In the early 1990s, I attended a dinner in New York City sponsored by a Jerusalem foundation, highlighted by a dialogue between Henry Kissinger and Fouad Ajami, moderated by Dan Rather. (Ajami was a Lebanese-born university professor who often appeared as a talking head on TV as an expert on the Middle East.) At one point in the evening, professor Ajami noted that when Saddam Hussein used nerve gas on his own people, the U.N. said nothing. But when Israel uses tear gas, it draws international rebuke.
It's the same today, except worse. Much worse.
Israel experiences the most horrific bloodbath in any one day since the Holocaust, with details too sickening to repeat yet again, and who gets blamed? Israel!
In the words of the infamous document signed by 31 student groups at Harvard, "We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence."
But of course. Israel is always to blame. The leadership of the people who were murdered, slaughtered, butchered, incinerated, raped are to blame – not the murderers, the slaughterers, the butchers, the pyromaniacs, the rapists.
Israel drops more than 1 million leaflets throughout Gaza City, urging the civilians to flee to the south. Israel makes tens of thousands of phone calls – yes, calls to individuals on their phones – as well as sends out tens of thousands of text messages, saying, "We're going to bomb your neighborhood. Please get out so you can be safe."
Hamas, in contrast, urges their people to stay, blocks them from leaving, putting up roadblocks to stop them and allegedly confiscating car keys and shooting their own people dead. Hamas leadership even makes clear that they welcome the death of their own people.
As expressed by Brendan O'Neill on the Spiked website, "So let me get this right. If Israel bombs Hamas targets in Gaza, it is recklessly endangering civilian life. But if it gives civilians fair warning to move away from certain areas, it is engaging in ethnic cleansing. If it drops bombs in built-up suburbs, it is committing a war crime. But if it advises civilians to leave those built-up suburbs before the bombs come, it is also committing a war crime. If it attacks northern Gaza, that's genocide. Yet when it tells the civilians of northern Gaza to leave first, that's 'forced transfer,' which is to say: genocide.
"Everything Israel does is a war crime. Everything. Killing civilians – war crime. Trying not to kill civilians – war crime. Bombing populated areas – war crime. Giving a population time to leave before dropping bombs – war crime. The surrealism of these screams of 'genocide!' every time an Israeli soldier so much as picks up his gun was brought home by two headlines in the Independent last week, published just 10 hours apart. Israel is engaged in 'collective punishment in Gaza,' claimed the first. 'Israel accused of "trying to ethnically cleanse Gaza Strip" as one million ordered to evacuate,' said the second."
But of course. Israel is always to blame.
That's because the spirit that animates the demonizing of Israel is the same spirit that animates Jew-hatred in general.
Jews are hated for being rich and for being poor.
Jews are hated for being powerful (they're trying to take over the world) and for being weak (those miserable, wretched Jews).
Jews are hated for being religious (they think they're better than us) and for being secular (they're trying to fit in as if they were just like us).
Jew are hated by Communists and by Fascists.
Jews are hated when they are victims and when they are victors.
Jews are hated for not fighting back (why did they go as sheep to the slaughter under the Nazis?) and for fighting back (they're guilty of ethnic cleansing and genocide!).
Jews are hated when they are in exile (there's a reason they've been expelled from so many countries) and when they're in their homeland (they are evil occupiers who don't belong there).
Jews are hated by Black supremacists and White supremacists.
And Jew-hatred has a strong tradition in both Christianity and Islam.
It's always those dirty Jews/Zionists!
And lest you think this is just a matter of rhetoric – a matter of mere words – consider this.
On Nov. 4, I wrote an article titled, "Wake up, world, before Jewish blood is shed in your country."
One day later, on the very day the article was posted, Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old, Jewish, pro-Israel protester was struck on the head by a pro-Palestinian protester. He died as a result of his injuries. It only took one day!
That is why I will not be silent at such a critical time in Jewish history, not to mention world history.
What about you?
Will you use equal weights and measures, or will you go along with the spirit of the age?
By all means, Israel can be criticized along many lines, and true friends of Israel are more than happy to share their comments, their criticisms and their concerns.
But this unequal, unfair, unethical demonizing of Israel and the Jewish people must be confronted and exposed, especially when the nation faces yet another existential threat.
Which side are you on?