Judith BergmanJudith Bergman is a writer and political analyst. She lives in Israel.
As Jews all over the world prepare for Pesach, Israel Apartheid Week is touring the campuses of the world with its freak show of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli hatred and bigotry.
Now in its 11th year, just like its twin sibling the BDS movement, it performs on select campuses in Europe, the US, South America and apparently even Japan.
The performers include everyone willing to slander the Jewish state; especially those Jews who have chosen to become the sticks with which to beat other Jews. One of them is Yonatan Shapira, the ex-IDF pilot, who proudly considers himself an “ex-Jew”. Part of his current career is to conduct tours of Yad Vashem for European tourists, telling them that what the Nazis did to the Jews is no different from what the IDF is “doing” to Palestinians.
While Israeli Apartheid Week is hardly a large factor on campuses, it feeds into an already heavily anti-Semitic atmosphere and with the efforts of its twin, the BDS movement, this creates a dangerous environment for Jews.
Something that started as a small happening in Toronto, of all places, has grown to become a movement that spans continents and which occurs every year since 2005 with the annual regularity of Christmas shopping.
In contrast, Israeli diplomats and Jewish organizations have failed at presenting a coordinated and concerted effort at stopping this yearly show from going on the road year after year. This in itself is mind boggling, given the outrageous claims that the protagonists of this hate fest bring to the table, yet much credit is due to those courageous Jewish students who stand up against Israel’s detractors on campuses. In an ideal world, they should be busy with their studies and not have to do this.
The preposterous claims presented against Israel at these annual hate fests - mainly that Jews are colonial racists, perpetrators of apartheid, who indiscriminately kill Arab babies - are the modern blood libels of the 21st century. They are nothing more than variations on a very old theme.
Anti-Semites, as it turns out, are not very original.
Invented by Christians in the Middle Ages and travelling like an imperishable and highly lethal myth throughout the centuries, the blood libel that Jews are baby killers, stuck to the Jews until the twentieth century. The general gist of the blood libel was that Jews kill Christian babies in order to use their blood as a baking ingredient in Passover matzoth. For centuries, Christians abused, tortured and killed Jews over this preposterous falsehood, which was all the more outrageous, since Jewish law prohibits the consumption of any blood whatsoever.
Now, can you imagine a Jew of those times deciding to buy into this most unbelievable accusation and joining forces with his abusers? Packing up his belongings, leaving his shtetl and travelling to the nearest market town, he knocks on the door of the Chief Anti-Semite, who incredulously stares back at the Jew on his doorstep. “I am offering my services in catching the Jews who so brutally murder Christian babies” says the absconding Jew. Hardly able to contain his joy over suddenly having his very own Jew with whom to bash other Jews, the Chief Anti-Semite cordially invites the unexpected guest in for a baptism and a generous serving of pork. Well, not really.
Yet, tragically, there are plenty of Jews around today, who are actively buying into the postmodern blood libels of apartheid and colonial racism. Firstly, there are the Gideon Levys, the Miko Pelleds and the Yonatan Shapiras, who have made a profitable profession out of bashing the Jewish state. Make no mistake: There is good money to be made from being the Jewish Jew basher.
In his wonderful and must read book, “Catch the Jew”, journalist Tuvia Tenenbom describes his meeting with Gideon Levy, the journalist from Haaretz, whom foreign diplomats and journalists love to quote, who informs Tuvia, that “Jews have a racist DNA”. Tuvia then proceeds to ask Gideon Levy, why he does not simply pack his suitcases and leave Israel if he dislikes it so much. “What will I do in other places?” asks Gideon Levy, “Write about tourism?”
When ordinary Israelis begin to buy into the 21st century blood libel of apartheid it is time to sound the alarm. We should not be joining the freak show.
While the professional Jew basher is a disgrace to his people and dangerous at that, because the world listens to him (“See, our Jew says you are colonialist, racist baby murderers, so it must be true”) one hardly knows whether to laugh or to cry upon encountering a similar sentiment among ordinary Israelis.
Last week a relatively new friend of the family declared unexpectedly that Israel was an apartheid state. Seeing my shock and disbelief at hearing those words uttered in my own home, he continued to try to convince us that Israel was indeed practicing apartheid.
Perhaps I should not have been so shocked. When you listen to the same skewed narratives for years, you might just end up believing in them. For years, the predominantly leftist media, supported by the so-called intellectuals of the left, have been drumming the bongos with the same, dreary message and only the most naïve believe that no ordinary Israelis are influenced by it in the end.
Yet, when ordinary Israelis begin to buy into the 21st century blood libel of apartheid it is time to sound the alarm. We should not be joining the freak show. We have to fully realize and internalize, that we will simply not be able to survive in this part of the world, if we begin to think of ourselves in the hateful terms of our detractors, which are meant to destabilize our state to begin with. Iran just got what it wanted from president Barack Hussein Obama and the Europeans. We have bigger problems than helping the haters catch imaginary “bad Jews”.
Christians perpetuated the blood libel of killing Christian infants to use their blood for matzoth for centuries. The Jews were made to pay for that lie with their lives and dignity.
No matter how preposterous the lie, the Jews – powerless without a state of their own – could not get rid of this false stain.
There are no excuses now.