I have begun receiving angry and insulting mail from Polish readers who take strong issue with my article in these pages about the 1941 massacre of Jews by Poles in Jewabne. They write that I am stupid and prejudiced because I refuse to understand that the Poles are the least anti-Semitic among European, the most righteous rescuers of endangered Jews. One such letter-writer challenged my use of Anna Bikont's magisterial work which I cite on this very subject.
But that's not all. Leftist Jews, including Israelis, including some very religiously learned Jewish Israelis, are also quarreling with me. They are still clinging to the Palestinian narrative, attacking the Zionist one, and performing the art of the nuanced and even-handed approach to deadly terrorism. "Jews are also racists;" "Israelis are also terrorists;" "This current Intifada is due to right-wing aggression against peaceful Arabs and their olive groves."
Earlier this century, Israelis were blown up by anonymous Palestinian human bombs; those who lived in southern Israel became repeatedly traumatized by Gaza-launched rocket attacks. Globally, Jews were either physically and verbally attacked--or forced to defend Israel's alleged "Apartheid, Nazi state" in universities, the media, among human rights activists, at BDS conferences, at demonstrations.
Now, more of the murderous, Israel-based attacks are up close and personal. Heartless, ugly.
Am I the only one who sees, suffers, and understands what the rock throwers, stoners, stabbers, shooters, and murders-by-car that have dominated the headlines for weeks now are really about? Are certain Jews blind or unfeeling? Do they sincerely blame the Jews for our many sorrows?
Indeed, they do.
Again, I must ask: Why do so many highly educated Jews refuse to see the larger danger that Israel faces? Why must they focus, instead, on Israeli
Perhaps some people feel more in control, less afraid, if they can find the flaw within and so can correct it. As I have previously written, this is exactly how battered women behave when they believe they cannot change their circumstances; many psychologically survive best by blaming themselves, not the aggressor.
I have just read a number of articles written by Jews (of course), which are all committed to seeing "both" sides, all sides- one, by two Jewish Harvard professors, calls for BDS.- as long as they can end up opposing Jewish self-interest, even Jewish survival. That goal or point of view is too narrow, too particularistic, too nationalistic for comfort.
Take the most recent lead article in The Jewish Week by Joshua Mitnick: "Attacks Testing Notion of Coexistence. Violence driving deeper wedge between Jewish and Arab Israelis." The article is not what you might expect from the title.
The opening paragraph describes Israeli Jews as feeling "vulnerable, the way they did in the days of the Palestinian uprising: they're buying pepper spray, arming themselves with rolling pins, taking self-defense classes..."
First, I do not think that Israeli Jews believed that rolling pins and pepper spray would be any protection against the suicide killers who blew up buses, cafes, nightclubs, shopping malls, hotel dining rooms, and pizza parlors that characterized the "Intifada" of 2002-2002.
Am I wrong? Did they?
Second, why does Mitnick refer to a "Palestinian uprising" as opposed to a full-out religious war against the Jewish infidel? I no longer like the term “uprising.” It has been interpreted to mean anything from a personal, inner struggle (an "itjihad), to a “shaking off of the status quo,” to a righteous attempt to overthrow an alleged "occupation." By now, even The Jewish Week should understand what is going on.
I ask for too much.
By the second paragraph the piece finds its true subject: The "fear and anxiety among the country's one-fifth Arab minority and Jerusalem's Palestinians who find themselves under constant suspicion of being a potential assailant."
By the way: What exactly is the difference between the "Arab minority" and the "Jerusalem Palestinians?"
The piece goes on to depict Arab and Palestinian fears that they might "get involved in clashes with the police" and "exposed to repeated security checks from police." The Arabs quoted also talk about a sense of "anxiety when they travel in predominantly Jewish areas."
I have no doubt that such feelings currently exist and that they are painful. I have no doubt that Israeli Jews are imperfect because they are human beings. However, the fear that the quoted Arabs are feeling are not now primarily due to Israeli racism, "Islamophobia," or right-wing nationalism.
The article begs to differ with my assessment and quotes Faisel Mahajneh, an Arab who states that "Arab women who wear hijabs are often subjected to discrimination (in Israel). Think about what it would be like it a Jew was exposed to danger because they are wearing a yarmulke. This is what Arabs experience every day."
Jews who wear yarmulkes are being stabbed to death in Israeli yeshivot, on their way to pray at the Kotel--and have been violently beaten, sometimes murdered, by Arab Muslims all across Europe. Does Mitnick mean to imply that these two very different kinds of "discrimination" are equal, or the same, or are morally equivalent?
Oh, he very much does. He writes about a "rise in vigilantism" implying that both sides are equal in this matter and then refers to three such cases--only three!--in which 1) Israeli soldiers over-reacted; 2) or were twice mistaken.
Nowhere in this particular article does the journalist mention the enormous and escalating Palestinian leaders’ incitement to kill Jews; the glory promised to such killers; the murderous musical videos; the proud Palestinian parents whose children they have coached to state their intention of killing Jews, etc.
I guess that is because there is no comparable Jewish incitement against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. Thus, it is not a subject that can be discussed.
I am not worried about the Poles who have written to me. I am worried about Jewish hard-heartedness towards other Jews, and perhaps, a Jewish death wish.