An Open Letter to a Jewish Friend in England (Michael Lumish)
Sometimes it just seems pointless.
Sorry to be downbeat, but I feel like I am glaring into a howling thunderstorm. In California we could use the weather, but I worry about my friends elsewhere.
You may be aware that the Washington Post just published an infographic on displaced peoples around the world since WWII and while they cover the Palestinian-Arab displacement after ’48 they do not reference the Jewish displacement from “Arab lands” at that time. In 1948 the Jews in “Arab lands” outside of Israel posed no threat to their Muslim neighbors. Nonetheless, they were driven out of their homes with only the clothing on their backs and somehow this has been removed from the dominant narrative. The Washington Post thereby erases Jewish history on land that Jews have lived upon for millennia.
I find this kind-of passive-aggressive stance by “the powers that be”, as represented by the Washington Post, to be both depressing and antagonistic.
I expect this kind of mierde from the New York Times, but the Times has never been a friend of the Jewish people. They buried the Holocaust, while it was happening, in the back pages of the publication as you are probably aware, and for which I will never forgive them. As I write this I am looking at a copy of a 1986 book by Deborah E. Lipstadt entitled Beyond Belief: The American Press & the Coming of the Holocaust 1933 – 1945.
Lipstadt documents the various ways in which the American press, following the New York Times, downplayed the Holocaust to the back-pages, when they even bothered to discuss it. This little piece of American history is, in my opinion, grotesque. Because Sulzberger did not want the Times thought of as part of the Jewish press – you know, the little rags coming out Brooklyn – he failed to cover the Shoah for the wider audience within the United States.
On a daily basis I scan the Israel-Jewish headlines and read articles – many pointed out by you and many pointed out by Ian – and it can be just overwhelming. The EU wants to boycott Israeli goods. Many western academics want to boycott Jewish-Israeli academics. “Crybullies” on American college campuses demand “safe spaces” from conflicting opinions even as they spit hatred at, and threaten violence toward, Jewish kids who support the Jewish state.
The hypocrisy is profound. As you know, the Jerusalem Post recently published an article entitled, Uproar on Trump’s Muslim ban; silence on Abbas’s Jewish ban, by Morton Klein and Daniel Mandel of ZOA fame.
Last week, Abbas described the daily onslaught of stabbings, car-rammings and other murders, claiming the lives of 24 Jews, as “justified popular unrest.”Had Abbas’ words, suitably adjusted, been uttered by an Israeli leader, newspapers around the world would carry detailed reports on their front pages; parliaments around the world would vote to condemn him and the society that tolerated such words; human rights organizations would organize petitions and rallies condemning Israel; international leaders would issue statements of condemnation and the United Nations would surely be called into special session to consider formally condemning Israel in the harshest terms.
So, we have a racist American administration that objects to Jews building housing for themselves in Judea and Samaria, the very place that Jewish people come from. Yet they could not care less that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority will not even allow Jews to live on that land if, and when, the Palestinian-Arabs ever accept a state for themselves.
I am sometimes reminded of a scene from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle where a rotund black man, quietly reading a book on civil disobedience, has this exchange with Harold, his cell-mate:
HAROLDSo what are you in here for?TARIKFor being black.HAROLDCome on. Seriously.TARIK sits up. He looks at OFFICER PALUMBO who, with his Walkman on, is oblivious to their conversation.TARIKI am serious. You wanna know what happened?Harold nods.TARIKI was walking out of a Barnes and Noble, and a cop stops me. Evidently, a black man robbed a store in Newark. Therefore,since I’m black, it was probably me, right?Harold shrugs his shoulders.TARIKWell that was the logic the cop used. I told him I haven’t even been to Newark in months. Then he pointed a gun at me and told me to stop resisting arrest. I said, “Hey, I’m not resisting anything.”
So he starts beating me with his gun, screaming at me, telling me to stop resisting.
The analogy only goes so far, but I think that you get the point. No matter how often Israel agrees to a Palestinian-Arab state on Jewish land, and no matter how many times the Palestinian-Arabs refuse to accept such a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish people, the western cops keep smacking around the Jews.
The situation is fundamentally unjust yet it never ends and the Jews are perpetually in the dock.
Unlike poor Tarik, however, the Jewish people are not entirely without resources or options.
Israel must act unilaterally because negotiations with the Arabs are entirely pointless, as has been proven over and over again during the last one-hundred years, and the West, particularly the EU, is growing more and more hostile and, therefore, more and more toxic as a negotiating partner or interlocutor.
What we need to see, in my not so humble opinion, is greater aliyah out of ugly neighborhoods… such as Sweden, Germany, France, and Britain. The Jews who remain in Europe in the coming decades will not likely face another Holocaust, but they will face continued harassment by Arab-Muslim émigrés from North Africa and the Middle East, making life for them exceedingly uncomfortable within the countries of their birth.
Israel should also declare its final borders and remove the IDF to behind those borders. What those borders will be, given that the Palestinian Authority refuses to accept a Jewish state on any bit of Jewish land, should be entirely up to the Jewish people of the Middle East via the government of Israel.
Finally, Israel needs to look eastward for commercial and scientific partnership. The international economic center of gravity is falling upon the Far East Asian Pacific Rim and, therefore, Israel is developing mutually beneficial economic ties with countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Israel will continue to maintain good relationships with the United States, particularly upon the forthcoming departure of the malicious Obama administration, but Europe is looking more and more like a lost cause.
This may sound hard and insensitive coming from an American Jew to a British Jew, but the coming generations of European Jewry will survive under two possible conditions.
Either they hide their Jewish identity or they fight the hell back.
And, make no mistake, the kids need martial arts… particularly the girls.
Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.
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