By STEVE WENICK
As I drained the last drop of tepid coffee from my mug a series of questions percolated in my head. For example, “Why is it that the United Nations Human Rights Council underscores Israel’s real or imagined abuses while those of other nations are glossed over or ignored?” I could tell by coffee pot’s lack of heft that only sludge remained – and my questions.
Why is it that when Jews were systematically gassed and incinerated in ovens by the Nazis, the ‘world’ didn’t take much notice. But when Hamas launches rockets into Israel targeting civilian population centers there is grave concern over how Israel will respond.
Why is it that when Jews were defined by their religion, not by their nationality, there were no protests decrying ‘Jewphobia?’ When they were not regarded as ‘authentic’ nationals like the Poles, Austrians, Germans, Latvians, Estonians, and the French, there were no accusations of racial profiling. Jews were regarded with suspicion and mistrust, partly because out of ignorance and partly because of their religious beliefs and practices were different than those of the vast majority of citizens. And that was justification enough for the so-called enlightened Europeans to treat them shabbily and banish them to the ghettos and worse.
Why is it that when the monsters of the Third Reich went on their murderous rampage, few eyebrows were raised but many eyes were shut? Those brown shirted miscreants were equal opportunity murderers of Jews. All were targeted for extermination: the pious, the agnostics, the atheists, and yes, even the self-haters. If a drop of Jewish blood was detected in the pith of their family tree, they were uprooted, bundled, stacked and stamped, then carted off to the death mills of Europe.
Why is it that when fascists went about their grizzly business of exterminating Jews, the world remained silent? Absent were the outcries, the boycotts, and flotillas. The appalling mistreatment of Jews was encouraged by some, ignored by many, and of no concern to others. Those swastika adorned homicidal maniacs, who gleefully goose stepped proudly as they paraded Jews to oblivion, were revered by their countrymen. They pinned the Star of David upon their victims’ chests and burned numbers into their arms like cattle, as they hurled epitaphs at them of: rat, ogre and subhuman. The predators of yesteryear and those who emulate them today still thirst for Jewish blood because six million innocent souls did not sate their ravenous appetites.
Why is it that the despicable Nazi practice of referring to Jews as rats, ogres and subhuman went uncensored? And today that dehumanizing lexicon has been amended by those cretins who emulate the fascist. Today they have added to their verbal garbage: monkeys, dogs and pigs in accompaniment to their mantra of, “Death to the Jews”. I hear ominous and disturbing echoes from the past; only the species’ names have changed.
Why is it that the same world, which fancies itself civilized, self-righteously claims it is protecting the rights of Palestinians’, could not find room in its hypocritical heart to protect the lives of Jews? It was a world that was not deaf, was not dumb, and was not blind; it was a world that just didn’t care.
And finally, why is it that when accusations are flung at other countries and protests are mounted against their leaders, the criticism calls for changes in policy and government. But when grievances, real, imagined or concocted are hurled at Israel the only change the demented demand is to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the map”.
Today the Jews who live in Israel, citizens of their ancestral homeland, are no longer subjected to the ‘tyranny of the majority’. They are the majority. However there are those who can’t help but fall all over themselves in their haste to publicize anything negative about the Jewish homeland. More than once, I’ve heard the cynical and taunting question, “Why is that many in the world think ill of Israel and her supporters?” Of course the veiled allegation is that ‘they’ must have done something wrong to deserve such widespread condemnation. Their rhetorical question is both scornful and derisive. My answer comes dripping with a generous portion of sarcasm, “Is that the same ‘world’ whose efforts to prevent the Holocaust were virtually non-existent?”
Israel’s detractors are infuriated when their ‘holier than thou’, posturing is exposed for the hypocrisy it is. Israel rightfully disregards their duplicitous and hollow tirades. The Arabs and Iranians, icons of intolerance and bigotry, outnumber Israel in terms of land mass 650 to 1 and in population 56 to 1. Yet, they are obsessed with eliminating the tiny State of Israel, whose very existence sticks in their collective craws. They along with their willing minions of like minded anti-Semites have no grounds upon which to claim the moral high ground, their footing is mired in quicksand. Consequently, they feel humiliated, disrespected and embarrassed; ironically their plight is a consequence of their own contemptuous handiwork.
For the Arab and Iranian dictators and thugs, who rule with the fist and sword, while strapping suicide belts around their followers; saving face trumps saving lives. An arsenal of lies, threats, intimidation and terror are their weapons of choice. Rather than devise strategies to reverse the course of their continuous march to failure, they engage in the barbaric tactics of terror. Unfortunately they regale in regression, not progress. They curse rather than bless. They tear down, rather than built up. They embrace suicide and shun revitalization. They envy and despise everything Israel accomplishes because their own corrupt and stagnant regimes are mired in the muck of their own making, while Israel’s remarkable growth and achievements take flight.
Sadly, the anti-Zionist (read Israel and Jews) continue to march to the beat of their own orchestrated hateful rhetoric. The seeds they plant yield a harvest of intolerance. Armed with a battery of rockets, which they fill with lies and launch with deceitfulness, they reap what they sow, a legacy of failure and defeat. Crouched in their spider holes, they claim victory over a decadent America and Israel. Alas, they delude themselves because they are a cowardly lot, therefore respect will elude them. Their only reward will be a key to the executive lounge located in the rear of the cave in which they are hiding. Although that pack of malcontents and unhinged anti-Semites will undoubtedly continue waging their campaign to disparage, dismantle and destroy Israel, their efforts will drown in the wake of their own folly.
Like the Biblical Amalakites, there are truly malevolent people who are beyond repair and beyond redemption. But they are a scant few. However, apart from the few but dangerous homicidal enemies of Israel, there are still those among Israel’s critics, who are well meaning and right to hold Israel accountable for her misdeeds. Regrettably, there are also well meaning souls who have succumbed to the lies and deceit spawned by propagandists. And not surprising there are trusting souls who have unwittingly abandoned reason and fallen under the seductive spell of wishful thinking and naiveté.
Some have suggested that we should look to the future and seize every opportunity to build bridges of harmony and peace with our enemies. I agree, but as we construct bridges to reconcile differences we must not ignore that there are forces determined to undermine those noble efforts. As the wicked stealthily labor to undermine reconciliation between adversaries, they cloak themselves in self-righteousness. By turning away in the face of evil, rather than confronting it, only serves to enable, encourage and perpetuate it.
The Book of Isaiah teaches that Israel is, “A light unto the nations”. The Jewish nation is charged to serve as the mentor of spiritual and moral guidance. Therefore Israel is and should be held to a higher standard. But at times even the brightest flame flickers and its glow momentarily diminished. However Israel’s fire will not be extinguished. Paradoxically, the brighter the light the darker the shadow and so it is with Israel. As her radiance increases, her detractors grow darker and more malevolent. Hopefully future generations of all nations will have the wisdom and courage to eliminate the shadows of intolerance and hold aloft the torch of human kindness lighting the path on their way to repair the world.