The Phenomenon of Jewish Self-Hatred
Jews have always had to endure antisemitism, which has made us particularly defensive and guarded in the face of persecution and discrimination. Throughout history, some Jews opted to find a way to ease their lives by abandoning their faith and their people. Albert Einstein is alleged to have said, “The reason we Jews survive is that the cowards leave us.” Indeed, millions of people born Jewish were unable to carry this “burden,” and converted to other religions. Sadly, some of these people have become the most vicious enemies of the Jewish people, and now, the Jewish state of Israel.
The term “Jewish self-hatred” was coined by a German Jew named Theodore Lessing, whose 1930 book was titled Juedischer Selbsthass (Jewish self-hatred). It was ostensibly directed at anti-Zionist Jewish academics. Lessing, a philosopher and an advocate of Zionism, had converted to Christianity, but returned to Judaism after reading Zionist anti-assimilationist literature.
Many self-hating Jews, however, have not returned to the fold.
Take the cases of Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky, both of them academics. These two participate in the most viciously anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and antisemitic gatherings. They are used by Islamists and leftist radicals, as well as Holocaust deniers, as shields to justify their hatred for Jews and Israel. They also support the BDS movement.
In the November 10, 2015, issue of the Electronic Intifada, Pappe wrote: “There is no denying that after nearly 50 years of brutal colonization one does not have to look too far to understand the depths of despair and levels of rage felt by Palestinians. However, this understandable impulse to act against oppression should not lead us to ignore Israel’s plans toward Haram al-Sharif. Nor should we accept that Arab and Palestinian apprehensions about Israel are figments of the oriental imagination and not rooted in reality. In fact, they can be substantiated.”
As the name of the publication clearly implies, the Electronic Intifada‘s mission is to delegitimize and destroy the state of Israel. Pappe is a favorite contributor there, since his venom comes from the mouth of an “Israeli useful idiot.”
Pappe’s book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006) provides justification for Arab-Palestinian violence and intolerance. Yet this self-hating Israeli-Jew taught at Haifa University in Israel (from 1984 to 2007), and was allowed to spew his hate for his country. Only in Israel’s democracy could he undermine his native land. Nowhere else in the Middle East would such a treacherous figure be tolerated.
Noam Chomsky, under the guise of being a libertarian, has supported neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers such as Robert Faurisson. Werner Cohn has pointed out that on Israel, Chomsky is a voice that antisemites and anti-Zionists love. “Chomsky’s most ambitious book about the Jews and Israel, published in 1983, is entitled The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians. It purports to review the history and current status of the Arab-Israel dispute as well as the role of the United States in it. Like other political writings of Chomsky’s, this one has been widely praised by his supporters for its wealth of “facts” and documentation. As we have seen, too, the book is featured as a prized item on the book lists of organized anti-Semitism.”
Jewish history is replete with “Jewish self-hatred.” In the Middle Ages, Jewish scholars such as Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Ramban) and Rabbi Yosef Albo were forced to debate Jewish apostates whose hatred of Jews and Judaism was even more fanatical than that of their new Christian co-religionists. In our own time, a group calling itself Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is like these bygone apostates. Whether organizing pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel marches or staging anti-Israel public street performances in front the New York Jewish Federation’s offices, they demand that Israel lift the ‘siege’ on Gaza, yet refuse to condemn Palestinian terror. With their incoherent verbiage and pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel antics, the JVP epitomizes self-hatred.
There is an expression in Yiddish: “It is hard to be a Jew.” But Jews have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, given Jewish gifts to humanity, and Israel’s contribution to the welfare of mankind through medical cures and agricultural innovations, Jews can, and should be proud. Conversely, the phenomenon of Jewish self-hatred is nothing less than a badge of cowardice.