April 30, 2014

'Religion more expedient than history' - Obadiah Shoher

       The Jewish state is not treated equally to other states. She is lambasted for
minor or imagined transgressions while normal states wage wars for dubious
reasons, grossly violate human rights, and slaughter masses of enemy

        With 80% of the UN’s Human Rights Commission’s resolutions
devoted to Israel, there is no doubt she is singled out for prosecution.

       The modern view of Jews as less than normal people is rooted in the Holocaust.
Having been slaughtered like sheep, Jews are viewed as little more than a herd.
Add to that the contempt state officials felt for a stateless people, and the
contempt they later felt for citizens of a town-sized state perpetually in
danger of annihilation. Consider also the biting moral dilemma: human and
Christian sensitivities suggest supporting the Jews, but realism calls for
siding with their numerous and oil-rich Muslim adversaries.

       Jews, accordingly, are viewed as pets, in need of international protection,
counseling, and guardianship. That attitude solves the moral dilemma: under the
guise of guiding Jews to observe their best interests, Israel is pushed toward
capitulation to the Arabs. It is sort of like wicked relatives scattering the
insane rich man’s property while professing to manage it for him. The moral
dilemma also fosters hatred: no one likes to act immorally, and so everyone
demonizes the object of his immorality instead. For Europeans, declaring
Israelis to be evil assuages their Holocaust guilt, slight as it is.

       From the beginning, other nations did not view the Israeli state as something
Jews were entitled to like other people. To be sure, in a world of nation-states
(rather than city-states), most ethnic groups lack a state, but presumably Jews
are sufficiently distinct to be left alone in their own state. During the UNSCOP
deliberations (October 17, 1947), only the Norwegian delegate defended the
Jewish right to a state based on our connection to this land. All the others,
more or less explicitly, saw the partition as an affirmative action to rectify
the wrongs done to Jews and eliminate the need for such wrongs in future by
transferring them to the Middle East. Recipients of affirmative action benefits
cannot be too choosy or demanding. Everything they gain is seen as a concession.
Arabs have rights; Israelis are accorded benefits. International tolerance of
the “excessive” affirmative action offered to Jews is less than what
Americans accord to their blacks. The difference is this: Afro-Americans are
basically integrated into their society while Jews remain different in the
world's society. More benefits are due to one’s own than to an odd crowd.

       Israelis had the bad sense to exacerbate the no-right-to-a-state attitude by
avoiding religious rhetoric. The Jewish right to Jerusalem and Judea is
indisputable on religious grounds, but extremely weak on historical ones, as
many peoples have been displaced from their original homeland. Israeli leaders
did even worse when arguing for territorial acquisitions based on security
concerns: obviously, Palestinians today cannot wipe out Israel. The
international community counters Israeli security concerns easily, and pushes
her to make concessions.

       The Israeli state had a hard time coming into being because neither Jews nor
foreigners believed Jews have a right to this land. Uncertain of their right,
Jews didn't press for a nationally homogenous state within defensible borders
like other independence-seeking nations did, but accepted a ghetto-sized state
which, naturally for a ghetto, offered only temporary safety.

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