Steve ApfelThe writer is a prolific author of novels and non-fiction, essayist and commentator on ‘enemies of Zion’ which happens also to be the title of his latest book. His books are The Paymaster, 1998; Hadrian’s Echo: The whys and wherefores of Israel’s critics, 2012; War by other means: Israel and its detractors, Contributor. Israel Affairs, 2012; Enemies of Zion, (for publication in 2015); Balaam’s curse ( a novel in progress.). Webpage: http://sbpra.com/SteveApfel
The annual rite long ago slipped from Jewish hands. Today commemorating the Holocaust is a mix of fanfare and signalling of virtue for everyone and his dog. When the United Nations designates ‘International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust’ is it not clear that haters of Zion are in the big tent.
Bigots find a ready welcome there because they are bigots only up to a point. Past that point they do more than tolerate Jews, they venerate them. If there is one thing anti-Semites love more than dead Jews it would be dead Jews by the millions. While the very name Israel makes anti-Zionists want to bring up, they will go to the ends of the earth to memorialize Jewish martyrs. A sadistic fascination comes through. Jean-Paul Sartre writes of a wartime friend who had no problem with Nazi massacres; yet on the mantelpiece in his sitting room stood a prized photo of a Jewish friend gunned down by the Gestapo.
If there is one thing anti-Semites love more than dead Jews it would be dead Jews by the millions.
For this dark obsession with dead Jews there are plenty of contemporary cases. Take Linda Sarsour. An American Muslim, a gender activist, and a figurehead of the anti-Trump movement, Sarsour caps it with being an out-and-out anti-Semite. Proudly BDS, the hijab covered woman tweeted that “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.” Denying living Jews the right to a place in the (Middle East) sun did not stop Linda Sarsour putting herself out for dead Jews. Lately she made headlines for organizing a drive that raised $56,000 to repair a desecrated Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.
Rasmea Odeh is a bona fide Jew killer. On February 21, 1969 she planted a bomb in a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two young men and injured nine. An Israeli court handed her down a life sentence. Later Israel freed Odeh in a prisoner swop. Odeh now takes her proud place alongside Linda Sarsour as a leader of the women’s movement – the movement that has much to say about the value of different lives: black lives, transgender lives, women’s lives, Latino lives, Muslim lives, and so forth. About Jewish lives it has nothing to say. About Israeli lives it sees no wrong with Palestinians celebrating Israeli death by terror. Yet alongside Linda Sarsour, Odeh will stand for a minute of silence to remember Holocaust victims.
Nava Pillay was the head of the vast human rights machinery at the UN. By tradition her office, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is endowed on anti-Zionists. Nava Pillay is the epitome of one. She would disallow any statement which exposed the human rights violators that convict Israel when the Human Rights Council meets to condemn the Jew among nations. Pillay would protect China, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc on the ground that statements about them “were not imbued with the appropriate level of dignity and respect.” Yet for Israel the woman found nothing wrong with wild statements. Ethnic cleansing, pogroms against Palestinians, stealing organs from Palestinians, illegal state: these were “imbued with the appropriate level of dignity and respect.” So was a statement that Israel had inflicted a Holocaust on Palestinians. In the house that Pillay ruled, all were “in accordance with accepted UN standards.” The woman put in her own word or two about Jews. The plague of wife-beating within Palestinian society, Pillay ruled, could be blamed on Israel. Nava Pillay, then, is anti-Semitic through and through.
Yet none of this stopped the UN High Commissioner from holding a seminar to mark the UN’s Holocaust Day. Pillay spoke of a boy named Petr Ginz from Prague who died in the Auschwitz gas chambers. Her speech was accompanied by a photo of Petr, and at the end of it she called for a minute of silence.
Jew-haters never have a problem with dead Jews. They indeed like them more than anything – and the higher the toll the better. A commemoration for six million martyred Jews will draw anti-Semites like hungry raptors.
When Jews fail to comprehend this ghoulish mindset it becomes a problem. The progressive element is very prone to overlooking it. In their activism on behalf of women, black lives, refugees and so forth, progressives do more than join forces with anti-Semites; they defend them. How also matters. They defend anti-Semites by denigrating fellow Jews. Even rabbis are neck deep in the routine. Sharon Brous, a Conservative rabbi in Los Angeles said that the critics of Linda Sarsour were involved in “a deliberate smear campaign from the far right. I don’t feel at all uncomfortable about (Linda Sarsour),” the rabbi added. “A much greater problem would be if the Jewish community stepped out of activism because we’re afraid that someone on the stage has a position on BDS different than our own.”
To the mind of the progressive rabbi, Sharia treatment of women would fall into her “position different than our own.” Jewish progressives are prepared to ignore wife beating, genital mutilation and so forth. Their allied activists take precedence. They don’t care that allies such as Linda Sarsour cover up barbarous Islamic rites. Rabbi Brous would turn a blind eye rather than step “out of activism.” Her role model Sarsour, she can’t help knowing, turns more than a blind eye; Sarsour attacks moderate Muslim women in the most vulgar terms. Hirsi Ali, she said, was “not a real woman. Half jokingly Sarsour adds that she’d like to take away Ali’s vagina – a vicious bon mot, considering that Hirsi Ali was a victim of genital mutilation in her native Somalia.
What shall we say? When Jews get into bed with people fixated by dead Jews, the sky is the limit. In love with the idea of tikkun olam – repairing the world – progressives forget that tikkun olam invokes old fashioned biblical values. The world is to be repaired through principled behavior and morality. Narrow leftwing proclivities are not the same as Judaic principles. Progressive Jews ought to be told that before their allies bend them like a reed into hating regular Jews in the big tent.
The writer is a prolific author of novels and non-fiction, essayist, travel writer and commentator on ‘Enemies of Zion’ which happens also to be the title of his latest book. His works are The Paymaster, 1998; Hadrian’s Echo, 2012; Contributor to ‘War by other means: Israel and its detractors’, 2012; Enemies of Zion, (for publication 2017); and Balaam’s curse ( a novel in progress)