Watching a video today of a young Jew debating an anti-Israel demonstrator on the streets of America, I was struck by how well-informed, clear and unassailable the young mans' responses to his questioner were.
In fact, the debate was so lopsided, factually, logically, and truthfully in favor of the Jew that it became embarrassingly obvious even to his opponent.
And that's where things got interesting. At each and every concise and unarguable point the Jew would make, his opponent would look uncomfortable, and then simply retreat to a position that can be summed up as: 'Well, that may be true, but it doesn't matter. I still believe what I believe.'
Now, the discussion was not one of those debates between some obvious Jew-hater where nothing matters other than the hatred, which we are all too familiar with.
No. It involved what most people would identify as an average, good-natured, polite, liberal American. And that was when I realized that this is the face of anti-Semitism that is the most dangerous.
When we think of anti-Semitism, we think of caricatures. Holocaust movie typecasts of Nazis playing spine chilling roles, or of skinheads, Ayatollas, and so on.
We then take solace in the fact that these extremists are just that. Extremists, a small minority of the population. And that's true. Most people throughout the world are more or less normal people just trying to get by and raise their families. Most people are not caricature rabid crazies. And that's why we feel anti-Semitism is not really a serious threat in our daily lives.
But that's exactly what we felt in Germany just before, and even during the early stages of the Holocaust. So what happened? How were the crazy, extreme minority, in this case the Nazis, allowed to carry out their extremism?
The answer is -- because people, for the most part, don't change. People are who they are. Nature, nurture, whatever. People rarely part with their religious, political, cultural, or philosophical world views. There is very little cross over from one belief system to another.
This is also true when our views are faced with fact and truth that we can't deny. In such cases, liberal Israelis for example, will continue to insist that the Oslo Accords were not a mistake, but that we somehow screwed things up. Or conservative Americans will dismiss global warming as bad science while the polar ice caps melts before their eyes. We do it in our personal lives all the time. When our believes don't work for us, we usually try to ignore, modify, or work around reality, rather than change our beliefs.
So back to anti-Semitism. If someone has a negative attitude toward Jews at some level, this is not going to change simply by presenting facts that contradict their view. And this is why these nice, normal people don't end up going to the trouble of opposing the crazy extremists.
And no matter what the facts, no matter what the truth is about Jews (which Israel has now come to symbolize), people are just not interested in these facts. It's the way we are. Rarely are we open to changing our personal philosophy or world view.
And so, while getting the facts out there is obviously a basic requirement for any nation, these facts are not the meat of the message that needs to come forth from Zion.
There is only one message that is ever going to resonate with the world, and it is this. That we are the children of the man named Israel. That the Bible which recorded this is our deed to our Land. That God requires us to live in this Land -- the Land of Israel. That it was bequeathed in order for us to build a unique society. A society that operates on the Jewish principles of justice rather than self-interest. No such society has ever existed to this day. And when we succeed at this, the world will see that it can be done and will wish to do so also.
This is a message that cannot be argued with. A message that does not seek to convince anyone of any facts. A message is that this is our belief (and the world accepts that religious beliefs are not up for debate). A message that can be respected, regardless of whether or not someone disagrees with it. And a message that also happens to be true.
In most Jewish circles today, invoking God publicly feels extreme and fanatical, but in the Gentile world, it most definitely is not. In fact, I suspect that consciously or subconsciously, the Gentile world finds it odd that we have not done so long ago.
Once we establish the model nation that we are supposed to, we will then have built that beacon of light for the world which we all so sorely need. That's who we are and why we're here.
The writer is the co-founder and former CEO of Sirius XM Radio, America's largest radio broadcaster. Nominated by Harvard Business School as Entrepreneur of the Year, and inducted into NASA's Space Technology Hall of Fame, he now lives in Israel with his wife and family.
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