New York, New York: I am now officially the REASON, in the eyes and through the slogan-limited mentality of a prominent defender of Israel, that Hamas is winning.
Some of my pro-Palestinian friends may be impressed about how influential I have become.
My self-appointed nemesis is technologist and super-Zionist Avi Perry. He is determined to win an argument with me by drowning me in selective facts and twisted talking points, before, showering me with predictable putdowns and invective.
I wrote an essay on why Israel is bad for the Jews. He responded that it is I who is bad, and worse than that, a self-hating Jew Hater of the highest order.
I responded with a call for less inflammatory language and more tolerance for other views.
His latest response:
“You are the reason these terrorists keep their terror machines up and running.
You are the reason they perceive victory in the face of defeat and devastation.
You are the reason Hamas will never seek peace.
You are the proof that Hamas wins the battle for world opinion. They are making strides in their effort to de-legitimize Israel with your help.
And your help is the fuel that lights the fire behind their irrational terror engine.”
Gee, Avi, is it all me? Are my views that important?
I don’t think so, but I wish they were.
Here you are again, blasting me for suggesting any comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa, the country that Israel armed with nuclear weapons.
Somehow you missed my quoting that anti-Christ, Noam Chomsky, who shares your view that there is no parallel between the two counties. Only he goes on to say that Israel was and is worse.
Here’s what he thinks: “In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid,” he said. “To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse.”
Chomsky said South African Nationalists needed black people, which was about 85 percent of the population, to fill its workforce and sustain the economy.
“The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different,” he said. “They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison. And they’re acting that way. That’s a very striking difference, which means that the apartheid analogy, South African apartheid, to the Occupied Territories is just a gift to Israeli violence. It’s much worse than that.”
Avi, how would you explain this recent development as reported to me from South Africa about a huge march against Israel’s war in Gaza.
Have I brainwashed all these people.
“South Africans from various political parties and of all ages, races and religions (including members of Jewish Voices For a Just Peace) came from across the country – from PE to Nelspruit, Kwa Dukuza, Durban, Port Shepstone, Newcastle, Polokwane, Mokopane and various other towns and cities. The protest drew over a hundred thousand people (with many analysts even suggesting that the protest reached the 200 thousand mark). This march was the largest and most diverse protest march to ever take place in South Africa – not just in post Apartheid South Africa. The largest protest gathering in South African history is said to be the 1990 release of Nelson Mandela.
The Grandson of anti-apartheid struggle icons, Walter and Albertina Sisulu, as well as ANC Youth League NTT member, Shaka Sisulu, delivered a moving “Do You Remember” speech.”
Now, I assume had these people only read your views on this issue, they would have realized how wrong they are in seeing any connection between their experience and the Gazans, and wouldn’t have marched.
Happily, yours is not the only letter I received. Here’s just one from someone else I don’t know, Miriam Knight:
I lived in Israel for 13 years. I have three children and five grandchildren there, including two now in the army, and one just out. I couldn’t agree with you more.
Those who are shouting to silence you are really trying to silence their own consciences. They know in their hearts that what we are doing to the Palestinians is inhuman, but to justify it they need to see them – and you by extension – as less than human.
My heart breaks for the loss of the country I grew up loving, but it is no longer the Israel of high moral and social principle that inspired me to make aliyah. When I moved to Israel, my son was five years old. I was sure that by the time he went into the army there would be peace. Now the next generation is serving, and peace seems so much farther away.
Of course I want my children and grandchildren to be safe, but so do the Palestinian mothers and grandmothers! Until we all stop demonizing each other and start listening respectfully and trying to understand the other’s perspective there can be no peace. The Bibi-niks have the ghetto mentality, where all is fair in the name of survival. Jews claim to answer to a higher power, but I don’t think they are listening to its true message. Hillel would be ashamed of us.
Here’s a related story in Ha’aretz, the leading Israeli daily from this week:
“Signs of fascism in Israel reached new peak during Gaza op, says renowned scholar.”
Israel Prize laureate and renowned scholar Zeev Sternhell fears the collapse of Israeli democracy, and compares the current atmosphere with that of 1940 France. “The time we have left to reverse this frightening trend is running out, he warns”
I can assure you Avi, this is not my fault or my doing. Sternhell is describing a new kind of hell that you seem to lack the empathy or sensibility to understand or care about.
“What we’ve seen here in the past few weeks is absolute conformism on the part of most of Israel’s intellectuals. They’ve just followed the herd. By intellectuals I mean professors and journalists. The intellectual bankruptcy of the mass media in this war is total. It’s not easy to go against the herd, you can easily be trampled. But the role of the intellectual and the journalist is not to applaud the government. Democracy crumbles when the intellectuals, the educated classes, toe the line of the thugs or look at them with a smile. People here say, ‘It’s not so terrible, it’s nothing like fascism – we have free elections and parties and a parliament.’ Yet, we reached a crisis in this war, in which, without anyone asking them to do so, all kinds of university bodies are suddenly demanding that the entire academic community roll back its criticism.”
Do you think it’s due to fear?
“Fear of the authorities, fear of possible budgetary sanctions and fear of pressure from the street. The personification of shame and disgrace occurred when the dean of the law faculty of Bar-Ilan University threatened sanctions against one of his colleagues because the latter added a couple of sentences to an announcement about exam dates in which he expressed sorrow at the killing and loss of life on both sides. To grieve for the loss of life on both sides is already a subversive act, treason. We are arriving at a situation of purely formal democracy, which keeps sinking to ever lower levels.”
That’s a painful and profound insight, Avi and very upsetting in its implications.
You can believe I am a self-hater, Avi, if that makes you feel better, but I am not, and nor am I blind either.
Thanks to my Jewish soul, I see and feel a lot.
What happened to you?