Sunday, August 08, 2010

You're right, we are afraid ...

From that charming center of anti-Israel invective, Mondoweiss, comes this post on a recent fundraiser for another flotilla aimed at breaking Israel's blockade of Gaza. The post offers some interesting insights into the mindset of the Israel hating community. I found the following parts of a speech by Chris Hedges (as cited by site owner Philip Weiss) to be the most stimulating.
"I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in the darkness, we are in the light." And now their moment is coming to an end. "The arc of the moral universe is long... You may have commandos who descend on ropes... we have only our hands, our hearts, our voices... But note this, note this well: it is you who are afraid of us, not us who are afraid of you... When there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive you..."
Regardless of the fact that Israel left Gaza completely, I have to admit that I agree with Hedges on one point. We, being Jews and Israelis, ARE afraid of you. What do you expect?

You seek our destruction, either physically in the case of Hamas, or politically in the case of the BDS and flotilla movements.

You openly and plainly announce that you seek the end of our state, couching your message in the rhetoric of peace and justice.

You slander us and state that we have inherited the mantle of the Nazis, of those who murdered us and burned us, who tried to destroy an entire people.

You treat Israel in a way that you would treat no other people on Earth, and announce in plain language that we are afraid of you. How can we not be when it is our very existence at stake?

While Hedges is seemingly proud of our fear of his movement, I believe that he neglected to highlight the matching emotion amongst the anti-Israel crowd. That emotion is of course hate. It is the overriding theme of the rhetoric used against Israel. Indeed it seems that the level of hate at the fundraiser was so high that even Weiss hinted at it in his post.
I felt that these people were excited to be recognized in an American venue, without judgment, and that this long-withheld recognition had allowed them to let out deep griefs and angers that, say, professors Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi were required to restrain when they addressed the same matters. There was talk of the dispossession that began 63 years ago; and I am sure that several of these Palestinians do not accept the existence of Israel. Myself, I am conflicted about these questions (and indeed a friend said later that the anger at times made her uncomfortable), but I find my own intellectual/political struggle less interesting/important than the presence of young Palestinian-Americans. (emphasis mine)
The Arabs have always been angry at Israel, and they have largely rejected any compromise with Israel or the presence of a sizable and thriving Jewish community in the heart of the Arab world. The extremists at Mondoweiss often discuss an invented ideology of Jewish superiority that they claim lies at the heart of Zionism.

Zionism at its heart, of course, is a rejection of Jewish exceptionalism. It is rather a call for equality for the Jewish people, by creating a nation-state that mirrors the nation-states of other peoples.

The solution to this conflict lies in the acceptance of the Jewish people, as a people, in their homeland. Until the Arabs and their supporters accept this equality, we will all have something to fear.

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