(Reflections on a war, 2)
When mankind ceased heeding
the words of the Hebrew prophets, it invented the media.
There is a Midrash (1) which speaks about 70 angels known as princes who are put in charge of the 70 nations of the world. Each of these princes supervises his own nation acting as its spokesman before the Throne of God. When their respective nations are embattled, they too become involved against each other and when the nations live in peace, so they too are at peace.
These princes are the symbols of various national ideologies and the contributions they can make towards the betterment of mankind. If the princes and their nations live up to these tasks, they will ascend the mighty ladder of history. If they fail and turn into dictators and dictatorships, using their power in order to fire their egoism with illusions and deceits of an imaginary idealism, they will fall. This will occur either in the form of lightning which flings them into the abyss of nothingness, or gradually as a steady rain, which carries them little by little down the abyss of nothingness. This is the hour when these princes forget who they are and what their function is. They vaunt their arrogance, each one of them imagining themselves to be the supreme master. But the hand of their Master is over them. This is what happened to the ancient Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks and many others.
At that hour there is one nation, the Jews, which starts to irritate them more than anybody else. It is this nation which enters into their territories and disperses among them, causing them infinite trouble with their moral demands and teachings. A peculiar people carrying a charge from heaven which made each human being responsible for his deeds and whose teachings oppose all the egoism, illusions and deceits to which these nations by now are dedicated. As a result, these nations call for the destruction of this disturbing people. Its voice, reflecting the one from Above, has to be silenced so that the uncertainty of these nations’ conscience and the reality of their guilt can be obliterated. Resisting their own destiny, they need to destroy those who brought that destiny to mind.
But how to accomplish that goal and not feel guilty about it? There is only one way this can be achieved. And that is to de-legitimate that very nation by proving to the world that the Jews themselves are not any better and in fact worse than those very nations which stepped on those very moral foundations: Only when it can be proven that the Jews themselves are as immoral and guilty of massacre and genocide can this voice be silenced. And so they look for a stick. But it is not easily found. How to create an impossible situation for the Jews to be caught up so that no matter how they respond they will be found guilty? And so it was concluded that nothing could be more gratifying than forcing the Jews into a struggle with another people against whom this nation, against its best wishes, has to defend itself in order to survive. But it could not be just another people, it had to be an “underdog” and conditions had to be created in such a way that the Jews, out of bare self defense, had to take their weapons into their own hands and fight those so called defenseless people. And if such a defenseless people were not to be found, it had to be artificially created.
And so it was. And the world, at least a large part of it, fell right into this plot and consequently lost its common sense and its moral fiber. In fact it turned bizarre. With a few significant exceptions the world, governments, the media and UN bureaucrats turned into an Orwellian moral universe. It stopped thinking, turned every thing around, inverted victim into aggressor and started to rewrite history with one goal: to de-legitimate the Jew whose very existence reminds them of its moral obligations.
Today, thousands of indiscriminate rockets attack the cities of Israel, every one of them designed to kill and to maim. (That “only” tens of people have been killed instead of thousands is a complete miracle!) Nearly two million people are forced to sit in shelters, their lives ruined, their economy destroyed and all that a large part of the world, and foremost the media, does is to accuse this little nation that it “responds in disproportion” to its enemy and that it deliberately killed children in a southern Lebanon town called Qana where the citizens had, time after time, been warned by the Israeli army (by leaflets, radio and even by phone messages!) to move away from this and other towns so as not to get hurt. (Why did the building in Qana only collapse seven hours after it was attacked? Did Hizbullah by any chance explode another bomb within so that the building would finally collapse on women and children in order to get the world to accuse Israel?)
The insanity of today’s international outcry is that there is indeed a disproportion in this war. Hizbullah is deliberately trying to create many civilian casualties on both sides, whereas Israel deliberately tries to minimize civilian casualties on both sides. Israel sends its ground troops into Lebanon so as to prevent innocent Lebanese lives being lost (but then pays a heavy price by its soldiers being killed) whereas Hizbullah deliberately hides it fighters, its rockets and its entire infrastructure among Lebanese civilians so that as many Lebanese people as possible get killed. Israeli soldiers die so that Lebanese civilians will not and Hizbullah tries to stay alive by having Lebanese civilians killed. And all that the international community can do is to speak of Israel’s atrocities, some even comparing them to the Nazis in the Holocaust. This is in itself nothing less than anti-Semitism.
The cause of this craziness emanates however from a deeper level. It is an unrecognized and latent hatred against biblical moral values which makes those nations and its media turn in the blink of an eye against Israel. What many do not recognize is that they are still unable to forgive the people of Israel for having giving them the man Jesus and therefore Christianity. It was Jesus who, deeply influenced by the moral Tradition of Judaism, brought them a little of Israel’s moral tradition and it is against this morality that they rebel. It is of Jesus that they are afraid. They spit on the Jews not because they are Jesus killers but because they are Jesus givers. This is the root of much of Western anti-Semitism. As the proverb goes: To the eye of enmity virtue appears as the ugliest blemish.
When we Jews look at this bizarre play, we can only smile at this artificial game, which once more paradoxically proves the uniqueness of our people. The double standards used only against the Jews, the total lack of basic integrity and the complete absence of any logic, do not surprise us any longer. It is part and parcel of the Jewish experience.
It is, however, important to remember that the multitude of the sick should not make us deny the existence of the healthy.
All we know is what Olive Schreiner once wrote: “The study of the history of Europe during the past centuries teaches us one uniform lesson: That the nations which received and in any way dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jew have prospered; and that the nations that have tortured and oppressed him have written out their own curse.” (2)
What these nations do not realize is that if they do not want Israel to survive, they will set the stage for a Holocaust brought down on themselves. And not even their prince or angel will help them.
(1) Vayikra Rabba, 29, Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, chapter 35.
(2) Olive Schreiner, South African Novelist, quoted by Chief Rabbi J.H.Hertz, A Book of Jewish Thought, Oxford University Press,1966, p.180