The Cap’n and I were chatting the other day and, as we often do, surveying the world stage and Israel’s role on it. I was marveling at how credulous the world is when it comes to nonsense spoken and carried out by Palestinian Arabs engaged in an active campaign to destroy Israel (something that most people a) don’t care about, b) don’t believe is really happening, or c) wholeheartedly support). It’s mind-boggling, the stuff people will believe (e.g. that the Mavi Marmara was on a mission of peace, that Israeli soldiers harvested organs from Arab civilians during Operation Cast Lead, and that those Palestinian Arabs I see driving Mercedes Benzes and Volkswagens on Route 60 are poor and oppressed), and the stuff they won’t believe.
For example, a friend recently posted on Facebook a December 17 article written by Alan Dershowitz which states that a Hamas leader admits that Israel killed mostly combatants during Operation Cast Lead two years ago. My friend is concerned that Dershowitz’s support for Israel (and lack of external links from the article) may compromise the willingness of the public to believe in its content. A commenter observes wryly that even if the content were verifiable, no one would believe it.
Just to clear up any doubt as to the veracity of what Dershowitz writes, the remarks were made by Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad to the London-based newspaper al-Hayat. The Interior Minister’s comments and an analysis of them in greater context are available on the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center website; link here). In short, the Minister’s comments included the following:
It has been said that the people were harmed by the war, but is Hamas not part of the people? It is a fact that on the first day of the war Israel struck police headquarters and killed 250 members of Hamas and the various factions, in addition to the 200-300 operatives from the [Izz al-Din] al-Qassam Brigades. In addition, 150 security personnel were killed, and the rest were from people.
I was both amused and puzzled by this exchange between my friend and his commenter. Of course Israel targeted Hamas militants in Gaza—they’re the ones lobbing missiles into Sderot and the Negev, holding Gilad Shalit hostage indefinitely, and keeping Gaza under the heading of a terrorist state instead of a normal state. The fact that Hamas is an enemy that embeds itself in a thickly-settled civilian population with no regard for the safety of the people they’re supposed to protect and serve, instead making it as difficult as possible for Israel to fight them without some collateral casualties, is a fact that many people either don’t know or don’t care about, and are content instead to believe whatever lies Hamas and others put out about Gaza. I was reminded of the observation Abba Eban once made about the UN General Assembly’s pro-Arab automatic majority back in the 1970s, that “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” If the Arabs say it, I mused to the Cap’n, it must be true.
The Cap’n disagreed. It’s not that everything the Arabs say is taken as the truth, he claimed. Rather, it’s that anything bad about the Jews is eminently believable. I hate looking at things that way (after all, we’re not supposed to believe that anti-Semitism is so widespread, are we?) and challenged the Cap’n to prove it. It turned out to be chillingly easy. Here are some of the lies, fabrications, and baseless accusations leveled at Jews by the non-Jewish world, accepted by the majority and used to persecute, expel, and murder Jews:
- Jews were responsible for spreading the Plague by poisoning wells in Europe
- Jews kill Christians and use their blood to make Passover matzo (aka The Blood Libel, raised dozens of times, including as recently as 1946 in Kielce, Poland)
- The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the minutes of a nonexistent secret meeting of Jews planning to take over the world
- Jews control the banks/press/government’s foreign policy
- Jews are responsible for 9/11, and all the Jewish employees were telephoned and told not to report to work at the World Trade Center that day
No one seemed to notice that Jews died of the Plague just like everyone else. Anyone who wanted to kill a child could just blame it on a Jew and be believed. (And who cares that Jews are forbidden by the dietary laws to eat ANY blood, even animal blood, much less human blood?) The Protocols continue to excite anger and alarm, even from those who seem to believe that Jews already dominate the world. Those who accuse the Jewish lobby of undue influence should read Mitchell Bard’s new book, The Arab Lobby, which describes the influence (backed by money, and not popular support as the Jewish lobby is) that Arabs—many of them not Americans—have on the US government and use to destabilize the Middle East. And among the thousands of bereaved families from 9/11 can be found hundreds of Jewish households.
None of these time-honored libels is verifiable, yet they have all been accepted as true by a plurality, if not a majority, of the general populace. There are other libels which are too absurd even to mention on this blog (but which some of my Muslim readers have been kind enough to inform me of). The point is that in these situations, someone is able to make an accusation, provide no evidence, and the story will be believed, put about, spread, and acted upon. Racism, religious hatred, and economic hardship only provide leaven for the dough.
At my final meeting with the Beit Din (rabbinical court) prior to my conversion, one of the rabbis, himself a Holocaust survivor, told me that “The Jews are not a popular people.” And yet joining this religion (which belongs to half of my ancestors), making aliyah, and even becoming a settler, are all things I was born to do. I don’t believe in the morality of the majority. I don’t believe in twisting the truth to serve a political purpose. I don’t believe in accepting a story without some provision of proof. And I don’t believe that a small minority religion that has miraculously survived attempt after attempt to destroy it should just be allowed to die out because the majority of the world doesn’t like it. And the only way I as one person can do anything to save it is to take part in it, to speak out, and to persevere.