How the Jewish People and the World Can Win (or Lose) Together
A few days ago, two Jewish boys were beaten up in Queens, New York, and the word Hamas was written all over them. The media took no notice. But if Jews were to do the same to Arab boys, would the media treat it likewise?
It is not a hypothesis that the world is against us, nor is it a residue of past fears that should have been long gone by now. Anti-Semitism is as vibrant and as vile as ever not only in our neighborhoods, in some of our neighbors’ eyes, or on graffiti next to the shul. It is everywhere: on the bus, at school, at college, at work (albeit in a more implied manner), and, of course, in the media.
The social media is inundated with unreserved anti-Semitism. In France, names, residential addresses, and pictures of Jews were posted on a Facebook wall with an invitation to hurt them. To date, some have already been attacked. The rest are hiding. In Belgium, an elderly Jewish lady was refused medical care and was advised to go to Gaza for treatment.
Anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic demonstrations are held in dozens of cities throughout the world each day since the beginning of July. According to the Anti Defamation League (ADL), in just three weeks between July 8 and July 29, “there have been more than 135 anti-Israel protests held in cities throughout the U.S., many of which featuring anti-Semitic slogans and statements.”
… and Forever Guilty
After WWII, anti-Semitism became politically incorrect and was basically “banned” from the political discourse. But since the turn of the century, the tide has turned again, this time in the form of overt anti-Zionism. According to the UN Watch, in 2013, the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a total of 25 resolutions of condemnation, 21 of which addressed Israel, and 4 resolutions addressed the rest of the world. The four that did not address Israel were (one per country) Syria, a regime that has murdered 120,000 of its own people, Iran, North Korea, and Myanmar. The UNGA found no cause to condemn such countries as China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, or Zimbabwe for the less-than-ideal treatment of their citizens.
Reason Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
The thing about anti-Semitism is that it defies any logic: The Jews are always in the wrong. Israel is blamed for atrocities against Hamas, which is defined by the UN as a terrorist organization. And the fact that it’s doing all it can to terrorize civilians in Israel and bombard them with rockets makes no difference. But when the Jewish state fights Hamas, it is perceived as the aggressor.
Throughout the world, Jews are blamed for every atrocity and misfortune that takes place. Mel Gibson’s repugnant words, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” seem almost mainstream only eight years after the world was thunderstruck by them.
But we are not only blamed for wars. We are blamed for running the world politically and financially, and for using our power to promote our own interests at the expense of the rest of the world. These accusations, by the way, have been the staple of any anti-Semitism “cadet” since the “merry” days of the ludicrous-yet-nefarious Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
In the Arab world, not only has this delusional publication become a bestseller, along with Hitler’s Mein Kampf, but the fables of blood thirsty Jews killing non-Jewish children and using their blood for the Passover Matzo has also been revived and is widely believed. Indeed, demonic are we.
The Rationale of the Unreasonable
To understand why we have been arousing such hatred for so many centuries, in so many countries, by so many nations, none of which we intended to harm, we need to take a moment to reflect on who we are as Jews. We may want to be like all the nations, we may want to “fit in” and be like everybody else, but we are not. We are not like everyone else for the simple reason that so many people from other nations feel that we are not. So whatever we say in our defense helps very little to change how they feel.
This we must keep in mind: People generally act on what they feel is right, not on what is objectively so (and who can determine what is objectively right anyway?).
And if we look at our own history, we will see that in some ways we are indeed very different. First, we are survivors. All
the nations that existed around the time our people was born have long since vanished in the mist of time. Or in the words of one of the world’s greatest novelists, Leo Tolstoy, “What is the Jew?…What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed, persecuted, burned, and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish? …The Jew is the symbol of eternity. … He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity” (“What is the Jew?” quoted in The Final Resolution, p 189, printed in Jewish World periodical, 1908).
Next, we have not only survived, but have done so in order to convey a certain message. Its content may be unclear to us, and even to our accusers, but it is there nonetheless. Quite a few anti-Semites and philo-semites have expressed their longing to see us make good on our task, or have expressed rage at our failure to do so.
Henry Ford, for example, wrote in his noxious, The International Jew: the world’s foremost problem: “It is not forgotten that certain Promises were made to them [Jews] regarding their position in the world, and it is held that these prophecies will be fulfilled. The future of the Jew, as prophetically outlined, is intimately bound up with the future of this planet.” A few paragraphs below he added, “If the mass of the Jews knew how understandingly and sympathetically all the prophecies concerning them are being studied in
the Church, and the faith that exists that these prophecies will find fulfillment and that they will result in great Jewish service to society at large, they would probably regard the Church with another mind” [emphasis added by the editor].
Famous Judeophiles also noted this prophetic message. The previously mentioned Leo Tolstoy wrote that the Jew “is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear.” To others, such as Christian clergymen, the prophetic role of Jews was a given. In 1754, Bishop Thomas Newton wrote in Dissertations on the Jews: “The Jews are by a constant miracle preserved a distinct people for the completion of the other prophecies relating to them.”
Prophecy is a big word. For the most part, those who declare themselves prophets find themselves prophesying emphatically before the inattentive ears of their fellow patients and the apathetic hearts of the overworked caregivers.
But like it or not, we are treated as different, as though we are responsible for the world’s problems. But if we are blamed for the world’s problems, it stands to reason that we also hold the key to the solution to the world’s problems.
What is even more interesting is the specific prophecy to which both philo-Semites and anti-Semites relate – the prophecy that we would become “a light for the nations.”
By and large, we have no idea what the phrase “a light for the
nations” means, nor do we have a desire to learn about it. We simply want to have a simple, quiet life, ingrained in our local societies. So why are the nations increasingly telling us we are at fault for all their troubles, even in countries where there are hardly any Jews? Why are they telling us we are not behaving as we should, when if you check by any reasonably objective measurement, we are as moral as everyone else, and in most cases even more so?
By numbers, Jews donate to charity more than any other ethnic group or denomination. We volunteer in our communities, at hospitals, and in developing countries. Even the IDF, the most disputed topic of discussion nowadays within Jewish communities, for all the criticism some of us have in regard to its behavior, is at the end of the day trying to carry out its government orders with the least harm to citizens.
On that note, UN Human Rights Council, Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Macedonia, and participated in the Gulf War, spent considerable time in Iraq, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee, had a very interesting statement to make regarding the Goldstone Report that denounced Israel’s activities during operation Cast Lead.
In a UN Human Rights Council debate on the Report, Colonel Kemp said as follows: “Based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that
deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.”
And yet, these words only emphasize the point that for all our efforts and our contributions to humanity in science, medicine, economics, and human values, we are blamed for all the world’s woes.
The One Product that Everybody Wants
Unlike before, it is not so difficult to discover what is wrong with the world. And likewise, it is not so difficult to see how we, Jews, can help mend it. If we look at today’s global crises – the sluggish economic recovery, the rise in depression and drug abuse throughout the developed world, the alienation of people, and the fragmentation of society to the point where married couples are now a minority – we are led to a simple conclusion: human nature is flawed.
And the solution to that is the one thing that humanity needs. Even a thousand more Nobel Prizes will not fix human nature, nor will a thousand more Pulitzer Prizes, or a thousand more economic “recovery plans.” The world needs the correction of human nature, and it may seem unlikely, but we hold the way toward it in our own history.
Thousands of years ago we became a nation when we joined “as one man with one heart.” At that time we became a nation with a mission: to pass on the method by which to unite the rest of the world, as well. Of all the “products” with which our nation has provided humanity, this is the one they all cherish.
Everyone agrees that “love your neighbor as yourself” is a great idea, and the world would be a wonderful world if only we could live by it. But no one can.
No one but us has been able to do it, and even we can’t do it now. But the fact that we did implies that we have a hidden grain of knowledge stacked beneath our consciousness. And the nations, all the nations, want us to rekindle that grain, water it, and nurture it until it grows into a plant that yields a fruit they can enjoy, as well.
Unity, as one man with one heart, so as to eventually love your neighbor as yourself, is the one product we “exported to the world,” and which the whole world welcomed.
To summarize all the above-said in a sentence, anti-Semitism is an expression of anger at Jews for not uniting and sharing that unity with the rest of the world.
Throughout the ages, our sages have been stressing the importance of our unity. “When they [Israel] are as one man with one heart, they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil” wrote Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein. And Rav Avraham Kook wrote, “In Israel is the secret to the unity of the world.”
Even anti-Semites noticed the trait of unity about us. Henry Ford, for instance, noticed that we have “a racial loyalty and solidarity the like of which exists in no other human group.” And Winston Churchill, famous for being keen on Jews, noticed that unity has a special meaning to Jews. In his book,
Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship, acclaimed British historian, Martin Gilbert, quoted Churchill as follows: “The Jews were a lucky community because they had that corporate spirit, the spirit of their race and faith. [Churchill] would not … ask them to use that spirit in any narrow or clannish sense, to shut themselves off from others … far from their mood and intention, far from the counsels that were given them by those most entitled to advise. That personal and special power which they possessed would enable them to bring vitality into their institutions, which nothing else would ever give. [Churchill believed without disrespect that] A Jew cannot be a good Englishman unless he is a good Jew.”
The Final Solution –
the War for Our Hearts
It seems, then, that it’s not myriad brilliant Jewish minds that the world requires. Nor is it a groundbreaking theory on saving the global economy. We do not even need to contemplate new modes of governance in order to save the world. All we need is to unite.
We need it not in order to protect ourselves against our enemies, or in order to help each other improve our lives in some other sense. We need it because this is what the world needs, and the world cannot achieve it unless we achieve it first, and pave the way for them by example. If we unite not for ourselves, but for the world, then both we and the world will win the war against the hatred that is consuming every decent fragment of our planet and our souls.
Want to Unite?
The Like a Bundle of Reeds TV Series and Book Like a Bundle of Reeds is a TV series based on a book of the same title, originally broadcast on JLTV, with Dr. Michael Laitman, Like a Bundle of Reeds executive editor Chaim Ratz, and other guests exploring topics relevant to every Jew today:
• Are we Jews different from other nations?
• Why was I born Jewish?
• Why is there anti-Semitism?
• Could the Holocaust happen again?
• What can I do?
• Why are there Jews?
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