Rachel Loewith Rochwerg argues that “We, as a community, must not stifle those who question Israel’s political policies.” On the contrary, they are precisely the ones who must be confronted.
Like the writer’s predecessors, my grandparents also fled Europe because of antisemitism, my paternal grandfather from Austria around 1905 and my maternal grandmother and grandfather from Poland around the same time. I was fortunate to be born in Montreal and early on became committed to speaking out against the ideologies where hate festers.
Two of the most antisemitic ideologies to ever exist – Islamism and Communism - stand opposed to modern Israel but their hatred of Jews long pre-dates 1948. Virtually all the charges thrown at the Jewish state since its rebirth originate with them and we have every right, even a duty, to expose them.
For 1400 years, Islam’s holy texts have called for the subjugation and death of Jews principally because the Jews rejected Mohammed and his new religion.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the Mandatory Palestine years, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a Jew-hating anti-Zionist who vowed to fight the establishment of a Jewish state. During World War II he collaborated with Hitler and was reportedly instrumental in developing the final solution. It is further claimed that al–Husseini was mentor to Yasser Arafat.
Jew-hatred existed in Czarist Russia well before the 1917 Revolution. Pogroms persecuted and murdered Jews regularly and out of this sewer of hate came the Russian publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fake document claiming to have uncovered a Jewish conspiracy for global domination. Although proven a forgery in the 1920s, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was incorporated into Nazi-era schools, was cited in the original Hamas charter of 1988 and is endorsed by many Muslim leaders throughout the Middle East where it is widely read to this day.
Two critical events in the history of anti-Israelism were both initiated by the Soviet Union. The first occurred in the mid-1960s with the invention of the Palestinians as a nation-people who had their state stolen from them by the Jews. The second occurred in 1975 with the “Zionism is racism” resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly.
Given this background, should we throw our support behind so-called “social justice” groups like BLM and Antifa who proudly proclaim their Marxist roots even as they vow to destroy Israel? Or listen to the lying claims of Islamist groups on campuses and elsewhere who support the genocidal Hamas and post their love for Hitler on social media even while claiming that the Holocaust never happened?
Some of the people in the Jewish groups mentioned by the writer frequently appear in the newspapers attacking Israel while staunchly defending Iran, Syria, China and Russia. Even Peter Beinart of J-Street is now calling for a non-Jewish, one state solution. Along with the Communists and the Islamists, many of these Jewish activists support BDS, a movement designed by Israel’s enemies to destroy the state economically since they have not yet been able to do so militarily. We cannot remain silent.
It’s interesting, don’t you think, that two of the most murderous and antisemitic ideologies in history (Communism: 100 million dead; Islamism: 200 million dead) keep intersecting with the third (Nazism: 70 million dead)? Step back and ask yourself why anyone, especially Jews, would even listen to their versions of peace and social justice. Our democracies are still evolving but I assure you, there is not one thing that we need to learn from Nazism, Communism or Islamism that would make any Judeo-Christian and Democratic society more just, more peaceful or more loving. How dare they lecture us or our children about racism and injustice!