in committing its crimes, or seek to silence support for Palestinians by dishonestly demonising and falsely alleging antisemitism, from bearing some responsibility for the fact that the Israeli regime feels free to act illegally with impunity?

Haaretz correspondent B. Michael, perhaps Israel’s most biting satirist alive today, has a few things to say on the subject.

In his view, simply and baldly: “Israel is currently the world’s largest antisemitism accelerator.”

If Israel really cared, he says, “the state would have gone out of its way as soon as it was founded to make a clear distinction between the state of the Israelis and Diaspora Jews, so that everyone would know that only we are responsible for our actions…”

This article was originally published by Ha'aretz on Tue 27 Jul 2021. Read the original here.

The state that cried antisemitism

Everyone condemned it, competing with one another in volume, flashing angry looks and going overboard with their castigation. They were responding to that malicious Vermont plot to deprive those masses of abominable war criminals pining for a taste of ice cream of their freedom of dessert. Foreign Minister Lapid cried “antisemitism,” while his honor President Isaac Herzog went even further, calling it “terrorism.”

This tirade also marks a turning point. Not a moment too soon, Israel’s hasbara machine went from farce to the grotesque. Just seconds elapse from the moment that a bit of criticism against Israel is voiced and there is already resort to claims of antisemitism, terrorism, a cast of enemies and the memory of the Holocaust – in the service of public diplomacy and mudslinging. The number of Holocaust survivors among us is dwindling, but we have learned that exploitation of the Holocaust is flourishing.

Frustratingly, the luster of the Holocaust is fading – the inevitable result of overuse. I have no doubt that somewhere out there, a panel of Israeli experts is laboring away on a plan to refresh the memory of the horrors, perhaps along with a tempting merchandising campaign to restore the youth to classic Jew-hatred. These are, after all, essential accessories to the proper functioning of the country’s foreign policy.

In the height of grotesqueness, this is neither a joke nor a figment of wild imagination. Israel is currently the world’s largest antisemitism accelerator. That’s mainly due to its own evil, its actions and its policies, but also due to its having the chutzpah to declare itself the state of the “Jewish people” as a whole.

In the process, it has made everyone who wears a kippa in New York, everyone who owns a kosher restaurant in Paris and everyone who attends synagogue in London an accomplice in every killing of a Palestinian child, bombing of a neighborhood in the Gaza Strip, pogrom in a Palestinian village and theft of land from its owners. All of these are convenient and ready excuses for the world’s genuine antisemites to come out of their hiding places, to assault Jews and feel righteous about it.

If there were a smidgen of decency in this country, the state would have gone out of its way as soon as it was founded to make a clear distinction between the state of the Israelis and Diaspora Jews, so that everyone would know that only we are responsible for our actions – and not them. But Israel, or so it appears, has an interest in measured doses of useful antisemitism, since without it, what would become of hasbara and Jewish immigration?

The absurdity is so great that one could say that the support Israel is currently receiving is itself a particularly cunning form of antisemitism. And another somewhat embarrassing question looms out there: Why for God’s sake does Israel expect anyone to like it? Where does it get the arrogance and lack of self-awareness to be so certain that it is deserves to be a member of the community of properly run states? Doesn’t Israel know what it really is?

Here’s a partial and short reminder: the millions under occupation who are deprived of basic rights; the apartheid regime in its colonies; the shameful ghetto in the Gaza State; Israel’s collection of laws that discriminate and disinherit, based on religion and ethnicity; the sale of tools of destruction to the highest bidder and despicable surveillance technology to any despot; the routine airstrikes on innocent people; the sanction of violence to and land theft from the people living under its occupation; the nurturing of pogromists and religious crazies; a ludicrous democracy, an eroded judiciary, a state whose best friends are the lowest of the low among the world’s leaders: Victor Orban in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, a motley crew of Persian Gulf sheikhs, Narendra Modi in India, Vladimir Putin in Russia and, until just recently, Donald Trump in the United States. That is the place Israel chose for itself. That is where it is.

So why should a decent human like Israel, respect it, admire it? Simply on account of the Holocaust?

Comments (8)

  • amanda sebestyen says:

    This is what many of us have been saying for years, well and passionately put here.

  • Bar Michael is not only ‘Israel’s most biting satirist alive today’ but he has an acute understanding of Zionism and Israel’s relationship to anti-Semitism. When Herzl wrote in is Diaries that ‘‘the anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.’ he spoke the unvarnished truth. From its very earliest days the Zionist movement realised that despite arising as a result of anti-Semitism its fortunes were inextricably linked to the survival and growth in anti-Semitism.

    Anyone who doubts what I say should read the chapter on the holocaust in Shabtai Teveth’s official biography of Ben Gurion, ‘The Burning Ground’ which is headed ‘Disaster Means Strength’. To the Zionist leadership the catastrophe that enveloped European Jewry under the Nazis was a golden opportunity.

    Teveth summed up Ben Gurion’s morbid outlook when he wrote that ‘‘If there was a line in Ben-Gurion’s mind between the beneficial disaster and an all-destroying catastrophe, it must have been a very fine one.’ That is why today it is the actions of Israel that are the primary cause of anti-Semitism.

    The Board of Deputies in its campaign against Corbyn purported to be concerned about anti-Semitism. Anyone with any understanding of the Board or Zionism knows very well that Zionism has never seen the fight against anti-Semitism as one of its tasks. Quite the contrary. By taking an ‘Israel right or wrong’ position, defending every indefensible action of Israel and doing it on behalf of all British Jews, the Board cannot but be aware that it is deliberately courting anti-Semitism by associating British Jews with Israel’s vile war crimes.

    If for no other reason, this is why the Labour ‘antisemitism’ crisis was entirely confected and manufactured, with one purpose only. To get rid of Corbyn and ‘purify’ Labour of its support for the Palestinians. The tragedy is that the left in the Labour Party, with few exceptions, never grasped this.

  • Hugh Sharp, says:

    Good men have been destroyed by weaponising the Holocaust, just look to the U.K. my country Jeremy Corbyn has fought racism all his life, has helped many Jewish people in the U.K. but because he thinks the Palestinians are being badly treated he has been vilified, Smeared as an Antisemite by some influential British Jews, these people insult the memory of the Holocaust,

  • Doug says:

    Vexatious claims of anti semitism are hate crimes and should be prosecuted
    Interference in the democratic process by a foreign power should also be met with sanctions, boycotts and divestment
    But more than that we need our party back and lessons need to be learnt
    JC was a spiritual leader but practically useless

  • Elizabeth Block says:

    “If there were a smidgen of decency in this country” – If there were a smidgen of decency in Israel, it would be a multilingual, multiethnic country of all its citizens. It would not have driven out as many non-Jews as possible and would have treated the remaining ones as equal, fellow humans.
    As for Jews in the diaspora being implicated, well, most of them are Zionists, so most of them are. They give money. They lobby their governments to support Israel.
    As for Ben & Jerry, that’s looking like an own goal.

  • Tim Towers says:

    Simply brilliant!

  • rc says:

    Annoyingly, I could not find any Ben and Jerry ice-cream at M&S Westwood X, Margate. But they do do a lot of own brand – which helps subsidize Israel. Sainsbury’s in Deal stocks a lot of Ben and Jerry ice-cream – 3 cartons fewer since my shop there today – re-order please!. A pity their would-be wacky titling and artwork makes it hard to identify what the contents are; the contents of freezer compartments need more, not less. clarity. But hats off to these honest democrats! JUST EAT – and buy!

  • Excellent. This article should be forwarded to every Newspaper and Media Editor for possible inclusion in there media feeds.

    Also, every MP should also be sent a copy of the article.

Comments are now closed.