Self-Hating Jews (Delegitimization from Within)

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There is a new buzzword relating to Israel: Delegitimization. For some, particularly in the Israeli diplomatic corps, it is a relatively new discovery, for others the culmination of a process that started some 30 years ago. For a moment it seems all of Israel’s troubles would disappear if she knew how to fight Delegitimization.

Where does “Delegitimization” begin? The process stems from within Israel proper and from amidst the Jewish communities in the Diaspora, predominantly the American Jewry. It has already passed the point of no return.

While Delegitimization in its current manifestation continues to be fueled by the same elements, it has taken a new life of its own, led by Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas. It is not a coincidence that the three leaders are Muslim.

Delegitimization is the new buzzword that in essence describes some Israelis’ and many American Jews’ call to “End the Occupation” and allow for “Two States, living side by side.” These are different phrases to describe the “Final Solution:” A Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

I erred for a long time, thinking that two states, one so-called Palestinian, the other Jewish, were already existing side-by-side: Jordan and Israel, both parts of a certain Mandate from a century ago.

I was then awakened to the realization that Arabs in particular do not care about the plight of the Palestinian people whom they view with contempt. Why has it become Israel’s responsibility to vacate her rightful home, the Land of Israel, in favor of the “Palestinians” when Arabs purposely treat the Palestinians as second-class citizens and prevent them from assimilating?

Neither the Palestinians nor their Arab brethren really want peace or to live peacefully together with the Jews. The mere notion of a Jewish State is for them heresy, a racist idea in its fullest form.

The Palestinians clearly state they had no aspirations for a state of their own, nor that they existed as a People until the propaganda tool became so effective in the last three decades, it assumed a life of its own. A mere figment of imagination grew and developed, constantly fueled and fed by Israelis and American Jews.

It was during the recent Turkish convoy of terror against Israel that Israelis and Jews alike united to stand together, protecting one another against the hits from all sides. Back to back we stood to respond to the Flotilla of Lies and to arguments that the lynching was not clear enough, the footage was doctored, Israel did not express deep enough remorse and on and on.

How should a pro-Israel, pro-peace crowd respond when everyone is condemning the Jewish State, action is taken against Israel and anti-Semitic attacks (both verbal, like Helen Thomas’, and physical) gain legitimacy? They chose to tell those few still standing that Israel must extend further concessions to the Palestinians and that peace must be achieved within 18 to 24 months. How pleasant the melody to the ears of the American President, Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in Judea and Samaria: The Jews doing their work for them!

In the name of Unity, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles invited speakers from both Americans for Peace Now and J Street to speak at a pro-Israel rally in front of the Consulate Building. The leadership of the Federation and the Israeli diplomats were astonished when the speakers were booed. Someone even shouted “traitor!” Thus, the Jewish Journal dedicated most of its subsequent publication to this issue.

A few days earlier, just days after the Mavi Marmara and Israel’s deplorable behavior which resulted in the unfortunate deaths of nine peace activists, now martyrs for the Palestinian cause, many have gathered at the Federation for a presentation by the Israeli Consul General about the events. There was a shared feeling of being under attack. All those present were called to show up on Sunday for a pro-Israel rally. Some 20,000 were expected. We excused the Consul General and the leadership of the Federation for optimistically exaggerating the number; they are relatively new in their positions.

As I reviewed both the Jewish Journal and the five or so different local papers in Hebrew, I was astonished by the lack of notice, thus enthusiasm, for the upcoming rally. Based on past events, I expected the front and back pages to call for one and all to show up and show support for Israel. I was ready to read each paper filled from cover to cover with stories about the events that took place and the rally planned for the weekend.

I further expected to be bombarded with e-mails and phone calls, but these only trickled in at a much slower pace than I thought necessary to generate support of many thousands to such a rally.

The rally was not “anti” Turkey, Iran, Hamas or any of Israel’s current or newly found enemies. Rather, it was a “pro” rally, with Israeli and American flags, singing and dancing. It was designed to lift the spirit of the community and send a message of solidarity to Israel. It called for the widest common denominator – WE SUPPORT ISRAEL. The rally should have thus attracted the widest range of audiences, from Israelis to Jews, Christians and Latinos, Iranians and Armenians.

There were somewhere between two to three thousand people who attended the rally. It was difficult to see or hear the speakers, who spoke in a chain that lasted almost two hours. But the attendees were embraced by a feeling of solidarity to Israel uniting all those present.

In perspective, two to three thousand attendees on a Sunday, not a workday, is a very shameful reflection of support for Israel. During the Second War in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, some five to eight thousand participated in a similar rally.

There are close to a million Jews in Greater Los Angeles, divided approximately 65% American to 35% Israelis. Since many of those present were non-Jewish-Christians, Iranians and Armenians-and relatively few Americans, one is left to wonder why the American Jews did not attend the rally and where the rest of Israelis were when hardly one percent of them showed up. Do they no longer care about their country or maybe their numbers and influence is not as great as otherwise perceived?

As I was looking at the section of Wilshire Boulevard that was closed to traffic, I saw a long, empty street. The organizers hoped more people would show up, ten times as many. In 2006, people were marching from Beverly Hills, Fairfax, Mid-Wilshire and Pico-Robertson. Families with children, school groups and youth organizations dressed up and carrying flags and signs. It was “everybody” together, converging in a procession toward the Federation.

Then it was a true community event, where the predominant language was American English. This time around, mainly foreigners, easily recognizable as such by their looks and accents, came to support the Jewish State.

The absence of the hard-core Jewish community was mesmerizing. I looked again at the empty street and was shocked. Where were the reform synagogues, the conservative schools, or entertainment industry members? Where was our Jewish community?

Why was the American Jewry not there in force? From six hundred and fifty thousand people, was almost everyone busy or simply out of town? The lack of attendance was accentuated by the lukewarm effort by the Jewish media and organizations to show support for Israel, at one of her darkest times.

Has Israel lost the support of American Jewry, or are they so far detached they will only show up to Peace Now or J Street events?

Possibly the feeling of doom did not dawn on American Jewry. Possibly they, like J Street and Peace Now, thought that the Flotilla of Lies is an opportunity to benefit Hamas, the elected leaders of the peace-loving Palestinians, and lift, once and forever, the siege and blockade over Gaza.

Possibly they were hurt by the fact that nine “peace activists” were shot dead (just for fun, apparently) by the Zionist Occupation forces and that Israel has shown no remorse. Possibly they, too, felt Israel needed to be punished severely, once and for all, so she remembers that the only way to survive in peace and security is to give in to the Palestinian demands: give away Judea and Samaria, divide Jerusalem and start negotiations on a final settlement of allowing all the so-called Palestinian refugees of fourth and fifth generation to claim their homes in Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva and Haifa and establish Palestine, safe and secure in what once was God’s promise to His people. Perhaps they too will not be satisfied until all of Israel is pushed into the sea once again.

Israel was widely condemned everywhere around the world. It was more important than ever to stand by Israel and support her. This was not the time to talk about an elusive peace that exists only in our mind’s eye, when the enemy calls for our immediate and utter destruction. This was the time to comfort each other by standing together and telling Israel – we are your army, we are the front line, we are with you. If we are not for ourselves, who will be for us? But we were not there, in body or in spirit.

The fact that American Jewry did not show en masse to stand with Israel sent a very strong message to our enemies. Israelis, too, have criticized the debacle of the Turkish Flotilla. Thus, instead of standing united, we are engrossed by internal debates, all leading in opposite directions, all based on a false notion that peace is both achievable and in the interests of the Jewish State for maintaining her security and existence.

Who believes any longer that a house divided can remain standing? Our enemies realize this great divide amongst the Jewish people is their greatest hope for the destruction of Israel.

It is the self-anointed “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” camp that has managed to undermine our very foundations. They attack from within, while our enemies hammer from the outside. Their narrative of an “Occupation,” and “Settlements” has been so engrained in the collective mindset that Israel’s legitimacy has been eroded to fine dust, now scattered like the ash-remains of a cremated human being.

If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. Religious Jews observe a day of fast once a year, when the Wall of Jerusalem fell. Another day of fast, three weeks later, forever reminds us of the Destruction of the Temple.

We are not Orthodox, so we do not observe these days of fast. We are somewhat removed from our religion, so we may not quite remember the stories of our Bible. We definitely do not remember the lesson that the Walls fell and Jerusalem razed since there was disunity from within.

Had we remembered that story of so long ago, we would have been able to immediately recognize what is so evident now: It is Israelis and American Jewry who are ushering in our enemies and bringing the modern razing of the Jewish State.

This point-and often-counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related – the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts – and so is this “point – counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.