The presidential campaign is now on. Americans will, in a few months time, choose their next president. Europeans, however, have already made their decision. The New York Times recently reported that surveys in Western Europe have John Kerry at 95 percent, with Nader taking up the remaining percentage points and Bush getting virtually no support. Lucky for us that Europeans don’t choose our president. It is worth examining, however, for a few moments, this European antipathy toward George Bush.
Two hundred and eighty million Americans are getting a taste of what it’s like to be Jewish. USA Today, America’s most-circulated daily, last year reported on its front page that American tourists on the continent are being attacked by their European hosts. From Paris to Munich to Rome to Amsterdam, Americans are being spat on and yelled at by passersby.
- One American male reported that a pretty young European girl had walked over to him to ask for a light for her cigarette. He obligingly took out his lighter – but when she saw the American flag emblazoned on its side, she passed on his offer and walked away without saying a word.
- A mother and daughter said they were disgusted when they saw a sign that said, “Shoot Bush, Not Saddam.”
- Then there is the constant haranguing at the hands of taxi drivers who either drive straight by Americans without picking them up, or subject them to lengthy diatribes while taking them to their destinations. Talk about a bad bargain. Not only do you get attacked, you also have to pay for it.
So, what to do if you’re just an innocent American who wants to see the Louvre? Here, USA Today delivered advice on their front page that I never in my life believed I would see. They actually advised American tourists traveling abroad to disguise the fact that they are Americans. Some of the hints included speaking less boisterously, as Americans are famously noisy, not wearing clothing with overt patriotic displays like an American flag, and, presumably, not immediately telling the taxi driver that George W. Bush is your golfing buddy, or that you enjoy hunting in Texas.
When I lived in England for 11 years serving as rabbi at Oxford University, I became familiar with the practice of more than a few British Jews removing their kippot while at university, and later while at work in London, for fear of being discriminated against by superiors or attacked by anti-Semites.
But who would have thought that one could be a citizen of the most powerful nation in the history of the world and still have to hide a T-shirt with the Statue of Liberty while standing under the Arc de Triomphe?
For 2,000 years, Jews have asked themselves the question an increasing number of Americans are now asking: Why do they hate us? Is it possible that the underlying causes of anti-Semitism are similar to the underlying causes of anti-Americanism?
When I lived in Oxford, I heard all kinds of academic theories proffered as to the cause of anti-Semitism, but few seemed as straightforward as the reason given by the first documented, genocidal anti-Semite – the biblical Hitler – Haman. In asking King Ahasuerus for the authority to slaughter all the Jews in the ancient Persian empire, he says: “There exists a people, dispersed and scattered among the nations, in all the provinces of your kingdom. And yet their values are entirely different from everyone else’s.”
Jewish singularity, Jewish peculiarity, a refusal to blend in and be like everybody else is what foments hatred in Haman’s breast. Why do you Jews hold yourselves aloof? Why don’t you just become like everybody else? Do you think you’re better than us?
Add to this the Jewish penchant for promoting social justice and a steadfast commitment to espousing morality and you have the perfect formula for hating the foreigner who not only rejects your way of life while living in your country, but makes you feel inferior, to boot.
The Talmud says that Mount Sinai (literally, “mountain of hatred”) was given its name because after the Jews received the Torah and committed themselves to lives of ethical virtue, the enmity of the world’s inhabitants – who now stood out as immoral – descended heatedly upon them.
You see the same antipathy from Europeans directed at George W. Bush. Before Bush, Europeans could look at Americans and speak of a common Western heritage. But along came Bush and upset the whole applecart. He divided the world into good guys and bad guys, those who are with us and those who are against us.
He dared to use words like “Axis of Evil,” even of countries that European nations wanted to do business with. He threw God into his language at every opportunity. Most importantly, he removed from power the most loathsome creature on earth while the rest of the world turned a blind eye to Saddam’s brutality. And by doing so, George W. Bush made the Europeans feel less moral and worthy.
Who is this guy? Does he think he’s better than us? What – we’re not moral? Heck, we’re better than him. He’s a warmonger, and we are men of peace.
And so, just as the nations of the world always had to kill the Jewish message of morality and justice by killing the messenger – first literally and then, when it was no longer in vogue, by impugning their motives and accusing them of trying to take over the world – the same character assassination was applied to George W. Bush. “Want to know the real reason Bush went to war in Iraq? All that talk of good and evil is pure hullabaloo. He wants the oil, darn it. He wants a new American colony. This is Pax Americana. He may be a Christian, but his designs are Jewish. He will stop at nothing less than world domination.”
Bush of course was literally accused – by Rep. James of Moran of Virginia and others – of being a pawn of the Jews, preparing to attack Iraq only because he is a slave to American Jewish interests, whose foremost concern is the state of Israel.
So the Jewish hypocrites, who talk of morality but really want to take over the world, have now enslaved George Bush, another hypocrite who talks of morality but really wants to take over the world.
At the root of the Arab hatred of Israel is the simple fact that Israel makes the Arabs look bad. Israel is a democracy, while the Arabs live in tyranny. Israel is literate, while tens of millions of Arabs are, tragically, illiterate. The Arabs claim to be strong, but Israel has proven them weak. Israel is a foreign bacillus contaminating Arab pride.
Likewise, George W. Bush makes European leaders look bad, and he makes them look weak. They are not prepared to fight for their convictions because they have no convictions. It is not that they speak French while he speaks English. Rather, he speaks the biblical language of right and wrong, while they speak the contemporary language of “Let’s make a deal.”
More than a decade of living in Europe convinced me that Europeans revel in their laidback lifestyle (and its casual and easygoing ambiance is what makes Europe a favorite vacation destination for Americans). So when they hear that a genocidal murderer named Saddam Hussein has slaughtered more than a million of his own people, they do not immediately spring into action.
Their first reaction is: Must we do something about this, or can we safely ignore it?
The Europeans hate George Bush because they see him as an agitator – someone who stirs the pot when all they want is peace and quiet. They hate the Jews for the same reason.
Going back to Moses, Isaiah and Jeremiah, the Jews have thundered against injustice and railed against oppression. Moses became a leader not when he delivered a fiery speech to a party convention, but when he refused to turn away from a Hebrew slave being beaten by an Egyptian and pretending that he just hadn’t seen. He smote the Egyptian and rescued the oppressed slave – even though by so doing he forever forfeited the pampered life of an Egyptian prince.
Had Moses attended the Jacques Chirac school of biblical policy, he would have sent in arms inspectors to remove the whip from the Egyptian’s hands, after which they would have negotiated some lucrative deal to build pyramids together.
America and the Jews are teaming up take over the world. But it is a conquest of ideas rather than armies, and you can be sure that when they give it back, it will be in much better shape than when they took it.