Friday, July 11, 2008

The Curious Predicament of the Anti-Zionist

Think much I do on the situation of the Jewish people, on the State of Israel, and the world at large. All are intertwined, after all. It occurs to me that if those who stand opposed to Israel would just be honest with themselves, and with those who either support Israel, are Jewish, or Israeli, they would be able to bring themselves to admit what many of us others who stand against them already know. And what do we know about them, about these anti-Semites, these anti-Zionists? Quite a bit, for to be acquainted with human nature and not deny its faults gives one insight of a sort those blind to or dismissive of their own faults manage to avoid, often purposely.

These anti-Zionists, indeed, all anti-Semites, are deeply disturbed by the idea of Jews having the means and the ability to defend themselves. See, after thousands of years of Jewish statelessness, the world got pretty used to being able to pick on Jews, without much in the way of retaliation deterring them from murdering, expelling, or otherwise oppressing Jews on a whim. But now, over sixty years after the establishment of the State of Israel, anti-Semites and ordinary individuals still have yet to come to terms with the idea of Jews not only having a country, but warplanes, tanks, soldiers and nuclear weapons with which they can defend it vigorously.

Yes, long since gone are the days when anti-Semitism rarely had the potential for serious repercussions. Jews now have the ability, and the will, to strike back at those who would do them harm or have already done them harm, even if the guilty parties hide thousands of miles away. The world blusters and protests, embargoes and boycotts, vilifies and scapegoats, all because the established order - of thousands of years - has been turned upside down, because the Jews are no longer shy about holding accountable those who attack them. How the anti-Zionist yearns for yesteryear, when a Jew could be assaulted, persecuted, without fear of retaliation!

The truth is, the building up and establishment of the State of Israel did not create a "new Jew", as the proponents of early Zionism thought it would. No, what the re-founding of a Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel did was return the Jew to his and her former station.

Jews in the time of King David, and for some period before and long afterward, were able warriors. Thousands of years after David made Jerusalem his capital and that of all the people Israel, it was the Jews who rose up against the might of the Roman Empire and held it off successfully for several years. The destruction of the Second Temple, and later the great expulsion following the Bar-Kochba revolt (which resulted in Rome renaming Judea-Israel as "Syria Palaestina") was as significant to the disarming of the Jews as the rebuilding of Jewish statehood was to their rearmament. And it is their rearmament which is most disturbing to the anti-Zionist.

Modern Israel is not, of course, above criticism, nor should it be. However, Israel's existence as a liberal democracy - whose citizens both Jewish and Arab, Muslim and Christian, enjoy rights and privileges not shared by the residents of neighboring lands - cannot be the reason for the amount of disproportionate criticism heaped upon it. Nor, unfortunately, does Israel's existence as a liberal democracy prevent it from being counted amongst those nations inimical to world peace, along with such dictatorial stand-outs as North Korea, Iran, Burma, Cuba or even quasi-dictatorial regimes such as Venezuela and, to a lesser degree, Russia.

So what else but the existence of Jewish military power, and the absence of a reluctance by Jews in Israel to use that power in a just cause, can be the reason for Israel being viewed and treated by many as a pariah?

Loath though many outspoken opponents of Israel may be to admit it (they'll spout platitudes to human rights they deny to the Jew, but want for everyone else), nevertheless it is the case that they prefer the meek Jew to the assertive Jew; they would rather the Jew be the prey, not the hunter. The idea of aggressive Jews, able and willing to stand up for defend themselves when threatened, is anathema to such people, even in this day and age, long after the Nazis were discredited and defeated. Furthermore, for a Jew to claim she has just as much a right to defend herself as an Arab has to defend himself, the anti-Zionist, what an absurdity this is!

It is as if the decrees of Heaven itself have been overturned by the Devil!

To the anti-Zionist, Israel's greatest crime is not that it kills Arabs in self-defense or captured land from Arabs in wars the Arabs were - and are - responsible for instigating. No, to the anti-Zionist/anti-Semite (the labels are interchangeable), Israel's greatest crime is simply...that Israel exists. To those of this view, the non-existence of Israel would bring peace of mind, to say nothing of peace on Earth. For a millennium or two, the world - in particular, anti-Semites - were able to deal with the Jew as the stronger party. Now, anti-Semites must contend with Jews who can make a strong claim to being an equal, and in some aspects even the stronger, party.

2,000 years of disenfranchisement, pogroms, exclusions, Inquisitions, Crusades, expulsions, genocides and like and such as against the Jews didn't prepare the anti-Zionist, the anti-Semite, for this, a world in which Jews are capable and cunning commandos, generals, spies, fighter pilots and artillerymen. Anti-Zionists would rather they didn't have to deal with this reality at all; the criminal is usually vexed when the victim fights back. But deal with this reality the anti-Semite must, and in so doing, resentment breeds. Resentment breeds, and Israel is the focus.

Israel is the focus, and Jews are the targets.

Jews are the targets...but now, they fight back.

What a predicament!

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