Chapter 6: Expendable
Anti-Semistism in Disguise
While the atrocities of the Holocaust helped the Jewish settlement in Israel win recognition and compassion, and the Jewish State of Israel was founded in 1948, it did very little to uproot anti-Semitism. Instead, anti-Semitism acquired a new form: “anti-Zionism.”
There are those who argue that anti-Zionism differs from anti-Semitism. Baal HaSulam, on the contrary, asserts that hatred of Jews is just that, regardless of the form it takes. In his succinct and forward style, he writes, “It is a fact that Israel is hated by all nations, whether for religious reasons, racial reasons, capitalistic reasons, communistic reasons, or cosmopolitan reasons. It is so because the hatred precedes all reasons, but each [person] merely resolves one’s loathing according to one’s own psychology.”[i]
But as is often the case with Jews, our best advocates come from among the nations. About a year after the 1967 Six Day War, American social writer, Eric Hoffer, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in whose honor the Eric Hoffer Award was established, published an open letter in the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps it was the fact that Mr. Hoffer was not Jewish that enabled him to write so candidly about the state of the Jews in the world.
“The Jews are a peculiar people,” he begins. “Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel, displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab.
“[British historian] Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.
“Other nations, when victorious on the battlefield, dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.
“Other nations—when they are defeated—survive and recover, but should Israel be defeated, it would be destroyed. Had Nasser [President of Egypt during the 1967 Six Day War] triumphed last June he would have wiped Israel off the map and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews. No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own [US government], is worth the paper it is written on.
“There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Negroes are executed in Rhodesia. But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him. The Swedes, who are ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we did in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore and ball bearings, and serviced his troop trains to Norway.
“The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives it will be solely because of Jewish efforts, and Jewish resources. Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.
“I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.”[ii]
Another remarkable example of sympathy relates this time to the debate over whether one who opposes Zionism also opposes Jews. Below are the extraordinary words of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who, in a letter to a friend, makes the case for the Jews in general, and for the Jewish state in particular, in such compelling eloquence that Israel’s Foreign Ministry can only envy.
Here is Martin Luther King’s “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend”: “…You declare, my friend; that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist.’ And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of G-D’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews—this is G-D’s own truth.
“Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.
“Why is this? You know that Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land. The Jewish people, the Scriptures tell us, once enjoyed a flourishing Commonwealth in the Holy Land. From this they were expelled by the Roman tyrant, the same Romans who cruelly murdered our L-RD. Driven from their homeland, their nation in ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people time and again suffered the lash of whichever tyrant happened to rule over them.
“…How easy it should be, for anyone who holds dear this inalienable right of all mankind, to understand and support the right of the Jewish People to live in their ancient Land of Israel. All men of good will exult in the fulfillment of G-D’s promise that His people should return in joy to rebuild their plundered land. This is Zionism, nothing more, nothing less.
“And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism.
“The anti-Semite rejoices at any opportunity to vent his malice. The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the anti-Semite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not hate the Jews, he is just ‘anti-Zionist!’
“My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate anti-Semitism. I know you feel, as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and revulsion for racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled—as others have been—into thinking you can be ‘anti-Zionist’ and yet remain true to those heartfelt principles that you and I share. Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews—make no mistake about it.”[iii]
Approximately since the turn of the century, we have been witnessing a rise in anti-Semitism throughout the world. An executive report issued by the U.S. State Department confirms that “The increasing frequency and severity of anti-Semitic incidents since the start of the 21st century … has compelled the international community to focus on anti-Semitism with renewed vigor. …In recent years, incidents have been more targeted in nature with perpetrators appearing to have the specific intent to attack Jews and Judaism.”[iv]
In some cases, there is anti-Semitism where there are no Jews at all! A report titled, “Anti-Semitism without Jews,” by writer, editor, and photographer Ruth Ellen Gruber, details the prevalence of anti-Semitism in Europe, even where there are no Jews whatsoever. According to Gruber, “I’ve been asked to discuss the phenomenon of ‘anti-Semitism without Jews’ in historical terms, but also within the context of what has been called the ‘new anti-Semitism’ that has manifested itself in Europe—and, indeed, elsewhere … I have to say that I am not really comfortable with the term ‘new anti-Semitism.’ As the London Jewish Chronicle put it in an editorial last year, anti-Semitism is a ‘light sleeper,’ easy to rouse. It is also often referred to as a virus, a protean virus which, like disease-causing viruses in the human body, is able to mutate in an opportunistic fashion to defeat whatever defenses or anti-bodies have been built up against it. It has done so many times, even in post-Holocaust countries whose Jewish population is practically invisible. And it is doing so now.”[v]
Perhaps less surprising, but still unsettling, is the phenomenon of Malaysia’s formal anti-Semitism. On October 6, 2012, Robert Fulford of the Canadian National Post, published a story about Malaysia’s anti-Semitism, stating that in Malaysia, “Politicians and civil servants devote a surprising amount of time to thinking about Israel, 7,612 km [4730 miles] away. Sometimes they appear to be obsessed by it. Malaysia has never had a dispute with Israel, but the government encourages the citizens to hate Israel and also to hate Jews whether they are Israelis or not.”[vi]
“Few Malaysians have laid eyes on a Jew; the tiny Jewish community emigrated decades ago,” writes Fulford. “Nevertheless, Malaysia has become an example of a phenomenon called ‘Anti-Semitism without Jews.’ Last March, for instance, the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department sent out an official sermon to be read in all mosques, stating that ‘Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behavior and murders performed by them.’
“In Kuala Lumpur, it’s routine to blame the Jews for everything from economic failures to the bad press Malaysia gets in foreign (‘Jewish-owned’) newspapers.”[vii]
Evidently, even the Holocaust did not change people’s minds regarding the Jews. As I wrote in the Foreword to this book, “since around the turn of the century, anti-Semitism has been on the rise once more, this time the world over. The specter of the hatred of the Jews has taken root worldwide.” The sympathy we had had after World War II was evidently short-lived, and now a new, even more wide-ranging wave of anti-Semitism than ever is on the rise.
In Chapter 2 we quoted Rabbi Nathan Shapiro’s words: “There are four forces in man—still, vegetative, animate, and speaking—and Israel have yet another, fifth part, for they are the Godly speaking.”[viii] If we keep in mind that the goal of creation is for everyone to achieve that last degree, which only Israel has, and which Abraham had intended to give to all his Babylonian countryfolk, we will see that what we need to give the world is one, very simple thing—the quality of bestowal, embodied in the maxim, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When egotism thrives throughout the world, this quality is the only remedy that can offset a global clash of unprecedented proportions.
The Jews, therefore, must rekindle that trait within them as individuals and as a nation, and lead the way for the whole of humanity. Indeed, acquiring the quality of bestowal is tantamount to the revelation of the Creator through equivalence of form. Regrettably, as the next chapter will show, we often attempt to avoid that mission, either because we are unaware of it, or because we have no desire for it. Thus, instead of embracing our vocation and paving the way to the light for the whole of humanity, we try to assimilate ourselves to extinction and to be like all other nations.
[i] Baal HaSulam, The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Writings of the Last Generation,” 832-833.
[ii] Eric Hoffer, Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1968
[iii] From M.L. King Jr., “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” Saturday Review XLVII (August 1967), p. 76 Reprinted in M.L. King Jr., “This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”), url: http://www.internationalwallofprayer.org/A-022-Martin-Luther-King-Zionism.html
[iv] U.S. Department of State, “Report on Global Anti-Semitism (January 5, 2005), url: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/40258.htm
[v] Ruth Ellen Gruber, “Anti-Semitism without Jews,” url: http://www.annefrank.org/ImageVaultFiles/id_11774/cf_21/Gruber.pdf
[vi] Robert Fulford, “Anti-Semitism without Jews in Malaysia,” National Post (October 6, 2012), url: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/06/robert-fulford-anti-semitism-without-jews-in-malaysia/
[viii] Rabbi Nathan Neta Shapiro, Reveals Deep Things, Parashat Shemot [Exodus].