Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.
Winston Churchill (2)
The problem with us Jews is that we are constantly breaking the rules. For thousands of years we have survived empires that did everything to try and destroy us – whether it was the Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Germans, or others. In the 20th century it looked as if they had finally succeeded. Six million of us were killed in the Holocaust. But instead of us Jews disappearing, we decided that after two thousand years of exile it would be better to go home and rebuild our own country. And so we did. And what took other nations hundreds and hundreds of years to build, we did in only a few. What was possible we did very quickly, and what was impossible took us a little longer. Not only did we violate the rules of history in exile, but we became the greatest “chutzpah-niks” on earth while rebuilding our 4000-year-old homeland. Who would deny that this is highly irritating?
And now they want to boycott us. But how can they? It would be suicide. Truly boycotting Jews, after all, would mean a lot more than targeting a few Israeli products or some Universities. Anti-Semites would have to boycott many products on which their lives depend. Medications for all sorts of illnesses, produced by Teva and Abic, are only one example. What about Multiple Sclerosis? Israelis discovered a blood test by which one can distinguish between mild and severe cases. And think of people who suffer from spinal injuries, paralysis, breathing problems, depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, smallpox virus, DNA breakdown, etc. In all these areas of medicine, Jews in Israel have made major contributions towards healing and improving the quality of life for people around the world.
If not for these remarkable Jewish discoveries, most anti-Semites, if not all, would be confined to bed with serious illnesses, and some would have died long ago. So, please have some pity on them! They have a really hard time with us!
What about Windows Operating Systems, voice mail, AOL Instant Messenger (invented by four Jewish kids!), the latest developments for the cellular phone, and anti-terror systems, all developed by Jews in this terrible, obnoxious country called Israel? And let us not forget that Israel produces more scientific papers and has more start-up companies, per capita, than any other nation. Except for Silicon Valley, it has the highest concentration of high tech companies in the world. It ranks #2 in the world of venture capital funds! Would you not feel a little jealous? Is some pity for the anti-Semite not in place? Not only would many be ill, or dead, but those remaining alive would not dare to board a plane or be able to write anti-Semitic slurs using their computers. For that matter, even communicating by cell phone with their fellow anti-Semites would be impossible!
And then there is this man called Jesus. He was a Jew who introduced some very important Jewish moral ideals to the Western world. He takes center stage in the New Testament, the most admired book in lands where millions of anti-Semites live. Not only that, but he is the most admired man in the entire West, worshipped by millions as nothing less than the son of God. Just imagine – a Jewish boy! And if this is not enough, everyone knows that if he would be alive today, he would not eat at the anti-Semite’s home but would ask for a kosher restaurant run by a Jew with a beard and peyoth (side curls). How terrible! How do you expect the anti-Semite to react?
Without some of the Jewish teachings of this man, much of so-called Western civilization would still find itself in a primitive, cannibal-like stage in which anti-Semites, while sipping coffee in a restaurant and thinking how to become more sophisticated anti-Semites, would have to run like the devil so as not to get eaten alive by one of their fellow men. But how paradoxical! Anti-Semites are dead scared of this very man. Why? Because it is this man who brought these Jewish ethics and moral standards to our western world: the very same ethics and standards that these anti-Semites wish to destroy! So who would not hate the Jews for giving birth to this disturbing man? Anti-Semites do not spit on the Jews because they are Jesus killers, but because they are Jesus givers! They want to re-enact the crucifixion of their “savior” by torturing the Jews who gave them this irritating Jew. So have some mercy. These are hard times for anti-Semites!
And then, every anti-Semite knows that the USA and Britain would not be what they are today without their Jews. These countries would probably look more like jungles with underdeveloped economies, bad health facilities and lack of scientific discoveries. Their laws, although secularized, are deeply influenced by the Torah and the spirit of the great Jewish prophets. These laws would probably be non-existent, and the anti-Semite would not have the freedom of speech he now so enjoys.
Indeed, it does not make sense. Here is a country in the Middle East, no larger than a piece of real estate and so small that it is nearly invisible. One needs a magnifying glass when searching for it on a map. Its main inhabitants, the Jews, and their brothers and sisters all around the world amount to less people than a slight statistical error in the Chinese census. Or, as Sir Isaiah Berlin once said, “(The Jews) have enjoyed rather too much history and too little geography.” (3) Yet, we are one of the oldest, if not the oldest nation in the world! For most of our existence we have lived in foreign countries, without an army to protect us and mainly poorer than the poor. But we contribute, per capita, more to this world than any other nation. Just think about it: Would you not get depressed if you were an anti-Semite?
And then this: For as long as we have existed, we Jews have not had heroes like Julius Caesar, Titus and other men of military superiority. Instead, we opposed all those “heroisms” that other nations see as their raison d’etre. In fact, we could not understand what there was to admire! We, alternatively, loved our peace-seeking, spiritual leaders such as Moses, Isaiah and Amos. Instead of getting carried away with heroic battles, beautiful women, orgies and other indulgences, we have an unbridled passion for studying and for knowledge. We are obsessed with our Holy Book, which constantly reprimands us and is so demanding. So what do we expect from the anti-Semite who realizes that the Jews poke fun at everything that he holds dear? That they would love us?
Yes, for all these thousands of years Jews did not really know (and still seem not to know!) how to fight a war, but paradoxically, we manage to stand up against millions and millions of enemies who surround us. And like the anti-Semite, everyone knows that the Jew will again outlive them, as we have for the past 4000 years. If this is not irritating, what is?
But let us not make the mistake of falling into the trap of arrogance and haughtiness. It is not our doing that we are an unusual people “that shall dwell alone and not be reckoned among the nations.” (Bamidbar 23.9) It is an ultimate Power that designated us as His instrument in history, commanding us to serve the rest of mankind and remind them of Him and His moral demands.
But for anti-Semites, God and His far reaching ethics are irritating. They wish to rid themselves of Him so that they can “get on with their lives.” Add to this the fact that anti-Semites make sure that the Jew, his country and his people are the most debated topics in the world, and you understand why they have such a hard time. Under these circumstances, who would not be on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Have some rachmanuth (mercy) on all of those anti-Semites who must cope with these terrible traumas. Understand their frustration and their need to let it all out! And where will they end up? On the couch of a psychiatrist who uses methods developed by a Jew to relieve them of their depression! So, you get the picture? Es is shver tzu zein an anti-Semite! (4) Boycott? Come on! Suicide, you mean! He who laughs last, laughs best.
(1) This essay, with slight differences, was published in my book, For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People. Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2008, p.209-212.
(2) Quoted by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in The Controversy of Zion. London: Sinclair-Stevensohn, 1966, xi.
(3) The Origins of Israel. 1953, p.143.
(4) Based on a famous Yiddish expression, “Es is shver tzu zein a Yid” – “It is hard to be a Jew.”