There is something sick going on

7 Jul

by Ilan Bloch

Last night in Zion Square.

Last night in Zion Square

Seventy years ago an absolutely powerless nation suffered the archetypal horror of millions of its members being burned in the ovens of Auschwitz. The revolution of Zionism transformed Jewish Exilic life beyond recognition. Jews, who had previously occupied the moral high ground as a default, because we had no other option, now had to cope with the challenge of wielding Jewish power for the first time in almost two millennia. Would (Could) we be an ohr lagoyim (a light unto the nations) or would we be like every other nation in the world? We love to spew hasbara (Israel advocacy) sound bites like “We’re the only democracy in the Middle East” and “We have the most moral army in the world.” But, for years, tag mechir (price tag) attacks have gone almost completely unanswered, with these Jewish terrorists escaping prosecution; meanwhile, incitement continues on a regular basis. Even apparently “enlightened,” educated Israelis, who are familiar with Western democracy spew prejudice, intolerance and bigotry without thinking twice.

This is not about left- or right-wing. This is about hatred, racism and xenophobia. It is about recognizing and protecting the civil rights of minorities. Jabotinsky z”l and Begin z”l are turning in their graves. There is something absolutely sick about what is going on in Israeli society right now. I am ashamed. I am also scared.

I was never scared as a Jew in the Diaspora. To tell you the truth, in my more than a decade living in Israel, I also have not been scared. Until last night. Last night I was scared for my very life. At a rally in downtown Jerusalem condemning calls for blood lust and vengeance I encountered shouts of “Whores!” “Death to leftists,” “Death to the Arabs” and “Arabs are SOBs; Jews are darlings.” This included calls by an armed soldier in uniform, as well as counter-protesters continuously giving us the finger, as well as one pointing to us and making a sign with his finger across his own throat, threatening us with murder. Several protesters lunged at the security forces protecting us, which led to one arrest. Perhaps most worrying was the announcement at the end of the rally stressing police calls not to return to our cars or bus stops alone but only in groups. The calls were reminiscent of the Melbourne Community Security Group’s instructions for the end of High Holy Day services. Here, in the Jewish democratic state, the Israeli police are issuing the same instructions. Here, in the capital city, I apparently need to fear for threats to my security at the hands of Jewish fascists in the same way that I needed to fear for threats to my security at the hands of anti-Semites in Australia.

Every night in downtown Jerusalem, Jewish Jerusalemites don black shirts (both literally and figuratively), roaming the streets and, as the self-declared guardians of Jewish honor, try and promote the “purity” of Jerusalem and its Jews. Tens of thousands, including the head of B’nei Akiva, have called for vengeance. Seventy years after the remnants of our people emerged from the ovens of Auschwitz, we burned an Arab teenager alive. And, instead of true cheshbon hanefesh (moral self-reckoning), we issue lip-service condemnation before immediately stressing that we are better and more moral than the Palestinians because we do not hand out candies to celebrate. I am ashamed.

Ilan Bloch is the Director of Teaching Israel.

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3 Responses to “There is something sick going on”

  1. Maury July 8, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    you are fight to point out the intolerance that gripped parts of Israeli Society but I see it from both sides -perhaps you are too close to appreciate the nuance. A discussion in one of the media today criticises one of the Meretz MK’s for comparing HAMAS to Sederot – what sort of contaminated Sick and evil equivocation is that? People who theologically believe that it is not just “OK” but a diktat from their prophet and their “god” that they must kill Jews is compared to our response to Missile showers? Here in Britain the Left dominates the media and universities and only a fool would believe that we have equality here in the UK – we do – if we are Jewish Uncle Toms who tow the anti-Zionist – anti-Semitic party line otherwise Shut up and keep your head down. That is our fate. So I do not necessarily agree with your easy and blank condemnation of the right – both sides are to blame.

    • Teaching Israel July 8, 2014 at 7:34 am #

      Thank you for your comment, Maury. My condemnation is not of “the right” – there are plenty of good Israelis, left- and right-wing, who are sick to the stomach about what is going on here. My condemnation is of those who fan the flames of racial vilification and incite to violence. And, to be clear, I am certainly aware and mindful of my relatives and friends (and other Israelis) in Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva (and beyond), who now find themselves under the renewed threat of Hamas rocket fire, which is to be condemned. (I am not familiar with the Meretz MK statement to which you are referring.)

      • boris kushnir July 8, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

        Ilan and Maury, i wish I can write in English as you do especially when you are leaving in Israel and I’m for over 35 years in the US…:))) Beside the point I admire Ilan for so politically correct position where there is no to sides of a story as Maury refers. The law of the land, especially in Israel and US, can’t be interpreted by individuals on the basis of two story. It means no matter who violate the law must be punished! In the other wards nobody has the right to take law in their own hands and the one who found igniting the match must be punished!!! It’s discussing how media and many politicians lie and use propaganda against Israel and Jewish people. As sad as it can be we’re not allowed to give them any meat for their propaganda, especially when Jewish guys killed Palestinian boy!!! Therefor leftists or Jewish extremists must be punished on the basis of law of the land, which adopted on the basis of common sense! I love Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, I love and proud of IDF. As tension escalates I believe more educational programs and debates must be immediately organised to estiengvish the fire between multicultural ethnical groups leaving in Israel. As much as I love those who lost control of their own by killing Palestinian kid, I’m not allowed to give them any credit for committed act! Hope my Power Point presentation will help more clearly to define my position.

        Pls. RT – Actual facts, lies & betrayal!–https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B73dqNPb3fPkbU5EeEhSenYwd3c/edit

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