If Israel were not a Jewish state

by Lorna Salzman

Although some liberals strongly insist that being anti=Israel does not mean being anti-Jewish, the inverse is certainly true: if it were a Muslim or Christian state, its treatment of Arabs would scarcely register on most people's moral radar.

Let's take a parallel example: the Kurds in northern Iraq. The Kurds are Muslims but a separate ethnic group with a distinct history. The Iraqis and the Turks (a large area of Turkey is Kurdish) have long persecuted and oppressed the Kurds, who are far larger in number than the Arabs in Gaza. Yet there is no Defend the Kurd movement in the USA or indeed anywhere else, nor was there a movement while Saddam Hussein was still alive to support the Kurds nor was there any criticism of Hussein's persecution of the Kurds as a separate ethnic group.

In the former Soviet Union, and in the central Asian republics today that were formerly part of it, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities is the order of the day. In China, the Muslim Uighurs (as well as the Buddhist Tibetans) are routinely persecuted and slaughtered. In Sudan, a small number of American Jews and blacks have spoken out to save Darfur but most of the left ignores it , and some leftists have even accused Zionists (read: Jews) of inventing the whole thing, denying that there has been government-instigated genocide. In the former Yugoslavia, the left revealed itself at its most immoral when it refused to criticize (and in some cases defended) Milosevic's slaughter of thousands of Muslim men in Sbrenica and elsewhere.

Compared to the ethnic conflicts in central Africa where hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been and are still being raped, massacred and displaced, the plight of the Gazan Palestinians pales into near-invisibility. Israel isn't sending in soldiers with machetes to rape and slaughter women and children, as is happening on a daily basis in Darfur and the Congo and as happened in Rwanda (the left barely took notice of Rwanda). Yet the backlash against Israel exceeds all the combined moral outrage expressed over conflicts in non-Jewish states. There can be no doubt of the anti-Semitic motivation of pro-Palestinians. It is Jewish hatred that is being fomented, not justice or peace.

The Palestinians and their allies concluded early on that it would be easy to arouse anti-Semitic feelings and responses and that heavy guilt trips could be laid on liberal American Jews. They cleverly enlisted these "useful idiots" to join their crusade to wipe Israel from the map. The latest one of these idiots is the formerly respected American Friends Service Committee, which has gone over to the dark side and is spearheading yet another campaign to turn the public against Israel...against the Jews, that is.

This campaign has nothing to do with the reality on the ground or with the imagined "humiliation" of the Palestinians. The Israel/Palestine issue is not the most important issue of the day nor the greatest moral challenge nor is it central to the broader problems of the middle east, all of which the clever Palestinian propaganda suggests would be resolved if Israel stopped defending itself from Hamas rocket attacks and accepted its dire fate.

Has anyone stopped to consider just why nearly all the neighboring states have not already ganged up on Israel or bombed it? Or why they haven't allowed the Palestinians to move to these countries? Or why most weapons for Hamas and Hezbollah are coming partly through Egypt but mostly by ship,and undoubtedly are provided by Iran...not by Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia? One does definitely NOT get the impression that the Palestinians have much support outside of (possibly) Syria; on the contrary, most countries in the region want to keep them at arms' length and are happy to have Israel bear the responsibility for keeping them in check.

No, the Palestinians have few friends in the middle east so they are looking westward, and lo and behold, they have actually recruited American Jews in their cause, Jews who in their blindness cannot recognize their complicity in the effort to destroy Israel. Indeed many of these Jews would be quite happy to see Israel wiped off the map because then they would no longer have to be "embarrassed" at Israel's audacity in defending itself. So these same Jews have bought the phony argument that settling the Palestinian problem is the route to middle east peace. What rot, what self deception.

But in this context, it becomes crystal clear that the Palestine issue would scarcely be noticed were it not for the fact that Israel is a Jewish state. This opportunity to fan the flames of anti-Jewish hatred has been taken up by an Arab-Jewish alliance rare in history. It may be the first and last of its kind.

© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.