Thursday, January 08, 2009

Why isn't it Jew hatred?

I know it's possible for a particular critique of the government of Israel to not be Jew hatred because I've read and heard them, but why do so many people deny that criticism of that government's actions is most often expressed as Jew hatred? Why are *Jews* around the world attacked verbally and physically, instead of Israelis? Or Israeli embassies?

Rabbi Marvin Hier's opinion piece at the Wall Street Journal makes the point:

Just look at the spate of attacks this week on Jews and Jewish institutions around the world: a car ramming into a synagogue in France; a Chabad menorah and Jewish-owned shops sprayed with swastikas in Belgium; a banner at an Australian rally demanding "clean the earth from dirty Zionists!"; demonstrators in the Netherlands chanting "Gas the Jews"; and in Florida, protestors demanding Jews "Go back to the ovens!"

Notice that's attacks against Jews just in the last week. Jews who aren't even in Israel; Jews who are never asked, "Do you support the actions of the State of Israel in Gaza?" before they are attacked; Jews who are attacked for the crime of being Jews.

How else can we explain the double-standard that is applied to the Gaza conflict, if not for a more insidious bias against the Jewish state?

At the U.N., no surprise, this double-standard is in full force. In response to Israel's attack on Hamas, the Security Council immediately pulled an all-night emergency meeting to consider yet another resolution condemning Israel. Have there been any all-night Security Council sessions held during the seven months when Hamas fired 3,000 rockets at half a million innocent civilians in southern Israel? You can be certain that during those seven months, no midnight oil was burning at the U.N. headquarters over resolutions condemning terrorist organizations like Hamas. But put condemnation of Israel on the agenda and, rain or shine, it's sure to be a full house.

There's a lot of evidence for a strong undercurrent of Jew hatred in Western culture; much like sexism and racism, some people would deny and others not even recognize it, but I believe it's there. And like racism and sexism, the first step is acknowledging it, but the important thing is the second step: be mindful of the possible Jew hatred in your reactions, in your judgments, in your choices.

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