28 October 2015

The Jew Flu: The Strange Illness of Jewish anti-Semitism

15 Heshvan 5776

I found this gem from 2009 the other day - it was originally an opinion editorial published in Ha'Aretz. Since I am still writing a post on a similar theme, I thought I would present it in its entirety. Keep in mind that most Jews mean well, but the results of anti-Jewish or anti-Israel actions can be disastrous, especially performed by Jews, especially in the land of Israel, where we all live together...

It is rather lengthy, but well worth the read, even though I believe there is a little more "wiggle room" for a change of heart than Mr. Silber does.

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The Jew Flu: The Strange Illness of Jewish anti-Semitism
by Uzi Silber


Flus are contagious and incurable, but containable; the ancient and resilient virus known as Jew Flu is no different. 

Diagnosis 

The 1930s Labor Zionist leader Berl Katznelson asked "Is there another People on Earth so emotionally twisted that they consider everything their nation does despicable and hateful, while every murder, rape, robbery committed by their enemies fill their hearts with admiration and awe?"



This is Jew Flu - the virus of Jewish Anti-Semitism, and its Jewish Anti- and Post-Zionist mutations, afflicting a small but inordinately loud minority of Hebrews.


Its modern symptoms are a rejection of Israel's identity as a Jewish state and a dismissal of its right to defend itself militarily, while embracing the goals of its nihilistic Arab enemies. Those infected with the virus wildly inflate Israeli sins real or imagined, while excusing or rationalizing Palestinian anti-semitism and outrages against Jews.


Those afflicted with Jew Flu often view the notion of Peoplehood as an artifice, which implies a rejection of Jewish national self-determination and acceptance of the 90-year-old Palestinian Arab contention that Jews are not a nation but merely members of a religion, and as such don’t merit a national home of their own.


Is Jew Flu a bona-fide illness? Michael Welner, a psychiatrist at New York University, suggests that Jewish Anti-Semitism is akin to a personality disorder, enabling a person to "derive some psychological benefit from this pathological thinking."


What causes Jew Flu? Harvard psychiatrist Kenneth Levin argues for twin culprits: so-called 'Stockholm Syndrome', where "population segments under chronic siege commonly embrace the indictments of their besiegers however bigoted and outrageous", as well as "the psychodynamics of abused children who blame themselves for their situation and believe they could mollify their tormenters if they were 'good'."


Julie Ancis, a psychology professor at Georgia State University says that it isn't "uncommon for a minority group with a history of oppression and persecution to possess internalized self-hatred regarding their cultural/religious identity."


I'm no therapist, but that won't restrain me from proposing my own theory for the ultimate cause of Jew Flu. More on that later.


Since the defamations of Jew Flu victims are propagated across the Internet and are extensively documented and challenged in many fine books and articles, repeating them here would be redundant.


Suffice it to say that Noam Chomsky, Daniel Boyarin, Joel Kovel, Avrum Burg, Ilan Pappe, Steve Quester, Jacqueline Rose, Tony Judt, Naomi Klein, Michael Neumann, Ben Ehrenreich, (the apparently "outed") Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and their ilk, spout pronouncements eerily similar to the propaganda routinely ejaculated by representatives of Fatah, Hamas or Hezbollah.


At the same time, a hearty "shout out" is due those who have made it their business to forcefully rebut the Jewish defamers, including Andrea Levin, Edward Alexander, Alan Dershowitz, David Solway and others. Those interested in a quick and free primer on Jew Flu should download Alvin Rosenfeld's UJA-sponsored brief, "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism". 

History

Jew Flu, of course, isn't new: It has lurked in our midst for millennia. Jews collaborated with Greeks, Romans and Inquisitors; Bolshevik self loathers displayed savagery towards their brethren; their prophet Karl Marx was described by author Rafael Patai as the "most influential of Jewish self haters", who thought "Israelite faith" most repugnant, and whose rabid anti-Semitism was attributed by the historian Simon Dubnow to "the natural hatred of the renegade for the camp he deserted."


Incredibly, certain young Jews in Weimar Germany, members of a certain Association of National-German Jews were sufficiently maddened by Jew Flu to attempt to "identify and ingratiate (themselves) with the Nazi Party".


Jew Flu developed its anti-Zionist strain in the decades preceding the creation of Israel: renowned philosopher Martin Buber of Hebrew University and others actually justified the Palestinian Arab pogroms of 1921, 1929 and the late 30s, urging that desperate Jewish holocaust refugees be permitted to enter Palestine only with Arab permission.

In 1944, and with the destruction of European Jewry proceeding apace, Lessing Rosenwald, the President of the American Council for Judaism equated the ideal of Jewish Statehood with the concept of a racial state "the Hitlerian concept".


Following remission during the post-Holocaust years, Jewry experienced a relapse of Jew Flu in the aftermath of the '67 Six Day War. In the U.S., young Jewish radicals of the New Left branded Israel a fascist, colonial power while praising Arab countries as progressive and revolutionary - unsurprising since many were Soviet client states.


They remained largely silent as Soviet tanks crushed the 1968 Prague Spring - presumably a 'progressive' development.


New Left sentiments found expression in Israel even during the aftermath of the traumatic Yom Kippur War; at a Tel Aviv reception in late 1973, my mother found herself amid a chatty crowd of cocktailing cultural figures casually dismissive of their own country's right to exist.

The infection among Israel's cultural elites intensified through the Lebanon War and the two Intifadas that sandwiched the delusional Oslo era. As author Aharon Meged lamented in 1994, there existed "an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel's intelligentsia, and its print and electronic media, with people committed to our annihilation."

Epitomizing this "moral identification" were the certain prominent Jewish journalists who, according to Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea, crucially failed the so-called 'lynch test', by exhibiting an inability to ever criticize Palestinian terror, even following the widely televised gruesome execution of two Jews by a Palestinian mob in Ramallah In 2000.


Metamorphosis

It was at this time that Jew Flu claimed a childhood friend of mine. We'd come of age together in the early '80s, like-minded Zionists, he more "Kahanish" in temperament. Immigrating to Israel the day after graduation, he'd serve in the IDF, settle in Jerusalem, marry, spawn a brood, and settle into the life of an Israeli academic, where anti Zionist stances are common and open identification as an Israeli patriot is tantamount to career suicide.


Infection struck during the Oslo years: before the millennium was out, the youthful Kahanist yeshiva boy had morphed into a militant Jewish Anti Zionist, mindlessly spouting hackneyed and malicious anti-Israel canards on leftwing and Arab websites, and regularly consorting with a posse of Arab academics in Ramallah.


This episode recalled a scene from "Radio Days", the Woody Allen movie in which an uncle fasting on Yom Kippur indignantly watches the Jewish communists next door brazenly barbecuing. In Holiday suit he marches out the front door to scold the Reds on their evil ways, only to return shortly after chewing on a chicken drumstick, indignantly decrying religion as the opiate of the masses.


Those like my friend afflicted with Jew Flu deny their infection, contending that criticism of Israel isn't Anti-Semitism or even Anti-Israel.


Helpfully, Natan Sharansky formulated his so-called 3D litmus test to clearly distinguish mere Israel critics from Jew Flu victims, and has allowed me to diagnose my old friend.

As it turns out, the afflicted regularly engage in at least one of the following -Demonization (comparing Israeli actions to Nazism and referring to Arab refugee camps as Auschwitz);- Double Standards (singling out Israel for human rights abuses while ignoring the blatant human rights violators such as Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestinian Authority, North Korea, Cuba, China, Myanmar etc); and Delegitimization (denying Israel the fundamental right to exist as a Jewish state).


During March 2002, Jihadist suicide murderers were exploding on Israeli buses every other day, massacring and maiming hundreds of Jews in a cascade of latter-day pogroms; savage images of Haim Nahman Bialik's monumental poem, "City of Slaughter" blazed across the broken land.


125 Jews were massacred and hundreds were wounded by Palestinian suicide murderers that month. Yet unsurprisingly my stricken friend declined comment.


My friend seems to amuse his Arab colleagues: Appearing at a conference some years ago at Cairo's American University, an Egyptian fellow panelist quipped to the audience that our mutual friend was "more pro-Palestinian than me - I am more pro-Israel than him."


Incidentally, this college has since instituted a ban on Israeli academics.


At this point allow me to complicate things: It's easy to assume that those struck with Jew Flu would be contemptuous of Jewish religious observance. They often hold Marxist views, which would imply an atheist outlook.


Yet what one should one make of my friend who performs Kiddush on Friday nights, fasts on Yom Kippur and uses two sets of dishes in his kosher kitchen? Would such Jewish customs be performed by an anti-Semite?


Knesset speaker Avrum Burg is a lifelong modern orthodox Jew, a skull capped davener whose Jew Flu was latent for years but burst out into the open when he took to smearing Israel in Nazi-like browns.


Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin are pleasant, prominent and yarmulked professors of Jewish history who don tefilin daily, daven on Shabbat and holidays and are easily mistaken in appearance for West Bank settlers.


Yet Daniel is comfortable vilifying Israel regularly as a violent outlaw state. And Jonathan admitted to me some years ago during an especially sweaty Simchat Torah "hakafa" on the Lower East Side that his views are identical if not even more radical than Daniel's (if that was possible.)


Actually, it is interesting that the views of such radical yet observant Jews resemble the tenets of Catholic Liberation Theology. But could such a trio be accused of outright anti-Semitism?


The Burgs and Boyarins of this world have long revered another devout Jew, the departed Yishayahu Leibowitz, a renowned scholar, recipient of the Israel Prize, and editor of the Hebrew Encyclopedia, a Jerusalemite who habitually referred to drafted Israeli soldiers who happened to be defending his charmed way of life as "Judeo-Nazis".


Was Leibowitz an anti-Semite?


Submitting their pronouncements to the Sharansky test demonstrates that even tefilin wearing, kosher food eating Kiddush reciters can speak and write like anti-Semites. 

Prognosis 

But back to the elusive cause of Jew Flu: what makes one Jew vulnerable and not another? Wouldn't a far larger proportion of Jews fall prey to Jew Flu if, say, Stockholm syndrome was the culprit? Is there a prime mover, some physiological or neurological smoking gun pointing to a root cause?


There may be. David Brooks recently reported in the New York Times on research by a Haifa University team led by Reem Yahya who studied the brains scans of Arabs and Jews while showing them images of hands and feet in painful situations.


Brooks reports that "the two cultures perceived pain differently. The Arabs perceived higher levels of pain over all while the Jews were more sensitive to pain suffered by members of a group other than their own."


This phenomenon was epitomized by Rosa Luxemburg, a prominent Bolshevik and Jew Flu victim. "I have no room in my heart for Jewish suffering," declared Rosa the Red. "Why do you pester me with Jewish troubles? I feel closer to the wretched victims of the rubber plantations of Putumayo or the Negroes in Africa... I have no separate corner in my heart for the ghetto."


And then there's the modest story Ahmad the cabbie related to me last week as we drove through Eilat-like Palm Springs: Ahmad's brother in Nablus was employed for many years by an Israeli Jewish building contractor. When the outbreak of Intifada in 2000 permanently barred Ahmad's brother from work in Israel, his Jewish boss continued to pay the brother's salary for five years.


The intriguing research out of Haifa suggests that Jews may very well be inherently altruistic. But while exhibiting more sensitivity to another group's pain is one thing, embracing the goals of people openly committed to one's destruction is a form of madness.

So here's my ultimate theory for the cause of this nefarious virus: Jew Flu is a condition in which being "more sensitive to pain suffered by members of a group other than (one's) own metastasizes into a malignant emotional and moral identification with people committed to (one's) annihilation."


Like any other virus, Jew Flu is contagious but containable. Yet ultimately incurable.


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The original is here: The Jew Flu: The Strange Illness of Jewish anti-Semitism (this one’s for free!)

H/T to Yenta Press’s comment found on Elder of Ziyon’s “Rabbi” Michael Lerner Tramples Jewish Values.

More on this topic later.

23 October 2015

Eyes on the Prize: Rectify the Spiritual Center

10 Heshvan 5776
Erev Shabbat



UPDATES BELOW!

Originally I was going to ask: Why is it that every time our Prime Minister says something like, “Israel is firmly committed to the status quo which protects the right of Muslims to pray in the mosque, as well as the freedom of all people, Muslims, Christians, Jews and others, to visit the Temple Mount” – the situation only gets worse?

But then Mr. Netanyahu actually said something very important, that has the potential of turning that situation around. A lot of people said he misstated the role of the mufti of Jerusalem, ymsh”v, who played the catalyst for Hitler, ymsh”v, in accelerating the mass murder of the Jewish people in Europe, which was intended to spread worldwide — as has been well-documented and known for decades.

Not so fast. He later clarified, "I didn't mean to absolve Hitler of responsibility, but to show that the father of the Palestinian nation wanted to destroy Jews even without occupation (emphasis mine -CDG)." He actually brought Haj Amin al-Husseini’s part in the Holocaust, and the support given by Arabs all over the Middle East at that time as well as today, to the attention of the world. Long before the state of Israel was declared, long before the word “Palestinian” stopped referring to Jews and began referring to Arabs, the latter were clamoring, along with Hitler, for the extermination, the complete obliteration of my people. Massacres were rampant, though largely unreported. (On a personal level, this might be why my maternal grandmother, born and raised in Haifa, left for the United States in the 1920s.)

UPDATE: Caroline Glick explains in great detail why Bibi was "crazy like a fox" to say what he did. And I agree with her.

So, they can’t claim that their ancestors at the time of the Shoah were innocent bystanders; they were involved, they were at least cheerleading! And today, they revere the mufti and his legacy. So, they too are guilty, along with the Europeans. Also see this current threat to wipe out every single Jew...we won't take that lying down, that's for sure.

This revelation — even though the evidence has been there, most people didn’t know — changes the context of everything the “Palestinians” say and claim. If the government of Israel wants to be wise, it might take advantage of this and actually help the nation benefit from it. Realizing the full implications of the fact that Yishma'el is no better than Esav (or Amaleq, who is a unique combination of both of them) might even free us up to take back and rectify the spiritual center – the Mountain of the Temple, Har haBayit, from where the real House (makom מקום place), haShem, desires to dwell among us, His people. This is the prize we are keeping our eyes on.

But I am afraid they are stuck in that erev rav space and are more inclined to keep on the course they have been on since the Oslo Accords – even though it has now been made irrelevant by Mahmoud Abbas’s declaration.

This is why we need a change of system, not just government. Mr. Netanyahu, at the point when he becomes aware of this, must then make up his mind where he wants to be: Stuck with the old, or moving on with the new.

If we do any struggling to free haShem’s house, we must pray and study carefully first if at all possible, and then, whatever we do will be from a place of emunah – that haShem is with us. The Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 20b outlines three steps to restore the Bayit:

  1. Appoint a King (includes Torah governance): Mashiach.
  2. Annihilate Amaleq.
  3. Build haShem’s House.


We have some Biblical basis for this as well from the prophet Zecharya, chapter 12, in particular v. 8, but including 9 and 10 as well. 

I do not attach the Mar- prefix to the month of Heshvan, even though this one is proving to be quite bitter indeed, because it is the month set aside in the (hopefully, not too distant) future for the dedication of the Third Beit haMiqdash – the Holy Temple.

I had a question for Reb Dov Bear regarding this verse:

8 On that day HASHEM will protect the inhabitant of Jerusalem; on that day even the weakest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like divine beings, like an angel of HASHEM before them. (Stone Edition)

ח בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יָגֵן יְהֹוָה בְּעַד יוֹשֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְהָיָה הַנִּכְשָׁל בָּהֶם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כְּדָוִיד וּבֵית דָּוִיד כֵּאלֹהִים כְּמַלְאַךְ יְהֹוָה לִפְנֵיהֶם:

At what point does this happen? What would it take?

He replied:
The central theme is that the appearance of Mashiach ben David is Ma'aleh min HaTeva [above nature or supernatural –CDG]. There is no derekh hateva [natural] way out of the present morass. As someone just sent me. [T]he "appearance" of Ben David has been tied by some to the month of Cheshvan because it is the 8th month, the first month that is Above Teva. So Ma'aleh min HaTeva Redemption at the End of Days begins in Cheshvan whose mazal [sign] is the scorpion. And as the Gemorrah [part of the Talmud] goes, there are three things that happen when you least expect it: Mashiach, Finding a Lost Object, and a Scorpion. The sting of a scorpion is like a cold knife. I think we got the scorpion....so far this Cheshvan. May the first thing in the list come just as unexpectedly. Amein.

And now they want to put poison on those knives. This is when you should start to scream at G-d. Right here.

Scream at G-d, I will. And you will. We all will, when we're scared enough and can't take it anymore. Not at beit-knesset, shul or synagogue, but at home, alone, as we fully appreciate the position we’re now in. (Reb Dov Bear has further remarks on this in the link above.) We’ve been taught that this redemption will be like Mitzrayim (Egypt). HaShem listened to our groaning and sighing and screaming then, and He’s listening for it now. When He hears it, we’ll be delivered from the whole world. This time, for sure and forever.

Be’ezrath haShemבעזרת ה"  With G-d's HELP!!!!!!

 More reading:

Terrorists Told to Poison Their Knives | Exposing the Myth of the Arab Bystander to the Holocaust | Palestinians, Arabs, and the Holocaust | The Arab Position on the Holocaust |The Mufti’s Role in the Holocaust | Is It Ethical to Kill a Terrorist? | Final Blows | Madness or Courage? | When did Haj Amin al-Husseini…meet the Nazis? | Open Letter to the Guardian about Netanyahu’s Comments on the Mufti and Hitler | Leading Historian Backs Netanyahu over Mufti’s Holocaust Role

Even more reading:
Deja Vu 1967 | Talmud Yerushalmi Yoma 1a, the Rambam, King David & the Vilna Ga'on on The Temple Mount

16 October 2015

Israel's Stabbing Intifada: Test for the Nations?



Erev Shabbat Noach
4 Heshvan 5776

This post is dedicated l’iluy nishmat Nehama Consuelo bat Sarah Imeinu v’Avraham Avinu on her 2nd yom neshama.


Credit: Disability in Business blog

Last Tuesday, I had to go downtown (not the Old City, but modern downtown Yerushalayim) for my semi-annual dental appointment. This is the sort of ordinary thing people do in cities every day. Fortunately for you, I did not personally witness any of the terrorist attacks that were going on during that very period of time; so, you are spared that much unless you dare click the links above. A lot of it is graphic because the Arabs who made the videos love blood and gore – but the CCTV footage from security cameras (which is mostly what I linked to) also serves us to remind the media that it cannot get away with “alleged” as a descriptor of the perpetrators or the actions. If you can see it on raw (unedited) footage, it is no longer alleged, but actual. No Photoshopping here!

While I’m at it, I should point out that the Almighty is at work making miracles as well!

As you might be aware, the Jews of Israel are undergoing the trial of their lives (and for some, their murder). It has been said that no matter how bad the situation has been prior to now, the tension each of us bears has never been greater. All parts of the country have seen murderous attacks on civilians, and many of them who survived are in the hospital in what we call “moderate” condition. This basically means it could go either way.

I have not come to those of you outside Israel today to whine and complain, but with a warning. You might not have realized that this situation is as much a test for you as it is for us. Here’s what I think about it until now; there could be even more.

Inside Israel…

 I believe our test in Israel is whether we will look to G-d and call to Him in the midst of our fear, anger, stress and, for some, the loss of loved ones, and whether our self-defense is out of our faith (emunah אמונה ) that He is on our side, or just because we think we have the right to (and, while this is important, it is not all. Any human being has that right.). Will we “keep our eyes on the prize” – concentrate on getting to our destiny as Israel Redeemed, which our enemies are doing everything they can to keep us away from, and thus in the process thwart their own destiny as part of World Redeemed? – or crash and burn because we forget why we are here, in our Holy Land, at this important juncture in history?

Outside Israel…

The first part of your test is your “ear for music.” What I mean is: Is the information you are getting on key or off key? On- or off-beat?  Starting on the right foot, or on the wrong one? Does it make sense?

Too many times, while we have been relentlessly attacked, the media say nothing. They are the three monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Only when Israel strikes back do they suddenly come alive and report, unceasingly. As a good musician with an ear for music would be able to know immediately that something is wrong with what s/he is hearing, we should be able to know when we are hearing disinformation, no matter how long and how unceasingly it has been going on.

If you, dear reader, have heard this music all your life, you are certainly welcome to hear something else for a change, and so that you may figure out the truth for yourself. Not your truth or my truth, but the truth. Evidence abounds, but it’s all in the sequence of events: If you leave off the first event, and put the second one first, it is as though, in 4/4 time, you start on 2 rather than 1. I find this all the time when it comes to news about Israel, which is why I often add on items for further reading after my posts.
Musicians will know what I am talking about. I am sure there are other, more useful metaphors if you’re not one.

Secondly, whether you are Jewish or not, does your thought process change when it comes to Israel, as opposed to any other country? Do you hold her to standards you would consider impossible if your country were held to them? If so, why?
For myself, there is yet another test: Am I “preaching to the choir” – that is, reaching only people who agree with me, whether inside or outside Israel, Jewish or not – or am I gaining the attention of some who thought differently prior to reading this blog and others like it?

An interesting insider’s view...

From Dr. Phyllis Chesler, on A7:
A leftist Israeli friend called to tell me how "shocked" he was that an attack took place in Kiryat Gat, in Petach Tikva, "within the '49 lines." He really thought that the despised Jewish "settlement" was only on the 'West Bank' or in East Jerusalem.

Said I: "But the odious "settlement" has always been Tel Aviv, it has always been the last Jew standing in a sovereign, Jewish state." 

You don’t have to take it from me.

Better yet, read this Geula update from Rav Yosef Berger (English translation by Rav Yeranen Yaakov). Some of our rabbis also believe that redemption could come as soon as the 10th of Tevet (22 December). It could get worse – possibly a whole lot worse – before it gets better. I hope each of us merits to make it.

Shabbat Noach shalom.

P.S. Around here lately, you can't even trust a photojournalist...

More reading and updates: