Gaza Fuels Anti-Semitism
by Gideon Levy
Gaza endangered world Jews as no other war has before it.
Since its establishment, more Jews were hurt in wars and terror attacks in
Israel than anywhere else. The war in Gaza endangered world Jews as well, as no
other war has before it.
Israel is today the most dangerous place in the world for Jews. Since its
establishment, more Jews were hurt in wars and terror attacks that took place in
Israel than anywhere else. The war in Gaza took this one step backward – it
endangered world Jews as well, as no other war has before it. The Jewish home,
the national refuge, not only doesn’t provide refuge, but even threatens Jews
everywhere else. When you tote up the results of the war, include that too in
the loss column.
A wave of animosity is washing over world public opinion. In contrast to the
complacent, blind, smug Israeli public opinion, people abroad saw the pictures
in Gaza and were aghast. No conscientious person could have remained unaffected.
The shock was translated into hatred toward the state that did all that, and in
extreme cases the hatred also awakened anti-Semitism from its lair. Yes, there
is anti-Semitism in the world, even in the 21st century, and Israel has fueled
it. Israel provided it with abundant excuses for hatred.
But not every anti-Israeli sentiment is anti-Semitism. The opposite is true –
most of the criticism of Israel is still substantive and moral. Anti-Semitism,
racist as any national hatred, popped up on the sidelines of this criticism –
and Israel is indirectly responsible for its appearance.
But Israel and the Diaspora Jewish establishment automatically tag any criticism
as anti-Semitic. It’s an old trick – the burden of guilt is shifted from those
who perpetrated the Gaza horrors to those who are tainted with so-called
anti-Semitism. It’s not us, it’s you, anti-Semitic world. No matter what Israel
does, the whole world is against it.
This is nonsense, of course. Just as not every policeman who gives a Jewish
driver a traffic ticket is an anti-Semite, as the Jewish organizations try to
put it, and not every robbery of a rabbi is a hate crime, so not every criticism
of Israel is motivated by hatred of Jews.
These organizations have become the lightning rods of the criticism of Israel
and they have brought it on themselves. This is the price of their blind support
of Israel, their noisy propaganda campaigns in Israel’s name, their turning of
every Jewish community center into a PR agency for Israel, and their unanimous
support for everything Israel does. We’re all one people, they say. In that
case, if every Jew who dares to censure Israel, even when it’s involved in
brutal conduct, is a self-hating Jew – then everyone bears responsibility.
Quite a few Jews abroad sent me frightened messages during the war, pleading me
to stop writing my articles, cease my criticism, because the anti-Semites use
them. I replied to all of them that all my articles together haven’t affected
Israel’s status as much as one news report from Gaza. I also know many who still
harbor sympathy for Israel precisely because of the remnants here of a free
society, one that allows criticism.
In any case, the address for the Jews’ fear should be the State of Israel. Many
Jews now feel afraid. Part of the fear may be exaggerated, part of it is
justified. It seems to me that being a Muslim in Europe is still harder than
being a Jew. But in Paris, Jews don’t dare wear a kippa, in Belgium a woman
wasn’t allowed into a store because she was Jewish and a French journalist who
visited Algiers last week told me that the hatred for Israel and the Jews in
France has reached an all-time high.
The address for all the complaints is Israel, because Israel is the one to blame
Whoever is afraid for the Jews’ fate, whoever is shocked by the anti-Semitic
incidents, should have thought about it before taking Israel to another runaway
war. The world isn’t always against Israel. Suffice it to remember Israel’s
status during the Oslo period, when the entire world cheered it, including parts
of the Arab world. This world will be happy to embrace Israel again, if this
country only changes its bullying, domineering behavior.
Gevalt, anti-Semitism? Maybe. But Israel is supplying the fuse.