Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett could be said to have made a genius triple breakthrough in the fields of psychology, psychiatry and sociology, coining a new term: “auto-anti-Semitism.”
“Auto-anti-Semitism is a social-psychological phenomenon in which a Jew develops obsessive contempt and hostility towards Jewish tradition, customs, and observant Jews.”
He wrote that on Friday, as cited by the religious-nationalist settler-outlet Israel National News, in response to criticism from leftwing organizations that “Jewish content is permeating more and more into the education system”.
Actually, Bennett is simply calling secular Jews “self-haters.” But he found a new term to cloak this notion with.
What a novel term. Such invention can only come from the Jewish-home-grown genius of such ‘Jewish Home’ party politicians as Bennett. His party comrade, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is not too bad either, with her genocide advocacies, with the “little snakes” metaphor for Palestinian children. But you have to hand it to Bennnett – whether it’s comparing Palestinians to “shrapnel in the butt” or saying he “killed lots of Arabs and there’s no problem with that”, he really drives his point through.
And now he’s really developing his terminology, it’s becoming refined: “auto-anti-Semitism.”
The background is fears among secular parents in Israel that religious messages are being insidiously inserted into the school content. Haaretz has been following this development in the past years, and last month, Allison Kaplan-Sommer wrote a piece titled. “How Israeli Parents Are Fighting Jewish Missionizing in Secular Schools”.
Kaplan-Sommer noted that the cities of Tel Aviv and Givatayim have announced measures aimed at raising their level of vigilance against religious influences in the mainstream Jewish school system.
In a widely discussed television report last month, secular schools held end-of-year ceremonies in which children sang of building the Third Temple in Jerusalem, laying spray-painted golden “bricks” to do so – part of an Education Ministry directive to emphasize Jerusalem as the theme of such celebrations. Shocked parents circulated the videos on social media.
Kaplan-Sommer quoted Dr. Avner Inbar, co-chair of Molad – the Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, putting the blame on Bennett’s party, Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home):
“There is an orchestrated and coordinated infiltration of dozens of private organizations, the vast majority of which is related to Habayit Hayehudi, united under a single umbrella organization named Zehut [‘Identity’], in which the notion of strengthening Jewish identity and a need to ‘cure’ what they see as the disintegration of Jewish identity among secular Jews is the crack through which they enter the Jewish education system”.
Zehut is said to bring hundreds of religious young women doing national service to secular schools and kindergartens. Dr. Inbar believes that is not necessarily to convince secular Israeli children to “convert” to Orthodox practice, but to impress upon them the centrality of religious Zionism and the “Greater Land of Israel,” so that they become adults who are sympathetic to the settlement agenda and view Orthodoxy as the legitimate expression of Judaism.
As I wrote in May, the Israeli state religious school curriculum has also been inserting a strong messianic message, for example in curriculums such as “Love of the Land and the Temple” (referring to the idea of the 3rd temple being built upon the ruins of Al-Aqsa mosque). The Messianic message is thus being extended outside those circles.
In addition, the exclusivist, anti-“miscegenation” message is increasing. At the end of 2015, Dorit Rabinyan’s novel Borderlife, about a romantic relationship between a Jew and a Palestinian, was banned from schools by Bennett’s Education Ministry for “threatening Jewish identity”, despite the fact that the official responsible for teaching of literature in secular state schools recommended the book for use in advanced literature classes, as did a professional committee of academics and educators. The further irony was that in the book, the relationship doesn’t even work out.
This is the new type of “Judaism” that Bennett wants to “educate” towards. It is orthodox, it is exclusivist, and it is highly nationalist. And now he is diagnosing a pathology in those who criticize this, saying that they suffer a social-psychological syndrome of “obsessive contempt and hostility towards Jewish tradition, customs, and observant Jews” – because they don’t willingly go along with it. He’s actually calling them ‘self-haters’ and ‘anti-Semites’.
Who knows, maybe after years under such “education”, those kids will also end up calling their parents “auto-anti-Semites” for being hesitant about building the third temple…
H/T Nurit Peled Elhanan for alerting me to Bennett’s recent words.