“Saving Israel” or assisting it to commit suicide?

I had to struggle with myself to decide which of two headlines was most appropriate for this article – the one above or “The hard core of lunatics are pulling up the drawbridge”.

A Jewish friend in Canada drew my attention to an article in the Jewish Ledger, an independent weekly newspaper in Westport, Connecticut. The headline over it is “Saving Israel” Expert says American Jews key to Israel’s survival. I have rarely read such dangerous nonsense. It’s the voice of Zionism, deluded as ever, but with more than a hint of panic.

The “expert” quoted is Dr. Daniel Gordis, senior vice president of the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center, which describes itself as a research and education institute. He had addressed a standing-room only crowd of close to 300 in the small sanctuary of Westport’s Conservative Synagogue.

His main point was that Israel has survived all conventional military attacks and frustrated their aims (never mind that Israel’s survival was never in question), and has reduced terrorism to a minor threat, but there is now a threat “that is capable of succeeding and against which Israel has no defense.”

What, according to Gordis, is this new threat?

“The direct assault that Israel is now under by the Arabs via appeals to the world community. This co-ordinated effort aims to delegitimize the Jewish state and cause it to be treated as an international pariah, whose products and scholars will be boycotted and ostracized from the international community.”

Gordis went on to say that in order to survive this new attack, “American Jews must fight in the halls of Congress and on the American campuses. This means getting involved with organizations willing to present Jewish arguments, e.g. The American Israel Political Action Committee, AIPAC.” (Its real title is The American Israel Public Affairs Committee; and “Jewish arguments” is a misrepresentation. Some Jewish arguments are opposed to Zionist arguments. Gordis wants more American Jews to present Zionist arguments).

So according to Gordis the fact that the Zionist (not Jewish) state is now being seen by a still smallish but growing number of people in the Western world as a pariah state is all the fault of the Arabs. To say that I think one has to be either a devilish spin doctor who knows what he is saying is propaganda nonsense, or deluded close to the point of clinical madness.

The real reasons for Israel’s worsening image in the world are the extraordinary self-righteousness of its leaders, their contempt for international law and their policies, policies which currently amount to completing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by stealth. That plus the fact that more and more people are beginning to see Israel for what it really is – the obstacle to peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept.

My view is that if more American Jews take Gordis’s advice and become active in support of this Israel, they will not be saving it but assisting it to to commit suicide. They’d also be exposing themselves to a charge of complicity in its crimes.

In an apparent effort to frighten more American Jews into campaigning for Israel right or wrong, Gordis reportedly said this:

“If Israel were to be destroyed, American Jewry would be reduced to the bleak existence they experienced years ago in Poland or Russia.”

I can only guess at what Gordis was seeking to imply with those words. One obvious implication is that he meant something like this. If there was a turning against American Jews, and if Israel did not exist to be a refuge of last resort for them, they would be persecuted and possibly exterminated.

One of my own often stated fears is that, provoked by the Zionist state’s behaviour, there could be another great turning against Jews, possibly starting in America. It follows, or so it seems to me, that the way to stop the monster of anti-Semitism going on the rampage again is not by supporting Israel on its present course as Gordis advocates.

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