Chanukah Diarist: Antisemitism and the Flight of the ‘Progressives’
As my wife and I lit our Chanukah candles last night, and we sang Ma’oz Tzur (×ž×¢×•×– ×¦×•×¨), my mind darkly drifted back to a query posed last year by an especially thoughtful friend in the context of a longer discussion about Semites, philo-Semites and anti-Semites.
My friend asked the following:
“In the event there was another attempted Holocaust, would the world this time stand up and resist, and defend the Jews before it was too late?”
I chose not to reply to his inquiry because the seriousness of the question seemed to demand a more reflective and serious response than time would allow.
While, even in the most “enlightened” circles, the failure of so many to reveal, yet alone seriously confront, the Nazi genocide as it was being perpetrated is well-documented, in our post-Shoah world the homage paid posthumously to Jewish victims is nearly universal among the respectable class. Indeed, such pieties are often observed, if perfunctorily, by even the most shrill critics of the modern Jewish state.
However, in observing the failure of such a large segment of the ‘progressive community’ to engage in serious moral resistance in the face of explicit threats by many leading Islamists (such as the leaders of Hamas) to annihilate the Jews, it seems extremely unlikely that the next coordinated assault on world Jewry would be radically confronted.
Examples of the moral impunity enjoyed by antisemitic extremists abound:
A website closely linked to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei recently outlined why it would be religiously acceptable for the Islamic Republic to kill all the Jews in Israel – a doctrine which details why the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its people would be legally and morally justified, and in accordance with Islamic doctrine.
According to a 2011 WikiLeaks report, Sheik Yousuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a sermon broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic, literally asked Allah to kill ‘every last Jew on earth’.
Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah has stated explicitly that all Jews in the world (not merely Israelis or Zionists) are legitimate targets for murder.
Such expressions of annihilationist antisemitism are routinely ignored by the media, international human rights groups and even the most enlightened political leaders.
So, it isn’t at all surprising to observe the muted response to Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal’s recent speech in Gaza reiterating his group’s commitment to annihilating Israel – an eerie silence which stands in stark contrast to the righteous outrage expressed by international statesmen, opinion leaders, NGOs (and even self-described Jewish progressives) in response to the possibility that Israel may build new homes between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.
In Gaza, on Dec. 8, Maashal was clear:
“Palestine – from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, from its north to its south – is our land, our right, and our homeland. There will be no relinquishing or forsaking even an inch or small part of it.”
“Palestine was, continues to be, and will remain Arab and Islamic. It belongs to the Arab and the Islamic world. Palestine belongs to us and to nobody else.”
“Since Palestine belongs to us, and is the land of Arabism and Islam, we must never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of it. The occupation is illegitimate, and therefore, Israel is illegitimate, and will remain so throughout the passage of time.
“The liberation of Palestine – all of Palestine – is a duty, a right, a goal, and a purpose. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian people, as well as of the Arab and Islamic nation.”
“Jihad and armed resistance are the proper and true path to liberation and to the restoration of our rights, along with all other forms of struggle – through politics, through diplomacy, through the masses, and through legal channels. All these forms of struggle, however, are worthless without resistance.”
Hamas’s Meshaal – as with Islamist leaders in Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Palestine and elsewhere – are explicit about their desire to annihilate Jews, yet the world is silent.
Where are the righteous editorials in the Guardian and New York Times condemning such dangerous antisemitic incitement as impediments to peace and an affront to human decency?
Why aren’t European foreign ministers summoning Mahmoud Abbas – the putative ‘moderate’ Palestinian leader who continues to seek reconciliation with Hamas and continues to nurture a culture of incitement and extreme antisemitism in the territory he rules – or subjecting him to moral opprobrium?
Where are the ‘peace’ advocates, the ‘Elders’, the “progressives”, the “citizens of the world”, the social justice advocates, the sensitive souls and the “universalists”?
Where are the righteous walk-outs, the campus takeovers, the mass rallies in San Francisco, London, Paris, Toronto, and Madrid, or the boycotts against enablers of radical Islam’s malign Jewish fixation?
The flight of the progressives in face of such reactionary Islamist movements may be motivated by several dynamics, but perhaps the most egregious factor motivating this dangerous moral abdication relates to the capacity of today’s anti-Jewish advocates to skillfully employ the language of liberalism. Islamist exclusivists have become adroit at using human rights and universalist lexicon to convince the gullible of the supreme threat posed by Israel’s expansionism, its immutable aggression, it’s ongoing crime against humanity.
In this most fantastical moral inversion, antisemitism claims the mantles of anti-war, pro-peace, and anti-imperialism.
The progressive ‘international community’ – cowed into cowardice, stymied by au courant activists who have convinced them that ‘this time’ those who stand against the Jews in fact morally represent the ‘new Jews’ – won’t lift a finger. They will not “intervene”.
However, at Chanukah we are taught to believe in the miraculous.
So, while again this evening Chana and I will light our menorah, celebrating past victories over incredible odds, we will also remember that “miracles” often merely represent positive outcomes resulting from the convergence of a will to defeat your enemy, a belief in moral agency and an insistence on political sobriety.
The natural despair in response to the supreme moral abdication by much of the progressive community in the face of resurgent Jew hatred can not stymie Semites and philo-Semites in their steely determination to overcome the malevolance of anti-Semites.