In the documentary “Powers of Ten,” the point of view steadily peals back from a picnicking couple in a lakeside park, first to show the Earth, then the solar system and finally the entire universe. The expanding field of view brings home the scale of things.
So it is with Israel facing off the BDS crowd.
The pinpoint field of view (the couple in park) zooms in on the narrative: Israel’s supposed occupation, Apartheid, colonialism, war crimes and crimes against humanity – a fest of crucifixion.
Zoom out a bit and we’re treated to Palestinian Arab life under the Israeli boot. Ills of every fad and fancy are visited upon the trodden – poverty, dirty water, cracked health service, military attack, incursion into Jenin, ethnic clean-out, house demolition, block houses and check points – to repurpose the Palestinian Arab into an epic mythical Victim. (The upper class neighborhoods in Ramallah, Hevron and other cities are omitted, as are the masses of luxury cars with Palestinian Authority plates clogging the roads.)
Now zoom out to the farthest limit. One vision fills the view, that of Israel as a crime in and of itself. That Jewish birthday in 1948 is a burning bush nakba catastrophe, an Adam and Eve sin in the Garden, an affront to God and to Man.
Seminal acts are moving the BDS movement, its allies and the UN into this terminal terrain. Once upon a time they shied away from threatening Jewish life. Degrading the Holocaust was a trait they dutifully shunned – martyred Jews were revered. Not anymore.
A Boston BDS group has a “Mapping Project” with locations of synagogues, Jewish schools and other communal locations. They are highlighted as bastions of “racism, policing, U.S. imperialism and ethnic cleansing.” BDS is making Jews fair game, even with lethal force.
Not only Jews became fair game, so did the Holocaust. The Reverend Frank Chikane, a South African moderator of the World Council of Churches says it must stop being a Jewish excuse. “Europe needs to get over (Holocaust) guilt because it is this guilt which is allowing Palestinians to be killed.” The reverend dynamo being South African is not accidental. He and black liberators (the ANC party) embody the meaning of anti-Semitism: the organization of politics against the Jews.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress –again not accidently – converted a world class economy into a failed state
And the further it failed the keener grew its loathing for the economic super state of the Jews. Not only did the government outsource foreign policy to the local BDS, the party bred world class anti-Semites like Navi Pillay with a mouth so mute it looks like something omitted from her face.
Long before these possessed persecutors lived and strutted the ‘get-Israel’ stage, the Philistines canonized the obsession. To visit their heart of darkness, we must delve into Genesis.
(Isaac) had acquired flocks and herds and many enterprises; and the Philistines envied him.All the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up and filled them with earth. (Genesis 26: 14-15)
The act seems nonsensical given the sequence. Isaac re-dug wells in other parts and still envy dogged him. “The herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac’s herdsmen saying, “The water is ours.”(26:20)
Since the Philistine farmers relied on the new wells for water, they must have relied on the old wells dug by Abraham. Filling in wells out of spite the farmers deprived themselves of water. A startling case of cutting off your nose to spite your face!
For self-defeating behaviour we don’t have to go back to ages past; nothing like trouble over public access to water to bring out suicidal anti-Semites. Touring the Eastern Cape I encountered towns and trendy resorts bugged by water problems. The government blamed drought. Residents knew better and blamed clueless comrades deployed to run town councils. Israel stepped up to the plate. The ambassador put Israeli know-how for water solutions at the disposal of dry towns. He might have saved breath; layabout cadres preferred dry towns to getting into bed with Isaac’s seed. To make it clear, doing so would mean expulsion from the party. The Promised Land– that is the land promised to Palestinian Arabs, not the Zionists who nipped in and settled it – is a boycotter’s forbidden fruit.
Seven decades of Palestinian Arab demands. Nothing is more tenacious in life than this lurid craving to wallow in deprivation, the weapon of choice. As for the international community, it derives what seems to be real pleasure in the Palestinian problem; standing up for the underdog absolves loathing Israel body and soul.
On this world favourite victim Navi Pillay harps in her report. It flaunts her aptitude to look with the blind eye at Muslims and the microscopic eye at Jews. Pillay saw no Palestinian Arab terrorists, no terrorist groups, no terrorism, no Jewish victims.
Israel can’t be blamed for taking the UN weapon of choice at her word. Pillay issued a warrant to search for “all underlying root causes” of the conflict and dig for “systematic discrimination and repression.” So Israel submitted the names of 600,000 refugee Jews, victims of Arab persecution after Israel’s birth.
Pillay called for victim identification. So Israel, to Pillay’s discomfort, answered the call with millions of submissions and names of victims from Muslim bloodletting.
Her inquiry touted that it would “adopt a victim-cantered approach”. So Israel submitted the names of 4 220 civilian victims killed in Arab attacks since the beginning of modern Zionism.
Pillay proclaimed that her inquiry would look for “systematic discrimination.” She looked at Jews kicked out of Arab countries who were absorbed by Israel, and what was her judgment? Infringement of Palestinian Arab rights!
Clearly there’s more than meets the eye to a Pillay who pinpoints her hatred and despises Israel for the fact that it exists. By “more” I mean a human condition vexed by just a report harping on the Jews’ inhumanity. It wants revenge, eye for an eye. It wants what she calls ethnic cleansing to be punished by ethnic cleansing, death revenged by death. Pillay is not in her right mind; she is out of her mind.
And so it is with whole nations. Israel loathing consumes them. Walter Russell Mead, on the danger posed by Iran, explained:
“Nations and political establishments warped by Israel hatred tend to make one dumb decision after another — starting at shadows, warding off imaginary dangers, misunderstanding the nature of problems they face. Quite sane leaders when it comes to Israel literally lose their minds.”
In her book World on Fire, Amy Chua argues that ethnic hatred will always be directed by the host society against a minority that fares well. Three conditions must be met:
 The hated group must be a minority or people will fear to attack it.
 It must be successful or people will not envy it.
 It must be conspicuous or the majority will fail to notice the group.
Isaac fitted all three. That is why the Philistines hated him.
Israel fits all three. That is why most members of the UN hate it.
The global community disputes with a minority of one – an Isaac – who grew his flocks and dug his wells and made himself mightier than he had the right to do. The bearded, bookish, landless wanderers had no business turning into a conspicuous juggernaut that wins wars and pioneers technology and develops into an economic superpower. As day follows night, hatred follows envy. And where it incapacitates the ability to think, there we find self-destructive rulers, countries and cause groups on the road to wrack and ruin.
The Holocaust era dramatist and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre identified the killer instinct. The anti-Semite, he wrote, “has murderous instincts. Those thunderous diatribes at the ‘Yids’ are really capital executions.”
Whoever thunders diatribes at Israel seems to forget the basic animal instinct of self-preservation. The list could be as long, and as old, as human annuls. King Avimelech of Philistine committed hari- kiri with his wells; war-mongering mullahs are committing it with their warheads, the crazies of Gaza with their rockets; while anti-Semite comrades pick over the junk heap to which they reduced their liberated country.
The punishment stored up for them all? “I will bless those that bless you, and curse those that curse you.”
Steve Apfel is an economist and costing specialist, but most of all a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction. His blog, ‘Balaam’s curse,’ is followed in 15 countries on 5 continents