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May 26, 2016 7:18 am

Antisemitism Is Not the Israeli Government’s Fault

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Email a copy of "Antisemitism Is Not the Israeli Government’s Fault" to a friend
A BDS protest in London. Photo: Wiki Commons.

A BDS protest in London. Photo: Wiki Commons.

One of the highlights of the annual report released on Tuesday by Israeli State Comptroller Judge Yosef Shapira is the government’s failure to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and other attempts at delegitimizing the Jewish state.

According to Shapira, no significant victories have been won in this battle, because the two ministries charged with waging it — Foreign Affairs and Strategic Planning – have been too busy bickering with each other over purviews and powers to join forces in what should be a common war with a shared goal.

One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry about such a critique.

Though it’s healthy to have an independent body monitoring government activities, certain phenomena are so inherent, self-evident and redundant that they’re not worth wasting paper to expose. Two of these can’t be stressed enough.

The first is that democratic governments by their nature are bureaucracies whose biggest claim to fame is inefficiency. This is true in general and of countries like Israel in particular. Though headed by a highly savvy, free-market maven, it continues to operate like a socialist apparatus. And though its citizens have ample evidence at their disposal to grasp that private endeavors always get things done better and more cheaply, they still can’t get it through their simultaneously innovative and thick skulls that the government is a necessary pill to swallow, not some doctor who should be capable of curing all ills. This is an irrefutable truth.

Another is that no amount of quality “hasbara” — an untranslatable Hebrew word for public diplomacy, the field of Israel’s making a case for itself in the international arena – can prevent or eliminate antisemitism.

Nor is lamenting about how poorly the Israeli government rates on this score the least bit new. In the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel’s reputation in the eyes of the world shifted from David to Goliath, the issue of explaining why the Jewish state was still a moral entity surrounded by enemies bent on its destruction came to the fore and has been a point of debate, at home and abroad, ever since.

Self-flagellation may be a trait of the tribe, as is hysteria from Diaspora Jews about the combination of arrogance and naiveté that Israelis have historically exhibited in the face of political onslaughts. But in this case, I have always considered both to be unfair.

In the past, we heard incessant whining about the fact that not enough foreign-service staffers spoke proper English, or the other languages of the countries to which they were dispatched. It was also a national pastime to tear one’s hair out when watching a debate between an Israeli and an Arab on CNN or the BBC (well before Fox News was launched).

“Oy, it was soooo embarrassing,” Israelis would wail at the water cooler about one or another diplomat who spoke on TV with a heavy accent. “No wonder we’re losing the propaganda war.”

What nobody seemed to notice was that the Palestinian in the studio had ranted in equally terrible English, while presenting an utterly incoherent argument, based on bald-faced lies. In other words, it wasn’t the quality or content of their presentations that mattered, but rather the fact that Israel – the collective Jew — had become the bad guy. And no number of Berlitz courses could have countered that.

Proof that making Israel’s case in eloquent English does not put a dent in the global assault against the Jewish state lies in the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a master at it, yet the situation has grown worse, not better.

On the other side of the ocean, while figures like Alan Dershowitz in the United States, Irwin Cotler in Canada, Michael Gove in Britain and hundreds of other tireless defenders of Israel have stepped up their campaigns to contradict the false narratives that are taking campuses and political parties by storm, the BDS movement particularly, and anti-Semitism in general, have continued to rage on, spreading like a deadly virus immune to all available treatment.

This is not to say that such efforts are in vain. On the contrary. Not only do they provide ammunition and solace to the many “lone soldiers” at universities and elsewhere who are caught in the anti-Israel crossfire, but such tenacity has borne actual fruit, such as the blocking of BDS bills and altering of hostile resolutions.

It is good to know that the state comptroller considers battling BDS to be a serious enough priority to warrant mention in his report. And if he were to conclude that government resources would be better handled by private individuals and groups with creativity, know-how, dedication and a lack of diplomatic constraint, I would champion his findings.

But neither he nor the rest of us should be under any illusions about the root and character of Israel-bashing and antisemitism, which are not the Israeli government’s fault.

Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • A great article. The truths well formulated.
    I will try to spread it around because everybody should read it.

  • Robert Davis

    Of course it’s the government’s fault but not only present governments’. For over 50 years Israel’s governments never tied even to reply tothose who blamed Israel for anything happening on the planet. Furthermore why does bds want to destroy Israel? to give the land to arabs therefore the NATURAL REPLY IS TO EXPEL ARABS. Does the PM want that? NO he only wants to argue on arabs’ terms. Whose fault is such a huge political blunder? the king of the moons’? This is the main reason why he does not even want to oppose bds anbd the like properly. I want to take your hoiuse would you oppose only because of the colour of my shoes? if you do that the judge will give your house to me. Does anyone think the PM does not know that? if he really did not then he would be a dumbass.

  • Stanley Canning

    THURSDAY, MAY 26TH | 18 IYYAR 5776
    Antisemitism Is Not the Israeli Government’s Fault

    What a silly comment by Ruthie Blum.
    It reminds me of Judge Judie’s reply to people who plead that it is not their fault. ” Well whose fault is it is mine or the people sitting here or Ted’s.”
    Of course the Government and their policies are responsible.
    They first create very much anti Israel feelings as replected in the rise of the BDS which can hardly be called antisemitic with so many Jews in favour. This then leads on rightly or wrongly to anti-Semitism.

    Twenty years ago Israel was a country respected by many countries. Now as a direct result of action by the Israeli Government only North Korea is more disliked

    • Evan Howard

      Well, Stanley, not every country can maintain the human rights standards of Syria, Iran, China, Russia or any number of African nations. Glad you’re on top of things. Do yourself and others a favor: Read actual history and current events instead of getting your info from BDS slogans.

      • Robert Davis

        If he did that how would he pay for his new car?…

    • Ephraim

      No, it is as a distinct result of Nazis, self-haters, and the overwhelmingly antisemitic nature of Europe, prior to 1945, resurfacing. Israel’s government has been placed in the perpetual position of having to constantly answer the question,”When did you stop beating the Arabs?” In fact, Israel has never ‘beaten the Arabs’ as individuals, only as groups trying to destroy it. Even at that it has shown incredible restraint, and risked its own people, to try and protect its enemies. No country, not the US, not anyone, has tried as hard as Israel to protect its non military enemy. Having a committed antisemitic and an enthusiastic supporter of international jihad on the US throne has certainly done its part, along with a ‘justice’ department which refuses to file civil rights lawsuits by American Jews who are sitting ducks on US campuses.

      Exactly what policies do you suggest Israel change? Would you like them to drive into the sea and save Hamas the trouble? Would you like them to unilaterally declare all disputed lands to be Arab, and let Hamas take over the whole area?

      Silly? Stanley cannit.

    • A Zionist

      In 1999, the McPherson Report was published following the tragic and horrific murder of a black teenager, Stephen Lawrence. Of note was the definition of racism: a racist act is defined as such by the victim and any other person.

      It seems to apply when it comes to the racism of colour and Islamophobia. However, when it comes to Jews, there is a different standard in the UK – I cannot comment elsewhere.

      We now have “experts” such as Stanley who, from thousands of miles away and relying solely on the media, can conclude that the Jews and only the Jews are guilty and are at fault. Wow – thank you Stanley.

      I am trying to work out what happened 20 years ago that could have possibly have affected Stanley in his “knowing” how the Israeli government is so disliked.

      In 2000, the PM Ehud Barak (Labour) offered the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat (born in Cairo but declared by the former USSR as “leader” of the “Palestinians”, when up to 1964, the word “Palestinian” was a derogatory word for Jew) everything he had demanded – including East Jerusalem.

      President Clinton believed that this would end the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Arafat promised to speak with his “Cabinet” and return. However, in Paris, where he lived, he confessed to his wife, Suha, that he would never make peace with Israel. Suha Arafat’s account is on YouTube Stanley.

      Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the pro-Nazi leader of the Arabs, invented the al-Aksa libel which led to the massacre of Jews in Hebron, Jerusalem and Safed in 1929 – you see Stanley, Arabs have been murdering Jews since 1920 – before there was any government policies and before the existence of the Jewish State of Israel.

      Arafat decided to use a pretext to start the Second Intifada in which 1100 Jews were killed. It was a win-win. Arafat avoided negotiations and a reign of Palestinian terror on Israeli civilians was the result. Arafat used the excuse that Ariel Sharon had visited the Temple Mount – that is where, Stanley, the two Jewish Temples were built, denied by the Arabs and declared to be “Muslim” by UNESCO.

      In 2007, Ehud Olmert offered an even better deal, but Mahmoud Abbas, the Holocaust denier and second in command to Arafat, did not even bother to reply.

      Abbas continues the same policy of avoiding direct negotiations. This is because the policies of the Arabs and especially Fatah (PLO), Hamas and other genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations are not interested in peace. They say – in Arabic – that their aim is to destroy the Jewish State, through murderous attacks on Israeli civilians, or through “diplomatic” warfare. They are open in maintaining that their aim is to kill every Jew, not just in the Middle East, but everywhere. Go and read the Hamas Charter and the 2 PLO Charters, Stanley.

      Thus, Stanley, you are in effect saying that because the Jewish State and its government, whether Labour, Kadima or Likud, continues to offer land-for-peace – that is the cause of the problem. Israel gave back 90% of the land captured in the Six Day War (1967) to Egypt: land for peace. In 2005, Israel unilaterally left Gaza, but instead of peace, Israel received 14000 missiles along with terror tunnels and Palestinian terrorism that is unabated since September 2015.

      The late Primo Levi wrote, “that to confuse murderers with their victims is a moral disease, or an aesthetic affectation or a sinister sign of complicity; above all it is a precious service rendered (intentionally or not), to the negators of truth.”