Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why The Jews?

With accusations of disproportionate response continuing to plague Israel, as world attention focuses on the war between Hezbollah and the Jewish state, and the machinations of Iran and Syria against its very existence, and even the unfortunate drunken spewing of Mel Gibson and his subsequent apology, there's no question that the attitude of the rest of the world to Jews and Israelis is not at its best right now. But then, it's never really been at its best, has it? Do you ever ask yourself why there is so much animosity in the world toward this beleaguered people and the nation many of them inhabit? Israel is tiny, truly tiny. All this turmoil can't simply be about this minuscule bit of real estate and who has the right to it, despite Islamic claims to the contrary. There have been too many calls for eliminating every Jew on the planet coming out of places like Tehran for it to be merely about Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Hitler's desire to eradicate Jews didn't come from any dispute over holy lands, even if he did have designs on their property and possessions in Europe. No, there's something here that goes beyond mere competition for goods and territory. This is hatred on a deeper level, an almost inconceivable level to people of rational mind.

Now, you may be one of those dedicated conspiracy theorists who finds merit in the notion that Jews have tried to take over the world for just about forever, and you believe any prejudice against them is justified by their quest to dominate mankind. Interesting premise. A few problems with it, I believe. I've seen that there has been oppression of Jews on a continent-wide scale, almost world-wide in reality, yet never have seen Israel doing aught but defend itself. You can question their methods, of course. You can say they've gone too far. You can sympathize with those Palestinians who want peace and don't support the terrorists in their midst, but time after time, others have started the wars that the Jewish people have been forced to fight. (Now, I'm not referencing battles that happened 3500 years ago. Joshua and Jericho aren't really applicable at this point, so could we set aside the blood feud justifications for now? Just about everybody's ancestors have hurt everybody else's ancestors at some point in time. Could we please get over it and live in today, or at least the last century or so?)

What made the average European of the first half of the last century tolerate the kind of anti-Semitism that led to Hitler's "final solution?" What made Arabs on the streets of Cairo march in protest when their government initially condemned Hezbollah, rather than Israel, at the outset of the current conflict? What poison did these people drink in childhood that has so permeated their beings that hatred for Israel practically oozes out of their pores? Nina Shea & Jeanne Hoffman, at The Weekly Standard have some answers to these questions. They claim that the poison filling many in the Arab world is fed to them as children, by their governments and schools. They say some of it is the same poison which tainted Europe of the last century, indoctrination having its roots in publications like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

Disseminated with the support and official sanction of the governments of Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, and Syria, as well as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, this work is used to shape the collective consciousness of Arab populations. The Protocols is a century-old fabrication that purports to record the ma chinations of Jews conspiring to rule the world through treach ery, fraud, and violence.
Shea and Hoffman continue:

Adapted from an 1864 French satire of Napoleon III entitled A Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montes quieu, the text of The Protocols first appeared around the turn of the 20th century. Its authors, believed to be members of the Russian secret police, attempted to make it appear there was a Jewish plot to undermine the czar. The book's circulation in Russia at that time helped incite murderous pogroms.

Hitler then used The Protocols to indoctrinate Nazi youth. In 1924, his propaganda minister, Joseph Goeb bels, found the tract "modern" and useful, admitting in his diary that he believed in "the intrinsic but not the factual truth of The Protocols."

These "Protocols", used by Czarists, and Nazis, and now Arab governments, are a fabrication, attempting to demonstrate a longstanding Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, yet lacking credibility at the most basic levels. From this document springs the notion, held by both Saudi textbooks and the Hamas charter, that the Jews' desire to run things has caused, "...the French Revolution, World War I, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the Bolshevik Revolution." From it also comes the belief that Jews eat the children of Christians and Muslims, and "...that the current evils in the world have been unfolding according to the 'meticulous and precise plan and time schedule' of The Protocols." Who can believe such nonsense? According to Shea and Hoffman, the Protocols have been repeatedly discredited, even by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1964, and yet, "Saudi public high schools now teach The Protocols as historical fact." Disturbing, don't you think? Shea and Hoffman indicate that Arab culture is replete with references to them, ranging from TV specials to the Hamas charter, treating the document as accurate and valid. Keep in mind how much of Arab television is state run. These are governments putting out this kind of vile propaganda. Of course, the very people who run these governments were also raised on this kind of bile.

When you think about the place in which Israel finds herself today, when you think about how she defends herself, not just in Lebanon against Hezbollah, but against all of the aggression she has faced over the last half century, think about the following questions. How can this people, or any people for that matter, be at peace in a world where the nations which border their lands teach their children, on an official level, such hideous lies about them? How can Israel find common ground with people who teach their children that religious virtue will be found in killing as many Jews as possible? How can they not seek to defend themselves when the natural outcome of such teaching is perpetrated on them daily? What I find remarkable is how much effort Israel has made over the years to try to do these very things: make peace and find common ground, and how often they have refrained from defending themselves, even though sometimes a straw like Hezbollah breaks the camel's back.

I have an even more disheartening question regarding Arab nations and the way they teach their children: when they are washed in such unreasoned malice, practically from the cradle, what child can resist such lies? What will break the cycle, so that the next generation is not bathed in the same filthy water? What possible chance is there that the next generation will break the bonds of indoctrination and seek to end the constant strife? Is there any hope that the governments now conditioning their youth to blindly hate "the Zionist Aggressors" will change, and seek to teach peace instead? I have no answers for these questions. I have very little faith that Iran will ever turn from the Hellish road they now march. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon? Who can say? Reasonable people can only hope, at this point, and pray.