​​​​​​​One billion pixels of Jewish insecurity 

Susie Dym,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Susie Dym
Susie Dym serves as spokesperson for Mattot Arim, with over 20 years of expertise on "peace-for-peace" issues.

Once upon a time, in 2014, the staff at New York City’s Center for Jewish History announced – Ha’aretz tells us – that the Center for Jewish History would  “upload a gigapixel image, with over one billion pixels, to the Google Art Project” which “gives people online access to high-resolution images of artworks from museums around the world. Each partner institution was allowed to choose one artwork to be uploaded as a gigapixel image. This is so high a resolution that viewers can zoom in and look up close at individual brushstrokes. The Center chose...”

Imagine! That requires some careful thought – what single art-work should the Center for Jewish History choose, to best represent thousands of years of Jewish history??

What do you imagine the staff at the Center For Jewish History chose?

I won’t leave you to guess too long. The Center For Jewish History’s staff chose ...  a 1956 oil painting entitled "Arab Café in Ramallah". 

Now that we are starting to get a handle on the  mindset of the staff at the Center For Jewish History – it will be easier to understand why this Center has now selected a man called DAVID N. MYERS as their new director. Who is Myers? A man who wants “to incorporate the Israeli experience into what the Center does”. Wonderful! How? “Cooperation” -- between the Center For Jewish History and the forthcoming National Library of Israel“. Perfect! In his mind’s eye, “when the library is completed, it’ll be a remarkable repository of ...”

Of what? What would Myers want to deposit in a library which is the pet project of a Center For Jewish History? Riches of Jewish history, yes, and what else?

Of course! “Riches of Jewish history”, on the one hand --  and “Islamic history and culture” on the other hand. 

How fair is that! A Center for Jewish (Jewish!) History which intends to be that committed to Islam doubtless believes it is doing a very Jewish thing: unselfishly investing half of its focus on augmenting those few, struggling  programs  in the United States which promote Islamic history and culture – such as poverty stricken Harvard University’s Saudi-funded “Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program”.

Myers, the new director, also waffles on BDS. It is easy although painful to see  how he does it. Many public figures go through their careers  saying x and the opposite of x  at one and the same time, sometimes even in the same speech or article. Myers is one of them:  “On one hand, I oppose the global BDS movement.... On the other, I can’t join in the rising chorus of demonization against it,” he says.

Bottom line: what does Myers want to do about BDS? Why, of course he wants to “fight the root cause of BDS”.  Great! What is the root cause of BDS? Well, the root cause is definitely not anti-Semitism, Myers says, although he himself delicately admits that “BDS’ singularity of focus on Israel is troubling... After all, ...ISIS beheads innocent victims.... Saudi Arabia metes out brutal and primal Islamic justice. One can only ask of BDS supporters: ...you see fit to focus the brunt of your attention on Israel? Really?”

So... what could be the root cause of BDS’ing Israel only, if not anti-Semitism, in the mind of Myers?

Why of course! “The Occupation”! Myers is happy to admit that hundreds of thousands of us Israelis live in Judea-Samaria – nonetheless, he is not satisfied with merely denigrating “occupation”. Myers instead teaches that it is “hard to dispute” that the occupation has been a “mistake”. Hard to dispute? This means that Myers is no peaceful, open-minded intellectual well-suited to his new post. His tolerance for any other approach to such a crucial area of Israeli public policy – such as the approach of a large majority of Israel’s citizenry for the past half a century - is zero. This is someone who is going to use the Center he is directing, to make it “hard” for members of the ordinary pro-Israel Jewish community to dispute anything that he – Myers – does not personally believe in.

Why then is Myers being chosen for this job? Because he is an erudite historian, we are told, whose area of expertise is “Modern Jewish History”. It is curious, then, that Professor Myers was totally unaware of the actions of a noxious Modern Jewish historical phenomenon known as “Jewish Voices for Peace”. So ignorant was Myers of JVP, whose website proudly urges people to boycott Israel, that  he did not even know, or so he says, that JVP had appointed his own personage as an academic advisory board member. In Israel we have a saying, “We are not stupid”. Someone who is “surely among the foremost scholars of Modern Jewish History in our generation” according to the terrorism-whitewashing Forward (see my recent blog on that topic too), did not know that the Modern Jewish JVP group was touting his own self as their academic advisor? What then can Myers, as a scholar, be counted upon to know? Only what he wants to know, perhaps.

If the board members of the Center for Jewish History, deep down, are desparate to inspire millenials to become committed to Jewish history – Myers is  the wrong person for the right job. If the board members, deep down, want to open the door to a person who will foster a whole new generation of Jewish history-bashers – Myers is their man.  Because Myers thinks that studying history from a Zionist viewpoint constitutes “rewriting Jewish history”. Myers would never accuse himself, or anybody who studies history from  a non-Zionist viewpoint, of “rewriting Jewish history”. Because Myers only has it in for the Zionists.

And now, everything is up to the Board.