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‘Why do they hate us?’ — Israeli version

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In 2009, I was traveling from Israel to Denmark via Vienna, and happened to be on a flight with a couple who used to live close to us in the kibbutz where I grew up. They were on their way to Poland via Vienna with a group of Israelis, on a tour of concentration/extermination camps. After we took off, I had a conversation with the man, and one of the first things he asked me, knowing I was living in Denmark, was “Tell me, why do they hate us?”

This is a phrase that needs to be explained to the reader who is not familiar with the automatic understandings in the Israeli perception built into such a phrase. By “they” he meant those I was living with, Europeans. By “us” he meant us Israeli Jews. When you are an Israeli Jew, there are some things you just know. And the way he turned the words and accentuated the word “hate”, it was all telling a story of many more words. He was wondering, How it could be that the European “western civilization”, which in earlier years seemed to have a basic understanding of the need of the Jews to have a refuge from persecution and to defend their country, was now turning ever more critical of Israeli policy. He was reading this criticism as anti-semitism, and that was the essence of the idea in the word “hate”.

His question further deserves to be reflected upon in the light of recent “hate” accusations addressed to Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. When an Israeli educator suggested that Wallstrom deserved to be assassinated for her criticisms of Israel, he wrote, “Has anything changed in the Swedish DNA [my emphasis] in the decades following [Count Folke] Bernadotte’s death? Nothing has changed. The Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, with her characteristic covert anti-Semitism, with her arrogance, ignorance, and her interest-bound speculation regarding her future Muslim voters – she too seeks to fight the foundations of the State of Israel.” In the usage of the somewhat chilling “Swedish DNA” expression, the author is clearly making this a generalized national-ethnic issue.

I told my neighbor on that flight that we need to realize that media coverage in the world has become much more efficient. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, a state could have much more control of what is reported out. But look at the 80’s already – the Lebanon War, the Massacres at Sabra and Shatila. I said to him, the footage of Sabra and Shatila was sent out in the whole world – except Israel.

“That was not even us!” he said. Then his wife came in and said to him “Of course it was us, you know it was our responsibility.”

This little discussion was ever so revealing to me, and painted the picture of the dilemma concerning responsibility:

If the Israeli army initiates a war for whatever reason and it acts in alliance with the Christian militias in Lebanon, then when those militias massacre thousands of Palestinian civilians whilst the Israeli Defense Forces is holding guard surrounding the area and lighting the scene in the night, you have a question of responsibility. Ariel Sharon, Minister of Defense at the time, was found “Indirectly responsible” for the massacres. So the question becomes, what part of that last phrase one chooses to place the focus upon – is it “indirectly” or “responsible”. The man chose one, his wife chose the other.

I continued to speak about the media coverage of the Gaza invasion of 2008-2009, which was a rather fresh subject. I said to him, when you embark upon such an operation and close the area off to media, in today’s world, the news will come out. In fact, I said, a CNN reporter standing on a hill overlooking Gaza with distant explosions everywhere, creates ever more suspicion about what really goes on.

Norman Finkelstein, in his book “This Time We Went Too Far – Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion” has a section mentioning, not the non-Jewish critique that is so often taken by Israelis to be ‘anti-Semitism’, but the gross critique by Jews around the world of Israel’s military activity during the Gaza invasion:

Most significantly, Jews prominent in communal Jewish life criticized Israel, albeit generally in muted language. As Israel stood poised to launch the ground offensive after a week of aerial attacks, a group of Britain’s most distinguished Jews, describing themselves as “profound and passionate supporters” of Israel, expressed “horror” at the “increasing loss of life on both sides” and called on Israel to cease its military operations in Gaza immediately. On a more acerbic note, British MP and former shadow foreign minister Gerald Kaufman declared during a House of Commons debate on Gaza, “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.” He went on to indict the Israeli government for having “ruthlessly and cynically exploit[ed] the continuing guilt among Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”
Meanwhile in France the popular Jewish writer Jean-Moïse Braitberg called on the Israeli president to remove his grandfather’s name from the memorial at Yad Vashem dedicated to victims of the Nazi Holocaust “so that it can no longer be used to justify the horror which is visited on the Palestinians.” In Germany Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, daughter of a former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, wrote, “Not the elected Hamas government, but the brutal occupier . . . belongs in the dock at the Hague,” while the German section of European Jews for a Just Peace issued a statement headlined “German Jews Say NO to Israeli Army Killings.”
In Canada eight Jewish women occupying the Israeli consulate called on “all Jews to speak out against this massacre,” and celebrated Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti declared, “The unbelievable war crimes that Israel is committing in Gaza . . . make me ashamed to be a Jew.” In Australia two award-winning novelists and a former federal cabinet minister signed a statement by Jews condemning Israel’s “grossly disproportionate assault”.

Then my old acquaintance raised another subject: “Arabs” invading Europe. He said he had read that Denmark now has a population of about 35% “Arabs”. I asked him where he read this, to which he answered “the internet”. Interesting, I told him; I also used to get these spam mails about Europe being overtaken by Arabs. I said that the claim sounds exaggerated, but that I will check the matter for him. In addition, I said we would have to agree on what the term “Arab” is perceived as – is it everyone who speaks Arabic? Does he mean all Muslims? Who are we talking about? (I did not even ask why we were talking about them.) When I got home, I checked the statistics, to find that Denmark had a total immigrant population of about 9.5%, including descendants. The specification mentioned a “non-western immigrants” percentage of 6.4%, and also mentioned that 11% of the total are of Turkish origin – and Turks are not Arabs, although the man might have thought about them when he said “Arabs” (source: pdf). I did not find statistics about “Arabs”. In any case, the man’s idea about 35% “Arabs” was a total fantasy.

But what were his ideas when speaking about this “problem”?

I had the idea that an Israeli would be interested in this kind of invention and racial propaganda because it plays into the idea that “the Western world is now experiencing our problems”. It brings me back to 2001 after September 11th. I was in Israel and had taken a taxi. The taxi driver commented on how “the rest of the world now knows what we’re talking about,” meaning that the world now understands the terror we experience in Israel. He said this with a certain glee, as if the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers were a kind of liberation – now we were not alone. I noted, with a certain worry, how Israeli society could be experiencing moral benefit from violence.

Zionism included an assumed intrinsic ‘goy’ hatred as a core argument for a Jewish homeland – under the idea that gentiles would always hate Jews for no reason, which is why Jews will always need a national refuge. That ‘hate’ was then referenced to ‘Arabs’, and once again their hate was regarded as an irrational, primitive feeling. Even if one lightly accepted that there was some violence involved in the inception and currency of the Jewish state, the ‘hate’ was regarded as irrational. They have simply not understood the ‘special case’ and necessity of the Jewish state. Whilst they have a right to be angry and not understand it– still, it was them lacking understanding and enlightenment.

It is the same rationale that informs Jewish Israeli feeling today about the many Palestinian stabbing attacks: they are irrational, they just hate us. Without justifying attacks against civilians, one can indeed address a greater paradigm of oppression and a stale status-quo of occupation, causing hopelessness. But no, Israel wants an unequivocal condemnation of this. And Palestinian hate and irrationality is apparently supposed to exonerate violent lynchings and extrajudicial executions. Those are not hate. They can’t be. It’s just ‘security’. When Swedish Foreign Minister Wallström merely suggested investigation of what seemed to be extrajudicial executions (and Israeli journalist Gideon Levy is unequivocal about them being just that), she and Sweden are tarnished and admonished by Israeli government leaders, and their diplomats are unwelcome in Israel – indeed, some go as far as suggesting her assassination.

No, Israelis are not irrational. They can’t be. Their response is always a response to irrationality, to hate. And those who don’t understand that, or who merely question that– they must be the haters.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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25 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    January 25, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Good article. However, it would seem that if most Israelis were to read it, they would not “get” it. What? Israelis irrational! Surely not, perish the thought. Israelis have “defense mechanisms”, of course, but not Freudian ones — the IDF is their “defense mechanism”!

    I think what’s really going on is that Israelis see that the USA “got away” with genocide against most Native Americans, Australia ditto w.r.t. Australian Natives (Aborigines), so why do “they” (e.g., EU) complain about Israel but not about USA and Australia? Shouldn’t “nice mostly-white-skinned people” (such as Israelis are assumed to be) be automatically forgiven for breaking the moral laws? Is it fair that “we” cannot be allowed to do it today even though “they” were allowed to do it 100 years ago?

    And of course Israelis cannot wrap their minds around the fact that the EU and others see the occupation (by now, and at long last) as illegal and the settlements as illegal from their inception. They say “we” (Israel) have a right to exist but not to expand? What nonsense!

    Maybe it is not, after all, mind-bending to be an Israeli. I guess it’s a bit like being one of those Bundy boys in Oregon who are so sure they have a right to occupy US gov’mint buildings. Being “sure” is so comforting. And being opposed is so incomprehensible!

    • rosross
      February 1, 2016, 11:27 pm

      For one thing Australia did not have a campaign of genocide against Aborigines and for another, they ‘did not get away with it.’

      The English when they arrived in 1788 made Aborigines English citizens with the same rights and had a policy of befriending and learning from them.

      From 1788 until 1901 when Australia gained independence, English and Australian Governments had policies of providing rations, education, medical care, shelter, guns, fishing equipment, canoes, agricultural tools etc., to the Aborigines.

      Why would they do that if they had a policy of genocide? They did not.

      Yes, there was violence, there always is when a more powerful occupier and coloniser arrives but it also needs to be remembered that Aborigines, numbering around 300,000 in 1788, were as varied as European tribes thousands of years in the past.

      They spoke different languages and many, if not most, were at constant war with other tribes. They practised cannibalism, both of their own and of their enemies, including cannibalism of their own children, wives and aged and sick members of the tribe. Infanticide was common and continued to be common, despite the best efforts of English and Australian Governments until the early 20th century.

      I don’t know enough about the US to comment on any policy of genocide, but what I do know is that both the US and Australia recognised the wrongs done in centuries past and created one nation with equal rights for all. Something Israel refuses to do.

      Australia has also apologised, said sorry, in regard to suffering of indigenous in times past and has poured billions of dollars, time and effort into solving the problems which still exist for a minority of the 570,000 who register as indigenous.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 2, 2016, 10:43 am

        Australia did not have a campaign of genocide against Aborigines and for another, they ‘did not get away with it.’

        while their may never have been an official campaign i think there’s room for doubt regarding actors in certain areas of the different frontiers. for example Queensland and its Native Police Force:

        In cases where reports had to be written, the records can at times be seen as having been later destroyed. Recent studies into the most significant and notorious case of this kind, that of Queensland and its Native Police Force, show that all Native Police reports and monthly enumerations of patrols originally stored in the Queensland Police Department went missing sometime after 1905 when the last station closed.[5] It is generally acknowledged that the European as well as indigenous death toll in frontier conflicts and massacres in Queensland exceeded that of all other Australian colonies, yet it is certainly not possible to map out more than a small percentage of the numerous massacre sites in Queensland. We can calculate in various ways the minimum amount of frontier ‘dispersals’ performed by the Native Police Force during half a century…. However, we will never be able to locate or describe in detail more than a small percentage of these events. Thus any attempt to list all events of this kind will of nature (at least in Queensland), be more deceptive than revealing.[6]

        The concepts of invasion, frontier wars and massacres, although frequently mentioned and debated in the early Australian legislatures, has become a highly contentious issues in modern Australia.

        “reports and monthly enumerations of patrols originally stored in the Queensland Police Department went missing sometime after 1905” is evidence of ‘getting away with it’ — covering their tracks. of course the documentation could have all just accidentally gone up in flames.

  2. JWalters
    January 25, 2016, 6:19 pm

    “In any case, the man’s idea about 35% “Arabs” was a total fantasy.”

    Virtually his entire world view is a fantasy. He is a victim of systematic lying. Thus he is tricked into defending criminals. Those criminals are who people hate.

  3. Keith
    January 25, 2016, 6:28 pm

    JONATHAN OFIR- “Zionism included an assumed intrinsic ‘goy’ hatred as a core argument for a Jewish homeland – under the idea that gentiles would always hate Jews for no reason, which is why Jews will always need a national refuge.”

    Many of the early Zionists did not assume an intrinsic Gentile hatred of Jews, rather they thought that it was a logical consequence of Jewish domination of limited areas of the political economy as well as an incompatibility of their “alien” status with blood and soil nationalism. Israel was supposedly going to result in Jews filling all of the occupations, not just a few,hence, result in the “new Jew.” Many of these early Zionists were very disdainful of the Diaspora Jews, who were seen as weak.

    I would suggest that rather than an assumption of intrinsic Gentile hatred of Jews, what we have is an ideological construct designed to promote group solidarity and cohesion. The very notion of eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism is rather obviously irrational, hence, the purpose must involve an intentional appeal to group solidarity at the expense of rational dealings with non-Jews. Rationality of group beliefs is in dynamic tension with the irrationality of group cohesion. Ideologies must always deviate from reality somewhat to provide an us versus them group identification. The greater the rationality, the less the cohesion and vice versa. Fundamentalists have very strong internal cohesion even as they cannot relate rationally with others. Israeli fundamentalism is increasing and fealty to ideology triumphs over rationality. Israel, and much of Jewish Zionism, cannot be understood from a purely rational perspective, nor can Israel be expected to act in a rational manner in violation of Judeo-Zionist ideology.

    • irishmoses
      January 26, 2016, 11:50 pm

      Re: Keith: “I would suggest that rather than an assumption of intrinsic Gentile hatred of Jews, what we have is an ideological construct designed to promote group solidarity and cohesion.”

      Interesting point although I suspect there is some factual/rational basis for Jewish belief in intrinsic Gentile hatred of Jews. i.e. historical examples of Gentile oppression of Jews. But these examples are not evidence of some intrinsic Gentile Jew hatred. I think it just provides a simpler way of looking at it without having to engage in fact-specific examination of the cause of these incidents.

      The intrinsic Jew hatred explanation for antisemitism makes it easy to take logical leaps such as concluding any criticism of Jews, of Zionism, of Israeli conduct is ipso facto evidence of antisemitic motive, of intrinsic Jew hatred. I’ve encountered this on MW and on my own blog. It’s the ultimate rejoinder: underneath all your clever argument you are really nothing more than just another Jew hater.

      I encountered this in Benjamin Ginsberg’s “Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State”, a scholarly work on antisemitism in pre-World War 2 Europe and the US recommended to me by you in an earlier less than pleasant discussion we had on another thread. I really enjoyed the book which provides an excellent history of antisemitism and its causes from post-Roman times to the 1990s . Yet, despite the scholarly nature of the book, the author concludes, without any attempt at explanation or justification, that criticism of Israel is per se evidence of antisemitic motive or Jew hatred.

      This dumbfounded me. So I think there may be something in what Ofir is saying, that Zionism assumes an intrinsic Goy hatred based on their assumption that gentiles will always hate Jews for no reason.

      Your suggestion that this is really an “ideological construct designed to promote group solidarity and cohesion” seems to dovetail with Ofir’s conclusion that Zionists used this construct as a rationale for a Jewish state or national refuge for the Jews. In other words, it’s an artificial device, a simple, clear, uncomplicated narrative that promotes group solidarity and acts as a much-needed justification for the creation of Israel.

      This is preliminary stuff on my part and I need to read more about it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. It occurs to me that we see the same simple narrative applied to the Palestinians: ‘There is no such thing as a Palestinian, and, even if there was, they hate us and want only to kill us and push us into the sea.’ Simple narratives prevent discussion and reasoned analysis. This is probably a human characteristic that Zionists have mastered.

    • Keith
      January 27, 2016, 12:32 pm

      IRISHMOSES- “Yet, despite the scholarly nature of the book, the author concludes, without any attempt at explanation or justification, that criticism of Israel is per se evidence of antisemitic motive or Jew hatred.”

      I recommended “Fatal Embrace” because of the value of the history, particularly the early history of Jewish wealth and power and support for imperialism, etc. This is a much more realistic history than the Fiddler on the Roof myth-history of Zionism. The closer Ginsberg gets to the present, the more he sounds like a conventional Zionist. Perhaps current events were a little too close for complete honesty and the reaction that may have caused. Also, I don’t think he equates anti-Semitism with Jew hatred per se, rather, to him anti-Semitism seems to involve Gentiles calling attention to Jewish involvement as they jostle for power-seeking advantage. This is close to my own view that all elites, including Jews , engage in all manner of questionable behavior in the struggle for power. Another good book is “The Jewish Century” by Yuri Slezkine, which Phil recommended. Also, “The Holocaust Industry” by Norman Finkelstein, in which he demonstrates the significant change in official Zionist ideology following the 1967 six day war. It was only after 1967 that eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism became a constant theme in Zionism.

      • irishmoses
        January 27, 2016, 6:37 pm

        Good points. Thanks for the recommendations.

  4. Sulphurdunn
    January 25, 2016, 7:53 pm

    “…why do they hate us?” Maybe ‘they’ hate us for the same reason the abusers of power are always hated.

  5. Kay24
    January 25, 2016, 7:57 pm

    Just like the ignorant in the US, it is amusing that they can be so naive when they ask this question.

    As if bombing civilians, stealing lands, breaking international laws, and running open air prisons, will not result in the world disliking you.

    For all the cunning they seem to have, they are too brainwashed to realize that it is their own policies that hurt them. Or like many Americans, does arrogance stand in the way of realization?

  6. YoniFalic
    January 25, 2016, 9:22 pm

    When I first joined Mondoweiss, I mentioned that my grandfather rejected religion and became a Zionist because he had concluded that anti-Semites were much more right than wrong and that “Jews” could only reform themselves if they had their own country.

    I realized in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead that stealing a country from its natives, killing or driving out those native, and abusing or exploiting natives under “Jewish” rule is hardly reform.

    After studying Jewish history at Columbia, which has an excellent Jewish studies department, I realized both that my grandfather’s view was simplistic and also that the Leidensgeschichte (Jewish history as suffering) did not reflect reality.

    I found Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews by Lindemann to be an eye-opener especially when he pointed out that emancipation of Ashkenazim in France took place after that of non-Ashkenazim. I had to wonder whether the facts really fit the definition of anti-Semitism as irrational hatred of “Jews”.

    Lindemann presents the history of the conflict between Treitschke (Die Juden sind unser Unglück!) and Graetz. I was surprised to learn that Samson Raphael Hirsch, who is known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im derech eretz school of modern Orthodoxy took Treitschke’s side against Graetz.

    The discussion of anti-Semitism must analyze the nature and the causes of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism simply cannot be equated with irrational hatred of “Jews” or racist attitudes toward “Jews”.

    • rosross
      February 2, 2016, 1:04 am

      One of the difficulties with any kind of discrimination, particularly when it becomes entrenched in a system, whether religious, tribal, cultural, national or whatever, is that it also offers benefits to those who believe they are being discriminated against, i.e. the role of victim equates with superior and special, and this soon leads to as much, if not more discrimination being imagined than experienced.

      There is absolutely no doubt that various groups, religions, nationalities, cultures have been and are still in some instances discriminated against, but the case for discrimination against Jews, erroneously called anti-semitism since most Jews are not Semites, has become very flimsy since World War Two, and in fact was flimsy in some countries like the US, UK, Australia, Canada and in fact many parts of Europe, prior to the rise of Hitler and the Second World War.

      Unfortunately the tendency to victimhood and the inability to let go of past suffering and wrongs is written into Judaism and so there is fertile ground for the wrongs suffered by Jews under the Nazis.

      In addition, Zionism, a group which consisted of many non-practising Jews, saw value in milking the victim ‘mentality’ of the religion for the Palestine colonial enterprise.

      Having said that, nothing happens in a vacuum and all groups, which, for whatever reason set themselves apart are going to be more likely to become a focus, again, for whatever reason, when times are difficult and social cohesion weakens.

      That is not about justifying any of the wrongs, but about understanding how they came into being.

      The mere fact that Israel has become in so many ways Nazi-like, is a clear indication that at psychological levels, the religion, society, culture has had and still has major levels of dysfunction. Israel has become the Shadow – that which is denied and projected onto others, just as Nazism was the shadow of the German psyche as nation.

      Bearing in mind that variations on the theme of Nazism have been found throughout history and there was nothing particular about the Germans in having such a dark and destructive shadow.

  7. lonely rico
    January 25, 2016, 9:49 pm

    >pre-army Israeli teen

    From the bottom of my heart, I wish for Arabs to be torched

    From the mouths of babes –
    decades of indoctrination bear the ugly fruit of racist venom.
    Generations taught to disdain, fear, and hate the Palestinians;
    contempt for any who stand in the way of their cruel supremacist nightmare.

    They are sickening !

    • Marnie
      January 26, 2016, 1:12 am

      This is the result of the nourishment received during their formative years, a steady diet of fear, mistrust, jealousy, contempt and hatred. What other possible outcome could there be? It’s not accidental, it was planned to be this way, otherwise most high school conscripts would refuse to serve, instead of just 4 or 5 each year. Sickening.

      • rosross
        February 1, 2016, 11:37 pm

        Yes, a dysfunctional society enmeshed in fear and believing in its own superiority. Truly the path to madness.

        What is odd, given how often the claim is made of how clever Israelis are, that they have been singularly and consistently stupid since the foundation of their State in Palestine, acting in ways which can only impact destructively upon their society, culture, religion, State and future.

    • rosross
      February 2, 2016, 1:06 am

      Have compassion for such fear and woundedness. It has been learned and encouraged.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 2, 2016, 10:17 am

        i agree rosross. and i feel very sorry for children so young in life who hold so much fear and contempt. that is a learned feature and very destructive. it’s child abuse and can be explained in part by a societal trauma of the parents and grandparents generations. i’m not sure what tools are lacking that prevent people from healing. perhaps an inability or disposition not to forgive or evolve out of trauma.

        btw, i’ve appreciated so many of your recent comments, thank you.

  8. John O
    January 26, 2016, 3:56 am

    “In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, a state could have much more control of what is reported out.”

    Indeed. Just look at the example of Michael Elkins, who reported from Israel for the BBC for 17 years:

    A bloody terrorist gun-runner!!

  9. Ossinev
    January 26, 2016, 6:04 am

    “ My principle says maximum Jews on maximum land with maximum security and with minimum Palestinians.”

    The above are the words not of the Yahoo , Bennett or take your pick from a range of right wing messianic fruitbats in the Land of Creation. They are the words of Yair Lapid a supposedly left/centrist softy Zionist.

    Substitute the word Aryans or Germans for Jews in the above statement and eg Slavs for Palestinians and you may get some insight as to why civilized moral people in the West “hate” Zionism and Zionists.

  10. Michael Lesher
    January 26, 2016, 8:02 am

    Of course, one particularly painful irony of this sort of thinking is that it once targeted European Jews. It was a staple of anti-Semitism circa 1930 that Jews were systematically spreading through Europe, taking over its power structure and subverting its culture. (Then as now, both the numbers and the influence of the immigrants were often wildly exaggerated.) And Nazi propaganda during the 30s stressed that Germany was misunderstood, and unjustly maligned, as it stood alone against the “Judeo-Bolsheviks” who menaced the entire West.

    This idea reached a sort of apotheosis in Himmler’s infamous Posen speech, in which he explained the “painful” necessity of eliminating dangerous races — a job he said Germans did not like, and that he was glad they did not like — as an imperative of “history.” Himmler also stressed that those who carried it out should be proud to have remained “decent” as they did their duty. That’s why it’s especially chilling to hear similar sentiments expressed by prominent Jews about “the most moral army in the world.”

    • rosross
      February 1, 2016, 11:32 pm

      If there was a staple anti-Semitism across Europe in the 1930’s why did so many people in so many European countries go out of their way to save Jews from the Nazis? And why did such anti-semitism not appear in countries which did not fall under Nazi influence or control?

      Jews are not a race but then Hitler got a lot of things wrong.

      I think that the part played by Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution sowed seeds of fear in many countries as to the danger of followers of Judaism. But that is a digression.

      Racism, religious, racial or of any kind is wrong and can never be justified, but it does help to have some understanding of the milieu in which bigotry and prejudice arises and flourishes.

      That also applies to Israel.

      • Mooser
        February 2, 2016, 12:19 pm

        “If there was a staple anti-Semitism across Europe in the 1930’s why did so many people in so many European countries go out of their way to save Jews from the Nazis?”

        Gosh, I’ve never seen that emphasized like that before. Why has that very inspiring news been hidden from the public?

        “I think that the part played by Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution sowed seeds of fear in many countries as to the danger of followers of Judaism.”

        Yes, we need to know precisely what is meant by “Judo-Bolshevik Commissariat!” They didn’t know karate, but they knew crrr-azy, is what I heard

  11. James Canning
    January 26, 2016, 2:04 pm

    Some Israelis think those who argue Israel must end the occupation, do so because they “hate” Israel, or “the Jews”, etc etc etc. Which is of course utter nonsense.

  12. italian ex-pat
    January 26, 2016, 2:40 pm

    So many interesting and informative comments!

    I am ashamed to confess that, born during WW II and growing up in Italy until my mid-twenties, I had never heard of the Holocaust, and Israel was just another ME country – insignificant.
    My liberal arts education focused on the greatness of ancient Greece and Rome, rather than recent historical events. Deliberate cover-up of atrocities the talian government was, at least for a while, complicit in? I don’t know.

    My insight into the Jewish view of the Gentile world as the ‘enemy’ has developed over the past dozen or so years, rather than the half century I’ve been married into a Jewish family. Has Israel’s nationalism and its stranglehold on American Jews intensified in recent years, or was it always so, and I was blissfully blind to it?

    What I would say to @Kay24: the perception from the Israeli/Jewish viewpoint that the world ‘hates’ them because of their occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is only the most recent reason. They truly believe that non-Jews have hated them from time immemorial, the occupation of Palestine is only the latest excuse, even without that they think they would be hated and persecuted – without reason, of course.

    And to @pabelmont: yes, the ‘white people’ stealing the Native Americans’ land is often used as a valid precedent to Israel’s stealing Palestinian land – ‘when you give Manhattan back to the Indians you can tell us to give back Palestine ‘. Surprisingly they haven’t yet brought up slavery.

    Perhaps that is the power they have over the US government. That and the guilt of the US not having prevented the Holocaust. How long can that yoke be kept on, I wonder?

    • lysias
      January 26, 2016, 3:29 pm

      The only Italian government that was complicit in the Holocaust was the Repubblica Sociale Italiana puppet government that the German occupiers installed in 1943.

      For as long as Italy remained independent, all the Italian institutions — the monarchy, the military, even Mussolini’s fascist government — resisted the Holocaust to the best of their ability.

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